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No. 184 - February 2020 11-02-2020

 

MEMORIES

Post-Christmas Positivity

When Christmas is over and the decorations cast aside

Hold onto the memories; the joy that cannot be denied.

The time spent with family sitting altogether

Partying with friends certainly brought much pleasure.

Wreath-making, the Sterridge lights, carol singing too,

Our first Christmas in Berrynarbor, a happy time with you.

 

There's lots to be thankful for as the festive season reaches its end.

For health and happiness and each and every friend.

Goodbye Christmas with chocolate gifts and flowers

I'm ready to welcome spring with more Devonshire showers.

Living here, in Berrynarbor, a truly wonderful place

Has certainly brought an enormous smile to my face.

 

I'm told that very soon, snowdrops and daffodils will appear.

Reminding us that winter will finish and spring will soon be here.

I am sure the next season, in our village, will be a very special one

A wonderful setting to continue having fun.

Our happy memories will never change or Disappear

We can just add to them from year to year.

Pam

 

REMEMBERING DAD

Adam's Tribute to his Father, Gordon Stanbury,

given at his Funeral at Christchurch, Braunton

Thank you, everyone, for coming to Christchurch today to help us celebrate Dad's life. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and farmer.

Born Albert Gordon Stanbury on the 5th September 1943, he was the son of Bruce and Molly and older brother to Eileen. He started his life at Hempster Farm, Berrynarbor. Dad, like Auntie Eileen, was born prematurely - weighing just 3lbs and 4oz. Who would have thought that he could have been so small? He certainly made up for it in later life! Having moved from Hempster via Muddiford and Berrynarbor, the family moved to their brand-new farmstead at Stapleton in 1951.

Eileen remembers a very happy childhood with Dad. He was the protective big brother and playmate rolled into one. There was plenty of mischief to be found in the house - decorating his mum's entire bedroom with a powder puff, fine tuning the design of his sister's pram by removing all the nuts and bolts until it collapsed, and investigating the inner workings of Eileen's beautiful teddy bear who really growled - she never saw the bear again after this!

The fun didn't stop there - Dad was thrilled with a bag of nails he had received as a gift for Christmas and set to making dens, carts and all manner of things. Dad loved driving - he decided to teach Eileen, aged 5, to drive Bruce's old van - Eileen would steer and Gordon worked the gears. They soon promoted themselves to Bruce's lorry, taking it for a spin, unfortunately a hedge happened to appear out of nowhere and got them into big trouble with their dad. This fascination with machinery continued and especially with Massey Ferguson tractors - even naming his dog Fergie much later in life.

Dad followed his father everywhere - hailing the start of a lifelong, all-consuming obsession with farming. From an early age he found comics boring and preferred the Farmer's Weekly instead. He read it from cover to cover every week - a pastime he continued throughout his life. He loved the countryside and specifically land. It really bothered him when a new housing development was built on prime agricultural soil.

It may surprise you to learn that Molly decided he should have some non-farming interests. She enrolled him into ballet lessons. He gained a Commended Pass in Primary Ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance, aged 9. As a spin off to ballet dancing, Dad soon got to know all the girls in the Parish!

After primary school in Berrynarbor, he received a scholarship to study at West Buckland School. Dad worked hard and played hard whilst there. Lots of pranks ensued. They involved the upending of a caravan belonging to a teacher and wedging a car between two pillars in the school grounds. Neither he nor his friends would admit to the prank - the secret is out now Dad! He excelled at sport, in particular rugby and cricket, with an invitation to keep wicket for Somerset County Cricket Team had farming not been his vocation.

Dad was extremely strong. This came in handy in his sport although not without consequence. Once, he accidentally and literally knocked out his opposite number on the rugby pitch during a game. Furthermore, his school friend, Bill Hitchins, often reminds me that he was once on the receiving end of Dad's cricket bat in a blow to the head, also accidental! Dad was thankful of his time at West Buckland, it allowed him to broaden his horizons, making friends from all over the world.

It was due to a friendship between Dad's Uncle Owen and the Wilkinson family that he met his wife Joy. As he grew up, Dad spent much of his time on his Uncle Owen's large farm at Fullabrook. This was where he learnt a great deal of his farming knowledge. When Mum moved to North Devon, her Uncle Harry would often take her, together with Richard and Julia, to Fullabrook Farm to visit Owen. Mum and Dad's paths soon crossed, and Dad instantly took a shine to Mum. He was soon smitten by her good looks and intellect. After three months of courting, at the age of 25, Dad proposed. They were married on this very spot on the 19th October 1968. A year later, I came along and our family was complete.

Richard, Julia and I had a happy, loving childhood at Stapleton. Dad gave out lots of cuddles and his prickly beard would tickle us as he did so. When we were children, Dad spent many hours working on the farm, and we would go out and help too. He often fell asleep on the chair in front of the telly - the intoxicating smell of his socks, made worse as they roasted in front of the fire!

Things were never easy financially, but we never wanted for anything. We took pleasure in the simplest of things - playing in the garden, messing around in the hay bales, going to the beach and playing games in the house when it was wet. We made dens, rode our bikes, messed around in old cars and played cards and board games. Dad loved games, any games, but especially card games.

We spent a lot of time visiting family at various gatherings. Dad loved these occasions. He laughed and told jokes all day long, no doubt engaging in his next favourite pastime - eating! His favourite treats were Fry's Chocolate Creams with Mars Bars and Bounty Bars also on the list. Thunder and lightning [that's clotted cream and Lyle's Golden Syrup on bread] was the food of choice for breakfast and last thing before bed. Dad also loved a roast, especially one cooked by Julia on a Sunday. Despite being a food lover - strangely - he had no sense of smell or taste; a characteristic he shares with his sister.

Dad was always looking for the latest innovations and technical advancements in farming. He invested in the latest housing and feeding systems for his dairy unit in the 1970s. I am sure many of you will remember the tower silo - 80 feet tall and a landmark for guiding lost motorists from all over North Devon. It's legacy lives on, people still refer to Stapleton as the farm with the tower silo - even though it was removed in the 1990s.

During the '70s and '80s, Mum and Dad decided to invest in our education, with Julia studying at the Maris Convent and Richard and I following in his footsteps to West Buckland, which again must have been a struggle financially. As a result, holidays were few and far between.

I remember two, one on a canal barge and the other on the Norfolk Broads - although Richard would argue that he only got one holiday! There was, of course, the obligatory trips to all the agricultural shows.

In the '80s, Dad took a break from milking cows and grew barley instead. The farm buildings were used to store and sell feed and fertiliser for a local merchant. Farmers would call in to collect and Dad would load up their trucks and trailers and then spend hours sharing stories and jokes with them. He was in his element!

Throughout the '80s and '90s, Mum and Dad moved house a few times; first to Wheel Farm after renovating an old barn and then to a barn conversion at Deer Park in Combe Martin. In 2008, they decided to design and build their own house at Stapleton. Dad loved designing things, especially buildings, and together with Mum, spent hours researching ideas and designs before creating their beautiful dream home.

