Friday, 27 November 2015

'Lead us not into temptation'

Quite honestly finding somewhere good to eat in Dorchester  is a piece of cake! I thought that I would start this post off with a little pun!

Yesterday I had lunch with my husband in the recently opened YC's Cafe and wine bar, which is located next to Dukes Fine Arts Salesrooms in Copper Street.

I chose the baked vegetable frittata, served with salad leaves and pesto drizzle. My food came served on board with a lovely freshly baked flowerpot roll and homemade chutney.

We found the atmosphere of the cafe, very agreeable. The cafe is a new venture for Yalbury Cottage Hotel and Restaurant which is located in Lower Bockhampton near the birth place of local author Thomas Hardy. 

I am not sure that this new eatery is going to be good for my waistline, the patisserie counter is divine! I shared the cake in picture at the top with Richard, my Husband. I did resist a dessert at lunch time, but as the cafe offers both eat in and out options we took one portion of gluten free tiramisu home with us, and then I could resist no longer!

I feel this sweet temptation so close to my home could be challenging, but I was pleased to see that neighbours of mine had also been tempted into lunch. The same neighbours were also at the live streaming event at the Odeon Cinema  in the evening.  William Shakespeare's 'The Winters Tale' was streamed live from the Garrick Theatre in London. We did have to keep our strength up after all,  the play was very long!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Dorset History Centre Birthday Open Day.

I was glad that I had something to do today, as I knew that I would otherwise spend my day watching the dreadful news from Paris. I followed the news way into the night, stunned and shocked at what I was being told. I would not have been able to take part in any activity today that was too flippant, as my mood was somber, as I am sure was the same as many others today.

I was however looking forward to attending the Dorset History Centre open day, which I did feel was suitably distracting. I have not visited before, but I will be going again for sure.

The staff and the volunteers made me feel so welcome and I was pleased to learn that the public is encouraged to use the facility. I attended a talk about how to trace your family tree, and was taken on a tour of the air conditioned rooms that contain a lot of Dorset's written history.
The History Centre on the Bridport Road in Dorchester, can be visited by anyone, to enable them to carry out research.
During our visit we were shown some very interesting exhibits, including 400 year old painted maps, school, medical and criminal records, parchment scrolls that dated back many centuries and various equally interesting records.

I was particularly interested in the grave diggers records, that volunteers are currently transferring to digital ones. I have recently been following the Future Cemetery Project in Bristol, and I feel that  understanding the history of cemeteries, will help with considering their future.
Another of the interesting things that we were shown, by another volunteer was a family history from the village of Nether Cerne. The volunteer was sorting through boxes of written information that was incredibly detailed, down to the names of the family's horses, which were recorded on the farriers invoices.  Included in this collection was an envelope containing a lock of a child's hair, with her name and 'first curl' written  on the outside.

I read about an eight year old boy who was found guilty of setting fire to a hay-rick, and was consequently sent away from his family, to a detention centre in Bristol. It crossed my mind that the children who set fire to the outdoor classroom at the Prince of Wales School earlier this year, may well have been about the same age. Their punishment was not as severe, but the crime was similar. 

My visit did take my mind off the atrocities that have occurred in France for a few hours, but my thoughts are again very much with the families involved in the incomprehensible crimes that took place in Paris last night. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Instagram at the Dorford Centre

Yesterday I took part in an Instagram for Business course at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester. Whilst I have been using Instagram for some time, I have only recently started using it for my business. The training course was run by ITCoursesDorchester, and was extensively researched and professionally presented by Trudy Ritsema and Jane Askew. 

We were set a task of creating an Instagram post. We were all given a random object and asked to write a caption for it. As the course members ran many varied businesses it was an interesting project.

Mine you will see from the picture above was a large peg, if you would like to see it on Instagram and follow my future posts my user name is maumburygal1. I also recently set up an Instagram account for my business and the user name for that one is Socialembers.

If you are not familiar with Instagram and have never used it, you will probably have heard  the younger generation talking about it, as it is very popular with them.  The social media platform that was created in a cafe over a cup of coffee is now a more widely used social media platform than Twitter. 

When I am on ambassador duty for Dorchester BID I often meet members of the public who seem angry at the use of technology in their everyday lives, such as Dorchester's optional pay to park system. This system can save you having to carry small change, and is often a godsend, if you want to renew your parking time with out having to return to your car.

Technology in our lives will soon be used much more widely, when the 'internet of things' collects data from our home without us even realising it, such as central heating systems that are now widely installed in new properties.

My daughter has recently submitted her university application, and having to make a choice of 5, we visited many over this summer. One that was using technology the most was Lancaster.

