Friday, 30 August 2013


Finally get to see where all the action has been coming from. Feel a little sad, a bit like when my son left home for the first time. I expect lots of Mums and Dads will be feeling the same as they tentatively drop their toddlers off for their first day of school or wave their bigger toddlers off to university . This masterpiece was tucked away in the Apple Tree, it just caught my eye after the light flooded the area after hedge trimming. It was still very much camouflaged but I recognised the dry Ornamental Grass and Monbretia that I had left out for just such a purpose earlier in the year. I think the nest belonged to the Blackbirds that have been keeping me so amused in the garden this summer. I have been watching them leaving the nest, ducking, diving and dodging cats. Here are just some of the stars of the summer show. Hope they have a safe journey, I will miss them.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

B10 EVENT: Clovelly Lobster and Crab Feast Sunday 1 September 2013

Another lovely local event celebrating B10, the tenth anniversary of North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve Designation. Clovelly is famous for its sustainably caught lobsters and crabs and the Clovelly Lobster and Crab Feast is a good old fashioned celebration of this wonderful tradition. The North Devon Biosphere team join up with Devon and Severn IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority) for a hands on experience with some Clovelly lobsters! You can learn about the work of IFCA putting into practice the Biosphere message of balancing environmental conservation and economic livelihoods. Live folk music will be provided by Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll, The Vagrant Ramblers and fabulously funny a capella trio 3’s Company. Of course there will be plenty of tasty food too! Chef Sanjay Kumar will be giving cookery demonstrations and tastings and there will be local food stalls and beer tasting. Children will be kept entertained by street theatre, walkabout magic, themed craft activities and there will be a chance for visitors to enter the B10 prize draw with lots of superb prizes donated by North Devon Biosphere businesses and supporters.This event will be raising funds for the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, who will be exhibiting some of their baby lobsters prior to their release into Clovelly Bay at the end of the day.
Admission: Adults £6.50, Children (7-16 years) £4, Family (2 adults and 2 children): £17 and under 7s free. For further information, call Clovelly on 01237 431781 or visit
Clovelly Lobster and Crab Feast Sunday 1 September 2013

Friday, 16 August 2013

Opera Anywhere to present The Pirates of Penzance in the hangar at Eggesford Airfield

The touring Opera Company, Opera Anywhere, will present The Pirates of Penzance in aid of the charity Send a Cow  The performance will take place on August 31st, in the hangar at Eggesford Airfield, near Chulmleigh EX18 7QY.   You are invited to bring a picnic from 5.30 so you can enjoy the fabulous views from the airfield before the performance starts at 7.30 p.m. Bar and delicious Devon ice-creams available.

Tickets £15 and £7.50 for children up to 12 yrs. Available from Eggesford Gardens, any branch of North Park Vets, online at (fee applies) or telephone 01363 83245.
The Charity, Send a Cow, began in Lapford 25 years ago! For more information visit

B10 Event. Biosphere’s partners join forces for the National Trust Lynmouth Fete

The North Devon Biosphere team will be at this year’s National Trust summer fete in Lynmouth as part of the B10 anniversary celebrations. The North Devon Biosphere Reserve is ten this year and they continue to mark this milestone with a full programme of varied events around the Biosphere Reserve. This is an opportunity to promote the work of some of the Biosphere’s partners; The National Trust, The Devon Wildlife Trust and Lundy Island. At the Lynmouth fete on Sunday 25 August the Biosphere team are working with the Devon Wildlife Trust to highlight the importance of Marine Conservation Zones in North Devon. There will be a chance to discuss this crucial conservation issue with the experts at the Biosphere display trailer. There will also be activities for the youngsters including making origami fish and gliding gannets! You will also be able to pick up some of the Biosphere limited edition recipe cards produced by TV Camper Van Cook Martin Dorey. These collectible cards show you some tasty ways of using fresh local North Devon ingredients. There is also an opportunity for visitors to sign up for the fab B10 prize draw! Fete organisers, The National Trust, will be around to let you know about their work in the region and have organised lots of fun events and activities at this lovely, traditional village fete. Have a go at welly wanging, plate smashing, coconut shy, craft activities, treasure island game, tombola and lucky dips. Another Biosphere partner, Lundy Island, will also be at the fete to tell you more about this jewel in the crown of the North Devon coast.
National Trust Lynmouth Fete Sunday 25 August 2013. The fete runs from 11am to 4pm on Lynmouth Manor Green EX35 6EH.

Monday, 12 August 2013

B10 EVENT Woolacombe BioBlitz. Entertainment, education and activities for all.

