We have blue tits nesting in the bird box in the garden, which means no more football on the lawn. With eldest grandson coming on Monday this presents a problem - how to entertain him all day with no soccer. The solution we hit upon is clock golf. But where to buy a clock gold set? None of the local stores can help, so we resort to the internet. We find that they are made by the ancient firm of Jacques - who made John Prescott's croquet set. We find a site who will sell us a set, but they suggest delivery will take 5-7 days. That will not guarantee that we will get it in time, but the site also suggests "If you are local, drop in and see us."
They are based in Downton, a small village between here and Salisbury. It's a nice drive that takes half an hour or so along country lanes. We arrive at a rather forbidding and deserted trading estate amd enter what seems to be a block of offices. Yes, they'd be happy to sell us a clock golf set and immediately produce one. They have a staff of five very pleasant people who do most of their business over the web, but have about seven customers a week who call in, so it is an event when someone does. Their main business is kitchenware so I ask them if they have a carving dish with rubber feet that won't slide all over the working surface in the kitchen. Not only do they have one, but it doubles as a chopping board and has a heat retaining block to stop the meat cooling while cutting. They have another sale. We are very popular when we leave.
We proceed to another trading estate in Poole, looking for an art gallery. We have been through the yellow pages looking for art galleries because we want to give out daughter a present reminding her of home when she returns from her honeymoon in Mauritius. All the galleries in Bournemouth have large tasteless paintings that are massively overpriced. At the Poole trading estate he has thousand of pictures - prints and originals - and hundreds of choices of frame. He shows us a set of watercolors of Christchurch harbour by Christopher Hollick, a local artist who has now moved to Norfolk and won't be painting any more Dorset views. We purchase three.
I don't like shopping as a rule. I mainly visit the internet when I want to buy something, but trading estate shopping seems tolerable. The man at the art gallery gave us a book about the Dorset Art Fair. Local artists are exhibiting in their own homes for the next month. It is an opportunity to see what they have to offer. The first one we must visit lives 5 doors away from us. After 30 years at this address it is a wonderful excuse to meet out neighbours.