Throughout his life, Dad was lucky enough to travel the world, visiting some fabulous places. Trips included visiting members of the extended Stanbury and Wilkinson families in Australia and Canada. He loved spending time with his many friends and treated them as family, always kind and thoughtful towards them. From the creation of the 'Stuff 'n' Nonsense Society' with Gerald, Barbara, Robert and Lorna, to trips away with Fred and Wendy - he greatly enjoyed the company of you all.

Another mainstay for Dad was this church - he attended most Sundays in the congregation and was also an Elder. He enjoyed the friendship of the members of the Probus Group and of the Barnstaple Male Voice Choir - attending regular rehearsals, performing, and even taking part in a concert in Italy. He would be so touched to know you are performing here today.

Interspersed with all the fun was a great deal of frustration too. Although Dad always yearned for the latest gadgets both on farm and in the home, technology was not always his best friend. It was characteristic of Dad that having bought one of the first video recorders

back in the 80s to keep up with the times; he would often record over a program he had already recorded and before he had even watched it!

I remember once, we were all eagerly awaiting the return of Dad after a couple of months away on a farm study tour to Western Australia. When he brought the photos home from the developers, he soon realised he had left the lens cap on! The Australian countryside appeared to be very dark! In recent times, passwords, mobile phones, pin numbers and the internet all came with their own problems. He would regularly enlist Gerald or one of the grandchildren to sort out any technological hitches - caused by the machine of course!

Seat belts became a frustration in later life for obvious reasons and certain items of clothing too. I remember Richard overhearing Dad struggling to get his shirt on one evening. There was lots of moaning and groaning with the words "dirty shirt" shouted out as his shirt had obviously shrunk in the wash! Dad had to rely on Mum to check his interesting dress sense as it was sometimes a joy to behold, with flashing bow ties and long socks with sandals all part of the wardrobe at times.

Dad showed kindness to everyone he met. As a child, he chose a pink umbrella to give to his sister over a prize for himself at bingo and gave his entire collection of Dinky Toys to a very ill friend in Berrynarbor. More recently, he offered his house to his dear friends, Robert and Lorna, while they were in between house moves and just two months before we lost him. It was during this two-month stay that Dad became seriously ill and our family cannot thank them enough for all the love and care they gave him. You really were a Godsend.

Richard, Julia and I spent a lot of time with Dad towards the end, and although he still had many things he wished to achieve, he felt that he had had a wonderful life; with such happy times. Dad was rarely sad and so I am convinced that he would want all of us to be jolly, tell jokes and party in his absence. The speed of Dad's illness was very difficult for us all to bear but his eternal positivity carried us all through it. Indeed, the illness was a nuisance to him and which he hoped would go away, allowing him to continue his enjoyment of life. Having looked after Mum when she became ill, it was so fitting that Dad was afforded the same care by the wonderful carers at Tyspane in the last week of his life. It was especially moving that Mum was able to visit Dad and share a few very special moments together before his passing.

We should like to thank you all for your support and lovely messages you have sent during this difficult time, you have given us strength. Dad loved his family. He loved his dear wife and he was proud of the achievements of his children and grandchildren. Though Dad has left us, his values and characteristics live on in his family, especially in his grandchildren. Daisy in her frustrations when things

don't go according to plan; Emily in her love for the outdoors, helping on the farm and taking ballet lessons; Lucy also in ballet, travelling and taking pictures [with the lens cap off!]; Katrina is always full of mischief and talented at sport; Courtney is good looking and has a very good appetite and has also been known to ask for tools for Christmas, much like Dad with his pound of nails; Alison works hard and plays even harder whilst she travels around the Southern Hemisphere and Hannah's interest in farming and readiness to get involved is testament to Dad's passion for farming.

For me, your passing has left me with a sense of emptiness. Last night I looked at photos and became very emotional, thinking back on so many wonderful memories of times spent with you, realising I will never again hear your kind words of encouragement. I'm sure you will be keeping an eye on me from up there, frowning and groaning whenever I build a barn in the wrong place or buy the wrong colour of tractor. But I also knew that you loved and trusted me to continue the work you loved so much. Dad, you have touched the hearts of so many and you will be dearly missed - rest in peace.

Adam

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

We wish all in Berrynarbor a Happy and Healthy New Year!

As mentioned in the last newsletter, Rev. Bill Cole has now left the parish and we wish both Bill, and his wife Jenny, a very happy retirement in their native Cumbria.

The Remembrance Sunday Service was led by Rev. George Billington and was well attended. The Choir sang a beautiful rendition of Fields of Poppies, set to the music entitled Fields of Gold and composed by Sting. Congratulations to Karen Loftus who sang the fourth verse beautifully! We must not forget to express our sincere thanks to Ivan Clarke who played the Last Post and Reveille before and after the two-minute silence. Wreaths were laid by Adam Stanbury on behalf of Berrynarbor Parish Council, Sue Neale on behalf of St Peter's PCC and Fenella Boxall on behalf of Berrynarbor Primary School.

Our Christmas Carol Service was well attended and this year we welcomed Parracombe Choir to join forces with our Choir to sing traditional carols and three special solo carols, during the service which was led by Rev. Peter Churcher. There has always been a strong link with Parracombe going back to 2009 when, following a recruitment drive here in Berrynarbor, many Parracombe singers came over to sing with us at our Monday night practices. For many years now, our Choir travels over to Christ Church, Parracombe, to sing at their Christmas Carol Service in December. Following both services, mulled wine and mince pies were served for the congregations and choirs!

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass - actually commencing at 9.30pm - was led by Rev. Peter and complemented by the singing of seasonal carols, and on Christmas Day a short Family Service was held, again by Rev. Peter, but the attendance was very small, partly due to the fact that many villagers were visiting their respective families over the Christmas period. A special thank you from me to Graham Lucas for deputising on Christmas Day!

A specialist builder has been chosen for the repairs to the church roof and other areas, and the quotation has been sent to the Diocese of Exeter [Church Buildings/Architects Dept] for their approval. It is hoped that work can commence in the early spring.

As mentioned previously, we are in urgent need of a new Treasurer to take over from Margaret Sowerby, who will be stepping down from this role. If you would be willing to take on this post, please contact our PCC Secretary, Alison Sharples, on [01271] 882782.

We continue to pray for those who are unwell in this Parish, especially Viv and Brian Fryer, Carol Lucas and Jill Jones who broke her pelvis just before Christmas.

Our next PCC meeting will be held in late January when a range of forthcoming events will be discussed in detail. Our AGM will be held in late March - the date of which will be agreed at the PCC meeting.

Please note: there will be a Joint Service on Sunday, 29th March, which will be held at St. Peter's, Combe Martin. This service commences at 9.30 a.m.

Stuart Neale

 

FINANCE

As usual, F is for February and Finance and currently Newsletter funds could do with a boost!

For a while, it looked as if the December issue might be the last, but due to the kind help of Berry in Bloom allowing the raffle at their Christmas Tea to be run for the Newsletter, the generous donations for Christmas messages, donations from the PCC. readers and the collecting boxes, there is a February one!

