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Keeping dry at night for the rest of Sidmouth Folk Week

view from peak hill on rainy day

Sidmouth is the most amazing place when the sun is shining but it can feel a little drab when the clouds open up… especially at night!

juggling in the street sidmouth folk week

Don’t get me wrong… I’d rather be in a rainy climate than watching palm trees burst into flames in the searing heat of the Middle East (just watched one on Facebook!)

clock tower steps

But not sure I’d want to be camping on a hillside… I’d much rather be tucked up in the warm of an evening and enjoy the day’s entertainment along The Esplanade, come rain or shine!

the fiddler and fans

If that sounds like a plan then we have a couple of rooms that can sleep 4 or 5 people… there is no kitchen but there is a kettle… and Lidl & Waitrose are just a short walk away.

mikey mouse in sidmouth

Book online or call 07717 820823 of you don’t have an AirBnB account.

ame and sid

Thank you.


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Fun stuff to do during your perfect holiday in East Devon this summer

There’s a ton of fun stuff to do in East Devon this summer and here are just a few tasters…


4th August 2017 is the start of Sidmouth Folk Festival with visitors coming in from all over the world! The population of Sidmouth (normally around 15,000) quadruples to over 60,000 for the world famous Sidmouth Folk Festival… there’s even a plaque!

The Red Arrows fly into town at the end of August…

red arrows flying high

So what else is happening in August in around Sidmouth?

• Summer Hopper Bus service (not Folk Week)
• Sidmouth Town Band Concerts, Sundays in Connaught Gardens 8pm
• Tours of St Giles 7th Century Church, Sidbury on Thursdays 2.30pm
• 4 to 11 – Sidmouth Folk Week
• 10, 24 – Ottery St Mary Silver Band Concert in Connaught Gardens 7.45pm
• 12 – South West Astronomy Fair, Norman Lockyer Observatory
• 19 – Last Night of the Proms, Sidmouth Town Band in Connaught Gardens
• 19 – The Sid Valley Horticultural Society Flower and Craft Show at Sidford Playing Field
• 22-24 Railway Memorabilia and Photographic Exhibition at Kennaway House
• 24 – Woolbrook Flower and Craft Show at St Francis Church Hall, Woolbrook
• 25 – Red Arrows display over Sidmouth seafront (display date and time to be confirmed)
• 26 & 27 – Sidmouth Regatta
• 26 – Sidmouth Lions Club Great Book Sale at St Teresa’s Church Hall, Sidmouth 9.30am

Obviously if you are looking to rock with other folk at the festival or enjoy the Red Arrows, some local accommodation in Sidmouth might be in order?

Get over to AirBinB and make your booking >>>

holiday accomodation in sidmouth airbnb

So what’s happening in August in around Exeter?

30 July 2017
Exeter Classic Motorcycle Club – Dartmoor Run
This is a run of approximately 90 miles. We ride out from Exeter Quay (EX2 4AN) taking in some of the most beautiful parts of Devon, including a spectacular ride over the high moors of Dartmoor, before returning to the Quay. There will be a lunch…

1 Aug 2017 to 6 Aug 2017
Exeter – UnPacked Family Theatre Festival 2017
PaddleBoat Theatre Company have packed a very big suitcase full of exciting theatre shows and creative workshops for all the family to enjoy this summer.

5 Aug 2017
Shaldon Water Carnival
Every year the Shaldon Water Carnival Committee put on an event to rival the most eccentric of ceremonies. Somewhere between a carnival and a regatta, the Shaldon Water Carnival provides a day of creative explosions and colourful entertainment.

12 Aug 2017 to 19 Aug 2017
Dawlish Carnival Week
Dawlish Carnival week is one of Devon’s largest seaside carnivals, taking place over 7 days during August. Lots of free fun and entertainment for the whole family! The Grand Carnival Procession will take place on Friday evening.

18 Aug 2017 to 23 Aug 2017
Torbay Royal Regatta 2017

24 Aug 2017 to 26 Aug 2017
Dartmouth Royal Regatta
The Regatta is based around a programme of rowing and sailing events, but also incorporates a busy programme of activities including air displays, fireworks, a large fair, and many other smaller events that happen in and around the town centre.

