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 Newsletter Editions
No. 160 - February 2016 01-02-2016

 

WEATHER OR NOT

After the calm of October, three words sum up November and December - wet, windy and warm. The first storm was Abigail which arrived on the 12th and 13th of November; this was followed by ex-hurricane Kate on the 14th and Storm Barney on the 17th. Storm Clodagh brought very strong winds on the 29th and then on the 4th December it was the turn of Desmond which affected the north of the country worst. After a brief respite, Eva arrived on the 23rd/24th and finally "weather bomb" Frank ended the year on 29th/30th.

Not surprisingly, with all the storms the winds were often very strong and we recorded six days in November and seven days in December when the wind speeds reached 35mph or more. The maximum in November was 42mph and 39mph in December.

Only the first three days in November were completely dry and the total rain for the month was 200mm. December also had only three totally dry days but more rain overall with a total of 234mm of which 46mm fell on the 30th. Nationally December was the wettest on record but despite what seemed like continual rain, neither month broke any of our records and even combining the two months together there were four previous years including 2012 when we recorded more rain. We really got off quite lightly compared to the north of the country.

Both months were unusually mild. In November, apart from a couple of days when the winds went round to the north and the temperature dropped, the daytime temperatures were in double figures throughout the month with a maximum of 18.6 deg C on the 1st. In December there was only one day when the thermometer dropped below 10 deg and even the night time temperatures were often in double figures. The maximum temperature was 15 deg C with the highest overnight temperature being a very warm 12.8 deg .

With all the rain and gloom the hours of sunshine were down, in November 18.05 hours were recorded which was below average although not the lowest recorded for the month. December's meagre 3.18 hours were a record but only just. he total rainfall for the year was 1412mm which was fairly average for here. A friend of ours keeps

weather records in Suffolk and he had only 601. 5mm for the whole of 2015 and mowed his lawn on the 23rd December!

We wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year and hope the weather improves soon.

Simon and Sue

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

First and foremost we hope that everyone had an enjoyable Christmas spent with your families. In this new year we are now looking forward to welcoming our new Vicar, Michael Rogers, to serve both Berrynarbor and Combe Martin Parishes - hopefully by April at the latest. His presence will bring much needed support to our community as a whole, and welcome news for Berrynarbor School with whom Michael will be working in the years ahead. Apart from Berrynarbor PCC, Michael will have the support of a 'House for Duty Priest' who will be offering help and assistance to both our communities on a part time basis. This important position is currently being advertised and we shall in due course inform everyone who the successful candidate is.

The Christmas Carol Service was a great success, and how nice to welcome so many parents and relatives to the first part of the Service which focused on the very young ones from Berrynarbor School. Their singing of songs and carols was a delight and it is a marvel that they all managed to remember all the words! Well done indeed!

The main Carol Service commenced at 6.30 p.m. and a special mention to the School Choir who sang the carol Infant Holy, Infant Lowly in both Polish and English to perfection. The Berrynarbor Choir sang The Angel Gabriel, unaccompanied with difficult harmonies to contend with, creating a really beautiful performance.

The very special version of In the Bleak Mid-Winter by Harold Darke was also beautifully sung with special praise to our two tenors - Graham Lucas and Bobby Bowden - for their superb duet in the third verse.

The Congregation had their chance to sing popular carols, finishing with the usual O Come All Ye Faithful at the end of the service. Many thanks to our retired Rector George Billington, who conducted proceedings, and to all the ladies who helped prepare and serve mulled wine and mince pies after the service. A truly wonderful evening enjoyed by all!

The Christmas Eve - Midnight Mass - Service, again conducted by George Billington, was well attended considering that many parishioners were away for the Christmas break to visit family and other relations and the Christmas Day Service, too, was very well attended with many visitors present to enjoy a short Family Carol service. Grateful thanks to Celia Withers for Officiating and to Graham Lucas who kindly deputised for me on the Organ.

Church Services will follow the same format as in 2015, and are as follows

 

1st Sunday: Village Service at 11.00 a.m.

2nd Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m.

3rd Sunday: Songs of Praise at 11.00 a.m.

4th Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m.

 

NB: There will be a Joint Service with Combe Martin [Holy Communion] on Sunday 31st January at 11.00 a.m. to be held in Berrynarbor Church.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will continue to be held on the last Wednesday in each month, from 12.00 noon onwards. Everyone welcome.

With regard to Easter Services - my goodness we're nearly there again! - these will be as follows:-

25th March - Good Friday: Hour of Devotion, 2.00 p.m.

27th March - Easter Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.00 a.m.

Berrynarbor PCC Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 29th March at 2.00 p.m.

In conclusion I offer my sincere thanks to all those dedicated members on our PCC who have worked tirelessly over this extended period of Interregnum. I, for one, will await the arrival of Michael Rogers with a great deal of pleasure - coupled with a great sigh of relief!

A Happy New Year to you all!

Stuart Neale - Acting Chairman Berrynarbor PCC

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

EDNA BARBER

Those who remember Edna will be sad to learn that she passed away on Boxing Day at the age of 91. Her funeral is due to take place at the North Devon Crematorium on the 26th January.

Often outspoken, Edna was a very intelligent lady, fiercely independent and private. Younger than she appeared, many will remember her walking to shop in both Combe Martin and Ilfracombe - something she continued to do well in to her 80's.

Knowledgeable about flowers, she used to help Berry in Bloom by looking after the baskets and containers both around the bottom of Pitt Hill and the seated area below Claude's Garden.

Before going into care over the last few years, North Lee had been Edna's home, for many years.

May the roads rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rains fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

 

 


BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL

We should like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and welcome back our families to Pre-school's spring term. We hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas break and are ready to start this new term.

