Showing posts from July, 2011

Sculptor Christine Lee's work on view

Just a few miles north from Budleigh Salterton, upstream along the River Otter, is the beautiful and ancient village of Otterton and I've just been sent this news about one of its creative residents by Devon Open Studios.

Otterton sculptor and painter Christine Lee is participating for the first time in the popular county arts event Devon Open Studios.

Christine, an established artist with an international reputation, will be inviting guests to her Barn Studio in Copplestone Lane, Colaton Raleigh, to see her latest work, on selected days between 3 and 18 September, 2011.

Christine is regarded as a leading figurative sculptor. She has been painting and making sculpture most of her life. She did a fine arts degree at St Martins School of Art in London, and then studied painting and drawing with the painter and mystic Cecil Collins.

One of her best loved creations is the fountain in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, which was inaugurated by HM The Queen in 19…

Two very different ball games

Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club, scene of a recent heart-stopping drama

I'm sometimes asked why my blog doesn't cover sports news.

I decided fairly early on that I couldn't cover everything, and in any case the local press does a good job in that respect.

But probably the main reason for my omission is simply that I don't get fired up about sports results, and that's probably something to do with my poor head for figures and maybe a lack of spatial awareness. I find it impossible to enthuse about a favourite football team's league position. Off-side rules just leave me confused. As for tennis scoring... well, I do try, every Wimbledon, to work out who's winning, but end up feeling my wife's pitying looks.

Of course interesting sports events do occur here. Just the other day we were all enthralled by the headline-grabbing story of how a cricket player's life was saved on Budleigh Salterton cricket ground by the swift use of a defibrillator. Luckily the p…

Museum's ex-Chairman complimented on polar heroes' show

Roger Kingwill at work on research into the Scott 1910-13 Antarctic expeditionExperts on Antarctica visiting Fairlynch's 'Survival!' exhibition have rated it first-class and complimented the organisers on a job well done.Rachel Morgan, Director of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, who called in at Budleigh Salterton while participating in the Scott100 conference in Plymouth, was impressed by the hard work put in by Fairlynch volunteers involved in the project. Special mention was made by Mrs Morgan of former Fairlynch Museum Chairman Roger Kingwill. As conceiver of the exhibition he created what she has described as a "fantastic" scale model of the snow cave in which Antarctic explorer and former Budleigh resident Murray Levick spent seven uncomfortable months during the winter of 1912.

Inside the ice cave. Local modelmaker Neil Rogers contributed the figure crouched over a model of the stove which was the explorers' vital source of heat The Trust&#…

Raleigh era comes to life at Fairlynch Museum

Millais' painting 'The Boyhood of Raleigh': an inspiration for professional storyteller Steve Manning
Lots of stories could be told about Budleigh characters but the best ones are surely about one of Devon's most celebrated heroes, Sir Walter Raleigh. Laying his cloak over a puddle to keep the royal feet dry. Getting soaked because a servant thought that Sir Walter quietly smoking his pipe was on fire. The colourful myths and legends about Queen Elizabeth I's favourite courtier have lasted through the centuries. Now a Devon character from Tudor times will come to life on Monday 8 August at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum when professional storyteller Steve Manning, pictured here, will take on the role of Matthew Starke, a sailor who might have accompanied the likes of East-Budleigh born Sir Walter and Sir Francis Drake on their amazing journeys. He will spin yarns of adventures on the high seas in search of new lands to colonise, Spanish gold to plunder an…

Celebrating our heathland

A heathland scene near Budleigh Salterton: Squabmoor Reservoir surrounded by slopes of gorse and heather East Devon Heath Week starts this Sunday 24 July 2011 from 11.00 am with a Family Festival Day at Woodbury Castle, the Iron Age hill fort mid-way between Budleigh Salterton and the village of Woodbury.

A Dartford Warbler. This rare bird is one of the special sights of East Devon's heathland.
Photo credit: Peter BeesleyThe Heath Week is an annual series of events that aim to celebrate the fantastic landscape of the region. Each year it takes place at the end of July, a good time to see heathland and its wildlife at its best.

This legless lizard known as a slow worm is a protected species found on the commons near Budleigh. They are described as elusive, but I generally find them hiding in my compost heap.
Photo credit: Devon Clinton EstatesThere are specific events which will concentrate on different species that make lowland heath their home. Particular favourites are bat walks…

A third edition of 'Words by the Sea'

It's festival time in East Devon. On the approach road to Budleigh Salterton, signs advertising Sidmouth Folk Week are jostling for attention with Budleigh's Music Festival.