North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve has joined forces with Coastwise North Devon and a group of dedicated partners to make Woolacombe BioBlitz the flagship event of the B10 programme, celebrating ten years of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.Thanks to The Big Lottery Fund, Coastwise North Devon has put together this wonderful BioBlitz event in Woolacombe on Saturday 7 September 2013. Working with a group of dedicated partners including the National Trust, the Marine Biological Association and the Devon Wildlife Trust BioBlitz organisers, volunteers and visitors will spend the day surveying the natural world of Woolacombe. BioBlitz will be fun, factual and produce valuable research into the natural environment in this one small area of the North Devon Biosphere Reserve.Bioblitz Project Manager, Coastwise North Devon’s Jim Monroe says: “Planning the Bioblitz is proving to be an amazing collaboration between naturalist groups and individuals from across Devon. Working together we want to provide a fun day out for the public whilst collating important scientific data for future reference. This will be North Devon’s first BioBlitz and we hope that it will engage everyone interested in this beautiful area.” BioBlitz Base Camp will be on the Greensward in Woolacombe, above the beach, and will house the Biosphere inflatable dome classroom alongside informative displays and activities provided by the contributing partners.A full programme of public events will run throughout the day (see list below) to identify and record the plants and animals discovered. The resulting data will be submitted to national databases and form part of the pack of learning material which will be developed from the event. As a flagship event for the B10 programme BioBlitz concludes a summer of diverse entertainment, education and activities with an accessible day of fun science for all.
Woolacombe BioBlitz Saturday 7 September 2013 
Guided Activities throughout the BioBlitz - Start Times and Activity Leaders as follows
  • 10.00 Sea Mammal Watch Morte Point Dave Jenkins & John Broomhead
  • 10.30 Seine Netting from the beach Doug Herdson
  • 10.30 Birds and their Habitats Rob Jutsum
  • 11.00 Strandline Hunt Baz Payne
  • 11.30 Seeking Butterflies in the Dunes Jenny Evans & Matthew Oates
  • 12.00 Seashore Safari at Woolacombe Jack Sewell
  • 12.30 Seashore Safari at Barricane Trudy Russell
  • 12.30 Dune Plants, Lichens and Fungi Janet Lister, Bob Hodgson & Patrick Watt-Mabbot
  • 13.00 Seaweed Search Esther Hughes & Sarah Hotchkiss
  • 13.00 Seal Survey from Morte Point Dave Jenkins
  • 13.30 Seine Netting from the Beach Doug Herdson
  • 13.30 Insect Hunt Tony Barber & Richard Comont
  • 14.30 Coombesgate’s Rocks &Lichens Maxine Putnam, Paul Madgett & Tony Holwill
  • 15.00 Sea Mammal Watch Morte Point Dave Jenkins
  • 15.00 Stream Life Pete Jolands & John Hickson
  • 16.30 Sand Dunes for Beginners Pete Jollands & John Hickson

Thursday, 8 August 2013

99% Proof makes its public debut in September at The Theatre, Petroc Brannams Campus.