Last term we celebrated Christmas with a short performance of Christmas songs. This for some of our children was their very first performance! We want to say Well Done to all our children for their brilliant performance. They all did so well, singing beautifully remembering their words, actions and playing musical instruments.

This was followed by a shared party with the Toddler Group and we had a surprise visit from Father Christmas. We now have our shed in place and it is being used well to store all our outside toys.


We still have spaces available most days and we continue to have good links with Berrynarbor Primary School who now run a breakfast club from 8am - 8.30am. Pre-school children are then escorted over to Pre-school ready to start their day.

Our Opening times are 8.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs;

 

Preschool sessions

8.30am or 9.00am - 12.00pm

(AM)

 

12.00pm - 3.00pm or 3.30pm or

4.00pm

(PM)

 

8.30am or 9.00am -3.00pm or 3.30pm or 4.00pm

(ALL DAY)

 

Please visit us or call 07807 0903644 or e-mail preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for additional information.

Our topic of learning this term will be on counting, recognising numbers and learning about the names and properties of shapes. Activities will be based around stories such as 'The three little pigs' and 'The three bears'. Activities will include counting songs and rhymes, maths concepts such as measuring, positional language, shape names and identifying and recognising numbers.

Events

Thank you for your support in raising funds for our Pre-school at both the Indulgence Evening and at our Pre-school Christmas Show. We raised just over £250.00 and hope to purchase IT equipment to extend our children's learning in this area.

We also raised £17.00 from wearing our Christmas jumpers and this has been sent to Text Santa and all their good causes.

Thank you again for all your support.

 

 

REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

Brief notes from the December and January Meetings

The Parish Council has a website where the names and phone numbers of Councillors are given: www.berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk. It is hoped that parishioners will find it interesting and informative.

Reports were received at both meetings from the Police and County and District Councillors as well as Councillors who inspect the play areas and walk the public rights of way.

The vacancy created by the resignation of Steve Hill has been filled by the co-option of Gemma Bacon.

Planning: The Council recommended approval for plans at Treetops, Old Coast Road, Brinscot Farmhouse and Summerhouse, Birdswell Lane. Approval was also recommended for the Planning Application for the Manor Hall.

The two telephone kiosks at Silver Street and Berry Down have been adopted by the Parish Council.

Donations were given to the Community Shop towards the running and maintenance of the sewage plant and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Sadly the Memorial Fountain at the junction of Mill Lane and the main road at Sawmills has been damaged by a van.

A talk was given by Mr. Hancock, a representative of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, who covers the area including Ilfracombe, Lynton, Woolacombe and Combe Martin. Visits are carried out free of charge, advice given about home safety and smoke alarms fitted free if necessary. The service is concerned about vulnerable people about whom they are unaware, and hopes that neighbours would look out for such people. Mr. Hancock stressed that it was important for fire fighters to be able to gain access to a property easily, both internally and externally. Property landlords, including holiday homes, should provide smoke alarms and the Fire Service will provide these to keep tenants safe. Blocks of flats come under a different criteria and are visited on a referral basis.

Sadly there are 300 deaths a year in the South west alone from fires.

The service is also involved in parking, although there is nothing they can do legally except to put leaflets on windscreens where cars have been parked irresponsibly.

A defibrillator has now been purchased and villagers will be advised where it will be located.

Parish Council Meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday in the month. Those for February and March are on the 9th and 8th respectively, at 7.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall. Villagers are welcome to attend.

Sue Squire - Parish Clerk

 

 

 

Berrynarbor Parish Council

Adam Stanbury [Chairman] 882252

Sian Barten [862222]

Jenny Beer [jen.beer@btinternet.com]

Julia Fairchild [882783]

Gemma Bacon [883341]

David Kennedy [07791 781283]

Denny Reynolds [882724]

Linda Thomas [883345]

Clare White [882959]

Sue Squire - Parish Clerk - [01598 710526] sue@suesquire.com

County Councillor - Andrea Davis [883865]

District Councillors - Yvette Gubb [882364]

John Lovering [john.lovering@northdevon.gov.uk]

Snow Warden - Clive Richards [883406]

The Parish Council normally meets on the 2nd Tuesday in the month, 7.00 p.m. at the Manor Hall

 

FROM: LIEUTENANT COLONEL T J SALBERG MBE RE

Commanding Officer


24 Commando Engineer Regiment

Royal Marine Barracks Chivenor

Barnstaple, EX31 4AZ

United We Conquer

 

04 Jan 16

Happy New Year!

I have the privilege of commanding 24 Commando Engineer Regiment based here in North Devon at RMB Chivenor. 2016 marks the 300th Anniversary of the formation of 'The Sappers', as Royal Engineers are known, as a discreet element of the British Army. The Corps of Royal Engineers will be celebrating the occasion with a number of 'Sapper 300' events across the country, with our own celebration planned for Saturday the 21st of May. I know the military engineer connection to North Devon goes back some way, with much of the training conducted here during World War 2 being conducted under the charge of British and American Sappers. More recently, Sappers moved to Chivenor, from Plymouth in 1996 and we have built some strong links, and benefitted from some fantastic support from the North Devon community in the twenty years that have followed. I should like to ask for your support again? We are keen to learn of other connections between Sappers and the North Devon community and wondering if your parishioners would be able to help? Any event, whether large or small, where Royal Engineers, supported, worked with or were supported by the people of North Devon we are keen to find out about it.

Could I trespass on your good will and ask you to advertise my request and perhaps include it in your parish newsletters? We are trying to drum up as much support as we can for this significant event and I would be extremely grateful if you would include the Sapper 300 logo that is attached as we seek to give it the maximum exposure.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to hear from some of you parishioners in the near future.

