Showing posts from February, 2010

The Taj Mahal, Budleigh Salterton

[I'm not really into writing restaurant reviews, but the following appeared on my Exmouth Roadies blog last year
I thought it might be a useful piece of text to accompany the photo on my Budleigh Salterton Food & Drink Flikr collection which I started recently at So more food reviews might follow depending on cash-flow and causes to celebrate by eating out.]

Taj Mahal cooks spice up Budleigh at the Tantalising Tastes of Asia event in May 2008.
Photo credit: Ray Ambrose of Randa Creative

Indian cuisine is something that many Budleigh residents know quite a bit about thanks to last year’s popular Tantalising Tastes of Asia presentation by the town’s Taj Mahal restaurant during the May Gala Week.

The family-owned Taj Mahal in the High Street gets very busy at the weekend and during the summer so we chose a quieter weekday evening last night not only to enj…

Roadworks may not work for worried Brewster traders

Budleigh Salterton High Street during last year's renewal of the town's water mains

[It's been only a year since Budleigh Salterton's Chamber of Commerce was awarded a £3,000 pay-out by South West Water after traders complained that weeks of road excavations and traffic diversions had caused a slump in their profits. Half of the money was used to ensure that free three-hour parking for shoppers would be available at the Rolle Car Park in the High Street. The remainder paid for advertising in the local press and on radio, to get the message across that the town was back in business.

I'm reminded of this by reports from across the Atlantic, where the timing of roadworks in Brewster to improve the main Route 6A artery through the town is causing anxiety.

Budleigh Salterton and Brewster, our sister-town on Cape Cod, are both highly dependent on seasonal trade as far as local businesses are concerned.]


Brewster businesses concerned about impact of Route 6A work
By Rich …

What allota style for a scarecrow!

Growing your own veg is the smart thing to do nowadays, so a designer scarecrow is only to be expected here at Budleigh Salterton's Allotment Gardens in Greenway Lane.

The allotments, run by the Town Council, have proved so popular that there is a waiting list: 55 names had been registered at the last count in July 2009. There are currently 14 full plots and 42 half plots, and enquiries are being made to rent additional land.

If you're interested in joining the waiting list, call at the Town Council offices in Station Road. A rent increase came into effect from 1 January 2010, meaning that allotment holders now pay £43.50 for a full plot and £21.75 for a half plot. So it's not a free facility, but as Cllr Tom Wright, Chairman of the Allotments Committee, points out, growers can enjoy "a healthy pastime, community spirit and the rewards of their labours in high quality fresh produce."

Sixty+ voices for Africa

Budleigh Salterton's celebrated Male Voice Choir will be singing to raise funds for a Gambian village on 6 March. The Choir's logo on its website evokes the Victorian artist Sir John Millais' famous work 'The Boyhood of Raleigh' painted during his stay in Budleigh in 1870
The villages of Woodbury and Woodbury Salterton just a few miles north of Budleigh Salterton may be a little off the beaten track, but nobody could accuse them of being inward-looking. Not only does Woodbury have a French twin in Bretteville-sur-Odon, Normandy, but both Devon villages have strong links with communities in Africa and are heavily involved with fund-raising events for charity projects there.

Woodbury is planning 'A Gig for Africa' in its Village Hall on Friday 12 March, with great American and UK acoustic music, supporting a remote clinic in West Kenya where a local resident regularly works as a nurse. The event will additionally benefit the Jonah Home for Children & Hope H…

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime

It's good to see that Salterton Drama Club's 2010 schedule includes a production of Present Laughter by Noel Coward. That proves that Budleigh is more than capable of laughing off the author's mocking words about its image in his play Blithe Spirit, evoked in places like

Anyway that's just one of the four productions for 2010 planned by Budleigh Salterton's own group of enthusiastic thespians who operate from their little Playhouse tucked away down an alleyway off Station Road. It may look like a prefab classroom from the outside but it's got a friendly intimate and unpretentious atmosphere all of its own, and is loyally supported by audiences drawn from the town and from further afield.

The season opens with a week-long performance of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, running from Monday 1 - Saturday 6 March 2010. This is as the website says, "a witty comedy by Constance Cox, based on the short story …

Doubly cross ticks - I hope!

