Tuesday, 29 April 2014


In the year of 1613 there was a fire in Dorchester that destroyed 170 houses, which equated to half or the town.

Following this disaster 3 charities were set up to provide almshouses. These charities are still providing homes for needy residents today.

As a community that has supported poor and vulnerable residents for 400 years, it is good to see that there is a current appeal to continue to update the houses and improve the quality of life for the people who live in them. 
The almshouses are in West Walks, so residents have access to the beautiful Borough Gardens and are very close to the town centre. 

Some of the original almshouses were in Nappers Mite in South street  opposite the new and very popular Durnovaria Bar.  Nappers mite is now a very popular cafe with a very pleasant outside seating area. 

Donations to the almshouse appeal can be made on line here.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Scouting about

 Today in Dorchester the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers are holding a St Georges Day parade. They are celebrating, renewing their promises and presenting awards in Maumbury Rings.

 Unfortunately it has not been dry, as you can see the dark clouds here in my pictures. I am sure they are used to camping in the rain though!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Dorset residents week

The week of 28th April - 4th May 2014 is Dorset Residents week. If you visit the Tourist Information Centre in Trinity Street you can pick up a copy of 'Your Dorset' Dorset County Council's newspaper.
Inside there are 5 coupons that will give residents the opportunity to visit local attractions at a discounted rate. Additional vouchers can be downloaded here.

Dorchester museums are included in the offer, as are many local attractions. 
After such a long wet winter, I am looking forward to visiting some of these myself.  Now where to choose I wonder? 

If you are not a resident and are planning to visit Dorchester, you can install the 'Dorset Smartphone App' if you have a suitable device. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

After the rain has gone

When I was working as a Dorchester ambassador on Saturday, a gentleman asked me to give him directions to Minterne Gardens. 

I did not know where it was, but was able to help him by looking it up on Google maps.  As it was a sunny bank holiday Monday, I decided to go and find the gardens.

Minterne Magna is between Dorchester and Sherborne on the A352. 

I am glad I went, and discovered that the some of the property has been converted into apartments that can be rented. There are none currently available, but I would imagine it must be a very splendid place to live!

The gardens are very well maintained, and there are new projects on the go. The colours of the different azaleas and rhododendrons were quite varied, and seeing all these plants just opening in the warm sunshine was beautiful.

I am a fan of Treasure Trails, and have enjoyed solving clues to complete these all over Dorset.  There are 3 trails within the gardens. My link takes you to the springtime trail,  but there is also a summer and autumn one.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Horse statue arrives

A wonderful atmosphere in Dorchester today as crowds gathered to witness the arrival of the statue of the bronze horse, which is to stand at the front of the Brewery Square development. 

The statue was led by a jazz band along South Street which was very busy with shoppers.  The Dorchester Town Crier announced it's arrival and it was carefully put in position.  It represents the  dray horses that would have worked  in Dorchester when the brewery was operating.

Here is a link to the BBC news article

I am very much looking forward to seeing the statue when it gets dark, as it is lit from underneath, and will look stunning.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Watch like a hawk

I met 'Scarlett' and 'Little Bob' in Brewery Square last week. These 2 Harris Hawks come to Dorchester several times a week to control the seagulls, and to discourage them from nesting in the area.

The hawks were sat in the sun, and seemed extremely content, in fact one of them looked as though she was enjoying splashing in her water bowl, a bit like the children who were playing in the fountains near by.

Both Brewery Square and West Dorset Council, have new buildings with flat roofs, so both are employing xlpest  to keep the gulls under control.

Picture of Hawk courtesy of Ian Parkes

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A new ambassador

The sun is shining today in Dorchester, and it is warm. If only it had been like this on Saturday, when I started my new role as an ambassador.

I will be representing the Dorchester BID, which stands for Business Improvement District. My role is to welcome shoppers and visitors to the town, and to provide them with help and local information if required. 
Businesses that are involved in the scheme pay a levy, which provides funding for promoting the town in a number of different ways. 
I enjoyed meeting other ambassadors, and helping the public. It surprised me how even on a very wet Saturday how very busy the town was.
I hope when I work tomorrow the sun will shine. 

Yesterday my younger daughter had a visit to the hairdresser  to have a practice hair style for her school Prom. The school likes to call it 'The Spring Ball' as it is held before the students take their GCSE exams. The idea behind this is that they will be more focused on the exams when they begin in May.
The hair style looked fabulous, and she was delighted with the result. Today she is going to Classic Beauty in South Walks, to get some make up advice. 

During the evening I visited Salisbury Cathedral to hear the evensong service.  My elder daughter is singing this week with the Royal School of Church Music Millennium Youth Choir. The music was written by Kenneth Leighton a British composer, and was particularly lugubrious, perfect for the liturgical season of Lent. Tonight they are singing in Wells Cathedral.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Education blossoms in Dorchester

On Wednesday my youngest daughter had an appointment at the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester. She has applied to join the sixth form in September. 

We walked from our house, and enjoyed looking at the blossom on the trees in Queen's Avenue. I seem to remember that last year,  just as it had all flowered, a big wind came and blew it all away! 

The appointments were very organised, and we were met at the gates by pupils wearing yellow T-shirts, who couriered us to the sixth form centre. The student who met us was friendly and chatty,  and very enthusiastic about his school! 
We were met by some more equally enthusiastic students, and teachers. There was quite a number of students wearing different coloured school blazers, applicants obviously applying from many different schools. 
It was good to see the head teacher conducting some of the interveiws himself. Our appointment was with the Head of the maths department. 

The school is at the end of Queen's Avenue, which is a long straight residential road with large trees on either side.