Kind Regards

Tom Selberg

United we conquer

 

FEBRUARY & FINANCE

F is for February but also Finance and once again it is time to look at the financial situation of the Newsletter and its funds.

Thanks must go to all those who sent Christmas good wishes in the December Newsletter. Your generosity supported both the Manor Hall and the Newsletter to the tune of £150 each.

Although costs have continued to rise over the last year, Newsletter funds are in good shape. The subscription rate for postal readers for the coming year will, therefore, remain the same at £6.00 [February to December, inclusive]. Although the Newsletter is technically a 'freebie', the postal rate only covers the cost of postage and stationery, so it is very much hoped that those readers will include a donation to help keep the Newsletter coffers well stocked.

This plea also applies to readers who receive their copy with their paper, or collect a copy from the Shop, Globe or Sawmill Inn.

With all the costs involved in producing the Newsletter - our Printer, my stationery, printing inks, telephone, petrol, etc., [but not my time!] - the cost of EACH newsletter is approximately £1.50, that is £9.00 a year. It is only by financial support from all readers that it is able to continue. However, I must thank you all for your past donations as well as the continued financial support of the Parish and the Parochial Church Councils.

Some postal subscriptions have now run out and if you are someone to whom this applies, a letter is enclosed with your Newsletter.

My thanks to Sue's of Combe Martin and our paperboys, Terry and Mick, who deliver copies with the newspapers, the Shop, The Globe and the Sawmill Inn for having copies available and for collecting donations.

 

 

UNLUCKY THIRTEEN!

On the 13th September 2015 we had the following happen.

First take a look at the picture. Between the two gables there is a pocket. The double window is to our smallest bedroom. There is a bench in this pocket where we sometimes sit to look at the view of fields opposite.

We went to bed quite early, about 10 o'clock, and were soon fast asleep. About 1 o'clock Betty woke me to say she had heard a scraping sound. What could it be?

We have vertical blinds to the small bedroom and when we pulled one to the side, there, was a man lying on our seat!


Questions came to mind.

Was he a villain?

Did he have a knife?

Should I go and ask him what he was playing at?

I decided No!

We rang the Police and they said they would look into the matter. A police car soon came along with a powerful light on its side. This illuminated the whole of our front garden. They drove up our drive but the man did not move.

A policeman and policewoman got out of the car and went over to nudge him. After some efforts to wake him, they got him to his feet.

I gather this young man had got very drunk and after taking his girlfriend home in an area to which he was unfamiliar, he saw our bench and decided to sleep it off there!

The Police said he really seemed quite a nice young man and got him in their car. They may have taken him home, I don't know.

I must praise the Police for the prompt attention they gave to the matter.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Paul Swailes

 

 

 

 

 

 

VACANCY FOR A TREASURER

 

Would you like to join one of the major village institutions?

 

Do you use the Hall and would be happy to help out running it?

 

Please see the main Manor Hall article that

follows in this Newsletter

 

 

 

BERRYNARBOR MANOR HALL TRUST

Christmas 'Thank You' at the Hall

It was good to have lots of Hall supporters and volunteers at the hall just before Christmas - our feedback is that it was a good hour or so and people felt it was a very worthwhile thing to do. The mulled wine may have helped!

Hall Renovation

The planning and listed building applications for the proposed renovation of the hall were submitted to North Devon Council in December - full details can be found on the Council's website. It goes without saying that this is an important moment - a successful planning application would be immensely helpful when applying for grant funding, and obviously we can't improve the hall as planned without it. We should have a decision in March.

Meanwhile we have also now received detailed costings for the proposed works from quantity surveyors PWH in Barnstaple, and we have worked through a detailed breakdown of these costs in order to put together the right mix of work that achieves everything discussed to date and is within the kind of guidelines set by funders.

Heating in the Hall

We know it has been hard to use the hall this winter and we thank users for bearing with us. The one remaining gas heater does work most of the time, although we know there have been occasional problems with it. The wiring and sockets to some of the [temporary] electric heaters are to be replaced so that these work properly - it has just taken a while to get contractors to respond. We hope that in early February we shall also have two radiators installed in the hall, heated from the boiler in the

Pre-School. All of these are of course temporary measures pending the installation of a comprehensive new system, including insulation if we can raise the funds to do so.

Manor Hall Management Committee - New Treasurer Needed!

As stated in the December Newsletter, Alan and Nora Rowlands will soon be standing down from the Management Committee, after many years of service.

We therefore seek a new Treasurer, and obviously this is an important post. The amount of work involved is not that great, but the hall can't function without one. So we ask everyone to consider helping out, especially users of the hall. If we cannot get a new Treasurer by April the consequences will be very serious.

No previous experience is necessary. We should stress that the volume of transactions is quite small - the number of expenses paid out in a typical month are very few and we don't hold any cash. Invoicing to users is generally done every two months for regular users, and once a term in the case of the School. In future all invoices will be issued by e-mail, and record keeping is very simple - just income and expenditure details. Annual accounts for the last two years have been done by Stevens & Willey of Barnstaple.

If anyone is interested in these roles or joining the committee generally, please contact Len Narborough [Chairman] on 883747 or e-mail narb@btinternet.com.

Remember these are interesting times for the Manor Hall!

Manor Hall Management Committee

 

KNIT AND NATTER FOR NORTH DEVON HOSPICE

Once again the Craft Group will be holding an afternoon of knitting and nattering to raise funds for the North Devon Hospice and invite you all to come and join us.

