Blogs > August 2017

August 2017

Lesson 7 - All Change!

31st August 2017

Carl AshwinWell it's been about a month since my last lesson and so today I was expecting to be a little rusty. One big change is that Instructor Man is now Instructor Woman! No, hang on, let me rephrase that because it gives quite the wrong impression. I'm not for one moment suggesting that Instructor Man has made some major life choices, simply that I've changed instructor. Phew!

On the approach to my test, Instructor Man, who is a personal friend, recommended I change to Instructor Woman aka Claire Norman (other driving instructors are available - keeps the lawyers happy) who will help polish up any remaining rough spots. So I met Claire in the car park outside Wessex FM today and we drove off to Coburg Road before switching places and doing some paperwork. Then we were on our way once again.

With the month break it's been interesting seeing the little details that I have forgotten such as which mirrors I'm checking and which gears I'm selecting for certain conditions and, as Instructor Man had sagely warned me, Claire was right on it! This could well be the driving equivalent of Boot Camp!

Armed with more mirrors than a fairground attraction, Claire is a driving Samurai. She can look where she needs too and keep an eye on where you're looking as well. There is no escape. So we identified a number of action points from todays session that I need to do some work on.

It has been nice to be out driving again after a break. Zipping about today was a reminder of how convenient driving can be.

I stalled a couple of times but Claire's car has one of those nifty things that restarts the engine for you automatically so you can be on your way much quicker.

As well as general driving today we did some focus on reversing round a corner, reverse parallel parking and three point turns. I think the three point turn business is OK but I definitely need some more practice on the reverse manoeuvres (which I still think are inherently evil).

So it is that we'll meet again next week for more. One thing I do now need to take action on is booking my test so we have that magic date to work towards.

My song for todays lesson is something of a classic from Canned Heat - On The Road Again. Take it away........

Posted by Carl Ashwin at 2:59pm

Bridport Hat Festival 2017

28th August 2017

I've known for a number of years that Bridport is one of those secret gem towns that those in the know regard as being actually very cool and quirky and brilliant. As if to endorse this, the very fact they have their own festival dedicated to hats is reason enough for me to exclaim in that annoyingly self-satisfied way "told ya!" that I can even annoy myself with.

This year I though I'd find out more and found myself visiting the home of festival organiser Brian Atkinson and his wife. After I'd met their two gorgeous dogs, we sat down and chatted about the hat auction and the festival itself.

You can find out all about it here:

Posted by Carl at 8:36pm

Counting down to the Three Peaks Challenge

21st August 2017

walking boots


With August coming to a close, another challenge is creeping even closer and the 3 Peaks Challenge is this coming weekend.

We will be departing the hospice at 6.00am on Friday morning before embarking on our 12 hours journey to Fort William. We will stay the night and then start our trek early on Saturday morning taking on our first peak, Ben Nevis!

We estimate we will trek for around 5 hours and after completing our decent, will jump on the mini bus to head to peak number two in the Lake District, Scafell Pike. This peak will take around 4 hours to complete before driving through the night into Wales.

Early hours of Sunday morning we will reach the base of Snowdon to take on our final ascent, again around another 4 hours with the aim to complete all three within the 24 hour timescale.

For me, it’s not so much the trekking that will be the issue. It is the lack of sleep between each peak. Our only option is to nap on the bus to ensure we have some recovery time between trekking.

Sunday will see us returning back to Joseph Weld Hospice via minibus before we all head home for a decent and well-earned night’s sleep.

If you would like to support my 10 challenges, please visit and of course, I will do another blog update post 3 peaks.

Posted by Matt Smith at 12:14pm

Claim a charity donation from Southern Co-Op

20th August 2017

Southern Co-op celebrates previous ‘ Love  Your  Neighbourhood’ scheme in Selsey

Southern Co-Op want to celebrate the opening of their new store on Chickerell Road by giving away a £1000 donation to a local charity, community group or project.

I spoke with Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications for the Southern Co-Op group who told me more.

The deadline for applications is Friday 25th August 2017 and you can apply here:

To find out more about Southern Co-Ops other funding opportunities, please visit:

Southern Co-op’s new store at Chickerell Road will be home to an extensive fresh food offer with a great choice of fresh and chilled foods including fresh meat and fish, pizzas and ready meals. A food-to-go selection includes real Italian Lavazza coffee to takeaway and an in-store bakery will bake loaves and pastries fresh every day.

