Monday, 13 February 2017

When the North Wind doth blow - will we get snow?

The temperature has dropped this week and with a cold wind blowing and the sight of a few flakes of snow that old Mother Goose nursery rhyme came into my head! 

When the North wind doth blow we shall have snow
 And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

It has been a relief  to see frozen fields in the morning and to venture back into the fields. Heavy rain has made the going difficult in places and our dog doesn't stay very white for long! We met a black dog the other day and the owner remarked that has disadvantages too as their dog gets too hot during the summer!

Despite the early sunshine the waves have been larger and look so cold!

 I captured this misty view on one of the many hills that surround the town. Bridport was described in 1792 as a clean well built town, situated in the midst of a number of small mountains, these are more like hills to me!

My husband had his hernia operation this week, I took him in at 8.30 am then took Tavi for a walk, did some food shopping and had just sat down to a coffee back home when the hospital phoned to ask me to pick him up! That is such in contrast to when my husband's dad had it done many years ago and was in hospital 2 weeks! Hubby is recovering well and can't wait to join us on dog walks again, we can't believe that it is over 10 weeks since he could join us in the fields.

Thank you for the lovely comments you left last week. it was good to see that so many of you were interested in visiting small local museums and also were interested about the rope industry.

Wishing you a warmer week!
Sarah x

Monday, 6 February 2017

The home of rope

Rope has been produced in Bridport for the last 800 years. Back as far as 1213 King John exhorted the people of Bridport to make ' night and day as many ropes for ships both large and and as many cables as you can.' The raw material came from the surrounding area, hemp was grown in the sheltered valleys and flax was grown on the slopes. 

South street with long gardens behind,

If you look carefully you will see evidence of the rope making industry all around Bridport.  Many of the buildings fronting the main street have a long strip of land behind where the workers would walk up and down. At the far end of these rope walks was a turn house where a jack was hoisted to twist the thread.  

A  summer picture showing one of the factories
The craft of making rope and nets could employ the whole family and neighbouring villages around here would specialise in different sizes of net required to catch different varieties of fish.  Many of the older generation in the town or surrounding villages still remember net making being carried out at home, and there are still a few outworkers even now. 

In the 18th century the quality of Bridport lines and nets was well known throughout the world. One of the biggest exports was for the Newfoundland fishing industry. I have been recently reading Rudyard Kipling's book Captain Courageous, although it is a children's book it gives a good description of  the fishermen and fishing fleet off the Grand Banks at that time.

 In 1858 there were 14 distinctive firms manufacturing nets, cordage and canvas in Bridport.  It is quite surprising that the town still has a similar number of firms that involved in the rope making industry!

Out workers net braiding via
Growing hemp stopped in the late 19th century and following the Second World War the use of natural materials in rope started to decline as synthetic material was introduced. The synthetic material was stronger and lasted longer, although the fishing industry continued to use rope as they couldn't afford to pay the higher prices for the new materials.   

 This carving above illustrates the main uses of Bridport rope, net and twine from fishing and ship ropes and cables. tennis nets including those at Wimbledon, football goal nets (1966 World Cup), cricket nets, skipping ropes, gardening, camouflage, used in the aviation industry for cargo pallets net, carrying large loads by helicopter. A more gruesome use of the rope Bridport produced was for the hangman's noose and was often called "The Bridport Dagger."

Our local museum is currently closed and is being renovated thanks to National Lottery Money. It's biggest display will be the story of rope making in the town, in a new imaginative way. I have in a very small way as a volunteer been involved in this project over the last year.  You really don't appreciate how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to empty, redesign and reopen a museum! Hopefully it will open at the end of May and I am sure to feature it again then.

The outside of the building at the moment.
Thank you for your comments and visits,until next time.
Sarah x

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Through the garden gate in January 2017

 Although January can be a desolate month in the garden and is the month when I spend the shortest time out in it, there are still some highlights to see, if you look close enough.

   The first snowdrop in flower was a welcome sight.

 I have planned to take images from the same point each month during the year so that I can clearly see the changes. The old dustbin in the right hand corner, doesn't look very attractive but I have been using it as a planting container. It is currently full of 'Seagull' daffodils a variety that I haven't grown before. The dustbin has been in our family since the 1960's so I was loath to part with it! Have you got any unusual plant containers in your garden?

Despite not being in the garden we have still attended a 'Potato Day' and bought some onion sets, potatoes and garlic bulbs. I learnt how to do apple pruning properly and  we attended the annual "Wassailing" celebrations at the local community orchard. We have also been buying seeds although it still seems a long way off until the weather will be warm enough to sow them!

I am always tempted to buy spring flowers at this time of year to brighten up inside. Have you seen anything to brighten your days this month?

It is always wonderful to see other gardens and watch their development during the year. If you want to join in with Through the garden gate each month please let me know in the comments below and I will add your site. Those participating this month are :-

Wishing you best wishes for what is left of this week!
Sarah x

Sunday, 22 January 2017

January skies

You may have thought I had hibernated without managing a post last week, instead it has been the opposite with so much going on! 

January is such a good month to snuggle up indoors in the warm especially when it is grey and cold outside and think of those green spring days. Green has been very much in my mind lately as I'm organising a fortnight in the Spring to raise environmental awareness. With reports this week that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and the average westerners carbon emissions destroying 30 square meters of Arctic ice each year, Governments and all of us need to do more to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our home faces east and we always get an advanced warning if we will get a good sunrise. As I drew the blinds the other morning the orange glow tempted Tavi and I to forgo breakfast and head to Burton Bradstock for a walk along the beach.

It was cold but such a beautiful morning and we weren't the only ones to appreciate it.

I am definitely a morning person, are you better first thing in the morning or later in the day?

On other days despite some sunshine there has almost been a grey tinge to the view!

The NHS has been in the headlines over the last couple of weeks. Has anyone been watching The Hospital on BBC 2?  The way the NHS will deliver services in the future is out for public consultation. If you care about the services in your area I do urge you to have a look at the proposals and let them know what you think. Thank you so much for the best wishes for my husband he does now have a date in early February for his operation, we are counting the days and keeping our fingers crossed that it goes ahead.

Wishing you a good week, next time I promise I won't be on my soap box!


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