We shall be holding Open House in the Manor Hall during the afternoon of Monday, 22nd February from 2.00 p.m. onwards. Knitters, knitting strips for blankets for the Hospice, will only need some odd wool and size 8 needles and those who would just like to natter can pop in at any time during the afternoon for a chat, enjoy a coffee or tea and a cake. No sponsorship is required, all we ask is for a minimum donation to the Hospice of £5.00 and take part in the raffle. Over the years the group, together with friends, has raised nearly £4,000 and probably a good half mile of strips!

A reminder that the Craft Group meets every Monday afternoon in the Manor Hall, from 1.45 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Just come along and bring whatever you are currently working on - knitting, embroidery, beading, painting, etc. - chat amongst friends and enjoy tea or coffee and biscuits - chocolate ones are the favourite and very often birthdays are celebrated with delicious cakes! All this for just £2 a session!

Once a month, usually on the first Monday, Chris Grafton takes an art group alongside the craft group - again everyone is welcome. Come along and have a go, £5.00 a session.

 

BERRYNARBOR SCHOOL NEWS

Happy New Year to you from all of us at the School.

The children from Classes 1 and 2, along with Mrs Wellings and staff, would like to say a big thank you to all who attended their Nativity. Funds raised from the sale of cast photos and refreshments have been used to purchase some role play furniture for Key Stage 1.

Blueberry Class were the first to take a trip out this year. They spent a day in Exeter visiting the Museum to further their studies of the Ancient Egyptians, and the Cathedral as part of their R.E. Curriculum, looking at places of worship.

By the time you read this, the Soup and Pud Evening will be over but the children have been busy colouring in pictures of Soup and a Pud to be displayed at the event.

We are looking forward to World Book Day on 3rd March. The theme this year is Space and we are organising various activities over a couple of days to foster a love of books. The Space Dome has been booked and will be open to the community during the evening. Keep a look out for posters with information about the when and where, and how to book tickets.

We are currently planning and developing a Community Project to create stronger links between the children and older village residents. More information will be available at a later date, but meanwhile if you are interested in being involved we should love to hear from you.

To enable us to purchase sports equipment, we shall again be collecting the Sainsbury's vouchers. Please help us by giving us your vouchers!

Sue Carey - Head Teacher

 

SALT IN THE SUGAR JAR

Join us for a great night of entertainment and curry with Salt in the Sugar Jar, a Beaford Arts production. There will be 3 performances - Friday and Saturday,19th and 20th February, at 7.30 p.m. and Sunday,

21st February at 1.00 p.m. There is a maximum of 20 tickets per performance and all the action will take place in

our dining room at Hewlett House, Sloley Farm. The actual performance will be staged in our kitchen! Tickets £12.50 each. Be assured, we are not trying to fund a new kitchen, all proceeds will go towards the Manor Hall Refurbishment Project!

Come and have a convivial time, with a fabulous performance, plenty of fine food shared with friends, and just to ensure it really goes with a bang, bring your own liquid refreshment and glasses!

Fenella

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

What very strange weather we have had for the last three months. The constant rain has been a bit depressing and the group certainly has not been doing any gardening. However, Berry in Bloom has been involved in the village over the Christmas period.

Have you ever wondered where the Christmas tree in the centre of the village comes from? In the past John and Fenella Boxall have supplied the tree but for the last two years our thanks must go to Graham Sanders who with the help of Chris Townsend has provided us with the Christmas tree. Our thanks also to Roger, Ray and Phil for putting it up and removing it, to Dave and Eve at Muffet's for letting us use their electricity and it was Berry in Bloom who supplied the Christmas lights. We hope you all enjoyed the display.

Please note we are also having our annual meeting in The Globe on Wednesday 24th February at 7.30 p.m. If you are interested in helping keep the village clean, flowery and tidy we should love to see you.

We rely on support from the village and one of our main fund raising events is our annual quiz. This year the date is Friday 4th March with Phil as our Quiz Master and as usual we shall be serving delicious cottage pie. We do hope you will come to this fun event.

We shall also be holding a joint Jumble Sale with Jigsaw to raise funds on Saturday, 19th March from 1.00 to 3.00 p.m. Items may be taken to the Hall from 11.00 a.m.

 

Apricot, Cherry and Marzipan Cake

I made this cake at Christmas as an alternative to a traditional rich cake. As I am a marzipan fiend I found it delicious and at this time of year it is lovely with a cuppa in the afternoon.

Ingredients

125g ready to eat dried apricots

125g glace cherries

125g chopped walnuts

250g sultanas

125g white marzipan

2 large oranges, ideally un-waxed

175g softened butter

175g golden caster sugar

3 medium free range eggs lightly beaten

250g whole meal plain flour (I used half/half with ordinary plain flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

To Decorate: 175g white marzipan

 

Preheat the oven to 160C fan 140C, gas mark 3. Grease a 20cm deep cake tin and double line it with baking paper. Heat a baking sheet in the oven as well as this will help the cake to bake evenly.

Quarter the apricots, halve the cherries and rinse in water then drain well on kitchen paper. Roll 125g of marzipan into marble sized balls and set aside with the apricots and cherries. Grate the zest from the oranges and then squeeze 150ml of juice from them. Set aside. Sift the flour with the cinnamon and baking powder and add back any of the bran. Set aside.

Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, using an electric beater. Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour so that the mixture does not curdle. Now beat in the orange zest. Stir in the apricots, cherries, walnuts, sultanas, marzipan balls and the orange juice. Lastly the flour mix and stir until everything is well mixed.

