Ten years ago, I wrote . . .
Unbelievably, this issue starts the 7th year of the Newsletter. During this time we have discovered a wealth of talent within the village. Gifted artists - Helen Armstead, Debbie Cook, David Duncan, Neil Redwood, Peter Rothwell, Paul Swailes and Nigel Mason, not forgetting the delightful contributions from pupils at the Primary School. Tom Bartlett and
Lorna Bowden have filled us in on Berrynarbor of the past, and if you have followed in the steps of our 'Local Walker', you will have learnt much of the flora and fauna of our area, as well as gained an intriguing insight into many of our local beauty spots and historic churches. Perhaps you have puzzled over Dave Beagley's crosswords. There have been original poems, recipes, travel memories, accounts of the 'doings' of the various organisations . . . and I and the readers, thank you ALL for without you, there would be no Newsletter.
. . . and the same goes for today - nothing changes! Yes, one or two things do. We are now starting the 17th year and sadly we no longer have Helen Armstead with us. David and Neil have moved to pastures new, as has Dave, but Brian has stepped most ably in to carry on our Crossword Corner. Tom, Lorna and the Local Walker continue to delight us with their offerings and have been joined by regular contributions from Tony, Steve, Sue and Simon and the bi-monthly letter from our Rector, Keith. The many organisations and groups, which have grown, continue to keep us up to date with their 'doings'!
So let's keep going - only another two issues before we reach our 100th - and discover more talent still! Items for October will be needed mid-September please, by Thursday 15th. As our printer is taking a well-deserved annual holiday during September, it is hoped the October issue will be available on the 6th.
My thanks to everyone for your support and help and enjoy the rest of the summer.
THE GORDON SETTER
Continuing her series of 'dog' covers, Debbie has produced another delightful drawing, this time of a Gordon Setter.
The Gordon belongs to the Gundog Group, a group of dogs of high intelligence and loyalty which are not allowed to catch or chase their quarry. Originally used to scent and find game, Gordons were trained to crouch or 'set' on the sight of the game to be pursued.
The old name for the breed was Black and Tan Setter, first mentioned as far back as 1726. Its history, however, really began with the Duke of Richmond and Gordon who developed it in 1827. It is the only native Scottish gundog, the largest of the setters, and a very strong and enthusiastic worker. Outgoing and even tempered, a good all-round companion, good with children and other dogs, it is at its best when hunting game birds, particularly grouse on the moors.
The Sterridge Gordons, featured in the June 1996 Newsletter - Gypsy, Bracken and Damsel - were shown at that time with great success by Jan and the late Bill Gammon, Bill and Bracken [Lourdace Burberry at Sterridge] taking a 4th place in a very full class at Crufts. A breed of dog not often seen, certainly in this part of the country, Jan still has one - Breeze - a real character!
At our meeting on Tuesday, 7th June, our speaker was the Revd. Jim Bates who reminisced about his time as a Bevin boy, which meant working down a coal mine during the war. He illustrated his talk with his own sketches and a miner's helmet contributed by Berrynarbor's own Bevin Boy - Bernard Allen.
The vote of thanks was given by Janet Gibbins and there were birthday cards and gifts for Jenny Cookson for May, Vi Davies for June and Ursula Rouse in advance for July. This was because Ethel Tidsbury who has organised all the birthday cards and gifts for many years was to be on holiday in July. The competition - a Wartime Memento - was won byVi Davies and the raffle by Ursula Rouse.
At the July meeting, members were shown Viv Blackman's proposed design for the W.I. Mosaic, to be made by members with the help of Viv and her husband and to eventually be hung in the Manor Hall. It provoked a lot of interest and the many comments and ideas passed on to Viv.
Our speaker was Envoy Jean Tompkinson of the Salvation Army and her talk ranged from the very beginning of the Movement to the present day provision of mobile canteens at disasters, hostel accommodation for the homeless, meals for the elderly, work overseas and, of course, their searches for missing family members. Margaret Weller gave the vote of thanks.
The competition - six small decorated cakes enjoyed at the meeting - was won by Beryl Brewer and the raffle by Eileen Hobson, a very welcome guest.
As an extra event, we had a trip by horse-drawn barge along the Great Western Canal at Tiverton. The weather was glorious, the ride wonderfully peaceful and the cream tea delicious!
There will be no August meeting, our next meeting being on Tuesday 6th September, when our speaker will talk about the Braunton Burrows. Margaret Patten will talk to us about Victim Support at the October meeting on the 4th.
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other
that we are still . . .
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval.
Somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.
It was with profound sadness we learnt that Iain - a gentle, gentleman - had died suddenly at home on the 17th June.
Iain was born in Glasgow in 1920 but spent most of his youth in Ayr. Having served in the Fleet Air Arm during the War, he returned to Cannock to help run the family business. It was here that he met Jill and they married in 1952.
Following a take-over of the family business, Iain and Jill moved to Uplyme, near Lyme Regis, where they ran the village post office and stores. In the mid-eighties they retired to the north of the County, to Channel View on Barton Hill, moving some ten years later to Woodmead.
Iain was a keen supporter of village life, particularly enjoying, until the last couple of years, the Wine Circle and his involvement with Ilfracombe Rotary Club and the U3A.
Our thoughts, at this time of sorrow, are with Jill and all his family - his son Michael and his wife Christina and the grandchildren James and Ella, and his daughter Nicola and her husband Paul.
Jill and family would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of sympathy following Iain's death.
Iain greatly loved this beautiful village and its kind and caring people. He would have been quite overwhelmed that so many came to say 'goodbye' to him at the lovely thanksgiving service so sensitively conducted by the Rev. Keith Wyer. Thank you all.
Jill, Michael and Nicola
It is with sadness we report the death of Edith Hockridge on the
5th July at the age of 86.
Edith and her husband John, known locally as Jan, came originally from East Down, later moving to Berry Down and then to Higher Rows Farm - hence his shippen is now known as Jan's Barn. He worked for the late Denzil Rice at Stowford Farm and in latter years for the Council.
Jan died in 1981 and Edith moved to Barnstaple where she has lived for more than twenty years, keeping in touch with the village and a staunch supporter of the Newsletter.
Her funeral and interment, like Jan's, took place at St. Peter's Church on the 11th July. Our thoughts are with her daughter Sybil and her husband John, and her three nephews and nieces.
