On Dorset X (of XIII)

Giant chalk figure

With manhood on full display

Fertile is the land


n.b. Harvest time arrives, barley ready and wheat ripening in the fields; gardens with figs, apples in the orchards and pears espalliered on south-facing walls; tomatoes forming from flowers, grapes on vines and an abundance of herbs and edible flowers; vegetables pushing through the soil; hazel nuts in abundance, but still green and sweet chestnuts swelling their prickly cases. Dorset is a veritable garden of England, beautiful and bountiful.

However, the latest population statistics show that the resident population of the county is falling. The age group 0-15 years makes up just 16.5% of the Dorset population (England & Wales is 19.1%). 24.8% of the Dorset population is over 65 years (England & Wales is 18.2%). The virility of the Cerne Giant seems to have long peaked. Perhaps the beer has affected him.

n.n.b. When you arrive by foot at Giant Hill you are advised that the best view of this chalk figure etched into the downland is obtained from a car lay-by to the north of the village of Cerne Abbas. 🙄

CLP 20/07/2019


On Dorset IX (of XIII)

Roughly hewn stone quay

Cut through cliff on gullied path

Rum run, duty free


n.b. The coastline of Dorset, its back lanes and ancient tracks marking routes to pre-Roman settlements, avoiding the old toll roads of the King’s Highways were busy with smuggling as decommissioned soldiers and sailors sought ways to make a living after wars with Spain and later France.

Will we see a return to large-scale smuggling from Europe when the UK leaves its nearest and most valuable trading bloc partner? The Royal Navy has much to do and few resources to hand. We will see how free enterprise evolves with a depleted police service and small scale navy to enforce regulations and tarrifs.

Watch this space, or rather watch these spaces; voids left to be filled by Austerity and Brexit. Meanwhile if you want to save money on your income, hide ill-gotten gains, the UK and its islands (Isle of Man, Cayman Isles, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, even Gibraltar) are open for business. Welcome aboard!

CLP 20/07/2019

On Dorset VIII (of XIII)

Nothing is fake here

All genuine cover bands

Just not The Real Thing


(Dedicated to Seán & Steve)

n.b. “Dorset, Home of the Jurrasic Coast” indeed, but I can’t think of one rock band to have been produced in the county, although Greg Lake, a founder member of King Crimson and then “Super Group”, Emerson, Lake & Palmer was born in Poole. ELP were hugely popular…and then along came punk rock and ELP were consigned to the Dinosaurs of Rock genre.

n.n.b. Please excuse my reference to The Real Thing. This soul band are from Liverpool and continue touring as of July 2019. Great fun (for those not too deeply embedded in specific musical genres).

n.n.n.b. The pictured posters were plastered across billboards at Weymouth Pavilion.

CLP 18/07/2019

On Dorset VII (of XIII)

Splish, splash barefoot, free

Along the bay, warm air and sea

Leave it all behind


n.b. Beaches of Dorset tend to be composed of shingle, unless on the leeward of a bay, or cove. The longshore drift carries the shingle beyond Weymouth Bay, leaving the east-facing shoreline sandy and shallow. It is sheltered from the course of tidal forces coming up the English Channel and prevailing south-westerlies by Portland Bill, leaving it a perfect setting for family days out at the seaside.


CLP 16/07/2019

On Dorset VI (of XIII)

Small fry are the prey

Little ponds trawled by big fish

We’re prawns in their game

n.b. Fishing is as much part of Dorset as agriculture. It is a most complex industry based on the premise that the seas are for man to perpetually harvest. The idea that no input is required, so just pull the fish in, is false. In fishery it is plain to see that unregulated competition is a bad thing. Un-restrained, the profit motive destroys life itself; consumes the very essence of the business itself; lays bare the contradictions in capitalism and free competition.

The little boats trying to scrape a living are pushed to the margins, whilst fish stocks still tumble and profits for the big boys rise. Issuing regulations on a global, European, or national basis does not mean controls are implemented, enforceable, or practical; there are too many holes for the selfish to slip through – shame the same does not apply to the fish themselves.

