Unfortunately we were away right at the
end of March and beginning of April so we cannot give the accurate rainfall
totals but they were both very dry months with a total of only 31mm [11¼"] of
rain between them. March came in like a
lamb and there was a bit of a roar at the end but it was short lived. Up to the 25th there were only 5
days when we recorded any rain at all.
The temperatures were fairly average with a maximum of 17.9 Deg C, a minimum
of -1.5 Deg C and a wind chill of -7 Deg C.
Winds were mainly light to moderate with stronger winds on the 31st getting up to 31 knots.
The first few days of April were
windier and there was some rain but then the wind dropped and after the 5th
there was only one day on which there was any recordable rain and that was only
1mm on the 13th.
Temperatures rose to a maximum of
25.3 Deg C, one of the highest temperatures that we have recorded in April, with a
minimum of 3.5 Deg C
- well up on previous Aprils. It was
also the first year that the wind chill has not dropped below freezing during
the month. The maximum wind gust was 28
knots on the 4th after which the winds were much lighter.
It is not surprising, with so
little rain, that the recorded 109.00 hours of sun in March was up by 14 hours
on the previous high for the month, and
169.76 hours in April up by at least 15 hours.
The first four months of this year have
produced 266mm [101/2"] nearly the driest we have recorded, only beaten by 217mm
[8 9/16] in 2006. Looking back through
the records, the earlier part of the year does appear to be getting drier - in
1994 we had 855mm [33¾"] in the same period, over three times more than this
MANOR HALL MATTERS
The AGM for the Hall was attended for yet another
year by Committee Members only and we were disappointed not to see any of
our ' Users', but our full Report and Accounts were presented for a second time
at the Parish Council Meeting a week later.
The key points of the AGM Report included reference
to the User Group Survey of spring 2010, and the resulting action of 3
- Additional lighting in the main hall
- Overhaul of overhead gas heaters
- Complete refurbishment of kitchen
The Accounts confirmed an income for the year of
£16K and expenditure of £13.5K but all before final payments on kitchen.
The overall conclusion was a year that had
been very satisfactory, yet still scope for more bookings, particularly
for Thursdays and weekends.
We said sincere thank you's to Jane
Vanstone and Julia Fairchild who after serving on our Committee for some nine
years each had chosen to step down.. Anna and Bill Scholes, Nora and Alan
Carter and myself were re-elected, and Geoff Adam and
Hodgen confirmed as new members at the AGM, having joined us to help since last
With up to 20 different User Groups
tapping in with varying frequencies to the facilities we offer at the Hall, it
would be hard to expect all wanting to send a representative to sit on the
Committee... but that option is always there and we should like
to see, in particular, support to represent the younger age groups.
That said, there is always the facility to
put Questions, Comments and Suggestions to the Committee either personally or
via a new Log Book which has been set up and can be found in the
Kitchen.....so, anyone can use it to record views, ideas or requests.
Our Committee Agenda for the June and July meetings
will almost certainly include planning for the Berry Revels 2011, which will be
held on Tuesday, 2nd August.
Last year's event was very successful and included a number of new
activities and games to keep everyone amused.
An important part of that success was the number of volunteers who
stepped in to help in all aspects of set-up and running things . . . like 42 in
2011 will be equally challenging, so if you have
time and are willing to help, then let anyone on the Committee know and we'll
sign you up!
add your name to the Recruitment Notice to appear in the Hall and put 2nd
August date in your diary NOW!
Trinder - Chairman
RES' FOR BIRDS
Tim D's nesting boxes for our feathered
friends ave been much sought after and orders for these 'desirable residences'
for next year are growing.
Unfortunately, Tim is running short of one essential material and this
is where you might be able to help!
Tim says that the best means of hinging
the lids is cutting up old Wellington boots, which also helps waterproof
the boxes, but he has none in stock and needs to acquire as many as he can lay
his hands on.
this is a plea for your old Wellies, not those fashionable ones please - pink
or other bright colours - just the
plain old black, navy or green.
If you can help, please drop them off
at Harpers Mill, the Shop or contact Tim on  882965/883807.
The church filled up rapidly with
parents and children for the service on Mothering Sunday. The hour flew by with the children reading
the lessons and prayers and singing a lively 'Count your Blessings'. Rev. Chris invited everyone up to the altar
for communion or a blessing. Thanks to
Sue Neale for the lovely bunches of flowers taken round at the end.
The Thursday before the school holiday
began, Class 3 were back in church to perform The Sonflower [not a misspelling]
for their parents, an allegory about the life and resurrection of Jesus. It was hard to tell who enjoyed the
afternoon most - the children or the audience!
A wonderful service was held on Easter
Day led by the Rev. George Billington.
The flowers and lit candles made the church so welcoming and the singing
was led by the choir who also sang the anthem 'Come Ye Faithful'. A truly joyous occasion.
Special dates in June will be Ascension
Day on Thursday 2nd followed by Pentecost [Whit Sunday] on the 12th. St. Peter's Day is on the 29th
June and we shall be at the lych-gate from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. for Gift
Day. Letters and envelopes will be
delivered round the village the week before and we hope you will come along for
a chat and an opportunity to meet the Rector if you have not already done so.
On Sunday 26th June there
will be an Evening Service in Berrynarbor Church at 6.30 p.m. with Christians
Together and we shall be joined by members of all the churches from Combe
Martin. This is always a happy
occasion. The collection will be for
Christian Aid and all the money collected during Christian Aid Week will be
presented. If you still have your
envelope and would like to make a donation, please hand it in at church or in
the village shop.
St. Peter's Summer Fayre will be on Tuesday,
16th August this year.
Please let us know if you would like to help in any way and items for
the various stalls and for prizes will be most welcome as always.
Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be
on Wednesdays 29th June and 27th July. Do come and join us, you will be very
Licensing of Rev. Yvonne Yates
It has been a long time since a
licensing/induction has taken place in Berrynarbor - the last would have been
the induction of Rev. Lewis in 1970. I
wonder how many people remember it.
After a great deal of preparation, the
licensing of Rev. Yvonne Yates went off well, with the church almost full and
so many dignitaries and clergy present as the rituals unfolded, including the
ringing of the bells.