99% Proof - The peoples' musical, is a story of love, betrayal and redemption. Through a simple act of compassion, a jobless hoodie, brings an evil boss to his knees and their salvation. The hero, we badly need today! 99% Proof is a musical about the unexpected, and what can be more so than a homeless, boy in the gutter whose sacrifice redeems an older evil man who gets is wrong. A love story, a socio political commentary and modern rags to riches tale. It is timely against what people are struggling. It's about a young man and an older man and our assumptions. It's about bad and good, and oppression and failure and humour and drunken women. It's about life as we know it now, today, here.
‘So I was writing a kind of socio political documentary, which turned into a play, and then I wrote a song, which a friend of mine said was one of the most beautiful songs he'd heard. 'Write it as a musical', so I did. 18 songs and 22 pieces of intercession later, I had to translate the melody into orchestral score Jenny Wilkin Shaw.
People today are struggling again, losing, facing austerity and can't pay the bills, payday loans, bank charges. You name it we struggle with it. Quiet and noisy protests are going on led by the people through Occupy. In every city, there is unrest and no more so than in London, where our story begins. It's a story about hope, and doing what is right, for without those two things we are nothing.
‘I looked all over the place for someone with the instinct and talent and of course the discipline and time to work out arrangement and harmony, and I found the Jedi Knight of all these things, Alan. J. Welch. When he sees a key board, his fingers and his soul find it. It's like an extension of him. Week in, week out for months I went through at least two seasons to Alan's and over coffee the melodies were translated’ Jenny Wilkin Shaw
  • A new Musical in 2 Acts - Written by Jennifer Wilkin Shaw
  • Book, lyrics, melody Jennifer Wilkin Shaw
  • Arrangements, orchestral score by Alan Welch
99% Proof makes its public debut in September at The Theatre, Petroc Brannams Campus. 
Tickets: Price - £10 Ticket on sale now from: - North Devon Theatres box offices
Shows: Friday 13th September 19:30 /Saturday 14th September 14:00/Saturday 14th September 19:30
Synopsis: London, 2012; against a backdrop of unrest, austerity measures, homelessness and gathering protest, Judin Job is propelled onto our stage. He has lost his family, has no job, no friends and life is desolate. Turning to the Social Services for help, Guard and Go Bells make it worse. Through oppression and taunts, his life begins to spiral out of control. He is told that his only prospects are ‘Murder’ and he is tormented because of his religion, ‘the only star you’ll ever win is stuck to your chest with a jagged pin’, in the form of a yellow star of David. Bills are unpaid and he ends up on the streets under a tarpaulin with his steady but hapless roommate C.J. But, life has a habit of reversing fortune, and just when he is literally singing for his supper, he begins to fall in love, finds unlikely friends and his beautiful voice is spotted by a scout. He rises. On the other side of the city, another fortune reverses. As Guard enters a bar, he gets into a fight and one misplaced action gets him caught up in a fight which leads to him to striking a man and being sent down for murder. Who will help Guard in his moment of desolation? Everyone he knows turns away.  In an act of grace and mercy, which will leave you reeling, it is Judin, the Jewish boy from the gutter, wearing the Star of David of oppression with the jagged pin, who helps. ‘How can it be?’
  • Alex Rushton and Angela Elswood, known as 'Rushwood', play the two leads, Judin and Astro.
  •  Jack Ince and Elizabeth Daleigh Hayton, who are exciting and natural on the stage play the baddies, Guard and Bells. 
  • Boo Hart, who has real emotional presence on the stage plays Capability 
  • Nathan Maynard plays C.J, the hapless room mate
  • Alex Martin, is born to her humerous part of Ms Wackovski 
  • Alicia Fotheringham and Louella Gaskell play Mother and Dr Boot with a sweet tenderness and skill. 
  • Jorden Shevells, came late to the cast and his great voice is underused, but he adds a strong male presence to many scenes and has some gripping solos. 
  • Ilana Wilson and Zack Hazell are the chorus and gives a reality and beauty to the piece.
99% Proof - The peoples' musical, is a story of love, betrayal and redemption. The Theatre, Petroc Brannams Campus, Barnstaple Friday 13th September – Saturday 14th September 2013

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


While some of the birds have gone into hiding as they get ready for their Summer moult I have turned my attention to the other countryside critters. My garden is full of Summer bright spots since the Hydrangea, Hebe and Buddleia have begun flowering. Hydrangea are particularly stunning flowering bushes and come in a variety of colours, but their colours seem totally dependent on the alkali or acidity of the soil. The Mop Heads in my garden tend to be blue and I noticed the one cutting I have in a pot with normal compost is pink even though the parent plant is blue. The wonder of the Hydrangea, Hebe and Buddleia is that they attract all the bees and butterflies. The Buddelia is aptly named the Butterfly Bush and today mine have been awash with Small Whites, Red Admirals and Peacocks.You can see more photos from My Garden Today on Flickr

All photos copyright Pat Adams

Monday, 5 August 2013

B10 Celebrations. Three North Devon wildlife films showing at The Plough Arts Centre

Delighted to be a part of the B10 celebrations, John Butter will be showing three of his North Devon wildlife films at The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington on Tuesday 20 August. B10 celebrates ten years of North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve and of course conserving wildlife is an important feature of the Biosphere Reserve. John Butter, from Chelfham in North Devon, has been filming local wildlife for years. Some of the results of this project can be seen at The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington on 20 August 2013, when John will show and talk about three of his stunning natural history films revealing some inhabitants of our North Devon countryside that you don’t normally see.
  • Some Like it Hot-ish A half hour film about our 6 native reptiles, examining why they have to seek an external heat source (unlike ourselves) and the many ways that they are endangered.
  • Wood for Wildlife Why managed woods are so important for wildlife from beetles to red deer.
  • Seasons A visual calendar of the four seasons as reflected in a North Devon garden and wood.
John says: “Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring published in 1962 spelt out the dangers to the environment through the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides. The banning of chemicals like BHC and DDT was just in time to save our birds of prey and attention became focussed on Wildlife Conservation. It was this that motivated me to form Cowley Wood Conservation Centre at Parracombe which operated for 8 years prior to my move to the garden and wood that I now manage for wildlife.” Watching John’s films make you realise how much more there is to be seen around us if only we keep quiet and open our eyes!
Box Office: 01805 624624 - Tickets: £6 Full / £5.50 Concessions / £5 Supporters 
Photo copyright John Butter