 Each student who has been offered a place to study there, is given access to the campus app' which gives them immediate access to information about their course, finance, and allows them to integrate with other students before they start. One of the features of the app' that appealed to me as a Mum is the laundrette availability, which not only tells the student the location of an empty machine, but tells the student how far the machine has got through it's cycle.

So there will be no excuses as to why her washing is not done, if she chooses this university in 2016! 

I was really pleased to see students of all ages on our course yesterday, and I know myself, and many others, will look forward to future training courses run by ITCourses Dorchester

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Poppies, Town Crier and Literacy in Dorchester

Dorchester car parks were full to brimming today with so much going on in the town.
It may have been wet, but it most certainly wasn't miserable. 

The Dorchester Literacy Festival has a programme of cultural events this weekend, which are being  held at the County Museum, Dukes Galleries and Dorchester Library. 

The British Legion launched the poppy appeal in Brewery Square with the help of Dorchester Town Crier, who last week won first place in the National Town Crier competition in Hastings! 

Some very uplifting music could be heard in South Street, where the town's Durnovaria Silver Band was performing. 

Wishing Alistair Chisholm hearty congratulations, Did you hear his powerful today? If not then here is a link to last week's competition. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tinderbox Premiere

Well I was there, were you? The Corn Exchange Dorchester, is no longer used for exchange of corn seed, as it was originally built for, but is now a central part of Dorchester's active theatre and music culture.

Thomas Hardy refers to the Corn Exchange in his novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'  explaining the purpose it was originally built for, but to see it used as it was last night, for contemporary, creative, live theatre, was a reminder of how historic venues such as these, are as much an important a part of society as they ever were, for bringing communities together. 

"I won't be a slave to the past. I'll love where I choose." 
 Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge)

The premiere of As-One theatre's Tinderbox was attended by Dorchester Town's Mayor and Mayoress, and by many other local residents and families. I was excited to see a large number of teenagers in the audience, as many theatre events I have attended recently have been largely attended by only the more senior members of the community. 

Involved in the opening of the show were members of Stagecoach Dorchester and Dorset Youth Theatre, who then were able to watch the show from specially reserved seats at the front. I could see their faces whilst watching, and that for me was quite special. They were captivated and obviously truly inspired and entertained. 

Using carefully planned props, the cast were able to create a visual spectacle, that carried the audience through a contemporary version of the original Hans Christian Anderson tale. 

The use of clever puppetry, masks and inventive shadow theatre,  the talented performers under the guidance of the show's writer and director,  were able to create illusions that enabled the audience to be transported through the lifetime of the Tinderbox Princess, who was initially represented by a beautiful puppet, evolving into a living character.

Original music was written for the for the play, and was gently introduced as a re-occuring memorable theme through the production. Harmonised voice  in the main, with the accompaniment of two guitars and some cleverly timed rhythmic drumming. 

The show will now be on tour, the venues and dates that you can see a performance are listed on the As-One Theatre website. 

Did you see the show last night? What did you enjoy most? 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Blogging Masterclass Max Gate

A perfect location to be learning about blogging was sat at a table in the dining room at Max Gate in Dorchester.

Today I took part in an event organised by Literatureworks and The National Trust to encourage more people to become involved in literature in the South West of England. 
I previously have attended a very enjoyable talk at Dorchester Museum given by Author Helen Dunmore entitled 'Visiting Hardy' which was also part of their events programme.

My afternoon at Max Gate, former home of Thomas Hardy, was spent with a mix of newbie bloggers, experienced and successful ones, and a few verging on the brink of starting one!

Our masterclass leader has been blogging for 10 years, and was able to share her knowledge of how to create and sustain a following of regular readers. We learned some of the secrets of the publishing world and learned from each other how to advertise our blogs. 

Thomas Hardy first published some of his work in a magazine in monthly instalments, reaching an audience very much like a blog does now.

I was interested to learn that Lynne who writes Dovegreyreader scribbles blog, uses a paper notebook and pen to record her notes as she is reading a book. This is a tip that has helped me recently, when embarking on reading some of Hardy's novels. 
I have two aids now that help me with my reading, adding audio narration to a Kindle download, adds to my enjoyment, and keeping a notes of characters as they are emerge in the story helps me to follow the plot.
I am sure Thomas would have loved blogging!

Friday, 21 August 2015

August in Dorchester

What can you do in Dorchester when it rains? It depends on your age and interests, but there is lots to do and see. This months blog post will help to give some ideas that perhaps you may not have considered.