The Bishop of Exeter led the service
and gave the address. Once again the
joint choir excelled and sang 'The Lord is My Shepherd' to the tune of the
'Vicar of Dibley'.
After the service we all went over to
the Manor Hall to enjoy a delicious buffet provided by the ladies of the North
Devon Team [10 churches between Countisbury and Berrynarbor]. Our sincere thanks to everyone.
Rev. Yvonne will be living in Lynton
and working across the team, supporting Rev. Chris in his ministry. We wish her well as we look forward to the
It was lovely to hear from Wendy Sio
[Fanner] from Australia following Don's picture of the village c1920. Wendy kindly e-mailed some photographs of
the primary school classes of Mrs. Cowperthwaite and Miss Richards, as well as
a photo taken from, as she says:
exact spot and at a guess I should say it was taken about 1969/70, when Lisa
[Draper], my sister Rachel, Clare [Sullivan], Melanie [Cornish], my younger
sister Jan, Ian [Pringle] and Bobby [Bowden] were all in the choir and were
allowed to climb to the top of the church tower and have a look. To me the view doesn't look that different
despite the passing of 50 or so years.'
Sadly, the quality of the e-mailed
photographs is not good but the one of the village is reproduced here with
Morning at Nethercombe
We should like to extend special thanks
to all those who came and supported our Easter Coffee Morning at home. An estimated 100 people attended in just two
hours raising an incredible £615 for the North Devon Hospice.
The warm, sunny day was a bonus,
allowing the morning to take place in the garden in a relaxed and friendly
Particular thanks go to all those who
donated cakes, plants and items for the bric-a-brac stall and, of course, the
army of volunteers without whom it would not have been possible.
Pancakes at Easter Barton
weather perfect, a great day was had by all at Easter Barton for the Pancake
Day on the 23rd of April. Many thanks
to all those who attended, bought copious pancakes, raffle tickets and thought
hard to guess the number of tadpoles in the jar.
to all those who donated raffle prizes.
We made a grand total of £215 pounds for the Berrynarbor Toddler group
which will be spent wisely. Many
Great Berrynarbor Plant Sale
again we had a very successful day thanks to all the keen gardeners of
Berrynarbor who so generously grew, tended and potted up their excess
Our reputation seems to be
spreading as parking in the village became almost impossible after 2.00pm. The
Manor Hall was full to bursting as the plants were enthusiastically snapped up.
The raffle was popular as ever and thanks to the generosity of local sponsors
the prizes were attractive and varied. The total profit for the day exceeded
£550.00. We must also thank all the
people who helped on the day from setting up stalls to taking the money, making
the tea and clearing up afterwards.
We look forward to another sale next year so please continue to keep all
your cuttings, seedlings and unwanted plants as there will always be someone
else who would like them.
a great afternoon and the final total I am able to send to the North Devon
Hospice is over £700. My thanks to all
who came and those who gave donations - it was an amazing result. Special thanks to 'the team': Alan and Issy who do so much and always with
a smile, Marion who was in the chilly position this year - hope you've thawed
out! Margaret who was the kitchen maid, and Sharon and Geoff who make the long
trips and enjoy being part of it.
Here's to next year! The Hospice
deserve all the help we can give them. Di
Michael and Jo would like to thank
everyone for supporting Mark when he ran the Marathon. Mark also says: To the kind people of Berrynarbor
A very big thank you for all
your support during the London Marathon.I managed to complete it in 5:51m, a
little slow but then I did have 'man flu' and a chest infection!With all your
help, we managed to raise approximately £1,700.Thank you for your generosity,
considering most of you will not know me; you kindly gave through mum's
you all have a healthy, happy rest of 2011.
& light, Mark xx
NINA AND BENJI
In March 1920 the gigantic Bronson Circus
visited Ilfracombe. The advance party
had already erected the big top at Brimlands and the parade made their way
through the town. There were elephants,
horses, giraffes, dogs, lions, tigers, black panthers, clowns and trapeze
artists, all accompanied by a large band,
Crowds had gathered along the main street as this was a circus of such
size and reputation never before seen in the town.
Performances were arranged for the
afternoon and evening and bookings were 'House Full'. On the afternoon of the 14th March, the show was
progressing nicely - there had been tight rope walkers and hypnotised
crocodiles who would walk to the edge of the ring and stop with their front
feet on the ring edge, controlled by their trainer. Trapeze artists flying through the air and
being caught in the most frightening manner had followed, as well as a fine
display by twelve horses with their bare back riders astride two horses as they
galloped around the ring. Dogs did
their bit, jumping through flaming hoops and dancing on their hind legs.
Whilst bars around the ring were erected
in preparation for the lion taming act, the clowns did their bit with
the usual throwing buckets of water over each other or losing their trousers
only to show the gaudiest of underpants.
Now the caged ring was ready and the lions wereput through their paces -
jumping through hoops, sitting up on their stands, laying in a row and all
rolling over together. At the end, the
trainer sat astride a lion much to the delight of the audience who cheered
loudly, before they made their way back through the barred tunnel to their
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys,"
shouted the Ringmaster, Mr. Gerry Bronson himself, dressed in a bright outfit
complete with tail coat and top hat. "I
have for you our latest act of Nina and Benji, two handsome black panthers. And here they are now."
The two panthers entered. Nina was rather fat but Benji was
trainer for these animals is Mr.
Harry Black, Mr. Black will you please show yourself."
Walking over to the door to the caged
ring, Mr. Black opened the door and stood with his back to the ring whilst
acknowledging the applause from the crowd.
Quick as a flash, both animals raced
across the ring, leaping on to Mr. Black's back and making their way straight
out through the public entrance.
and children screamed whilst the Ringmaster and Mr. Black stood aghast, rooted
to the spot. Nothing like this had ever
happened before and the circus was due to move to its new venue the next day.
panthers act was the last item on the programme and so the frightened audience
made their way, as quickly as they could, to their homes. Mr. Bronson told the Police to ask any
local farmers to shoot the panthers on sight, they were very dangerous and
likely to attack. The word was soon put
brief sightings were made and it was thought that the panthers had made their
way out in the Hillsborough or Hele direction.
we come to several days later when Mr.
