Are you coming for a dip?

Beautiful Branscombe beach on a sunny day last summer
Beautiful Branscombe beach on a sunny day last summer

So……..we went over to Branscombe earlier this afternoon. As soon as we got there it started pouring down then sunshine, then rain (you know what it’s like at the moment)! Got out the car and it was quite cold, really windy and the sea quite grey and choppy – certainly too choppy for two little uns who’ve never swam in the sea before. We like to go swimming in a lovely local river when it’s a hot day….so fingers crossed for the school hols coming up in just three weeks.  We’d go to the local swimming pool more often but don’t have spare cash for such luxuries and it’s not cheap for all four of us.

Anyway we prefer the river whenever it’s hot as we get to share it with kingfishers and dragonflies and the kids love the little fishes nibbling their feet. I went swimming with a friend one day last summer and we shared our swim with a very dignified and graceful swan. We all respected each other’s space and she was as curious of us as we were of her. It was quite a magical swim actually.

There’s a good website for anyone who likes swimming outdoors but our secret east Devon swimming place isn’t listed on here. I’m happy to let you in on the secret if you know of anywhere nearby that’s good to swim in and nice and safe for children, we can swap wild swimming info!

Natasha in the river swimming in east Devon last summer
Natasha in the river swimming in east Devon last summer

Recycling Initiative in Honiton

Declutter your home, garden and garage
Bring along your unwanted items
Take away items for FREE!
And there’s a free tea/coffee for everyone!
Yes, it’s true:  pay £1 entrance, then everything is FREE! The more people bring, the greater the choice on the day. Nothing to bring? No problem, just come along and find a freebie anyway!

Celebrate the World

Declutter your home, garden and garage

Bring along your unwanted items

Take away items for FREE!

And there’s a free tea/coffee for everyone!

Yes, it’s true:  pay £1 entrance, then everything is FREE! The more people bring, the greater the choice on the day. Nothing to bring? No problem, just come along and find a freebie anyway!

Waste Not, Want Not at the Mackarness Hall, Honiton 10am – 3pm on the following dates:

Sat June 16th

Sat Sept 22nd

Sat Nov 3rd

More info on

Green events happening in East Devon THIS week

cw-logo (1)Here are some events happening in East Devon during Climate Week (12th – 18th March 2012).

Our Climate and How it Changes – a talk by Prof. Brian Golding Wed 14th March 7.30pm at The Norman Lockyer Observatory See

Seedy Saturday – Sat 17th March at the Mackarness Hall, High St, Honiton. This event has been organised by the new Transition Town Honiton group. Swap seeds, cuttings & seedlings and there are free seeds on offer plus stalls, raffle, children’s activities and fairtrade tea & coffee and cake! See

The Exe Factor – Sat 17th March 7.30pm. An evening of vocals, beats & moves at The Bath House in Exmouth – a fundraiser for the East Devon Green Party. See

Green Vehicle Show at Sidmouth College – Sat 17th March 10am – 2pm. See

Willow Fencing

garden_hurdles2I’m going to make a willow fence (or hurdle) in my garden to keep my naughty setter off the patio and out of my veggies!!! I’ve been offered some willow by someone from a neighbouring transition group. Any comments appreciated about how exactly I should be approaching this (new) skill !!

Specifically – what should I use as the posts?

How do I secure the willow to the posts at each end of the fence?

Am I supposed to treat it with anything?

Cheers all 🙂

Honiton Swap & Share

Just letting you know about an event coming up in East Devon in February 2012. As ‘recycling champion’ for Honiton, my role on the town council is to support events like this and this brings a smile to my face as I’ve wanted to do one of these myself for a little while. So I’m incredibly glad that Honiton resident Karen Berger has put this idea together and I hope she gets a huge amount of support to make it successful. The new Transition Town Honiton group will also have a stall there on the day.

Welcome to Swap and Share, another step towards a sustainable future.