Spread the mixture in the tin and level the top. Place the tin on to the baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour. Then reduce the heat 150C, fan 130C, gas mark 2 and bake for a further 1 to 1.5 hours until firm to the touch and coming away slightly from the sides of the tin. Test with a skewer but be aware that if the skewer hits a marzipan ball it will look as if the cake is not ready so test in several places and use your judgment. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes then continue the cooling on a wire rack after peeling off the paper.

To decorate: As I made mine at Christmas I rolled out the marzipan, cut out large holly leaf shapes and decorated the top of the cake with the leaves and some berries I made by adding a little red food colour to some of the marzipan. So use your imagination or just roll out a crimped 'pie crust' and stick to the cake using a little water.

I think this recipe would also make a good Easter cake so the 12 apostles represented in marzipan balls would look lovely.

I hope you enjoy your efforts.

Wendy

.

 

LONDON MARATHON 24th APRIL 2016


Firstly I should like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!
I am running/stumbling the London Marathon in April in memory of my amazing dad, George Camplin, who was first the milkman and then the postman for our beautiful village.



Dad passed away in March 2015 from prostate cancer and I should like to raise awareness and as much money as possible for the Prostate Cancer Research Centre to try and prevent this dreadful disease.
So, I am writing to ask for your help in order to raise as much money as possible and

I shall simply run/stumble a few miles around London! If you would like to sponsor me, you can do so by logging on to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TRACYBURGESS2 or there are sponsorship forms in the village shop.
Thank you all for your support. Let's hope that we shall soon make Prostate Cancer a thing of the past!

Tracy [Burgess]

 

LOCAL WALK - 154

Turning Hares

The hare seems a popular subject for paintings and sculpture judging by those currently displayed in shop windows and galleries.

Yet it is an elusive creature. Here in North Devon we are more likely to see a badger or red deer - even a grey seal - than a brown hare.

Hares may be seen occasionally in the fields between Smythen Farm and Smythen Cross, or may be spotted running along the road between Whitefield Hill and Honeywell.

Should you ever find yourself in the church at Iddesleigh or Ashreigney, look up and you will discover one of the roof bosses is carved with a pattern of three hares running in a circle, with their ears joined at the centre forming a triangle and giving the illusion that they each have two ears, when they only have a total of three ears between them.


This ancient, mythical symbol of the three hares has been found in Russia, Nepal, Iran, Germany and France; the earliest dating back to 581AD in caves in China.

In Britain it is found mainly in medieval churches with Devon having the most examples - seventeen churches in mid-Devon and around Dartmoor with twenty-nine roof bosses, carved with the hare pattern, between them. Broadclyst near Exeter has nine.

The significance is uncertain but the hare has been seen as a magical creature and in Christianity the three hares were associated with the Holy Trinity - but why hares?

We visited Ashreigney, a hilltop village between the Taw and Torridge valleys. Its economy was once based on wool; the present village inn having been the premises of master wool-combers. A Roman road is thought to have passed through Ashreigney from Exeter towards Bideford.

We crossed the village green to the church. The large porch has a cradle roof and an oak door with Tudor linen-fold pattern panels.



Ashreigney Church today and C1932 from the Tom Bartlett Postcard Collection

 

The pulpit also has linen-fold panelling salvaged from the rood screen. When the church was restored in 1889, much ancient oak was thrown out or sold.

The thirteenth century font is square with an octagonal base. On the wall above the south door are the Royal Arms of Queen Anne.

The cradle roof is considered the finest feature of the church and there at the intersections of the moulded ribs of oak are the bosses. Apart from the one with the three hares, the other roof bosses are decorated with leaves, fruit and human faces.

On leaving the churchyard, three dogs loose on the green gave chase and it was necessary to jump down a bank to get away from them.

The Three Hares Trail leaflet lists all the Devon churches containing this ancient symbol. It has attractive illustrations by the artist Eleanor Ludgate and is available from 20 The Square, Chagford, TQ13 8AB.

 

Solution to the Only Connect Question:

In the last Newsletter I asked what is the connection between the dunnock and self-heal. The name of the actress who played the wife of Basil Fawlty was a clue.

 

PRUNELLA MODULARIS is the dunnock

PRUNELLA VULGARIS is self-heal

PRUNELLA SCALES played Sybil Fawlty

 

The Three Hares Trail takes in the following 17 churches:

 

St. James

Ashreigney

1 boss

St. Thomas Becket

Bideford

1 boss

St. John the Baptist

Broadclyst

9 bosses

St. Michael the Archangel

Chagford

2 bosses

St. Mary's

Cheriton Bishop

1 boss

St. James

Iddesleigh

1 boss

St. Michael's

Ilsington

1 boss

St; Mary's

Kelly

2 bosses

St. Julitta & St. Cyr

Newton St. Cyres

1 boss

St. John the Baptist

North Bovey

1 boss

St. John the Baptist

Paignton

1 boss

St. Andrew's

Sampford Courtenay

2 bosses

St. Andrew's

South Tawton

1 boss

St. Michael's

Spreyton

2 bosses

St. Eustachius

Tavistock

1 boss

St. Mary the Virgin

Throwleigh

1 boss

St.Pancras

Widecombe in the Moor

1 boss

 

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

 

'Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.'

Charles Dickens, Household Words.

November provided another first for us, a visit by Peter Rollinson from Bray Valley Wines [BVW], in South Molton. This is a two-man concern: Peter, and Charlie Cotton who started the business in 2002. Charlie has spent all his working life in the wine business and established BVW to provide quality, easy drinking wines, at affordable prices. Peter 'fell into wine', has been with them for 10 years and loves it. Both men believe that they should know their wines: over a period of time they have sampled every wine type in their stock!

