How Tim’s Family and Friends helped him celebrate his 80 years – Part One
I have sailed and raced my boat, Avocet, over a period of 43 years so when Diana and I were participating in our 21st National Championship week together at Poole just prior to my actual birthday it seemed a nice idea to go out to dine at a local pub, The Yachtsman, together with Katharine and her brother Stephen. It was a nice coincidence when my friends from Thornbury Sailing Club happened to be in the bar. However, in a pattern which is not unique in these recollections, several more sailors from our week appeared in the garden where we were seated and by the time several tables had been pulled in to form one long gallery table the penny finally dropped! Diana had put the word around about my imminent anniversary.
As you can see we were blessed with a fine evening and plenty of space.
On the last evening of the Championship Week all the competitors donned their smartest for the dinner and prize giving. Once there at the start of proceedings Peter Hewitt summoned me to the front and after a few kind words about my long dayboat years and age he indicated the fine collection of bottles of wine that he proceeded to present to an astonished recipient. In responding to this generosity I was able to pay tribute to Lisa for supporting me in all the years that I have sailed in Dayboat Week – including one when she bravely crewed for me at Burnham Week- and especially for looking after Louis and Ella when they were small so that, to Lisa’s immense relief, Diana could crew for me instead . I also paid heartfelt tribute to Diana who has sailed with me for 21 of my 35 dayboat weeks. And I can’t recall one cross word!
After the dinner Tim and Diana motored back to Henbury to join Lisa, who had clearly spent half the week cooking and preparing dishes to feed the all 11 of the family for two evenings. On Saturday Tim drove with Lisa and Diana and the boot full of food to Wantsley Farm just north of Beaminster in West Dorset arriving in time to establish who was going to sleep in which room. Jonathan, Luiza, Lucas and Anita were the next to arrive closely followed by Jean-Marie, Louis and Ella. Louis’ partner, Katia joined us on Sunday. In getting to know how to benefit from the AGA Tim learnt the hard way that AGA saucepans do not have an insulated handle. Lisa’s curries were delicious.
Sunday, the actual day, started fine and we hastened to let six chickens, five ducks and Sebastian, a female goose, out of their respective abodes. Sebastian and ducks rushed into the stream pool as if their lives depended on it.
After breakfast while Tim opened his cards Lucas and Anita tried out the zip wire which terminated in a seemingly horrific hard tree trunk. But didn’t!
Lunch was taken on the sunny terrace and suitably fortified we set off to Tim’s choice of expedition which was the Eggardon Hill with its incredibly large Iron Age fort.
The family were not visibly in awe!
Monday, 20th August, was the day Lisa had arranged with six Stobart cousins for a gathering at the Three Horseshoes Inn at Powerstock.
Despite the existence of another pub with the same name not far away and Powerstock being really remote we were joined by Alan & Claire Glass, Eric & Ginny Stobart, Diane Stobart and Gillian Huxley. We had a long table on the terrace with fine views.
Tuesday dawned fine and sunny and we set off to explore the Chesil Bank, that extraordinary 16 mile long feature which runs from West Bay near Bridport to Portland Bill. It is made up of sand then pebbles, which increase in size the nearer you get to Portland Bill. The mechanism which achieves this is still unclear especially as, according to Lisa’s reading of “Pebbles on the Beach”, the underwater bank shows exactly the opposite size transition. We drove to the West end of the bank and noted its sand composition and this was the view. A few toes were dipped in the water but none of our party looked like swimming so we moved East along the coast until we found a picnic spot on the cliff edge near Burton Bradstock.
Looking East from Burton Bradstock cliff edge
Looking West to West Bay breakwater and beyond
The final visit to the Bank was on the beach itself at Abbotsbury where Lisa and Tim explored the hinterland in the direction of the Fleet (lake behind the Bank) while others relaxed on the pebbly bank.
On Wednesday the target was walk to the New Inn at the nearest village, Stoke Abbott. This entailed a fine walk up the hill the other side of the Wantsley valley, through woods and down an ancient track to the village for a pub lunch in the garden of the New Inn.
After lunch the more energetic walkers set their sites on the highest local hill while the others returned to Wantsley for relaxation.
|On the hilltop
|One of the ‘scalloped’ hillsides
By Thursday morning our numbers were reduced to Jonathan, Luiza, Lucas, Anita, Diana, Tim and Lisa. We drove to Minterne Parva to walk the Cerne Abbas Giant walk in our guide book. Unfortunately the initial instructions were out of date and we only got onto the correct path thanks to a kindly landowner. Once on the path it was a pleasant walk up through woods and down across fields until we eventually viewed the Giant. Perhaps he is now a little bashful because as you can see he is hiding his face and upper body behind grass!
After reaching Cerne Abbas we chose The Royal Oak for a well earned lunch. In the afternoon Jonathan and family set off to return to Epsom with Diana leaving Tim and Lisa to explore the ancient chapel at Toller Fratrum before returning to Wantsley for their last night before returning to Bristol on Friday.
12th C Font
11th C carving of Mary Magdalene
Toller Fratrum Chapel