Inspirational young people

Team GB 2020 Rowing

In today’s society, we hear so much about the inadequate behaviour of our young people! The media are always publishing examples of their bad behaviour, idleness & general laissez faire, Unfortunately, not so much is said about their achievements, ambitions and thoughtfulness. In today’s blog, I intend to rectify the imbalance by sharing the story of one energetic teenager from Appledore, North Devon, UK.

rowing, rower, team GB, Russia, Olympics

Chloe Beer is an intelligent, focused seventeen year old, full time dance student who has a passion – well two actually-. rowing and dance. She also has a thoughtful caring nature which she exhibited when I met her yesterday. “My Grandparents were all keen rowers,” she enthused “When my Grandfather died, I decided to take up rowing to honor his memory.” That was two years ago, since then Chloe has embarked on a healthy, fast paced lifestyle, combining her rowing with her dancing. Oh! I forgot she also trains for hours, each week and her hobbies include, running and gymnastics. I must say, I felt like quick doze, while taking notes, all that activity made me feel quite worn out just talking about it. An active participant in her dancing course, Chloe has already appeared in 42nd Street, Me and my girl and Chicago at Barnstable Theatre. She will also be appearing in Aladdin, the musical in February next year. Chloe is also a volunteer with Appledore Pirates Where does she find the time?

PT teacher or dancer on Cruise ships? that is the question. Chloe has not quite decided what her career path will be when she finishes her full time education, but thinks her choice lies between the two above. She has already been for interviews with the large liner companies. Describing a days work routine, as a grueling round of three dance shows a day, seven days a week. Sounds hectic.

rowing, olympics, Russia, Team GB, Appledore

Chloe rows for Appledore Ladies under 18’s and Appledore Ladies B, on a regular basis. I asked her how she became involved with the Atlantic Challenge team. “I just searched on line, downloaded the application form & applied” she modestly stated. After three weeks she received an invitation to an interview in Cornwall and was shortlisted to one of three. Four weeks later a letter arrived, while she was out “Mum called me asking if she could open a letter, which had arrived for me” she replied, “I just could not belive I had been accepted” I could see from her face how happy and – quite rightly so – proud she felt at becoming one of the Team GB rowers, for the 2020 Olympic games in St Petersburg, Russia, next year. Asking about her preparation for the up coming event, she seems to have an onerous task ahead of her. Training consists of two seperate, six night camps at Portland in Dorset. As well as spending six hours a day on the water, the teams will also have too navigate by the sun and stars, learn their sea knots, for transporting cargo, all this while concentrating on their overall fitness, cardio etc. Chloe takes all this in her stride and is visibly ecstatic at the thought of what lies ahead.

Team GB, rowing, atlantic challenge, Appledore, Coffee morning

In the midst of all the hard work and excitement of preparing for the event. Chloe has also found the time to organise two events to help fund her place in the event. The first is a Coffee Morning on Saturday 27th July at The Gig Shed, Seagate Car Park, Appledore.

Olympics, Team GB, Appledore, rower, fundraiser

The second a Fund raising Quiz night on Friday 16th August at Appledore Social Club

Please help support Chloe in this amazing challenge by visiting the events above or by donating to her Just Giving Page

I really enjoyed talking to Chloe, who’s bubbling enthusiasm filled me with joy. The thought of someone so young, being so caring, committed, and energetic gives us all hope for the future of our young people.

It also made me feel very OLD.

Emergency Services

Help needs to be at hand

In today’s modern world, for many reasons, we have become less compassionate and helpful to our neighbours and local community in general. In past times, help was at hand, when ever it was needed. People looked after each other, cared about the elderly, sick, those less fortunate than themselves and those who’s lives or property was in peril. Although I am aged, I’m not quite that long in the tooth to remember the community cry “All hands to the pump” I take it that means the village pump? We don’t have those anymore.

Now, in our transient society, things have changed and not, in some circumstances, for the better. Rural communities have been greatly hit by latter day funding cuts. In recent years, resources for many of North Devon’s major services, including Police and Hospitals have been, or are in the process of being cut. Sights have now been set on our Fire Service.

