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Jubilee Beacon
Monday 04 June 2012, 22:00-22:30

altThe weather was kind, with rain beforehand to dampen the hillside and ensure we could not start a grass fire, and rain after we had cleared the site the next morning, to soak in any remaining bits of dropped charcoal, but with a clear, calm evening for the beacon itself, and a full moon rising over the hills opposite.

A crowd of literally tens gathered at shortly before 10 p.m., at the beacon site above the village. We had laid the fire in the beacon bucket earlier that day, with firelighters, kindling, and well-aged firewood. The crowd watched as I struck match after match, trying without success (and even less competence) to get even a single firelighter to light. Fortunately I had half expected this lack of cooperation by the technology, and had brought a garden flare, which lit easily, and provided a good flame for the firelighters. Once they were going, the whole bonfire took quickly, and the assembled multitudes were able to enjoy the metre-high flames which by 10:15 were lighting the hillside and very nearly overcoming the spring-evening chill.

Before lighting the fire, we were able to enjoy from our hillside Weymouth's laser light show (still very disappointing) and their regular Monday-evening firework display (much more like it). At about 10:20, we toasted the health of the Queen, and soon after we could see another beacon, at the back of the Riviera Hotel (other local beacons, at the Nothe in Weymouth and on Portland were not quite in our line of sight). There is nothing quite so cheerful as a village group standing around a good fire, glasses in hand, enjoying the English spring.

As the flames died back, people drifted back to their homes around 10:45. At about 10:55, we thoroughly hosed down the remaining embers, and so were able to leave the site completely safe and tidy.

Our thanks to Wessex Water, Natural England, and to George & Sally for allowing this event to happen, and to the villagers who came out late in the evening to help pay our local tribute to a great Monarch.

Some pictures as a reminder: 

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As the weather is benign, we will be among the many beacons around the country (and across the world) to light between 10 and 10:30 p.m.

This event is ON.

Our beacon will be lit at as close to 10:15 as we can manage. This is subject to conditions being suitable to make the lighting safe; we don't want to risk another
gorse fire like the one at the end of March. The main thing that could prevent the beacon being lit is wind. we will make a decision on Monday afternoon, and let you know here, and also by means of a poster on the telegraph poll at the 'village green'.

The beacon is on the knoll half way up West Hill, at the place marked on the map.


 

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Location  Beacon, up West Hill
Contact  Bill Egerton 832872