Category Archives: Hobbies/Interests

Devon max


Looking out over green fields fringed by a cloudless sky and the serene blue of the sea, I feel compelled to commend, yet again, a holiday in the South Hams in Devon.

We discovered this area about five years ago and with the exception of a big birthday trip to the States in 2013 have come here for our annual summer holiday ever since.

Of course, the stunning, rolling countryside offers life at a leisurely pace with villages such as Modbury providing the quintessential English country experience complete with local food emporiums, quirky boutiques and tearooms.

But scratch the surface and a world of surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, kayaking and sailing awaits – and these are just the possibilities on water.

The exceptionally mild climate in this part of the UK has given rise to a culture of outdoor activities such as tennis – there are dozens of courts in Dartmouth and Ivybridge – cycling and walking, much in evidence in the tanned, svelte physiques of young and older Devonians alike.

Surfing lessons are available at Bigbury and Bantham beaches (visit and for details) with the swell of the sea and long sweeps of golden sand combining to etch an unforgettable image of coastal Britain at its best in the minds of all who visit.

Younger son, Ethan, has developed an avid surfing habit over the years and recommends Bigbury for beginners, while Bantham has longer “peak” periods creating a more challenging ride.

The picturesque village of Salcombe, which sparkles against the Aegean blue of the Kingsbridge Estuary, attracts the sailing fraternity and everything that goes with it.

Excellent local bakeries, fishmongers and delis pepper the streets, alongside brilliant boutiques such as Sea Chest selling nautical classics and Deck Out providing more whimsical designs to show off sun kissed skin and beach blonde tresses.

Totnes is another delightful discovery, with Fore Street running through the centre like a mountain tributary with outcrops of fantastic delis, cafes, gift and clothes shops on either side, top to bottom.

South Hams is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Totnes remains true to its values of nature in the raw. It is one of the founder towns of the Transition Town movement with its strong focus on sustainable practices.

Eating out is all part of the laid back vibe in the South Hams, but if you fancy throwing something on the barbie at your holiday accommodation and washing it down with a cold beer or chilled Chenin Blanc the options are endless.

Riverford Organic Farms Shop and Café near Buckfastleigh offers organic fruit and vegetables grown on local farms or on the premises in giant polytunnels, as well as fresh beef, chicken, pork and lamb and all manner of accompaniments.

We stayed at Barton Court cottages in South Huish this year, which, besides having a fantastic indoor pool and games room for occasional rainy days, is close to all the great beaches with The Beachhouse restaurant at South Milton an absolute must.





Festive musings from the motherofall


The last day of 2015 is an important one for Ethan Fox Dear.

Born on 31st December 1999 (with a middle name inspired by 20th Century Fox!) he has reached the grand old age of 16 and celebrated in style.

He went to the local burger bar with five of his closest friends, resplendent in Selected Homme checked shirt, Ted Baker flying jacket and Tom Ford cologne!

Ethan is a teenager with hidden depths – even to his mum. He is a paradox of thoughtfulness and kindness coupled with steely determination and, at times, brutal honesty. Not for the faint hearted is his appraisal of why I should stop moaning about my lot.

His personality has been forged in rivalry with his brother, but also undercurrents of insecurity, a consequence of his lone wolf demeanour – he’s never been one to follow the pack – and his red hair.

It’s a sad indictment that in the 21st century people are still pilloried for the colour of their hair.

2016 will be an interesting year for Ethan. His prelims are in January and his Highers in May.

He’s very good at English (though quite why is a mystery, as he doesn’t seem to read much) and after a shaky start in Maths was recently described by his teacher as a natural mathematician. The other Highers he’s sitting – Biology, Chemistry and Geography – reflect his interest in the natural world.

He recently completed the My DNA questionnaire on with the overall conclusion that he is ‘a thinker, constructor, performer and chiller’.

The analysis went on the outline his core skills, potential areas of weakness and things he may want to work on including actively allowing and welcoming criticism and making a conscious effort to plan your time.

Good advice for adults of any age, let alone one aged 16.

Ethan is on a voyage of self-discovery and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch it unfold.