A Pint Of Ale In Beer

Beer, DevonBeer is a small fishing village on the south Devon coast and we drove here after our trip to the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth to enjoy the view and also to have a bit to eat as it was late afternoon.

We have been to Beer several times before, and we enjoy the narrow winding streets, old buildings and above all watching the fishing boats that are pulled up on the shingle beach.

It seems strange these days to find fishing boats that aren’t kept in a harbour, especially in the UK, but the boats at Beer are launched from the shingle beach on wooden rollers straight into the sea, which gets deep very quickly. When they return, they head straight for the shore, where a winch is attached and rollers place underneath them so they can be hauled up the steep slope to where they are out of the reach of the waves.

We were hungry when we arrived, so having parked the car we headed straight for The Anchor Inn where we ate last time we visited earlier this year and where we had enjoyed the food. This time the food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Debbie’s lasagna was part hot and part cold and seemed like it had been microwaved.  I had a mixed grill which was ok, but having ordered the steak medium it was definitely well done and a bit chewy.

Having eaten we took a nice walk along the shingle beach, and for late October it was a lovely afternoon and there were quite a lot of people around enjoying what was probably one of the last nice days we will have this year.

You can learn more about Beer on it’s official website, and below are a few more pictures that I took for you to enjoy.

The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

Walter our sponsored DonkeyWe visited the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary in Devon back in April and it was such a foggy day that it was quite a bizarre experience walking around and seeing donkeys appearing out of the mist.

Today the weather was much nicer, and definitely not bad at all for the end of October. It was fairly cloudy, just a light breeze, some sunshine, occasional sprinkles of rain, but overall pretty nice.

Debbie wanted to sponsor a donkey for a Christmas present last year, and in April when we spent a long weekend in  Devon to see the donkeys, Walter (our sponsored donkey) just hid inside. Mind you it was a chilly damp day.

Walter is rather shy, and this time when we visited we went straight to where he lives, and even though he was outside, he made his way inside soon after our arrival.

Thankfully, one of the helpers there, a lovely lady from The Netherlands, led him out again, took some pictures of us with him, and also took some more pictures for us of him inside.

We were very fortunate to be able to spend quite a lot of time with Walter and his half-brother Timothy, and we learned a lot from this lady, as well as from several other helpers when we went back in the afternoon.

The Donkey Sanctuary was created by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE in 1969 to help save donkeys from around the world, and this place can only be described at HUGE! There are over 400 donkeys at this location alone, and numerous fields and stables where they live. They even have a hospital on site where they can treat donkeys that have injuries.

Some donkeys have been rescued from a life of abuse, while others have been donated to the sanctuary when their owners have no longer been able to look after them properly.

Some of the donkeys (like Walter) help with children who have disabilities, and they truly are lovely gentle creatures and are great with children.

Here are a few more pictures from our day at The Donkey Sanctuary.

Half Term In Devon

Heaven In DevonWe are spending the last week in October in Devon. It’s also half term week, and since we can only go away when the schools are on a break, it does limit us to when we can take trips, but staying in a converted farm building which is off the beaten track, we expect a lovely quiet week.

It’s only a couple of hours drive from where we live to this lovely tranquil spot, which is about a mile off the main road down a single lane track, and it’s so quiet here, you literally could hear a pin drop. It certainly is a little bit of “Heaven In Devon”.

The drive wasn’t bad, a couple of slow spots but nothing major, and we stopped at Greendale Farm Shop shortly before we arrived to buy some food and also to sample their Fish & Chips which are supposed to be excellent. Indeed they were, good portions, freshly cooked and well priced too.

Greendale is a lovely farm shop. It’s well stocked with lots of local produce, including freshly caught local fish and lots of local cheeses and meats. Outside there are hundreds of chickens running around, as well as an Ostrich and other animals, great entertainment for the kids.

Having stocked up with fresh bread, local milk, cheese and butter etc, we headed off to our destination, unpacked and walked around the property before hopping into the hot tub to relax.

The owner has a lovely large house with acres of grounds, and outside the door of our converted farm building (the left one in the photo) is a lovely patio garden, and beyond that a large field.  Guests are allowed to walk around the grounds, and there is a lot to see, including gorgeous sunsets (weather permitting).

More tomorrow as we head out to the nearby Donkey Sanctuary and visit another of our favourite beauty spots here, Beer.

A Frog In A Bucket

Outside Our Kitchen DoorTuesday morning I got ready to go to work, and as usual I looked outside the kitchen door, which is where we have been leaving a tray of peanuts for our night time visitors, and I saw that they remained untouched.

Disappointed at not having had anyone come to eat overnight, I picked up the wildlife camera, turned it off, and placed it on the kitchen counter top for my wife to check, but as I walked out the kitchen door to head out to work I saw something moving in a black bowl that had been left outside the door.