Frederick Loworthy made his way along the headland at Watermouth
Harbour, known as the Warren. He had a
powerful shot gun and was looking for rabbits.
As he approached a large clump of blackberry bushes, he was suddenly
confronted by a huge, black panther.
Trembling, he pulled the trigger, but missed and the animal ran
off. "I'll get you next time," he
muttered to himself. Gingerly, he made
his way further along when he spotted it again, down by the water. Creeping closer he took careful aim.
went the gun and the panther, in fright, jumped into the water and started to
swim in the direction of Widmouth.
Quickly,Mr. Loworthy took aim and this time his shot found its target
and killed the animal, its body sinking in the water, later to be washed up on
the shore. Upon examination, the body was
found to be that of Benji and it was duly buried.
But what happened to Nina has
never been known, and it was thought that she was pregnant at the time of her
escape. Could she have lived on, giving
birth to her young and did they survive?
There are alleged reports of large,
black beasts being seen in the West Country.
Are they connected? Who knows?
Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland
Illustrated by Paul Swailes
WINDSURFING FROM BERRYNARBOR
Here in North Devon we have the finest
facilities for all sorts of water sports.
Mind you, the winds, tides and weatherare not of the kindest; nevertheless, anyone wanting to swim, surf,
row, canoe, banana boat, subaqua, kitesurf, sail or windsurf can find
locations, equipment, like-minded people and tuition fairly easily. I am a devoted windsurfer and am prepared to
introduce almost anyone to this sport.
Often people tell me that they tried it
once and either they fell off far too often and quickly became exhausted
or they sailed away into the distance and couldn't return! As a well-qualified instructor I can assure
you that it needn't be either of these situations. Probably they tried with unsuitable
equipment in poor training weather or on lumpy water.
Now, having accrued lots of boards,
sails, etc., and being retired withsome time in hand, I should be happy to
teach anyone the initial stepstowards taking up this fantastic sport. I can
match people to suitable kit and choose time and tide to best effect.
The location I use is Crow Point bay at
Braunton. This bay has clean water over
a sandy bottom and the sheltered winds are usually steady and from a suitable
direction for beginners. From now until
September, a summer wet suit and a buoyancy aid are OK, and I have a few rather
tatty items to lend if needed.
If you'd like to try it for free or are
willing to accompany children to try it, then give me a call on  889393
or call in at Briar Cottage - where the shop used to be.
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT
a dry and warm spring we have had! This
has meant that the colourful displays of daffodils, tulips and pansies have
been over in a flash and the dreaded watering had to start early. We shall be planting out the summer bedding
and taking delivery of the hanging baskets by the end of May, all in preparation
for our goal as Best Kept Village and Britain in Bloom National entrants.
have continued having litter picks and work parties at roughly five week
intervals and this has worked well.
Thank you to all those who sometimes take their lives in their hands on
the roads and thank you to Martin who collects the bags of rubbish for us.
on from the Quiz Night fundraiser in February, we have had a very successful
Coffee Morning in conjunction with the Horticultural & Craft Show
Committee. Fund raising is in full swing
and we are very grateful to the Amos-Yeo and Hart families for their generous
next two main fundraising events are the Open Gardens afternoons on 12th June
for the Village gardens and 3rd July for the Sterridge Valley. It is not too late to offer to open your
garden and we are particularly looking for new gardens [new to us that is, as
an old established garden cannot be beaten], so be bold, gardens do not have to
be immaculate just well loved, and if you don't want to open your garden come
along and have a nose at other people's and have a scrummy home baked tea at a
Blueberry Rocky Road Squares
of scrummy home bakes, here is a very quick and easy summer, no cook recipe for
when you would rather be out in the garden or on the beach!
dark chocolate chopped
[half a tin] condensed milk
pack Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
pack dried blueberries
pack mini marshmallows
a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.
Place the dark chocolate, condensed milk and butter into a large
bowl. Microwave on high for 1-11/2
minutes, stirring until everything has melted.
Beat until smooth. Stir in the
nuts, blueberries and marshmallows. Pour
the mixture in to the tin and spread evenly.
Melt the white chocolate in a
microwave for 1/2-1 min on high, and then give it a quick stir. Drizzle the white chocolate over the
mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes
until set. Cut in to squares and serve.
is thrilled to announce that she has become a great-grandmother at only
63! Isabella was born on the
25th April, safely to Emily [her granddaughter] and Daryl Payne,
weighing 7lbs 9oz. She is beautiful and
looks just like a baby!
Congratulations Wendy - far too young
to be a great-granny! Congratulations
too, to the parents and grandparents and a warm
welcome to little Isabella.
Chris and Melanie Ayres are
delighted to announce the safe arrival, even if she was in a hurry, of their
daughter Francesca Mae. Born at home
like her siblings, Francesca weighed in at 6lbs 1oz on the 13th May,
a very welcome little sister for Harry and Grace.
Our congratulations to you all and we
look forward to meeting Francesca very soon.
FIVE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD FACTS
Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people were married in June
because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good
by June. However, as they began
to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence today's custom of carrying a wedding bouquet .
Baths consisted of a big tub filled
with hot water. The man of the
house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons
and men, then the women followed by the children and last of all the
babies. By then the water was so dirty
you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, 'Don't throw the
baby out with the bath water'.
Houses had thatched roofs made with
thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get
warm, so all the cats and other small animals [and mice and bugs] lived in the
roof. When it rained it became
slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying 'It's raining cats and dogs'.
WALK - 126
In recent years there has been a
controversy involving Britain, Spain and a small chestnut coloured duck with
white cheeks and a bright blue bill.
A native of North America, the Ruddy
Duck was introduced into captive collection in the UK in the 1930's. Two escaped from the Wildfowl and Wetlands
Trust at Slimbridge in the early '50's.
Five years later, twenty more escaped until eventually the pretty duck
had successfully established itself outside Britain - including Spain, where
through hybridisation it threatened the existence of the closely related and
highly endangered White-Headed Duck.
In view of this, the European
Commission funded a cull of Ruddy Ducks to eradicate the alien species from
Europe and aid the conservation of the White-Headed Duck. Not everyone was happy with this!
