Busy as Bees by Margery Hookings

And as the weather improves day by day and the sun beats down on Dorset, there’s activity down at the Bay.

Where the newly-mown grass around Harbour Green looks like it’s ready to be baled for hay and the pleasure craft poot and puttle around the basin, preparing to venture out between the piers, locals and visitors are strolling around, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of this special part of Dorset.

Over on the caravan site, mobile homes are filling up with eager holidaymakers, some of whom are looking around the models that are for sale, saying ‘we could never afford this, and even if we could, would it actually hold its price?’

There are signs in the café windows advertising situations vacant. It’s the same up the road in Bridport where coffee shop after coffee shop is looking for staff. There’s plenty of jobs to be had, if you fancy waiting at tables or working behind a bar. It’s the same old seasonal story here, where the tourist industry is big business.

Out in the fields, the farmers are hard at it with silage making. Double rollers towed by tractors rumble through villages, making the house shake. The tremors go up my legs.

There are lambs scurrying and bleating after their mothers and skittish young cattle are huddling in gateways, the hoody generation of their kind, ready to chase you, given half a chance.

The eyes of the cottages are open, with windows ajar to let in the warm, spring air. Bees are buzzing around blossom.

In stately homes and manor houses, guides are – well – guiding people from room to room with a friendly smile and occasional bark. Tulips are going over now, but, oh how pretty they’ve looked.

Down at the garden centre, folk are seeking out bedding plants for pots and hanging baskets. There’s a run on pea sticks and a queue at the till as people dream of how good their plot is going to look and how productive it will be this year.

At Groves Nurseries, one of Bridport’s longest established businesses, the Ivy House Kitchen opens its doors. This massive structure – architecturally speaking, West Dorset’s answer to Alexandra Palace – represents a huge investment. But no doubt it will reap the benefits in the weeks, months and years to come.

Here’s a link to Charlie Groves, the sixth generation of C.W. Groves to run the garden centre, talking about the progress of Ivy House just before Christmas, where local builders C G Fry & Son were hard at work.

The restaurant opened today and one of its first ‘official’ functions will be a breakfast networking meeting on 24 May for Bridport Business Chamber. Groves are longstanding members and were part of the town long before Bridport became fashionable.

It’s lovely to see such a local, knowledgeable family at the forefront of new initiatives that help shape the future prosperity of the area.

But, hark, the garden is calling me. I must plant my sweet peas.

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