This is my favourite time of the year. The arrival of the spring equinox means that the hours of daylight are greater than the hours of darkness once again and spring is definitely with us. On a walk to Jellyfields Nature Reserve in Lower Walditch a few days ago I noticed that all of a sudden we have snowdrops, daffodils, celandines, primroses and other blooms bursting forth.
BRIDPORT GARDENING CLUB – Spring Show
Bridport Gardening Club’s Spring Show held last Saturday in the United Reform Church hall was a great showcase for the town’s growers and makers. The fact that show was a little earlier this year than in previous years combined with the cold winter we have had may have been a challenge for the growers. It meant that the number of entries was slightly down but that was more than compensated for by the quality of entries submitted.
For me the highlights on the horticulture benches were some stunning daffodils, beautiful hellebores and an amaryllis in absolutely peak condition.
The growers benches may have been less full than in previous years but this was more than made up for on the maker’s bench which was packed with a beautiful range of home made marmalade, jams, chutney and preserves, plus some excellent bread and cakes. I took the plunge this year and entered a few things I had made and was stunned to win the marmalade and bread categories. If I can do it anyone can, so have a go and surprise yourself like I did.
Some Very Happy Trophy Winners
The photography and craft sections were both blessed with some highly creative entries. Some of the close up images of insects were stunning and the Bridport doors category gave viewers an interesting perspective of places the pass by regularly but in all probability never notice
The list of classes for the Harvest Show can be viewed and downloaded HERE. Why not check it out and see what you can grow or make to enter between now and then?
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING 2023
All Town Councils throughout England are required, by law, to hold an Annual Town or Parish Meeting, which must take place between 1 March and 1 June every year. The 2023 Bridport Annual Town Meeting was held on Tuesday 21st March.
The purpose of the meeting is enable the Town Council to explain what they have been doing over the past year. It also enables the electors in the parish of Bridport to have their say on anything they consider is important to the people of the Town. Other local organisations that have recieved funding support from the Town Council are also be invited to send a representative to speak about the work of their organisation.
On the night those present were able to hear reports from the Leader of the Council, Dave Rickard and myself and watch a video record of the past year produced by Town Clerk, Will Austin.
It turned out to be quite a long meeting – almost two hours. However, it was great to hear from such a wide variety of local organisations, 18 in all, about how the financial support from the Town Council generates so much positive community activity in Bridport and West Bay.
On Wednesday evening I was one the fortunate few in St Swithun’s Church to see a performance of Noye’s Fludde staged by Symondsbury C of E Primary School.
Noye’s Fludde is a one-act opera by the British composer Benjamin Britten, intended primarily for amateur performers, particularly children. First performed on 18 June 1958 at that year’s Aldeburgh Festival, it is based on the 15th-century Chester “mystery” or “miracle” play which recounts the Old Testament story of Noah’s Ark. Britten specified that the opera should be staged in churches or large halls, not in a theatre.
I have seen Noye’s Fludde performed several times and was once even involved in the design of the set. The performance on Wednesday evening was undoubtedly the best I have seen.
Originally scheduled to take place in 2020 the production was the brainchild of Ruth Wakefield and Matthew Kingston, whose recent choral album, Requiem, was chosen as Classic FM’s Album of the Week.
On the night conductor Matthew was joined by professional singers Andrew Thompson and Martha McLorinan who performed the parts of Mr and Mrs Noye, and David Alcock as God.
Noah’s children and the animals including the raven and dove were performed brilliantly by children from Symondsbury school. I was particularly taken by the animal faces that adorned the children’s heads. A group of ‘Gossips’ of varying ages plus members of the Broadoak choir made up the remainder of the singing ensemble. The music was provided by a string quintet, descant and treble recorders, bugles, organ, piano and percussion.
Whilst the storm raged some of the youngest children at Symondsbury school performed a dramatic dance that included to rippling of blue fabric to simulate the raging firmament. When the storm finally abated a rainbow dramatically appeared over the audience.
All in all it was a true community production and incredible opportunity for the children. The school took every opportunity to involve the children in the creation of props and costumes, and other performers and back-stage volunteers offered their time for free.
The end result was an absolutely spellbinding performance that will certainly live long in my memory.
DEAD TREE STUMP REMOVAL
On Wednesday morning I joined some of the Community Orchard volunteers to remove the stump of an very old elder tree that has sadly come to the end of its life. Dead branches and rot at its core meant that it needed to be removed. But that was easier said than done as anyone who has tried to dig out a tree stump will be able to attest to.
After much digging and severing of roots we finally managed to undercut the stump sufficiently to rock it and expose even more thick roots which needed to be severed. Eventually it was free and now the challenge was to remove it from the deep hole and move it to the side of the orchard. With the aid of ropes and a truck we were ably to drag it out. Then using fence posts as rollers were able to move it across the orchard with minimal damage to the grass.
In place of the elder a Kentish Cob has been planted to replace it adding to the range of trees in the orchard.
Bridport Community Orchard Group will, once again, be celebrating the coming of spring with ‘Mayfest’ on Sunday the 30th April 2023 from 12 – 3 pm the St Mary’s Church Field orchard, in the heart of Bridport.
Alongside the traditional celebrations with the crowning of the May Queen and Jack-in-the-Green, there will be refreshments, games, a range of music, dancing, storytelling and other entertainment (and some lovely sheep to set the scene).
The event will begin at around 11:30with Town Crier, John Collingwood gathering people in Bucky Doo Square from where they will proceed to the orchard where the festivities take place.
Throughout the afternoon there is a busy programme for you to experience the traditions of early May and enjoy the orchard in blossom. Bring a picnic, or enjoy hot and cold drinks and cakes for donations and Dorset Nectar cider for sale …. Please bring your ‘keep cups’ if you can, as we are wanting to minimise the use of single use plastic disposables!
Everyone is welcome and there will also be lots of activities for you and your families to engage with including making masks, garlands and spring wands, seed bomb making and a ‘tree’ treasure hunt
For details and updates before the event click HERE.
If you need a spot of cheer in this unsettled weather, pop down to the Borough Gardens (off Gundry Lane) in between showers where the daffodils are having their best year ever. The baking the bulbs received last summer, which they need but don’t always get, has produced a really jolly display.
You can also enjoy the primroses and pulmonarias whose flowers are providing welcome nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators venturing out this spring.
I encourage you to take a stroll round the gardens or find a seat in the sun (hopefully) to enjoy a quiet spot only yards from our busy town centre.
On behalf of everyone who enjoys visiting and spending time in Borough Gardens I would like to thank the volunteers for all their hard work throughout the year in maintaining the much valued green space.
AND FINALLY – From Street to Sea 5
Bridport’s next mass litter pick ‘From Street to Sea’ is scheduled to take place on the morning of Monday 8th May. This year’s spring mass litter pick initiative is linked to The Big Help Out which forms part of the King’s coronation weekend, when people across the nation are encouraged to either lend a helping hand or arrange another opportunity to volunteer their time or skills.
More details will be included in my next blog. In the meantime add the date to your diary and let me know where the litter collectors need to focus their pickers.