Have you been to all of our museums? Purchase a Gold Saver Pass and you can visit five for the price of two. There is a wide variety of interests here. If these do not appeal to you then perhaps The Keep Military Museum , Dorset County Museum or the Shire Hall courtroom and cells might be more to your taste. 

If it is not raining and is just dull, like it has been for the past few days then why not have a go at either the Dorchester Supersleuth competition or try out one or more of the Dorset Dialect Trails.

The Supersleuth photo competition has two age groups, 10 and under, and 11 - 16 years. You will need to collect a sticker album from the Tourist Information Centre in Trinity Street, then your mission is to search the town for photo clues. When you find them you will be given a sticker to put on your album. There are prizes for this competition and it runs until the 14th September 2015. 

The Dorset Dialect Trails help you to immerse yourself in some of our local history. There are six trails which have different themes. Placed around Dorchester are ceramic clocks, your mission is to locate the clocks and to record the word that is written in the clock. The word may not make sense to you, as it is a word that has been taken from a 'Glossary of the Dorset Dialect' that was used by the local poet William Barnes. 

Translating the words is fun as some of them are rather amusing. If you are a smartphone user and download the Aestheticode App, you can use it to scan the clocks, as each one has an embedded code in the face, which enables you to link directly to the glossary. I have tried this and it does work through glass, so you don't necessarily have to go inside for it to work. 

A set of playing cards with all of the words on are available from the Tourist Information Centre for £7.99, but if you do all of the trails first then they are available for a reduced price of £4.99.

So in the words of William Barnes if you have any 'Sluggards' in your family then perhaps these activities may get them inspired! 

Sluggard definition - A Sluggard's manner, idle in nature. "Lwoth to goo to bed, an 'lwoth to rise"
(There is your first clue to get you started) 

Have fun! 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Dorchester Library

Dorchester's library is an excellent community resource, not just for reading but for accessing many different forms of information, education, and leisure activities. My daughter has been volunteering as a helper for the summer reading challenge. Children aged 12 and under are invited to take part, and are offered stickers and medals as incentives. I visited the library myself this morning and saw many enthusiastic young readers heading towards the very well stocked children's section.

I had a reserved item to collect. Recently I have taken advantage of the digital audio book loan, using the Overdrive app on my i-phone. The service has improved since I first started using it some years ago, and now offers a far better selection of titles. I was able to download several audio books to take away with me whilst travelling.

I was extremely surprised however to learn that the free dance class offered to children age 7-12 was not well attended this morning. I was always very glad of any quality supervised activity for my children when they were younger, and often paid for them to attend classes through the summer holidays.

Dorchester Police also have a contact point at the library on Mondays and Thursdays from 10am until 2pm, and offer services such as free bike marking events.

I shall be supporting the Dorchester BID by doing a few ambassador shifts throughout August, it is good to hear from visitors how welcome they feel when visiting the town. There is another free activity organised for young people this summer. The Super Sleuth quiz is good fun for the family. An entry form can be collected from the Tourist Information Centre in Trinity Street, the quiz involves photo clues around the streets of Dorchester.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Blondes have more fun

I will be 50 years old in August. My birthday as a child always fell in the middle of the school holidays and my parents hobby, sailing usually meant I spent my birthday in a pair of damp jeans, with only my sister and them for company.
My husband has arranged a special treat for my birthday this year which also involves a boat, but it will not be on the sea, and hopefully I will not be wearing wet trousers, although I do remember several very wet birthdays.
My 40th for example, when I arranged for friends and family members to celebrate with a picnic on Brownsea Island. Everyone who came will remember it clearly, as it rained continually all day, and was cold dull and very very wet!
In preparation for the big 50, I decided about a month ago that I wanted to have blonde hair instead of the red that it has been for quite some years!

My decision was encouraged by my Dorchester hairdresser James from Thomas J William, who are now based in Brewery Square. Such a radical change involved many chemical processes, which took quite some hours. I was treated to refreshments and the attention of many of the staff, who are always cheerful, conscientious and extremely skilled in their profession.

It has been about 1 month now since I changed my hair colour, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience! I still have not got around to changing all of my profile pictures on my digital accounts.

I wonder what colour my hair will be next year? I haven't tried purple yet!

Link to Thomas J William Facebook page

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Vacant Vicar

Both my husband and my daughter sing in the choir at St Peter's Church in Dorchester. My daughter recently enjoyed singing with the other choir members at the top of the tower at 7a.m on Ascension Day. My husband had work as excuse, he would of enjoyed being accompanied by 3 trombones at a great height I am sure!
My daughter said it was higher than she expected, and would have liked it to have been a bit warmer, but still enjoyed the enthusiasm of the choir.
The Vicar of St Peter's has now left Dorchester, to take up her new role at Exeter Cathedral. I attended her installation service. I am not sure what they do there to celebrate Ascension Day, I will have to ask her, when I next visit.

