Sailing my Paradox and country living

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Castle Rings

I try to get to a different spot sometimes for my walk as it’s nice to have some variety.and we have lots of choices for walking around this district.. I favour wooded areas, they give shade from the sun and we’re not likely to meet up with any sheep – which is a consideration when walking with dogs..

This morning me and my Assistant together with our neighbour’s dog went for a ramble in the woods near an Iron Age hill fort which is near here .


Lots to catch my eye there. Some lovely trees

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I did wonder why this one has this large carbuncle attached. Intriguing.

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And this has lost a huge branch fairly recently

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the big part that came off is now lying on the ground.

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No sign of damage from lightening, so presumably the consequence of a recent gale.

The prehistoric earthwork double rings are overgrown with large mature trees but still impressive. Mostly about 25/30 feet from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the ramparts.

They must have been higher when constructed but still more than enough remaining to give an impression of what it must been like all those thousands of years ago.

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Some more recent earthworks were  evident too To think that wild animals have been burrowing under the ramparts for all those years and yet  it still survives mainly intact.

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The interior area within the double ring system is now pasture land . The iron age village long gone.

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The ditch between the ramparts is very overgrown in places

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Sadly, wherever there’s a public path which is near a road, someone tips some rubbish. I really can’t understand why people are so disgusting. There’s an official tipping place a couple of miles away where householders can get rid of their rubbish for free.

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It must be admitted that some rubbish is more interesting

I came across this dump of old agricultural implements a few yards further in along the path

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Some detail. Made in Canada. So this item was imported to the UK all that time ago which surprises me. Looks like a simple bit of old time farm equipment which a major manufacturing nation – as we used to be  – would have no trouble making. Perhaps it came here during the Second World War when industry was fully extended producing arms and ammunition and much was imported from the New World.

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The machines all look to me as they were originally horse drawn and have been converted locally for towing with a tractor by someone adding a simple angle iron drawbar.

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An interesting find for me, as I’m fascinated by old agricultural whatnots and I would guess that these are fairly old. I reckon  the horse that pulled them, back in the day, must have died at least sixty years  ago.

So it’s nice to see old rubbish but I dislike the new…..



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Oh Dear

resized_apr 15 I visit the boat most days, enjoying myself fiddling around with the the bits and pieces within, listening to the wireless (BBC R4)  and admit to sometimes having a short afternoon snooze while hiding on board. I’ve occasionally   done  some practise with  my yuloh  strokes, and as the boat is in a large shed,  away from the public gaze,  no one can  see what I’m up to, see just how barmy I am , and arrange to have me sectioned. Today, I’d just topped up the charge in the on board battery and  I thought that it would be a good thing to plug the Tiller Pilot in to give it a little exercise. ( I work on the principle that all machinery has to used and exercised now and again, or else it will seize up and become useless). So had plugged it in and was pressing the button to motor the plunger in and out when after a few seconds it died. The plunger stopped moving and the only action was a whirring noise from the  electric motor within. I’ve not taken it apart to see what’s gone wrong as it’s still inside the makers guarantee period  , but would guess that the motor has become disconnected from the drive mechanism:-.  the rubber belt has fallen off or broken, or the drive pinion has come loose from the motor armature. Very disappointing. I bought this Simrad Tiller Pilot in August last year and have only used  it for a total of a few hours during my trip in September  last year,. now kaput. So I phoned the place where I bought it and was told if I bring it to them tomorrow, they’ll sort the problem for me. So hopefully it will be repaired eventually at no cost to me and returned in working order. There’s no rush from my point of view as I can’t go off sailing anyway, since  Maggie is too poorly to leave at home on her own.. But the central problem is that I’ve now lost confidence in the reliability of this device. I was hoping that one day, when I’m able to get sailing again, I could go for a few longer trips and use the Simrad to take the brunt of the helming duties. Now I have more doubts about that approach.

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Election fever

I delivered some more leaflets to houses in Shaftesbury this afternoon for the North Dorset Green Party’s  election campaign.  Only 100 this time as they only have a few leaflets left out of the many thousands that were printed, so the job didn’t take me  very long. As they’re a small political party every penny counts and they couldn’t afford to get as many leaflets printed as they really wanted. I didn’t take my assistant with me, she’s dreadful at walking on a lead and likely to leave an unwelcome calling card on someone’s door step.

