Transition Town Dorchester celebrated the end of 2013 by completing a pond which we have been working on for months, in the Poundbury orchard. We spent the year experimenting with the size and shape of the pond, then there was an lot of hard digging in rock solid chalk soil baked hard by the summer sun, but finally in the last days of December we got the pond liner down. Within hours the heavens had opened and it rained non-stop for days – everyone else was depressed but we were delighted to see our dream pond fill up by inches each day! We still have plenty of work to do on it, but pondlife can start moving in right now. Celebrations continued into the new year when we held our annual wassailing at the Railway orchard, between Monmouth Rd and the railway. Wassailing was traditionally done on the old Twelfth Night to drive away evil spirits from an orchard and to wake up the sleeping trees. We had a fantastic band of musicians and lots of noise, including a brass player who cunningly fitted a trumpet mouthpiece into a watering can – no chance of any evil spirits remaining with a racket like that!

After singing, we toasted the biggest apple tree with apple cake and cider, then we moved on to the Poundbury orchard to repeat the ceremony, with slightly less enthusiasm because it started to rain (good for the pond though!) The community farm/orchard is behind the Weymouth College Skills Centre, off Middle Farm Way in Poundbury. Workdays at the farm are held most weekends, with shared lunches and tea breaks, and everyone is welcome to come and join in. For more information email