Showing posts from December, 2010

The usual Christmas Day craziness on Budleigh beach

Well, here they are again. Crazy as lemmings, rushing into the sea on Christmas Day and then just as madly dashing out again. A beautiful morning, with a sky almost as sunny and blue as recorded in these pages this time last year at BUT THIS TIME THE BEACH WAS WHITE!

I remember muttering something about having a go last year, but now that I feel it's my duty to record this incredible scene every year I've got a good excuse to stay on dry land and not spend Boxing Day in bed with double pneumonia.

Speaking to Sarah Lowe from Budleigh and her sister Jennie from Birmingham, pictured above, I could only feel that I was the rational one. "A stupid idea," admitted Sarah when I asked them what they thought of what they were planning to do in a few minutes. "I'd rather jump out of an airplane," added Jennie.

But here they are, all these apparently foolhardy people, clearly enjoying th…

Budleigh Salterton's white Christmas

This is our third year in Budleigh Salterton and each winter has been chillier than the last. And now this corner of East Devon has had its first truly white Christmas for years. What happened to that micro-climate they boast about here?

Exmouth Road, the main western approach to Budleigh where I live, suddenly became a quiet country lane under snow, with only the occasional tractor or 4WD vehicle breaking the silence.

There's a downside of course if you're a keen gardener. We've got used to the frosts now, unusual though they are, but hadn't counted on snow damage. Looking out of the window and wondering at all the whiteness of the garden we heard a sudden crack saw two branches of our beautiful mimosa, already about to burst into flower, collapsed under the weight of snow. So sad. Will it survive? Why didn't I see what was going to happen? Five minutes earlier and I could have saved it by shaking the snow off.

At least our mimosa didn't bring down any power line…

Five fascinating facts about Brewster and Budleigh Salterton (3)

It's been some time since I posted at some of the random and interesting (for some people) facts about Budleigh Salterton and its sister-town across the Atlantic. So here come another five:

Home and away
Photo credit: A nice house in Brewster Massachusetts

Half of Brewster's residential property owners are part-time residents according to the Brewster Association of Part-Time Residents on their website at

Heavens above!

The pastor of Budleigh’s Evangelical Church on Station Road is the appropriately named Rev. John Heavens.

What’s in a name?

Cape Cod resident Marietta Nilson tells me: "One great thing about Brewster is that you can type it on a QWERTY keyboard entirely with your left hand!!!!"

A mystery property

This Budleigh Salterton house, Watch Hill, was used for the 1986 filming of an Agatha Christie mystery in the B…

Delightful Christmas presents

Biscuits from Budleigh

If you've sent a Budleigh Salterton Christmas card to friends you might like to impress them even more by giving them a Budleigh-branded gift.

Delytes Delicatessen in Budleigh's High Street now has an attractive website at including an erudite explanation of the shop's name. It also stocks goodies such as biscuits, jams and chocolates attractively packaged using the iconic logo of those beautiful pine trees at Otter Head.

Delytes sell a selection of jams using the Budleigh brand
There's even a seasonal-looking hamper of locally produced food on display proudly showing off Budleigh chutney, Budleigh roasted coffee and Budleigh red wine. From a bit further afield come Ottery St Mary honey and beeswax candles, Sidmouth fudge, Buckfastleigh ginger beer, Bideford meringues, Axminster chocolates and miniature wines and even more chocolates, this time from Okehampton.

It's just as well that Devon has wonderful countryside as we…

With best wishes for Christmas

We're still a few days from 18 December, the last date for posting Christmas cards within the UK by second class delivery. So if you've run out of your supply and want to support local good causes here in Budleigh Salterton two of the town's festivals have produced their own cards to help with their fund-raising.

The Music Festival is selling Christmas cards featuring a lovely view of Otter Head and a Christmas carol specially written for the festival by Nicholas Marshall. They come in packs of six with envelopes, and are available from the Tourist Information Centre in Fore Street at £3.99 for packs of six.

Also available from the TIC are Christmas cards in support of the Literary Festival. The picture, so they say, is by Burne-Jones and shows him listening in what they call "an alert and interested way" to the poems of William Morris. I hope it's not supposed to represent your typical literary festival-goer. It's an unusual card anyway and a good talking-…

Mad about Mosses

The 2011 calendar from Mountain Moss Enterprises
These pages are normally limited to what's going on in Budleigh Salterton or in our sister-town of Brewster, Massachusetts, but on this occasion I'm going to stray a bit further afield across the Atlantic.
I first got to know of Mossin' Annie - real name Annie Martin - shortly after moving to Devon. Realising that our back lawn is essentially an inches-thick carpet of moss I googled for help on the best way of getting rid of it. Short of stripping it out and re-turfing the lawn I didn't find many satisfactory answers. It seems that a combination of shade and the acid soil that you find in this part of East Devon - ideal for camellias and rhododendrons of course - is also perfect for growing moss, or bryophyta as the experts call it.

I discovered that there are in fact lots of advantages to having a moss lawn when I found the website for Annie's company Mountain Moss Enterprises, based in North Carolina, USA. Hardly any…

Party time at Fairlynch Museum

(L-r) Party guests Roger Bass, Pat Lorton, Maryanne Bass and Anthea Downes

Helpers and volunteers at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch celebrated the spirit of Christmas last Friday 10 December at a party organised by Trustees in gratitude for all the hard work that's done behind the scenes at the museum.

(L-r): Bernadette Hughes, Marie and Gordon Johnson

"The Stewards usually have a party in the summer, but we thought everyone should have a thank you," said Margaret Brett, one of the Fairlynch Trustees. "It was a great success judging by the number of people who turned up on a dark December evening. Thanks must go to our caretaker, Sylvia Merkel, for the excellent food she prepared."

The Friends of Fairlynch support and fund-raise for Fairlynch Museum. New members, at an annual subscription of £10 per member, are most welcome. Please contact Jan Harvey on 01395 444334.