MIAM

MIAM

Friday, 27 January 2017

Far from the Madding Crowd...

...in a county that bears villages named Piddlehinton, Shitterton and Scratchy Bottom, two old friends met for a long weekend and a very overdue catch up. 
 UK readers will know that it's Dorset I visited, more specifically the county town Dorchester, as it was a convenient spot to meet my friend V,  halfway between her home in Cornwall and mine in Sussex.



We stayed conveniently in the town centre and after non-stop chat over pizza and wine on our first night, we awoke eager to explore Dorchester.  First stop was a charity shop...(where else?) but we found nothing to tempt us and keen to get out of the Baltic like temperatures we headed for the museum.


 Dorset County Museum was established in 1845 to collect and preserve historic objects which were under threat of destruction by the building of the railways and until the late 1870's the artefacts were housed in ordinary dwellings.  At this time, collections had grown so large that it was decided to construct a purpose-designed building and the Dorchester museum opened in 1884.

 The galleried Victorian Hall displays paintings, sculpture, archaeological finds and many items of local historical interest, the floor covered at one time by these wonderful mosaics, bears only a few left in tact.




Of course, one cannot mention Dorchester without thinking of  the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy who was born, raised in and inspired by Dorset.  Hardy captured in fiction the everyday lives of common folk and the land they inhabited and in 1910 he was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V for services to literature.  

The front cover of a weekly publication which serialised Hardy's latest writings.


A replica of the Dorset Ooser which featured in 19th century local folk culture and was used to sometimes scare people for practical jokes.  However, it's main recorded purpose was to humiliate those who were deemed to have behaved in an immoral way!



After a couple of hours in the perishing cold museum we sought refuge in the nearest coffee shop and after a restorative flat white we headed back to the hotel and later enjoyed a pub meal and yet more wine and chat.



Sunday saw blue skies and after breakfast we headed to a well known market just across from our hotel.
On the way we passed through Brewery Square, a newly regenerated area where once the brewery Eldridge Pope was located.  The old brewery buildings are now being revamped into an arts facility, this redevelopment is still ongoing but the square with it's newly appointed fountains and sculpture is still a very attractive place to sit, eat and people-watch. 




We soon discovered that the 'market' was mainly a car boot sale but no matter, we enjoyed poking around the stalls and chatting to the stall holders.  It was bitterly cold again that day and buyers were fairly thin on the ground.


I bought a couple of The Observer's reference books from this seller for 50p each.  These seem to be quite collectable now, I've seen them in chazzas and junk shops for a fiver.








We had a brilliant, albeit very cold weekend in Dorchester and it was so lovely to see my friend again after five long years, the only thing to slightly marr it, was the arrival yesterday of a speeding ticket from the Dorset Police!  £100 fine and three points on my licence. Bugger.

Hope your luck this week has been better?
  

22 comments:

  1. Ooh dear that was a nasty sting in the tail of your lovely weekend. Dorchester looks like a great place to visit and I love the architecture of the museum.

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  2. What a fun post. I love the old cover of Thomas Hardy, nice museum too. And what peculiar village names! Enjoy your weekend!

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  3. I knew those villages were in Dorset too (in fact, I live in one of three villages which are Flemish equivalents of those in Dorset ...). The museum looks quite interesting, what a pity it was so cold. I would have loved a browse at that market, and especially those bookshelves. Oh, but then I read the end of your post. Bugger indeed! xxx

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    1. What is the English translation of your village's name Ann?

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    2. Haha, Fiona! The village is called "Kontich" and the word "kont" is a not-so-very-nice word for one's backside ;-)

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  4. Ouch at that speeding ticket!! Dorchester looks very interesting, what a gorgeous museum building! I'd be thrilled to find the market was a car boot, not enough of them round here.

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  5. Fiona, there is nothing worse than a speeding ticket. Commiserations.

    At least you had a fab weekend with your friend.

    Dorchester looks brilliant; such a shame it was so cold and I'm astonished you visited only one charity shop! I'm in Devon at the moment and over two days my friend and I have visited at least 20!

    I love those Observer books and have a few too that I picked up cheaply - at a car boot sale as well.

    Have a great week.

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    1. Yes Vronni, I'm so peed off! They've offered me a speeding awareness course but I think I might have to do it in Dorset. Need to investigate further.

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  6. Thanks for taking me on tour with you, I loved every photo and accompany story. How did you resist the urge not to take home that old bike? So cool.

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  7. Looks lovely. I've never been to Dorchester, but my in-laws lived in Somerset. It's very pretty in those parts, and as you said, the names are so poetic - Rime Intrinsica, Toller Porcorum, Piddletrenthide. No wonder the area inspired Hardy (although he did have a rather dark view of things).

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  8. Shame about the blinking speeding ticket! But the rest sounds lovely. Not a place I know at all, and do like the idea of meeting up and exploring somewhere new. Great car boot finds too and love the pic of the rows of books. So good meeting up with old friends, no matter how long it's been - recently had lunch with a university pal I haven't seen for over a decade and the years just fell away xx

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    1. Yes it was a great weekend, non-stop natter!

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  9. The city looks lovely and has interesting places to visit. No doubt you and your friend enjoyed it.
    You surely will keep nice memories of the journey...despite the fine!!!

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    1. Thank you Dan, we both enjoyed it despite the cold.

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  10. Bet you got caught on that dual carriageway bit of the A35 just outside Dorchester? It's well known for it, both Ashley and I have been caught there. Very annoying. Enjoyed reading about your trip x

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  11. How annoying to end a lovely weekend like that. English market towns are such lovely places to visit aren't they, glad you had a nice trip!

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  12. Seems like the perfect weekend to me (minus the ticket, of course). Love that photo of the pocketbooks with my beloved Heyer.
    Amalia
    xo

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  13. Dorchester looks ace! Shame about the speeding ticket, the bastard cold and the lack of charity shop action but quality time with a friend, great scenery and fab architecture more than made up for it.
    I was obsessed with Thomas Hardy as a teenager. I might suggest we give the new campervan a run down there in the Summer.
    The sign warning about transportation sends a shiver down my spine. Scary stuff. xxx
    PS One of my regular customers comes from a town in California called Rough and Ready. I thought she was having me on but it really does exist!

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    1. Yes I'd recommend it, but watch out for speed cameras! Rough and Ready sounds like something you'd buy from Ann Summers! xx

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  14. I have heard of Crinkly Bottom, but Scratchy Bottom is a new one for me :-D

    The museum looks so pretty.

    Stopping by from Kezzie's blog.

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  15. What fun to see these photos! There are so many places in England that I love, although I've never been to Dorset. How can there be so many fascinating places in such a small country!!

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  16. It looks a wonderful place, esp the museum! That floor is dreamy!
    I had to do a double take at that book shelf as I think I have owned virtually all the books on that shelf in those editions!!!!!x
    Nooooo, to the speeding fine!

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