B10 Event. Fiona Bates & Jan Sears Exhibition at St Anne’s Arts Centre in Barnstaple

Fiona Bates and Jan Sears will be celebrating 10 years of North Devon's Biosphere Reserve by focusing on our beautiful coastline and what the tide reveals. Fiona Bates has been working with clay for over 25 years and is recognised for her unique and unusual designs. She works from her ceramics studio in North Devon where her work is influenced by the sea and the chance objects that it offers up. Each of her unique pieces is hand built using pure white earthenware or porcelain clays. Pieces are finished in a range of dry glazes, slips and sumptuous gloss glazes. Fiona's work ranges in size and complexity and includes: fireplace surrounds; a variety of species of fish; boats; tiny children’s shoes; wedding shoes; tins of sardines; horses; rams, dogs and cats heads. Her work has been featured in Design Magazine, Votre Maison, The Sunday Times and Homes and Gardens. She has exhibited in many galleries including; the V&A and Crafts Council Gallery London. Jan Sears is looking forward to showing her new work for the first time in this show at St Anne’s "I am happiest when painting, mixing colours and choosing which part of our beautiful coastline to inspire me each day. I have a small studio in my garden with glimpses of the sea; it’s the ideal lifestyle really. Since moving to North Devon seven years ago I have been captivated by the changing seascapes and huge skies. The rushing clouds and tides give me all the inspiration I need.”, “Over the years I have experimented with various art forms, including textiles, drawing, painting and pottery. These skills are incorporated in my latest pictures. I have started to work in a more abstract way and my work feels less constrained as a result. This is the first time this collection has been shown so I’m looking forward to hearing visitor’s comments.”
Work by Jan Sears
Work by Fiona Bates
A mixed media art exhibition of work by Fiona Bates and Jan Sears inspired by the North Devon Biosphere coast and sea.  Open to the public from Tuesday 13 August  to Saturday 24 August  2013. 10am - 4pm Monday to Saturday at St Anne’s Arts Centre, Paternoster Row, Barnstaple.
Free  admission.

Mystery wildlife object catches experts 'on the fly'

Great balls of fire, yes, but great balls of flies? Yet, this was the scene that confronted Louise Davis on a recent walk alongside the picturesque River Torridge in north Devon. Louise, who works as the Water Resources Advisory Officer on Devon Wildlife Trust's Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area project, was busy conducting a survey of a stretch of the river near Torrington when she spotted something hanging over the water from a tree. Louise takes up the story: 'It was about the size of my fist, dangling from a branch. Then I saw several other similar shaped balls all hanging from the same tree. At first I thought they were just debris that had got stuck, but on taking a closer look I discovered that each was a tightly-packed dome consisting of hundreds of flies. I'd never seen anything like it before.' Louise took photos of the balls and showed them to colleagues, but they got no closer to identifying the strange phenomenon. It was only when she passed the images on to Martin Harvey, a leading fly expert, that the answer was revealed. The fly concerned turned out to be Atherix ibis, part of ibis fly family. Martin explained that the flies are known to adopt this strange behaviour, but that it was 'not often seen'. Martin explained that the behaviour takes place when the flies are preparing to lay their eggs. Females come together to form dense balls on branches overhanging rivers. Often these balls can consist of several hundred flies and are frequently formed where flood refuse has been caught in a branch, giving a good base on which the flies can cling. The females then lay their eggs in a glutinous goo and then die, leaving a suspended mass of dead flies and eggs. When the eggs hatch the fly larvae drop into the river's water to begin the next stage of their life cycle. The explanation solved a mystery for Louise: 'My role for the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area is about working with local landowners to improve the water quality of the River Torridge for the benefit of local people and wildlife. This means I'm out doors a lot amongst the beautiful countryside of north Devon. I also get to see a lot of wonderful wildlife at close quarters, but I'd never seen anything like this. Nature really is full of surprises!' 