A similar situation, though in reverse,
has concerned the native bluebell Endymion [or Hyacinthus] non-scriptus and the
Spanish bluebell Endymion [or Hyacinthus] hispanicus. So many of our typical spring flowers, like
the snowdrop, have their origins in the Eastern Mediterranean but Hyacinthus
non-scriptus is a true native and special to Britain.
Unfortunately, garden escapes of the
larger, paler Spanish bluebell naturalise and interbreed with our wild
bluebells possibly jeopardising their numbers in future.
To experience the shimmering colour and
fragrance of a bluebell wood in May, we went to the RSPB reserve, Chapel Wood
There, between the trees, the racemes
of flowers, arranged on one side of the stem and drooping at the tip, ebbed and
flowed with the breeze.
The Spanish variety is more erect and
does not have the flowers confined to one side of the spike. Another distinguishing feature - our
Hyacinthus non-scriptus has cream anthers whereas Hyacinthushispanicus has blue
As we reached the top of the hill the
blue became more intense with the flowers more closely packed together and less
greenery and stitchwort between to dilute the colour. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called the
patches of bluebells 'falls of sky colour'.
On the western side of the wood we were
pleased to find that the steep path had been much improved, making the descent
feel a lot safer. The work had been
carried out by Western Power apprentices as a community project. Halfway down, a sturdy bench provided a good
place to stop and watch woodpeckers, nuthatches and assorted warblers.
Near the site of the ancient chapel
some children were absorbed in woodcraft related activities, laid on by the
RSPB for the Bank Holiday.
Once we had arrived at Chapel Wood as a
couple of visitors from California were leaving. Although the bluebells were just past their
best, the Americans were enthralled.
They had not seen anything like it.
The nature writer, Richard Mabey,
describes bluebell woods as 'a uniquely British spectacle'.
THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Summer is here and things are getting
Our Year 6 pupils took their SATs last
week and are now focusing on getting ready for the move to secondary
school. They really are a lovely bunch
of children and we are very proud of the supportive group of young people in to
which they have grown. It will be a
tearful goodbye to them at the leavers' service on the 22nd July,
but just to make sure that they go out with a bang they have requested a Year 6
versus staff rounders match at the end of term which some of us are looking
forward to more than others!
Both Class 3 and Class 4 children will
be going on a residential in the next month or so. Class 4 are off to Plymouth for 5 days and
Class 3 will be staying at Beam House near Torrington for 3 days. The children are very excited and I am sure
they will have a lovely time.
Residential trips are hard work for staff but we look forward to see the
children grow in confidence as they try new experiences, overcome fears and
You might have seen in the newspaper that
we are considering federating with West Down Primary School. We have held a series of information
meetings for parents which have been well attended. The Governors of both schools make the final
decision on 27th May. If the
Federation goes ahead it will begin in September and we shall form one
Governing Body to manage both schools.
I consider federation with West Down a good move for Berrynarbor School;
it would enable us to work more closely together sharing resources, expertise
and costs and would put us in a stronger position for the future. We'll let you know the final decisions on
the matter through the Newsletter in due course.
We are hoping to stimulate our parents
this term by inviting them to attend an Inspire Day with their children. The parents will come to school with their
child for the morning, be able to observe them learning and then work with
their child on a task set by the teacher.
The idea came from another school in Somerset where two of our pupils
attended before moving to Devon. I was
lucky enough to watch an Inspire Day in progress and saw how much both the
parents and children got out of the morning and so thought we'd give it a go.
Class 1 have been learning about famous
people and some of their pictures are displayed here.
This year we shall be holding our School
Fete earlier on Friday,
June, the Manor Hall at 6.30 p.m. An
annual event and one not to be missed!
Everyone is welcome.
FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
Tuesday 12th April saw the
last meeting of the previous term of the Parish Council, both at the Annual
Meeting at which Reports were received from the Police, County and District
Councillors, the Chairman, Footpath Warden, Claude's Garden and the Clerk
presented the Accounts for the year to 31st March 2011.
At last the long drawn out issue of the
play equipment in the Play Area has come to an end and apologies received from
the supplying company.
Thanks for their input during their
time in office were given to retiring Councillors Richard Gingell, Paul
Crockett and Angel Boyd. With only four
of the nine seats available on the Parish Council filled, no election took
The first meeting of the newly elected
Councillors took place on the 10th May when Sue Sussex was elected
Chairman, David Richards Vice-Chairman and Councillors Lorna Bowden and Clive
Richards. There are currently five
remaining places to be filled by co-option.
If you are interested, please send a letter or e-mail the Parish Clerk,
Sue Squire, by the 11th June.
A report was given by Colin Trinder on
behalf of the Manor Hall Management Committee and the Accounts for the year
ended 31st March were approved and approval given for the Annual
Return to be completed.
Squire - Parish Clerk
[01598 710526] email@example.com
Threeways, Bratton Fleming, Barnstaple, EX332 4TG
SEVERN BORE - A NATURAL WONDER
The Severn Bore is one of the most
well-known and strangest natural phenomenon that occurs in Britain, and earlier
this year Pat and I went to view it at close quarters - a most worthwhile,
enjoyable and interesting experience.
The Bore [wave] occurs quite regularly
throughout the year on the tidal lower reaches of the River Severn below
Gloucester. Whenever the tidal range at
the river's mouth is greater than about 9 metres, a small wave effect [bore] is
triggered and moves upstream. On a few
occasions each year - coinciding with the highest spring tides - the tidal
range is over 10 metres and this is when the biggest waves are generated. This is the time that large numbers of
sightseers flock to the various viewpoints to experience the spectacular Severn
Bore event, as we did.
As the wall of water surges up the
river towards Gloucester, so the initial wave gradually increases in height as
the width of the river narrows. Also an
impressive loud roar can be heard as the wave approaches your viewpoint. One of the best places to see the bore is at
Minsterworth and it is from here onwards that large numbers of surfers and
canoeists attempt to catch and ride the famous wave.
A 'must see' if you ever get the
FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP
is icumen in' . . . and the Shop is
have a superb range of bird stations and feeders - all made locally and very
reasonably priced - in fact so much so that we have packed a number of them
into visitors' cars for a long journey home.
