Iain Burns photography talk, McColls future in Sidmouth and the rare sound of a cuckoo

The McColls shop in Fore Street Sidmouth

The McColls shop in Fore Street Sidmouth - Credit: Google

Mike Dibble, retired estate agent and avid sports fan, writes for the Herald about his passion for East Devon.

Mike Dibble Picture: contributed

Mike Dibble Picture: contributed - Credit: Picture: contributed

On the Wednesday before last, local photo journalist Iain Burns gave a fascinating talk at Kennaway House about his recent spell in Ukraine.

He answered a number of questions about the situation there. He had obviously seen some grim sights which he didn’t expand upon.

The spirit of the Ukrainian fighters was highlighted. Interestingly the landlady of his accommodation in Kiev was a Russian supporter. A splendid array of his photos were on display.

Part of the entrance fee was being donated to three Ukrainian families who Iain was raising funds for.

A story that appeared on various media platforms last week was the local council are proposing to charge 40p to use the town’s toilets once they are refurbished.

The idea has not gone down very well on social media. It appears that the local authority has a funding issue and needs to create funds to pay for them. It does seem a high amount to pay.

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The toilets at Exeter Bus Station are 20p to use. Should people be asked to cough up to answer a call of nature? And I suspect businesses who have customer toilets might get more visitors who don’t purchase anything.

On the commercial property front, it was sad to see McColls have gone into administration. 

Their Sidmouth shop always appears busy and stocks a wide range of products.

With a prime location in Fore Street it is an important shop in the seafront area.

After my comments last week we now have some January and February property sales on the Land Registry website.

A four bedroom detached house in Alexandria Road has gone up 170 per cent in 21 years recently selling for £675,000.

A detached chalet bungalow in Southway has just sold for £935,000 and a four bedroom detached house in Heritage Way has just sold for £630,000. Property prices can be seen on all the major property portal websites.

In nature news a cuckoo was heard last week near Sidmouth Golf Course.

This is a rare sound these days. And in other nature news, whilst walking in The Byes the other day, I saw a good sized trout for the first time in ages.

I also saw a number of small fish. Having not heard of any otter sightings lately this might mean the fish are getting an opportunity to grow their population.

I bumped into a group of sea swimmers the other day on the beach.

A large number of local ladies have been swimming all year round and without the use of wet suits.

You have to take your hats off to them. And talking of sea swimming a group of former marines are planning a charity swimming event from Sidmouth to Torbay in July.

Last Saturday they ‘warmed up’ with a swim from Sidmouth to Dawlish Warren. A total of just over 11 miles.

In sports news Sidmouth Golf Club have just appointed a new golf professional. His name is Duncan Arnold. He is an experienced golfer with teaching and equipment expertise.

In football Exeter City failed to go up as champions after losing 0-1 at home to Port Vale last Saturday. Forest Green Rovers got a draw at Mansfield to claim top spot. However a great season all round for The Grecians.

Sidmouth Cricket Club had a successful first weekend of the Devon League season.

The 1st XI won at Sandford and the 2nd XI beat Braunton 1st XI at The Fortfield.

Unfortunately, the 3rd XI lost away at Braunton 2nd XI. This Saturday the 1st XI are at home to North Devon, the 2nd XI are at Sandford and the 3rd XI are at home to Thorverton at their home ground in Newton Poppleford.

I will be posting regular video updates on Twitter from the Sidmouth cricket account.