Devon, fire and rescue, cuts to services, rural, communities
Devon and Dorset Fire and rescue service

In recent weeks it has been announced that proposed cuts are being made within the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services, in particular they propose to close seven rural North Devon fire stations, those under threat include: Appledore, Ashburton, Budleigh Salterton, Colyton, Kingston, Topsham and Woolacombe. The service said it “wanted to bring an outdated service into the 21st Century and fire incidents in both areas had decreased 36% between 2008 and 2018”. Unions have expressed concern over the loss of jobs and the increase in response times, with crews having to come from further afield.

This morning, while out walking my dog through Appledore, I witnessed an incident which was attended by Appledore Fire Station, RNLI, based in Appledore the Coast Guard and other members of the emergency services.

Emergency Services, rnli, Fire and rescue, coast guard, North Devon
All in a days work

Apparently, a fire had broken out on a small pleasure craft at Crow Point, which is at the southern end of Braunton Burrows, on the Taw-Torridge Estuary, North Devon. I am not sure of the response time, but it must have been very quick as the occupants of the vessel were -thankfully- unhurt, but, very shocked. The question here must be ” If the services concerned were not Appledore based, would the outcome have been different”?

Listening to an interview with Fire Chiefs on Radio Devon the other morning, it was argued that in modern society, our needs have changed and the outmoded service needs to take into consideration, modern day needs, For instance: “all homes are now fitted with smoke alarms, which reduces the risks of fires going unnoticed”? Are they? To my mind, with the amount of holiday cottages and second homes in the area, I would have thought, properties which are empty for large parts of the year, pose greater risk, Smoke alarms or not. Consideration also has to be given to the large amounts of visitors in vehicles which visit the area during the summer months. Firstly, these would impede the engines trying to attend fires, ensuring longer response times and secondly, with the invention of smart phones, vaping devices with exploding chargers and a plethora of other necessary! electrical items, are people as careful in other peoples properties as in their own homes?!! I’ll let you ponder that, but in the meantime:

Sign the petition against the closure of your local station NOW

All in a days work

Appledore, Instow Ferry

Across the Estuary

Appledore shore line

Had to get my sea legs on the other morning, well to be correct, my estuary legs. Goodness what a beautiful morning it was, brilliant sunshine a light breeze and the clear aquamarine waters of the river Torridge sparking against the golden, sun drenched stone of Appledore Quay.

Small ferry crossing the river, children and adult passengers
Buckets & spades at the ready

I had arrived there, with my faithful friend Gypsy – yes Appledore is very dog friendly- to meet the Skipper of the historic ferry, which whisks you across the river to the sandy shores of Instow. We had agreed to meet at 9.30 am, on a Saturday morning, which is usually quiet – late sleepers in Appledore, – not this morning though, there was a queue of passengers waiting for the first ferry trip of the day, across the water to Instow. During the season, April to October the ferry only operates between the hours of 09.30 and 21.00hrs, running for two hours either side of high tide, dependant on the type of tide and weather conditions. Boarding the boat, – Gypsy most enthusiastically, – we glided across the water, passed a flotilla of sailing boats, white sails flapping in the breeze and headed towards the quay at Instow.

ferry, boats, passengers, Instow, Appledore
Arriving at Instow

For centuries there has always been a boat crossing between Appledore and Instow . With the development of Appledore and the arrival of the railway in Instow a ferry became an important means of transport for workers, cargo and holiday makers alike.

Find out more about about the fascinating history of this crossing click the link above.

In 2007, due to a withdrawal of a grant and lack of support, the commercial ferry ceased to operate and the boats sold off. However, after public meetings being held in Appledore and Instow between 2009/10 uncovered a feeling of general disappointment. The public concern at the lack of a ferry, led to a group of determined individuals to start a working group. Toiling extremely hard in a period of recession they managed to obtain the necessary funding and licences to reinstate the ferry and test its popularity & viability. On the 25 June 2011, with great trepidation, the ferry was, once again launched into service. During this first season, which ended in September 2011 the ferry carried 8,400 passengers, which proved its success.

