An ill wind blows through the village as the pothole repair man comes and goes

Storm Frank roars through the village, whooshing and shrieking through the tree tops and turning over the wheelie bins put out for the recycling lorry.

The excesses of Christmas are strewn along the street. Beer cans, pizza boxes and cat food tins nestle up to pots of flowers which have been fooled by the mild weather into thinking spring is already here.

A John Lewis lorry is delivering at eight o’clock this morning (so soon after Christmas!) and a workman from the county council comes to fill in a pothole at the heart of the village. This pothole has had its fair share of tarmac poured into it over the past year but has never been tackled properly.

‘Deep joy!’ the pothole says, but only within my earshot. ‘At last, I’m going to be repaired.’

The workman looks at the pothole for a while and then gets to work, running out both of materials to fill it in and enthusiasm to finish the job. He stares at the partly-filled pothole again, gets back in his van and drives over it five times before heading back to base.

In this part of Dorset, far, far away from the madding crowd, this is as good as our road repairs get.

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Out with the old and in with the new

There is a strange glow in the sky as the old year raises its shoulders, takes a deep breath and then yawns rather loudly. It stretches its arms to touch 2016 with its fingertips.

‘Hey you,’ it says. ‘I’m consigning myself to history. It’s time for you to take over.’

And the new year, so eager and so full of youthful promise, is raring to go. But not before the old one is given a proper send-off in true Dorset style at the end of this week.

Tipsy locals will be arm in arm, dancing in the village square as the church clock strikes midnight. And then the Mummers, that ancient band of brothers (and sisters), will descend some twelve hours later, doing what only Mummers do: re-enacting strange tales of Father Christmas, St George, a hobby horse and a reviving doctor, in amongst the party streamer debris of the night before.