The annual subscriptions for those receiving their copies by post are now due. This will continue to be £6.00 to cover the cost of stamps, stationery, etc., but not the Newsletter itself. If this applies to you, a letter is enclosed with your copy. If there are readers who would like to receive a newsletter this way, please do get in touch with me.

Although technically a 'freebie', your Newsletter incurs costs, particularly printing, so your donations are not only welcome and appreciated, but necessary if it is to continue into the new decade!

I must thank our Shop, The Globe and Sawmills for having copies available, and Central Convenience, Combe Martin, and their 'paper boys' who deliver copies with the newspapers.

Instead of 'use it, or lose it', it's a case of 'donate or negate'!

Judie - Editor

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

What a busy two months! The lead up to Christmas is always frantic and brim full of exciting things.

Our highlights were the School Choir singing at Exeter Cathedral, Alder Class cooking a full Christmas Dinner for our annual Senior Dudes' Meal, the Walking Nativity - in the Manor Hall due to the weather - the Lantern Competition, Christingle, the KS1 Christmas Play, the whole school Christmas Dinner and an Assembly where our music students performed on their chosen instruments!

One of our pupils spent four months travelling the world and we enjoyed keeping up with his journey and learning more about the countries he visited.

Now most of the glitter has been swept away we can focus on the events of 2020. We have an exciting year coming up and look forward to telling you all about what we've been up to.

Berrynarbor School Pupil Leaders

 

WEATHER OR NOT

November and December

The very wet weather which started in August continued until the 27th of December then someone turned the tap off for the last four days of the decade!

November saw no change in the wet spell with a total 169.1mm falling over 27 days with the wettest day on the 7th at 22.4mm. [The wettest November since my records started in 1992 was in 2000 showing 311mm, this is the second wettest month I have ever recorded, the year 2000 was an exceptional year with a total rainfall of 2005mm.] Temperatures were about average with the highest on the 1st at 15.2°C and the lowest on the 9th at 0.2°C. The maximum wind speed was 37mph on the 2nd from the S.S.W., which is about normal, the lowest wind chill factor was -0.7°C on the 18th. The barometer was low for most of the month, the deepest depression on the 2nd at 971.0mbars and a high of 1019.6mbars on the 30th. Sunshine hours totalled a measly 16.92, although I see in 2008, we only had 6.51hrs.

Nothing changed for most of December with a total rain fall of 174.6mm, the 26tth being the wettest day with 22.6mm in the gauge. We had a total of 7 days with no rainfall. Over the years, December seems to vary on rainfall with my highest in 1999 at 378mm and driest 2010 at 32mm. The total rainfall for 2019 was 1259mm. the wettest since 2015 when we had 1412mm. Temperatures ranged from a high of 12.9°C on the 10th to -1.2°C on the 2nd. The top wind speed on the

8th was 47mph from the S.S.W. which is quite high for us in the valley. This arrived with the first named storm of the winter called Atiyah. The lowest wind chill factor was on the1st at -1.3°C. The barometer ranged

from a high on the 2nd at 1033.6mbars. to a low of 975.7mbars. on the 12th. This is one of the lowest readings I have seen for us. Sunshine was in short supply at 15.99hrs. surprisingly not the worst as we only had 2.94hrs. in 2018 which was the lowest of any month since the records started.


(Peter Rothwell)

I have been asked how much rain has fallen since the wet spell started. I would say it started on August the 6th and continued to the 27th December. Over this period, we had a total of 818.2mm.

I have looked back into my records for the last decade to find some of the top figures.

Wettest Year: 2012 1587mm.

Highest Temperature 2017 31.6°C.

Lowest Temperature 2012 -5.8°C

Maximum Wind Gust 2014 56mph.

Max Month's Sunshine 2014 210.93 hrs July

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and New Year despite the dull, damp weather. At least Christmas Day was good and it was dry for the carols in the square on Christmas Eve, which helped to draw a very good crowd. Many thanks to all the organisers for the evening.

Simon

 

NEWS FROM THE

COMMUNITY SHOP & POST OFFICE

Busy time of year

At last the mornings are beginning to lengthen as the long, wet winter wearily nods towards the first signs of spring. Over the next few weeks there's a lot going on calendar wise and the village shop is there to help with all your needs.

Valentine's Day is the first to arrive on the 14th February and we have an extensive range of chocolate, cards, pink fizz, local ciders, craft beers and spirits for you to show the special one in your life how much you care. And, of course, you should get your wife/husband/partner something too! Are they a red wine enthusiast or perhaps they prefer a crisp white? Whichever it is, you will find our special wine offers throughout February a real temptation at bargain prices. Look out for the posters and keep an eye on the shop's Facebook page for these super deals.

Don't be a lemon and forget Pancake Day on the 25th February or Shrove Tuesday as it's officially called - the day we are supposed to use all the good things in the larder so that it's easier to give them up for Lent. If you'd rather not give them up, of course, our shop will always have a plentiful supply!

Mother's Day falls on the 22nd March this year and we're sure that among our Berrybay handicraft section you'll find the perfect gift. These are made locally and are a testament to the amazingly talented people we have within our wonderful village.

We also still have gift sets comprising the very popular Berrynarbor village logo mugs - the perfect partner for Devon fudge, or chocolates or tea bags, or . . .

Raffle winner

The winner of the shop's fabulous Christmas hamper was Ms Wade from Birdswell. Congratulations go to her and to shop stalwart, Fenella Boxall, who won the second prize - a collection of local ciders.

Plant Sale

There's no time like the present for taking cuttings or re-potting those rooted plants so that they are in tip-top condition for this year's Great Berrynarbor Plant Sale which will be held on Sunday, 17th May in the Manor Hall. A date for your diary! Donated plants can be delivered

from 11.00 a.m. on the day or to the shop beforehand. Doors to the Sale itself will open at 2.00 p.m.

If you would be willing to help out on the day, please let the Shop Manager know.

 

FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

The Parish Council would like to welcome Councillor Bernadette Joyce to the Council having recently been elected through a non-contested election and welcome back Mrs Victoria Woodhouse as the Parish Clerk following Maternity Leave.

 Dog Area 

The Parish Council would like to thank Cllr. Tucker for providing grant funding through his North Devon Council Community Cllr. Grant for the purchase of a dog bag dispenser in the Dog Area. The dispenser has been ordered and we must extend further thanks to Cllr. Wright who has agreed to install the dispenser in the near future.

Water Fountain

The Parish Council hopes to restore the Water Fountain in the centre of the village. It is fed by mains water and will hopefully just require a new tap to bring it back to life as a drinking fountain

 Lynton Cross

At its January meeting, the Parish Council received updated proposals for the Lynton Cross scheme.  The latest consultation plan is a 4-arm roundabout, which is proposed not to be street lit due to the environmental sensitivity of the location.  The Parish Council believe this is an improved scheme and has agreed to support it in principle.  The scheme also includes some minor improvements at Hore Down Gate and reviewing the white lining layout on the A3123.