For the second year running local gardeners may have been dismayed by the unusually hard frosts that Budleigh Salterton has experienced.

But pets and their owners should be pleased that the icy weather will have helped to see off many of the pests and parasites which can turn a pleasant summer's day walk in the woods into an annoying and even dangerous experience.

Ticks are one of the main culprits.

I'm moved to warn people yet again about these unpleasant creatures having just read the worrying account of his experience of Lyme disease by Times journalist Alex Wade.

Alex was brought up in the Budleigh area. I met him by chance on the beach here during the pebble-building competition last year, and he was kind enough to write a piece about my blog in his Times 'Coaster' column at
The fl…

A sunny outlook for 'green' powered homes

Benefiting as we do in Budleigh from all that sunshine, you'd think that most houses would take advantage of solar power installations to reduce their energy bills.

In fact the town's estate agents will tell you that solar panels are rarely mentioned as a feature in their house sales.

That situation is likely to change. James Whiting, whose family moved to the town in 1982 is a regular visitor to Budleigh, and as Managing Director of Friends of the Earth has played a major role since 2008 in persuading the Government to introduce a feed-in tariff (FiT) - or Clean Energy Cashback, as it is known. It means that along with the rest of Europe, the UK will offer financial incentives from April 2010 to those who generate low carbon electricity from renewable energy resources such as small wind turbines and solar panels.

James Whiting and Friends of the Earth are among those who feel that Britain needs to go much further in this 'green' direction. The cash payments that will be…

A Sole Sister on Cape Cod?

Exeter, Exmouth, Otterton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary... What do they all have in common apart from being in East Devon? The answer is that they are all officially twinned with towns or villages abroad.

Most of the 'twinned' Devon communities have been linked to partners in France, although Sidmouth has a Swiss twin and Ottery chose Otari in Japan.

Yet it's on the other side of the Atlantic that our county has the strongest historic connections, based on the voyages across the pond made famous by Sir Walter Raleigh (c.1552-1618) and Roger Conant (c. 1592–1679), founder of the city of Salem, Massachusetts, and of course by the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower in 1620. No surprise then that Plymouth and Barnstaple have official twinning links with their namesakes on Cape Cod.
The photo shows Sir Walter Raleigh's statue in East Budleigh, his birthplace. I lent him the Stars & Stripes for Independence Day.

It was one of the Pilgrim Fathers, Elder William Brewster (c. 1566 …

Illuminating a dark period in US history

I see that a former resident of Budleigh Salterton's sister-town on Cape Cod has been involved in an interesting cinematic project which has brought back wartime memories for me.

Not that I am a WW2 veteran or anything like that. But, born in 1946, I do feel that the war had a tremendous impact on our generation in terms of the damage that it did to our parents' generation.
Yet it also brought positive benefits in terms of appreciating the evil that humans are capable of, as well as admiring their heroism.

So, back in 1995, I wrote a book, Oundle's War, which reflected those thoughts as well as tracing the history of a small Northamptonshire town in the east of England between 1939 and 1945.

The book was very popular in the area and was printed again in November 2009. All profits went to the Royal British Legion, which pleased people like Roger Bass (on the left in the picture), vice chairman of the RBL here in Budleigh.

The chapters of Oundle's War focused on different as…

A ray of exotic sunshine to brighten an English winter

[Budleigh Salterton's Brook Gallery sensibly decided that Mediterranean colours were just the thing to take the chill out of one of the iciest seasons that Devon has experienced in recent years.]

Winner of ‘The Brook Gallery Prize Award’ for artistic innovation at the renowned Originals’ 09 show in London, the Spanish artist Herme Bellido has put together a unique collection for the Brook’s February exhibition.

Above: Medersa 1 by Herme Bellido

Bahia Palace Screenprint on paper
Entitled ‘Nothing has been Written’ 14 February to 7 March, the work combines her skills in colour and print in a series of screen prints that relates to the journey of life, which as Herme herself says, ‘engages the viewer in a silent conversation.’

Working with a myriad of media, Herme brings together her respect of and reliance on colour in a selection of exquisite work that documents her recent travels in Morocco. Her colours are influenced by the subject matter and muted by her life in England; with the vib…