Showing posts from June, 2010

A powerful idea for a sunny garden in Brewster

The solar energy plant at the US Air Force Base at Nellis, the second largest photovoltaic power plant in North America
Picture credit:

So our sister-town of Brewster on Cape Cod seems to be moving steadily towards the green goal of self-sufficiency in energy needs with a rather special type of gardening.

Brewster's Town Administrator Charles Sumner has described as "very appropriate" the idea of a solar garden on land owned by the town which would use the power of the sun to provide electricity.

The full story is at

Shalom from East Budleigh!

I've always been intrigued by the fact that two men who played such an important role in American colonial history were both born in the same East Devon village.

Most people know a bit about Sir Walter Raleigh and if you don't you can browse and to discover my fascination with this great Elizabethan.

Roger Conant also was born in East Budleigh, just a few miles north of Budleigh Salterton, but almost half a century after Sir Walter. On this side of the Atlantic he may not be as well known as the man who is supposed to have introduced England to the potato and tobacco, but Massachusetts people know him as the founder of Salem and his statue is one of the best-known landmarks of that city.

Yet even Americans are sometimes mistaken on biographical details of this Devon-born pioneer of the first European settlements in the …

Raleigh Festival Weekend 26 and 27 June 2010

Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 June

Saturday 26 June only
* Official Opening by Judi Spiers famous for her much-loved Radio Devon programme at
12 midday in the Village Hall East Budleigh

* Drakes School open 10.00 am-3.00 pm
Exhibition of children’s work including a potato modelling competition Treasure Hunt for all the family Tickets £1.50.

* Concert by the Courteney Players 7.00 pm in All Saints Church. Tickets £5.00 available from East Budleigh Shop, the Garage and at the door

Saturday 26 June and Sunday 27th June
* Village Hall 10.30 am - 5.00 pm
Refreshments: Coffees 10.30 am - 12 midday
Light lunches 12.30 - 2.00 pm – Saturday only
Cream Teas 2.30 - 4.00 pm

Raffle will be drawn at 4.00 pm
Demonstration of Scottish Dancing
Saturday 4.00-4.30pm
Playford Dancing – Sunday 4.00–4.30 pm

Stalls: Plants, Books, Cakes, Village souvenirs
* All Saints Church open all weekend for visits to see an exhibition of old and rare books, WI events books and knitting by the Square Circle Knitting Group.
* Salem Ch…

School's paintings are blooming good

An obvious headline, but pretty usual for local media. Just in case they they haven't been featured in Budleigh newspapers I thought I would show these pictures by children from St Peter's Church of England Primary School and the Carousel Playgroup.

They were just some of the 263 entries submitted by Budleigh Salterton young people for the 'South West in Bloom' 2010 Schools Painting Competition and were on display in the Public Hall next to the town's Art Club Spring Bank Holiday exhibition on 31 May.

The theme was 'Dig it, Grow it, Cook it & Eat it.' The entries were grouped in two categories: up to 6 years and 7-11 years.

One selected picture from each group will be sent on to join others from across the region. The 'South West in Bloom' organisation will pick out some overall favourites to be shown at a presentation event held in Bath on Thursday 16 September.

Paintings from this children's painting competition will most likely be used by Vir…

Music from across the pond at Otterton Mill

I thought Budleigh Salterton was the only town in East Devon which had a transatlantic link with our American cousins, but I've been looking at Otterton Mill's summer music programme. You might have seen that the village of Otterton, just a few miles upstream from Budleigh, has a long-established twinning link with Vieux, in Normandy. However from a glance at their website you might conclude that Mill owners Caroline and Simon Spiller could have a more obvious claim for this beautiful village to be twinned with a US community.

Nashville, Tennessee, is a clear contender, and it was from that centre of the country music industry otherwise known as 'Music City, USA' that acclaimed singer/songwriter Kim Richey came on 3 June to give a sell-out concert at the Mill. It was her first visit to the Mill, which has become one of the UK's leading roots music venues, hosting dozens of world class acoustic performances each year.

Most weeks, usually on Thursday nights, Otterton M…

Stoned in Paradise and other gardening issues

Try kicking this 'rugby ball' and you'd end up with a few broken toes
Playing with those pebbles on the beach at Budleigh Salterton during Gala Week is all very well, but back in the garden they're not such fun.

I moved to East Devon to grow ericaceous plants like this fine 'Blue Peter' rhododendron
As I've mentioned before, this little corner of woodland Budleigh Salterton where I eventually settled in retirement is called Paradise on old maps, so growing things seems a natural activity here.

