One of the wonderful things about working at BBC Radio Solent was being able to pop out and chat to people about their dreams, and plans to fulfill them.
Going to chat to some of the team involved in creating a new home for Dr Steve Etches, MBE’s fossil.collection was always a great moment.
Steve is world famous for the fossils he’s collected, over many years, from the shale at Kimmeridge. His collection is extraordinary and people come from all over the world to study it.
The new home was to be in the tiny hamlet of Kimmeridge. It had to blend in with the beautiful pale stone cottages and serve as a community centre for locals. The plan was to create a small, beautifully formed building that could show off some of the fossils (part of the joy of visiting is it’s not overwhelming) and provide a workshop for Steve.
One of the features that everyone was particularly excited about was a specially created film showing pre-historic marine animals swimming, to be shown on the ceiling of the exhibition room.
The Etches Collection, Kimmeridge, opened in 2017 to great delight and acclaim, winning several important accolades. I visited not long after and marvelled at the quality and beauty of the build and it’s location, was fascinated by the fossils and thought the video, shown on the ceiling was interesting……but last weekend (5th March, 2022), we took 5 year old Grandson….he was transfixed by the monsters swimming above his head, ran with delight to point them out on the boards depicting the different types of creatures. Fascinated by the fossils, loving the chance to colour in dinosaur sheets; put his hands into a covered box to feel fossilised teeth, an ammonite and vertebra!
Thinking of all the careful design choices and sometimes tortuous journey to completion, it was joyous to see their impact on a little boy (we had to pop back in as we came back from rockpooling in Kimmeridge Bay)!
Kimmeridge is off the beaten track and the Collection is rarely overly busy (you don’t need to be very mobile to pop in, or to go over to the lovely Clavell’s restaurant across the road, but the Bay is tricky if you’re a bit wobbly on your feet, although you could have a picnic in the car park…oh and there’s a small charge to go down to the beach). Clavell’s Restaurant shares its name with the tower (viewers of BBC South Today will recognise it!).
It makes for a rather magical day….as long as you like fossils or are just curious about beautiful places! We planned our trip to arrive at the Collection just after 10, have brunch in the restaurant over the road and arrive in the bay to make the most of the two hours around low tide (which was 1.30pm).
I’m concerned that amongst all the chatter over the last 18 months or so, there are so may people we haven’t heard from, and how everyday life has been affected by illness, loss, curbs, lockdowns, tiers, working from home, being an essential worker and keeping going….and I’ve never felt we were really all is it together because our ages and circumstances have made an enormous difference to our lives.
Far more interesting voices than mine are lined up ….but I thought I should start with me, so here I am, having a witter! It’s taken me a while to find the courage to post it because I never feel I’m that interesting!
If you live in the Winchester/Otterbourne area of Hampshire and would like to contribute your story, please get in touch (this is not about how the pandemic has been dealt with by politicians….and a ranting platform…but the impact it has had on your life).
Good Friday is my birthday and with six allowed in the garden from a few days before, plans are afoot for a very special day (better NOT rain!).
I poked out a thirty year old bed valance (have I told you were both hoarders!). The frills made the bunting…the body will make a tablecloth!
The pud’s in the oven! Made this recipe when a gluten intolerant friend was coming around but it’s so fab it’s loved by all! I zest an orange into the cake mix and the cream mixture to make it extra yummy! Bit concerned I seem to have made more cake batter than usual….or maybe picked up the wrong tin. It’s VERY deep…..oh well, soon find out!
Back in the mists of time (well, 1972) one of our English Lecturers at Chichester College of Further Education issued a plea for some of us to take part in the search for Miss Chichester. He’d offered to help out in the event and was really worried there’d be no contestants! Doris Hare was appearing at the Festival Theatre and was head judge. Belinda Mayne, daughter of actor Ferdie Mayne became Miss Chichester, and yours truly, one of the two runners up!
We had the most amazing time attending all sorts of events some wonderful, some slightly weird. I have a memory of distributing wilted cornflowers to slightly bemused recipients at St Richards Hospital.
Our dresses were made by a wonderful seamstress from Fishbourne, white velvet for Belinda, orange, with huge white lined sleeves for the two runners up. I still have the dress in the attic. Nope, no way I can get it on these days!
I’ve never understood why I have no photographic evidence of any of the events! However, a bored moment last night had me searching on line again and look! Hidden in the crowds (and behind the other runner up…very ashamed I can’t remember her name) and really only recognisable by the orange dress and floppy hat, the only proof I WAS there! Not the best quality, but a precious memory!