I did point out to the local organiser that putting out leaflets door to door isn’t actually very green since they nearly all get binned, but as she responded,  there’s few other ways to bring the party to the electorate…..

I’m quite excited by the forthcoming General Election. Although here in North Dorset is a safe Conservative seat and the Tory candidate is sure to be elected in this constituency  (around here they’d vote for a donkey so long as it had a blue rosette), nationally the outcome is far from certain and no one is sure what will happen  this time.

The election battle is really fought in the 100 or so marginal constituencies  and not in the shires like here. So I’m almost disenfranchised by the first past the post system, but think it still worth making an effort to vote for those who’s policies most nearly align with my own views . This time there are more small parties to vote for and it should be possible for everyone to find a party to suit their views.

The Greens can’t possibly win but may get enough votes here to enable them to keep their  deposit intact.and become stronger for the next time, in 2020. Perhaps one day we’ll get proportional representation. so that everyone’s vote will count.

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My leaflets bag. Not exactly bulging.

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A leaflet. Vote Barrington!



Makes a change from mud

The walking around the Blackmore Vale – where I live – is very muddy and soft due to the waterlogged clay soil here, although it has dried out slightly in the recent spring sunshine.

So for a change today, I walked along some of the old Drove Road which runs high up along the chalk ridge going towards Salisbury. This is an ancient trackway which has been in use since prehistoric times.

In the days before proper roads, the tracks in the soggy lowlands became impassable in the winter wet and the free draining chalk soil on top of the ridge was the only passable terrain for driving cattle from place to place.

I took our own dog – my assistant  – and a neighbour’s dog along too.

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Nice to walk on the dry chalk track without all the mud that I’m so used to.

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Although the track was rough in a few places. Easy for me to avoid the puddles by going on the grass at the side. But the dogs just  enjoy a dip in the water. The Golden Lab sitting in the puddle is my neighbour’s and is even keener to get wet than my own dog.

My assistant enjoys a paddle in the puddles but the other one likes to go in deep. Very deep if there’s enough water. She’ll get immersed  if she can,  so all that can be seen is a stream of bubbles coming up through the muddy water..

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I think that this house belongs to Guy Ritchie the film director, but I’m not sure.

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looking north

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my boots – no mud, ha

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It’s not all open vistas although there aren’t many areas with trees around there.

Eventually arrived back to where we’d left the car at Win Green. (National Trust)

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It was a nice walk where I don’t normally go. The dogs enjoyed it too although Milli  – the neighbours dog  – was so so worn out when we got back to the car, that she needed to be helped to scramble in.

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My grandson, Lewis, has a little boat of his own

which is brilliant. It’s a Topper dinghy and is kept at a lake just south of Yeovil where there’s regular racing

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The Topper rigged ready to launch

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One Sunday In March I drove him over to the lake – which also serves as a reservoir – so he could show me his boat  and have a sail – the first one this year.

Sadly, there was hardly any wind and so the ‘sailing’ turned out to be more of a slow drift. But that’s Ok for a first trip this season when young sailors are a bit rusty .

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The facilities include rescue boats and the there’s a pleasant clubhouse with a galley and the usual bogs and showers.

Nice just sitting in the sunshine  looking out over the lake and watching the boats slowly drift along in the light airs.

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How do they stay so white

while swimming in such dirty water?


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They always visit while I’m in the Newtown Estuary because they’re on the scrounge for food – I reckon that more than a few sailors give them leftover bits, so they get used to being fed from yachts.  IIf you don’t feed them they get upset and belligerent, hissing and flapping their wings to show their displeasure. My little boat is so low that they can tap on the windows with their beaks and almost reach in through the sliding hatch.  They’re big and fierce and intimidating when they try that.  Shouting at them has little effect , but If I shut the hatch and lie down out of their sight,  they soon give up scrounging and clear off to have a go at another boat. I’ve heard that they all belong to the Queen and if that’s so, it’s about time  that she gave them some training and discipline  Get to it please Ma’am

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This shows a little of how mucky the water is there. Note the weed collecting on the anchor rode. If you just leave it for a few hours loads of weed collects so that when you eventually haul the anchor  in there is as much weight of weed as there is weight of anchor to sort out.

If there’s a some wind I tie the halyard and topping lift away from the mast – as you see,  to get a quieter night.