This 'Hugh Koster' rhododendron is another of my favourites
But it's not all that easy. It may be called Paradise but I'm sure that when Adam was put in charge of the Garden of Eden he didn't have to cope with all the little horticultural issues that we have to deal with.

A small but growing Budleigh pebble beach in a corner of my garden. All quite legal. Budleigh Salterton…

'English Music' at St Peter's Church

Songs by Purcell, Handel, Vaughan Williams, Finzi and Britten along with organ music by Parry, Ireland and Britten will feature in the St Peter's Music concert on Thursday 17 June.

Baritone Martin Shaw was trained at the Royal College of Music and became established as a soloist mostly in oratorio and for his solo song recitals. He has been much involved with cathedral music, liturgy, and with broadcasting, formerly in Exeter. He has recently retired from being Diocesan Bishop of Argyll and The Isles, and has returned to Exeter, where he is well known.

Organist and pianist Andrew Millington has been Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral since 1999. A Cambridge organ scholar, he was appointed Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral, and subsequently Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. During this time he appeared at ‘The Proms’ and toured many European countries giving recitals and conducting the choirs with which he was associated.

Tickets are £12. For in…

All about oysters and a dish of an idea for Budleigh beach

Oysters! Wonderful to see them in their cages, fresh and full of deep sea taste that hits you as you gurgle down that mixture of brine and soft fish flesh which many people find disgusting.

I love oysters but, as with all shellfish, a dead or contaminated one can put you off eating crustaceans for life. I first got a taste for them when staying in the Vendée on the west coast of France, where you could and I hope still can buy them direct from the producers' shacks. But a 60th birthday dinner years later at one of London's most reputable restaurants turned a celebration into a digestive catastrophe when I chose oysters for the first course.

So seeing them fresh and cared for in these pictures illustrating the work done by Americorps volunteers makes me keener than ever to cross the Atlantic to Cape Cod and taste this aspect of life in Budleigh Salterton's sister-town of Brewster.

The volunteers were working for the town's Department of Natural Resources and I'm gratef…

Budleigh Salterton Art Club show 31 May 2010

Budleigh Salterton Art Club has traditionally held a one-day show in the Public Hall at the start of Gala Week. Here is a selection of members' works inspired by the local area.

Michael Ahearne, Budleigh Cliffs, oil, £65

Jenny Baker, Untitled NFS

June Chase, Receding Tide, watercolour £50

Teresa Creton, Budleigh beach, acrylic, £15

Wendy Markham, Springtime in a Devon lane, watercolour, £45

Margaret Percy, On the Green, oil, £30

Chris Stacey, Footpath at Budleigh, acrylic, £20

For more information about the Club, click on The Budleigh Salterton Art Club Summer Exhibition in the Public Hall will run from Saturday 21 to Monday 30 August 2010, and will be open from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm. There will be a children's corner and a raffle.

June at the Brook

'Distant Hills' by Kathleen Caddick

Hot on the heels of the Brook’s highly successful Frost exhibition, the town's busiest gallery is set to give us what they call "a blockbuster of a British summer" with three major events, starting with the current show featuring works by Kathleen Caddick, Heidi Koenig and Sir Peter Blake.

"Although born in Liverpool, Kathleen spent her childhood in Buckinghamshire where the beech woods and far reaching views across the Chiltern Hills must have subconsciously implanted her love of trees," says the Gallery. "Kathleen's vision of landscape is the subject matter of her work expressing feelings of space, peace and tranquility through her use of muted colours. We have displayed work now for many years and she remains one of our most popular artists." More information is at

'Barefoot on the Grass' by Heidi Koenig

"Heidi Koenig was brought up and educate…

Stoned again in Gala Week

Pictured above: The opening of the Budleigh Salterton Gala Week and fete by Pippa Quelch of BBC Radio Devon, showing the 2010 Gala Queen, King and one of the Princesses

If the 2010 pebble-building competition proved anything it was that the organisers are level-headed people who've learnt not to trust the Met Office and not to panic faced with the vagaries of the English climate.

Two days before the event the weather forecast was absolutely dire, with graphics showing a very black-looking cloud and two equally black-looking raindrops on the Met Office website forecast for the Budleigh Salterton area.

And Gala Week started on Saturday with highly unpredictable showers and drizzle dampening the brief spells of sunshine.

Umbrellas and anoraks were much in evidence as fete-goers dodged the showers. My heart went out to the Lions Club people who'd planned this fun family event for Bank Holiday Monday. What on earth would they do?

I searched the Lions' website at http://www.budleighl…