Karen Penny is an inspirational woman walking 20,000 km around the whole of the UK and Ireland raising money for the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity. When she finishes she’ll be the first woman to ever achieve this (no woman has walked all the islands as well), and there is no doubt in our mind that Karen will finish. You have to be made of strong stuff to walk the coastal paths whilst carrying your ‘home’ on your back!
Barry and I were delighted to meet and host her this week as she passed through Beer. She has, as you can probably imagine, some amazing stories of her journey so far, from meeting a prince and princess to sleeping in a polytunnel one night. She’s also slept in a garage but we were very happy to have her stay with us rather than braving the elements.
Karen lives in South Wales and set off in January 2019 walking clockwise to Fishguard before nipping over to walk the whole of the coast of Ireland (as you do!). Returning to Fishguard she then restarted her trek north to Scotland reaching Shetland before coronavirus halted her progress. Back in Wales for lockdown she restarted her walk anti-clockwise on the 10th August this year and reached Beer last Thursday.
What we can’t quite believe is her stamina – she walks everyday. With the steep ascents of North Devon, Cornwall and South Devon, we know this is no mean feat, as we’re three years into walking the South West Coast Path ourselves. One day she even walked 25 miles. We were glad we only did Salcombe Regis to Beer with her which was a mere ten miles but our calves still ached the next day. As Karen told us, her legs are rock hard!
Her motivation comes from losing loved ones to this disease. Incredibly, despite the fact that dementia affects so many people, the charity receives hardly any government funding. Funds are also lower this year as so many fund raising events have had to be cancelled due to Covid. We lost Barry’s mum to vascular dementia so this is a charity very close to our hearts.
Karen has a fantastic Facebook page where you can follow her journey –
The nights are getting colder now so even if people aren’t able to donate, if you live on the coast, do let her stay or camp in your garden if you can. She’ll really appreciate a hot meal or even just a hot cup of tea!
Her fundraising target is £100,000, and at the time of writing this she’s raised a whopping £68,951. If you’re reading this and are able to help do follow the link below.
Karen, we are in awe of you – just keep on walking………
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been making more of an effort to shop local. The main summer season has come to an end and our local businesses need our continued support. The good news is that three new shops have opened up recently.
The first is a huge favourite, Squirrel, who started delivering fruit and veg during lockdown to many of our local towns and villages. Paula has opened up her Seaton shop and the display is simply beautiful. Marc, her partner, is a bespoke cabinet maker so you can imagine how great the shop fit out is. You can learn more about Squirrel on their Facebook page – Squirrel
The other place we’re raving about is also in Seaton; Feast. They are a new takeaway selling delicious wraps and salads. It’s all super fresh and beautifully presented; don’t be fooled by the size of the takeaway boxes – they pack it all in and it’s a main meal with an explosion of tastes.
Also in Seaton is Coast cafe – we visited for breakfast over the bank holiday weekend and were not disappointed. Whilst the men went for the very generous full English, the granola was scrumptious and looked so pretty it was almost too good to eat!
In Beer Village the lovely Chocolate N More has opened selling of course yummy chocolate but also old fashioned sweets (think fruit salads, blackjacks, lemon bon bons, etc) and gifts. Just in time for us to start thinking about stocking fillers or presents for Cxxxxxxxx…….. (We’re not allowed to mention the C word in our house yet!).
So the main season maybe over but we’re now full until 14th November – we thought that the season might go longer due to the virus. If you fancy a short break to visit beautiful Beer (and #shoplocal) do get in touch. Or if you’re still working from home and want to work from Devon this winter we can do longer lets in some of the cottages depending upon availability…………
Beer Regatta was first held in either 1913 or 1914; there are stories that confirm both years. It started with a race between the Beer Luggers and the Seaton Luggers and the history can be found on the Regatta website Beer Regatta. 2020 will now always be known as the year in which Beer Regatta went virtual due to Covid-19 and the world wide pandemic.