Ferry, Instow, Skipper, Non profit, Volunteers
Yes, Instow is over there.

Martin Foot has been one of the skippers of the Appledore-Instow ferry for some eight seasons. The ferry is a Non-profit organisation run mostly by volunteers. although the skippers, because of their acquisition of licences and responsibilities are paid. As we set off on our short voyage, it became apparent, because of the number of passengers, Martin would not have time to talk to me. In fact when we got to Instow, Gypsy and I had to disembark! as there were a number of passengers and dogs waiting to board. Still, no matter, it was no hardship for me. I was quite happy being ferried across the river, between Appledore and Instow all day. As well as the skipper three volunteers are required for the crossing, one based on each quay, assisting prospective passengers and another accompanying the Skipper, helping with the mooring ropes at each side. In fact he had to move me on one occasion to level the weight distribution ??

The Appledore – Intow ferry is a great asset to both villages, giving both locals and holiday makers a great deal of pleasure, boosting the local economy and keeping the heritage of the river Torridge alive. Its really enthusing to see how the community spirit has come together, working hard to ensure the service was re-established and continues to thrive. From this “blow in” Thank you all.

To find out more about the ferry and its history visit their : website

Photogenic North Devon

Twyman Photography

Like most people, I appreciate a beautiful photograph. For me seascapes of my favourite North Devon beaches, especially at sunrise or sunset, hits the spot. Of course, North Devon is very photogenic, not just its beaches, but also its quaint little fishing harbours and pastel coloured cottages

Pastel coloured cottages. Appledore

I love looking at Instagram photographs, not just of Devon, from all over the world. Of course, not all the photos are equal, some people just don’t have “the eye” for seeing well photographed beauty spots from different angles. It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive camera in the world, any photographic equipment can take the photo, it takes the person with “the eye” to frame the view. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what I perceive as beautiful others may find dull. It takes all sorts.

I digress. Back to Instagram. I came across some very evocative photographs in the Twyman Photo feed. Tony takes dramatic shots of beaches, which as I said before is my thing. Giving Tony a call, I arrange to meet him, to find more about his love of landscape photography.

Westward Ho, Sunset, beaches, North Devon, photos
Sunset Westward Ho

Tony Twyman originally hails from Bristol, where he worked in John Lewis for ten years, before moving to Grand Canaria, Spain. For a few years he played “Mine Host” running a bar, ” I learnt to deal with people from all walks of life in that job” Tony cheerfully told me, with a nudge and a wink, “but photography has always been my real passion”, which can clearly been seen in his images. “My seascape photos are captured from the heart” he enthuses, “wedding & portraiture does not give me the same sense of emotion”.

Moving to Bideford, North Devon a year ago Tony has a day job, but is following his heart and producing some awe inspiring wall canvases from his photographic collection. These eye catching canvases can be used to brighten up a wall space in your home or office and also make treasured gifts. Maybe you spent a holiday in North Devon and would like to be reminded of a particular view that “captured your heart”.

Clovelly, North Devon.

It was lovely to meet the person, behind the Instagram profile last week, I am sure he will have a great success with his new photographic adventure and wish him luck. I feel he may be giving up the “day job” sometime soon.

Tony Twyman’s photo canvases can be purchased on-line to find out more visit:

If you are a small independent business, charity or community group or place of interest in North Devon who would like a blog written about you and shared to our twelve accounts on FB, twitter, Instagram and LinkdIn. Please contact us : Email: Appledore

Next weeks blog will be about the Appledore – Instow Ferry


Feeling me again

You know what its like, you find a great Salon with a fantastic stylist who makes you feel a million dollars. Filling you with confidence, with their snipping and intricate weaving of colours, they know how to make you feel you again.