There is a limited supply as the maker is emigrating, so if you want it,
get it!We are not sure how long the supply will last, but whilst they are
available, treat yourselves to Braunton strawberries and asparagus. The flavour is
with the promise of warm summer evenings, why not sit on the terrace with a
glass of Devon wine, our latest alcoholic addition?
is a good range of plants - both fruit and vegetables. If you've planted an excess and are happy to
donate them, the Shop would love to have them to sell. There is also a good range of plants from
Grow@Jigsaw - a horticultural project offering individuals a variety of
opportunities in training and work experience through growing.
Day [we know, it's an American celebration, but if it makes Dad feel happier,
why not] is on June 19th - and we have a range of cards for this
forget that for the rest of the summer, our shop is open until 5.30 p.m. It might be that extra half hour that gives
you time to buy a bottle of Devon wine to go with asparagus and strawberries -
perhaps for Father's Day!
shopping. PP of DC
PARTNERS - OUR ADOPTED PUPPIES
We seem to have been rather unlucky
with our puppies lately, like Pebbles, Polo too has failed his training and has
been withdrawn from the scheme.
Although he had a lot of positive traits and a lovely cheeky
personality, it was felt he would be better placed with someone with a
disability and limited mobility and he has happily now been rehomed.
So now we have a new little bitch
puppy, Amelia, a cream Labradoodle who is currently living with her volunteer
puppy parents and starting to learn the skills she will need as a canine
partner and proudly wearing her purple jacket.
However, our original golden Labrador
Ruby is doing well and has now progressed to the advanced training and clocked
up a record - she learnt to open a washing machine in just one day! Her weakness - a love of balls and a
slobbery one had to be paid for after she had sneaked it off a shelf full
whilst out shopping!
Partners are running a new scheme whereby rather than follow puppies only
through their training, supporters will now be able to follow their dogs right
through their working life alongside their human partner.
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
pre-Easter and pre-'that wedding' meeting saw us 'journey' to South
America. Thankfully, our enthusiastic
Secretary, Tony Summers, had travelled miles . . . all the way to Barnstaple's
Majestic Wine Warehouse to purchase his liquid presentation. Majestic wine tastings are possible, but
Tony decided upon a 'blind buy.' The
presenter and the tasters were pleasantly surprised by most!
is made all over South America, vines were planted in Peru in the 16th
century, but Chile and Argentina are the only countries currently producing
sufficient quantities for foreign markets to obtain easily. Argentina is the continent's largest wine
producer and ranked fifth in the world.
'Quantity' may be the accolade for this country, but it is its
neighbour, Chile, described by the trade as a 'viticultural paradise' that wins
the 'most meritorious award'.
Chilean whites began the proceedings: a Gewürztraminer, a Chardonnay and a
Sauvignon Blanc. Gewürz means 'spicy'. This certainly wasn't, but it wasfruity and
happened to be the cheapest wine of the evening, at £7.49. Many agreed that it would be perfect with
fish, a light lunch or in the garden with sunshine!
label wording can include 'AOC' or 'Appellation d'OrigineContrôlee'. For a wine to bear this it has complied with
certain tasting characteristics and will have been made in strict geographical
limits. Unfortunately, perhaps, it has
also come to mean 'Anything Other than Chardonnay'! You either love it or hate it; it didn't
suit many palates and this was the dearest at £10.99.
had produced two of our reds: a Bonarda and a Malbec. The latter was our last, which delighted
many, even though it was the dearest of the evening at £12.99.
AGM's induce groans, but 'Mr Chairman', Alex Parke, delivered the necessary in
his annual speedy and efficient manner and introduced our final speaker for
this season: Jan Tonkin. May meetings seem to be synonymous with Jan
and his winter holidays: May 2010 was 'South African Wines', but the
expectation of 'Wines from Sri Lanka' was intriguing. The Circle was amused by the projection
screen as it revealed a blank list!
Where to now? Our answer: 'Wines
from . . . Where?'
zigzagged across the world accompanied by faces and places associated with
Romania, India, Tasmania, Canada, Lebanon and Mexico. There was a 'fruity, fresh and crisp'
beginning supplied by the Pinot Grigio from Romania, retailing at £4.79. An Indian Sauvignon Blanc, a rose
predominantly Pinot Noir from Tasmania, another Pinot Noir from Canada, a 'Cab
Sav' from Lebanon and a Mexican Petite Sirah followed. Others prices ranged between £6.99 and
had even managed to find his name on a label . . . well almost. 'Jansz' Tasmanian bubbling pink creation was
appreciated and one of two supplied by Oddbins.
Many members seemed to agree that the Lebanese red was a delicious find. It was one of four provided by Elixir
Wines. A commercial note: Oddbins went
into administration last month, but Jan's orders arrived as promised. Elixir Wines is a London-based wholesaler but
it will deliver to any address in the UK.
season has finished; however, we restart in October. That meeting will be another Majestic 'moment'
as Barnstaple's Manager,
Paul Firmin, will be our first
presenter for 2011-2012. If you enjoy a
glass or two, we shall be pleased to see new faces. Judith Adam Promotional Co-ordinator
PRESENTS FOR HAITI.
have been a number of times I've organised collections for people overseas who
have suffered natural disasters, but never before had the honour and privilege
of actually deliveringthe donated items to the affected country - until now.
Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean'sOasis of the Seas was booked before the
earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 and I was surprised that the cruise
line would be calling at the devastated Island.
The ships never stopped going there as they were a lifeline, delivering
much needed food, aid and other supplies.
wrote to Royal Caribbean a few months before we were due to sail and said I
should like to take some things for the children. They replied explaining that
they lease land from the Haitian Government on which they had recently built a
school. They were very pleased of my
offer to help and suggested coloured pencils and other school items and, if
possible, tee-shirts and shorts for the children.
Sunday 2nd January, the sermon was about 'Those who Have and Those who do Not',
and I took the opportunity to mention that if anyone would care to give
anything, we could put it in our cases.
soon became clear that our suitcases with our holiday clothes in were not going
to be big enough - people were very generous in giving children's clothes,
pencils, wax crayons and colouring pencils.