Vicki Woodhouse - Parish Clerk [Tel: 07815 665215]

 

NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL

a first taste of education

Last term the children learnt about themselves, made new friends and began to recognise Pre-school rules and routines. Our topics covered autumn, farming and harvest time, followed by keeping safe around fireworks and celebrating Christmas.

The children showed enjoyment singing new songs and put on a short nativity play followed by some cheery Christmas songs. They all did so well, singing beautifully and for some this was their very first performance. Well done to all for such a brilliant performance! A thank you also goes to the Primary School children who gave us a taste of their Christmas Show.

The children made Christmas crafts that they could share with their family. We raised £280.00 from the sale of these crafts along with tea, coffee and cake. Thank you to our families, committee and the community for their kind support.

We celebrated the end of term with a Christmas party. Lots of fun, games, dancing and a surprise visit from Father Christmas!

Our topic of Learning

This term the children will be focusing on Maths - counting, sorting, recognising numbers and shapes. We shall also incorporate some elements from 'Understanding the World' into our topic. Using the children's interest from the film Frozen, we'll explore winter, ice, fire, volcanos and the different climates we have. We'll introduce new stories, games and find information about our planet as well as make some great displays to support our learning.

School Visits

We have again been invited to Berrynarbor Primary school for regular short visits this term. This is an opportunity for the children, especially those who are due to start school in September, to visit the school, meet the teachers and the Reception Class children while still under our care and supervision.

We have organised another clothes collection through Bags2School to take place on Tuesday 10th March 2020. They will take any unwanted clothes, bags, paired shoes, belts, soft toys, bedding and towels. Unfortunately, they will not take any uniforms.

Our Pre-school is very well attended presently with limited session availability but if you would like to visit us or book a place for your child/children in the future, please contact us on 07932 851052 or e-mail preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for more information.

Our opening times are 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs. These are shown in the Manor Hall Diary at the end of this Newsletter.

We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2-year funding scheme and Early Years Entitlement for 15 hours and 30 hours for those who qualify. We provide care and education for young children between ages of 2 and 5.

From the Staff at Pre-school

Sue, Karen, Lynne and Emma

 

CAMPS INTERNATIONAL


Costa Rica

Hi!

My name is Josh Richards and I am a student at Ilfracombe Academy. I am participating in an expedition to Costa Rica in 2021. This will be a 4-week expedition and will include community development work, environmental projects and wildlife conservation. It will also include scuba diving.

The core objectives of this expedition are to undertake projects in order to:

•         Raise the educational and living standards of developing communities within a rural district of Costa Rica

         Assist with ongoing wildlife conservation programmes to preserve biodiversity and protect vulnerable habitats.

This expedition is extremely important to me because I feel that I shall acquire and develop many important skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication and problem solving. I am looking forward to helping people and challenging myself to new experiences and experiencing different cultures. I should be extremely grateful for any and all contributions you can make towards my fundraising.

I am running a plant stall at Moules Farm where I have hyacinths and mixed bulb pots for sale. There will be various other plants for sale throughout the year.

I shall also be holding events throughout the year, please keep an eye out for posters. I am also available for any odd jobs. If interested, please contact me on 01271 883201.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

Josh

 

MANOR HALL MATTERS

November and December were a very busy couple of months for the hall with lots of bookings including coffee mornings, children's parties, family parties, school and pre-school Christmas activities and of course a general election!

The hall hosted a fundraiser Wreath Making afternoon on the 30th November with 17 jolly ladies producing some very lovely wreaths to adorn their front doors. A big thank you to Denny who kindly gave up her time to collect all the greenery and expertly demonstrate how to make the perfect wreath, and who also generously donated the beautiful wreath that splendidly resided on the hall front door over the Christmas period. Thank you too to John and Fenella who kindly supplied all the foliage for the afternoon.

Thank you to all who attended our Christmas coffee morning on the 14th December - thankfully the weather was much better than last year, so it was lovely to welcome a nice number of people to our fabulously festive looking hall.

2020 is going to be another exciting year for our hall. Already our first project of a new shed is nearly completed which will enable us to regain space in the Bassett Room so the blue chairs can go back in. New guttering and fascia boards along with the replacement of the large kitchen end windows are planned for late winter/early spring.

To help pay for this, we have a busy year of fundraising planned which includes - among other things - another Summer Fete and an Autumn Dinner Dance along with a Beaford Arts production of Romeo and Juliet [2020 version] and our own Christmas Fayre, but our first will be a Pancake Afternoon in the Manor Hall on Shrove Tuesday,

25th February. Look out for more details on posters in early February. So, along with all the other bookings in the hall we have a lot to look forward to.

We wish you all a very happy 2020 and thank you for your continued support.

Julia {Chairman & Bookings] and the Trustees

 

 

WEST COUNTRY WALK - 178

Black Swans and Trains


It can only be Dawlish where the railway line runs between the town and the sea; trains rattling and roaring by at frequent intervals and the beach can only be reached by passing under or over the line.

In early November I found the sea front underpass was barricaded shut as repair work was still in progress. In recent years, the railway line at Dawlish has suffered considerable storm and sea damage with dramatic news footage drawing national attention to the small resort.

So I continued along to Coryton's Cove, crossing the footbridge and down the steps to the little cove while a good train thundered past and disappeared into Coryton tunnel, both the tunnel and the cove named after Jane Coryton, a local landowner.

I had hoped to find turnstones among the shingle but there were just five cormorants gathered together on a little rocky island, one with a white front.

I gazed up at the high, red sandstone cliffs and felt tempted to explore the coast path winding there, but I had come to Dawlish on the Ilfracombe Community mini-bus so could not risk venturing too far and then missing the bus home.

I had looked forward to seeing the black swans, the natives of Australia, which have become a proud symbol of the town.

A special feature of Dawlish is the linear park which runs through the middle of the town, perpendicular to the sea and either side of the Dawlish Water.

And here in the middle of Dawlish Water was a black swan on her nest delicately rearranging bits of straw. A glamorous creature with a crimson bill and frilly white plumage revealed below like snowy underwear.

Further on, five cygnets were being ferried by their attentive parents, along the length of the 'lawn' as the grassy areas of the park are known locally.

The cob walked ahead, stopping at intervals to allow the cygnets to catch up, the pen at the rear. Eventually they settled on the grass under a tree, like a family picnic party; the protective parents keeping the young ones safely between them.

The gardens also contain a collection of wild fowl including mandarin and Caroline ducks, pintails, pochards and whistling tree ducks.

Leaving the park, I continued along the streamside path, with views of back yards and gardens until I reached the parish church.

Then, retracing my steps to the seaside and more trains. A pleasant day's walking on Devon's south coast with dry, reasonably mild weather. Lucky timing, because the very next day we had hail and thunder!


Illustrations: Paul Swailes

 

THE PARTS OF SPEECH POEM

Every name is called a NOUN

As field and fountain, street and town.

