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 Newsletter Editions
No. 118 - February 01-02-2009

Nigel Mason

NEWSLETTER FINANCES

F is for Finance and February and this is the time when postal readers need to renew their subscription and for those of you to whom this applies, a letter is enclosed with your newsletter. Thank you to everyone who has already renewed and sent donations.

To receive your copy by post, the cost is £4.00 a year, which only covers the cost of envelopes and postage; donations to the newsletter itself are always very welcome. If you would like to receive your copy this way, please let me know.

The average cost of a newsletter over the last year has been 90p - this has been slightly higher due to the colour pages, especially for the December and Christmas issue. However, the number of greetings sent via the Newsletter increased this year and raised £280, £140 each for the Manor Hall and the Newsletter.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Parish and Parochial Church Councils for their continued support, the advertisers, everyone who donates via the Shop, Sue's, The Globe and the Sawmill and by post. I must also thank Sue and our paperboy Dave for delivering copies on his round.

The 'Credit Crunch' is affecting us all and although funds are not yet critical, they are depleting and need replenishing. So plans are in hand to hold another 'Country Collection'. This will take place over the week-end of 18th and 19th April and take the form of a craft exhibition of local talent, with refreshments being available throughout the day. Full details will be given in the April issue, but in the meantime please try to keep some part of one or other day free to come and 'view' and give your support not only to the exhibitors but also the Newsletter.

 

BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP

The Christmas Party was held in the Manor Hall on the 2nd of December. Members enjoyed a glass of sherry or fruit juice, sausage rolls, mince pies and chocolate biscuits - a good start to the festive season! There was a competition about places in North Devon which was won by our Chairman, Janet Gibbins. The Christmas Lunch on the 8th December was provided by the ladies at Chambercombe Manor Restaurant and was much enjoyed by all who attended.

The Annual General Meeting was held on 6th January. Eighteen members were present and Janet Gibbins began by thanking all who had helped in any way during 2008. Birthday cards were given to Jenny Cox and Joyce Simpson and passed on to Nora Rowlands and Joan Wood who were not at the meeting.

Janet Steed, as Treasurer, presented the accounts. After giving donations to the North Devon Hospice, Cheshire Homes, Berrynarbor School and Shelter Box, the balance at 31st December was £64.97p. The monthly sales table had raised £125.70 and Jenny Caswell and Jenny Cookson were thanked for running the table. The annual subscription remains at £12, with members paying 50p a meeting for tea, coffee and raffle. The raffle this month was won by Jenny Cookson.

The Officers for 2009 are as follows:

Chairman - Janet Gibbins

Vice Chairman - Margaret Crabbe

Treasurer - Janet Steed

Secretary - Marion Carter

Programme Secretary - Jenny Cookson

Outing Secretary - Janet Gammon

Refreshments and Berrynarbor Newsletter Report - Doreen Prater

Sales Table - Jenny Caswell and Jenny Cookson

Vote of Thanks to Speakers - Rosemary Gaydon and Doreen Prater.

After the business section was completed, member Margaret Crabbe was warmly welcomed and she spoke about her roll in the WRVS co-ordinating books-on-wheels for housebound people in Combe Martin. She is hoping more folks will avail themselves of this service as at present few people are on the list for visits. Elderly and disabled people who are housebound do appreciate the personal contact.

In 1939 there were 165,000 members in the WVS, helping during air raids, the evacuation of children, staffing hospitals and welfare work. The first travelling library was in 1940 and by 1941 there were one million members. Meals on Wheels began in 1943 in Welwyn Garden City .

In 1966 Her Majesty, the Queen, became patron so the 'Royal'" was added to the WVS. There is an emergency section which has helped in various disasters -the Canvey Island flooding, the Lewisham train crash, the Lockerbie air disaster and Hillsborough, to name a few.

At present there are 60,000 volunteers all of whom have had CRB checks and an ID card.

The WRVS now has a 'vision' - a world where every older person has the opportunity and choice to get more out of life and a 'purpose' - WRVS to deliver practical support through the power of volunteering so these opportunities can be achieved. At the end of her interesting talk, Margaret was thanked by Rosemary Gaydon.

On 3rd February Bernard Hill [not a stockman, sorry!] will be talking about his work with foxes. We shall be learning about healthy eating on 3rd March and hearing about the life of bees on 7th April. All Meetings are at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall - do come and join us!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2009.

Doreen Prater.