The day comes when you are feeling a bit, shaggy, the old roots needing a bit of a touch up and you make that stylist, colourist, highlights, tint, restyle call, only to be told by the perky receptionist that “Nina does work here anymore”. Panic sets in. your world falls apart, you will never feel the same again! Does this sound familiar? Well, if you live in the North Devon area of the UK, I have found the answer to your problem. Read on:

Feeling exactly in that position when I moved to Devon in February this year, I needed a mega sort out. Bad hair day doesn’t come into it. My previous hairdresser in Wiltshire, seemed to have had a mini melt down when I last visited her. My usual fine, highlights had turned into big stripy blocks of bleach and black. I needed it sorted and it needed to be quick.

Scrolling through a local group on FB one morning, I came across a post requiring recommendations for a stylist who could create a good graduated bob. I was ecstatic, there where seven comments. five of those were about Kudos in particular a lady called Jo.

Finding myself in Bideford the next day, I popped into Kudos and was in luck. My appointment with Jo was booked for the next day. Bobbing out from behind her desk, the receptionist deftly dabbed some lotion behind my ear, telling me to leave it until my appointment tomorrow, “an allergy test before your colour” she smiled. In all my years of going to hairdressers, I had never been given one before?

Kudos Bideford

Kudos, Hair and Beauty situated in Mill Street, Bideford is a light and luxurious salon, with a welcoming, helpful receptionist and team of talented professionals, experienced in dealing with all age groups. Taking a seat and feeling a trifle apprehensive, Jo, my new stylist, ushered her previous client – sporting a sleek shiny bob – to reception and greeted me. Leading me to my seat she quickly got to grips with my situation and requirements, making helpful suggestions and explaining the process along the way. I felt my worries drifting away.

On leaving school, Jo wasn’t sure where her career path would lead. She quickly discovered working in a office wasn’t for her, preferring something hands on and creative. After a period of travelling she found her true vocation – at the grand old age of nineteen, – hairdressing. Jo, in my experience is a natural at her chosen profession, not only making you feel comfortable but also interesting to talk to. She instills confidence, as she quickly works her magic and explains the science behind the process – to those who are interested, of course, – Having worked at Kudos for 4 years, she has a large following of regular clients and I for one, can see why.

I cannot recommend Jo -other stylists are available- highly enough, when the foils came out and the scissors had been expertly plied though my locks, I can honestly say I was “Feeling me again”. I just love the warm lift, she has given my hair and the cut is amazing. Can I blow dry this myself? Don’t think so. No patience!

Kudos Hair and Beauty Salon, 23 Mill Street, Bideford, North Devon. EX39 2JW. Tel: 01237 477725

If you would like a blog written about you in our Bideford Small Business (June) Series, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our July blogs will be Appledore based small businesses.

Bon Appetit

Italian Sunshine in North Devon

restaurant, Bideford, Devon, Italian, food,
Italian Sunshine in Bideford

Being roused from a peaceful slumber, by the sound of rain lashing against my bedroom window last Tuesday morning, I unashamedly pulled the duvet over my head and snuggled down for a protracted snooze. My dog was having none of it! Throwing off the covers I staggered downstairs, cursing my furry friend as I went.

Cup of tea in hand, I pondered my day. The obligatory dog walk was foremost in my mind, along with food, not necessarily in that order. However, the large brown eyes, regarding me, lead clenched between teeth, won me over. Preparing myself for the fist event of the day I donned my coat and boots and set off into the North Devon drizzle, vaguely thinking of sunny climes and mouth watering home cooking. Italian home cooked food, in particular.

What better way to cheer up a dull Devon day than a saunter into Bideford and a visit to Belluno Italian Restaurant for a taste of their delicious home cooking in convivial settings. My vague thoughts had become a reality. This was the next event in my day.

Italian, restaurant, home cooking, bideford, devon,
Belluno of Bideford
Prosciutto, garlic, home cooking, air dried, ham

Belluno is a traditional Italian restaurant based in Bideford, North Devon. Purchased by two friends and their wives, with ten years catering experience, this is a family affair, all being involved with the running of the restaurant and its sister venue in Newton St. Cyres, near Exeter.

