Monthly Archives: September 2013

Thinking of Moving to Ilfracombe? Go for it.

The Personal View of an Ex-Londoner

I would say that the best decision I made was moving to Ilfracombe from my home in Walthamstow, London. Not that I hated Walthamstow, specifically. I had lived most of my forty plus years in London and hated most of it. Not the city itself, and not individual people, but the cost of living just drives everything and everybody until it becomes the most impersonal and unfriendly place in the country.

Not that everything is perfect here, but compared to London I would not swap back for any (plausible) reason. Sure if you paid me a million pounds to live there then I would go back, but if I won a million pounds I would stay in Ilfracombe.

Pro and cons of London compared to Ilfracombe

And for London you could read Birmingham or most other big cities as well.


  • Vastly less traffic, my son and I no longer require asthma pumps on daily basis. Drivers are annoyingly polite.
  • You get to know loads of people really quickly and you can’t get down the High Street without having to stop for a chat. Don’t upset people though because you still have to see them
  • Some jobs are seasonal but there are still plenty of good jobs. Even working in Barnstaple you only have half an hour each way by car.
  • No, it is NOT perfect here either. If anything some drugs are more readily available. And yes there is violent crime, but not so much, and the papers are mainly full of stories about dog crap, or pesky seagulls.
  • People still moan but mostly those who have lived here all their lives and don’t realise that it’s worse in big cities.
  • Some incredible local talent with most venues offering free live music weekly, a great little theatre, cinema, and night club and a night out needn’t break the bank.
  • We sold our three edroom end of terrace house in E17 (a low value part of London) and bought a seven bedroom terraced house in the centre of town. We had £30,000 left after all costs.
  • House price info from Right Move
    “The majority of sales in Ilfracombe during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £144,794. Flats sold for an average of £130,925, with detached properties fetching £230,006.Ilfracombe, with an overall average price of £166,160 was cheaper than nearby Woolacombe (£307,735), Combe Martin (£178,171) and Braunton (£248,692).

    Overall sold prices in Ilfracombe over the last year were similar to the previous year and 16% down on the 2008 level of £197,112.”


  • Traffic pollution, congestion, and road safety issues. Asthma was a big problem. Took ages to drive anywhere.
  • People rarely know their neighbours, and nobody talks on public transport, or in the street. Surrounded by people, you can still feel completely alone.
  • Huge choice of job opportunities, some jobs can only be found in the biggest cities. Often you have to commute for two or more hours a day just to get to work.
  • Street violence, drunkenness and abusive behaviour fairly common in a lot of areas. Drugs and drug crime all too common, local papers full of stories about stabbings and shootings.
  • People moaning about things like overcrowding on the tube, traffic, the cost of living, pollution, and each other.
  • Top west end shows and huge international music acts (if you can afford them) immense choice of restaurants, nightlife, tourist attractions (except you never really visit them do you?)
  • Property prices are high in London. If you own your own home then you can probably trade up and get some money left over for yourself. If you are renting then the chances are you will get a better deal in Ilfracombe
  • House price info from Right Move 
    “Last year most property sales in London involved flats which sold for on average £391,595. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £507,732, while semi-detached properties fetched £469,713.London, with an overall average price of £456,932 was more expensive than nearby South East (£296,292),

    During the last year, sold prices in London were 8% up on the previous year and 12% up on 2010 when the average house price was £406,347.”

So what are you waiting for?

House prices in town are finally on the rise so there couldn’t be a better time to buy. There are signs of investment and improvements going on all over town right now, with some high quality new shops opened up lately, and every likelihood of a resurgence in the town in the coming years.

Estate Agents in Ilfracombe


Ilfracombe Bike Show September 14th 2013

2nd anual Ilfracombe Bike Show


On Saturday 14th September bikes from all over will descend on Ilfracombe, gathering on the seafront around the Landmark Theatre.

Organised by M.A.G. (Motorcycle Action Group) this will be raising money for

Entry for all bikes £3 which includes parking on the seafront. Trophies will be awarded in various categories.

Money raised will be donated to Motorcycle Outreach, Devon Air Ambulance trust, and M.A.G.

Further details from or telephone 08442 480174


Honey Jacks at Sunwest Festival

Last minute replacements wow the crowd

On the Sunday evening I spotted a post on Facebook that said Honey Jacks were playing their debut gig, stepping in for Tuesday Syndicate on the Monday afternoon. 

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_1This would be just before my own band were due to play and I was looking forward to checking out this band in particular.

You see three members of the five piece “Honey Jacks” were previously part of “Surrogate Suns” (my last failed project).

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_2The Suns imploded, suddenly (without rancour) due to the fact we were all gently pulling in different musical directions.
Honey Jacks were named after Honey Jack Daniels, a drink which Surrogate Suns were also rather fond of.

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_3The band consists of

  • Karen Yates – vocals
  • Nick Filby – lead guitar
  • Tony Dredster – rhythm guitar
  • Dan Emery – bass
  • Jay Allen – drums

I was a bit worried at first, because I expected there would be a lot of songs in their set that my band also did, but in the end it turned out that I recognised very few of their songs.  Honey_Jacks_sunwest_4Only Stevie Wonder’s Superstition crossed over, and their version was quite different from ours.

Musically the band were immensely tight, as you would expect from musicians who have worked together in other bands for some time. Not only were Nick, Jay, and Tony, part of Surrogate Suns but perhaps more importantly, Jay, Dan, and Tony were the powerhouse behind “The Padawans” who were a popular band for many years before I even moved to Ilfracombe, and Nick was in a band called “Monster“, with Jay, before that.

Honey_Jacks_sunwest_5Karen’s vocals were sufficiently powerful not to be lost in the thunder of such a high octane backline, yet still melodic and soulful.

Nick is also a guitarist who does not allow the excitement of playing live and loud stand in the way of playing it RIGHT.

All in all, this was a superb first outing for a band which I hope will run for a good long time.