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

Once again the church was transformed for the Christmas services by the flower arrangers, with every windowsill and shelf decorated and stands by the altars and pulpit. Thank you all. The crib took its place at the font and the tree, decorated and lit up, looked lovely. The Carol Service on 17th December, fulfilled its promise. The church was almost full, the choir excelled itself and the added presence of the school children gave much pleasure. The choir sang John Rutter's 'Nativity Choir' with its truly beautiful lilting melody and then, with the school, a special arrangement of 'Away in a Manger'. There were a few empty seats on Christmas Eve when the 'Midnight' Mass was celebrated and the crib blessed. So many have been laid low with 'flu, coughs and colds already this season and we hope everyone will soon be recovered.

Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday on 25th February and special courses will be taking place in Combe Martin.

Mothering Sunday falls on 22nd March this year and the Family Service will begin at 11.00 a.m. as usual. Please look out for posters nearer the time.

Friendship Lunches will continue at The Globe, the next two being on Wednesdays 25th February and 25th March. This will be our tenth year! We do appreciate all that the Ozelton family does for us - we are always assured of a warm welcome.

Mary T.

It is sad to report the current demise of the largest bell in the tower of St. Peter's Church. At practice back in the autumn, ringers noticed that the tenor bell stopped abruptly and on examination it was found the gudgeon pin that supported the bell's headstock had sheared off and the bell was jammed at a crazy angle in the tower. This means that a full peal cannot be rung and continued ringing of the bells could cause more damage to the tower machinery.

Investigation has revealed that a considerable sum of money, between £3,000 and £4,000 is required to repair it. Unfortunately, the tower fund doesn't have sufficient monies to pay for it and events are being held to raise funds.

Peter and Jean and the PCC are holding an event on Friday, 6th February, and Tony Summers is organising an event at The Globe on Saturday, 7th March. It is hoped that as many people as possible will support these events and enjoy great nights out.

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

LOUISA SAWYER

14.9.1909 - 29.12.2008

I should like to thank everyone who sent me sympathy cards after the loss of my dear mother in Burrow House, aged 99 years.

Many in Berrynarbor will remember her as she lived with us in the Sterridge Valley after moving from Caterham in Surrey. For several years she was the School Cook, until retirement, and remembered many of the children.

She will be greatly missed by myself and all the family.

Doreen [Harding]

 

PAMELA ATKINS 1927-2008

Lee Lodge

Pamela was a friend to everyone. Although she was not able to get about very well she always had an open door, and friends and neighbours frequently dropped in for a chat.

She was poorly over Christmas, and suffered a fall just after, from which she unfortunately did not recover. The angels took her on the 30th December. Her cremation took place at Barnstaple on 12th January 2009, with many relatives and friends attending.

Pamela was a lovely lady. She had a wicked sense of humour and was loved by all. God bless, Pam.

Walter

Our thoughts are with Doreen and all her family and everyone at Lee Lodge at this time of sadness. Those of us who pass by Lee Lodge, either on foot or in cars, will miss Pam's cheerful wave, from her chair, well wrapped up, in the garden on sunny days, or her room during the winter.

 

NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL

Some of you may not be aware that Berrynarbor has a fantastic Pre-School. It is small and friendly, in a lovely setting in the centre of the village. We have recently improved the garden, laying wet-pour surfacing and adding a sensory garden, so the children can now play outside every day in a much nicer environment.

We are currently working towards improving the IT facilities - hoping to get another computer and more equipment for the children to use. We have lovely staff, all of whom the children love and both staff and children really enjoy their sessions with lots of fun!

The Pre-School can have a maximum of 14 children and due to the older risers going to Primary School, there are currently a number of free spaces. Session times are MONDAY - FRIDAY, 9.00 a.m. -12.30 p.m.

If you are interested in sending your child to Pre-School, please telephone Gemma on 0777 3278199, or pop in and see what we do!

 

WEATHER OR NOT

There was nothing really outstanding about November, the total rainfall for the month was 122mm [4 7/8"] which was slightly down on the average, and the maximum temperature of 13.8 Deg C was fairly normal. It was fairly breezy for most of the month with a maximum gust of 28 knots on the 9th. Chicane's record of the hours of sunshine show that it was a much duller month than normal, in the past we have had between 15 and nearly 25 hours, but this year we enjoyed only 6.51.

In December the temperatures dropped and it was the coldest start to the winter for over 30 years. The barometer started to rise steeply from 984mb at 0500 hours on the 5th to 1030mb by 0900 hours on the 7th and pressure remained fairly high throughout most of the month. The+ maximum temperature was 11.9 Deg C which was slightly lower than usual though the minimum of -3.9 Deg C was not the lowest that we have recorded in a December, this was -5.9 Deg C in 1995. What was unusual this year was the sustained cold. As a result of the combination of stiff breezes and low temperatures, we recorded wind chill factors of 0 Deg C or less on twenty-seven out of the thirty-one days, with the lowest being -11 Deg C. From Boxing Day night to the end of the month the temperature didn't rise above 5 Deg C, day or night. It was one of the driest Decembers that we have ever recorded, with a total of only 88mm [31/2"] it equalled 1996. It was a bright month though, with 26.02 hours of sunshine, the nearest that we have got to that in the past was just under 9 hours.

