Saturday, 30 June 2012

OVA's 'moderate' Squabmoor walk

Friend of Fairlynch Museum Steve Hagger will be the leader on a six-mile exploration of East Budleigh Common, part of the Otter Valley Association's programme of walks open to all.

The event on Saturday 7 July 2012, starting at 10.00 am from East Budleigh car park (SY065849), will follow lanes and tracks, taking in picturesque Squabmoor Reservoir, shown above. It is classed as a 'moderate' walk.

For more details contact Steve on 01395 442631.

Lace on show at Broadclyst

Lace-lovers who have admired Fairlynch Museum's collection may like to know about a forthcoming event which will have particular appeal for them.

'Mother's Story' is a unique exhibition of lace and ceramic figures which takes place from Thursday 5 July to Sunday 8 July 2012 in Broadclyst Parish Church, near Exeter.

The exhibition will be open from 10.30 am - 3.30 pm daily, except for Sunday (11.00 am - 6.00 pm).

There will be talks and lacemaking demonstrations, and lunches and cream teas will be available. The event is in aid of Clyst Mission Community and Clyst Caring. For group bookings and enquiries contact Miriam Gent on 01392 467288.

Only days now until Festival 2012 begins!

Star pianist Alexandra Dariescu performs at the Music Festival

With only days now until the start of the 2012 Budleigh Music Festival, Chairman Roger Bowen reminds us of the exciting and varied programme which music-lovers from East Devon and beyond are eagerly anticipating.

As a founding member of the Music Festival, Roger was also a Budleigh Salterton Town Councillor and was for about three years on Fairlynch's managing committee with responsibility for liaising with the Museum.

"My involvement with Fairlynch was when Roger Kingwill was chair," he recalls. "I  participated when Jeremy Robinson made his report about the Museum's organisation. I also prepared a website to replace the outdated hub-dependent one though it was never really used to any great extent."

For three years Fairlynch put an event on for the Music Festival usually organised by Sonia Stone, who succeeded Roger Kingwill as chair. 

Many members of the Music Festival are Friends of Fairlynch and would no doubt welcome a revival of such events similar to those which link the Museum to the Literary Festival.

"Our annual classical music festival - Budleigh's eighth - begins on 13 July and is followed by a delicious programme of varied music for just over a week," says Roger Bowen.  "Tickets have been selling well and some concerts are close to being fully booked or are well on the way to being so. Don't delay. Book your tickets today."

On every day (except Sunday 15 July, at the Parish Church of St Peter's and 22 July at the Methodist Temple Church when there are festival services) there is an evening concert and from Monday 16 to Saturday 21 there will be free lunchtime concerts on every day.

Here is your choice of concert:

We start with a wind serenade from the acclaimed orchestra of St Pauls's Covent Garden conducted by Ben Palmer. Their programme contains works by Dvorak and Mozart with Jonathan Dove's 'Figures in the Garden'. Tickets available now.

Local children take part in Britten's 'The Little Sweep' to be performed both in Lympstone (12 July) and in Budleigh when there will be two performances, one in the afternoon and again in the evening. There is ample opportunity for the audience to sing because there are parts written for this purpose with a choir of children to provide tuition! Tickets for both performances are still available. Generous family concessions apply here.

Alexandra Dariescu is a delightful and talented pianist who gives a recital to include works by Schumann, Beethoven, Scarlatti, Debussy and Chopin. She recently featured as BBC Music Magazine's 'Rising Star'. This is a recital not to be missed and some tickets are still available

We are lucky to be able to feature the  Florilegium Ensemble who present a baroque celebration. The programme is very full, with works by Bach, Scarlatti, Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, Geminiani and Telemann. A very few seats are still available at the time of writing.

The Orchestral Concert given by the Budleigh Festival Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Marshall features soloists Tamsin Waley-Cohen, (left), violin and Sarah Jane Bradley, (below, right) viola.

The programme offers works by Handel, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Haydn.

Though even fewer tickets than for Florilegium are as yet unsold you may be lucky if you hurry.

What an evening is in prospect when we welcome the Barbirolli Quartet who play Haydn, Bartok and Schumann!

They return to the UK from their recent successful European tour. Tickets are available.

And then there is our opera presentation in conjunction with the New Devon Opera Company, which this year is Puccini's masterpiece 'Madam Butterfly'.

This year we go to a larger auditorium when Budleigh takes over the Pavilion in Exmouth. Premium seats sold out long ago but some returns may be available, so try your luck

All good things must come to an end and we close with the hugely celebrated Exeter Festival Chorus who sing three works: by Vaughan Williams, Tippett and Duruflé.                        

Staged in Budleigh's spacious St Peter's church, with tickets still available.

Book tickets at Budleigh TIC or by phone 01395445275

All tickets are now on sale and selling fast.

