Saturday, 26 December 2009

A pebble for your thoughts

Not too many people venture out on to Budleigh beach at this time of the year - apart from the mad Christmas swimmers of course - but that very special stretch of ancient beautiful pebbles will always charm visitors, whatever the season.

Some Budleigh people might like to keep it as one of those undiscovered gems of the UK coast. One told me recently that one of the things that induced him and his wife to move here nearly ten years ago was that they had been informed that Budleigh Salterton was "not a tourist town, and catered rather for the residents."

"We have found this to be the case, and have much enjoyed its quiet atmosphere," he wrote. "There are plenty of nearby tourist resorts for those who seek them."

Above: A winter scene on Budleigh beach, looking west towards Sandy Bay and Exmouth

Nobody wants to see a string of amusement arcades along the sea front, but I can't imagine how that person thinks that Budleigh traders or indeed the organisers of its very successful festivals will manage without visitors from the world outside.

So - with a few possible exceptions - we should be pleased to see the comments of one recent enchanted visitor who is also a fellow-blogger. "Walk along Budleigh Salterton's pebble beach," he writes. "There are many places in life that will catch your eyes but only a few that will capture your heart."

My American readers may be interested to know that this is a New York-based interior designer who spends his life in what he calls "the pursuit of beauty" and whose client-list extends in the USA from the East to the West coast, and across 'the pond' to England.
Above: New York designer Christopher Ong, a recent visitor to Budleigh

Christopher Ong's career has in fact been international, owing much to an East-meets-West experience. After a childhood in the Far East he studied in Toronto and New York City before starting his design business in 2000. 'Manhattan meets Malaysia' is a theme of much of his work, which has embraced everything from lifestyle product designs to the interior design of various critically acclaimed, celebrity-frequented boutique hotels in South Beach, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

But back to Budleigh Salterton. "It was a windy and wet and chilly afternoon," he writes. "We took a walk along the beautiful clean pebble beach. I had never seen a beach like this before. It was beautiful."

Long may it remain so.

Above: Budleigh beach from the sea
Christopher Ong's work can be seen at

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