Looking back over 2008, it is surprising that despite the dismal wet summer and all the floods, it was not a particularly wet year. The two wettest months were July and August with 197mm [7 7/8"] and 192mm [7 5/8"], but these were offset by February, April, June and December being dryer than usual. The total rainfall for the year was 1423mm [56"], well down on 1994 which had 2032mm [80"] and 2000 with a total of 2005mm [78 15/16"].

The average over the last fifteen years works out at 1454mm [57"].

It has been a chilly start to 2009 and it will be interesting to see whether this is just a blip or whether it will be a harder winter than we have been used to recently.

Simon and Sue

THANK YOU

I should like to thank each one of you villagers and visitors to our village who have bought plants and shrubs from my plant stall at Higher Rows.

Your generous support has once again enabled me to donate £500 to the Children's Hospice at Little Bridge House, Fremington, which I am sure helps to make the most of the children's short and precious lives.

Margaret

P.S. I could use 5" - 7" plant pots if anyone has any lying around. Thanks.

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

Happy New Year from us all at Berrynarbor VC Primary School! Christmas seems so long ago now.

It all started for us on 5th December with our very first Festive Bingo in The Globe. It was a fun filled evening and we hope the first of many Bingo evenings to come. The school took on a theme of The Twelve Days of Christmas and all the children helped adorn the classrooms with leaping lords, piping pipers, flocks of birds and golden rings. A few days later we enjoyed our tradition Christingle Service which was followed by the Christmas Bazaar, raising over £300 for PTA funds. Class 1 wowed us all with their slightly alternative nativity [complete with elephants], Mary was suitably serene and the play helped us all to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Classrooms 3 and 4 were transformed once again to accommodate record numbers of 'senior dudes' at the Christmas meal hosted by the very talented cooks, waiters and waitresses of Class 4, expertly lead by Mrs. Lucas. Class 3 enjoyed a Friday Night Sleepover - a reward for their good work and responsible attitudes. We had a great time playing traditional Christmas party games that I remember from my childhood and the children slept remarkably well [even if I didn't!].

The term was finished off with a day of thinking about others and our Christmas Carol Service when the children performed 'Bells Ring Out'. After only a week of rehearsals [though some with expert tuition thanks to Stuart], the children sang and read beautifully.

Karina joined our school just before Christmas and this term we have welcomed Reuben, Poppy, Josh and Ptolemy into Class 1, and Isabel, Oli and Dan into Class 3 [see pictures].

Our big news this term is that we have managed to secure tickets for our oldest children to see a ballet at the Royal Opera House and if that weren't enough, the children will be visiting the Houses of Parliament and a number of other cultural and historical attractions too. Mrs. Lucas,

Mrs. McEntee and ten children will be travelling to London for three days in just a few weeks time. We are thrilled for the children to have such an exciting opportunity.

The children at Berrynarbor Primary are really very lucky - many of the additional opportunities, additional support and experiences are available because of the many parents and friends who volunteer their time and energy. We should like to thank those who have continued to support the work of the school so generously over the past year.

Sue Carey - Headteacher


Karina

Reuben

Poppy

Josh

Tolly

Isabel

Oli

Dan

 

D' IS FOR DANCING!

It started on Wednesday with a phone call from Judie. "Are you doing anything on Saturday? No, well how would you like to come and see Strictly with me?" Puzzled, I asked what she meant. "I've just been given two tickets to see it being recorded In London", she replied.

After I stopped leaping about with excitement I remembered I was committed on Sunday morning . . . but would it be possible to get home on the Saturday night? If so, the answer was a definite "Yes please!" We then set about finding our best way to do the trip there and back in a day.

As the tickets are not guaranteed [more are released than there are seats], it was an early start to drive to Bristol to catch the train - travelling first class of course - a short tube ride and we were at the BBC centre in Wood Lane. It was three hours before the doors opened but we weren't the first in the queue! Two experienced queuers arrived after us with their chairs and blankets which they kindly offered to us when they went off for lunch, so we ate our picnic in luxury much to the amusement of people passing by.

