Date for the Diary: Simon Dawson at the Simonsbath Festival

Wednesday 11 May @ 7:30pm – St Luke’s Church

Simon Dawson

London Suits to Welly Boots

the true and funny story of how I accidentally fell in love with the Good Life

Following a drunken misunderstanding, Simon Dawson agreed to give up his Simon Dawson 1 London life and move to the wilds of Exmoor, where he and his wife Debbie started from scratch a 20 acre self sufficient smallholding, cram-packed with opinionated, characterful free-range animals. 

Simon is an author of several books including, The Self Sufficiency Bible and two comic memoirs, Pigs in Clover and The Sty’s the Limit. He is also a journalist and radio personality. He has cooked on TV with Gary Rhodes, appeared on Countryfile with Adam Henson and was featured in Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild UK on Channel 5.

Simon Dawson 2For more details about Simon and Debbie please see the Hidden Valley Pigs website (external link).

Advance booking: £10 to reserve the seat of your choice; £5 for unreserved seating (£6 on the night); 14 year-olds and under free.

To book tickets and snacks please use the online form at Order Tickets or contact Marian Lloyd.

Date for the Diary: An Evening with Richard Havers, 21 January 2016

Tales by the Fire:  An Evening with Richard Havers

21 January 2016,  7pm at The Culbone

“It’s all Rock’n Roll: The Beatles and The Stones”

£30.00 per person
(incl. two-course menu and canapés on arrival)

The Beatles and The Stones – The two bands that have defined popular music were often pitted against one another during the Sixties.
Richard Havers, who has written extensively about both bands and worked for them on various projects, delves into their enduring appeal and unravels some of the mystery as to what makes them so timeless. With music and photographs.


Butternut squash and baby spinach fritters
with cucumber and turmeric yoghurt 

Home cured salmon gravadlax bilinis with lemon jelly and dill

Smoked venison loin crostini with fresh horseradish and cress


Devon red beef shin stew with smoked bacon, kale colcannon and truffle oil

Pan fried sea trout fillet with purple sprouting, brown shrimps, crushed new potatoes and lemon dill butter

Stuffed butternut squash with wild mushroom, Devon blue, hazelnut and   baby leafs and parsnip crisps


Somerset apple and ginger crumble with stem ginger ice cream

Sticky toffee pudding with Devon clotted cream and toffee sauce 

Styles ice cream selection

Richard Havers

Writer and jazz producer Richard Havers

Writer and jazz producer Richard Havers

Richard spent twenty years working in the airline industry before deciding to pursue his passion for music. He worked advertising, writing and producing over 2,000 ads and jingles. He has written and produced in-flight radio shows, launched Turkey’s first commercial radio station, and produced concerts for artists that includes, Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, Chicago and America. 

His books about music include, Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey, which won the Blues Foundation’s Award For Literature in 2002. Richard wrote, co-directed and produced the Peabody Award nominated TV series based upon the book. He has co-authored Rolling with the Stones (2003), and The Stones – A History in Cartoons (2006) with Bill Wyman and written The Stones in the Park (2009) about the band’s pivotal 1969 concert, as well as The Rolling Stones – In The Beginning (2006) a book by Danish photographer, Bent Rej. He compiled and edited Rolling Stones 50, the band’s official anniversary book in 2012. His other music related titles include, My Take (2006), Gary Barlow’s autobiography, Bowie, Bolan & The Brooklyn Boy (2007), legendary record producer Tony Visconti’s autobiography, Woodstock – 3 days of peace and music (2009), Jazz – The Golden Era (2008), Blues  – The Golden Era, (2008) Rock ‘n’ Roll – The Golden Era (2008), The Beatles – The Days of Their Lives (2010), and Read’s Musical Recitor (2004). His biography, Sinatra (2004), according to Marella Fostrup on BBC Radio 4, “Stands out as one of the best books ever written about Frank Sinatra.

His most recent books are Verve – The Sound of America, the 2013 book on the American record label. Uncompromising Expression, that tells the story of 75 years of Blue Note Records was published in November 2014.

His other books include Here Is The News, about the BBC in World War II, Treasure Island, Airline Confidential, Pop!, When Football was Football (nominated for illustrated Sports Book of the Year 2008), Dreamboats & Petticoats – Music & Life in Pre Beatles Britain, Titanic – History As It Happened, When Britain Went To War, Better Late Than Never, Len Goodman’s autobiography, Len Goodman’s Lost London (2013) and Len Goodman’s Dancing Round Britain (2014). He has also co-written As Much As I Can (2010) – The life of film and stage director, Peter Glenville.

