Dorset: A lovely place to forget where you are

‘Dorset’s joyfulness has a uniquely English flavour to it, expressed through the medium of mildly amusing place names, a foaming pint of locally brewed beer, and a ripple of appreciative applause when the bus arrives on time.’

Dorset county map

Thanks to its naturally pine-scented air, stratospheric property prices, and astonishingly high rate of prescription drugs consumption, Dorset is the happiest place in the world.

A sleepy rural county boasting one of the south coast’s least obviously polluted stretches, Dorset is the ideal destination for people who are coming towards a contented conclusion of their own ‘Things To Do Before You Die’ list, and can’t quite remember if they have crossed Bournemouth off already. Long a magnet for the grey pound, it is home to coastal towns where having a great day out with a bucket and spade set is less likely to mean filling it with vodka and orange than using it to store a set of replacement teeth.

Dorset’s joyfulness has a uniquely English flavour to it, expressed through the medium of mildly amusing place names, a foaming pint of locally brewed beer, and a ripple of appreciative applause when the bus arrives on time. All local children are required by law to have solid Christian names like Thomas and Mary, while local shopkeepers must uphold the imperial system of weights and measures while ensuring their faces are sufficiently ruddy during business hours.

Although many of the county’s temporary occupants complete a wheezing last lap of the race of life while staying there, Dorset is being constantly defreshed by groups of bewildered gentlefolk arriving on coach trips, cheerily taking the recently vacated spots in seafront sheltered accommodation before the nursing home staff even have time to remove the half-finished box of fig rolls.

Facts

  • TWINNED WITH: Dignitas, Switzerland
  • AGE DISTRIBUTION: Over 80s (over 80%), Under 20s (under 20%)
  • TRADITIONS: Stands for national anthem, but often not stood up until after anthem is finished
  • LANGUAGE: Polite
  • BIRTHDAY CARDS: Spidery; indescipherable; containing out-of-date postal order
  • INTERNET: Silver surfers (12%) Can’t be doing with all these new TV channels (88%)
  • FINANCES: All with the nice company that offered a Parker pen after joining their “investment scheme”

History

1348 – The Black Death makes landfall at Malcombe Regis, going on to kill a third of England’s population. The Church points to an impressive 66% success rate of their advice to ‘pray away the plague’.

1642 – Local Puritans dismiss accusations that they are against all forms of fun, hosting a light-hearted game of football with a Catholic’s head.

17th Century – The town of Dorchester is at the centre of early emigration to America, as residents seek to escape religious persecution by starting a colony that allows them to found a more equal society based upon liberty, individuality, and religious persecution in their favour.

1685 – In the Bloody Assizes, Judge Jeffreys condemns almost 300 rebels against the King to transportation or death in a makeshift Dorchester court, scenes later dramatised in the Hollywood film Judge Dredd.

19th Century – King George III begins taking regular holidays in Weymouth, doing much to promote the Dorset coast as a tourist destination for the physically infirm, and later, the cosmically unstable.

1985 – Bournemouth becomes the first town in Britain to introduce CCTV cameras for street-based survelliance. The technology proves only a partial success, as many of the elderly residents charged with urinating in the street are found not to have been doing so deliberately.

Did You Know?

The small town of Wimborne has the highest life expectancy for both men and women of anywhere in the UK, and not coincidentally, is also home to a folk festival celebrating the miraculously enduring past-time of morris dancing.

Dorset receives more sunshine than other county, getting up to ten hours on a typical July day, or twelve minutes if you’ve arrived for an expensive weekend in an uninsulated cottage with a dead badger in the cistern.

The Osmington White Horse is a limestone hill figure sculpted early in the 19th Century. 90s TV show Challenge Anneka was called in to restore the horse, though this intervention proved to be disastrous after the team wasted days finding a horse large enough to trace around.

Poole is the only place in the UK to have produced two Miss World contest winners. Anne Sydney, who won in 1964, was a mistress to television stalwart Bruce Forsyth during her reign, though the couple’s relationship broke down after it became clearer what a Brucie Bonus involved.

Providing snacks for Dorset’s many street parties is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall, a chef who has complained that supermarkets are not charging enough for meat products to guarantee proper treatment of animals. The chains quickly pointed out that unlike Hugh not everyone has the land to breed their own animals next to their house, largely because there are supermarkets built on it.

Fun time

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