Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Twins, Sisters, Cousins...? Does it really matter?

What a pleasant surprise to receive the first of many responses to the first-ever bulletin of The Budleigh Chronicle on 20 January.  Especially as it had come from thousands of miles away in cyberspace.

Well actually it had come in a short hop from Cape Cod on the other side of the Pond, so not really that far at all in this age of instant communication - when the internet works of course.

Pioneering transatlantic communication: the stained glass window in All Saints' Church, East Budleigh, commemorating former Budleigh resident George William Preedy
Admiral Preedy, the brave captain of HMS Agamemnon who played such an important part in laying that first successful telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, and who came to live in retirement at Park House in Knowle on the outskirts of  Budleigh, would have been thrilled. 

I was certainly pleased. The friendship link between Budleigh Salterton and Brewster, MA has not exactly been a roaring success and was never formalised as a twinning in spite of the high hopes raised back in 2001 and even in spite of that handsome sign that you see as you drive into the Cape Cod town.




A "twinning" on paper: news of the transatlantic link as reported in The Budleigh Journal newspaper just over ten years ago 
It was a surprise to find when I moved to East Devon five years ago to find a mention of our 'twin' on Wikipedia at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budleigh_Salterton  How come we had no Lincoln Road, Eisenhower Avenue or Kennedy Street in Budleigh Salterton?

So the tenth anniversary of the near-twinning passed almost unnoticed a couple of years ago. But thanks to the amazing phenomenon of Google news alerts you can keep an eye on what's going on in the charming little Cape Cod town which bears so many similarities to Budleigh.  And the news or non-news of our relationship will certainly find space in the online museum which is this blog.

Perhaps it's better that way.  Better to have an informal relationship than risk becoming enmeshed in the bureaucratic net that could be the consequence of an official arrangement with all those illuminated scrolls, constitutions and possible squabbles. Maybe best to imagine us as ships passing each other in the night, mutually catching occasional glimpses of life onboard between the waves of the rough rude sea.

I started what I think of as this museum in cyberspace with the intention of regularly including an item about Brewster life, so there's some news from Kyle Hinkle, Executive Director of the town's Chamber of Commerce at http://budleighbrewsterunited.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/brewster-shines-in-spotlight-of.html 


A view of Squabmoor Reservoir on Dalditch Common, just a few miles from Budleigh Salterton

Eco-tourism? That's certainly something we share with Cape Cod, with our own pebble beach, sea-sports, cycle tracks, ancient buildings and thousands of acres of heather-clad commons complete with Bronze Age sites, Dartford Warblers, slow worms and rare butterflies Well, I know a lot of it belongs to Clinton Devon Estates, but they do allow us to enjoy these wonderful things. Long may that continue.





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