Friday, 11 November 2011


In a bright and jolly book, 'Seaside Resorts', recently published by the 'Oldie' and written by that journal's 'Unwrecked England columnist', Candida Lycett Green, is this perfectly smooth paragraph about Budleigh pebbles.

"There is a clarity and neatness about Budleigh beach. But everything about Budleigh is neat - even its perfectly smooth, soft-to-the-touch pebbles, which can be traced back 440 million years. In shades of mauvish and pinkish grey, some of them are as big as goose eggs. They are composed of a hard quartzite brought here from Brittany by one of the giant rivers flowing into the Triassic desert."

Some years ago a Budleigh man was brought before the local magistrates for stealing a couple of these elegant pebbles from the beach. This court case seemed to me at the time to be more than a little dogberryish. Four hundred and forty million years, however, is quite an age! The next time I steal a Budleigh pebble for my garden I shall treat it with all the respect due to its years as well as to its essential smoothness.

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