Visitors attending the service were permitted to sit within the quire area. It was good to see that so many visitors from Dorchester had travelled to support Vicky in her new surroundings. There were so many visitors that the Cathedral wardens had to put out extra chairs!

I enjoyed visiting Exeter, and due to the timing of the service it gave me an opportunity to indulge in a bit of shopping.
I was tempted by the new Apple i-watch, but decided perhaps I would struggle with reading the very small font!

I enjoy new technology, and today I have been using a new app' on my i-phone. I installed Periscope a few weeks ago. Periscope offers the opportunity to stream live video to a list of followers. The audience can then interact with the film by adding comments. I discovered that Exeter Cathedral were using it, so I followed them.

Today I had a notification flash up on my screen to say that Exeter Cathedral were streaming live. I was then able to watch a short film about 'The Exeter Book' also known as Codex Exoniensis which is an anthology of anglo saxon poetry. I am finding there is no limit to the endless potential of new technology! I am an addict!
I was also able to listen to Vicky's first sermon from the Cathedral as they are recorded.

So perhaps the new Vicar of St Peters may be using an i-watch to time the sermons! The job is now advertised in the Church Times, here is the link:- Team Vicar vacancy in Dorchester.

Link to St Peter's Facebook Page where you can see the photo's from Ascension Day and listen to Vicky's Sermon.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Lonely Bouquet in Dorchester

I am keen to see the film 'Far From The Madding Crowd' which is released in the cinema this weekend, so I walked past the Odeon cinema this morning to check out the show times. I am sure that the film based on the Thomas Hardy book will be very popular, and I was pleased to see that there are lots of showtimes over this weekend. Whilst walking away from Brewery Square I noticed a small bouquet of flowers laying on the bench outside Pizza Express.

I thought perhaps that someone had had an accident there last night or that perhaps someone had not turned up for a date and the flowers had been left undelivered. I am naturally an inquisitive person and on closer inspection I noticed two small cards tucked in with the flowers.

How wonderful for me to find The Lonely Bouquet left on the bench by Peter Hart Bespoke Floral Design of Dorchester.
As I knew that a member of Carluccios staff was leaving today to take up her new role in  the new Cheltenham branch, I decided that I should give her the flowers.

What a lovely reminder for her of her last day in Dorchester!

So as instructed on the card I am sharing this blog to the Peter Hart Facebook page to show how the lonely bouquet was adopted.

Link to the Telegraph review of the film 'Far from the madding crowd'

Saturday, 25 April 2015

It's wedding time in Dorchester

I love Saturdays in Dorchester. They are often busy and bustling, but always cheeful and upbeat. Today the Corn Exchange was the venue for a wedding fair. Small businesses collaborated to provide an excellent variety of services, that all contribute to making a wedding day run smoothly.

I kind of wished I was getting married again, but don't let my husband know! 

My visit to the Corn Exchange was purely out of curiosity, but I was made to feel extremely welcome by Kate and Kirsten at the door. Kate runs Bridal Reloved a dress shop in Poundbury, and Kirsten is a talented make-up artist. Inside I chatted with Cara from Stripey Finds who's products would bring a bit of fun to any celebratory event! 

Taste Brassierie re-opened today with a fresh new look, I did not have time to stop there today, but I will look forward to eating there soon.
I did treat myself to a lovely new pair of earrings today, from the lovely jewellery shop in Princes Street called Jordan's Jewellers. 

They were not like the ones I wore on my wedding day!

I wonder what happened to those?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Spring clean in Dorchester

Dorchester is enjoying glorious sunshine this week, and some of its well established businesses have moved locations.

Stems Florist and Gifts formerly in Antelope walk is looking very attractive next to Simon's Delicatessen in Weymouth Avenue. 

Duke's Auctioneers have opened their fine new premises next to Brewery Square. The new art auction complex, offers visitors an elegant and fashionable facility, displaying antique items in a modern and refreshing style.

Visitors to the Auction House will be able to enjoy eating at one of the many lively restaurants in Brewery Square. The aromas from the micro brewery at Brewhouse and kitchen will be nostalgic for some of the more senior visitors, who will remember the original smell of hops from the original Eldridge Pope Brewery. Simon's Delicatessen in Weymouth Avenue has a new look and offers more seating for enjoying local Dorset food.

There are may other good places to eat in Dorchester. Taste Cafe and Bistro were the overall winners of the 2015 independent Dorchester Retail Awards, are refitting their premises, and we have Sushi + More!