We started with a Viognier from the Western Cape, South Africa, 2014 and 13.5%. Some described it as sweet and viscose; it was only £6.99. The next two whites were French. The Pouilly-Fume, 2013, 12.5%, from the Loire, was dry, full of fruit, with a flinty freshness and £11.99. Our last was a Pouilly-Fuisse, a white Burgundy, 2012, 13% and the dearest of the evening at £17.49. It wasn't my cup of tea as it was made from the Chardonnay grape . . . which just goes to prove that if your palate decides no, then the price is of no consequence!

Our first red was a Spanish Rioja Crianza, 2012, 13.5% and £9.99. It had a spicy feel and spends 12 months in oak barrels. The next, a Cabernet Franc, also 2012, from Mendoza, Argentina, was chocolatey and 14%; it was £12.99. Our last wine of the evening was a Crozes-Hermitage from the northern Rhone, with the Syrah grape. Peter thought this was delicious. It was £14.99.

December's tastings are chosen by our six committee members as it's our Food with Wine evening. Our Chairman, Tony Summers, had won a bottle of pink 'bubbles' for a short quiz set by Peter Rollinson, in November; Geoff Adam, felt that we should all know what this was like, so we began with some festive fizz: the said 'pink bubbles'.

This wasn't Champagne, but it was a Cremant de Loire, produced by the Langlois Chateau, managed by the Bollinger family, so we knew it would be good. It was and it is, because you can still buy this from BVW. Currently there is a deal: seven for the price of six, which means you can have a £10.99 wine for £9.42. It has a freshness, fine bubbles . . . with beautiful summer flavours. It's 12.5%, from the best terroirs of the Saumur area . . . made entirely from Cabernet-Franc and well-worth a drive to South Molton!

John Hood had contacted Avery's of Bristol for his Spanish white, from Rueda. It was a dry Verdejo, a Palacia de Pimente', 2014. It was 13% and £8.99. He didn't give us many other details, just said we should drink it . . . so we did!

I presented a Portuguese red: a 2013 Azamore from the DOP Alentejo region. These reds are described as easy drinkers, rich and fruity . . . popular all over Portugal. It was popular in Berrynarbor too! It was £10.49 and another BVW purchase.

An Argentinian, 2015, Malbec, from Mendoza, Argentina, followed: a Fairtrade red, 13% and £6.99 only. Our Treasurer, Bob Hobson, was proud to note that it was the cheapest of the evening! Majestic described it as a powerful red. It was like many other Malbecs: smooth, robust and fruity.

Majestic's currently have Chateauneuf-de-Pape between £25 and £60 per bottle; however, John Thorndycroft noticed a pre-Christmas deal and purchased ours for £9.99 instead of £19.99; it was a Reserves de Capouiers, 2014 and 14%. This revered red, probably the most famous Southern Rhone appellation is always a grape mix. It's another robust red and Mrs T thought it was very nice.

Our final tasting had legs . . . as it had travelled, literally, all the way from Spain, and arrived at Mr Summers' doorstep only 5 hours before it needed to be at the Manor Hall! An Amazon purchase, it was sourced and couriered from Cordoba, Spain. This dessert red is like a very sweet sherry only much better! This Pedro Ximenez1927 oxidises as it is maturing and made from the solera system: a mix taken from several barrels, started for this particular wine, in 1927. Amazingly, Tony purchased this, including the courier charge at the time, for approximately £11 per bottle.

The February meeting on the 17th is Ladies' Night, followed by Brett Stevens of Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines on the 16th March.

 

 

BERRYNARBOR HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW

News for 2016

 

COFFEE MORNING & TABLE TOP SALE

SATURDAY, 2ND APRIL 2016

Sellers: 9.00 p.m. [£5 per table]

Buyers: 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon

 

Lots of Stalls and Bargains!

To book a table please contact

Karen Loftus at Berrynarbor Shop on 883215

Berry in Bloom Cake Stall

Selling of Seed Potatoes and Sunflower Seeds for the Show

Please come and

support us!

 

E-MAIL FROM PLYMOUTH

Thank you for the Christmas edition of the Newsletter - always of great interest. 

My family came down from London in 1937. I did not have a local accent, so had few friends. The owners of The Lodge were also from London and I was allowed to play with their little boy - I was four at the time.   In the main room was an odd shaped oblong wooden box. It was about 14 inches square and stood about two and a half feet tall. It had a glass front about 12 inches square. I asked what it was, and was told it was a television.  

"What does it do?" I asked. The reply, "It shows pictures, like the cinema."

"Can I see it working?" I asked.

Probably the first television in Berrynarbor, but it didn't work!

With reference to The Lodge pictured in the December issue, Percy Norman had the Kingston Garage in Combe Martin, with a dance hall over the garage. My father was the workshop foreman, and my mother was the secretary.

I am fairly sure from the vague outline of the rear of the car on the left, that it is a 1932, 1172 cc side valve Ford that later became the 'Prefect'. The car next to it is, I think, a 1935 Standard with a 1609cc,

4 cylinder side valve engine. Designed in 1939, but not brought into production until 1945 to 1948, that would equate with the possible date of the photograph.  I think the third one on the right is a dear old Morris, the forerunner of the famous series 'E' about 1933.

Geoff Dorking 

 

 

MOVERS & SHAKERS NO. 61

 

JOHN GAY

Poet and Dramatist

30 June 1685 - 4 December 1732


I'm starting the New Year with a tribute to a celebrated son of Barnstaple who made his mark with well-known writers of the day and the British aristocracy - John Gay.

