The Swanage beach boy

‘I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years,’ sighs Barry Wiggins as he sits in his hut on Swanage beach and stares out to sea. ‘Everything’s different. Well, nearly everything. One thing that hasn’t changed is the view; the Isle of Wight, that hasn’t changed.’ Barry has known the view from Swanage beach for Read More…

Bournemouth’s Bowl of music magic

Unlike many a fondly remembered music venue – tiny, tight and wont to overheating – Bournemouth’s Chelsea Village was the bee’s knees, the height of sophistication. When it opened in 1970 it was like nothing the town had seen before and within weeks it became a magnet for revellers from miles around. ‘We thought we Read More…

The Vinyl Say 027: The Who

In every collection there are records that get played all the time, many of them for years, decades even. Then there are those that, while no less treasured, somehow fall by the wayside to lie in wait, ripe for rediscovery. This series chronicles some of those nuggets as they resurface from my own back pages. Read More…

Dorchester’s Bones Museum

Already something of a mecca for museum-lovers, Dorchester now has another one thanks to the restless curiosity of local entrepreneur Stephen Ware. Having collected film and sci-fi memorabilia since the age of eleven, last year he decided to sell it all and invest the proceeds in a new collection… of skeletons and taxidermy. In October Read More…

The woodland heart of Hardy country

A captivating little parcel of mixed woodland and heath around the picture postcard pretty hamlet of Higher Bockhampton – known the world over as the birthplace of Thomas Hardy – Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve receives at least 60,000 visitors a year many of which may still be missing out. That’s according to Dorset Council Read More…

Moon talk

Commissioned by Dorset Moon, Weymouth based artist Ra Zamora has created Call of the Wild, a sound installation inspired by the wolf’s howl that will play as part of the Under the Moon supporting programme at all three locations. It’s intended to create a primordial experience to transport people to the wild corners of their psyche, Read More…

If wood could talk…

If wood could talk, what tales would this tale…? We’re looking at a stack of incredibly rare Georgian pine. In the shed next door there are oak floor planks, joists, roof trusses, gateposts and who knows what else stacked head high. Much of this wood has been timber for longer than it was trees, it Read More…

Sorbet seems to be the hardest word

When Annie and Sam Hanbury found their new home near Bridport came with a ramshackle but highly productive market garden there seemed only one solution to what to do with all those raspberries, apples, pears, medlars, blackcurrants and gooseberries – make ice cream. Lots of ice cream. ‘The garden had been abandoned,’ says Annie. ‘We Read More…

The long shadow of The Longest Day

Seventy-five years after the event it’s almost impossible to imagine what it would have been like for Portlanders to be awoken in the early hours of Tuesday 6 June 1944 by the din of 30,000 American servicemen preparing to be shipped across the Channel to launch the Normandy landings, D-Day.  As dawn broke on The Read More…

All you never knew you wanted to know about Dorset

Those who wonder about the origins of Dorset Christmas carols, aspects of the county’s church architecture, the practice of wife selling, beheading posture, bewitched farm animals or giant hailstones in Sherborne in the nineteenth century will doubtless be all too aware of Notes & Queries for Somerset and Dorset. For such subjects – and myriad others Read More…