Friday, 23 September 2016

Good Funeral Awards 2016

I did not start this blog to blow my own trumpet, but if you are a regular follower, you will see that my posts have been dwindling off over the summer. This is mainly due to me working on my other blog which is associated with my business.

Social Embers was founded in 2014, and this year it has been recognised at the Good Funeral Awards in London. As I both live and work in Dorchester, Dorset, then I think it is quite appropriate for me to tell you about what has been happening.

If you would like to follow my other blog, then the link is here. I am photographed in the top picture, with the lovely TV presenter Penny Smith who was presenting the awards. I was presented with 2 certificates of comendation for my work, as I had been nominated in 2 categories: The Best Internet Bereavement Resource and The Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death.

I was very honoured to collect an overall prize on behalf of Claret Catering, who won in the category: Best Funeral Caterer. I know Dawn who runs this business, and it was a pleasure to represent her at the awards.

The event was held at the Porchester Hall in London on the 8th September 2016 and I was accompanied to the event by my husband Richard. We were a little unsure about what to expect from the event, but it certainly was one to remember. Here is an excellent report that was written for The Independent newspaper by Christopher Hooton, that you can read if you want to know more.

And here is the cake!

This is what we ate:

We met some really wonderful people that day, including many from Dorset, even the Rector of Dorchester: Revd Canon Thomas Woodhouse, who was very surprised to see Richard!

I spoke to Joanna Vassie, another winner who owns the Higher Ground Meadow burial ground at Corscombe in Dorset. Her work in providing a natural alternative to a traditional cemetery was recognised.

I could go on about all the interesting people that I met at the awards, but I have more work to do!

Social Embers is a Community Interest Company and our work continues to evolve in death and technology related issues. You can stay informed about all our latest projects by subscribing to our weekly newsletter,  please  use the sign up box below to register your e-mail address:

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Pokemon Go in Dorchester

The timing of the UK launch for PokemonGo by Nintendo was perfect for the start of the summer holidays. My daughter has been enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation after sitting her A level exams this year, in preparation for university in September. She has been thoroughly enjoying playing PokemonGo and has told me that Dorchester is a great place to play.

Many companies must be extremely envious of Nintendo's success, as the popularity of the game sweeps across the world.

Players need a smartphone, which uses the phone's camera and GPS to locate different Pokemon creatures, such as Squirtle, Wartortle and Butterfree.

My daughter has told me that she has walked miles around Dorchester looking for the creatures, so is getting plenty of exercise, one of the benefits of the game. However, there is an element of concern for parents, which I would like to draw attention to,  here is a link to the NSPCC guide for parents, which I would recommend reading before allowing your children to play. Dorchester Police have asked parents to remind children that catching a wild Pokemon is not an excuse to trespass on to someone else's property.

We have enjoyed some lovely warm weather during July, and it has been good to see all the children splashing in the fountains in Brewery Square and the Borough Gardens.

Brewery Square reserve the right to turn off the fountains if their rules about using this lovely public space are not adhered to. The rules are very clear and are aimed at protecting children as much as respecting the environment, and local businesses and residents.

Do enjoy your summer in Dorchester, we are very lucky to have such a lovely place to play and work!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dorchester Carnival 2016

Credit must go to Jenny Webster, the organiser of the 2016 Dorchester Carnival. The event was a great reflection of the town's friendly atmosphere. 

If you missed it and want to see some of the happy moments then here is a link to the Dorchester Carnival website

Luckily it was dry for the event, and very well supported by the residents of the town. 

The weekend began with a musical event in the Borough Gardens, a free evening for residents called the Party In The Park.

Near to my home in Dorchester is the Fair Field car park, which accommodates a travelling fun fair on the same weekend.
This is very popular with many of the town's younger generation. Dorchester has a historical link with annual fairs.

Medieval Dorchester was busy market town. It had 3 weekly markets and 3 annual fairs, but in the Middle Ages fairs were like markets and did not have thrilling fairground rides, and loud booming music!  People would have come from all over Dorset to buy and sell at a Dorchester fair. 

Those who have read Thomas Hardy's 'Mayor of Casterbridge' ,will know how Michael Henchard visits a fair in the locality, gets drunk and sells his wife! If you have not read this excellent novel then I can recommend it. 

I listened to the fair being dismantled during last night, and by this morning the car park was returned to it's usual Sunday morning car boot sale. I will look forward to a more peaceful evening, but pleased that Dorchester residents have had the opportunity to enjoy themselves. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Singing from the rooftops

I have two choristers in my family and my daughter's early love of singing in churches and cathedrals has meant that as a family we have visited many beautiful historic buildings as she was growing up. Her passion for this type of music has led my husband Richard to also join a choir, and this morning he was up bright and early to sing on the tower of St Peter's Church in Dorchester to celebrate Ascension Day.

 According to Richard's i-phone he climbed 6 flights of stairs, and it is thanks to him that I have these beautiful photographs to share, without having to make the climb myself!

Ascension Day is a public holiday in many parts of Europe, but unfortunately he has to work today, but he certainly has had a good start to his day. Singing followed by bacon butties has put him in a very good mood! 