So I bought one of those large 'market trader' style hardwearing bags
and by the time we went it was full of all the items requested and more
besides. Our local Primary School had
also kindly donated items as well as schools where I am Clerk to the Governing
Body. Parkham School sent a padded bag
full of sharpeners after I mentioned to the Administrator what I was doing.
also contacted British Airways and asked if the excess baggage fee of £40 could
be waived, explaining what the bag would contain and who it was for. They agreed as it came under the criteria of
the Charitable Policy.
as Terry was doing up the zip of the bag, ready to carry out to the car before
we set off, the zip broke! So, before
we checked in the bags at Heathrow we had to go to Wickes and get some
duck-tape to wrap around and to make absolutely sure that the contents would be
safe, I had it cling wrapped at the airport!
The only trouble was that the person who did it didn't allow for the
handles to be poking out, so we ended up with one large, slippery and difficult
to handle lump. Still, that wasn't our
problem but I don't suppose the baggage handlers were very impressed.
Caribbean had asked me to make myself known to Guest Services to hand over the
parcel and when I did this, I was told the arrangements had changed and that I
was required to meet Customs and Immigration Officials as they boarded the Ship
at 07.00 the next morning. Previous to
this, I had noticed in one of the ship's shops, a wheeled trolley
with elasticated straps - ideal I
thought for moving the parcel and also for future use. Little did I know then just how useful it
morning we waited on Deck 2 to be seen by Customs with a list of the items in
the bag. They didn't want to see us, but
kept the list and asked us to deliver the bag to the Site Manager, which meant
we were the first passengers off the ship after it had docked. This was where the wheeled trolley came in
very handy because if Terry had had to carry the bag all along the dock to the
Site Manager's Office, he wouldn't have been fit for anything for the rest of
the day - it was quite a long way!
Site Manager had not arrived so we were introduced to a Security Person and I
explained the story. It would be true
to say that she was stunned and bemused and it was perfectly evident that this
had never happened before. She
gratefully accepted the bag and we walked back to the ship feeling elated that
at last, after 5,000 miles the precious parcel had reached its
destination. Having been first off the
ship, we were first back on at 7.30 a.m.
The Security man said, "You're back early", and I explained what we had
just done. He said, "Oh, it's you." So the story must have gone around a bit..
should like to take this opportunity of sincerely thanking everyone who gave
items to help fill the bag. You can be
sure that every single thing is being put to very good use. We were told afterwards by a person who lives
on the Island, who helps with the Shore Excursions, that even the smallest
thing given to the Islanders means so much, so you can imagine the pleasure
that all of us from this corner of England have brought to the people who have
suffered so much over the last months.
For their Monday get together on the 9th
May, the 'Stitch and Bitch' group visited Downes House and the Eggesford Garden
It was a showery April day in May, so
typical of English weather! We were
driven by Mark, an amiable young chap in his minibus. First stop, Eggesford Garden Centre, smaller
and less commercial than those around Barnstaple, but with a good selection of
plants which Mark later stowed for us in the back of his bus. Our leisurely tour of the premises began
with a drink in the restaurant and terminated with a good lunch. I can recommend the quiche which came as a
large, tasty slice!
In the afternoon we progressed to Downes
House, the family home of the Parker-Buller family, where Andrew our guide, a
retired military gentleman, explained the history of the house and spoke most
enthusiastically of its famous General Sir RedversBuller to an audience of
crafty ladies of an uncertain age, some of whom admitted to never having heard
of this famous occupant. Andrew's
enthusiasm did carry the story well and the house was architecturally
interested - a loved family home.
Best of all we had each other for
company and it only rained whenever we were indoors.
Before You Leap
The graceful impala, a member of the
African antelope family, can teach us a lot about treading carefully.
They have been known to jump distances
of eleven metres, and can leap to a height of over three metres, yet when
placed in a zoo enclosure, surrounded by a low wall, they will never jump over
There is a very simple reason for
this. These beautiful creatures simply
will not make a move if they cannot see where their feet will land. This way they will not find themselves on
This is something we should, perhaps
remember the next time we are tempted to leap before we look.
On 1st January 1842, a Cornish
engineer, Michael Loam [1798-1871], gave a successful demonstration of the
world's first lift. He called it a Man
Engine, and it was installed at the Tresavean Mine in Gwennap, near
Redruth. It was powered by a waterwheel
and reached a depth of 150 feet. When
it proved effective, it was extended to 1000 feet.
Loam had invented the Man Engine in an
effort to relieve miners of the back-breaking climb to and from the work
face. Some mines were over 2000 feet
deep. The basic design involved a
series of stepped wooden rods which moved up and down between a succession of
platforms, which were fitted to the mine shaft wall. The miner would step off a platform on to a
rod, step off that on to the next platform and wait for the next rod. It was slow, but relatively safe, and much
less exhausting than climbing a ladder.
in the Life Boats
Voltaire, the French writer and
philosopher, who was born in 1694, was a witty but ruthless critic of the
corrupt ruling powers of his era, and refused to ignore injustice. Because of that he offended the authorities,
and his views landed him in periods of imprisonment and exile.
His was a turbulent existence, and he
once described life as 'a shipwreck'.
Voltaire, however, added one further comment by saying, "Nevertheless,
we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats."
We could all do with a shipmate like
There be Music
Here are two sayings about the power of
music in our lives.
David Thoreau wrote:
hear music, I fear no danger. I am
invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest of times, and to
earlier, Plato had this to say:Music
gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imaginations and
life to everything.
CALLING! SEEKING JEAN & MARGARET
Dave Letch, from New South Wales, is
seeking the help of Berrynarbor folk to find Jean and Margaret Anderson. Can you help?
Sisters Jean and Margaret and their
parents moved from Wood Green, London, to Berrynarbor in the late 1960's,
1968/9, when they were about 38-40 years old.
Where they lived is not known, nor when they left the village. The sisters were Godmothers to Dave and his
sister Ann and after they and their parents emigrated to Australia in 1966,
contact with the Andersons over the years was lost.
Dave says Jean and Margaret never
married, were both skilled knitters and into crafts. They were keen walkers, loved to travel and
made many home movies . . . and that is all the information we have to go on.
