Blog

Dorset B&B Owner Tries Tapas On The Quarterdeck

by steveblakesley on April 9, 2011

Its a balmy sunny day on the south west coast of Dorset , and I had a few spare hours to kill , and it was lunch time , so thinking about a nice pint and a bit of lunch , I am close to Westbay , which if you are unfamiliar with the area is off the A 35 on the out skirts of Bridport.

 
Just before you came to the Harbour  on the right hand side you will find The Quarterdeck , so this was my point of interest , having not ever eaten here before.

 
So sitting out side on the decking and looking though the menu can you imagine my surprise at finding Tapas on the menu .

 
So with a pint of Doom Day (Real Ale) £2,80 a pint , I ordered the Tapas , and wow was I in for a surprise not only by the price £5 , but the quality of the food and the quantity, Parma Ham, Side Salad , Dipping Bread , Olive Oil/Balsamic  Dip, Humus, King Prawns, Olives, Three Types of Cheeses,two types of Salamis, Pureed Black and Green Olives.

 
A Great afternoon and great Food , what could be better on a summers day in Dorset,typically British  , No flying insects/ no horrid Smells just the sea breeze

{ 0 comments }

Oysters, Trafalger, and The Doset Coast

by steveblakesley on April 1, 2011

A perfect day out for us as a family would be driving along the coast road from Bridport towards Weymouth, passing though Burton Bradstock with it rich history of seafarers , visit Burton Bradstock and the name of Roberts will crop up, either in connection with the Mills , Farming ,Railways or with The Battle of Trafalgar.

Burton Beach all photos by www.ifphotos.com

For instance FRANCIS ROBERTS (1748-1794) only had one ambition and that was to go sea.

He joined the Navy and was promoted to first Lieutenant on the frigate Quebec ,in a battle with the Surveillante ,he was the only surviving officer, was captured, escaped and was posted to HMS Helena.

Later that year Thomas Masterman Hardy (later Admiral Hardy, Captain of the Victory at Trafalgar) Also joined the Helena and the Captain was none other than Captain Francis Roberts.

Quite a coincidence as they were bought up just a stones throw from each other.

In 1782 young Hardy wrote to his brother Joseph who was living a few miles away in Martinstown, he wrote:- ” Captain Roberts has promised that when an opportunity offers to send me home to go to school for some time to learn navigation and everything that is proper for a sailor”
Captain Roberts endorsed the letter saying ” Am glad to inform you that Thomas is a very good boy, and I think will make a complete seaman one day or other”.

His Demise came when he was on board HMS Success in September 1794 off the coast of the West Indies when struck down with Yellow fever and died .

You can see the family graves of the Roberts Family in Burton Bradstock Church, Which has two Very nice pubs nearby , The Anchor And the Three Horse Shoes.

Moving on from Burton Bradstock passing Cogdon Beach with its breathtaking views across the fleet,and you can see why this inspired John Meade Falkner to write in his novel Moonfleet in 1898 ,which gives a great feel for the romantic and smugglers paradise which is Dorset.

All the way along this coastline there is some magnificent fishing to be enjoyed.

Normally after a brief stop in Abbotsbury I would turn off Left at Portesham and go up past Hardy’s Monument , into Martinstown and onto Dorchester.

Don’t get me wrong there is plenty to see and do in Abbotsbury with its Quintessentially English Experience,with its thatched cottages and tea rooms , and there is also the Swanery and sub Tropical Gardens to visit.

But today I am going further along the coast , maybe popping into the Elm tree at Langton Herring for a quick half of the local brew, or possible stopping Moonfleet Manor ,at Fleet, but the reason I making this journey is to make my way to the causeway joining Weymouth and Portland , as just before you cross on the right hand side by the Ferryman Public house, you will find the entrance to Abbotsbury Oysters(The Crab House).

If you are ever in the area , you must not miss this opportunity to try some of the mouth watering fayre that is on offer at the Oyster farms Restaurant, now called the Crab House ,with the 2012 sailing events taking place nearby this place is going to be discovered Big Time.

