Thursday, 27 February 2014

Shoes & trees

One of the happiest places in Dorchester has to be the skate park! Young people spend hours and hours here enjoying this fabulous facility. Dorchester has a lot of talented young people and some of them are very good at skateboarding! I am always amazed that however busy the park gets, there always seem to be a system for taking turns, and the young people who use it should be given credit for their behaviour, which only ever seems to be fair and good. It seems to be a badge of honour to throw one of your shoes into the trees that overhang the park, I imagine that may not be popular with parents whose children arrive home with one shoe, but the shoetree now marks the site of the skatepark.
There is a business that has been running in Dorchester for many years called Shoetrees!
It is in Trinity Street and is where I go to get my shoes mended and keys cut. They also sell bags and luggage, and have another shop opposite which has more accessories and gifts.
The staff are always cheerful, and give a good service. Dorchester has some very special independant businesses. I took a pair of boots into be repaired this week and they have a sign on their counter saying they are selling eggs! Hens and Ducks! So there is more to Shoetrees than you think!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

What a load of rubbish

Never has household waste management become quite so advanced! Today in Dorchester we have received our instruction leaflet for Dorset's new recycling scheme. It is really good to see so much effort is being put into this aspect of our daily living, as we are constantly reminded of the effects that climate change are having on us. My community of housing has opted for a communal waste bin as many of the home owners are apartments, and individual bins are not practical. It appears that we will now be able to recycle a lot more. I have always encouraged my family to recycle, but this scheme I feel will make it more manageable and is to be encouraged! 
Last week  I was visiting my daughter in Birmingham, and we visited the ICC. We stopped for a drink at a Starbucks Cafe, where I was outraged to be given a paper cup. I asked for a china one, as I was drinking it on the premises and it was changed for me. I sat and watched the bins being emptied and all the plastic and paper waste was bagged together. So much waste generated so unnecessarily  was appalling. I understand takeaway coffee is popular but it seemed that convenience seems to be taking presidence over common sense! I checked the Starbucks web site and they claim to be recycling by separating their food waste from their 'mixed dry recyclables', and renouncing all responsiblilty if the premises occupied is rented.
I will support Dorset councils new scheme, but I do feel that even if all of Dorchester residents work hard at recycling their waste it is not going to help our planet if big companies such as Starbucks don't do the same!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Sunshine cats & farmers markets

It's a relief for many outdoor traders to finally have a dry sunny day. Today in Dorchester in South St was the farmers market. This is held on the fourth Saturday of every month from 9am until 1pm. It was so sunny in fact that I had to go and give my windows a clean as they looked so very grimy after all the weeks of rain. I am sure, cleaning just a few windows, is what many people who have been affected by the flooding would envy.
I have volunteered to help Cats Protection keep their profile raised on social media. Their shop, which I have mentioned previously is in Great Western Road. There are so many well managed charity shops in Dorchester, but you might miss this one, and that would be unfortunate. Two young cats live with me, Margo & Mitch. They were both rescue kittens. They are not siblings, but were raised in the same litter. Margo was abandoned by her mother after she fell down between a wall and a fence. She was found by an employee at a surf shop in Bournemouth. He contacted Cats protection and little Margo was adopted by Mitch's Mum, along with several other brothers and sisters.
To adopt a kitten from Cats protection you must agree to have them neutered as soon as they are old enough. Many older cats need re-homing for various reasons and this charity works very hard at giving each animal a home suited to it's individual needs.

Farmers market list of traders

Cats protection web page

Cats Protection on Facebook

Cats protection on Twitter

Cats protection on Google+

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Eye eye

I have needed to wear glasses since I was about 10 years old. I remember hating my first frames as they were the free National Health ones for children and had curly wire bits that wrapped around your ears. They came only in pink or blue plastic and the only good bit about getting them was choosing the case. I was very excited at the age of about 16 to have the opportunity to try out contact lenses. I was working full time by that age and it was the only thing that I was desperate to buy. I spent a lot of time then involved in sailing, and wearing glasses at sea, means you are constantly cleaning the salt water off of them. Wearing the lenses was an absolute revelation for me and I have been wearing them ever since. 
My first appointment was with I. J Brown in Weymouth, where I was listed as  contact lens customer number 2. I often wondered who number 1 was. I had no reason to change opticians when I moved to Dorchester, as I had only ever received excellent eye care. I transferred to the Dorchester Branch and am now in the good hands of Mr Paul Walllis. It is interesting that this independent optician has been in existence since 1882, I sometimes think that the front door of the Dorchester branch may in fact actually be that old, as it always gets a bit stuck! The brass door knob is always shiny though, and the staff are always extremely attentive. 
Dorchester has many more opticians and I am sure they also offer a great service, in fact the shop where I worked in my twenties Southern Electricity showroom is now a Specsavers. I just have never felt the need to go elsewhere. 
I am now wearing daily bi-focal contact lenses, so I can see clearly in the distance and update this blog without the need for glasses! 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The record player