And much more >>>

If you know of other events going on in August then please add them as short comments with links to websites where folk can find more information below. Thank you.

Come and enjoy East Devon.

Thank you.


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YOUR help is needed in gathering the opinions of young adults


The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan is a very important document that will determine how Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council approach planning decisions in the Sid Valley over the next 20 years or so.

ALL residents have a chance to offer their thoughts and opinions.

There is just one week left to have your say and while plenty of the older folk in the community have probably already made their feelings known, it would give greater balance to the findings if more households where the main bread winner are 20 – 40 years old would respond.

Since the survey is only open for one more week… young adults are digital savvy… and the survey is available for completion online then your help is needed in getting your neighbours / friends to…

Complete the online survey ASAP >>>

The Neighbourhood Plan folks have had over 1000 surveys completed so far and so it would be good to get many more completed by young adults to give the results more balance.

If you could spread the word to 2 or 3 young families you know I’m sure they’d be grateful.

Thank you.


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Great to meet you at the Devon Expo Plymouth on Wednesday

ian smith winning tenders devon expo

Following up on the Devon Business Expo in Plymouth on Wednesday and came up with this email… BUT not everyone is on email!

Just came across a couple of cards that simply had a Facebook page and a Twitter handle, no email address… solution, add the email to my blog and then share via their favourite channel 😉

Good morning

Tendering is…

• A skill developed over time
• Time consuming
• Not straightforward
• Essential when chasing larger contracts

Winning Tenders can help you in three ways…

• We can teach you how to complete the tenders for yourself
• We can become your tender department
• Or we can be an ad hoc ‘overflow’ resource to support your bid team

From our website you will find helpful information including videos which will help you understand how you can best approach the tendering process: please visit

We could send you plenty of documentation to get you started but if admin isn’t your favourite thing then you are unlikely to read them, so it is probably best to have a short conversation with one of our team. We can then work out which of our consultants is best placed to help you with tenders in your industry.

Ian Smith, our CEO, has years of experience of the tendering process, including grant applications, in a wide range of industries and he understands what it takes to be consistently successful.

Winning Tenders win rate is c.75% because we are selective about the opportunities we bid for and we have a process in place that is designed to minimise wasted time

First we need to understand your business, its place in the market and what resources you have at your disposal should you be awarded a contract. So while any initial conversations are naturally FOC, to establish an understanding of your business takes time, for which we charge a set-up fee of £495: this includes a full Tender Readiness Check.

After this, we’ll review any tender opportunities FOC as part of our shared risk model. If we belief you have a good chance of winning a tender then we’ll agree a fee for completing the tender document and submitting it on your behalf.

We’ll also agree a WIN fee, only payable if we are successful in landing the tender for you.

In this way, it is in our interests to ensure you are only applying for the tenders that you can fulfil. Not only will this save you thousands of pounds in completion fees that other companies might only be too pleased to take from you but it will also look good for both of us when completing subsequent tenders.

If this sounds fair in principle then if you could just reply to this email saying what your current thoughts are on using our service and when that might become a priority, we can then schedule a timely call to touch base and move things forward.

If you don’t respond then I’ll assume you are busy enough and don’t need our help at this time and I will put a note in my diary to give you a nudge in 6 months or so to see how you are fixed then.

Thank you.

Jon Davey
07717 820823

ian smith winning tenders devon expo deck chair

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Like Minds Business Breakfasts featuring Oli Barrett

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 oli barrett audience

Oli was one of the team behind Startup Britain and pinched the idea for Tenner, which has been used extensively by Young Enterprise, from a vicar… the Lord works in mysterious ways 😉

Like Minds is the inspiration of Drew Ellis, a guy who had a really cool early career, designing album covers for A&M and Island Records back in the early 80’s, it all went pear from there!

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 Drew Ellis

Drew finds people who are inspirational and brings them together for a moment in time and magical things happen…

How you fixed for September 29th?