It had rained a lot over the past week, and I had noticed that this bowl had been filling up, and now it was completely full, but something was definitely moving in the water.

I walked back into the kitchen, grabbed a torch, shone it in the bucket, and to my surprise there was a frog (or it could be a toad, it was dark and I didn’t have long to spend looking).

The frog was about 2 inches long, so quite large (by UK standards at least), and I have absolutely no idea how it got there.

The photographs above shows where the bucket was when I found the frog, but look below to see exactly where this is in relation to our garden.

Outside Our Kitchen Door

First there are 3 steps to climb to get from the garden to the side path, then as you can see below there are another 4 steps to get to the back door.

Outside Our Kitchen Door

So how on earth did our froggy end up in a bucket of water at the top of the steps?

With all the rain it’s possible that he could have climbed up all that way to the top on his own, maybe to escape some of the water.

It’s also possible that one of the storms could have lifted him out of his pond and deposited him in the bucket, but I think this is a bit unlikely.

Similarly, a bird might have picked him up and dropped him there, or our badger might have left him there the during the night, intending to have him for a tasty dessert the following night, but I somehow doubt that badgers are that complicated when it comes to their food.

Also, bearing in mind that none of the food that we left out that night had been touched, I am just left puzzled.

As for the frog, I didn’t want him to end up drowned in there, and so before leaving for work I dumped the water and the frog onto our herb bed, and as the soil is full of clay I knew that he would have a nice damp environment and an opportunity to make his way to somewhere more appropriate for a frog to spend his time.

Do you have any thoughts on how he might have got there? If so I would be interested to hear about them.

Fairies? Well there could be some in our garden, pixies too, but I have never seen them. Still, with a wildlife camera, anything is possible…

Why Buy A Trail / Wildlife Camera?

Acorn 6210MC Ready For ActionWhy would I want to buy a trail / wildlife camera?

This is a question that I am sure many people might ask, but unless you live somewhere where there are no wild birds or animals around, or you just aren’t interested in nature, there are so many reasons why a trail camera could be useful as well as educational.

But before I go rambling on about some of the great reasons for wanting a trail camera, for those of you who aren’t sure, here is a quick description of what a trail camera is.

A Trail Camera is a digital camera in a waterproof housing that can be set to take photographs or to record video when it’s motion sensors are triggered. It is designed to be left outdoors to record passing wildlife, and many also have infra-red flash to enable recording at night.

But I live in a town/city, not in the countryside?

Well so do we, but as well as cats and rats (only seen one of the latter in the last 5 years thankfully), we also have foxes, hedgehogs and as we found out recently, badgers as well.

What made that hole in our fence?

Badger Made This Hole In FenceOne morning I went out to work and found that a large hole had been made in the fence next to our side gate.

Knowing now that we have badgers visiting, we are almost certain that the badger is to blame for the hole. But we don’t mind, it’s an old fence, and it’s fun to be able to see animals like this in our garden.

I can’t afford something like that?

Well that’s what we thought too, but these days digital cameras are surprisingly affordable, and a basic trail camera can cost under £100 (US$150), although if you can afford it, don’t just opt for the cheapest model that you can find, because some of those extra features can be very handy.

What can a trail camera do?

In our case, our camera has been set in the garden where we know various animals pass through, feed, and also use a flower bed as a toilet.

These are some of the features that our Acorn 6210MC has for example:

  • 12 Mega Pixel Camera
  • 1080 HD Video
  • Infra Red Flash
  • 2 Timers (triggers only between set times)
  • When triggered take photo, video or both
  • Set length of video to record
  • Set interval between events
  • Time-lapse photography option

This is great to place in your garden or somewhere where nobody else is likely to discover the camera, but naturally you wouldn’t want to risk placing an expensive piece of kit like this in woods where someone might see it light up when it was activated.

Our model therefore has a covert infra red flash, so even when the camera is triggered by something moving in front of the sensors, there are no lights visible to humans, so you could leave it in nearby woods, or even somewhere in your garden closer to the street.

If you want to spend a bit more money, some cameras even have the capability to send the pictures and video that they record by MMS message or email by adding a Sim Card.

On the first night of use, our camera caught cats, a fox and a badger. What do you think a camera might photograph in your garden?

Well, have I sparked your interest in trail cameras yet?

There is much more to come, as we (hopefully) get more fun video of our local wildlife, as well as taking our trail camera on holiday with us later this month. I also plan to explain more about our camera, how to set it up, and how to get the most out of it.

If you would like to be notified of future posts on this site, please use the option at the top right of the page to subscribe to our posts.

The Musings Of Debbe & Tony