In place of noun the PRONOUN stands,

As he and she can clap their hands.

The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,

As magic wand or bridal ring.

The VERB means action, something done,

As read and write and jump and run.

How things are done the ADVERBS tell,

As quickly, slowly, badly, well.

The PREPOSITION shows relation,

As in the street or at the station.

CONJUNCTIONS join, in many ways,

Sentences, words, or phrase and phrase.

The INTERJECTION cries out, "HARK!

I need an exclamation mark!"


 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 85

JIM HARROW

Sir Jack Cohen's first employee

1911[?] - 1976

Sir Jack Cohen

1898-1979, Knighted 1969

 

To some folk in the area, Tesco might be a dirty word, but on my visits there, I often find a number of residents stocking up their trolleys with items not available in our superb community shop, so I am daring to write about the company's modest beginnings, 100 years ago last year.

The founder, Jack Cohen, born in 1898, was the son of Polish immigrants. His father, Avroam Kohen was a tailor. After Jack left school aged 14, he began working as an apprentice tailor to his father. In 1917 he joined the Royal Flying Corps, using his tailoring skills to make canvas balloons. [The RFC ran for 6 years and initially consisted of 1 observation balloon squadron and 4 aeroplane squadrons, so there was plenty of work.] He served in France, Egypt and Palestine during the First World War. Having survived a mine disaster on a troopship [thanks to a nurse who helped him stay afloat in the water - 209 crew and soldiers lost their lives], he contracted malaria and returned to England. He was de-mobbed in 1919.


Cohen didn't fancy returning to tailoring after the war, and instead bought up surplus NAAFI stock with his £30 de-mob money. He then sold it on a market stall in Hackney in London's East End. On his first trading day he made a profit of £1 from sales of £4. Each market day, traders gathered and given a signal would race to their favourite pitch. Cohen wasn't a fast runner, but learnt to throw his cap at the spot and claim it. Rapidly, he became the owner of several stalls which were run initially by members of his family.

In 1924, Jim Harrow, a lad of 14, was selling second-hand clothes with his mother in Croydon market. In the words of his son, Colin, "He was so good at grabbing the best space in the market to set up his pitch that he was noticed by Jack Cohen, who asked him to nab a pitch on his behalf." Jim did just that, and before long Cohen offered him the chance to run his stall selling non-labelled tins of fruit and vegetables.

In that year, Jack married Sarah [Cissie] Fox, the daughter of an immigrant Russian-Jewish tailor, who was very supportive of his business interests in that money they were given for their marriage was invested in a wholesale enterprise. He then needed a brand name which came from the initials of a tea supplier, T. E. Stockwell and the first two letters of his own name, thus TESCO emerged. By 1929, Cohen had opened up a flagship Tesco store in Burnt Oak, North London. Eighty nine years and over 3,000 stores later, Tesco launched a cut-price range of 10 experimental stores throughout the country, named after its founder, Jack's. This was to try to reclaim sales lost to Lidl and Aldi. Several of them were converts from existing stores and some built in Tesco car parks. It hasn't been entirely successful and at least one was re-converted to a standard Tesco store in September last year.


But I digress from Jim Harrow! As the company grew, and Jim could drive, he was offered the job of transport and warehouse manager.



Here he met the office girl, Peggy, who became his wife. There was a strong bond between him and Cohen, in spite of one time, during a row between them, Cohen hitting Harrow with a broom!

Still, Harrow was a loyal employee, working with Jack for most of his life, and only ever buying his groceries from Tesco. Jim's two sons followed in father's footsteps and their sister was named after Cohen's daughter, Lady Shirley Porter. In return, Jack Cohen looked after Jim and his wife. Jim became the Manager of the Enfield store, which caused the family to move. Because of his generous salary, he was able to buy a house for £3,000 and was given a company car.

Jim Harrow died of cancer in 1976, but his ability to run fast as a youth and his loyalty to Jack Cohen over many years must have made his employer very satisfied with his very first employee.

As a footnote, Jim's son Colin, now 76, is an artist and sells his paintings in Tiverton Pannier Market. In his words, "In some ways it's as if I've turned a full family circle. Every time I set up my stall I can't help wondering if my father's looking down and smiling at the coincidence".

PP of DC

 

BERRYBNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

Bray Valley Wines is just a few miles from here, on the Pathfields Business Park at South Molton, but its

founder-owner knows his stuff; it's worth a visit. Charlie Cotton began sipping wine at 18, as part of his training, in Burgundy. He's explored vineyards on a mobylette, similar to the one below and worked on a bottling line. What a great way to see vines then wines!


This French motorized bicycle enabled him to discover and learn about the regional patchwork of vineyards around him. During his student years he trained in Bordeaux, Portugal and Germany. These were the important regions in the wine world before wines arrived from down under and the Americas. Training continued back home, at a London merchants, followed by setting up a UK office on behalf of a Dutch multinational, based in Bordeaux, who owned a group of French fine wine companies. Having moved to Devon, to raise a family, he thought 'I had better put my money where my mouth is' and began to fill a warehouse, in about 2003. The rest, as they say, is history.

Charlie has a careful selection of mainly everyday drinking wines, having done some local tastings to gauge what might work. This is the basis of BVW's tight range and 'all our wines have to sing to us.' If you want a good port, for yourself or a present, you'll find that too.

You might think private wine warehouse means expensive. You'd be wrong! We started with a white Portuguese Quinta Vista Lisboa, suitable for vegans and vegetarians, at £6.99. We did finish with a red 2016 Gigondas at £21.49, but the other four wines were at prices in between. They included a delicious Cremant de Loire Rosé, at £12.99, superb with anything, or nothing! Who needs Champagne?

Tell Charlie what you're looking for and he'll find it for you. Helpful and knowledgeable service is free, but that's worth its weight in gold ... or good wine!

Most of our members wanted to support The Globe, 'use it or lose it', for our Christmas Gathering, so 41 of us arrived on the evening of

4th December. This was earlier in the month than our usual celebratory tastings, but we felt it was a good idea to avoid a skittles match! It was a merry event and an easy one for all of our lady members, who usually step up to the mark, or plate, and provide excellent festive fare. On this

occasion we just sat and ate what was put in front of us, from a previously-chosen menu. We were all able to sip our way through the evening, drinking our own selections and nobody had to provide a presentation - it was good company, food and drink!

When you drink a wine, you don't, necessarily, think about what is in it, or, perhaps whether it tastes like the grapes that were picked to produce it. David Rowe, retired Plymouth University lecturer and retired PETROC Recreational Wine Lecturer did just that at our first 2020 meeting in January.

His six wines: two whites, a rosé, two reds and a dessert wine were all bought from The Wine Society to illustrate six different aspects of wine tasting and selection. Consumption and evaluation are through looking, smelling, tasting and thinking.

Chateau Vartely, Viorica from the Republic of Moldova was first and chosen to introduce us to an unfamiliar area, an inexpensive wine, £6.95, and with a subtle flavour. It was all three to all. The grape, Viorica, is rare: less than 20 hectares in the world.

