Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tolpuddle Revived

Potted History

In the 1830s life in villages like Tolpuddle was hard and getting worse. Farm workers could not bear yet more cuts to their pay. Some fought back by smashing the new threshing machines but this brought harsh punishments.

In 1834, farmworkers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. A massive protest swept across the country. Thousands of people marched through London and many more organised petitions and protest meetings to demand their freedom.

The TolpuddleMartyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism.

Every year, in the fields of Tolpuddle, a great Fest is held to commemorate the Tolpuddle workers and culminates in a grand march through the village with hundreds of colouful union, political and voluntary org. banners flying in the wind.


This has been our trip into nostalgia but totally revitalised this year - mainly due to the Corbyn effect. The banner parade through the village was near a mile long with hundreds of colourful banners and the reception Jeremy got from the gathered masses would have been befitting a pop star :) The music was excellent, the food much and varied the stalls global and the speeches rousing - just like old times :))


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Out & About on the Somerset Levels

What a glorious weekend, wall to wall sunshine all the way :) Great weekend to take Rascal for an outing.

We set up camp near Muchelney. On Saturday the National Trust house and gardens were open, for an NGS charity day, at Barrington Court. It caught our eye as it’s a fairly manageable cycle ride along route 339 from our camp site, looping round East Lambrook and Shepton Beauchamp to Barrington.

Colonel Lyle, whose family firm became part of Tate & Lyle, rescued the partially derelict 16th-century Court House in the 1920s. A keen collector of architectural salvage, Lyle filled the house with a collection of oak panelling, fireplaces and staircases. 


The walled White Garden, Rose and Iris Garden and Lily Garden were influenced by Gertrude Jekyll, with playing fountains, vibrant colours and intoxicating scents. The original kitchen garden supplies the restaurant continuing a philosophy of self-sufficiency.

We also walked the River Parrett Trail from near the camp site to Langport. Much of the trail beyond the pumping station to near Muchelney is open, quiet and mainly only cows for company 

Muchelney Abbey

kettled by cows!

Muchelney Abbey, a landmark in the Somerset Levels, lies two miles south of Langport. It was once a wealthy Benedictine house and the second oldest religious foundation in Somerset, but as part of the dissolution the abbey’s principal buildings were demolished by Henry VIII in 1538 but parts of interest still remain.
The stretch from here to Langport becomes increasingly popular. The purpose of going to Langport was to walk the The Battle of Langport way. The Battle of Langport was a Parliamentarian victory late in the First English Civil War which destroyed the last Royalist field army and gave Parliament control of the West of England.

Back to the camp site for a well earned rest and a pint!

oooohhhhhhh :)

On the way back we looped through Brent Knoll to visit the open gardens there. The distinctive hill of Brent Knoll is the site of an iron age hill fort and a C13 church.

Parking was on the slope at Ball Copse Hall, a south facing Edwardian house on lower edge of Knoll. The garden contains a Ha-ha, wild area and kitchen garden with views to Quantock and Polden Hills. There is also a flock of Soay sheep and a working beehive. 


Mid village is situated Woodbine Farm, a quintessential English garden with many very old, established climbers in old walled gardens including roses, wisteria and clematis and a large herbaceous border. This cottage garden also contains hydrangeas, fruit and herbs and a Paddock with huge lavender beds. 


At the far end of the village lies Laburnum Cottage a ½ acre garden developed over 15 yrs with over 100 varieties of hemerocallis (day lilies) and large, sweeping borders with mixed plantings of shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Blockley Gardens

There were 9 gardens, some quite substantial, open to the public fro the National Garden Scheme last Sunday.

As well as a selection of properties, old and new, in this Cotswold Conservation area

There was colour in profusion amongst the gardens

and birds of a feather :)

Garden and woodland walks - including to the neighbouring village of Draycott, green and enjoyable, on this cloudy but largely dry day.


The church proved the last resting place for the early Spencer-Churchills

There were also a fair sprinkling of oddities (including a real torpedo in the mill pond but the pic didn’t show it up :-/ 

Now that’s what we call tea n cake :-p