Our Committee waited until the last moment to cancel the event however it wasn’t a full cancellation – Regatta Remotely was born. It was held last week with a virtual event held on everyday. We encouraged people to hold their own Robbie’s Races, cream teas and fancy dress competition at home and our followers didn’t disappoint! We had people taking part from Bath to Scotland, and for the quiz people tuned in from Jersey to Greece. With the aid of technology it was possible to bring a little bit of Beer Regatta to people who couldn’t be in our beautiful village.
Whilst it was a lot of work on my part, I look back on last week with a sense of achievement. Whilst other towns and villages in the South West just cancelled, Beer accepted that wasn’t good enough and brought smiles to many people at a time of worry. We’ve created a special section on our website so that this unique year doesn’t get forgotten. In 20 years time people might say “remember that year when Regatta was virtual?”. We’ve captured the event for all time – Regatta Remotely.
Beer Regatta next year will start on Saturday 14th August 2021. Long Live Beer Regatta!
I qualified as a Yoga teacher in January 2020 having trained with Dan Peppiatt of Yoga Like Water https://www.yogalikewater.com/. My converted studio at Garlands was literally finished just as lockdown happened. I was just about to hit the button to tell a few people about my classes when I was shut down before I’d even opened!
Not to worry as the studio saw a lot of action as I practised there myself and joined zoom classes with the wonderful Louise who runs Jala Flow in Sidmouth. Her classes are excellent, she is an amazing teacher and I highly recommend her online classes – Jala Flow. I also did some very good sessions with Tina Jeffery on a Saturday morning, as the business was closed and I wasn’t doing changeover. Tina also teaches aerial yoga, which if you haven’t tried, I’d definitely give it a go when the Topsham studio re-opens – Tina Jeffery Yoga.
I teach beginners and intermediate students on a one to one basis or for two people. With the holiday cottages I can also provide relaxing, self-catering mid week or weekend yoga breaks from November to March. My teaching qualification is recognised by the Independent Yoga Network and I’m fully insured to hold space for your private practise. Having recently completed Couch to 5K we can also start this whilst you’re staying with me. The flat Seaton Esplanade is a great spot for running with a sea view.
Beginners Yoga – if you’ve never done yoga before this is a general introduction to the practise. You may be a complete beginner or want to build up your confidence before joining a larger, regular yoga class at a gym or studio. Private classes or up to two people.
Breathe and Flow – a slow flow class which focuses on stretching poses moving with the breath. After the flow section of the class the focus moves to yin poses which are held for longer, followed by relaxation at the end. Private classes or up to two people.
Breathe and Release – a yin class where some poses are held for two minutes or longer to focus on releasing tension from your body to enable relaxation. The class ends with meditation to allow feelings of well-being. Private classes or up to two people.
Breathe and Relax – yoga nidra is practised lying down with little movement. It is said to be the ultimate relaxation, bringing balance and health back to the body, mind and emotions. Best practised in the evenings I can do a private class or have up to three people.
With gyms opening up today, post the lockdown, my space is safe and clean with enhanced cleaning protocols being followed (just like we’re doing with the cottages).
So if you’ve never tried yoga and want to see what it’s all about give me a call – 07817 934903.
STOP PRESS – you can even combine yoga with a staycation – The Beach House one bed cottage has availability for a week from Saturday 22nd August……
After being closed for over three months the list of things to do has been long but we’re good to go! We’ve read every single guideline available to be able to open safely for us and our guests. This has involved buying specialist cleaning materials, PPE and removing all the books, DVD’s, games and toys from the cottages. Barry has disinfected every showerhead with Milton to prevent legionnaires disease and the cottages have been recleaned from top to bottom ready for arrivals from the 4th.
There has to be some changes to our operations – we won’t be personally welcoming our guests as key safes have been fitted with towels and sanitising fluid to hand, and cream teas are off the agenda to reduce the amount of touch points. We’re also asking guests to strip their beds before they leave and place the linen directly in the laundry bags, and to also open all the windows before we go into the cottages to clean. Earlier departure and later arrival times are also important in order that we have more time to ensure the cottage is clean and safe for our next guests.