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 dan pritchard

Dan Pritchard and the team from Astley Media are keeping the warm up events on track, today was part of a series of monthly breakfasts where we get to meet one of the keynotes lined up for the 29th…

like minds food pictureOli shared his modus operandi which is essentially to find some really smart people to do all the admin and then front things up and go off and find people to talk to… better still, he loves getting asked to be the “host with the most” at events and conferences which then allows serendipity to pour in from all four corners of the universe, not forgetting those bonus levels of consciousness…

That’s how Lord Young introduced him to the chap who asked him to get StartUp Britain started… told you the Lords work in mysterious ways 😉

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 Oli Barrett

How’d that happen? Best get along on the 29th September and ask him yourself… or hook up via LinkedIn, he’s open to opportunities which is the secret of his success… and he’s a good egg…

Thank you.

07717 820823

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The #GE2017 is hanging on a cliff edge…

shed on cliff edge sidmouth

It’s time to read and digest the information available on each of the East Devon General Election Candidates…

It never ceases to amaze me how really poor most candidates are at giving good representation of themselves! In 2017 they should all, at the very least, have a one page website which says who they are. If they can’t do it for themselves then they should be able to find a friend who would do it for a small fee (so not to breach election rules)… every Dandy has his day…

donkey sanctuary seaview

I’ve made an effort to gather their social media profile / web links and put this information below… if candidates or their pals want to forward any links I am missing, I’m happy to add them.

Politics can get dirty as I saw when I stood as an Independent candidate in a local council election in Windsor & Maidenhead at the last elections. Walking around the town yesterday and this noticed had been posted…

notice about boards being removed

Hardly cricket but now it’s time to make your choice… personally I don’t want to live in a Police state so will be voting for Claire Wright as she is the only candidate with any hope of changing things and we need that urgently.

IND Claire Wright

In 2015 Claire got 13,140 votes, 24.0% of the total… an increase of 24% on the previous election… all she needs to do is double that and she’s a dead cert 😉

CON Hugo Swire

Hugo bagged 25,401 votes, 46.4%, a slight dip on the previous election -1.9% change.

LIB Alison Eden

Stuart Mole, Liberal Democrat, dug a hole for himself achieving only 3,715 votes, 6.8% a huge drop of -24.4… must have been caused by all that Tory back scratching that saw them well embarrass themselves in coalition. They might nudge a few points back this time.

LAB Janet Ross

Stephen Race ran for Labour achieving 5,591 a 10.2% share, slightly down -0.6% and hopefully with Labour having no real chance locally, their voters will shift to help Claire?

UKIP Brigitte Graham

UKIP in the form of Andrew Chapman landed 6,870 representing 12.6%, up 4.4% on the previous but I can’t help thinking what’s the point of UKIP in 2017?

IND Michael Val Davies & IND Peter Faithfull

Note sure they’ll get more than a few votes from close friends…

Thank you.


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Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Production

bitpid 2 min video shoot 373Group

You’ll have probably heard of the 6Ps, well when you have just a few minutes to get it right, then you’d best prep…

A few weeks back 373 Group tweeted out about an opportunity to pop over to BitPod and do a bit of a podcast…

Ten of us gathered at Bitpod’s well posh studio, part of an old mansion house, in Exeter to give a 2 minute presentation to camera that we could share with the world…

jon davey bitpod

I’ve done a bunch of videos over the years and they seem to come out far better when there’s a professional on the end of the camera rather than my chunky fingers & thumbs!

At the weekend, in the interests of preventing a piss poor production, I scribbled a few words, read through, re-wrote, tinkered, tried again, tweaked and repeat… until it was about right… it’s always going to change so perfection is never going to happen… near enough works for me. But not for Phil…

cut throat shaving jon davey in chair

Morning of the evening shoot and my shirt’s ironed and ready… to shave or not to shave, that is the question, for it’s probably nobler to let a professional cut throat barber do his best, don’t want to get a skin rash just hours before! Texted my man Phil Weaver, the cut throat barber in Sidmouth, could he fit me in at 2pm… “Come on down…” came the reply… you try 0781 792 6624

smooth as a baby's bum jon davey

Smooth as a baby’s bum comes to mind but European law means we have to be inclusive, almost as shiny as a baboon’s freshly rinsed rear end 😉

Phil knows how to get close and remove all that muck & grime as well as the bristles… perfect job… just gotta get those words in the right order on the video now!

