Hilary Mantel on Budleigh Salterton

In today’s Observer Hilary Mantel answers famous admirers’ questions. One from David Hare, playright, asked:

Is Budleigh Salterton as enchanting as it seems to the casual visitor?

To which Hilary replies:

We are enchanting and enchanted. We are blessed by fresh air and sea foam. We have palm trees. We fish by moonlight. We live to the age of Methuselah – check out Fore Street any day. Our tones are clipped or hearty, our clothes quilted and khaki/sludge, but our souls are wearing silk. We are not at all smug. And it is just not true that we have a sign that says: “Budleigh welcomes you: no riff-raff.”

Hilary Mantel