Showing posts from December, 2011

TUT, TUT...! Trees Under Threat!

They may have been condemned as diseased, dangerous and past their sell-by date - a bit like me and quite a few of my Budleigh Salterton neighbours I suppose - but the unexpected loss of those two magnificent 25-metre high Monterey pines on West Hill has saddened the town's tree lovers.

Surprisingly the two trees, situated between Woodlands and Sherbrook Hill, were not covered by a Tree Protection Order (TPO). But even if they had been their fate would have been sealed when one of the pines was discovered to have been attacked by the Sparassis fungus, better known as cauliflower mushroom, pictured above.As the name implies, this parasitic fruiting growth is edible although it is usually eaten by squirrels rather than humans. But for pines like the West Hill specimens the fungus is usually fatal when it spreads into the roots. The second tree was apparently rotten within the trunk.

Lloyd Fursdon, of Knowle Tree Services, the firm which supervised the trees' removal estimates …

People from the Past: 3. Reg Varney (1916-2008)

Reginald Alfred 'Reg' Varney was an English actor, most notable for his role as a cheerful Cockney bus driver in the 1970s TV sitcom On the Buses.

For ten years he lived at Dark Lane House on picturesque Dark Lane in Budleigh Salterton, seen above.  Millions of television viewers remember him with affection. He has been described as belonging to the old school of comedians, with his dislike of much contemporary television and his pride in never using swear words to get a laugh.

Varney was born on 11 July 1916 in Canning Town, which was then part of Essex but is now part of East London. His father worked in a rubber factory in Silvertown and he was one of five children who grew up in Addington Road, Canning Town. He was educated at the nearby Star Lane Primary School in West Ham and after leaving school at 14, he worked as a messenger boy at the Regent Palace Hotel, pictured above.

Above right: A Windmill Theatre poster. The first 'Revudeville' act opened in 1932. The show…