What do you think? Need to find some people?

Thank you.

07717 820823

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Makes you WannaCry, super tech saviour from Devon!


Did you know the guy who spotted the “kill switch” in WannaCry virus that is spreading panic in the hearts of IT Managers around the world, Marcus Hutchins, is from Ilfracombe… must be growing up in the Devon air that makes him so smart!

I asked Martin Crockett from East Devon IT for his thought…

The systems that were affected were mainly older systems that were not being maintained. With regard to the NHS, they paid £5.5million to Microsoft to keep support for the systems but they ditched it a couple of years ago despite warnings.

This highlights the importance of having a proper maintenance routine and a company such as EDIT watching your back.

Would you like to discuss your IT systems with Martin?

Let me know…

Thank you


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Finding your perfect business prospect


Helping you and your team find the right people to talk to is what I am all about.

I find them and then commence a process of warming them up for a conversation with the right person at your organisation.

This naturally optimises your marketing budget, creating balance in the world, which inspires you to commission me to do more of the same 😉

You can read more of the nuts and bolts here >>>

I’ve been in sales & marketing for my whole career, the last 20 under my own steam. I love trying new ways of engaging with prospective clients and have come up with a formula that appears to be working for the small group of customers I have worked with to prove the concept.

While my diary is full now for May, there could be room in June for a couple of new clients to give it a go… call me and we can discuss how it might work for you… 07717 820823.

Go review my LinkedIn profile and see if it resonates with you >>>

Thank you.

07717 820823

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Business @ Breakfast Networking Wed 3rd May, Exeter… are you registered yet?


The next networking meeting for business@breakfast in Exeter will be at the Mercure Southgate Hotel on Wednesday 3rd May.

We will be meeting for some great networking and we will also be having a one on one session. If you want to know what that involves then do come along to the meeting.

We will meet at 07:00 in the Lounge Terrace which is just to the left as you go past reception.

Member – Jon Davey, from EX10, will be giving a short presentation as part of the meeting. The presentation is entitled “Your Marketing Plan sealed with a KISS”. Some simple steps you can take way with you on the day.

This is your personal invitation to join us at the meeting this coming Wednesday. So that we can get the numbers right and your breakfast ordered, please reply to this email confirming your attendance. The meetings are always quite busy so please book early. I do hope to see you there.

Why not share in business referrals from businesses in and around Exeter in a warm welcoming environment at our vibrant networking meeting? As always there will be ample time for networking with fellow business people, making new contacts and creating opportunities for business to be done. If you wish to participate in these opportunities please come along. It may seem early but you’ll be setup for the day by the end of the meeting.

We meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning and guests are always welcome, but please let us know if you are planning to come along so that we can cater for numbers. You will be guaranteed a warm welcome and the entrance is just £10, so why not come along?




When & where do we meet?

Day – Wednesday 3rd May (and fortnightly)
Time – 07:00 – 08:30
Venue – Mercure Southgate Hotel, Southernhay East, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1QF

Parking in offered at the Mercure Southgate Hotel on a first come first serve basis, so pick up your ticket on entry. You will then be given a token to put into the machine on your way out. There is also plenty of alternative parking nearby should you need it.

More about Business@Breakfast

B@B was formed to provide a structured environment where business referrals can be passed, without the burden of diktats from head office and without the overhead of being run by an organisation that itself needs to make profit.

We also recognise that within networking groups there is a varied level of experience and we actively encourage the sharing of that experience and create a nurturing atmosphere for this to take place.

Essentially then we are; structured and targeted, affordable, welcoming and nurturing plus we currently have three branches, one in Exeter, one in East Devon and one in Mid Devon. You can normally (competitive proviso) attend all of these branches if you wish under one membership.