Were they perhaps WI members or members
of the Church? Can anyone remember
them? If you do, please give Judie a
ring on 883544 so that any information can be passed on to Dave and his mother.
Dave says that he writes occasionally
for his village, so from village to village he has sent the following article
when he interviewed Miriam Margolyes, who lives close by:
"Despite our best efforts to sit in the
same space, my 'flu put paid to our final plan. "I'm flying out tomorrow!" she said. "I'm turning into a bowl of chicken soup!" I
So we go cyber. Embrace the technology and, almost Harry
Potter-ish, there we are, communication magically provided by Skype. How good is this?
Miriam Margolyes is unique. A glorious, owlish face of terrific
sensitivity and joy and a voice with the purr of a kitten.
Here is an actress of command and
disguise. She slides into the skin of
her characters and gives them her signature breath. Her phenomenally successful 'Dicken's Women'
is soon to open in London's West End and her home in Robertson is her
Miriam is well known for her candour,
but possibly less so for her background - such is the chameleon she is.
As a great fan of Black Adder, I
remember seeing 'Her again!' as the endlessly randy Spanish Infanta with a
killer lewd look, matching Rowan Atkinson frame for frame with her face of
rubber. "Who IS that woman?" I remember
saying as I'd seen her in so many things.
My sister supplied the answer, "Miriam Margolyes". I was in London at the time, living in
Hackney. Everyone seemed to just call
her 'Miriam'. The closest things the
Brits have to a living national treasure, Miriam also does phenomenal good
works. Something many wouldn't know is
her fame as a voice artist: from Doctor Who to Babe, from Happy Feet to the
Miriam connects to people. She is outspoken, unashamedly outrageous and
Her politics are focussed and she has
been attacked for being anti-semitic.
MM, as she signs herself and as how I
now think of her, is important. She
laughs often and makes you determined to grab life by the throat."
With events in Libya dominating the
news it stirs my memory of times past.
I spent two years in the Libyan Desert in a tented camp in 1956-58. We were about ten miles from Tripoli, the
capital city of Libya.
I very quickly purchased a 500cc Royal
Enfield motor cycle from an Italian dealer in Tripoli. Now the world was my oyster as the saying
However, the Tripoli police thought
otherwise and persecuted me everywhere I went, especially on the long coast
road to the borders of adjacent countries.
My favourite was the run to the Tunisian border about 40 miles.
It was on such a trip I had a most
extraordinary adventure. Basically when
approaching the last Arab village before the border with Tunisia, I was
suddenly forced to stop by a crowd of Arabs in the road. Nothing new to me, but this lot wanted me to
go with them to their village.
It was a scary situation until this
particular Arab, in half Western style clothing, spoke to me in English. I quote:
"I have motor bike, you look yes!"
How could I refuse? Suffice for me to say that his motor cycle
was an old German N.S.U. from the 1939-45 War.
A heap of rust and parts missing, including the magneto.
However, experience dealing with Arabs
had taught me you don't lose face, so you go through the motions of examining
it and give some sort of answer to the problem, i.e. needs an electrician to
solve the problem.
I eventually left with the whole
village out to see me off.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 33
ROSALIE CAROLINE CHICHESTER
The Last Owner of Arlington Court
despair, gentlemen, your time will come again!
But after writing about Octavia Hill [Movers and Shakers 32] it seems
appropriate to follow up with Miss Rosalie Chichester, the last owner of
Arlington Court: a friend of Canon Rawnsley, one of the three founders of the
you have visited this house recently you will no doubt know that Miss
Chichester was an avid collector: seashells, pewter, china, stamps, jade, model
ships, stuffed animals [a picture hanging in the hall shows a stuffed
kangaroo!] to mention a few. Indeed her
last collection, which hadn't all arrived at her death, was a collection of
models of the Dunkirk boats. But it is
her many other skills that are also noteworthy.
in 1865, she was the only child of Sir Alexander Palmer Bruce, known as Sir
Bruce, and Lady Rosalie Amelia Chichester.
He had inherited the estate at the age of nine and died of brucellosis
just short of his 39th birthday, having lived an extravagant life and leaving
was just 16 when she became his heiress.
At that time it was unheard of for two women to manage finances so two
years later, her mother married for convenience a distant relative of her late
husband,Sir Arthur Chichester of Youlston in Shirwell. They never lived
together, but it gave mother and daughter credibility to run the estate.
one of the frequent questions asked at Arlington is: "Was Sir Francis
Chichester, the round-the-world-yachtsman, a relative?" Yes, distantly and by that marriage - he was
the grandson of Sir Arthur, but more of that in a later story!
estate covered many acres of tenanted farmland plus large areas around
Woolacombe where, in this small community, Rosalie and her mother ran a
clothing club to provide clothing for the underprivileged. After her mother's
death in 1908, and being friendly with Canon Rawnsley, one of the three
founders of the National Trust, she passed over some of the Woolacombe land to
them, keeping Parade House as a retreat.
This was a favourite house and where she spent her final days. For those interested, the house is for sale
at the moment! The family had also
owned other parts of North Devon and land in Wales and London.
Chichester looked after her staff very well and when she had paid off the last
of the mortgages on the estate in 1928, according to a trusted and loyal member
of staff: "We were given a great treat
and sent to one of the shows at Barnstaple which were put on each year by the Operatic
Company". Her tenant farmers and their
families, the source of much of her income, were also well treated.
was perhaps no beauty, but tall and very striking in appearance. Perhaps it is
no surprise she never married as at a suitable age she was no catch, having
serious financial difficulties, but she made up for this with her many
interests and hobbies.
her mother died she advertised in The Lady for a paid companion, and Clara
Elizabeth Peters [ known as Chrissie] was engaged. They were compatible and
shared the next 30 years together. Both enjoyed painting and many of their
works are on display at the Court.
talent was there from an early age: The current Explorer Room - a 'touchy
feely' area - has sketches by her as a young girl. She also kept a diary and an excerpt in the
latest guidebook tells in detail of a violent storm whilst cruising with her
father at the age of 12. In later
years, although writing a host of unpublished romantic novels, she contributed
regularly to the Daily Sketch.
two ladies enjoyed travelling and in 1921 went around the world by courtesy of
Thomas Cook, calling at Australia and New Zealand, no mean thing for two women
travelling alone! From this venture, she came back with the idea of a Wildlife
Park for Arlington. There are still Jacob's sheep and Shetland ponies from the
doubt Miss Chichester could enjoy a further skill on her travels:
photography. She developed and printed
her work in a basement darkroom at Arlington, and won awards including several
from The Practical Photographer.
one thing she and Chrissie didn't agree on, however, was choice of music. To Miss Chichester, brass bands were true
music. Chrissie was an accomplished
pianist - but her boss did not tolerate this!