It seems that teenagers are keen to get their hands on record players and music to play on them. Having dumped my collection of LP records many years ago, it turns out that my sister's collection has been stored safely in my parents loft. My niece who is 14 has desires to listen to the music that her mother played in her youth, and do it authentically, but was without a record player. Whilst most people now listen to downloaded music on miniature devices, the record player is now back in demand. Teenagers will always want to listen to new music, but learning how artists used to record their tracks is a good reminder of how music piracy is now a difficult thing to control.
Today I was pleased to be able to purchase a record player for my niece in the Dorchester Weldmar Hospicecare Trust outlet store. This store, if you have not already discovered it is a fine example of recycling at it's best. It is well run, and always tidy and organised. Shopping there always gives me great pleasure and I like donating  my unwanted items to an important local charity.
My neice was thrilled when I sent her a text to tell her what I had bought! I am not sure what my sister will think when she hears her old music being played again now that she is not the teenager!

Link to Weldmar charity shop

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A penny for them

A walk without getting soaked is something I have been longing for this week. Never have I ever seen Dorchester skate park quite so deserted! My walk in the February sunshine took me up High West Street and via Alington Street, where I bought some lunch from Lizzie's sandwich bar. A great place to get a bite to eat and enjoy it in the Borough Gardens if it is dry enough, which was my plan. Another option if you have young children, which I don't any more is to visit Munchkins play cafe in Princes Street. An absolute gem of a location for visiting with toddlers. I would have loved to have taken my children there when they were younger, if only it had been open then!
I was not the only one taking advantage of the sunshine, as the tennis courts were being used and lots of young children were using the playground.

After eating my sandwich I walked down Great Western Road. This is the road that the proposed traffic re-routing scheme will use. It is partly residential with some shops and businesses including a Thai Restaurant.  The Cat's Protection Charity shop window has been very impressively dressed in a Valentines theme, I thought I was in Soho! The lovely bicycle pictured above is in the window of Dorchester Cycles, who stock a big range of bikes and accessories. The improvement to cycle paths in Dorchester is excellent now and even my 79 year old Dad managed to cycle from Weymouth  to Dorchester on an electric bike last year. You can check the traffic free routes on the Sustrans web page which I have linked below.
Another business that has been running for many years is Car Radios (Dorchester) Ltd. I hope the new traffic scheme planners will have empathy with the residents and businesses, and consider carefully both the positive and detrimental affects that may be caused.

Munchkins Play Cafe

Link to Sustrans map

Dorchester Cycles

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Going retro

Dorchester has a good selection of vintage shops and very popular retro style cafe. It seems that all those pieces of furniture that were deemed as out of date a few years ago, are in fact extremely popular and fashionable again. I had lunch a few weekends ago in 'Re Loved' a cafe and shop at the end of South Street near the 'town pump'. Here you are treated to a step back in time, with the atmosphere of a past era. You can enjoy and good old fashioned 'cuppa', or a hearty lunch, and you will find it hard to resist the cake! The cafe was full of young people, re-living a time that they would never have of experienced the first time around. The cafe is upstairs and below is a shop stocked full of goodies, and if you are old enough to remember you will spend time reminiscing for sure!
Another shop very near by that sells vintage items is 'Custard Hall' which can be found in the Antelope walk. It is a small shop, but there is plenty to buy. Look upstairs but take care on the spiral staircase!
On the Grove trading estate, there is the 'Dorchester Curiosity Centre' which is an amalgamation of lots of different traders selling everything imaginable! Wrap up in warm clothing if you are going to visit in winter though as it is rather chilly,  there is a cafe inside where you can get a warm drink.
Here is what I last purchased in Custard Hall!

Report from the Echo about 'Re-Loved'

Link to Custard Hall

Link to Dorchester Curiosity Centre

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Freddie in Sochi update

Quite an exciting start to the day watching Jenny Jones win Bronze medal in the snowboarding event! So very exciting and fantastic to watch! I have to inform any blog readers that my post yesterday was incorrect information. Brewery Square have no involvement with any sponsorship of any Olympic competitors, despite what they claim on their Facebook page.  It seems it was a joke! So I am not going to believe anything I read on there again! 
I have fully supported Brewery Square events since they opened, and have encouraged other people to do the same. I am extremely upset tonight by their rude belittling comment tonight, that implied that I should have realized 'Freddie' was not real. Obviously I thought that the information posted on their social media sites was factual. It appears that is not the case.
We had a lovely lunch in Zizzi on Saturday and purchased a very smart pair of Converse boots in Jones the Bootmakers for my daughter. One of our cats has been sleeping in the shoe box ever since! 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Freddie in Sochi

Took a walk down to the Square this evening to have a look at the big screen. Brewery Square have sponsored Eddie the Eagle's son Freddie in the Olympics! Well I felt as though I had walked via Sochi this evening, it's so cold in the wind. It looks as though the S&T has blown away in the wind tonight! Let's hope Freddie does well! 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

A walk in the rain

Took a walk in the rain tonight to have a look at the Streetart under Dorchester West railway station! I think the jet wash ones are pretty impressive! 