He was born in Barnstaple, in a property on the corner of Joy Street and High Street, one of five children of William and Katherine [nee Hanmer]. The Gay family had been in the area for several centuries, but his father's occupation isn't known. Apparently he had only a modest income. He died on John's 10th birthday, and as his wife had died the previous year, the five orphans were taken into care by two uncles. John attended Barnstaple Grammar School, housed in the stone built 14th century St. Anne's Chapel, where he was taught firstly by a classical scholar and then by an arts-loving cleric. He didn't have the opportunity to go on to university, but instead his uncles decided he should learn a trade, so he was apprenticed to a silk merchant in London. Here after a short time, "being weary" according to Dr Johnson, "of either the restraint or the servility of his occupation" he persuaded his master to release him. He then returned to his uncle, Rev John Hanmer, the Nonconformist minister of Barnstaple, depressed and claiming ill health. A year later, his uncle died and John set off again for London.

This time he linked up with a former school friend, another orphan, who had gone later to Westminster School and had now started a journal, the British Apollo. This was 1708, the first year John had a poem, Wine, published which started him on a lifetime friendship with Alexander Pope, three years his junior, and later with Jonathan Swift.

Little is known of the following few years except that he studied music with George Frideric Handel and his love of music was included in some of his plays. Then in Rural Sport published in 1713 he bemoans the years wasted in attending courtiers who were profuse in their promises which were never kept. For a brief time he became secretary to the Duchess of Monmouth and throughout he continued writing drama and poetry.

In 1714 he was appointed secretary to the British Ambassador in Hanover through the influence of Jonathan Swift. Three months later Queen Ann died and the Elector of Hanover became our George l. Gay was then recalled, with no hope of future official employment.

Luckily he made friends with some members of high society, who helped support him. Two of these were the Duke and Duchess of Queensbury, whom he had met when working for the Duchess of Monmouth. The

Duchess became his most important patron until his death. He continued to write numerous poems, plays and ballad operas and had numerous other patrons. Most of his works were well received, but a comedy Three Hours after Marriage was declared grossly indecent without being amusing and was a complete failure.

In 1720 he made a bad financial decision to invest his all in South Sea stock. Pope and other friends advised against it, and he lost a lot of money when it crashed [the South Sea Bubble]. It is said that he was always spoilt, but again his friends and patrons supported him.

His most famous work was The Beggar's Opera, a lyrical drama set to the tunes of popular songs, dances and ballads, and still performed to this day. You can even find it on YouTube - and in Barnstaple Heritage Centre*. It caricatured Sir Robert Walpole and was disguised as a satire on society, John Gay making it clear that his characters' moral codes were a reflection on the corruption of the governing class. Many scholars believe that it led to the successful operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Certainly, Gay made a lot of money from this opera, the plot of which, if you don't know it, follows the love life of Macheath, a highwayman, and Polly Peachum. Her father, a criminal and receiver of stolen goods, tries to rescue his daughter by betraying Macheath. In jail, Macheath finds himself torn between Polly and Lucy, the jailer's daughter, both of whom feel they have a claim on him . . . and so on. It was a great success and was said to have made "Rich gay and Gay rich". [Rich was the manager of the Theatre Royal in Lincoln's Inn where the Beggar's Opera was first performed on 28th January 1728.] Even in the 18th century, the consequent merchandising raised further cash; Gay's songs were reproduced on snuffboxes and fans and scenes were painted on screens. Hogarth also painted six versions of one scene in Act lll.

Gay tried very hard to gain favour at court, but was only offered a post of gentleman-usher to Princess Louisa who was still a child. He refused saying that he was too old.

A sequel to the Beggar's Opera was Polly but this was regarded as too salacious by the Lord Chamberlain. This proved an excellent advertisement, for Polly was then published by subscription and brought Gay more than £1,000. [Later, his two sisters inherited over £6,000 from two posthumous pieces, The Distressed Wife [1743] a comedy and The Rehearsal at Goatham [1754] a farce.

Over his later years, John Gay became very obese. To accommodate his size, there is a replica of a mahogany and leather chair said to be his [the original is in the V & A] on the first floor of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. I was privileged to be shown its workings. Sitting on it in reverse, one can swing outside pieces from under the arms for pens etc. and lift up the back as a writing desk. There is a drawer under the seat for books or papers and a concealed drawer behind. Also, on the museum's ground floor, is a piece of wood from the parish church on which John Gay scratched his signature.


He died on 4th December 1732 at the age of 47 in Burlington House, the town house of the Duke of Queensbury. His doctor diagnosed an inflammation and 'mortification of the bowels'.

He never married, and although he had several women friends, none of them were serious. He was buried in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey with bearers including an Earl, a General and the ever-faithful Alexander Pope as pallbearers. As Lois Lamplugh writes in her Barnstaple Heritage Booklet on John Gay, it was "an impressive funeral for the Barnstaple boy who had been a mercer's apprentice". On his tomb is his mocking inscription from The Beggar's Opera "Life is a Jest and all Things show it: I thought so once and now I know it". His friends the Queensberry's commissioned an elaborate monument with a tribute by Pope that was installed in Poet's Corner. You won't find it there now. In 1939 medieval wall paintings were discovered behind the monument, so it was moved to the obscurity of the triforium**.

* The Heritage Centre has an interesting display about Gay and the Beggars' Opera, but you will need to be quick to see it. Sadly the Centre is closing for good at the end of March. Until then, you can see the exhibition for free instead of the usual fee of £4.

** I had to check on the triforium with Google! It is a medieval level within Westminster Abbey, 70 feet above the nave floor and built during the reign of Henry lll in the 13th century. It houses an Aladdin's Cave of Abbey treasures and plans are afoot to open it up to the public for galleries and exhibitions. It will also provide splendid views of the Abbey and outside vistas of the Houses of Parliament and surrounding London. It sounds an interesting addition for a visit to the Abbey.