Dear Mother, rest thy work is o'er,
Thy loving hands shall toil no more.
No more thy gentle eyes shall weep,
Rest, dear Mother, gently sleep.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
The two special services at the beginning of July were enjoyed by all who came. The Family Service on 3rd July was well-attended and the children and their bears made short work of the biscuits and drinks after massive concentration during the Rector's game of 'Simon Says' . . . he managed to catch everyone out!
Five very well behaved dogs assembled in the church porch for the Pets' Service on 10th July, to listen to the hymns and prayers and story about a donkey. Our thanks to Keith and Stuart who organised the music.
A very successful GIFT DAY was held on 29th June, St. Peter's Day, and to date £1,021 has been added tochurch funds. Thank you to all those who returned their envelopes and gave so generously. It is still not too late if you missed us on the day. Routine expenses for the upkeep of the church and churchyard continue to increase faster than giving. Many people expressed concerns when the churchyard missed a cut in April. This is now in hand, everything is tidy again and the grass will be cut once a month. You can also help by respecting the churchyard, not dropping litter and taking any rubbish home. The tubs and hanging baskets provided and tended by Berry in Bloom are much appreciated.
Our next event will be the Summer Fayre on TUESDAY, 16TH AUGUST to be held at the Manor Hall from 6.30 p.m. There will be all the usual stalls and side-shows plus refreshments, and the PCC will be glad of any gifts and offers of help as always. And please come and support us on the night!
Not to be missed will be the concert in Church on the evening of Monday, 22nd August
We are looking forward to welcoming congregation and visitors to our services during August and September. The Harvest Service this year will be celebrated on Sunday, 2nd October, and the Harvest Supper will take place on Wednesday, 5th October. Please make a note of the dates in your diary and look out for posters giving more details.
The team for Ringing on Sunday mornings has sadly been depleted. Two ringers have left and they need to be replaced. Please get in touch with Michael Bowden if you can help.
Wednesdays 24th August and 28th September are the dates for the next Friendship Lunches at the Globe, 12.30 p.m. onwards.
Unfortunately, Sally is suffering with back problems - a very painful slipped disc - and has not been able to put pen to paper for this issue. However, she tells me that Sunday School has now broken up for the summer holidays and will resume in September on the first Sunday, that is the 4th.
The children all had a wonderful day out at Crealy Park and are working hard, under Sarah's direction, on their float for the Combe Martin Carnival, when, as in this year's BBC Show, they will be Fagin's Gang from 'Oliver'.
We wish them all a happy summer break and send our very best wishes to Sally and hope she will be feeling more comfortable soon.
WEATHER OR NOT
We recorded no rain at all in May until the 19th, then on Saturday 21st a thunderstorm produced 23 mm [7/8"], the total rainfall for the month was 45mm [1¾"], up on 2004 but well down on 2003 [80 mm (3 3/16")] and 2002 [156 mm (6 3/16")].
It was a cool month with a maximum temperature of 25.5 Deg C, which was warmer than last May but at least 2 Deg C cooler than the three years previous to that. The minimum temperature of only 2 Deg C was lower than any of the previous four Mays and we recorded a wind chill of -3 Deg C. It was a fairly breezy month with a maximum of 30 knots.
June started off very disappointing with a cold, northerly wind, dull overcast skies and rain, before picking up in the middle to become warm and dry. It then went out with thunderstorms and torrential rain. The total rainfall for the month of 95mm [3¾"] was higher than any June between 2000 and 2004.
The maximum and minimum temperatures were about average with a high of 27.4 Deg C and a low of 7.0 Deg C. The winds were fairly light with a maximum of 23 knots.
May's sunshine total of 155.96 hours was less than the 176.69 hours recorded in 2004 and June was also less sunny than last year with only 162.32 hours compared with 184.30 hours.
We have recorded a total of 428 mm [16 7/8"] of rain in the first six months of this year, which was drier than 2001 [617 mm (24¼")], 2002 [749 mm (291/2")], 2003 [440 mm (17 5/16")] and 2004 [544 (21 3/8")] for the same period.
July started off pretty dismal but as we write we are going through a bit of a heat wave.
Simon and Sue
WELCOME AND FAREWELL
Over the last couple of weeks and in the weeks to come, many changes will have taken place. To everyone who is leaving the village, we wish you every happiness in your new homes; to those who have moved in, again we wish you luck in your new homes and hope you will be happy here in the village; and to those who've just changed the view, good luck and happiness too!
We are sad to say farewell to Jim and Jean Constantine who are off to be nearer their family. Thank you both for all you have done for the village, but especial thanks to Jim for his work on and Chairmanship of the Parish Council and, of course, for all the time and expertise he has given to ensure that we still have a thriving village shop.
Moving up the hill from Combe Martin to take up residence at Fir Croft are David and Jane Bramhill. David, the Managing Director of an oil company hails originally from the Bath and Bristol area, Jane was a secretary in London before moving down here from Surrey in 1969, and for some time ran the restaurant at the Exmoor Wildlife Park. She has two sons, one of whom has yet to fly the nest, and they have a mad Scottie dog named Lady, who is far from being that! Hobbies? Well, David collects stamps and Jane collects clutter, but together they are in to horse racing, owning two horses and having shares in five others. It is understood that they are still waiting to hit the jackpot!
It is almost home from home for Mick and Jill Blower who have moved into Berrynarbor Park, having holidayed in this part of the south west for nearly 30 years and spending the last 15 Christmases in Berrynarbor. Originally from Wolverhampton, they both moved to Stafford on their marriage and have now decided to take up semi-retirement here. Mick, a gas fitter, and Jill, a conveyance executive, enjoy the countryside, particularly walking their dog Cassie.
Carol and Chris Saunders are also new to Berrynarbor Park, having moved here from the Derbyshire Peak District with retirement in mind! Chris is a builder and Carol has been in the teaching profession for more than thirty years, but has now taken up and qualified in holistic therapies. They have two sons. Daniel and his wife Janet live back in Derbyshire with their two grandchildren, Megan and Josh. Carol and Chris, who love walking and enjoy the countryside, conservation and birds [the feathered variety], have two dogs, Monty and Max.
Adrian and Linda Hughes have also moved in to the Park from Hayes End in Middlesex, and we hope to be able to welcome them more fully in October.