I think by the time we have fitted all this in and had a glass of vino with our Lunch its time to make our way back to the White House, I hope you have a feel for the area with the changing scenery, smells of the county crossed with the sea breezes and the smells of fish, Oysters ,Crabs ,wine, garlic and herbs all pungent in the air around the Oyster Farm.

{ 0 comments }

Colmer’s Hill, Bridport,West Dorset

by steveblakesley on March 26, 2011

Not at lot of people know this but Colmer’s Hill is an iconic land mark just on the outskirts of Bridport , in West Dorset.

Is one of a number of sites that is being put forward to the Olympic committee to be recreated near Tower Hill in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London ,if selected it will have a number of caves and tunnels created inside.

Make sure you look for updates to see if it has been chosen,The hill itself is 400 ft above sea level and was named after the rector of Symondsbury John Colmer, it has a number of trees at the top which makes it a great subject for artists and photographers , the trees themselves were planted just after world war one.

It is of course a great place to go hiking and offers magnificent views of the area.

picture by www.ifphotos.co.uk

{ 0 comments }

Pub Games & Gullible Millionaires

by steveblakesley on March 18, 2011

Pub Games are one of the oldest past times in our recent history , darts, skittles, pool, alley skittles, Shove ha’penny,and many more.
The latest game to join the list is No Limit Poker and the Bridport area is no different to anywhere else in the country , you just have to know where to find it .
Its like if you are a darts player, where do you find the best pub of a standard that you  want to play , I will try to outline to you the different pubs in this area that caters for your  various needs.
There are music Venues as well and  I will probably leave a few off the list , but this is hardly my fault if the publican cannot advertise his venue properly , how is anyone supposed to know what’s on?
Maybe that’s a lesson for us all , it no good us having the best web site in the world and no one visits it , or the best shop with amazing products and bargains , which has no footfall , or maybe a shop that does have this footfall , but no sales technique to show what they have on offer in there window, what’s the point!
I have always been of the opinion of if I don’t have a particular skill find someone who does , to Help , I know we don’t always have the finances to do this, so personally I call in favours , beg , I don’t steal , but I might borrow.
Anyway anything to get the job done , I often get sales pitches though my door or in my e-mail, probably like you, offering to show me how to become a millionaire for £39.99 ,or how to create a successful business from nothing , I have yet to see one work for me.
The reason is they are almost certainly making you the profit part of their business and trying to get you to copy them and become part of their team, or they could just be list building , because always remember the money is in the list , make no mistake about this one.
To be honest who in there right mind actually believes that a self made multi millionaire is going to tell you how to archive or copy them and do the same for £39.99 , exactly , they cant or will not , like everyone else they would want to keep it to themselves ,and in very extreme circumstances they might share it with a family member , but unlikely.
But 10,000 Times £39.99 for the gullible ones amongst us is good money even for a millionaire, when I say gullible , I am of course talking about myself.
Most likely they run affiliate programs and sell dreams , nothing wrong with dreams, as I once read dreams are Goals without any action taken .
And that my friend is the end of today’s lesson , And the only way to get on and succeed is to TAKE ACTION.
Oh I transgress from my subject matter , we were talking about where in the Bridport Area to find Pub Games and entertainment.
Friday is darts league night , so most pubs you can get a game in before 8pm , Sundays is Pool league, Tuesdays , is skittles, Sunday crib league.
Tanners in west allington is a Sports Bar that has Poker on a Thursday /Friday and music at the week ends.
The Tiger Inn in barrack street is a real ale pub , and most of the rugby crew descend here for a real lively. atmosphere.
Ropemakers in west street for Music weekends and some mid week.
The Lord Nelson in East street, for skittles and Crib  though the week
The Crown in Westbay Road for Poker on Wednesdays Starts at 8.30pm
The Clock Chideock for all your darts needs , and Poker on Tuesdays ,8pm Start.
Most of the pubs in the area partake in some of the Games unless they are an eating venue’s for the foodies among us.

