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Showing posts from 2013

Otter landscape was a bargain

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The River Otter is always a popular subject for artists and the view of Otter Head is a favourite.
Mark Gibbons is a professional painter who specialises in West Country moorland and coastal landscapes. His 1980 watercolour of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton was one of the recent lots at Piers Motley Auctions in Exmouth.
Just over two years ago the artist and his wife Angela featured as contestants in the ITV programme ‘May the Best House Win.’The subsequent media coverage led to increased interest in his paintings, which were reported as selling for around £500 each.
And the above painting...?A snip at £50 at the Bicton Street sale on 9 December. Auctioneer Piers Motley said that the winning bid was what he would have expected.
For details of further sales click here

The 2013 Christmas Day swim at Budleigh Salterton

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Every Christmas Day spectators and swimmers gather on Budleigh beach just before 10.00 am. Or should that be sadists and masochists...?




Even the odd dog is welcome to join. 

























The weather had been stormy in the run-up to Christmas Day and I'd heard rumours that the event might have to be cancelled. 

But who would decide? The coastguards in the photo were looking as if they thought everyone was mad. 

They told me that the event is spontaneous with no organiser. People just turn up.






















Here are some people putting on brave faces as 10.00 am approaches.






 And they're off!


















Clearly some people are having second thoughts. Those waves look quite big.





Yes indeed. This could have been a big mistake.





The return! For most people that was after a few minutes.






Some people just enjoy showing off. 



















The crowds break into applause...





















... for the RNLI boats who are always out there on Christmas Day.  Off they go to the Exmouth Christmas Day swim. 


























Funded by charitable donations, the lifeboat crews and lif…

Day by Day through the Great War - thoughts from another town

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The madness of war: A Swiss shepherd watches a battle on the frontier during World War I from the 1915 edition of Some ‘Frightful’ War Pictures by the celebrated illustrator William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) 
Museums up and down the country - indeed throughout the world - will have been bringing their resources to bear on exhibitions marking the centenary of World War I. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron announced last October that more than £50m has been allocated for a historic commemoration of the centenary of the start of the conflict.
The hunt is still on at Fairlynch Museum for Great War stories with a link to Budleigh Salterton or any of the villages of the Lower Otter Valley.
Those stories based on experiences of active service are naturally of keen interest, particularly when they reveal private thoughts at variance with the official views promoted by the Government’s propaganda machine. Only a few months ago the publication of Warwickshire man and WW1 veteran Harry Dr…

Happy Christmas from Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre

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World War I exhibition

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Fairlynch Museum's Local History Group is still seeking people from Budleigh Salterton and surrounding villages with information for the 2014 WWI tribute exhibition

Lightening up Fairlynch Museum in Budleigh Salterton

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Each year Lord Clinton, Patron of Fairlynch, donates a Christmas tree to the Museum.
























Shown left to right getting the tree ready for the Late Night Shopping event on 6 December are Rob Merkel, Roger Sherriff, Andrew Jamieson and Trevor Waddington.




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Lighting up time at Fairlynch
The Museum welcomed a steady flow of visitors to match the mulled wine on offer. Mince pies were served of course

Red Man or Green Man?

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I enjoyed visiting the current exhibition at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum a few days ago. It’s called ‘West Country to World’s End - The South West in the Tudor Age’ and I’ll write more about it in due course.
A well produced book of the same title accompanies the exhibition, which I enjoyed so much that I bought a copy.
Budleigh people will admire the impressively life-size portrait by an unknown artist of the area’s great Elizabethan hero Sir Walter Raleigh and his eight-year-old son Walter. On loan from the National Portrait Gallery the work was painted in 1602 when he was enjoying Queen Elizabeth’s favour, and shows in great detail, as the printed commentary explains, the expensive clothes worn by father and son: Sir Walter is wearing a jacket embroidered with seed pearls while the boy’s blue suit is silver-braided.  This link on the excellent and useful Wikipedia will take you to see it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WalterRaleighandson.jpg
But why is there no ment…

An impressive display of mill power

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Martin Watts: no run-of the-mill speaker

Lots to mull over in Budleigh Salterton

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Mulled wine in the Museum, mulled cider in a marquee just opposite in Mackerel Square, with live music to listen to and chorizo casserole to warm you up...and lots more going on in the High Street including the traditional carol-singing of course. You can’t complain that Budleigh isn’t doing its best to cater for all tastes at the Late Night Shopping event on 6 December, from 6.00 to 8.00 pm.

Budleigh in Business is hosting the marquee in Mackerel Square, pictured above. The location seems particularly apt, being the town’s market place in the 18th century.
Newly formed in 2012 and now boasting 70+ members, Budleigh in Business describes itself as a group of like minded people dedicated to developing the businesses and prosperity of Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding area by supporting the town and helping business thrive. 
With ‘Buy Local’ as the theme, BiB is planning its second Food & Drink Festival which is returning in 2014 from 24 to 26 October following the success of this…

Fairlynch Friends lead the way

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Two Friends of Fairlynch will shortly be leading walks organised by the Otter Valley Association but open to all.

On Saturday 30 November David Daniel will be the walk leader on what is described as a short and sociable three-mile walk on the commons to relieve those growing pre-Christmas pressures. The start is at 10.00 am at Wheathill Plantation car park (map ref SY041847).  



A trek along Hawkerland valley  Image credit Rob Purvis
On Saturday 7 December Brian Turnbull will lead a five-mile moderate walk starting at 10.00 am at ColatonRaleighChurch (map ref SY082872), going down green lanes and over the commons, visiting Dotton, Hawkerland and Knapps land.  There is an optional lunch at the Otter Inn. For more detailscontact Brian on 01395 567339.


The Otter Inn, Colaton Raleigh To help you decide, click on http://www.otterinn.co.uk/ Dalditch Common, with a sea view   Then on Thursday 26 December David Daniel will lead a four-mile gentle Boxing Day walk across the commons, starting from Ea…

People from the Past 9: Frances Van Meter (1909-1994)

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A corner of the Carter Library at Fairlynch Museum

At the tenth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Fairlynch on 22 March 1979, Priscilla Hull, as Chairman of the Management Committee of the Museum, reported that the Library, under the care of Mrs Van Meter, was “now available on certain days each week, or by special appointment.”

























A young Frances Van Meter. She is described as the second wife of a Eugene Van Meter at http://www.vanmetre.com/images/People/Eugene_VM/eugene_van_meter_family.htm


Frances Van Meter (1909-94) born in Bardwell, CarlisleCounty, in Kentucky USA, was one of the founding members of what became the ManchesterCenter in Lexington’s Irishtown, Kentucky. How, after an eventful life of such high achievement, she came to settle in the tranquil surroundings of Budleigh Salterton as Librarian of the local museum is one of the many curiosities and unanswered questions that I’ve met at Fairlynch. If any of my US readers has the answer I’d love to hear from you.


The Manch…