Wine two, Bollenberg Cuvee Prestige Theo Cattin et Fils, was double the price, £13.95, a Gewurztraminer, from Alsace, France. On the nose, it reminded me of Turkish Delight and was described as a food-friendly wine. It was a deliberate contrast to the first and definitely wasn't subtle.

Our rosé was pale for this wine type; however, it was interesting because it was Corsican, another unfamiliar wine territory. Vin de Corse Calvi, was £13.50 and 90% Nielluccio, or Sangiovese of Chianti fame. David's other point for inclusion was its 'esters'. These are the aromatic, fruity compounds, formed during fermentation and ageing: the strawberries, green apples or roses that we can smell and maybe taste in wine.

Wine made the old way, without commercial yeasts was next. Its perfume affected me! Old tobacco smoke, coffee and burned wood created negative thoughts. The French Gamay, selected to illustrate an aspect of traditional Beaujolais was £11.95. The Terres Dorées, L'Ancien Beaujolais is atypical of this wine variety.

Italian terroir and winemaking skills produced the fifth tasting aspect. This £16.00 red was Alovini, Aglianico del Vulture. It's currently on offer at £13.50, a remarkable price because other examples of this well-made wine ... sell at £26 to £30 a bottle. Most of us approved of David's choice!

The Portuguese love their sweet egg-based desserts, Pastel de Nata, is a national dish and D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Like a custard tart, but infinitely better! David didn't supply these, but the Adega De Pegoes, Moscatel de Setubal, £9.95, was sampled with 70% dark chocolate. It matched this too. Chosen because it was well made, matured in oak and a take on the traditional sweet and fortified Muscat.

Our February meeting on the 19th will be the ever-popular Call My Wine Bluff, and this will be followed in March, on the 18th, with speaker Toby McKinnel from the 10-acre Vineyard at Winkleigh.

Judith Adam - Promotional Co-ordinator & Secretary

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS - 92

In my last article I made reference to some of the wildlife and plant life affected by the heatwave of 2018. There were both winners and losers, with Rosebay Willowherb one of the beneficiaries as it was able to take advantage of areas where the intense heat had either stunted the growth of other plants well before they had the opportunity to become established or where fires had destroyed plant life altogether.

That autumn, the plant's annual airborne dispersal of millions of seeds subsequently colonised these areas so that last year's late summer months saw prolific displays of the tall, pretty pink flower spikes.

Yet as I travelled around Somerset's countryside in 2019, it was not just fireweed, as it is also known, that I spotted in abundance. For in early spring I witnessed a profusion of daffodils - both wild as well as cultivated, which is surprising when one considers that the county is not known for being a stronghold of the wild variety.

Its Latin name, Narcusus pseudonarcusus, is after the boy in Greek mythology who was condemned by the gods to fall in love with his own reflection. It was a plant that grew copiously in England for hundreds of years - so much so, that in the late sixteenth century the Jesuit priest, John Gerard, regarded it as being, "So well known to all, it needeth no description." However, following a rapid decline in the plant, the same could not be said by the mid-nineteenth century where the countryside, especially across much of central and eastern England, had been subject to agricultural intensification and field drainage. Demand, too, for larger cultivated varieties - native daffodils are relatively small - also led to its demise in many areas. Now, the true wild daffodil is restricted to particular stretches of our mainland although they can also be found in smaller numbers in ancient oak woodlands and churchyards.

One region in which it still manages to abound is along the border of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. This was christened the Golden Triangle in the 1930's, at a time when the plant was playing an important role in the region's local economy with flowers being picked and sent to markets in South Wales and northern industrial towns. This was also an era when the Great Western Railway laid on Daffodil Special Excursions from London. In time, a 10-mile-long Daffodil Way began being constructed between the villages of Dymock, Kempley and Four Oaks, eventually opening in 1988. Today, daffodil teas are still held in the region's local parish halls.

Another bastion is in the Lake District. It was here that on the 15th April 1802, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her journal, "I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about them; some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness; and the rest tossed and reached and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake." Her encounter would go on to inspire her brother, William, to write his most famous work, "I wandered lonely as a cloud." These days the descendants of those daffodils are conserved at Growbarrow Park by the National Trust as a 'historic feature of Ullswater'.

The daffodil is, of course, the national flower of Wales, the original specimens thought to be the wild Lent Lily. It goes without saying that the flower is always worn with pride by welsh people on the 1st March,

St David's Day. A plant that flourishes today in the Black Mountains, it was at the end of the eighteenth century that a welsh botanist discovered wild daffodils growing in proliferation in fields and pastures between Tenby and the Presel Hills in Pembrokeshire. Soon to assume a local name, the Tenby Daffodil became so highly fashionable that within a century it was virtually driven to extinction. Now, thankfully, the area is again awash with Tenby Daffodils. It is interesting to note that in his Florica Britannia [1996], Richard Mabey suggests that the origin of the Tenby Daffodil is 'most likely a hardy hybrid between the Lent Lily and an unknown cultivar', but adds, '. . . in remote corners of the Presel Hills there are still a few defiant clumps . . . whose identity cannot be so tidily explained away.'

The plant also continues to thrive in South Devon and the Sussex Weald. So, amongst all the cultivated varieties that will be in flower over the next few months, keep a look out too for the smaller, native daffodil. It is an amazing plant, records showing that it can vary in flowering by up to two months depending upon spring temperatures. But I shall fittingly leave the last words of this article to the first four lines of Wordsworth's famous poem:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden Daffodils.

Steve McCarthy


Paul Swailes

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

January and February are not a very busy time for the bloomers to be out and about planting and weeding but it is a busy time planning for the coming year. Our plant order has been sent to Grow Jigsaw and no doubt the wonderful team there will soon be sowing and potting up in their greenhouses. We are moving forward with our plans for introducing more wild flowers to the dog walking area and litter picks will recommence in February.

Our next fund-raising event is our annual Quiz and Supper evening on February 7th with Phil as our quiz master and our famous cottage pie supper. Tickets available from the shop at £10.00. The manor hall doors open at 6.45 p.m. with the quiz starting at 7.15 p.m. and the supper about 8.00 p.m. There will be a vegetarian option. So, get your team together [up to 8] and come and join in the fun.

The AGM will be held on Wednesday, 12th February, at 7 o'clock

in The Globe. Everyone in invited.

The Berry in Bloom team is friendly and always welcomes newcomers so if you fancy helping us in any way you are welcome to come and join in. Phone Wendy on 07436811657

 

Chewy Cranberry and Apricot Bites

Trying to eat a bit healthier but still craving something sweet, why not try these fruity bites? Makes 24 at 89 calories per square!

25g flaked almonds

40g no soak dried apricots

40g sultanas

40g dried cranberries

40g desiccated coconut

75g unsweetened puffed rice cereal

150ml maple syrup

400ml cloudy apple juice

125g porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C gas mark 5. Line a 20 x 30cm brownie tin with baking parchment. Scatter the almonds in to a baking tin and toast in the oven for 6-7 minutes until lightly golden. Then tip in to a large mixing bowl. Add the cut-up apricots, cranberries, coconut, sultanas and rice cereal.