PC in the Library

Thought I would pop in and have a chat with Dorchester Police this morning in the towns lovely new Library. The Safer Neighbourhood team are regularly accesible for the public to talk to there, and have a Twitter feed which tells you when they will be there. I talked about my concerns regarding the Market car park, and it appears that it is now locked during the night. The prices in the car parks are due to be increased. The Town Council obviously think that it  may be detrimental to the Brewery Square restaurants to lock the near covered car park space at night so are deciding to leave it unlocked. My concern is that the car club that I previously wrote about in my earlier post may become more of a nuisance to residents during the night.  The people who are meeting here are not all local, and advertise their meeting via social media. They have the opportunity to meet in a covered lit facility, yet do not contribute to any local council taxes. I have written today to the Town Council.
The Library is a great new facility for our town, and it was good to see it busy this morning! It's a very good to place to visit on a rainy day in February!

Dorchester Police Safer Neighbourhood twitter

Link to Dorsetforyou Library page

New car park charges, report from Dorset Echo

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Maumbury Rings

With the high winds causing havoc today I have been watching the big trees in Maumbury Rings swaying in the wind. Last year one had to be felled when a large branch was brought down in a gale. The picture above was taken last summer at event being held in the Rings.
Maumbury Rings is free to visit and is a very historical site. Originally it dates back to the the late Neolithic era, a henge with excavations and human remains dating it back to 2,500 BC.
The Romans used it as an amphitheatre and during the English Civil War it was used as an artillery fort to protect the town.
During the summer I attended a concert, which was free for the residents of Dorchester to enjoy and I have to say that the Romans probably had the best idea as it is a perfect open air theatre venue.It certainly provided clever acoustics and is a natural encompassing location.  I have also attended an open air theatre event organised by Dorchester Arts.
When it snowed last year I think nearly every child in Dorchester headed to the Rings with a plastic sledge, coffee tray or plastic sheet to enable them to slide down the perfectly sloped banks! The 'whoops' and 'whees' you could hear were quite delightful!

Link to Dorchester Arts

Monday, 3 February 2014

New earrings

There are lots of great independant businesses in Dorchester, many of which are thriving. Some of these are well established, but there are many new ones which is good to see.
Many shops and businesses offer loyalty points, and a fine example of customer loyalty benefits is offered by The Fridge delicatessen in the Tudor arcade. This tiny little shop is always well staffed, busy and fully stocked with some delightful products. Cheese is abundant,  and can be sampled before purchasing giving you a moment to decide what else to buy! Something on the full shelves will probably catch your eye! A loyalty card can be purchased to give you an annual discount on all that you buy!
Another shop that has started up a loyalty scheme is tucked away in behind the Nappers Mite cafe.
Every Cloud sells products made by local artists and designers. If you are looking for a present for someone you will nearly always find one in here. The shop has built up a range of unusual jewellery, glassware, and crafted items that the owner cleverly chooses to sell.
I was lucky to be given the earrings  pictured above, which are made of a very light 'biscuit tin' so are completely weightless when worn. These are from the range that are included in this months discounted offer for regular subscribing customers! What a treat!

Link to The Fridge Facebook page

Link to Nappers Mite cafe

Link to Every Cloud

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A sleepless night

Opposite Brewery Square in Dorchester is the market car park, and on a Wednesday the very popular market is held there.  On a Sunday morning there is a regular car boot sale which is also extremely popular. There is a covered area which I remember when I worked in the town in my twenties was a busy livestock market. There is also Dukes Fine Arts auctioneers, they are going to be moving into the former Pullman court in the road opposite the Station pub, see the link below.
Recently a group of car enthusiasts have been meeting in this covered market area, on a Friday or Saturday evening! When I say 'enthusiast' this particular group seem keen on cars with very large exhaust pipes, blacked out windows and have a particularly sinister look about them.
The photo above was taken one Saturday evening when I was returning home after supper out. The drivers mostly were young men and all seemed to have a female passenger. The drivers all parked, some got out and some just 'revved' their engines. On this occasion there was a police man talking to one of the drivers and I imagined he was asking them to move on. I did feel the situation was quite intimidating for the single police car.
Last night at about 2.30am I was woken by the sound of loud car noises nearby, as I often am at the weekends. It seems the car club often congregate in this car park and then take pleasure in using the quiet Dorchester roads to drive their noisy cars around at speed. The outside car park whilst very busy during the day is often empty at this time and provides a playground for them.
As the police station is opposite this car park, this always surprises me as, but I think their antagonistic, antisocial behaviour is all part of the the clubs rituals!
I do hope that the police are able to keep this sort of thing from escalating as apart from waking me up, I have learnt this morning there was a lot of vandalism in the town last night. These incidents may be completely unrelated but a call for more CCTV coverage in the town on Twitter this morning I fully support, and cuts to policing in the town is of some concern.

Link to Echo report about Dukes relocation