Revealed: the millionaires hoarding UK fishing rights

Privatising the seas: how the UK turned fishing rights into a commodity

CLP 17/07/2019

On Dorset V (of XIII)

Spirit of revolt

Now just anarchist cartoons

Sprayed in seaside town

n.b. The graffiti reads

“…you won’t fool the children of revolution” This is a chorus line from a song by Marc Bolan, who sang in his band T Rex.

Dorset is the home of organised labour in the United Kingdom. Each July the Tolpuddle Martyrs are remembered during a festival that centres on the sycamore tree under which local farm workers met to discuss how to organise themselves to challenge the exploitative nature of their employers.

Landworkers’ rights in 1834 were still based on the feudal system that had been in place in Wessex under Saxon lords, before the viscious Norman invasion of 1066 CE.

In the early 19th Century many West Country workers were heading for the newly established industrial towns of the West Midlands that offered year round employment. Seasonal work on the land with accommodation commonly provided on a tied basis was tough to break out from and machinery was being introduced that replaced workers and increased profits. Wages for farm workers were being cut year on year.

Those workers who stayed on the land had been pushed to the point of desperation by landowners. Punishments for dissent were harsh and included the threat of execution.

The landed people of Dorsetshire, with its landlords holding sway, setting the laws as Members of Parliament (only landowners voted) and enforcing laws in the courts as voluntary magistrates, (an unpaid position open to local men of status), were not willing to accept challenge.

The tone of landowners was set in part by King William VI who had spoken against the abolition of slavery in the House of Lords, with the argument that enslaved people of the Caribbean islands lived in better conditions than free Scotsmen and women of the Western Isles, i.e. vassalage was for the greater good.

Fear of revolt by the common people following years of conflict with revolutionary France (from 1789 and officially from 1793) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803 to 1815) and the 1830 Swing Rebellion (in which threshing machines had been trashed by farmworkers and attacks had been made on landlords in Kent and throughout East Anglia), meant the southern counties were heavily mlitarised.

The Royal Navy had a base in Portland, the army had a large garrison in the county town of Dorchester. The Revenue men patrolled the coastlines to try and combat smuggling to try and enforce tarrifs on imported alcohol and other luxuries. Over 1,200 items were placed under tarrifs at this time.

Any hint of the mass of population organising to ask for “more” of the little they were allowed, (as Oliver Twist would dare do in Charles Dickens’ novel of 1837), was quickly jumped on and severly punished. At Tolpuddle the putative Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers were rounded up and transported to Australia. They were discussing what to do following a third pay cut in three years.

Following uproar at the severity of this punishment, a pardon was granted in 1837 and the men eventually returned home in 1839. There had been a petition of 800,000 signatures and a protest march in London. Donations sustained the bereft families, whilst the sentence of penal servitude (slavery) was imposed on the men. By trying to squash these voices, the people rose up.

This is far removed from a pathetic bit of spray paint on a wall in the seaside resort of Weymouth in post-Thatcher England, but good to see that the idea of revolution is not yet dead, (although of course Brexiteers pretend that they are revolting against European oppression, whilst voting for Christmas like chlorinated turkeys).

CLP 16/07/2019

On Dorset IV (of XIII)

Weymouth remembers

Men and boys called from afar

Pawns of the Empire


n.b. From Suvla Bay, beneath the heights of Gallipoli, (Çanakkale “Beautiful City”) to the shelter of Weymouth Bay and the green of Dorset, where hospital treatment was provided after the slaughter in Turkey.

Even today to mention Gallipoli to an Australian friend invokes near tearful anger at the deceitful lies of the British; lies perpetuated to recruit Australians to the Empire’s cause in the war between the countries of Europe.

And still Australia has a Governor who represents the English monarch, Australia’s head of state.

n.n.b. The English royal family was re-branded as Mountbatten-Windsor from Sax-Coburg-Gotha in 1917 to avoid being noticed as cousins of the German, Kaiser Bill – and still the English sing ‘God Save the (monarch)’ as if a) there is a god and b) a need for royalty.


CLP 15/07/2019