As most people know, we headed to Mayfair this month for the swish awards do. As a tiny team, just to be shortlisted for Regional Publication Of The Year – to be considered among the top three regional titles in the country – was an honour. On the night we didn’t win, but did receive a Highly Commended accolade, one of only four on the night. This was beyond anything we expected – we were thrilled just to be in the room (and suspect we were the only ones there who had actually paid for their own seat…).
In other news this month:
After a seemingly unending spring of chilly greyness, summer seemed to rush at us in May. The blackthorn was lush, but the hawthorn has been positively frothing, hasn’t it? I have never seen the hedgerows so thick with white, it’s been utterly glorious. The buttercups and cow parsley too. Dorset has been flashing its prettiest ankle at us, and I’m happily woo-ed (though some are less happy about a council mow of said cow parsley – there are some disgruntled readers on the letters page this month).
If you’ve been watching Springwatch (those poor little wren chicks! I was stricken!), then you might be feeling inspired to go and explore the AONB near Swanage. In a weird twist, our own best walk this month was from Studland. There are few public footpaths across the RSPB Arne reserve itself, for obvious reason, but the wider area’s stunning heathland is criss-crossed by them. If you’ve never explored it then now is the perfect time. We did a long walk (13 miles), but it’s very adaptable (it’s easy to cut the route to your own length – the map’s on p50) – and also very flat! We thoroughly recommend going, it’s simply beautiful, and we’d go now, before the summer hoardes arrive.
Lastly, in a quick double answer to current FAQs in my inbox: Mochi, our son’s fifth-floor-window-diving cat, is doing amazingly. Her cast is finally off, she’s still limping but getting around beautifully. And no, I have not yet gone mug shopping. But I am thrilled by the number of people who got in touch to share that they also have a specific mug for every time of day/type of drink/mood. It’s the only way.
Finally, I have a kickboxing grading tomorrow. I am feeling The Fear… but I love the sport, and work hard at progresing (if I pass tomorrow I’ll be just two away from a black belt). I only started it to spite my teenagers (no, really), and though I guarantee my body is the exact opposite of what you picture when you think ‘kickboxer’ it always brings me joy. Even if my creaking bones and weeping joints keep pretending I’m far too old for this nonsense.
PS – the photography submissions were SO strong this month, we’ve even changed the design of the back page to squeeze in just-one-more. Don’t miss it!
I would like to put in your magazine a big heartfelt thankyou. My brother collapsed in Gillingham surgery Monday 22nd. Help was there immediately, but although they worked on him he couldn’t be bought back. As a family we would like to thank everyone who helped him, it shows what great service we have in Dorset.
Melvie Martin & family
Rage against the mow
I’m writing with a heavy heart and a dollop of shock about the premature trimming of our grass verges surrounding Sturminster Newton. Right during our cherished “No Mow May”. It seems the council, bless them, might’ve misplaced their calendars!
Our lovely local wildlife relies on this period, and the council’s actions seem to sidestep the importance of this initiative. It’s like putting a full stop in the middle of a sentence, it just doesn’t make sense! We need to ponder the cost of such haste on nature’s precious cycle.
We’re expecting a bit of clarity here, as well as an assurance that our “No Mow May” will be left undisturbed in future. I’m sure many of us would be pleased to see our council showing more regard for these matters.
Sarah G, Sturminster Newton
I wish to voice my anger at what I presume are the actions of our council. It’s been so disheartening to witness the early cutting of our grass verges around the Sturminster Newton’s perimeter – sad at any time of year on unnecessary road stretches, but utterly unwarranted during “No Mow May”.
Worse was to come however.
Every morning I drive through the village of Hammoon. Every day in recent weeks I have gloried in the stunning shoulder-high swathes of cow parsley which have adorned the lane verges. They have neither impeded my vision, nor can I conceive that the lush thick verges of tall straight-growing plants have caused any other road user any safety issues. And yet these too have been subject to a ground-level mow in the last few days. I am horrified and enraged at this senselessness.