{ 0 comments }

Don’t Kill Weeds Forage and Eat Them

by steveblakesley on March 17, 2011

 
One of the things about Dorset ,for such a small county it has so much to offer , I really cannot think of a better place to visit or live, amazing places to visit , scrumptious places to Eat , Exciting things to do, Great things to Learn, Terrific places to see.
Whilst speaking to a friend of mine about a totally different subject I was introduced to Rob Harford, and I stumbled on his eatweeds web site , to say I like what he does on this site is an understatement , I hope you take a few moments to visit , I am sure you will not be disappointed.
 
While Visiting the West country .
 
How about spending a day on a foraging course , included in this is what as known as the Edible Shore Line, Natures Larder , Wild Food Fermentation, and Foraging for the Family.
 
 
With times as they are we never know what skills we will be required to learn , course’s are conducted every month by Fraser Christian & Robin Harford.
 
Fraser until recently worked for Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall and ran his Fish Skills & Cookery’ course at River cottage.
 
I will not spoil what is on offer in the course , because its a real treat you can find out more yourself at .
 

{ 0 comments }

Deep Sea Diving , In Dorset

by steveblakesley on March 16, 2011

Deep sea Diving might seem a strange subject for a B&B Owner to write about , but in this area of Lyme Bay many of our guests are divers, and there are many dive boats that operate from West Bay Harbour.

There are scores of interesting dive sites , not just Ships but World war Bombers as well at a depth of 11m on a sandy bottom you can find

The remains of an American Flying Fortress which is a great dive for novices . The 18 metre wings along with the undercarriage wheels still remain in place along with the fuel tanks , but the main fuselage and engines are missing and as of yet have to be discovered . unfortunately sometimes after winter storms, parts of the wreck can become covered.

Further along the coast at a depth of 35 m on a sandy bottom you can find the wreak of M2 a very sad story, built in 1918 by the Famous Vickers factory , The m2 sunk in 1932 and its full crew of 60 were lost to the sea.

Salvage attempts were made just after the disaster struck, but the weather conditions and the weight of the ship stopped the salvage ship just as the wreck was breaking the surface , so close.

There was a 12 inch gun on her foredeck originally but was removed in 1927 before she sank , to convert part of its deck to carry a small folding-wing sea-plane .

The theory behind the sinking is that her hanger doors were left open which led her to taking on to much water and casing her to sink, you can still the hanger door and the winch which was used to lift the plane into position for launching.

She  sits complete and upright. Her hangar doors are  open and you look inside admittedly silt filled. which is now the home of crabs, pollock, wrasse and congers which can be seen inside her.

She can dived at slack water as currants, at times are quite strong here.

And a little further out at Depth 36m,  a  submarine the UB74 she was a world war one U-Boat which terrified allied shipping during the 1st World War , it was sunk by depth charge drop by an armed yacht named the Lorna in May 1918.

The UB is broken up ,and has been used by the navy as an ASDIC Target , but remains an interesting dive.

Another submarine a  British ‘S’ class sunk in Portland Harbour in June 1955, after an explosion in her torpedo bay.

She was raised , moved out of the Harbour and re sunk in 1957 to use as a ASDIC Target , but still makes a great dive

There are numerous older wrecks in Lyme bay and if you would like further information of Dives out of Westbay here is a link to skipper Keith Ferris web site

http://www.westbaydiving.co.uk

{ 0 comments }

Hells Barn , Chideock

by steveblakesley on March 15, 2011

Defiantly Heaven Not Hell

Shigeaki and Diana Takezoe own and run Hells Barn near Chideock near Bridport Dorset, far from being hell its a beautiful tranquil place, Shigeaki and Diana Many years ago and settled here in Dorset and Shigeaki never forgets his routes in Japan , and is of course a top chef.

 
Using his natural gifts as a chef , He often gives master classes in preparing and cooking Japanese food , and also exhibits at Bridports Food Festival.
 
But best of all he will take Bookings of Six people or more and his beautiful kitchen and Dinning room .

 
Offer you a varied set of menu’s and cook them a very special traditional Japanese Meal at a very reasonable cost.