Membership is open to every type of business, although to avoid competition and to maximise the benefit to members, only one member of each type of business or profession is allowed within each branch. This is not a hard and fast rule and wherever possible we are flexible in our approach on this and other matters. This is demonstrated in several instances where we have members from what appear to be identical professions, working happily alongside each other. We will always search for a solution rather than turning potential members away.

Reasons to join:

  • Be introduced to and get to know other local businesses
  • Promote your business or service to the local business community and to receptive audience
  • Win new business through referrals from fellow members
  • Attend interesting presentations from guest speakers and members
  • Enjoy networking in a relaxed environment which is closed to your competitors
  • Learn and develop through shared experiences of other members
  • Benefit from having your business profile on our website
  • Take part in our showcase events and invite your prospects

You can find out a little more on our website

Email us at or indeed by all means call us on 01392 908000 and we can talk you through it.

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Holiday Cottage (sleeps 4) near Donkey Sanctuary, East Devon

seagull cottage stoneleigh sidmouth montage

Seagull Cottage is part of Stoneleigh Holiday Park, next door to the Donkey Sanctuary in the peaceful countryside which makes up part of East Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a few minutes’ drive from regency town of Sidmouth to the east and Beer to the west.

seagull cottage stoneleigh sidmouth front view

1 bed cottage which can sleep 4 comfortably with 2 single beds, which can be made up as a double, and a full size pull down double bed in the living room.

seagull cottage stoneleigh sidmouth bedroom

Other comforts in the cottage include a fully equipped kitchen featuring microwave, fridge, stove. There is also a washing machine.

seagull cottage stoneleigh sidmouth kitchen

The living room hosts a 32inch TV along with DVD player, free view channels and selections of dvds and various games. Electricity is metered and the metre takes £1 coins.

seagull cottage stoneleigh sidmouth lounge

Check availability here >>>

Thank you.


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Thousands turned out on Good Friday for Sidmouth’s HOTTEST Tradition

hot cross buns sidmouth packing bags

Started by a chap called John Parfitt Millen and his mates over 100 years ago, the children of Sidmouth have been enjoying hot cross buns most every Good Friday since…

hot cross buns sidmouth ethan and harry

This year’s front runners Ethan & Harry had got up early to secure front place in the queue as they did last year and will probably have to do now into their dotage 😉


Anne Funnell had brought her granddaughter Sophie along to enjoy the occasion as she had with her grandmother 50 years before… her grandmother lived to 106 in Sidmouth and is buried in the town.

hot cross buns sidmouth anne funnell grand mother

I suggested she visits Sidmouth Remembers on Facebook and ask if anyone remembers her gran…

hot cross buns sidmouth the queue begins

I got there around 8:15am but it wasn’t long before the queue had filled the car park…

hot cross buns sidmouth queue its not long oh yes it is

And was reaching up Station Road towards the theatre…

hot cross buns sidmouth station road

Families couldn’t wait to get their bag of goodies… 2 hot cross buns, an orange and a chocolate egg…

hot cross buns sidmouth goodie bags

Sidmouth Town Band were out in force…

and the Mayor popped along to open preceding and try a few eggs!

Sid Valley Rotarians had joined the party after Mike Laver mentioned it at Monday’s meeting… it made good sense to use it to publicise our Children’s Dragon Hunt on St George’s Day when folk law has it that the trolls will come out from under the bridges along the Byes and be beaten back by Sidmouth knights… or it does now 😉

hot cross buns sidmouth rotarians

Chloe Beard’s friends had also promised to buy a raffle ticket or two to help support her South West Guides Regional event, a five day International Community Experience to Ireland… figured a few strangers might help her on her way if she took up the right position with mum & dad in tow…

hot cross buns sidmouth chloe beard raffle for guides ireland trip

And as I strolled into town to put up some A4 flyers in local cafes, this young man was looking to increase his current total of £47,000 got Help for Heroes…

hot cross buns sidmouth help for heros 47000

Great community spirit and energy around the town…

I’m look forward to slaying a few dragons next weekend!

Do join us and don’t forget to borrow a kid or two for the day 😉


Registration on The Ham from 1:30pm, starts a 2:00pm and we’ll be heading up The Byes and finishing at Sidford Village Hall

Thank you.