In Dorset XIII (of XIII)

Here lie Five Marys

Or maybe more, who’s counting?

Geiger at Winfrith.


n.b. In this county, with its low density population and history of domestic military manoevres, a nuclear reseach centre was developed in 1960 by force of law enacted in the Winfrith Heath Act (1957). Once the development programme for new nuclear reactors ended, the work at this site focused on reprocessing nuclear waste.

The centre ceased to function as a research centre when its projects were transfered to Culham in Oxfordshire, slap-bang in the middle of England.

The work to decommission the Winfrith nuclear research establishment is scheduled for completion in 2021.

This invaluable and sensitive work is in the hands of, a subsidiary of Babcock International Group plc. There is nothing to worry about as profit-motivated businesses have all of our best interests at heart, as we are all “stakeholders.”

It is always useful to set up a limited company subsidiary for tricky projects because this ring-fences the risk and protects the continued existance of the conglomerate should the investment suffer a melt-down of some description.

As usual these complex projects are never quite as straight-forward as imagined

n.n.b. Geiger counters are used to measure ionizing radiation levels.

n.n.n.b. The Five Marys are tumuli (burial mounds of pre-Roman Britain) and there look to be six when you study the map.

CLP 22/07/2019


On Dorset XII (of XIII)

Harris Hawk on arm

Patrolling Brewery Square

Keeping gulls at bay

n.b. Delighted to bump into a Scotsman in hi-viz jacket with a handsome bird on his arm. He was on his way to the gentrified, highly commercialised buildings of the imposing Dorchester Brewery (est. 1880) to warn off the gulls.

Apparently it is not necessary to let the bird stretch its wings as the gulls are alert to the potential threat of the Harris Hawk.

A big bird when it unfolds, its yellow beak and feet hi-viz in themselves…to a gull.

It is interesting to note that Harris Hawks are as large as buzzards, but the arrival of a Buzzard invites mobbing by smaller birds to drive it away from nesting sites, whereas the Harris hawk is to be avoided. Surely there must be a point where fight, not flight kicks in for a protective, nesting bird,(as long as it has been able to settle for long enough to nest)?

What was so delightful here was to see natural methods to address a problem that involves natures adaptation to man’s evolving environment. The use of a bird of prey to scare off gulls is admirable. To use this method, rather than chemicals or netting, shows that mankind can work with nature, a bit like companion planting to protect vegetable crops.

The Harris Hawk in use here also helps out at Bournemouth airport. Which raises the question, would the bird choose to work there if it knew the harm jet-powered flight does to the environment? Would it just reply, “Work’s work. If I didn’t do it, someone else would.”?


CLP 22/07/2019

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 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