I don’t like the month of January; I never have done. I like it even less this year as Facebook reminded me that last January we took a sneaky break to Gran Canaria followed by skiing with our friends. We don’t travel in the season so the winter months are our opportunity to take a break.
Whilst Barry and I have spent some time this month watching all the Carry On films we recorded over Christmas (they showed nearly every film from the first one in 1958 to the last one in 1992 – a total of 31). The Carry On series contains the largest number of any British series and I don’t mind admitting to a love of the Carry On films! Barry is just humouring me of course.
Given that I don’t like January, this morning I’ve spent some time making my list of the little joys of lockdown –
1. Practising yoga every morning with Karen Bennett who teaches from Greece – the joys of Zoom.
2. Staying in my yoga clothes all day when I’m not running and wearing my fluffy slippers.
3. My first sip of morning coffee – my favourite one is now Breakfast Brunch by Cafe Pod (recyclable pods).
4. Can’t put down books – from our book club Secret Santa I received the new Strike book in the series by Robert Galbraith.
5. Friday night takeaway pizza evening from Le Pisani in Seaton, followed by their yummy ice cream (if you’re local check out the coconut flavour).
6. A long hot bath, reading in the bath and a cup of tea in the bath.
7. Completing the jigsaw puzzle which has been on the go since Christmas.
8. Inventive games nights on Zoom with friends – managing to play Trivial Pursuits.
9. Local walks discovering roads and paths that I didn’t know were there.
10. Enjoying the cold sunny days where the sea is still a beautiful blue and I can dream of being open again for our guests to enjoy it.
Do you have any little joys of lockdown?
For the last few years I’ve sat down to write my Christmas blog brimming with things to say. With Christmas Day coming up very soon, and the back of 2020 looming, I have to admit that I have little words.
I’d just like to say a heartfelt thanks to our guests that moved their bookings during the two lockdowns to next year rather than cancelling. You’ve really helped to support hospitality and our little business and we’re very grateful. Thanks also to the many of you who have sent messages of support and shared our social media posts. The best way to organically grow a business is by word of mouth.
With that said I’m going to make a cup of tea and tuck into the first slice of The Hideaways amazing Christmas cake! Wherever you are this Christmas Barry and I hope you have a good day and that 2021 brings more good news of the vaccine.
Since Saturday I’ve been wondering what to put on my lockdown to do list this time. The last time I had 20 things to do, including renewing my passport (I got a new shiny dark blue one thanks to Brexit!). Getting our tax return done in record time was high on the list as was spring cleaning all the cottages. The one thing I didn’t get done was sorting out my desk but I was waiting for a rainy day and we didn’t get many of those.
As it turns out my list this time is very short. Obviously the desk is still there, but it has been joined by sorting out the garage and creating a list of winter maintenance in the cottages. So my list totals four as this morning it was my run day and I downloaded a new app – 5k to 10k. Regular readers of my blog will remember my Couch to 5k journey which resulted in me doing some park runs before they were shut down. I’ve been regularly running and whilst I can’t claim to love it, afterwards I feel great.
To help motivate me I had a quick trip to Honiton yesterday to #shoplocal and purchase some shiny new running shoes and a lightweight waterproof jacket as treadmill running in the gym is banned. Run Venture is a great new shop that’s only been open for 9 weeks. It’s run by James who is very knowledgeable about all the types of running shoes. Within half an hour I walked away with these Brooks beauties in a rather fabulous colourway.
So this morning Barry joined me in Run 1 of Week 1, the first of 27 runs that will get me from 5k to 10k. If the weather stays as beautiful as it’s been today this is going to be a great challenge.
Do you have a lockdown list and if so what’s on it?
ps. I forgot, there’s 5 things – The Crown on Netflix is launching on the 15th November – #binge watching
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……………?