Friday 15 May 2015

Postcode Lottery?

map3-001“Where shall we go on Tuesday?” said Bob – and I said “If I give you a postcode, will you put it into the Satnav, and we can go out on the bike somewhere?” Well, he was clearly happy to ‘take a chance on me’ as Abba sang, and early on Tuesday I climbed onto the pillion and we rode off to …Shaftesbury

Which is almost North-by-North-West [we didn’t see Cary Grant though] It was a great ride. I didn’t like the poor road surface and very bumpy bits on the bit through Horton, and squealed a lot [Horton hears an ‘Oooh!’] and the Zigzag Hill as we came down into Shaftesbury was terrifying! This has been named as Britain’s twistiest road. Here’s a pic from the net of a guy riding up the hill.


Trust me, down is worse. But the town itself is great. We began at the postcode I had given Bob- Turnbull’s Cheesemongers and Coffee House, where we enjoyed breakfast.

trip to shaftesbury 05 15-003

He had bacon, eggy bread and maple syrup – I had smoked trout, scrambled egg, and English muffin. It was all fabulous! Then we went to look at Gold Hill – Shaftesbury’s great tourist attraction.You remember the Hovis boy on a bike? [it was back in 1973]


To the sound of a brass band playing Dvorak's New World Symphony, the boy says 'Last stop on round would be Old Ma Peggoty's place.'T'was like taking bread to top of the world.'T'was a grand ride back though. I'd knew baker have kettle on and doorsteps of old Hovis ready.'"There's wheatgerm in that loaf," he'd say."Get it inside you boy and you'll be going up that hill as fast as you come down.'" The boy is seen in the advert struggling to push his bike to the top of the hill but is sat astride it and joyously freewheeling down it after making the delivery.He is then seen returning to the bakery and tucking into Hovis bread.


Here’s that very hill, Bob on the right in the sunshine! At the top, by the Town Hall, is a huge replica loaf [a fundraiser during the Gold Hill Restoration Project]


We went round the Town Museum – small, but interesting. This was mainly for me. I knew Bob would enjoy the hills, and the breakfast – but I wanted to look at the display of Dorset Buttons, which were first made in the town, back in 1622. I am planning some more research into this craft. Some buttons are called Dorset Singletons [named after the family that developed them, not because they were solitary on the garment] and others are Dorset Knobs [which gave their name to the biscuit] I was fascinated.

trip to shaftesbury 05 15-002


This is the Byzant – a gilded, which was used in an annual ceremony up from contract between the town and nearby Motcombe, which provided drinking water [but in 1830 they found an artesian well in Shaftesbury and that was that!]

A procession headed by an official carrying a decorated calf's head with a purse of money in its mouth led the event. Next in line came a man carrying the gilded Byzant or Prize Besom itself an ornate mace, decorated with jewels, ribbons, flowers and peacocks' feathers. The mayor and his team were next, with the townsfolk bringing up the rear.

[In the past, Kings would often present a bezant at religious festivals or when taking Mass, and the coins were often replaced with a symbolic gift, still retaining the name 'byzant']

trip to shaftesbury 05 15-001

I admired the amazing amount of work which has been put into stitching the Shaftesbury Quilt. Then we walked round the shops. The CS were plentiful and had posh stock. Lots of White Stuff, Boden, Fat Face, and other names I like but can’t afford to buy new. I didn’t get anything, as I didn’t need it! We saw a business offering “Wealth Management” – but no CAP. I guess you have to be rich to live in Shaftesbury!

We went home by a different route, avoiding the zigzag, and stopping for mineral water in a pub in pre-decimal “Sixpenny Handley” and then another coffee at the Coffee Saloon in Wimborne, where Bob chatted at length with our mate Christian, the barista, who had some theological questions to ask him. 

P1010367 One more CS where we bought this – but it didn’t hamper our journey home!

I’ll explain why we got this picnic basket in another post!


  1. Sounds like a perfect day out!

  2. I really really want to go to Shaftesbury, one day I'll get there.

  3. There must be a flood of picnic baskets in charity shops at the moment - I got one from SallyAnn last week, but mine is going to be a plain old boring pucnic basket. Can't wait to see what you make of yours

  4. What a lovely day out! I would like to see the quilt up close, it looks like a real work of Art.

  5. What a wonderful day! I have to say I always look for the buttons whenever we go somewhere with a historical museum. I think buttons are fascinating.


  6. I bet that hamper is to put wedding cards into at the wedding!! Are you going to attach it to a bike?? X

    1. Well, it HAS got a role at the wedding - but I like your suggestion too! [but not on a bike!]

  7. what a fun idea as a way of picking where t explore! Cheers from carole's chatter


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