It’s all been a learning curve but we’re as prepared as we can be. Lots of businesses in Beer are getting ready so you’ll be able to eat out including The Dolphin, The Anchor, The Smugglers Kitchen and Steamers (for takeaway initially). Osbornes Wine Bar which is under new ownership is also opening and will be doing takeaway drinks as well. We wish all the businesses good luck!
We’re looking forward to saying welcome (in a socially distant way) in 7 days time and fully booked until 3rd October. Beer is open for business (in a safe way).
How appropriate that on Devon Day our copy of Devon Life magazine drops through the letterbox! And on page 61 a great article on how Beer has reacted during lockdown supporting the local community, the NHS and giving care home residents a lift.
We’re on day ‘whatever’ of lockdown and whilst some restrictions have been lifted the village is pretty much the same. The beach was busier during half term with local families and visitors however overall we’ve continued to be impressed with how local people are behaving – none of the terrible scenes like Durdle Door here thank goodness.
There are still no overnight stays allowed so whilst we’re hoping to be welcoming guests a month from today, we wait to see how the infection rate reduces. Meanwhile we’ve been trying to get Covid19 ready for our visitors. So far we’ve pre-ordered hand sanitisers for a mini welcome pack plus a larger one for use near our key safes, and masks and disposable gloves for our extended cleaning regime between guest stays. We’ve also managed to order some heavy duty surface spray that kills 99.9999999999% of germs in order to keep ourselves and guests as safe as possible.
So we’re playing a waiting game like many others. Some of the cafes on the beach are open for takeaway, IKEA in Exeter opened (to massive queues around the car park!) and some of our shops will open from the 15th. I love a message I saw this week about shops starting to re-open –
“Businesses are now starting to open in the first phase as per the governments plan. If you go into a commercial premises and see some mistakes, don’t start recording or taking photos to upload onto social media. Please speak to the owner. We have to help each other. This is new for everyone and business owners will be trying their best to make it safe and get their businesses running again. Let’s help each other through the transition”.
We’re on day whatever of lockdown – I don’t know the day or the date but it doesn’t matter. What I do know is that my iPad told me that my screen time has increased significantly week on week of lockdown. I’ve pondered this and refuse to worry about it. This is why my screen time has gone up –
- As I said last month we’ve been doing virtual quizzes with the help of the Houseparty app. Houseparty allows you to speak to your friends virtually – a great way to keep in touch. If anyone wants the 7 round quiz let me know as I’m happy to share it with you and you can host a quiz with your friends and family.
- I’ve continued to play Words with Friends. This is like online Scrabble with benefits of buttons that allow you to swap tiles and even a button that shows you where you can go. I have to admit though it allows you to play around with your words so sometimes you make a word that you didn’t even know existed! If you like Scrabble give this app a go or play the online Scrabble version. Again it’s a lovely way to stay connected with family and friends and I often have more than 5 games on the go. Brain games really help us to stay sharp says Dr Anne Corbett, a senior lecturer in dementia research at Exeter University.
- I’ve been doing yoga in my new studio and playing some wonderful music through the Spotify app. We’ve upgraded to Premium which means that 5 family members can all use our account and have access to literally thousands of songs, albums and artists.
- Continuing the yoga theme I’ve been streaming yoga videos from Movement for Modern Life; an online yoga platform which has some amazing teachers for beginners to advanced students. Perfect for keeping my mental health in check during these stressful times.
- I’ve been posting to the Beer Parish Council and Beer Regatta Facebook sites the newlsetters for the Beer Action Group who are doing amazing things to support the village during Covid-19.
All this has added up to more screen time however with the help of technology and Wi-Fi my isolation has been made easier. Having said that I’m really looking forward to easing off the virtual activities just as soon as I can. One of my friends posted a question a while back – what’s the first thing you’re going to do post Covid-19? My answer was giving my Mum a hug – the best things in life are free. What’s the first thing you’ll do……………?