His articles have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Goldmine and Record Collector; he also appears regularly on radio and occasionally on TV, usually talking about music. He has produced box sets Universal Music, including, 100 Years of the Blues, as well as Satchmo: Louis Armstrong – Ambassador of Jazz (10 CD box set and 200 page illustrated biography), Ella – The Voice of Jazz, Verve – The Sound of America, Blue Note’s Uncompromising Expression and a 10 CD career retrospective of Nat King Cole in 2015. He has written numerous sleeve notes and books to accompany album and DVD releases, including many for The Rolling Stones and in 2015 wrote the historical notes for The Beatles 1+ DVD rand CD reissue. He is Universal Music’s jazz consultant and Editor-in-Chief of Universal Music’s online music marketing site – 


Tickets are available from The Culbone – Please call 01643 862259

Exmoor Literally: Pets Aplenty

FRONT COVER (422x640)




Malcolm D. Welshman

Malcolm & Dora ((460x640)I’ve a special place in my heart for Exmoor, with its sweeping moorland vistas, rugged coast and villages steeped in history. My love for the area is all the more ardent as I was married in Culbone Church, that tiny jewel tucked into the cliff top to the west of Porlock. Often my mind floats back to that glorious sun-kissed  day in May of 1976 when Maxeen became my wife. So it’s an extra-special pleasure to be returning to the area for the Porlock Arts Festival 25-28th September where, on the Sunday, I shall be talking about my life with animals and how they have influenced my writing. Little did I realise when I signed Culbone’s register – only the 49th signature in the past 163 years – how varied and engaging my life would be as a vet over the next 30 years. From working at London Zoo, travelling across Africa in a truck, treating a camel and ostrich along the way, to escapades in a small animal hospital on the Sussex coast which formed the basis of my three pet novels. The first of those, Pets in a Pickle, has a foreword by James Herriot’s son and reached number two on Kindle’s bestseller list. My third, Pets Aplenty, published this August, continues the exploits encountered by my alter-ego, Paul Mitchell, and his relationship with Lucy, the junior nurse at the hospital. So far, it’s been very much an on-off romance. Readers of the earlier books have been keen to know how things might develop. Let’s just say that in the next book after Pets Aplenty, readers will be transported to a magical spot on the edge of Exmoor, drawn into a tiny church on the cliffs, while May blossom spirals confetti-like round a blissfully happy couple, echoing the scene of nearly forty years ago.

I’m a retired vet and author. My first novel, published by John Blake Publishing in May 2011, was Pets in a Pickle.  This has a foreword by James Herriot’s son and quotes by Sir Terry Wogan and Richard Madeley, amongst others. The ebook version reached number two on Amazon Kindle’s bestseller list. The second book in the series, Pets on Parade, was published April 2012.  The third,Pets Aplenty, will be published in the summer of 2014.

For further info:


DATE FOR THE DIARY:  Meet Malcolm at the Porlock Arts Festival on 28 September 2014.

An Exmoor Evening with Victoria Eveleigh

Victoria Eveleigh and horse c Brian Eveleigh - compressedVictoria Eveleigh, the Exmoor based author, will give an illustrated talk about Exmoor ponies and her stories on Friday, 1 March 2013, at 7.30 pm, at Hannington Hall, the village hall in Martinhoe.

There will be music (played by Tom Hodgkinson), hot pasties and cider.

Admission: Adults £5 Children £3, in aid of hall funds.

“I was brought up in London, but I always longed to live in the country and have lots of animals – especially horses. Well, dreams do come true because for the past 25 years or so I’ve lived on an Exmoor livestock farm with my husband, Chris. Besides dogs, cats and riding horses, we keep Exmoor Horn sheep, North Devon cattle and Exmoor ponies. Our children, George and Sarah, are now grown up, but when Sarah was a girl she had an Exmoor pony called Tinkerbell, and some of the things they got up to inspired me to write my first stories: a trilogy about a girl and an Exmoor pony growing up together on an Exmoor hill farm. This photo is of Chris and me with Tinkerbell.Tortie_Chris_Tinks_the_Exmoor_pony

The Katy’s Exmoor trilogy was illustrated by Chris, and we self-published it under the name Tortoise Publishing. We also published a book calledMidnight on Lundy. Publishing my own books was hard work, so I was delighted when Orion Children’s Books took me on in 2011. The Katy’s Exmoor stories have now been rewritten and updated with expert editorial guidance, and are being published by Orion in 2012 as the Katy’s Ponies trilogy: Katy’s Wild Foal, Katy’s Champion Pony and Katy’s Pony Surprise. The books have a great deal of new content, including author’s notes, some new inside illustrations by Chris and beautiful cover illustrations by Angelo Rinaldi. Midnight on Lundy is also being republished in 2012 as A Stallion Called Midnight.

I’m now also working on a brand-new trilogy for Orion. It will still have horses and ponies at its heart, but this time a boy will be the main character.”