The wood panelled interior of this converted pub, gives an authentic, rustic charm to the environment as did the warm welcome from its friendly staff. The smell of meat ragu, simmering on the stove permeated the air, making my mouth water, A group of “Ladies who lunch” were taking a breather after their main course, I could see why, when their desserts arrived they were enormous. Not to be beaten they soon dug in, with swoons of delight. The lone diner is also made comfortable, as several of the regulars, quickly testified.

Belluno as far as an Italian cuisine can, supports other small local businesses, their meat, comes from Frank Herd Butchers in Westward Ho! Steak being one of the great favourites. Other dishes for which Belluno are know is their duck breasts & sea bass. Fish and seafood comes from a small local supplier, over the boarder in Cornwall. Traditional Italian Charcuterie is imported weekly from Italy.

Four ladies sitting at a table, eating desserts
Delicious desserts
cocktails, nibbles, food, aperitif, dinner

Belluno has a small intimate bar area, containing a snug corner, by a large open fire, where the congenial bar person will willingly mix you a cocktail, while you await your meal.

During the week a very reasonably priced set lunch £13.95 menu is available. Weekends offer a specials board containing such delectable temptations as Squid with pineapple salsa or seafood skewers ( chunks of Squid, Hake, Bass and Salmon). Be sure and book to guarantee your table at either the 6 pm or 8 pm sitting on Friday and Saturday nights.

Although delivery service is not available, Bulluno does offer a take away service, -collection only-. When planning your next dinner party, why not take the hassle out of entertaining and order some food. -who’s to say you didn’t cook it yourself ?-

Home made bread anyone? you will find it here, freshly baked each day along with homemade Polenta Chips. For those of you not in the know, Polenta is a coarse ground maize grain, which when boiled, can be baked fried or grilled, producing a really crispy finish. Yum. also Gluten free.

Please let Belluno know of any allergy concerns, they will be only to happy to help and advise you.

I really enjoyed my visit to Belluno, The welcome was warm, my mocha was delicious and the lovely wife, of one of the partners, was an absolute joy to chat with. Thank you for your time.

Belluno Italian Restaurant, Bar and Grill 37, Silver Street, Bideford, North Devon. EX39 2DY. Phone: 01237 473233 Email: FB

Next week, our month of June Bideford blogs will be Kudos, hairdressers.

Small Business Directory

Small Local Businesses in North Devon

Its Carnival time

Appledore Carnival Queen Disco.

This years beautiful Carnival Queen was crowned along with her attendants, fairies and two scary pirates at Appledore Social Club, last night. The event, hosted by the loveable Appledore Pirates was a jolly party, attended by all age groups. While Mums & Dads shimmied on the dance floor, attempting to keep up with their offspring, grandparents viewed from the side lines, glasses in hand.

Appledore Carnival takes place on 18th August 2019

WARNING: Scary pirates at the end of this video.
No cuddles thanks.
dancing, children, parents, disco, music
Mum. Please sit down
happiness, childhood, dancing, carnival, music

One little hopeful looking a little aprehensive.

dancing, disco, lights, music, social
I will get this right.
disco, dancing, pirates, social, music

Well! Someone has to take it easy and supervise things!

Worth all the hard work.
carnival, queen, disco, dancing, music
Its official Carnival Queen Bluebell.
Social, club, bar, barperson, Mum
Mums the word

No problems for the Pirates, sailing the stormy seas. We’ve got our own Olympic team Chloe, to row for us. Congrats Chloe

Porky Piggy Pizzas

Marmite Love it or hate it

Personally I love it, but only with shredded crunchy iceberg lettuce between two thick slices of multi grain, sourdough bread. Oh! I’m quite partical to a warming mug of Marmite in the depths of winter, but thats as far as the fancy takes me.