18 Hagginton Hill - way up towards the top! - is now home to Kay and Richard Barry and their baby daughter Eve. Eve celebrated her first birthday just days after their arrival. Kay is no stranger to Devon, having been born in Woodbridge and having lived on Exmoor, whilst Richard is from Wiltshire. Both teachers, Kay at Primary level and Richard at Secondary, they have just returned after living in Christchurch, New Zealand for the past six years. Emigrating with them are their two cats, Tim and Schroedinger! Kay and Richard are looking forward to exploring the local countryside and beaches and hope to renew their enjoyment of wind surfing. We wish Richard luck in his new job - he will be joining the staff at Ilfracombe College in the autumn, teaching Physics.
So, having left No. 18, Anne and Dave [Harris] are temporarily homeless, but will be moving in shortly, to Halldene - on a lesser incline and nearer the village centre!
That means another move and it is with profound regret that we have to say 'goodbye' to Betty [Dudley-Ward], or 'Matron' as she has been affectionately known in the past. She leaves us in August to move nearer her family. We'll miss you Betty and will look forward to hearing that you have settled in to your new home.
I am leaving Berrynarbor to go to a residential home in the village of Longhope, which is between Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye where my niece lives. I was in charge of the Susan Day Home in Ilfracombe - a resident post - so on my retirement I had to make a home somewhere. As I had friends here and there was a bungalow available, I decided to come to Berrynarbor.
I have spent many happy years here and have made many friends. As I have become old - 92 now - I have appreciated these friends very much. Everyone has been so kind and helpful to me.
I am very sorry to be leaving the village but feel it is right to go near my family at this time.
"Goodbye to you all."
Berrynarbor is a lovely village to live in and look at -
Colin and Annie Trinder have left to go to East Devon, near Axminster, and Sheila and Gary Andrews are now running Grattons and the Chalets.
We are sorry to see Annie and Colin leave and wish them well and thank them for all they have done for our village, particularly Colin's Chairmanship of the Manor Hall Committee.
We welcome Sheila and Gary who, after running a retail shop in Bexley Heath, Kent, for some time, have decided to have a change. Moving with them are their daughter, Poppy, who is eleven and starting at Ilfracombe College in September, and Lewis, seven, who will be joining our Primary School. The family is currently completed by Dusty the cat who is shortly to have life disturbed by the arrival of a puppy - a Hungarian Vizsla, a pointing and retrieving gun dog originally bred to hunt the great plains of Hungary. Sheila enjoys swimming and gardening but Gary says there's no time for hobbies for him, he's got his work cut out for the time being!
NEWS FROM THE MANOR HALL
There have been some changes recently in the Manor Hall Committee. The AGM saw three new members - Margaret Weller, Marion Carter and Christine Burbridge - and Colin and Annie Trinder have now left the village and for a short time we were without a Chairman and one member down! On behalf of the Committee and the village, I should like to take this opportunity to thank Colin and Annie for all their hard work and wish them every happiness in their new venture. The Committee would like to welcome the new Chairman, Bob Hobson. Bob spent his early childhood in the area, left and then returned to Combe Martin in 1987, where he ran a hardware business for some years. He has been both Secretary and Chairman of the British Hardware Federation and President of the Lions Club of Ilfracombe. He is also a golfer.
Margaret Weller is taking over the bookings of the Hall from Vi Davies but as Vi is Treasurer, they will be working closely together. If you are thinking of making a booking, Margaret's 'phone number is 882927.
The next meeting of the Committee will be at the Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 7th September. A reminder to all groups and organisations who hire the Hall that they can and should be represented at the meetings.
Following the bomb disasters in London, the East Anglian Ambulance Service, with the support of Falklands War hero Simon Weston, has launched a national 'In Case of Emergency [ICE] campaign. The idea is that you store the word ICE in your mobile phone address book against which you enter the number of the person you would want contacted in an emergency. Hospital and emergency staff would then be able to quickly find out your next of kin and contact them. For more than one contact name them ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, etc.
It's so simple, anyone can do it. PLEASE DO.
THE BROWN THRUSH
There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in the tree,
'He's singing to me! he's singing to me!'
And what does he say, little girl, little boy?
'Oh, the world's running over with joy!
Don't you hear? Don't you see?
Hush! Look! in my tree!
I'm as happy as happy can be!'
And the brown thrush keeps singing, 'A nest do you see,
And five eggs hid by me in the juniper-tree?
Don't meddle! don't touch! little girl, little boy,
Or the world will lose some of its joy!
Now I'm glad! now I'm free!
And I always shall be,
If you never bring sorrow to me.'
So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree,
To you and to me, to you and to me;
And he sings all the day, little girl, little boy,
'Oh, the world's running over with joy!
But long it won't be,
Don't you know? don't you see?
Unless we are as good as can be!'
(Illustrated by Paul Swailes)
Lucy Larcom 1824-1893
Lucy Larcom was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1824, the ninth of ten children. Her father, a sea captain, died when he was very young and her mother supported her large family by working as superintendent of a female dormitory in the local textile mill. Lucy herself worked at the mill for ten years and her friendship with Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, began her lifelong association with the world of poetry and writing.
Lucy, who never married, devoted her life to writing and editing but also spent time teaching. She attained moderate success with her poems, declaring at one time that she would only write hymns. She died, at the age of 69, in Boston in 1893.
As I mentioned in the last Newsletter, we are still nearing completion of our new school building. What we lack now are the finishing touches - we await the arrival of our library shelves and curtains, etc.
This term seems to have been a busy one - we enjoyed our trips to Bicclescombe Park and Rosemoor - both days were sunny. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our Sports Day which was rained off at first, but we managed to squeeze one in two days before the end of term. We have also had two dance opportunities - Essex Dance and Lindy Hoppers, the Small School Sports, Teddy Bears' Picnic with the Pre-School and a visit to Killarney Springs for the year 6's.
We had a very moving Leavers' Service in the church, then a lively waterfight and barbeque - traditional activities for our Year 6 pupils. We wish them all the best in the next stage of their education.
We must also mention our very successful School Fete run by the Friends of Berrynarbor School. It was a glorious evening with many stalls, live music, Barbeque, etc. Many thanks must go to parents and friends who helped raise about £2,000 for the school.