 
So if in the Dorset Area and looking for that something different give Hells Barn a Visit

 
 
 
 

{ 0 comments }

Flying Frenzy , Paragliding , Lessons in Dorset

by steveblakesley on March 15, 2011

Have you ever wondered whats its like soring into the Sky like a bird , or doing something really exciting , in fact daring, well how about soring thousands of feet and gliding for miles on a breezy day.

Well that’s exactly what you can do when you come to visit the dramatic Dorset coast , People have even called it relaxing, how can that be your adrenaline must soring ,but if you would like to give this a try then Flying Frenzy based just down the road from the White House are more than willing to teach you , if its your thing you can learn to throw your para glider around to do some of the most dynamic acrobatics that’s come to mind.

It is said to be quite easy to learn how to para-glide, and even possible to fly solo on your first day.

Don’t ever forget that paragliding is dangerous when not been trained properly and you must fully understand the risks involved .

Taster days are available at about £140 for the  day, or you could book a Tandem flight which might be good fun without so much of the risk ,you can even purchase a gift voucher if you would like to give a friend or family member a real exciting ,  novel gift.

To get to Elementary Pilot (EP it would cost about £500, you must take into consideration weather conditions  for safe flying, so bare this in mind if you are considering booking a course.

Part of joining the flying frenzy club itself is the away trips they go on like Maritime Alps near Nice, where the French Alps meet the Mediterranean sea

Well have fun and here is a link to flying frenzy

http://www.flyingfrenzy.com

{ 0 comments }

King Tutankhamun , Facts , Found in Dorchester,

by steveblakesley on March 13, 2011

If you are in the Dorchester area at any time and you have an hour to spare or the weather is bad how about visiting

Tutankhamun Exhibition Dorchester

Well worth the price of admission as the Tomb and treasures of King Tutankhamun have been recreated to such a high spec. you will not be disappointed.

Its a splended recreation of the real thing in the Valley of the Kings

Rated 5 star

{ 0 comments }

Saniflow-Radiator-Wife’s Finger-and the Baby

by steveblakesley on March 13, 2011

If  you have a Saniflow system (its a toilet system if you are unaware) you can have some sympathy with me, one of mine gave me a £150 problem though ,water was seeping though the overflow and setting it off every 3 minutes , and the noise drives you mad , so we could not rent the room until fixed ,its  fixed now.
Soon after this I was bleeding the radiators in one the bedrooms , well I got a pint glass to catch the water  as it was coming out to fast and with a glass I could catch more water , I was just holding the valve in by the last thread so I would not have to take it out.
Anyway I thought I would speed the process up a little calling the wife up to empty the glass and use another glass so that  I would not have to re tighten the bleed valve every time it was full .

 

So after about five glasses being emptied , I got a little careless and drop the valve into the glass , I told the wife be careful you do not poor the valve down the sink ………………..Opppppps she says.
That’s great I say, there I am bloody finger stuck in the hole to stop the water, and she cannot see the valve ,so we change places I go see if I can find the valve , no chance., and I cannot move the U-bend its to tight.
Anyway I say to her I will have to go down to the plumbers merchants and get a new one , so she will have to keep her finger in the hole while I’ve gone to stop the place flooding, but as we have a three year old I will have to shut the bedroom door with them both inside while I am out. 

I went to three plumbers merchants none have a valve …………OMG , I have the now been gone 35 minutes, well as  I arrive back , I get it both barrels from my dearly beloved .

As the little one , once finding out his mother cannot stop him doing anything he wants has turned on every tap , bounced of the bed like a trampoline, pulling off the clean washing at the same time, we also have sweats and chocolate biscuits in the Rooms for the guests , i can leave it to your imagination as to the state of the room on my return.
 

I of course tell the wife I have to go out again and her finger will have to stay put, I back out of the room slowly as she explodes into a torrid of expletives, anyway I go back into the bathroom and attack the pipe work with renewed vigour, I manage to undo the U bend and retrieve the offending valve and replace it in radiator , do I get any thanks????

{ 0 comments }