Southern Co-op is committed to British farmers and all the fresh meat it sells is 100 per cent British, including the meat used in sandwiches, snacks and ready meals. All strawberries and raspberries in store this summer will be 100 per cent British and at their seasonal, delicious best.

The new store opens on 01st September 2017.

Posted by Carl at 11:33am

Meet the Weymouth Weyfarers

18th August 2017

Weymouth Weyfarers

The Weyfarers are a group of volunteers in Weymouth who, among other things go out and provide information and support to the town’s visitors and local residents.

I spoke with Helen Toft who was at Weymouth Train Station with the group to welcome a steam train into the town.

They are looking for new members so if you want to apply, you can find more information here:

Posted by Carl at 1:33pm

VIDEO: Starring in Pirates of the Pavilion!

18th August 2017

Talk about being thrown in at the deep end!

Take a look at what happened when I made my panto debut in Pirates of the Pavilion in Weymouth... 

Posted by James at 6:38am

Escape Dungeons

10th August 2017

Escape Dungeons Liam

If you love dressing up and solving clues (who doesn't?) then you will find the Escape Dungeons an ideal escape (if you can work out the clues) suitable for the whole family.

Our host Liam showed us round the three dungeons and warned me of a dire consequence for not guessing the clues!

The Richmoor Hotel, 146 The Esplanade, Weymouth.

Tel: 01305 773435


Carl Ashwin Escape Dungeons 02

Posted by Carl Ashwin at 3:46pm

C-Siders - Weymouth and Portland Cancer Support Group

10th August 2017


I met up with Peter Meacham, the founder of C'Siders - Weymouth and Portland Cancer Support Group.

I wanted to find out from Peter why he started the group and the work it did in helping provide support and companionship for people who have had a diagnosis of Cancer.

Upon meeting Peter, I was instantly struck by his warmth and inspired by his own story which lead to him starting the group.

Take a listen to the audio from our chat.



Posted by Carl Ashwin at 2:54pm

The cycle training begins...

7th August 2017

With my cycling challenge just under two months away, I thought it was time to get on my bike and starting clocking the miles to make sure I’m ready for the 170 mile challenge.

matt cycle image 1

So, on Sunday, after convincing myself that it was a good idea to go cycling, I eventually got out of the house and on the road.

Never riding a road bike before, it took a little while to get used to but I was chuffed with my first ride result.

Just under eight miles later, I returned back home, legs like jelly and if I’m honest, not really a good look!

But I learnt a few things on my first ride. Padded gel shorts are a must, take advantage of the descents and I really, really don’t like hills!

cycle image 2

Registrations for the cycling challenge, which is 22nd-24th September, between all of Weldmar’s charity shops, closes in one weeks’ time so if you wish to take part please contact the team today.

Call 01305 261800 or visit

Posted by Matt Smith at 11:36am

Lesson 6 - I Went Down To The Crossroads

1st August 2017

Carl AshwinI'll be honest, my mock test last week and the fact that I failed it with one major fault has weighed on my mind. Having been quite comfortable with my lessons I quickly started to feel the pressure from Instructor Man as he whipped out his clipboard of justice and slipped very comfortably into the role of examiner. He's a wicked man.

Last week we began to tackle some of the more densely populated streets and I had a feeling we might well be doing more of the same of this week, and I was right! We tackled the crossroads of Poundbury. By the way, the deliberate lack of road markings is NOT helpful to the learner driver!

Last week I failed my mock test by not stopping at a STOP sign. This week as we headed down Coburg Road towards the junction with Maud Road I knew it was coming. I stopped this time but Instructor Man wasn't convinced. He asked me to pull up on the left and asked whether I had stopped. I insisted I had stopped momentarily but long enough for me to gauge the flow of traffic from the left and right. Instructor Man advised that I should bring the car to a full stop and wait for a few seconds.

We also the tackled Victoria Park and Monmouth Road which is pretty much lined with traffic on both sides. I should say thank you as well to the many courteous drivers who flashed their lights to let me through!

We ended up winding our way down to Weymouth after some reversing round a corner in Manor Park and Instructor Man seemed reasonably happy.

As for my song choice this week, it has to be a classic to go with the many 'Crossroads' we encountered (though I accept that being from Birmingham I should probably choose the theme tune from the classic TV soap of the same name).

Number of stalls: 1.

Posted by Carl Ashwin at 10:57pm


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