Now we all look forward to our summer break, the return of our Head, Karen Crutchfield, and hopefully to a fully finished/furnished new extension.
Mary-Jane Newell [Acting Headteacher]
Class 3 put on a production of 'Oliver' for their parents and friends on the last Monday of term. It was well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all. We really need to say a big thank you to Mrs. Lucas for all her hard work and everyone else who helped. Thank you.
Sue Sussex - Governor
SELF PORTRAITS BY CLASS 3
THE PARISH COUNCIL
The bus shelter at Ducky Pool has just about reached the end of its life. Councillors inspected it following reports of its parlous condition. Gary Songhurst has carried out some minor works to make it safe and hopefully eke out a final 12 months' life from it. A replacement will be considered at the pre-budget meeting of the Council.
Following an extraordinary growing season, footpaths quickly became in need of urgent attention. All have now been dealt with and are in good order thanks to appropriate action from our contractor.
A report from the Council's Manor Hall representative indicated a possible dilemma as the Chairman of the Management Committee had resigned due to an impending, and what proved to be extremely stressful and eventful, move to a new home away from Berrynarbor. This left a vacancy that was potentially difficult to fill. I can now report, however, that a new leader has materialised to carry on the good work of this vital Committee.
The agenda of the next scheduled meeting of the Council will contain an item on possible traffic calming measures for the village. A meeting has been requested with the appropriate officer of Devon County Council. If you have concerns on this subject than get along to the September meeting.
Unfortunately my time on the Council has come to an end due to my move from Berrynarbor. This will cause a vacancy and I hope that someone within the parish will come forward and take my place. Although my time on the Council has been relatively short, I have found the position rewarding.
Jim Constantine - Chairman
AID FOR AFRICA - BERRYNARBOR STYLE
Villagers will be only too aware that help for the very poor in Africa is now top of the agenda world wide.
As in many things, our village has been well ahead of the game, generously supporting the baby unit in Blantyre, Malawi. Mary, our daughter, has been a safe conduit for monies raised ensuring that every penny has only been used for the purpose intended.
In the middle of August, Mary returns to the UK from Tanzania, where she has been for the past year, mostly teaching medical students from all over Africa. Her advice remains that the greatest need is still Blantyre. A professor of medicine at the hospital there has now taken Mary's place in accepting and spending any funds that we raise.
As always we are again selling our surplus produce at the gate to raise funds for the hospital. So far more that £130 has been raised this season, mainly from salads and sunberries, with runner beans and tomatoes now on stream. Normally we try to put our produce at the gate, but when the weather is too hot, we find it is better to pick to order. Please feel free to call at the house or phone in advance - 883093.
Many thanks once again for your support.
Bernard & June [Pink Heather, Sterridge Valley]
MEMORIES OF THE WAR
As I began editing this Newsletter, I was aware of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, and memories of my childhood during those years came to mind, as I am sure they have done for other readers.
We were living, at that time, some fifteen miles north west of central London. My father was in the RNVR, on minesweepers engaged on the North Atlantic run and later taking part in Operation Overlord, sweeping the Channel before the D Day landings. In August 1944, HM Minesweeper Hussar, on which he was an officer, and her sister ship the Britomart, were sunk off the coast of Normandy with the loss of 117 sailors. Having just been on the bridge and coming off duty, he was one of only four survivors on his ship. Although mother knew, it was only revealed in August 1994, 50 years later, that this was one of the worst 'friendly fire' incidents of the war. Like the other survivors, who were then separated, he was ordered never to discuss the incident.
Later, as his demob approached, we went to visit him on his ship which was docked at West Hartlepool. We were thoroughly spoilt by the crew, being given boiled sweets and bananas for the very first time! How hurtful it must have been for him when seeing him in 'civvies' for the first time, I ran away! I had only ever seen him in naval uniform.
Life at home had to carry on and we went off to school each morning carrying our satchels and gas masks. If there was an air raid during the day, we all had to go to the shelters and wait for the 'all clear'. A Morrison shelter, a large table-like steel construction, dominated the dining room and my sister and I slept under it each night, joined when the siren went, by mother!
Perhaps the most frightening period was when the doodle-bugs were being sent to attack London, many of which 'flew' on, missing their target. We would listen to them, knowing that when they cut out they would drop and explode. The nearest incident of this happening was when one landed in the road behind our house, blowing our front and back doors in and bringing several of the ceilings down.
A happier memory is watching and listening to the Highland Light Infantry, stationed at nearby Coastal Command, playing the bagpipes as they marched up the road past our house.
Churchill's speech declaring the end of the war in Europe was, in the evening, followed by a thunder storm. One small girl was reputed to have woken up and declared, "Oh dear, Mr. Churchill's made a mistake"!
Looking through the family albums I came across a copy of the message distributed to members of the Allied Expeditionary Force before leaving for Normandy:
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German was machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battled-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together for Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Dwight D Eisenhower
A similar and moving speech was given by Colonel Tim Collins to members of the Royal Irish Regiment in March 2003 before the start of the latest conflict, the invasion of Iraq, part of which reads:
We go to liberate, not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country.
We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others, I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.
You will see things that no man could pay to see - and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.
Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
. . . . . .
As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
THE NORTH DEVON HOSPICE
The Hospice has three events planned for September and October - Devon Dangle, Voices for Hospices and Horrendous Hair Day.
The Dangle will take place at Hartland Cliffs on the 18th September, when you will be invited to take part in a heart-stopping heroic descent of the cliffs overlooking the stunning coastal views of Hartland.
On the 8th October, Voices for Hospices will be happening across North Devon. If you are a member of a church choir or choral group, would you like to use your voice - or voices - to raise money for your local hospice?
On Friday, 21st October, YOU can support the Hospice by wearing a wild and wacky hair do, wig, hat, colour or rollers, etc., to raise money. A fun event for everyone!
If you would like to find out more about any of these events, please ring Ali or Anne on  344248.
In the meantime, how are those green leaves growing? Yes, the ones for the 25 foot knitted Christmas Tree. The all green pieces 8-10" wide and 12-15" long may be given to Judie [Chicane] or taken to the Hospice, but please deliver them by the end of October at the latest as the tree will
need to be put together for display at the end of November.
Older residents may remember him in the Second World War working at North Lee Farm for Stanley Huxtable.
