Sunday, 7 December 2008

Darkness comes to Dunster

After Border Reiver had a shopa-holic-session in Weston super Mare (brightened only by a Raven pronking overhead). He decided in the evening to drag a friend down the M5 to Dunster, near Minehead. Completely unrelated to wildlife blogging, but if this sort of malarkey is good enough for Boulmer Birder, its good enough for Border Reiver.

This weekend was the Dunster by Candlelight, err weekend. Unusually it didn't rain. Its about 6 years since I last ventured into this glorious Medieval village in Somerset for this event, and its well worth the visit. Don't go expecting to shop till you drop, the place is heaving, with many shops providing sardine-type-entertainment-games for the populous. Just go for the spectacle of being in a fabulous part of the country, at night, a frosty night this year and take in the sights, sounds and smells, as a prelude to Christmas.

This is the old Market in the centre of the village, if it wasn't dark and I was inside this you'd see a big canon ball shaped hole in a beam, a relic of the English Civil War, from a rapscallion Roundhead canon ball, in case you are wondering whether it was just a hole made by mice, which just happened to be cannonball shaped.

All the villagers go to town and place candles, lanterns and so on around their doors and in windows. It is very atmospheric. One house had 2 women dressed in mop caps, waving at the crowd whilst sitting in front of a roaring fire. I think I spied a bottle or two of finest pale sherry next to their seat. It was the only explanation for their most indecorous behaviour !!

Another view of the main street in the village, looking towards the Castle, lit in green this year.

My friend managed to get herself arrested by a policeman in a fetching festive decorated helmet. I think it was because she was seen eating a sausage bap, to which no bap was attached....

........ this is the culprit, the man in the white coat with a selection of wicker baskets attached to his arm. He was selling sausage baps for £2.50, but as he'd run out of baps, we had a naked as a jailbird sausage, for 50p each.

A wonderful night, even if we didn't get home until nearly midnight. Though actually we nearly didn't make it, as a small herd of Roe Deer were in the middle of the road driving back, that part of the Quantocks is alive with them.


A couple of other things to add to the blog.

Firstly that Canadian bird in the last posting. After a comment and a couple of e-mails, I can safely say it is a) either, or b) possibly a Juvenile Red-Wing blackbird, or a Cowbird. Ed Drewit from Bristol Uni got back to me and if he's unsure exactly, I'm not even going to hazard a guess. Thank you all who replied.

Now the other thing. Some of you up't north will already know Trai Arnfield, the weather girl on BBC's Look North from Newcastle. What you may not know is a) she is an ME sufferer, and b) she's about to take 6 months off to travel the world. Yesterday she sent an e-mail outlining what she and a friend who is also an ME sufferer are planning to do, partly as a restore their health vacation and partly for a very worthwhile charity,

Here is a link is to the website they have developed http://7relaxingwonders.synthasite.com/

As Trai said in her note, please have a look at the website, share it with other friends and colleagues to raise further awareness of ME, and if you possibly can, please sponsor me. Even a little will make a big difference. My cousin is an ME sufferer, and I know how dreadful this illness can be with the roller coaster of good and bad days. Please spread the word, AND when they set off in January, keep logging on and sending support via their blog.


  1. The village at night looks positively charming.

  2. i loke dunster. the church and castle are very fine

  3. Indeed it is Oldcrow, and strangely the village is older than Canada

    Pete, good to see you have remembered the local dialect :-)