Almost 10 years ago the husband of one of my former Walker colleagues died of pancreatic cancer. Jenni later moved down to Dorset. We had Jenni’s phone number but, of course, what we didn’t have was a mobile phone signal – we are, after all, in darkest Dorset. The day after our arrival I had wandered up to the main gate where I got a glimmer of a mobile phone signal – enough, at least, to talk to Jenni. I warned her I might lose the connection any second. She was not surprised, being unable to get a mobile signal in her house. Neither can she receive any terrestrial TV signal. Marvelous stuff, this technology! Having succeeded in making an arrangement against all odds, today we were meeting for lunch.
Setting off just after 10:00 AM and timing our approach call carefully to coincide with the presence of some kind of signal, Jenni managed to give us directions to her cottage. We found her with no difficulty, and what a delightful situation she has, assuming you don’t mind a complete lack of telecommunications.
After lunch accompanied by a bottle of Cava to celebrate our reunion, we drove (Ed: I had only one glass) the 5 miles or so to Shaftsbury, “a Saxon hilltop town” to the north. Shaftesbury is home to a TV star. Anyone of sufficient age may remember and old TV advert/commercial for Hovis bread. The advert depicted a precipitously steep cobbled street with a strongly Yorksire accented voiceover along these lines: “… when‘t smell crept up from th’oven …”. The street in question was Gold Hill. Is it in Yorkshire? No, not at all; it’s in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It is certainly very steep and mercifully quite short. It is also undoubtedly very picturesque and draws many onlookers – the sort of street where shy people shoudn’t live.
On our way back, having clambered back up Gold Hill with no accompanying smell of freshly baked bread emanating from any oven, we called into a local delicatessen and invested £4.95 in a local cheese, also labelled Gold Hill and made from unpasteurized milk, to remind us of our visit.
An excellent day and it was great to see Jenni again.