Saturday, 16 June 2018

Two Ingenious B*st*rds!

Not my usual language, but this is the surname of the two brothers who played a significant role in the town of Blandford. They are commemorated all over the place. 
In 1731 [65 years after London's Great Fire] Blandford suffered a similar fate.  The fire began in the afternoon of 4th June in a tallow chandler's workshop [these men made soap and candles]A hot summer's day, a light breeze, and plenty of thatched roofs and wooden buildings meant the fire spread rapidly - over 90% of the property was lost. By 7pm, the fire had burnt itself out, leaving just a few brick buildings [like the Old House and the Almshouses] remaining. 
The word spread to London of this disaster - and the following year an Act of Parliament decreed the town should be rebuilt within four years in brick and tile. Benefit events were held at places like Drury Lane Theatre, the King and Queen sent money, and Commissioners were appointed to oversee the building.
John and William Bastard were in charge of the rebuilding and regeneration..
As Bob had an appointment at the Blandford Community Hospital last Tuesday, we decided to make a day of it and check out the town. We saw the information panels, the Almshouses, and many of the interesting properties
The brothers certainly worked hard to fulfil their remit to make the town 'rise like a Phoenix from the ashes'
In 1540, the term 'Forum' was added to the name [because a market was held there] but most of the time now, that addition seems to be dropped. 
The town is home to the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery, and just behind the town centre you will find the Woodhouse Gardens, given in 1945 in memory of  family members. The modern sculpture, the lovely planting of roses and lavender, and plenty of benches , make this a pleasant venue to sit and enjoy the day.
Blandford received its royal  charter in 1604, and in 2004 that was commemorated in a number of ways. There was a mosaic design in the centre of the gardens, and a number of well maintained floral displays [sponsored by the Rotary Club] throughout the town.

We parked just behind the  town centre, in the Long Stay CP adjaent to the M&S Foodhall. £1.50 for 10 hours is good value!
The scruffy little path through to the main street was full of colourful wildflowers - untended but charming
The Parish Church may be full of history - boxed pews, old tiles, memorials to those brothers, and to Mr Lewen, also instrumental in the rebuilding. Mr L's plaque is topped by a marble flame - the Victorians added wooden choir pews, and copied the flames, as a sign of regeneration and new life in Jesus.
This generation has added some lovely embroidered banners, and the presence of informative posters, a drum kit, guitar amps, and a good PA system encouraged us to believe that today's congregation is lively and active.
We arrived early and had a good breakfast in The Forum coffee shop, where the affable owner directed us to sit in "The Royal Box" - a cosy corner with armchairs and coffee table. Excellent coffee was served - and there were magazines and papers to linger over as we ate. Then we wandered round all the many CS, and a number of wool/craft shops. We were conscious that people were all very friendly, and it is clearly a town where the locals know each other and smile and chat to visitors too. We had lunch in Reeves' Bakers [same chain as we visit in Salisbury] 
Lunch was;
a round of chicken and bacon sandwiches on lovely wholemeal seeded bread
a round of coronation sandwiches also on lwsb
a packet of crisps
a fresh side salad - with tomatoes that tasted lovely
six cakes [2 each of light fruitcake, coconut slice, and malteser cakes]
and a pot of tea [4 generous cups- we could have had refills if we'd wanted]
and paper bags to take home any leftovers [4 cakes!]
We got all this food and drink - and change from a tenner. What excellent value!
The visit to the Sleep Disorder Clinic was very successful too - Bob no longer needs his sleep mask, and has been signed off by the SDC. He is officially no longer suffering with Sleep Apnoea!
A great end to a lovely day.
Well done John and William - I think you would be proud to see how this town continues to thrive, almost 300 years after it was nearly destroyed.


  1. I just love it when you share your visits to these interesting places, Angela. I get to see and read about places I've not heard of and that lunch looks and sounds wonderful!

  2. Let me know if you ever come to England Bless - I'd love to explore with you

  3. What an interesting story and what a lovely looking place! That lunch looks fantastic!
    How did your husband manage to get off his sleep mask? I have been diagnosed with apnea but I have 4 months to lose a lot of weight and then they will retest to see if things have improved. I'm trying very hard!

  4. He has had to wear a mask for more than a decade. The weight issue is difficult - if you do not sleep properly you don't produce enough leptin (the weight regulation hormone) so it is even harder to lose weight. That's why new mums who are woken for night feeds struggle to lose the "baby-weight" Fewer carbs and more exercise helped Bob. I hope you succeed.Get friends and family to encourage you with the diet


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