Pizza, Tomato Sauce, Herbs, Sourdough, handmade
Napoli Nosh

Scrolling through my Instagram account , I came across a close up of rather scrummy looking olives buried in cheese. Further inspection revealed it to be a pulled pork & olive pizza! Not only that, it was stone baked, in a traditional wood fired oven on a soughdough base. These were not just any pizza’s, these were Pig and Olive Pizzas. Turned out these porky pizza’s were not far away, I wanted to know more.

The Pig & Olive kitchen is situated within the Pig on the Beach bar with its panoramic views towards the pebbles and sea at Westward Ho! North Devon.

I met the owner Joe, who was only to happy to give me a quick guided tour of the kitchen and the much prized, authentic, heat log fired pizza oven. Apparently, their signature pizza, which was the one that caught my attention on Instagram, is THE Pig and Olive which, as its name suggests, is topped with delicious pulled pork, bred on their own farm and smoked for up to 24 hours to produce, mouth watering, tender piggy peices. Large juicy black olives, which I assume are not grown in Devon, mozzarella & home made tomato sauce, complete this culinary masterpiece.

pizza, mobile, oven, stonebaked, sourdough
Wood fired pizza oven

The Pig & Olive uses only the finest ingredients in its pizza production, including fine Italian “0” grade flour, pure virgin Italian olive oil & fresh bazil. Their sourdough starters were doing their own thing, bubbling away in large glass jars on the window sill and I was also shown their special home made pepperroni mix. This consisted of ground pepperroni, caramelised sea salt, herbs & garilc, gently fried together to bring out the flavours. The aromatic mix is then used with the addition of fresh bazil, mozzarella, provolone cheese and tomato sauce to top the Pepperroni pizza.

As well as the traditional Garlic bread a deviation from the norm is their fast selling Garlic Bread with Cheese & Marmite, which as I said earlier, you will either love or hate. Why not have a dip to go with it ? Roasted Garlic, pesto or hot chilli. Well, theres no accounting for taste.

Salty satisfaction

Worry not, if you don’t happen to live in Westward Ho! You can still try Pig and Olives perfect pizzas in other locations. Great Torrington, South Molton & Umberleigh are just some of the great Devon locations you will find them with their mobile Pizza trucks and wood fired ovens.

Next time you feel like a pizza, give these authetic pizza pullers a try and support a small local business too. Just EAT

Appledore Social Club

Situated on New Quay Street, EX39 1LU. Appledore Social Club welcomes all. Members free, non members 50p, temp daily membership available or buy a yearly membership for only £7.50

Appledore Social Club. Nov – Dec 2019

Events for you for the rest of the year @ the club😀

Saturday 16th Nov…Big Al and the wild strawberries 9pm

Saturday 23rd Nov…Clear water deep 9pm

Saturday 30th Nov…Sam Dowden 9pm

Saturday 7th Dec…The Alchemists 9pm

Sunday 8th Dec… Birthday Bonanza…charity event.. raising money for the children’s hospice. 7.45pm.

Saturday 14th Dec..First Revival 9pm

Sunday 15th Dec…Carols @the club with Appledore band 6pm

Friday 20th Dec… Christmas shindig DJ night 8pm

Saturday 21st Dec…village Christmas party with the Dambuskers 9pm

Tuesday 24th Dec…Christmas Eve with DJ nige 8pm

Thursday 26th Dec…Boxing day…music and time to be confirmed)

Tuesday 31st Dec…new years eve..The jukes (time to be confirmed)

All welcome 😀

To read about the Appledore Carnival Queen Disco, follow the link

Appledore Social Club. May and June 2019

Saturday 18th may CELTIC STORM 9PM.

Saturday 25th may THE ALCHEMISTS 9PM.


Saturday 8th June FREE FALL 9pm,

Saturday 15th June CLOUD NINE 8.45PM.

Saturday 22nd June THE RIVALS 9pm.

Wild hatters 9pm on Saturday 30th March. Live Music

Family Easter Bingo (all ages welcome). 6th April.
Appledore Social Club. Doors open at 6pm and eyes down at 6:30pm

End of the road 9pm Saturday 13th April. Live Music

Easter weekend-Rocking good knights 9pm Saturday 20th April. Live Music

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