Programme information can be downloaded from the web site


The Orchestra of St Paul's Covent Garden present a Wind Serenade at the Temple Church 7.30pm                        


Two performances of 'The Little Sweep' at the Temple Church in Budleigh at 3.00 pm and 7.30 pm.                        


St Peter's Church at 6.00 pm Festival Choral Evensong.


Alexandra Dariescu, piano, at the Temple Church 7.30pm.
Free lunchtime concert by Alex Knight, guitar.


Florilegium - a baroque celebration at the Temple Church 7.30 pm.
Free lunchtime concert by Jayne Hannah, flute with David House, piano


Orchestral Concert at the Temple Church 7.30 pm by the Festival Orchestra with Tamsin Waley-Cohen, violin, and Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola, conducted by Nicholas Marshall.
Free lunchtime concert at St Peter's by Michael Dawson, organ.


Barbirolli Quartet at the Temple Church 7.30 pm.
Free lunchtime concert by Lucy Bray, soprano.


'Madam Butterfly' by New Devon Opera at the Pavilion, Exmouth, 7.30pm.
Free lunchtime concert by the Festival Chorus.


Exeter Festival Chorus at St Peter's, 7.30pm.
Free lunchtime concert by Estrella, the ROSLA prize winners from New Zealand - 8 hands on 2 pianos.

Sunday 22 July                        

The festival closing service at the Temple Church 10.30 am.

TIC Fore Street Budleigh Salterton EX9 6NG for ticket sales
Tel:  01395 445275.

This post is an expanded version of one at

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Do you have a digital reputation?

Click on any search engine like Google and you'll discover pretty soon if people are talking about you or your business.

A recent Twitter comment about us - "Wow never knew this museum existed. Can't wait to visit!" - is good to read in a way from our Museum's point of view, but of course the implication is that not enough people have been talking about Fairlynch.

So the comprehensive and top-quality talk delivered by Cosmic's Kate Doodson, on 20 June 2012 was all about enhancing one's digital reputation so that visitors and customers are drawn to your website. 

Hopefully they will then buy your products, use your services, or, in our case come to admire our museum and its wonderful collections.

Organised by Budleigh in Business, the talk in the splendid setting of the Oak Barn at Budleigh Salterton's Riding School proved really useful for local traders who had come to learn how to cope with the challenges posed by the internet in today's modern marketplace.

"Your digital reputation can be made or lost in a few minutes, with only 140 characters," said Kate, pictured above.

So what happens when it goes wrong and you're losing rather than gaining customers or visitors? The answer: keep calm and don't panic. Acknowledge, investigate and respond. Seize control.

But first of all, find out if you do actually have a digital reputation by careful monitoring of what's being posted about your business on the internet. Kate Doodson's talk gave all the answers on how to do this.

For Budleigh businesses, as for any others in small towns like ours, it's vital if one is to succeed in today's fast-moving competitive online world.

Click on  and  to read more.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A letter to the Editor?

The Friends of Fairlynch Museum's Summer 2012 newsletter has been printed and is about to be  distributed to Friends.

We are aiming to make the newsletter a bit longer than it has been in the past, and we would appreciate your help in this matter.

We'd love to hear from you. If you are a Friend of Fairlynch Museum a letter, or even an article, about your particular involvement in a club or society would be welcome.  We would be happy to promote your good cause on your behalf.  

A letter to the Editor about ideas for future events at the Museum would be particularly welcome.  It's been suggested recently that in six years' time Fairlynch should be marking the 400th anniversary of the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh. That really is thinking ahead.

You may have visited another museum where you saw something that you think Fairlynch should be doing.  

Or it may be that you would like to write a letter about a particular issue affecting the town because such an issue is regularly featured in the folders in our Local History Room. Such as - dare we mention it? - planning applications!  

Please get in touch. An email to the Editor ( would be fine. So would a letter posted to Fairlynch Museum at 27 Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6NP. Please give your name and address. We will respect your right to anonymity where appropriate.

Your letter or article could be published both in our newsletter and on the Museum's website.

All contributions are welcome, including those from non-Friends of Fairlynch who simply take an interest in Budleigh Salterton affairs.  
This post also appears at

No "naughty penguins" in our museum!

Volunteer helpers at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum have acted swiftly to reassure families that as far as they are aware no scenes of depraved penguins are on display in its display about Antarctic explorer Murray Levick and his companions.

Organisers of the 'Survival!' exhibition at Fairlynch Museum admit that photographs taken by Levick are on display, along with a book about the creatures written by the explorer and published in 1914.

"We are a family-friendly museum, and the last thing we would want to do is to shock our visitors by revealing what penguins got up to in their natural environment," said the Museum's press officer Michael Downes.