Photos copyright Devon Wildlife Trust

Friday, 2 August 2013

Nappies in the Park for B10. A special Nappuccino event in Rock Park,

B10 wouldn’t be a proper celebration without thinking of the littlest members of our community here in North Devon. On Tuesday 6 August Nappies of North Devon will celebrate ten years of North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve with a special B10 Nappuccino event in Rock Park, Barnstaple. A Nappuccino is a relaxed and informal get together for Mums & Dads, babies and parents in waiting. It is an opportunity to find out the benefits, both to your pocket and the environment, of using reusable nappies in place of disposables. As well as running Nappies of North Devon and organising regular Nappuccino events in Barnstaple, Hannah Ashford is a Devon Real Nappy Project (DRNP) Advisor. Hannah supplies a wide range of beautiful cloth nappies as well as providing a wealth of experience gained with her own two little ‘real nappy’ girls. As a DRNP Advisor Hannah can offer free trial kits containing a range of different reusable nappy brands and styles. The kits are available for one month and give parents the chance to try a selection of nappies in the comfort of their own home before making any decisions. As a Devon Real Nappy Project Advisor, Hannah goes through how to use, wash and care for the nappies and will be on hand to answer any queries throughout the trial. Using cloth nappies can save you £500 on average compared to disposables over the time your child is in nappies. Choosing real nappies is also great news for the North Devon Biosphere, reducing your carbon footprint and cutting down on the 28 million disposable nappies buried in Devon’s landfill sites each year. Real nappies don’t contain any chemicals or gels associated with disposable nappies so choosing real nappies puts you in control of caring for your baby’s skin.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Get yourself together!! Alabama 3 live at The Factory, Barnstaple

Alabama 3 will be performing as a full live band at The Factory, Barnstaple on Thursday 13th December as part of their UNDAground 4 Life tour. Best known internationally for supplying the theme to the American TV series ‘The Sopranos’ with their song ‘Woke Up This Morning’, Alabama 3 have carved a unique niche for themselves which transcends considerations of chart success and runs far deeper than the transitory fame of modern celebrity culture. They are undoubtedly the greatest American act the UK ever did produce, and their heady combination of techno and C&W, alongside a proclivity for rock ‘n’ roll decadence and an acute social conscience means that they are effectively a unique entity in modern music
They are Alabama 3, from Brixton and beyond…The band’s nucleus of Rob Spragg and Jake Black met towards the end of the 1980s at a South London house party. Still together, and still resident in the heart of their beloved London SW9 postcode, with a fluid and ever changing membership, Alabama 3 are more a way of life than a rock'n'roll band. After major label deals with Sony and Geffen, and an enduring relationship with the indie label One Little Indian, Alabama 3 continued to cut their own groove by starting their own Hostage label. Their headquarters in the Jamm building in Brixton incorporates a recording studio, a club venue where A3 put on their own Outlaw nights in between many other events, and an administrative centre where various managers, promoters and other support staff keep the whole operation ticking over. Working in this grubby mansion, over looking London's most vibrant, music-savvy, multi-cultural quarter, there are DJs, artists, recording engineers and assorted admin and creative types who wander in and out of a warren of rooms with a purposeful air. “We're very proud to be independent,” Rob says. “It's a cottage industry that's been empowered by a form of narcotic Marxism.” And also, it should be said, by a history of brilliant music-making. 2013 finds Alabama 3 in a sombre and reflective mood as they announced their next UK tour in December 2013, the week after James Gandolfini has died.  “Woke Up This Morning” is inseparable from The Sopranos as it grew into the nation’s consciousness and hearts along with the series. As Bob Lefetz observes: “I was immediately struck by "Woke Up This Morning." And when I heard it at the beginning of "The Sopranos"... It's the one intro I never fast-forwarded through, it was a prelude to my Sunday night ritual.” Never standing still the ALABAMA 3 will take new and old material and their “let’s have a party” and celebration spirit to their fans with their annual UK tour.
THURSDAY 12TH DECEMBER - TICKETS: £18.00 in advance
TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM: North Devon Theatres box office

Larry Love – Vocals
Rev. D Wayne Love – Vocals
Aurora Dawn – Vocals
Segs - Bass
Rock Freebase – Guitar
The Spirit of Love – Keyboards
Steve Finnerty – Guitar
Owen If - Drums
Exile On Coldharbour Lane 1997
La Peste 2000
Power In The Blood 2002
Last Train To Mashville 2003
Outlaw 2005
M.O.R 2007
Hits and Exit Wounds 2008
Revolver Soul 2010
There Will Be Peace In The Valley… When We Get The Keys To The Mansion On The Hill 2011
Shoplifting 4 Jesus 2011
Shoplifting 4 Jesus [Limited Edition Vinyl] 2012
"The best live band in the country" The Guardian
"This is the first band I could ever dance to in the daytime hours without chemical assistance...and that says a lot" Irvine Welsh - Author of Trainspotting and Filth