And now the organisers of the third Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival have announced that tickets are on sale and that it's going to be the best festival yet.

There are so many 'highlights' in this year's event that it's difficult to know which one to pick out. But having just welcomed Australian author Meredith Hooper to Fairlynch Museum my eye was drawn to the item entitled 'The King's Speech: How One Man Saved The British Monarchy' scheduled for Saturday 17 September.

It was Mrs Hooper's son Tom who directed the academy award-winning film which along with the Royal Wedding earlier this year has focused attention on the House of Windsor. And with Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee being celebrated in 2012 there will no doubt be much interest in anything with royal co…

News from Budleigh Music Festival 2011

Spanish mezzo-soprano Carla Mouriz performs at the Temple Church on 22 July
Budleigh Salterton music lovers are about to enjoy the town's biggest Festival and here's the latest news: "Tickets are selling well though some seats are still available for most performances," say the organisers. "On 16 July at St. Peter's two choirs entertain with an evening of old favourites including barbershop numbers and songs from the shows from Budleigh's Male Voice Choir and the ladies of 'Renaissance.' Seats are available for this show.The Dufay Collective is a group devoted to medieval pop music played on period instruments. They perform regularly on radio and this year they are on their way to Dartington to teach and perform at the Summer School. We are indeed fortunate to welcome them to Budleigh on 21 July at the Temple Methodist Church for what promises to be a fascinating glimpse into the music heard in the taverns and even at the Court of King Henry VII…

Praise for 'Survival!' exhibition at Fairlynch

Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum, supporting Help for Heroes
Half-way through Fairlynch Museum's summer season the special exhibition about former Budleigh resident Murray Levick has won nothing but praise from experts and the public alike. A survivor of Captain Scott's ill-fated second Antarctic expedition, the naval doctor and founder of the British Schools Exploring Society has impressed visitors to the museum with the number of his achievements in an incident-packed life. "Each episode in Levick's life - polar exploration, medicine, commando training - is quite remarkable in its own right," commented one in the visitors' book. "To have achieved all these things in a single lifetime is simply incredible. A leader and hero that deserves to be remembered as an equal to Scott and Shackleton. A remarkable man," wrote Major Nicholas Jeffery, who described himself as "doctor, commando and Arctic-trained, but humbled by this man!"

The M…

Budleigh's Venture Artists in Sidmouth

I spent an enjoyable afternoon in Sidmouth last Saturday admiring work by the newly formed Venture Artists from Budleigh Salterton.The group are holding their first summer exhibition at the East Devon Art Academy in Old Fore Street, Sidmouth from 2-8 July. Exhibition organiser Teresa Creton explained that they were mostly members of Budleigh Salterton Art Club who had come together with the aim of developing their technique through painting sessions. There are works in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolour, all for sale at affordable prices. Artists exhibiting include Iris Ansell, Julie Bingham, Sue Chapman, Steve Hagger, Pam Harber, Wendy Markham, Nick Speare, Chris Stacey, Sheila Stacey and Jenny Young.For more information about the exhibition, contact Teresa at

Happy Independence Day 2011!

Sir Walter Raleigh wishes all our US readers a Happy Independence Day from his birthplace in East Budleigh, Devon.It's not the first time I've posted this photo of the statue of Sir Walter Raleigh, which looks down the main street of the village where he was born.
This year is a bit special as it's the tenth anniversary of the curious relationship between Budleigh Salterton and the American town of Brewster, Massachusetts.
When I have a spare moment I will gather some photos and other archive material showing how it all started.

A Black and White Memories Show

Screening cranberries at Isaac Cahoon’s bog in Brewster, Cape Cod, in 1892.
Photographer Cornelius Chenery

I've been meaning for some time to mention in these pages an inspiring project launched back in April by our friends in Brewster, MA.

'Brewster in Black and White' is an online digital archive of 45 remarkable photos which give an insight into life in our sister-town at the turn of the 20th century. I am grateful to the Brewster Historical Society for permission to reproduce these three images.

This photo, taken around 1900, shows how works for extracting salt from seawater lined Brewster’s shore in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Here in East Devon also, our town's original name of Salterne testified to the importance of the local salt industry. Salt was once manufactured in large salt pans at the mouth of the River Otter. The salt works were owned in medieval times by the monks of the priory at the nearby village of Otterton, the salt was transported by pa…