Budleigh man’s strange fruit and veg

A GARDENER has grown malformed fruits and vegetables after radio-active nodules extracted from Budleigh Salterton cliffs were placed in germinating seed trays beneath them.

A GARDENER has grown malformed fruits and vegetables after radio-active nodules extracted from Budleigh Salterton cliffs were placed in germinating seed trays beneath them.

Tony Carpenter, of Moormead, has been speaking about how he dug out radio-active nodules discovered years ago by a local geologist and stored them for safety’s sake in his garden shed.

Mr Carpenter said he recently raised some seedlings for cucumbers and tomatoes and passed some on to his daughter.

“She was amazed to discover that she was getting freak-looking vegetables, namely a pair of cucumbers welded together as one like Siamese twins,” he said.

“I suddenly remembered that I had recently placed the nodules underneath the germinating seed trays and wondered if this could be the cause.”

Mr Carpenter added: “I remember reading the local newsagents billboard back in the 1930s was the mystifying announcement that a local geologist, Mr Carter, discovered that the cliffs at Budleigh contained radio-active nodules.

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“This, he had confirmed with the help of a chemist from Exmouth, by using them to take photographs in total darkness.”

Mr Carpenter recalled how not long after the war he was talking to a man in his local pub who said he had visited Budleigh from Harwell, the atomic energy research establishment, to check up on the nodules.

“I remember that many years ago when I was living on the local gasworks site, there was a wall built with local sandstone that contained a greyish-coloured building stone.

“It was of similar appearance to the greyish nodules, which on one occasion, at the dead of night we noticed a faint glow emitting.

“I frequently get greeted with total disbelief when relating the story to friends but it is, of course, well substantiated in our local museum.”

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