Day 9 of lockdown in Beer and due to the coronavirus our business is closed for the first time ever. Of course many people’s lives have changed dramatically but cancelled bookings and applying for a government small business grant were things I never envisaged. Despite that there have been a lot of positives over the last week or so.
We’ve vowed to do more to support our fellow local businesses so here’s what we’ve managed so far –
Andy at Steamers Restaurant is making takeaway bread and yesterday we had the most delicious fish pie and greens for lunch that he cooked for the villagers.
Woozies unfortunately had to close however we visited on her last day and bought milk, cheese and other items that would have gone off and been wasted.
Our roast dinner on Sunday came from products all purchased at Colyford Butchers and Stores and Beer Village Stores.
Friday night was taken care of with a takeaway pizza from The Smugglers Kitchen thanks to Rob.
Due to the lovely weather I’ve continued running and now I can’t drive to Seaton Esplanade I’ve run up and down the hills from Garlands to the Axmouth Yacht Club and back without stopping. Barry has been running very slowly with me to motivate me to get up the hills. To be fair he can fast walk as I run but my Fitbit told me I was at 100% peak today so my heart is working hard. Running and doing yoga in my new studio has been a way to keep my mind healthy, so important in times like these.
We’ve kept in touch with our family and friends with Facetime and Houseparty and even did a virtual quiz on Monday which was great fun despite not being altogether. Thank goodness for WiFi – these times have really shown that this is a utility and not a luxury. Speaking of luxury, a bonus of some of the product shortages was that Barry came home yesterday with a proper bar of Imperial Leather soap. This was a luxury item in our family when I was growing up and the smell transported me back to different times and memories.
I’ll admit to have gone a bit rogue – I’m spending most of the day in my gym kit, I haven’t worn make up, I’ve watched the sheep alot in the fields opposite and the whole of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers on the iPlayer in two days. However on the plus side I’ve washed every bit of bedding I can find and the house is the cleanest its ever been since we moved in – I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor.
The Beer community has rallied and we have a Beer Action Group (BAG) which is made up of lots of volunteers who are all supporting whoever and whatever needs doing to help people get through these times. The world is certainly a different place and will never quite be the same afterwards.
Beer and our cottages will be waiting for you to visit when the coast is clear. I saw a Facebook post this morning that summed it up nicely – there will be a lot of businesses who will need to get back on their feet afterwards – let’s spend our holidays in England, eat in local restaurants, buy British products, buy local meats and veggies and support local businesses.
Stay safe everyone!
I haven’t written for a couple of months as I was about to launch my yoga business and then this virus exploded and I wasn’t sure what even to say………
Then I saw this photo on Facebook – Beer Needs You, posted in relation to pubs that need custom to stay afloat in this crisis. This message is close to home as my brother runs a small pub in Swanage and for the first time ever this week he didn’t put in a beer order.
I’m reminded of what the late Steve Jobs said when he was sick. He sadly passed away in October 2011 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Despite all his millions and the best healthcare money could pay for, his death couldn’t be avoided, and he said at the time that the six best doctors in the world are -Sunlight, Exercise, Rest, Diet, Self Confidence and Friends. So this morning I thought which of these six doctors do we have in Beer Village?
On Monday we had sunshine, it was 17 degrees outside and the forecast is looking better for next week – TICK!
On Tuesday we walked to Lyme Regis on the wonderful South West Coast Path which is on our doorstep. Fabulous exercise and 23,000 steps – TICK!
Yesterday we had our rest and carried on watching Designated Survivor on Netflix – truly gripping. We have a WhatsApp group of our friends in the village and we’ve shared our viewing recommendations across all the Apps and TV channels. Feel free to message me if you’d like a list. Whilst our book club meetings are cancelled we’re continuing to read and the local library is still open – TICK!