Gerald Vaughan Beauclerk was born in Leytonstone on 12th January 1899. His mother died in 1922 and his father remarried in 1925. His father's second wife was my mother, Violet.
When our father died in 1936, Gerald, who had never married, took it upon himself to bring up my sister Jean and me and to look after my mother. Although he was a good business man, Gerald had a great interest in music. Starting in Upminster Methodist Choir in the company
of Joan Cross, who became a famous operatic singer, his favourite was Gilbert and Sullivan. He was well qualified and thrilled to learn that one of his students became Secretary of the London College of Music.
During the War, he sang at Concerts for Mrs. Knill at the Victoria Pavilion, Combe Martin, Berrynarbor and Lynmouth.
After all these years, people remember him well with remarks like 'He was good company', 'He was always fair' and 'kind, gentle Gerald'.
I was very lucky to have had him as a half-brother.
Tony Beauclerk - Colchester
Ron Toms is delighted to share his news that his grandson, Darren - youngest son of Sheila and Tony who live in Swindon - has become engaged to Jane Harris. His eldest grandson, Craig, is now serving as a Special Constable at the Maidenhead branch of the Thames Valley Police Force.
Our congratulations to Darren on his engagement and congratulations also to Sophie Mummery on her recent success in the Race for Life event:
"On the 19th June, I took part in the Race for Life. It was a superb race which took off at 11.00 from just outside the Tarka Tennis Club in Barnstaple. Literally thousands of runners and walkers entered to raise money for Cancer Research.
It was a humid day and everyone did well. I run for the North Devon Road Runners and they were proud of me as out of 2,700 women running, I came 4th and was also the first junior - my time for 5k was 21 minutes. But most of all, I am proud that I raised £50.50 for Cancer Research thanks to the generous people in the village who sponsored me."
Sophie has also achieved success in the Black Rock Run [25 minutes], a challenging beach run at Woolacombe in severe stormy weather, and came 2nd in the 1500m and 800m races on Sports Day.
Her goal is to run, on behalf of Childline, in the London Marathon together with her father, Rob [who has already taken part in this event] and to keep on running!
Well done, Sophie, keep up the good work!
RURAL REFLECTIONS - 25
A garden full of roses can give so much pleasure to the admirer. Their variations in colour, diversity in shade, size and appearance, plus that distinctive aroma that many of the species emit, all add to the pleasure. What's more, many of them continue flowering throughout the summer and well into autumn (and into the early months of our mild Devonian winters, come to that).
In contrast, the wild rose I have recently been admiring up the lane, the Dog Rose, has completed its flowering for this year. Its pale pink petals will not appear again until next June, though its red hips can be seen come autumn. Rosehip is of course rich in vitamin C and makes a lovely sweet drink. I personally remember rosehip in the form of a syrup, brought round in a huge jug by the school dinner lady whenever milk puddings were on the menu.
Though the pink petals of the Dog Rose have now bade farewell to the lane, a paler shade of pink has appeared bidding the lane a friendly late summer greeting. It belongs to the blossom of the bramble. Amazingly, over four hundred different species of bramble exist in Britain, each variety
falling into one of three categories: erect, sprawling and climbing. Many have been christened lovely country names, including Brummelty Kites, Cock-Brumble and Lady Garten Berries.
The bramble, however, has also been mentioned in much less endearing terms. To find this reference, one need look no further than the great Book of God itself. Flick through the pages of the Old Testament to the book of Isaiah (chapter 34, verse 13 to be exact) and discover how the Lord carried out his curse on Edom: "Thorns will run over her citadels, nettles and brambles her stronghold".
Ironically, centuries later the bramble would then be used for keeping curses away. Heavy with thorns, its branches were strewn around graves, preventing evil spirits from entering the pardoned body that lay within the bramble ring. As well as being circled by brambles in death, being arched by them in life was also once an aid to the human body; walk beneath an archway of brambles, so it was believed, and you would be cured of your illnesses. One wonders if this included the illness that is said to be bestowed upon the picker of a blackberry after Michaelmas day, when the devil is believed to defile them. (This belief is probably based upon the fact that any blackberry picked after this date will have gone over and might not be too kind on the stomach in any case!).
Of course, it goes without saying that blackberries can also be a most wonderful "cure" to the human stomach if empty, particularly when they are mixed with apples into a pie or crumble; and as a herbal drink, blackberry tea is most enjoyable. The juice of blackberries is also a valuable source of nutrition for wildlife, with butterflies being the main benefactors. Snails, on the other hand, benefit from the leaves, using them for hibernation. The leaves have also been utilised as a remedy for burns and swellings, whilst further down the plant (going underground to be precise), the roots have been used in the preparation of orange dye.
Returning to the curse of Edom, I can certainly empathise with the choice of plants used; I know only too well the effects that bramble bushes and nettles can cause when they become overgrown, our garden certainly being cursed with them when we moved into our property. (Whatever her spell was, the Wicked Witch of the West Country certainly succeeded on our garden - she must have been drained of her powers for months afterwards!).
Yet up the lane, the annoying nettle seems to sit comfortably in its setting, whilst again helping the wildlife around it. Butterflies, such as the Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma are particular beneficiaries, the nettle being a vital food source for them. The young shoots of nettles were also once a vital source of nutrition for humans, being high in vitamins and minerals. Having a taste similar to spring cabbage or mature spinach, it was sold as a mainstay vegetable back in the eighteenth century. Both beer and soup can also be made from nettles, the former using young tops; and, alongside its blackberry counterpart, nettle tea can also be found on the shelves of most health shops. It is made from drying the leaves and has detoxifying qualities. Whilst detoxification is one of its main attributes, the nettle has been used for many other illnesses ranging from sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism and arthritis. It has also been used to help skin problems including eczema and dermatitis as well as, oddly enough, burns and bites (but do you have to get stung first?). Nettles have also been used in cleansing agents for the face and hair.
But how did the nettle get its name? To find this answer, one has to go back to ancient times when the tough fibrous stems were made into a strong linen-type cloth; so strong, in fact, they could be used on fishing boats as ropes and nets. But for many people the nettle will always be that annoying plant that unexpectedly stings them as they walk along a country path. Cattle, however, do not share this point of view - and not because they are rarely ever met walking along narrow, nettle prodding footpaths. In any case, if you were to meet some in such a setting, they would be more than happy to move aside for you, for cattle are immune to the nettle's sting.