His statement comes after the revelation by the Natural History Museum that Murray Levick, the doctor and zoologist on Scott's last expedition, deliberately withheld from publication descriptions of sexual shenanigans among the Adélie penguins that the explorer had witnessed and that he judged too shocking for public view.

Among the scenes of "constant acts of depravity" committed by what he described as "hooligan males" were acts of homosexual behaviour, sexual and physical abuse of chicks and even necrophilia. 

The Fairlynch exhbition, called 'Survival!', tells the story of Captain Scott's six-man Northern Party, forced to face the rigours of the Antarctic winter of 1911-12 and shelter in a cramped ice-cave after the ship which was supposed to rescue the group was forced to turn away by pack ice.   

"The whole ordeal faced by Levick and the Northern Party was a horrific experience. The courage of these men been recognised in recently published books about the Terra Nova expedition to coincide with the Scott centenary," says Michael Downes.

'Survival!' is believed to be the first public exhibition devoted to the Northern Party and has on display many of Murray Levick's personal belongings as well as information about the former Budleigh resident's later career. After serving in World War One he went on to a medical career involving the care of wounded war veterans and handicapped children. He later founded the British Schools Exploring Society, now known as BSES Expeditions.

The exhibition is open daily except Saturdays from 2.00 - 4.30 pm until 30 September 2012. Admission is free. For more details see

Above: Don't look too closely. Adélie Penguins on the ice-foot at Cape Adare in the Antarctic. The photo was taken in 1911 or 1912 by Levick

Monday, 11 June 2012

Flowers in the Rain at Topsham

If it hadn't been for the rain you wouldn't be admiring this image of a glistening, tear-dropped red rose which I found in one of Topsham's secret gardens yesterday.

Or its diamond-clustered deeply blushing pink near-neighbour.

Or yet another image of the same one which I didn't have the heart to cut out. Just showing off really.

And gardening expert Veitch enthusiast Caradoc Doy wouldn't have been able to demonstrate how if you rub the soaking flowers of this magnificent ceanothus between your hands it'll be almost exactly as if you were holding a bar of soap. The foam that comes from this novel form of hand-washing is caused by the saponin contained in the plant, a substance found in many other specimens of the secret world of plants.

If it hadn't been for the rain Friend of Fairlynch Margaret Wilson wouldn't have been holding this umbrella as she greeted visitors at Topsham Museum's Secret Garden event yesterday with a brave smile.  

The rain, it has to be said, was torrential at times. Margaret, Head Gardener at Topsham Museum, must have been, as they say 'gutted', to see the weather forecast for an event which had been six months in the planning. And it's one of the Museum's main fund-raisers of the year. And it was her birthday.

Still, you can't have everything. The rain's what makes Devon so green, and our own rhododendrons in Budleigh Salterton are looking so much happier now that the water-butts are full again after that short-lived heatwave in May.

At least the stormy Atlantic gales had blown themselves out. A windswept herbaceous border is a sad sight, and a fine notice like this one advertising the event might well have disappeared into the River Exe flowing at the bottom of the Museum garden. 'Daisies', the painting used in the design of the notice, is the work of local artist Sarah Gillard

And I learnt interesting stuff from Caradoc, including the fact that the leaves from a crab apple tree in the Museum's garden, originally from China and imported by the English plant hunter Ernest Wilson in 1900, were used by peasant workers to make a form of tea. The tree, Malus hupehensis, also known as the 'Tea crab apple' is now so rare in its homeland that there are many more growing in the UK than in China.

Also, that the book about Veitch that he's published, a facsimile reprint of Hortus Veitchii first published by James Veitch & Sons, of Chelsea, in 1906 is on special offer and available at £35 instead of the usual price of £95. 

More information can be found by clicking on

And people were so friendly. The British seem to be that much more inclined to talk to strangers in a downpour, as if we feel that the rain's our common enemy and a good chat, especially over a cup of tea, is the best way of dealing with it.

So that was why, perhaps, I found myself engrossed for a time, bizarrely, in an absorbing conversation about sponges, flint, salt, foraminifera and other arcane matters with a Topsham resident, a professor of Geological Sciences whom I met by chance in one of the first gardens we visited.

That in itself would have made my day because the professor was kind enough to offer help in planning our 'Sea, Salt and Sponges' exhibition at Fairlynch next year, a tribute to Henry John Carter (1813-95), Budleigh's own Fellow of the Royal Society.  

Later in the afternoon the rain almost stopped and the gardens at times were almost full of visitors. So here are some more photos showing that we had a wonderful time discovering that there is indeed a secret world of flowers, shrubs, and even quite exotic fruit and vegetables growing in the shelter of the often sun-baked old brick walls of ancient Topsham.

Like this pretty pink rose growing at 34 Strand, in what the programme described as "a hidden walled garden."