The St Peter's Church choir has recently said goodbye to a dedicated choir master, Alan Hallett, who retired after 30 years of service. The church is now looking to appoint a new leader for their choir and currently have several people who are interested. This is very positive news for the town as the church choir has an excellent reputation and offers two annual chorister scholarships to pupils from Thomas Hardy School.

My daughter has recently moved to Stratford-Upon-Avon and has joined the choir of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried.  Very recently the town held the 400th anniversary celebrations which included a choral compline which was sung around his grave. The candlelit occasion held towards midnight, allowed visitors to pass by Shakespeare's grave, giving them the opportunity for quiet reflection after the very busy weekend.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Fisherman's Daughter

The recent news that many libraries will be closing in the UK this year is a reminder to Dorchester residents to support the excellent facility that we have in the town. At the end of the beautiful South Walks is the West Dorset District Council offices.

Adjoining these offices is the Library and Learning Centre.

Yesterday a live theatre production called the Fisherman's Daughter was being performed there, and I went along to watch it. As-One Theatre's production was written for the recent maritme literary festival in Weymouth, but is now touring Dorset libraries. What a treat children and their carers had  as they sat enthralled, watching and listening to an interactive piece of educational theatre. 

The creative play is performed by 2 actors and 1 puppet called Harold who is a one legged seagull.
The characters are the Fisherman's daughter Jess, played by Beth Heath Netherton and Moyra an eccentric librarian who was played by the theatre company's artistic director/producer Jane Mckell.

The pair manage to weave literature, poetry, music, wildlife care, morse code, and passion for reading into the short play, whilst the children were captivated by the clever storytelling.

I admire the work of As-One Theatre, who always make quality family theatre accessible in Dorset.

The play will be performed in 3 more Dorset libraries next week, the link to the website is here, if you want to find out where you can see the play.

I spoke to some of the children afterwards and asked them what they had mostly enjoyed. It seemed that the interaction was popular and they loved telling their jokes to the seagull!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Dorchester Time

I was reminded this week that I had not updated this blog for some time.  That reminder got me thinking about what my subject would be for a March blog post. It seems that February's has been missed, but as that is now in the past I would like only to focus on the present.

I have been taking part in a Mindfulness for Health course, which is aimed at helping people live with long term pain. The course is extremely beneficial,  and one of the things that it teaches you is to be present in the moment that you are in. So whatever time it is when you are read this blog post,  remember that you are reading it now.

I decided the subject would be 'Dorchester Time' and have photographed some of the clocks that I noticed when walking in the town yesterday. It did not take me long to find them. I wonder if you know where they all are:

And where can you go to buy a clock or a watch in Dorchester? What about Clockhouse Jewellers which has been trading in Dorchester since 1963?

The shop next door to them also had a clock in the window! 

There are some splendid looking wrist watches in Jordan's Jewellers in Princes Street.

My walk took me back towards my home in the direction Brewery Square, and past Avenue Interiors, who have clocks in their window,

and some very grand and larger clocks inside:

I am sure there are many more that I have missed, but that's ok as I can spend more time in Dorchester!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Elephant in the Room

Welcome to the first post of 2016. I have been in hibernation! Actually that is not true, I have just been very busy. The picture above is the frost on my conservatory window last week, the first of the winter, as it has been so wet and mild.

I have been busy working and learning. Last week I learnt how to record a podcast, and if you would like to listen to it, use this link:- Social Embers podcast.

This weekend there has been an event at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester called 'The Elephant in the Room'.  The event is aimed at trying to encourage more people to become aware of, and to talk about end of life issues that affect us all.

The Corn Exchange in Dorchester is now a community venue, for arts, and events and it is a building that the town is very proud of, partly for it's history and its connection to the Thomas Hardy novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'.

There are some beautiful detailed needlework projects hanging on the walls, and the one pictured above hangs on the staircase and is stunning!

The event that was being held this weekend, was a mixture of talks, exhibitions and friendly and and open conversation. Refreshments were available, both lunch and tea, and I have to say the most delicious carrot cake I have tasted in a long while.
I was able to attend several talks, all of which I found valuable and enjoyable.
The first talk was by a lady called Antonia Rolls who had her artwork on display. The talks were upstairs so there was plenty of room downstairs for displays from local businesses and charities who's work was related to the subject.
Antonia's talk was called "A Graceful Death" and following the death of the love of her life, she had channeled her her grief into her paintbrush. This is a beautiful and very intimate exhibition and I have included a link here if you would like to find out more.

I also attended a talk given by Felicity Warner who runs an organisation called Soul Midwives. The organisation which has been running for over 20 years uses holistic and spiritual practices to provide gentle palliative care both in the UK and abroad. Unfortunately I missed the beginning, but I was very humbling to meet such a sincere and inspiring woman.

I could not stay to listen to all of the talks, but there were many who did. My day was an important one, and I am glad that I was able to attend.

The Corn Exchange will be hosting a Wedding Fair next weekend, so a good of opportunity to see local businesses all in one place. The full details of the fair are linked here.