There is, of course, a natural remedy that is usually close by whenever the nettle stings. Find a dock leaf; rub against the affected area and the sting goes instantly. Yet the dock leaf hasn't always been used purely as a remedy. In the days before greaseproof paper, dock leaves were used for wrapping around slabs of butter.
Where the bramble may prick and the nettle might sting, another wildflower hinders the rural walker by attachment: Goosegrass. This is a plant better known for its fruits than its flowers, the latter being pale green and barely noticeable to the passer by. The fruits, however, have special hooked bristles that cling to the passer by and enable the whole plant to become stuck to their clothing, like Velcro. One has to admire its ingenious method of dispersing its seeds, travelling miles away from the place of origin whilst clinging to a dog's coat or a walker's sock. At the moment there seems an abundance of Goosegrass up the lane; or perhaps it is the lack of colour on show, leaning my concentration towards the various "greens" on display. At least in places white offers a contrast in the form of two "Weeds", Hog- and Bind-.
Hedge Bindweed is of course another headache for gardeners, being a strangler of any branches it can attach itself to. Yet up the lane its white funnel-shaped flowers are unable to take a stronghold. (Hedge Bindweed differs from Field Bindweed; the latter's flowers being edged with pale pink).
In a patch where the lane receives little sunlight, even in summer, there is another offering of white. Here, a large clump of Enchanters Nightshade is on show, each tiny flower sparkling like the early stars of dusk. Occurring naturally in large numbers where lanes or gardens are shady, this delicate species of wildflower really is most enchanting.
Close by is Hedge Woundwort. Another wildflower that favours shady places, the origin of its name is self-explanatory as it was once used in the healing of wounds. It is a member of the mint family, producing attention-seeking reddish purple flowers that radiate the lane at this time of year.
Here and there another purple wildflower accompanies the lane, though much deeper in colour. The Common Thistle, or Spear Thistle as it is also known, rests its flowers on green egg-shaped heads, giving the plant its own unique style. A larger variety of the plant is called the Scots Thistle, though this is in fact a rarity in Scotland, leading to speculation that the Spear Thistle is in fact the true thistle of Scotland.
The Spear Thistle also has historic connections with Scotland's Danish neighbours - a connection that did the Danes little favour in their era of invasions. On one such invasion, at the battle of Largs, the Danes began screaming aloud as they unexpectedly charged through a mass of Spear Thistles. Their cries of pain were to be their downfall, alerting their defenders of their supposedly secret attack.
Another thistle-named flower is also to be found along the lane at the moment, though it is in fact a member of the dandelion family. Properly known as the Sow-thistle, it has many other local names. One is "Hares Lettuce", as the leaves are said to give strength to hares when they are overcome by heat. Another name is "Milky Dickle", perhaps because it is believed to increase the milk of sows once they had farrowed. Leaves from the Smooth Sow-thistle were once used as part of a winter salad in this country, whilst in Greece they are still regularly used. In contrast, the French feed their snails on Sow-thistle leaves to fatten them up ready for selling.
Further up the lane, where it meets the stream, the flowers of the Great Hairy Willowherb have now gone over. But another member of the willowherb family has replaced it and can be seen all along the lane instead. The Broad-leaved Willowherb, with its delicate purplish pink flowers, spreads itself by dispersing its hairy seeds in the wind - no wonder it is the most common of the willowherb family.
Though the streamside wildflowers of early summer have now gone over, another has appeared that particularly endears itself to riverbanks. It is the wildflower of Meadowsweet, sending a lovely fragrance down the lane as it catches the wind. Strewn across floors, Meadowsweet was once used as an indoor "air freshener". Queen Elizabeth I was a particular fan - so much so, she would demand it be placed on the floors of any home she was about to visit! Like other wildflowers, Meadowsweet has had spiritual connections. Druids regarded the flowers as sacred, whilst witches believed that the plant enabled them to leave their physical state. Also like many other wildflowers, Meadowsweet has been, and still is, used as a remedy; though Meadowsweet's connection is perhaps one of the most fascinating. Made up as it is of aspirin-like substances, aspirin being a tablet that can cause acidic reactions in the body,
Meadowsweet has at the same time been used in remedies for acid and indigestion!
As August rogresses and September passes by, I can reflect upon the wildflowers I have admired down the lane. The Lesser Celandine that announced the climax of winter and the onset of spring seem a while away now,but it is comforting to know they will appear again next February. I have watched Cow Parsley herald the start of spring, looked on as the Bluebells swayed in late spring breezes and stood in awe when the Foxgloves of summer towered above me. And throughout all of these seasons, the delicate flowers of Red Campion and Herb Robert have never been too far away.
I hope you have enjoyed being my walking companion as I have strolled down the lane, admiring and finding out about the wildflowers around me, as much as I have.
LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
Many centuries ago when I was at school, we had a fascinating English teacher who told us once of his life at University. During his final year, he went on an exchange to France, but was a bit short of cash. Every Friday evening he used to get on his motor bike and travel to Belgium. As usual he was checked at customs and allowed to travel on. Every Sunday evening he caught the train back to France. After a few weeks the customs officials became very suspicious, and searched him thoroughly, but finding nothing, allowed him to carry on. This continued for the whole of his final year, and he came home quite rich. Despite all their efforts, the customs officials never discovered that he was smuggling motor-bikes!
Quite often we fail to see the truth under our very noses. Quite often men and women go to extraordinary lengths to discover God, and yet fail to see Him in their very lives. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is within you." Have you made that discovery yet?
With all good wishes,
Your Friend and Rector,
BERRYNARBOR MUSIC CONCERT
There will be a special Music Concert to be held at St. Peter's Church on Monday, 22nd August, commencing at 7.30 p.m.
This Concert will feature many local and some visiting musicians [young and old], who will be performing music from the world of jazz, classics, pop, country, rock and folk. Our Rector, Keith, will be delighting us by playing his trombone! And our wonderful Church Choir will be singing a varied selection of music by the composers Leonard Bernstein, John Rutter and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
We are hoping to have some children from our Primary School to participate in this special event, the timing of which has been chosen to coincide with their holidays as well as the peak holiday tourist season.
The last concert organised by our retired organist, Reg Gosling, was extremely successful [albeit some ten years ago now], so we have great pleasure in extending our invitation to all residents and holidaymakers in Berrynarbor and other nearby villages to support this special event.