My thanks for help from Sue Howson at The Barnstaple Heritage Centre and Robert Brain at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.



John Gay

1. From a picture in the Guildhall, Barnstaple.

2. Picture from the National Trust Collection at Arlington Court

 

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS - 72

I bought my partner for Christmas a complete Hetty Wainthrop Investigates on DVD. In truth it was a joint gift for I also thoroughly enjoyed the four series that were first televised in the late 1990's. In my view the storylines were a blend of the traditional and the modern. Back in the '70's I can recall detective programmes where the opening scenes revealed the perpetrator carrying out his or her sinister deed and merely left the viewer observing the private investigator's methods in unravelling the case.

Nowadays a shadow, a hand or even the camera itself acts as the impostor, in turn necessitating a close study of the proceedings in order to piece together the clues on offer. In contrast Hetty's character [played by Patricia Routledge] makes one feel as though she is solving her cases alongside her watching public. The initial scenes, played out before Hetty enters the story, seem to make it obvious who will be brought to justice; so obvious, Hetty assumes the same as you do whilst carrying out her lines of enquiry. But a twist at the end then surprises both investigator and viewer alike.

At least all three approaches bring their storylines to a conclusion. However, not all fictional narratives end this way, something that utterly frustrates me - especially if I have read an epic that has left me pondering what may have happened next. I guess I was the same as a child; and not just with books. Nothing irked me more than venturing down a narrow wooded path that disappeared into low lying vegetation, so terminating my chances of discovering the path's eventual destination. I'm not much better with paths now I am an adult. Present me with a No Entry sign and I will become frantic to know why I can't go any further.


Such was the case on a regular dog walk along what was no doubt an ancient track, similar to those I referred to in my last article. Initially lined by beeches and oaks, the track then entered woodland, privately owned I assumed, and the reason access beyond was forbidden. Oh, how I longed to climb the gate's bars and discover where that track led!


Left with no other option Chum, Teddy and I would pass through the kissing gate to our left and enter a meadow bordered by the woodland's edge, a horse's field and the southern boundary of an estate of sleepy bungalows. Our regular route took us across the grassland and then past the bungalows with frontages that looked out across the meadow.


Each day I would make a point of peering into a bay window with its now unrivalled crittall frames. There I

would see an elderly lady sat in her armchair looking out. We would wave, the dogs would stop at her gates and bring a smile to her face and she would point across to any wildlife or flowers in the meadow.

Then one day I glanced in and saw a troubled expression on her face. Rather than gently waving she was forcefully pointing an index finger. I followed its direction to a lamp post upon which I saw a notice - a planning

notice, I very quickly discovered, conveying that the road along which she lived would no longer be the estate's southern limit. For the field was to be built upon and her natural world slowly disappear in front of her eyes. No longer would she see cuckoo flowers in spring, swallows in summer and golden leaves in autumn.

The notice left me wondering if in winter she could see through the bare branches of the oaks and beeches and make out the sloping field on the other side of the track. Could she spot the sheep that wandered about seeking morsels of grass and could she detect the derelict remains of a structure built into the field's hillside a century or more before she was born? Gone without trace was the pathway to a dwelling where life once existed but had long since ceased. A construction that no doubt experienced its own beginnings of human life. Now another life form was in evidence, one that was there before the building was erected and now took advantage of the shade and protection offered by the jagged walls. Whilst wildflowers abounded at ground level, creeping ivy escalated the

cobbled vertical surfaces in a desperate attempt to blend them into their natural setting. The building's walls

know neither spring nor summer, just the changes in the weather that slowly enact their execution. Its demise

encourages wildflowers to flourish; the same flowers whose existence will be extinguished when the new houses are built upon the meadow. And therein lies their affinity. For both crumbling abode and flourishing field are making a sacrifice for the birth of new life, both wild and domesticated. Rather like another sacrifice that the Christian world recognises at this time of year.

Happy Easter.

Steve McCarthy



Illustrations by Paul Swailes

 

EDWARD

Or as he is more affectionately known, Teddy


Readers from yesteryear may remember that through the Newsletter and for several years we adopted puppies training to be caring dogs for Canine Partners. We also had the privilege to meet Teddy and his human partner Wendy when they came to tell us about this wonderful charity and demonstrate some of the skills the dogs can acquire.

Teddy has been with Wendy since 2006 when he was only 9 weeks old since when he has played a huge role in giving her back her confidence and independence. Wendy has a rare skin condition that causes it to tear and blister at the slightest touch. Teddy is so gentle and attentive that it is actually better for him to help undress Wendy than a human carer! He also loads and unloads the washing machine, can use a cash machine and was even with her in the theatre recently when she had an operation.

Wendy's condition means that she can stop breathing at any time. At the slightest sign of this Teddy will raise the alarm and even call an ambulance for help. He has in fact saved her life. He is truly an amazing dog.

Wendy has now written a book about her life with Teddy, My Life in His Paws, which is due to be published by Hodder and Stoughton this year and released on Mothering Sunday. Look out for this book, it is sure to be a poignant and good read.

 

EASTER WISHES


With Easter falling in March this year, for my Old Berrynarbor View No. 159 I have in face chosen 2 of a Series of 3 Easter Cards. Published by Wildt & Kray, London E.C. they have been given the number 2611 and were printed in Saxony from about 1912 or earlier.

Wildt & Kray were a German company with offices in London, and began producing colour postcards as early as 1903.

These two cards show how advanced the company was at producing coloured cards and they would have been sold in their thousands at that time. Being hand tinted, the same fine dresses can appear in different colours as well as the dish of Easter eggs and most noticeable, the large one changing from green to light red.


Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage, February 2016

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 
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