Perched atop of the famous “Gold Hill” of the Ridley Scott Hovis advert, Shaftesbury has a high street of woe. A mixture of charity shops, coffee shops (last count 10 for a population of 5,000 odd) and gift shops for the grockles. If you need to buy something useful such as a paintbrush or a pair of socks, be prepared for a 45 minutes drive each way to the nearest proper shopping.
Thursday is market day in Shaftesbury. Revel in the heights of country living with a fish stall, a bread stall and a few sad plants among the hoards of living dead that Shaftesbury High Street brings out because the market is on.
No buses in Dorset
Car parking is in short supply and expensive. It would be nice to get public transport but alas the hill prevents a train station and there have never been any buses in Dorset.
For the young-uns, the highlight of the year for any 13 year old is the fair which visits around carnival time in September. Underage cider and chips on Park Walk followed by a vigorous shaking on a rickety “ride” that hooks to the back of a Landrover only ever has one result – yes its puke.
Adults aren’t much better. The Carnival is an excuse to go out and overdo the cider, get involved in a screaming match or a kicking with your ex and end up barred from every establishment until the next big occasion which will be Christmas Eve.
If you are old and rich you may fancy dabbling in local politics. The town council is notorious for its bad tempered, self interested meetings and if you want to join in with the pig wrestle, you will be in for hours of fun. Just don’t go in with any ideas of actually wanting to help or do anything of constructive virtue.
Forget being able to buy a house as the property prices are high with the local wages being minimum. And if you are not white, be prepared for stares by the locals. They may even try and touch your hair if you are a kid.
On the whole, if you want to live to be old, the Enmore Green borough has one of the highest rates of longevity, but your average person may die from boredom and isolation long before then.
Shaftesbury – it’s great if you’re old and rich
Sherborne, a hideously deranged town that looks great from afar
Sherborne is a quiet peaceful town, but underneath it is a festering wound
Weymouth: Every day is like Sunday
Isle of Portland – Where hope goes to die
Bridport: historic **** town
Boscombe & Southbourne in Bournemouth, my advice is stay away!
I had the misfortune of visiting Boscombe
Poole “it’s a beautiful place”, yeah right!!!!!!