In a large saucepan warm the apple juice and maple syrup on a low heat stirring once or twice.

Add the oats and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the oats become thick and like porridge. Be careful as the mixture does become very sticky.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in all the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mix in to the prepared tin and press and flatten the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and crisp on top. Take out of the oven and press the surface again as this will make it easier to cut up. Leave in the tin for 30 minutes and then cut in to 24 pieces with a sharp knife.

Remove the lining paper and store in a tin for up to 5 days.

Quite healthy but only one allowed per day!

Wendy

 

MILK IN BOTTLES

Come on Berrynarbor, let's campaign to have our milk in glass bottles!

I have recently moved from a part of the country where I had milk delivered to my doorstep. Quite probably many of you reading this can remember receiving your daily 'pints' in glass bottles; and then things changed and it was considered modern and forward-looking to have plastic containers instead. How do you feel about that now?

The St. James' Dairy in Ilfracombe now proudly sell their milk in glass bottles and pronounce themselves 'plastic free'.

It would be so encouraging if some of you share my concerns and could think of ways in which our village could arrange to get access to milk in glass bottles a bit nearer home.

Jane Brandon

The Milking Parlour, Barton Lane


 

BERRYNARBOR HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW

NEEDS YOU!


Due to my taking over the running of the Shop, I shall be unable to organise the Show this year and a new Committee is needed so that this long-standing great village event can carry on. 

Please, if you have the time to help, do put your name forward. The following is a brief breakdown of what has been done in the past to run this event.

 

Before the event:

         Arrange a date and book the Manor Hall.

         Decide on the Classes and Subjects [some do not change and choosing a theme helps]

         Write letters to proposed judges, asking for their assistance

         Produce and print the Schedule for them to be available in the Shop

         Put out posters advertising the event

         Get raffle prizes

         A week before the event, collect in Entries and complete entry cards

The Event

         On the Friday [the day before the Show], late afternoon, evening set up hall and receive entries

         Saturday, Show Day, in the morning receive remainder of entries, and set up for judging. Judging takes place

         After judging, fill in and complete award cards and prepare to open Show

         2.00 p.m. Show opens for public viewing

 

The Committee will work together and I shall be happy to advise and help as well.

There is enough money in the account to run the Show, so no fundraising should be necessary.

Karen

 

BAILEY'S BLOG

'A dog's village life'


Well it seems I have made a bit of a name for myself since my family's arrival in the village, as the overly friendly, boisterous, 'more badly behaved than Stringer', new pup on the block. Let it be known Stringer is actually my hero. I love him to bits and I truly aspire to be like him one day . . . or maybe Ralph, big, slightly standoffish, but grand. Hmmm, I have a lot to learn if I am to be like him.

You see my first problem is that I love everyone and everything. All I want to do is to jump up and have a fuss and a bit of a sniff. I mean no harm but am told by the Mrs. and the Mr. that jumping is not acceptable. I try to remember that, but when I see someone who looks nice, I just sort of forget.

However, I have undergone some crucial changes recently. Paul, the builder, recommended them the first time we met. [What a cheek!] Then Julia told the Mrs. it might stop me from cocking my leg. [What was that all about?] So here I am in 2020, minus some very important bits, trying to learn to be calm. It's not easy; it may take a while. Since they did the deadly deed, I have destroyed my bed, dug a big hole in the garden and demolished the Mrs.'s owl collection, ornamental not real! Most importantly, and really not surprisingly, I have taken to pinching everyone else's balls when I am taken to the beach! Well really, what do they expect? Like I said, this calming down process could take a while!

Anyway, I have decided I will use my notoriety and write this blog. If you like it, I could become a regular feature. I have all sorts of stories I could tell you about life in Berrynarbor from a canine's perspective. However, for this edition, what I really wanted to say was thank you. Thank you to those lovely men who have made the path in the doggy play area. The Mrs. has no excuse not to take me in to play again. It was funny watching her slipping in the mud but not funny when she stopped going altogether. So, gentlemen, I raise my paw to you. Thank you very, very much.

Right, I will be off now. Enjoy the real news and I promise I will try to be good!

 

 

TELEVISION

Television goes back quite a long way. I can remember early demonstrations just before world War II, although it was stopped in wartime.

It was such a novelty that people who wished to view were advised to set up as follows: Children should sit cross-legged in a row at the front. Next should be a row of dining chairs and lastly people standing at the back


Paul Swailes

 

It was, of course, in black and white and on a 9-inch screen. The picture was made up of 405 lines and not very bright. Later, colour came in and now much larger screens.

My illustration shows how I projected my own TV for a bigger picture.


A TV engineer put switches on the TV which inverted and mirror-imaged the picture. This was all put right when it reached the screen. You had to sit in a darkened room.

In the early days, television require an 'H' aerial and those people who could not afford a television put one up just to boast - keeping up with the Jones's I think you would call it!

Nowadays, we have huge screens, flat screens and not forgetting 625 lines. What comes next, I wonder?

I've just turned the television on, so I'm off for a sleep!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

FROM THE NORTH DEVON JOURNAL HERALD

It seemed a fitting coincidence that having said a sad farewell to Peter in the October issue, the Ilfracombe History Forum posted the following extract from a February 1961 Journal Herald.

YOUNG RESCUER WINS MEDAL
 
GALLANTRY AWARD FOR SAVING SHEEP

The 14-year-old Sea Cadet who volunteered to be lowered own a 400-foot cliff at Ilfracombe in February, has won an award for gallantry.

The cadet. Peter Rothwell, went down the cliff and through a waterfall to rescue a sheep.

A 52-year-old local coastguard, Station Officer Charles Brayley, who went down the cliff with him, has gained a similar award.

Both will now hold the R.S.P.C.A. bronze medal for gallantry. And for the part that Peter and other Sea Cadets played in the rescue a certificate of merit is being presented to Ilfracombe Sea Cadet Corps.

The rescue took place on February 5, when Peter, who lives at the Tranmere Hotel, Ilfracombe, made the descent after two unsuccessful attempts to save the animal, an ewe in lamb. oHotel

Both the owner of the ewe, Mr. D. Chugg and P.C. E. Pester failed in their efforts to reach the ledge on which the animal was trapped 320 feet below the cliff top. Station Office Brayley decided that only a lightly-built person would succeed, and when he asked for a volunteer, Peter, a Barnstaple Grammar School pupil, stepped

forward.

Guided by Mr. Brayley and strapped to ropes, he began the long journey and finally reached the ewe, which by this time had slid into the sea.

Peter and the animal were then hauled to safety by a number of helpers, who included three of his Sea Cadet colleagues.


 

CHILDHOOD LITERATURE


Readers of the Newsletter in April 2009 might remember this illustration by Debbie Cooke of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem Bed in Summer from A Child's Garden of Verses

 

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

 

RLS is probably better known for his books Treasure Island and Kidnapped.


Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on the 13th November 1840, the only son of Thomas Stevenson and his wife Margaret Balfour. Both his father and grandfather were successful engineers, building many of the lighthouses around the Scottish coast.

A sickly child, his poor health made normal schooling difficult although he attended Edinburgh Academy and at 17 went to Edinburgh University, where he was expected to study engineering to follow the family profession, but he did not want to become an engineer and eventually compromised with his father's agreement, to study law.

From an early age, Stevenson had shown a desire and aptitude to write and, in his teens, to learn the writer's craft, he imitated a great variety of models in prose and verse.

In 1873, visiting a cousin in Suffolk, he met Sidney Colvin, an English curator and literary and art critic, who became a lifelong friend, and Fanny Sitwell, an older woman of talent and charm, with whom be became infatuated. Fanny and Sidney later married. Later in the same year, Stevenson suffered severe respiratory illness and was sent to the French Riviera, where Colvin joined him.


In July 1875, he was called to the Scottish bar but never practised. The following year, he met Fanny Osbourne, an American, separated from her husband, and the two fell in love. His highly religious parents were horrified at their son's involvement with a married woman, although they altered their feeling when she returned to California in 1878. However, when Stevenson decided to join her in August 1879, the bitterness returned even stronger.

After an arduous journey in which Stevenson came near to death, he arrived in California ill and penniless. He and Fanny, who was then divorced, married in San Francisco in May 1880. At that time, his father relented and gave his financial support, allowing the couple to return to Scotland, together with Fanny's son, Lloyd. They were met at Liverpool by his parents who were happy to see their son return home. Fanny was slowly able to patch up the differences that had arisen over Stevenson's choice of career.

Over the next seven years, to find a suitable climate to help Stevensons's health - he was suffering from tuberculosis - they moved around a lot but finally settled in Bournemouth, naming the house Skerryvore, after the tallest lighthouse in Scotland, designed by his uncle.

Throughout the years at Skerryvore, Stevenson was very ill, often being unable to leave the house and when his father died in 1887, he was so ill that he was unable to attend the funeral. His doctor advised him to move to somewhere warmer, and with Fanny, Lloyd and his mother, they sailed to America and returned to San Francisco.

In June 1888, Stevenson charted a yacht and set sail, and for nearly three years travelled the eastern and central Pacific, the sea air and warm climate briefly restoring his health. He decided to remain in the Pacific and in 1890 bought a plot of land in Upolu, an island in Samoa.

Here, after much work and two aborted attempts to return to Scotland, he established himself on his estate in the village of Vailima. He decided to take the native name of Tusitala, Samoan for Teller of Tales.

He spent the final years of his life living in Samoa, writing several works of fiction.

He died suddenly on the 3rd December 1894 and was buried at the top of Mount Vaea above his home on Samoa. Part of his own short poem, Requiem, was written on his tomb:

 

Under the wide and starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie . . .

 

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

 

This be the verse you 'grave for me:

Here he lies where he long'd to be;

Home is the sailor, home from the sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.'

 

 

VICAR'S VIEWS FEBRUARY 2020

February brings lots of choices! For many, January meant a diet following the excesses of Christmas, or Dry January to give your liver a rest, or Veganuary in an attempt to atone for the farmyard you consumed in December. So now we are February, I wonder what choices you will make now? Will you continue your reform, relax to something more balanced, or return to your old habits?

February also brings with it another day of excess: Shrove Tuesday, or, as it is better known, Pancake day. It is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day in Lent [which makes it Tuesday 25th February this year]. It is an old tradition of using up all your rich foods, such as sugar, eggs, butter and syrup so you aren't tempted to indulge during lent. And also, I know there is an argument every year but the correct answer is 'Lemon and Sugar'. Nowadays lent has become a largely passed-over season, or at best the time when people give up chocolate to raise money for charity, or give up social media in an attempt to get control over it before it controls you. However, lent is so much more important than that.

Lent is the season where we prepare ourselves for Easter. The word 'Lent' comes from the old word for spring. Much like the season, lent is meant to help life 'spring' forth from us. Easter is a time where we celebrate the defeat of death by our Lord Jesus, and where we see true, full life burst from the empty tomb. The wonderful joy is that Jesus offers us that life too. So lent is not about self-flagellation [google if you must] but about preparing ourselves to have the new-life planted in us, as a farmer prepares the ground for the seed. The giving up of foods or screens is not to beat ourselves up, but rather to help us see that what Jesus has for us is far richer and far sweeter than any pancake or a million 'like's on Facebook could ever be.

Jesus said,

'I have come that they may have life in all its abundance'

[John 10:10]

Why not take a fresh look at Jesus this year? There are plenty of services at St. Peter's over lent, Easter and throughout the year that you'd be warmly welcomed to. Can't wait? Then this website is a good place to start your journey: twowaystolive.com

As always, feel free to be in contact.

May God bless you richly this 2020.

Rev. Peter Churcher

 

KNIT & NATTER FOR THE NORTH DEVON HOSPICE


The Craft Group will be holding their annual Knit and Natter afternoon to raise funds for the North Devon Hospice on Monday, 24th February.

We shall be holding Open House in the Manor Hall on that day from 1.45 p.m. onwards. Knitters can knit strips which the Hospice turn into blankets and for this you will need an odd ball of wool and size 8 needles. But if you would like to come for a coffee or tea and a cake, please do join us. All we ask is that you give a minimum donation of £5.00 to the Hospice, take part in the raffle, enjoy coffee or tea and cake in the company of others wishing to support this very worthwhile cause.

We hope to see YOU there!

The Craft Group, affectionately known as Stitch and Bitch [but we can assure you there is no bitching even if we do put the world to right!], meets every Monday afternoon in the Manor Hall from 1.45 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Just come along and bring whatever craft you are currently working on - needlework, knitting, embroidery, beading, painting, etc. - chat amongst friends and enjoy tea or coffee and biscuits - and all for just £2 a session!

The Art section of the Craft Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in the month, again at the Manor Hall but in the morning, from 9.30 a.m. On the 3rd Tuesday, Christine Grafton comes to support the group, either with a technique lesson or to help with individual work.

New artists, beginners and those with little or lots of experience are most welcome. Come along to find out more.

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW NO. 183

Berrynarbor School and Silver Street

This very early postcard, c1904-08, shows Berrynarbor National School, which opened in 1847, the church steps, Bessemer Thatch, with its then thatched roof, as well as a very dilapidated three storey building on the right.


The first noticeable item is the bell above the school in its own tower. I have never been able to find out when the bell disappeared or where it ended up!   Also note the small railings and hedge in front of the school where the lady and young girl are standing.

Just beyond the school building is the entrance to the local Smithy. 

Around this period of time the dilapidated building on the right was known as No.62, Silver Street and was where Mrs. C. Huxtable had lived. Subsequently much of this building was demolished.

Also note that at this time the road itself was just scraped stone, no tarmacadam in those days.

The other item to note is the very large tree in the centre of the picture.

 

Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage, February 2020

e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com

 

 
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