Prospect of Budleigh (5×12) oil on panelby Andy Parker
The Sidmouth stopover was the first one of the fourth and final leg of the Following In The Footsteps of Turner tour. It was also the first one that promised some consistently decent weather and allowed me to wear lighter biking clothing when travelling. The journey down had been glorious, despite the mysterious back-firing of the bike’s engine whenever I coasted gently through quaint Devon villages.
A coastal walk from Sidmouth went right past the edge of the caravan site, heading west towards Budleigh Salterton. Right through the Field of Curious Cows, which yielded the previous view of the distant sea stacks, and then along the edge of the ripening fields to distant Budleigh Salterton. The weather soon cleared and a day of glorious sunshine appeared. I stopped to explore a small clifftop dwelling, used for the guidance and training of WW2 pilots, I believe, chatted to a passing dog walker and then decided that before I enjoyed the day too much, I’d better get back to work.
Although the weather was good on several other stops on the trip, this particular day was just the perfect combination: I was dressed lightly for walking (ie not wearing heavy, armoured motorbike clothes) and though sunny and warm it wasn’t oppressively so. A perfect Spring day, really. I had water and chocolate with me and was therefore in a good mood – not always the case.
This picture always reminds me of that exhausting trip around the country in the best way. Of being at peace, contented, not overheated or wet, worrying about parking, petrol or the bike’s banging exhaust, few cares in the world to bother me and the idyllic vista unfolding in front, storybook clouds in a ribbon across the sky, a distant headland or two, dissolving into the far blue yonder…