Many people already use Freecycle, via the internet, on a regular basis to pass on their unwanted items to others nearby, and to get things that they need. Now, for those who don’t have access to the internet, or have not heard of Freecycle, we are running a Swap and Share event in Honiton, so that everyone has access to quality goods at no cost.

IMG_1937 SF bric a brac bargainsHow does it work?

Simply bring any unwanted goods to Mackarness Hall next to St Paul’s church on the High Street on Saturday 25th February, pay £1 entrance fee, (towards the hire of the hall) and leave them with us, to be shared among anyone who comes along on the day. Even those who don’t have any goods to donate can choose items for themselves: as long as it’s kept out of landfill, it’s a win-win situation!

Thank you for your time

Look forward to seeing you there!

An Invitation to all – Winter Solstice Celebration!

Here’s a random idea for anyone up for it: Meet on Branscombe Beach 1pm Thursday 22nd December – let’s get together for the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, midwinter! We can maybe go up to the Mason’s Arms in the village for hot chocolates afterwards.

I’ll be taking the kids and the dog and we’ll be making winter solstice mandala’s like this one (below) we made on Dawlish beach in the summer – before we even knew what a mandala was…..! Maybe we can all make a huge one together?

IMG_1283 (1)

What is a mandala I hear you say…..the Mandala Project website says “The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself – a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.”

A mandala is a geometrical figure with a centre, such as a circle, or polygon, or a square, often in the form of a labyrinth or maze with symbolic meanings.

I must give credit to the idea of making mandala’s tomorrow to my twitter-friend Brigit Strawbridge who posted this video about her beautiful autumn equinox nature mandala on twitter this morning and Brigit has set up a Facebook page called Nature Mandala’s which has amazing photos of lots of other people’s mandalas. I think I may have caught the mandala bug you know – I love concentric, mathematical arty things – and any excuse for a get-together with friends!

Nature Mandala for Peace, community-built mandala at Sierra Azul Nursery as part of the "Sculpture Is" exhibit.

Don’t forget to add a comment on here if you’re coming to the beach tomorrow. See you at one. Bring dogs, children, friends and smiles! Wrap up warm.

A conker spiral by Suzanne Thomas

Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier
Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier off the Atlantic coast of France

South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival 2011



Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BU

Sunday 27 November 2011



Benjamin Zephaniah, the nation’s favourite performance poet, will be the special guest at this year’s South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival on November 27. Benjamin will be reading poems (at around midday), signing books and chatting with visitors.

The pioneering, eco-friendly Festival offers visitors the chance to buy Christmas cards and innovative, cruelty-free gifts in the sure knowledge that they are supporting good causes and creative local companies. Products will range from fairtrade clothes and jewellery to cosmetics and skin care products, handmade chocolates, games for children, pottery and oils made in Palestine and sold to provide poverty relief for the local population, wildlife photographs, and Devon grown olive trees.

Everything on sale will be free from animal products.

Charitable organisations taking part include Survival International, CND and the Palestine Solidarity Group, Devon Wildlife Trust, Sea Shepherd, the League Against Cruel Sports and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection – emphasizing the core message of non-violence to people, animals and the environment. The South West Green Party will also be there.

According to Mark Gold, who is organising the Festival for Animal Aid,

We’re particularly thrilled that Benjamin Zephaniah has kindly agreed to join us this year and add another great attraction to our popular festival. We’ve really built the event up over the last four years and it’s been wonderful to see increasing numbers of visitors seeking to buy imaginative and unique presents for their family and friends.

It’s part of the ethos of the Festival to keep admission free, so that people can spend everything they can afford at the stalls. At the same time, we want them to feel they’ve had a special and fun day out, so we also have a fabulous restaurant and great live music – as well as Benjamin’s guest appearance, of course.’ Photo from

For further details of the South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival contact Mark Gold on 01395 579353 (07796 581915) or email