So when Miss Chichester went out, Chrissie would tinkle the ivories to
the delight of the staff who would gather round to listen! She was on the local Conscription Panel for
World War I and gave away her political stance by being a member of the Primrose
League for over 40 years. The latter was
founded when she was 18 and was dedicated to spreading Conservative principles
no longer there, an observatory was built in the garden where she spent many
happy hours following her interest in astronomy. Thepeacocks were allowed in the house and
Polly, her parrot, now buried in the grounds at the front of the house, flew
freely there for 40 years.
are also two inventions she had patented: "A new or improved Device for Stitching
or securing together pieces of flexible and other Material" and "An Improved
Fastener for Windows" - both quite detailed engineering ideas. Then there was
her woodcarving - a bookstand and photograph frame are still on view.
the 1930's she decided to gift the house, contents and some 3,500 acre of land
to the National Trust. It had been her
family's home for many centuries and she didn't want the house or grounds
developed or broken up.
For the final ten years of her life after
Chrissie's death in 1939, her life became very lonely. Chrissie is buried in the church under her
true name: Clara Elizabeth Peters; Miss
Chichester's ashes lie in a memorial urn overlooking the lake, one of her
is difficult to give all the details of this remarkable lady, a woman ahead of
her time, in a small space, but if it has encouraged you to pay your first or
another visit to her lovely home, it will have achieved something.
PP of DC
My grateful thanks to Dave Gibbons [House Steward at Arlington Court]
for checking facts, and to our Ed for giving many of them in the first place!
& CRAFT SHOW
Firstly we should like to thank
everyone for supporting the Coffee Morning which has raised valuable funds for
the Show and Britain in Bloom.
Secondly, we hope you all enjoyed our fun quiz and would like to
congratulate Michelle and Carol who were the first names pulled out of the hat
on the day. A special well done to the
3 teams who scored a perfect 20: Pip and
Tony Summers, C. Burbridge and Keith, Gill and Pam. Well done to everyone who entered and we
hope you all enjoyed your Easter Eggs.
Schedules for the Show will be
available from the Shop, Sue's of Combe Martin and The Globe and Sawmill Inn,
from the beginning of July, so make a point of looking out for them and
organising your entries.
We look forward to seeing you all at
the Show on the 20th August.
and the Committee
BERRYNARBOR NO. 131
These two relatively modern, c1969-70,
coloured postcards were published by Harvey Barton of Bristol and show how
Watermouth harbour looked around this period of time.
In the first, numbered B33C -
incidentally incorrectly entitled Watermouth Cove - we see mainly small
dinghies moored. The many tracks of
cars and trailers from where further small dinghies have been launched for the
day or a few hours can also be seen.
The Martello Tower/Dovecote stands out proudly near the centre of the
picture and in the field on the extreme right freshly mown hay is drying
off. Note the larger sailing boat
moored up as this also appears in the second postcard.
The second, B33D, has been taken from
the south is an unusual but attractive view looking towards the cove and
beyond. The wall on the left has been
extended and inside this barrier the moorings are very safe, even in
I imagine that several people involved
with Watermouth Harbour over the last half century would not only be able to
name the sailing boat on the right, but would know to whom it belonged.
It is interesting to note the remark on
the first postcard which says: 'We camped here', obviously referring to the
well maintained Lydford Camp site belonging to John and Jenny Barten, the views
from which must be some of the most spectacular in all Devon.
If anyone can give me further
information about the sailing boat, I should be very grateful to hear from you.
Tower Cottage, May 2011
A reminder that
here in the village we have our own Pilates class. This gentle, and it must be emphasised
gentle, but effective way of toning your body, improving your posture and all
round fitness for any age [18 to 80!], takes place on Wednesday mornings at the
Manor Hall at 9.00 a.m. Under the
direction of highly qualified leader, Valerie, participants work at their own
levels of ability and mobility, and no one is 'pushed' to compete with their
possibly more sprightly classmate.
Why not join this group? . . . it is to
your benefit!So, if you've always thought it would be too energetic for you, do
come along just to watch and see how gentle and effective it really is and if
you decide to join the group, all you need is comfortable footwear and loose
Let's be seeing YOU!
FIVE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD FACTS
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house. This posed a real problem
in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean
bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a
sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
existence. The floor was rough and
dirt. Only the wealthy had something
other than dirt so hence the saying, 'dirt poor'.
The wealthy had slate floors that
got slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh [straw] on
floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you
opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the
entranceway. This is where the saying
'thresh hold' originated.
In those old days, they cooked in the
kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things
to the pot, mostly vegetables, they did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving
leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over again the
next day. Sometimes the stew had food
in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, ' Peas porridge hot, peas
porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old'.
Occasionally they obtained pork, which made them feel
quite special. and when visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to
show off. It was a sign of wealth that
a man could, ' bring home the bacon'.
They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit
around and 'chew the fat'.
Those with money had plates made of
pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and
death. This happened most often with
tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered
poisonous. Bread was divided according
to status. Workers got the burnt bottom
of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the
Lead cups were used to drink ale or
whisky. The combination
would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would
take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table
for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and
wait to see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of holding a wake.
England is small and its history
long and local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and take the
bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 were found to have scratch
marks on the inside and they realised they had been burying people alive. So they tied a string on the wrist
of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground where it
was attached to a bell. Someone would
have to sit out in the graveyard all night [the graveyard shift] to listen
for the bell. Thus, someone could be,
'saved by the bell' or was considered a 'dead ringer'.
Whoever said history was boring!