Programmes will be available at the Church on the evening of the Concert and we look forward to a wonderful evening's entertainment!
The second poem, particularly for the young and young-at-heart, is attributed to both Ann Taylor [1782-1866] and her sister Jane [1783-1824]. While most of us are familiar with the first verse from the poem as a nursery rhyme, it was in fact written as a poem by the two sisters and published in 1806. Ann and Jane, who lived in Stockwell Street, Colchester towards the end of the 18th Century, were well known poem and hymn writers.
There is some debate about which sister actually wrote the poem, and therefore it is generally listed as both of them. However, a one line dedication in the original book does indicate that it was Jane who had the original idea.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
NEWS FROM THE COMMUNITY SHOP & POST OFFICE
The good news is that thanks to Ross's expertise and invaluable help from Jenny Cookson, the continuing support of our magnificent team of volunteers, Jill and Tim Massey's efforts in promoting local products and Mike's dedication to managing the newspapers and magazines, our shop goes from strength to strength! However, we are always happy to welcome new volunteers, particularly during the holiday season and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays - even if you can manage only a couple of hours. Please speak to Ross.
Tim is home from major heart surgery and already checking the greenhouse, picking a surfeit of raspberries [lucky man!] and walking up to our shop. You can't keep a good man down! We wish him a speedy and complete recovery - and a return to the shop ASAP!
Thanks to the owners of self-catering properties sending out advance orders to their visitors, these visitors not only pay their bills but also spend considerably more and return to the shop again and again during their stay.
We have also found that being open on Saturday afternoons is a great bonus for newly arriving visitors. We direct them to their holiday homes, are able to promote the shop for Sunday opening, and usually sell them beer, wine and essentials for the start of their holiday.
If you have visitors staying with you during the summer, please urge them to call into the shop to see the new range of local gifts to take home for family, friends and dog/cat sitters! We have also extended our range of quality wines, so whether you are having a summer barbecue, gourmet dinner or just a quiet 'sundowners', do come and see what is on offer.
Two other great successes have been introduced recently: Blue Ginger quiches, and sweet and savoury pies, and Mike Turton's traditional and unusual pasties . . . delicious!
As a final positive note, we have just received another purchase of shares, which has taken the total invested to just over £10,000 and 100 shareholders. Long may our popular shop thrive!
PP of DC
LOCAL WALK - 91
"They fear not men in the woods
Because they see so few."
Rudyard Kipling 'The Way Through the Woods'
It was mid-June and the car park was almost full but in the woods, along the river and around the lake - where were the people?
Perhaps the grey skies and recent storms had made the visitors feel it was safer to stay close to the mansion and coach house. We were in the extensive grounds of Arlington Court where miles of tracks and paths offer endless variations of walks through parkland and woodland. We have enjoyed wandering about these tracks at all times of the year but never before had we found them deserted.
Perhaps because of the absence of human beings that day we were fortunate to meet two different species of deer native to Britain. At the swampy end of the lake a red deer hind stood still; watching, ears pricked before trotting away into the undergrowth.
About an hour later, a brown shape in the corner of a small field at the edge of Hammett's Wood turned out to be a deer grazing. As it raised its long neck, the dark muzzle and short, forked antlers showed it to be a roe buck in its third year. In the buck's second year the antlers are unbranched prongs. The smallest of our native species of deer [twenty-six inches high and four feet from nose to tail], the timid roe deer is less
sociable than the red or fallow deer and is often found alone. However, its tendency to keep to the dense cover of woods during the day, feeding mainly at dusk and dawn, lessens the chances of seeing it. The graceful creature had not observed us so we turned back along the track. There was a sudden rasping noise like the sound of tearing silk and a jay flew past. Patches of ragged robins formed a pink haze in the little water meadow beside the river.
Near Tucker's Bridge was the glorious and unlikely sight of the copious yellow racemes of a laburnum tree, among the dark green of the coniferous plantation.
The urn by the Lake containing Rosalie Chichester's ashes and the Victorian Garden
Illustrations by Paul Swailes
Our crossing Smallacombe Bridge coincided with the arrival of a flock of goldfinches to feast on the thistle heads. They are sometimes called 'the seven colour finch' but beyond red, yellow, fawn, black and white, I do not know what the other two colours can be.
Near the top of the steep field is a magnificent lime tree. After the climb uphill it is a welcome provider of shade on a sunny day or of shelter from the rain.
Before leaving we intended visiting another favourite tree, a ginkgo in the Victorian Garden. The first time we noticed it we had been attracted to its unusual two-lobed, fan-shaped leaves. We were curious about it and an informative member of the Arlington staff told us about the tree's interesting history.
The Ginkgo is a deciduous conifer [although it does not look like a typical conifer] the sole survivor of a family of trees which flourished two hundred million years ago. So it is an exotic dinosaur of a tree as are the many monkey puzzle trees, which are such a feature of Arlington, lining the driveways.
A stroll around this haven of a garden with its Gertrude Jekyll inspired borders, shrubs and weathered stone always makes a pleasant finale to a hike in the grounds of Arlington Court.
Adjoining it is a walled vegetable garden with herbs and fruit trees - locked on this occasion, but we have that to look forward to next time.
Berrynarbor Village - View No. 96
This time I have taken two of William Garratt's photographic postcards of almost the same view of our village. The earlier picture, No. 14, was taken around 1904, whilst the later picture, No. 91, was taken around the mid-1920's.
I shall point out the changes I have noted, working down the picture from left to right. Please note the small chimney at the southeast end of the church, which appears in both pictures. The chimney was necessary as the area within the church with semi-enclosed pews for the Watermouth Castle Bassett family, was heated by a small stove, and their entrance to the church can be seen under the right chancel window in the later picture.
1. In the first picture there is no Manor Hall - the Manor Hall was completed in 1914.
2. Bessemer Thatch is thatched in both pictures - the first shows pig sties/chicken houses whereas the second shows only garden.
3. In the first picture 'Ladywell' is thatched, but later it has been rebuilt to from 3 slated cottages.
4. The school bell is still hanging in both pictures.
5. The Post Office takes up the full area in the earlier picture, but in the second picture there is only the house and the post office out building.
Apart from the trees, I should welcome hearing of any other changes that you can see.
