Showing posts from May, 2011

New York artist Bill Jacklin at Budleigh's Brook Gallery

Bill Jacklin's Man with dog, NYC This year marks the tenth anniversary of the strange link between Budleigh Salterton and the American town of Brewster, Massachusetts. So it somehow seems appropriate that the Brook Gallery should be featuring the work of an artist who's at home on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is what the Brook Gallery tells us about their latest exhibition:

Bill Jacklin RA, distinguished British artist and New York resident, will be showcasing his work at The Brook Gallery in Budleigh Salterton, from 22 May to 14 June 2011, in an evocative and moving exhibition, entitled ‘The Lightness of Being’.

Aptly named, the exhibition showcases Bill Jacklin’s etchings and monotypes redolent of urban life, coupled with a magical quality, both in form and production. His work appears to provide a history behind the images, which fuel the imagination and cleverly allow you to develop a story that appeals -a snapshot on urban life and an insight into another’s life. Bill J…

Budleigh's 2011 Gala Week: 28 May - 5 June

Today it's the start of Gala Week in Budleigh Salterton. I have to admit that my mind has been on other things - not just gardening - so I'd almost forgotten it. Then yesterday I get a call from East Budleigh's Kathy Moyle, always keen to promote events at the Salem Chapel, just a few miles north of Budleigh Salterton.

Pictured left, the coronation ceremony of Budleigh's 2010 Gala Week, organised by the town's Lions Club

Of course the whole range of Gala Week events is described at as well as in our local paper the Budleigh Journal at so I don't need to say much about them except that a lot of hard work has gone into providing a week of entertaining activities where everyone should find at least one event to interest them. I hope to be there with my camera tempting Budleigh people to find world wide fame by appearing on these blog pag…

A* for Museum's adventure day

Inspired as I am by tales of such East Devon-born adventurers as Sir Walter Raleigh I went along to the Budleigh Budding Explorers Day at Fairlynch Museum that I've already mentioned at

Entry to the Museum was free, which might have had something to do with the crowds of families who'd turned up on Saturday 7 May. But the Bicton College students had put a lot of effort into some innovative thinking to make the event attractive and interesting, from the bunting decoration to the various activities on offer.

I spoke to Jo Woods, pictured above, a mature student from West Hatch, near Taunton, who was in charge of the potato printing stall. I'd wondered a bit about the relevance of this activity to explorers, but Jo explained the link with Sir Walter Raleigh and the potatoes he's supposed to have brought back from America.

It's a small step from potato-printing to vegetable planting…

More discomania

Blogs are like flotsam, drifting in cyberspace until they're caught by someone's Google net.

That piece I wrote about the strange discs being washed up on Atlantic beaches in America at was found by Harry, aka Harold Johnson, from Saco in Maine.

"Hi there," he writes. "Found your blog on a search of the Hooksett disks. Trying to see from week to week how far they've traveled. (I live in Maine, just north of New Hampshire, and often comb the local beach looking for flotsam.)"

So, a true discomaniac. But Harry's interest is seriously environmental. Like me he's a blogger, publishing at but on a specific theme. His blog is "A chronicle of human debris. Washed up, blown in, left behind."

And based on his observations, those discs may not be just an American phenomenon. "Actually, by summer, some of them that got caug…

From badgers to Baudelaire

Nineteenth century poet Charles Baudelaire, author of a collection of poems entitled 'Les Fleurs du Mal' which scandalised many contemporary readers. As the subject of my French literature classes many years ago he inspired some of my students to start a Baudelaire Society at university. But I think they just wanted an excuse for debauchery

I was going to start this post by quoting from the French poet some lines that I remembered from 40 years ago, then decided that such an opening might be thought a little pretentious and perplexing. Especially when I checked out the English version offered by Google's translation service.
However it's not every day that you meet a retired West Country farmer-poet who engages you in a conversation about the simple pleasures of a Buddhist lifestyle. Then reveals that he's been touched by lines from 'Les Fleurs de Mal.' And all that in Budleigh Salterton Library on a morning when I'd simply popped in to look at some noti…

Annoying garden parties

Well, with the smooth comes the rough. As our wonderful deciduous azaleas burst into a fiery mass, making the garden a real showpiece, along they come, keen to get a piece of the action. Blasted badgers.

It's been the same for the last two years. Strangely there was no sign of them during our first spring in Budleigh. The only damage to the lawn was caused by moles. But I'm sure they must have been around. Maybe in the neighbour's garden.

Now the moles seem to have vanished and the mysterious black and white creatures from the wood have taken their place, leaving their random traces of destruction in unexpected places. Just when you think that your beautiful lawn has been left undisturbed while you were asleep you turn the corner during your morning inspection of the garden and see the evidence of their all-night partying.

I'm told it's worms they're after, or invertebrates, of which I'm sure we've got lots.
The deer fence doesn't seem to be keeping the…

Family fun day for young explorers

Budding explorers will be given a great opportunity to enjoy a day of adventure, excitement and travellers’ tales as Environmental Education students from Bicton College hold a free family event on Saturday 7 May at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum, Budleigh Salterton from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm.

The event coincides with the theme of the museum’s 2011 exhibition about Budleigh’s own intrepid polar explorer George Murray Levick, and follows earlier exhibitions at Fairlynch based on the life of East Budleigh-born Elizabethan adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh.

Fairlynch Museum's Education Officer Amanda Murrell, who is collaborating with Bicton College on the venture says that activities will include a fact-finding trail, potato planting and printing, boat making, crafts and much more.

Bicton Course Tutor Alex Turner told me that this is the first time that students from the College have been involved with Fairlynch. "The students involved are studying for a foundation degree in …

Fairlynch Museum has dresses to thrill

I've been so preoccupied by the life and career of Surgeon Commander Murray Levick, the subject of Fairlynch's current main exhibition, that I was in danger of neglecting other areas where volunteers at Budleigh Salterton's Museum had been hard at work with their own display areas.

That was until I suddenly dreamt up that silly headline for my post at

And then I began to think about how Fairlynch Museum began, and how one of its chief glories is its costume collection.

The Museum holds approximately 4,000 items of men's, women's and children's clothing as a result of donations made over the years. Some are rare pieces dating as far back as the early 1700s.

The collection originated as an assortment of period costumes and 'fripperies' gathered by Budleigh Salterton residents, the sisters Joy, Elizabeth and Aalish Gawne in the pre-World War Two period. It was for…