In the same garden was another rose with teardrops in the rain which caught my eye - white with beautiful shades of yellow this time. 

There was quite a variety of gardens on display.

Finding this communal garden at Strand Court at what seemed to be roof-top level with a view of those typically Topsham Dutch gables was a pleasant surprise.


But I wish I'd been able to identify this pretty pink herbaceous border plant.

And this iris-like blue flower also foxed me. Any ideas out there?

But I know that this is a beautiful cistus, looking even more fetching in the rain.

And this, I think, could be a variety of Escallonia called 'Apple blossom' which I lost in the Northamptonshire frosts many years ago.

Quite a number of the Topsham gardens were communal and charmingly intimate, shared between different cottages. At Clara Place I found what they described as a medley of small private gardens.

And at 20 Ferry Road where there are two contrasting small gardens belonging to Flats 3 and 4 I admired this acer which looks like the roof of a thatched cottage.

By contrast there was the large Victorian garden of Grove Hill House with its neatly trimmed hedges, soft clipped lawns and well-tended borders.

At the garden of Globe Hall, the owner says "I run the garden for me, the dog and the birds." But I think it's also run for the magnificent clematis soaring up into the apple tree.

Of course, teas with scones and cakes were being served here at 21 Victoria Road along with a friendly smile from the steward, as well as at the Museum's garden at 25, Strand.

Raindrops were falling on my head as I watched flowers in the rain, feeling the power of flowers in my head and thinking of so many songs and poems inspired by our damp British climate including 60s' rock musicians. And quite pleased with some of the photos I'd taken.

And the Museum?  Well, a few cowardly souls who couldn't face getting a little bit wet had taken refuge there and I thought I'd better see what they offer.

"Wow!" I thought when I saw this splendid gallery which rather understatedly they call The Loft. Definitely Topsham Museum, which to my shame I hadn't seen before, is worth some return visits. And yes, we'd like just a bit of sunshine in the garden when we go again.

For more information about Topsham Museum  click on

Share my Garden  has left a new comment on your post "Garden news from Topsham Museum":
Have found your site following from a pleasant visit to the museum on Saturday, (delicious cake!) I do hope that you will repeat the open gardens event next year and if so will let me know the date.
We have a scaffolding tower - one of the most useful things that we have bought. I hope that you concentrate and don't play around too much when you are on it!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Exmouth's Rolle Centre

Some Budleigh residents still had the voice of Exmouth's Town Crier Roger Bourgein ringing in their ears, days after he made his proclamation about free admission to Fairlynch Museum on 1 June.

There is no charge for the Town Crier's services but a donation to the Mayor of Exmouth's chosen charity is appreciated.

Above: The Owen Building at The Rolle Centre, Exmouth
Image credit:

Roger's efforts on Fairlynch's behalf were deeply appreciated by Friends of the Museum. A letter conveying our thanks will be sent to the Mayor, Councillor John Humphreys, together with a cheque made out to Rolle Exmouth Ltd.

As a cultural institution benefiting the local community, Fairlynch Museum shares many of the values which make The Rolle Centre a potentially important part of Exmouth's economic and cultural regeneration.

Earlier this year, at a meeting attended by hundreds of local residents, leading figures in East Devon education pledged support for a scheme to revive the Douglas Avenue site as a learning hub for the area.

David Henley, principal and chief executive of Bicton College, Richard Atkins, principal of Exeter College and Tony Alexander, principal of Exmouth Community College all declared their willingness to take part in further discussions on how their colleges could be involved in running courses from the Centre.

The Atrium, The Owen Building
Image credit:  

For more details of the vision that the friends and volunteer helpers have regarding The Rolle Centre's development click on  

Delderfield Day in Sidmouth

Enthusiasts of East Devon author R.F. Delderfield have plenty to entertain them this year, the centenary of his birth.

Along with the commemorative exhibition in Fairlynch Museum and the production of Delderfield's play Worm's Eye View from 11-16 June, the author is also being remembered in Sidmouth.

Many of his books such as A Horseman Riding By, Diana and To Serve them all my Days are still widely read.

Pictured above is The Gazebo, Peak Hill, which Delderfield had built

A Delderfield Day in the town has been planned for Sunday 24 June.

The Delderfield Memorial Stone on Peak Hill, Sidmouth

Between 2.00 and 6.00 pm Kennaway House will be the setting for Delderfield's play Sailors Beware! Cream teas will be served and there will also be guided tours with a special emphasis on properties associated with the author, with the help of a local charabanc.

Sidmouth Museum will be open from 2.00 - 5.00 pm. The Museum has a pemanent display devoted to Delderfield, who spent the last part of his life in the town.

Tickets from the Paragon Bookshop, 38 High Street, Sidmouth are available at £5 per person for all the Delderfield Day events. (Tel: 01395 514516)