Sandy in Teignmouth…


… 24 hours in Teignmouth


My husband calls it a ‘blue ticket’, when I have his agreement to look after the kids while I escape off with friends somewhere. We have the same arrangement when I give him a ‘pink’ one. I got a blue one on Friday.

My friend Caroline Wightman ( was having a preview for her exhibition of new paintings called ‘Weather Scapes’ at The Words and Picture Gallery in Teignmouth ( The kids excitement at attending the school disco & an invitation to see ‘Beauty & the Beast’ on the same day precluded us all travelling to Teignmouth for the weekend. The blue ticket was mine!

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A friend joined me for an extremely short jolly. It was fantastic – over 4 hours each way on the train to catch up, read magazines, & drink tea and eat Pret a Manger sandwiches (cornichons, ham, & thick butter is a firm favourite). Sadly there wasn’t enough time between trains to find a celebratory mini bottle of prosecco for the ride.

It was this friend’s first trip to Teignmouth. Other friends always seem to meet Teignmouth through the filter of children, theirs and mine, & activities that keep them entertained. For this friend it was a very quiet introduction – our house unsettled me a little, seeming more ‘air b’n’b’ than home without the noise & mess of the children.

Arriving at 2:30pm we quickly threw down our cases and headed to Backbeach for a walk. The view of the ferry made me decide on a trip over to Ode Cafe for a scone, micro-brewery ale, and glass of white wine – an odd combination I admit, but lovely not to have to worry about what anyone else is eating but yourself. We nipped quickly for a look at Ness Beach, but the high tide made it difficult to walk along the beach.

We missed the ferry – it is the first time ever for me – perhaps I was taking this whole ‘not having to take responsibility for others’ a bit too far. It wasn’t a bad thing though as we really enjoyed the long walk back over the bridge & by the train line, (a pair of wellies would have been helpful through the squelching mud).

We should have got ready to head to the Exhibition faster, but I couldn’t let my friend miss having a sundowner at The Ship – it is a sunset vantage point not to be missed if you only have 24 hours.

I was incredibly impressed & proud of my friend Caroline Wightman. I seriously recommend you go to view (& buy) her artwork at The Words and Pictures Gallery. Her images are textured & have great depth. Her weather scapes always remind me of that feeling you get when you sense an imminent change in the weather, like when you look up river at Back Beach & you can see clouds rolling in. The exhibition is on until Saturday 7th April 2017. I leave it to you as to whether you go on to The Bronx (, like we did, for cocktails after your viewing.

A ‘blue ticket’ would be wasted without a lie in (bliss), although the sunshine was glorious when we woke & I did feel like I’d wasted good beach time. Where to have breakfast was a difficult decision; I have my favourite breakfast spots, but when you only have 24 hours I believe that a sea view is essential. A full English at The Pavilions ( it was – delicious! A brisk walk along the coast to the Teignmouth sign & back, & an even brisker look around a few shops for kid’s gifts (fudge from The Yummy Shop, & trinkets from ShopDeadGorgeous) was all we had time for before catching the train.

It was a whistle-stop tour for my friend, but a definite recharge of the batteries through great art, conversation, fun, enforced ‘slow’ time, & throwing responsibility to the wind… just for a little while.

Sandy in Teignmouth…


…Building the River Exe


Again, the Teignmouth tourist calendar is busy this week- Teignmouth Classical Music Festival, Teignmouth Drama Festival, & Science Comes to Life Event. Check out the details at

The closest that I am coming to Devon this week is making a 3D model of the River Exe with my 10 year old daughter for her school ‘rivers’ project. We are deep in clay, beads, cellophane & cardboard. We have fallen in love with the walk from Starcross to The Turf (, so we’ve reduced the 60 mile run of the Exe to this section – more opportunity to explore the Estuary and wildlife (mental note, purchase Fimo to make miniature birds…).



While my head spins between websites trying to find information on geographical features, environmental & historical impact, ecosystems & potential hazards, I am beginning to feel like we are paying our dues to the Exe; properly understanding it’s changing water from it’s many tributaries (I can define this term properly now), & the value of the Estuary to wildlife. I can even tell you that ‘Exe’ means ‘abounding in fish’. We get a lot of joy from scooting along the cycle path (, & lobbing stones into the deep mud from the top pedestrian path. We are planning to spend a good deal of time at The Turf this summer, glass of chilled white wine in hand while the kids run about on the grass. I really want to do their ‘cook your own bbq menu’ & the kids have been begging for us to stay in the yurt!

I’m sure that walking along the river path in the future will be an altered experience for my daughter & I. We’ll appreciate the river & it’s history in a different way. I believe though that our desire to splat stones in the mud will be entirely unfettered.

Sandy in Teignmouth…


…Mud kitchens & Classical music


There is a long ‘What’s on’ list on the Love Teignmouth website this weekend (, including a Classical Music Festival, Craft & Boardgames, & a Children’s Science Event.

I feel embarrassed to say that we have missed them all. The feeling that ‘spring has finally sprung’ has taken us over. We have given in to the temptation to stay on the beach all day. Low ‘spring’ tides have produced the most irresistible, slushy mud at Fish Quay – the children have spent hours exploring – how deep they can step without sinking too far to lose a welly boot or get stuck? The low tide has also revealed a multitude of ‘treasures’- rusty old chain, screws, etc. that have been turned into a mud kitchen – smoker included!

There’s been plenty to watch as sunshine & rising temperatures have people taking to the water. We watched with tension as a group practised swimming against a strong tide out to a buoy – “will they make it, won’t they?” – apparently in training for an arctic swim. We were mesmerised watching the machinations of unloading a crabbing boat, amazed by whats involved from docking of boat to driving the loaded truck away.

What made me the happiest was being able to sit comfortably outside. I still haven’t peeled away my winter coat or wooly hat, but I sat for hours reading, or chatting with friends on the quay, while the kids got on with their ‘work’.

I may even be tempted to pack our swimming costumes on our next visit…