The original Post Office was, until the 1920's Watermouth Estate Sale, in Pitt Hill and so the building we now know as the Post Office became such after Lady Day in 1921. A full account of these changes was reviewed in Newsletters Nos. 41, 42 and 56.
My thanks to Ron Toms, Bill Huxtable and Ivy Richards for responding to my request about the square, dark structure in the field above High Trees. All were able to tell me that the mystery structure was a 'shippen' [cow house/cattle shed]. Ivy told me that after she first married Ivor on the 7th May 1932, she would go and watch him milking their two cows there. I should also like to thank Stanley Barnes for his kind words in a letter to Judie and through this newsletter ask if he has any old photographs or memories that could be used in a future issue?
Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, July 2005
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE
Here we are in high summer and I hope you will agree that the village is looking lovely. The comments from villagers and visitors alike make it all worthwhile. A work party gathered one Sunday afternoon and in the space of a couple of hours and on the principle that 'many hands make light work', the planting out was completed. The hardest task during the hot weather is the watering. The litter picks have continued and work parties are planned for certain areas in the village. Many thanks to all who help and to the littler pickers, planter-outers and fundraisers. We are always keen to recruit new helpers, so if you would like to join us just look out for the next poster.
A BBQ was held at Middle Lee Farm on Sunday, 26th June. This was well attended by Berry in Bloomers but was also intended for everyone in the village. We played boules and croquet in the paddock next to the Shetland ponies and everyone enjoyed themselves. Next time DO come and join us. No date as yet has been set, but watch out for news of the next one in September.
The two main fund raising events have been the Open Garden Days. First on the 19th June when the beautiful Sterridge Valley was open - this proved most successful. Luckily it was a fine day and not too hot as there are plenty of steep slopes to climb in the gardens. Judie and Ken were in charge of the cream teas that were included in the price of the ticket and these went down a treat. Second, the Village Gardens were open on Sunday, 10th July, which was a scorcher and almost too hot, but there was a good turn out of locals and visitors and Phil and Lynne at The Lodge provided the teas, which stopped everyone from completely wilting. In the evening a BBQ was held there for everyone involved in both open days. Over £500 was raised by these two events. The money will go to plant spring flowering bulbs and plants in the autumn and to start us off next spring with plants and compost. Thanks to all the people who came, opened their gardens, sold plants or who helped with the teas, etc.
Next year it would be nice to include a few new gardens so if you are interested you have a year to weed, prune and make everything in the garden rosy!
The next litter pick is on the 7th August, meet at Middle Lee Farm at 3.00 p.m. Tea and cakes to follow.
Is it just me or does any one else hate the sight of the wheelie bins? I know it is very difficult for some people, but in this beautiful village it would be so nice if they could be hidden away except on collection days.
HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW
SATURDAY, 3RD SEPTEMBER
It's that time again when all the contributors to the Berrynarbor Horticultural and Craft Show have to start checking out their gardens, rushing to finish their tapestry or painting and checking for photographs that fit the categories for this year's Show.
Last year was the 25th Anniversary and we set out to make it the biggest and best of recent years. I think we were successful. Now we must move on and make this year's Show even better!
Once again we shall be awarding prizes in all categories and with a separate Junior Section in each Class. Similarly, we have tried to make the sections fairly wide-ranging so that everyone can find something that they can enter. Most categories have a section for 'any other', so there should be no excuse that you can't find a class suitable for what you have available.
The weather - and don't forget we all suffer the same - so far has been fairly kind to the gardeners so unless we have a disastrous August we look forward to some outstanding entries. Personally, my parsnips that did so well last year have failed totally to germinate, so I'll have to hope that I can repeat the success of the onions!
A copy of the Schedule, together with two entry forms, is included with this Newsletter, but if you need another one or more entry forms, please contact me on 883600 or Judie on 883544 - we will ensure that you get a copy.
THERE SHOULD BE NO EXCUSE FOR NOT ENTERING!
UP! UP! AND AWAY . . .
One evening in June I had a phone call from a friend for whom I occasionally 'cat sit'. Thinking it was such a request I started to say "When? . ." but, no! The call was to ask if I should like to share her husband's Christmas gift - a FLIGHT IN A HELICOPTER - wow! "Yes please."
So one beautiful June morning I was picked up from my home and chauffeured to the heliport at Abbotsham. Here we were welcomed by the delightful owners and their young, wriggly cocker spaniel. Having given their helicopter a final polish, us our pre-flight chat and taken memory-making photos, we four climbed aboard, the 'gift boy' in the co-pilot's seat and his three females strapped into the rear seats! The pilot wanted to know the areas of particular interest to us - Berry obviously being the most important. Headphones on and mikes checked and a very smooth lift off over the hedge to 2000 feet had us hovering over Westward Ho! and the Taw/Torridge estuary. The whole area became a very beautiful map spread out below us and much "look at that", "where's that?" and "gosh, it looks so different from the air" poured through the headphones.
The Braunton Burrows area, Saunton and Woolacombe were straight out of a brochure for the south seas - azure sea, miles of golden sands - and then on along the coast to Mortehoe, Lee and Ilfracombe. I just managed to locate my house with my matchbox-size car standing outside. From the air the Landmark didn't look too bad! Onwards to magnificent views of Berry and looking to see if any neighbours were waving - too high, they would need tablecloths! Watermouth looked perfection and on to Combe Martin, Holdstone and Woody Bay, finishing off with a circuit of the Valley of the Rocks. The White Lady was not visible from the air!
Inland across country to see Arlington Court and some nearby areas I couldn't easily identify. I was amazed at how wooded the whole area is, how neat and tidy the fields appear, immaculately ploughed, sown and cut and the amazing variety of colours. I personally was delighted to overfly areas I ramble and to see a very different and green aspect from that height. We flew home with Barnstaple laid out below us and graphic views of the new by-pass and bridge system, putting it all into perspective. The Torridge at Instow was dotted with many, many small craft and we had beautiful views of the old and new bridges spanning the river.
All too soon our pilot was confirming his landing time and shortly after we were back on terra firma after spending approximately forty minutes in the air. The time had gone all too quickly but we were so lucky to have the perfect day [doesn't happen that often apparently] for appreciating our beautiful, varied landscape. For me, I was so lucky to be asked to share the wonderful experience.