Today we went down to the village and purchased items in Woozie’s to support our shops. Our local facilities are still open – ‘keeping calm and carrying on’. Whilst Barry and I are not the best of chefs, we’ve got time at home to maybe focus on a better diet and cook from scratch – TICK!
Tomorrow my home yoga studio opens with a class of one – my husband. I’ve written six Yoga Nidra sessions and he’s going to be my guinea pig along with the other Breathe and Flow sessions that are coming along nicely. It feels good to have the time to devote to this – mental health is so important and this way I’ll have lots of confidence when it comes to doing private sessions – TICK!
On Saturday we would normally be seeing friends – Beer is such a social village. Whilst we won’t physically be seeing them there’s way more remote contact, each person checking in and offers of help if anyone needs it. There’s been an amazing community response to supporting people who are vulnerable and need support – TICK!
So we are grateful in Beer that we have all six of these doctors. Oh, and what about our business? We’re also still open for business. We’re doing deep cleans between guests and as they are all completely self contained we’ll stay open for the duration.
Stay Safe Everyone………
Last October I started Couch to 5k with my friend. She wanted to do it to get fit after having broken her arm which stopped her from doing yoga and exercise. We were both encouraged by another friend who had started her running journey and she said it was making a big difference to how she felt. So I said I would do it with my friend so that we could motivate each other. I was told by my doctor in the summer that I needed to do more weight bearing exercise after a diagnosis of osteopenia and that was at the back of my mind anyway.
Now in the past I’ve always hated cardio exercise and have avoided it as I don’t like to feel out of breath, but week 1 started very slowly with the first run being walk for 90 seconds and then run for 60 seconds. The run was ok but it’s amazing how out of breath I was after that first half an hour session of intervals of walking and then running.
By the end of October I graduated to week 2. This was walk 5 minutes, run 90 seconds and repeat this five times. So far so good. In mid November it started to get harder with week 3 which was walk for 3 minutes and run for 3 minutes, but by the end of the month I moved onto week 4 – run and walk in a sequence of 3/5. I was amazed that I actually ran for a total of 15 minutes and wasn’t out of breath at all.
In early December I moved onto week 5 where I ran for 8 minutes, walked for 5 and then ran for another 8 minutes. During the other runs of that week I increased this to walking for 5 minutes and then running for 20 minutes – this felt like an amazing achievement. Every time I felt like stopping I considered my breath. I wasn’t out of breath so I just kept going by thinking ‘this is weight bearing exercise and is good for me’. On the app I chose to run to Jo Wiley’s voice and she was in my ear encouraging me and saying ‘you can do this, you are doing this, keep going’.
Jo also gives you tips on the app like telling you that it’s just a gentle jog, you’re meant to be able to hold a conversation when you are running. Another good tip was that you’re not meant to be springing up and down. You imagine someone is walking the other side of a large hedge – they shouldn’t be able to see your head bobbing up and down like a yoyo. Jo also said it helps to say the mantra ‘I love running, I love running……..’ – that I found harder as the other side of my brain at times was saying ‘I hate running, I hate running…….’! Overall though these tips really helped to set a comfortable pace for me.
The 23rd December was an epic day as I ran for a total of 25 minutes. I would not have thought that was possible back in October when I started. The 25 minutes then went to 28 minutes and on the 16th January I finished the Couch to 5k app – I walked for 5 minutes, ran for 30 and then walked for 5, however I still only covered 4.5k. It all depends on how fast you run as to the distance that you actually cover. So I set myself the challenge to actually run the distance of 5k and the best way to do that was to attempt the Seaton Parkrun.
Today I did it – I actually ran 5k in 37:27 and finished in 242nd place. I was the 101st female out of a field of 270 runners and came 11th in my age category. I’ve gone from being out of breath running for 60 seconds to actually running 5k. The app is a great tool so if you’re thinking about it – my advice is give it a go. I never thought I could do it and with Jo’s and my friends and family’s help and encouragement I did!