The month of May is a critical period in our UK ecology – we choose it for no mowing for a reason. Wildflowers and grasses are in full bloom, providing vital habitats and food sources for insects, spiders, snails, small mammals and birds. By allowing the verges to grow, we ensure the survival of our local flora and fauna, supporting pollinators essential for our ecosystem’s health.
I implore the council to reconsider their actions and respect our commitment to preserving and enhancing local biodiversity.
Alan Watts, by email
On unintended consequences
I am writing in support of Andrew Livingston’s thought-provoking piece on the delicate balance of biodiversity in the UK’s struggling ecosystems (The law of unintended consequences, May 23). The topic is a critical one, especially given the dire state of many of our native species and the implications of human actions on their survival.
Andrew’s focus on the issue of legal protections, such as for raptors, and the unintended consequences of the, was interesting. While it is essential to protect threatened species, we must indeed acknowledge the ripple effects such interventions may have on the entire food chain.
A stronger focus on habitat construction than on specific-species protection to enhance biodiversity. It would lead to a more sustainable balance in our ecosystems without disadvantaging other species in the process .
The “law of unintended consequences” rings so true here. As we strive to protect and foster wildlife, we must remain vigilant to the complex dynamics of our ecosystems.
James Smith, Sherborne
On the protesters
In response to the letter by M. Holderness of Charlton (The BV, May 23), I share his concerns about the widespread dismissal of climate activists’ efforts. The urgency and severity of the climate crisis demand far-reaching, revolutionary changes, and I appreciate that activists are working to convey this message.
It is true that climate activism is often met with antagonism, and its strategies can be seen as inconvenient or disruptive. However, the primary goal of such activism is to stir conversation and incite action, which, judging by the attention these movements have received, has been successful. The fact that we’re now discussing these issues more openly is evidence of the impact these protests have had.
Scientific warnings about the catastrophic implications of climate change have been falling on deaf ears for decades. Far far too long. Consequently, the need for dramatic action to reverse the effects of climate change has become critical. It’s not about causing public disorder but about sounding the alarm to save our planet!
I hope that more people will understand the desperate circumstances that have led to these protests and see them not as a nuisance but as a necessary wake-up call. The “revolution” Holderness speaks of should be seen not as an act of rebellion, but as an urgent call to action to ensure a sustainable future for our planet.
Ellie Holding, Sherborne
On the digital business
In response to Susan N’s letter from Blandford (The BV, May 23), I wholeheartedly concur with her perspective. As we advance further into the digital age, it is imperative for businesses, irrespective of their establishment date, to adapt and evolve with the changing times.
It is understandable that some long-standing businesses might find the transition to digital platforms challenging. However, the advantages of such a move significantly outweigh the potential discomfort of adapting to new tools and technologies. Susan aptly pointed out the valuable opportunities for audience engagement, brand awareness, and promotion provided by social media platforms.
There is ample help available in terms of training and resources for businesses seeking to improve their digital presence. The ability to harness digital platforms is no longer an optional extra but a crucial component of business survival in today’s highly competitive market.
It’s been here for a generation now. The time has come for all businesses, irrespective of their size or establishment date, to embrace the digital era fully. By doing so, they not only stay relevant and attractive to new customers but also ensure their own continued growth and success.
Ruby P (aged 62, and writing on my iPad!), by email
On disposable barbecues
Your article on disposable barbecues (May 23) made alarming reading. Despite the horrific consequences, how is it that disposable barbecues remain readily available in the market?
From instigating wildfires to contaminating the soil, endangering wildlife and simply causing sever burns, the threat these items pose is significant. While I am encouraged by the actions taken by Dorset Council, Litter Free Dorset, and responsible retailers such as Southern Co-op in raising awareness and removing disposable barbecues from their shelves, I believe more stringent measures are needed.
Why can’t disposable barbecues be banned? Is it not justifiable to consider an all-out prohibition? We must strive for long-term changes. Convenience should never supersede safety and environmental responsibility.
Anna B, by email
Every month we receive pet pictures which are submitted for the Reader’s Photography pages. It’s rare for them to make the photography pages, but we always feel a little guilty – they’re good pets, they deserve their own recognition.
Every month we’ll now pick our favourite. Would you like your pet to be featured? Just send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your pet’s name, age, and a couple of fun details about them.