Finally the doors opened and we were given our tickets, relieved of our mobile phones [couldn't let friends know where we were sitting] and shown into the audience lounge. At this point lots of ladies disappeared into the loo and returned in their sparkly outfits! Our e-mail failed to tell us that the dress code was 'smart, glamorous'! The excitement was building and at last it was time to go to the studio. We had to walk outside to reach the building and then right around the very unglamorous back of the studio, stepping carefully over electric cables, through a gap and then we were there - at Strictly! Our seats were in the back row [only 3 rows] almost immediately behind the judges. Our first thought was how small the dance floor was - it looks so big on TV. There were lots of production people milling about on the floor and finally everyone was seated. We craned our necks to spot the celebrities - Lionel Blair and Elaine Paige were opposite.

The first thing to be done was the recording of the guest singer, Estelle, with the professional dancers - this would be broadcast during the results show on Sunday - so that the stage could be cleared before the live show began. We had a warm up with the stage manager and Bruce Forsyth, who was excellent, and practised our cheering and applause. Apparently we were one of the loudest audiences they'd had but they probably say that to everyone!

The judges took their places then the countdown began and the music started. Everything was magical with the lights, the music, the fabulous dresses and the beautiful people. The dancing was lovely [remember Austin's Paso?], especially when they moved out from behind the judges. But it was fascinating to watch the cameras, especially the man in his shorts who runs on during each dance, circles the couple and runs off. There was one camera on a long arm which probably provided the illusion of a bigger room as it zoomed in and out. We cheered and clapped until our hands ached and from where we were we could read Bruce and Tess's words on the camera and yes, his corny jokes are all scripted!

All the couples danced their hearts out and the live show finished.

We were escorted back to the lounge to wait while the 'phone lines were open and the stars of the show had a break. Then it was back to record the results show - much more relaxed as it wasn't live. Now it was time for the results and it was very tense as first Tom and Camilla, then Austin and Erin and finally, Lisa and Brendan got through. The dance off was between Christine and Matthew and Rachel and Vincent. I think we all knew that it would be Christine's last dance as Rachel and Vincent's waltz was exquisite.

What a fabulous day - I think we had big smiles on our faces the whole time. It was certainly worth getting up at six o'clock and getting home at three-thirty the next morning! And we'll certainly be applying for tickets next year now we know what happens and now where did I put those sequins?!

Dot

 

MEMORIES

Following the death of her mother Ivy, Marlene spent time with Ivy's brother, Gerald, and he recounted tales of when he was a lad here in Berrynarbor, some of which she has saved and sent them for Newsletter readers to enjoy.

Marlene says: I have called them 'Berry Capers' because caper was a widely used word in the village when I was little. It was "Stop your caper", "What caper are you up to now?", "I know what your caper is" and "I am fed up with your capers!" always implying we were up to some mischief - as if we were!

 

BERRY CAPERS - 1

The Sow

Farmer George Irwin of Hill Barton had a sow that kept eating her young and so he decided she would have to go.

Market day arrived and George, Gerald and a friend prepared a trailer for the sow and hitched it up behind the Landrover. Whilst George went off to get dressed ready for going to Barnstaple Market, the boys were left coaxing the sow into the trailer. Suddenly she took it into her head to make a run for it just as George was coming along in his best suit. He tried to stop her but she ran straight at him as he stood with his arms and legs spread wide. George ended up sitting backwards on her back as she charged through a small pond where he was deposited. His suit was filthy, his temper frayed and the air blue!

George changed his suit, the sow was loaded and off to market she did go!

The Horse

Farmer George has an evacuee boy called Peter Allen living at the farm, and he and Gerald became friends.

George has a horse that had just foaled and she was in a field the boys used to take as a short cut. They were warned not to go through the field, but Peter had to go to Miss Cooper's - the village stores - on an errand and on the way back he told Gerald he was going to take the short cut. Gerald was a bit scared and wanted to go the long way round, but Peter was having none of it and so Gerald gave in. They were just going through the hunter gate into the field when the horse, which was at the top of the hill, spotted them and came galloping down, ears back, nostrils flared and what looked to Gerald huge teeth bared. She kicked out with her hind legs and sent poor Peter over the telegraph wire.

Scared to death, Gerald fled the scene, and Peter got the beating of his live from George!

The Scrambler

To have some fun, the local lads decided that a scrambler was called for. The local paper was scoured and a likely sounding bike was to be had at Filleigh. All the boys put forward their share of the cost and Roderick Long went to collect the bike.

Great anticipation and excitement abounded when they took the bike up to Leonard Bowden's farm at Ruggaton. There they took it in turns to ride the bike in one of the fields.

It was Billy Toms turn when the throttle stuck fast. Billy thought the only thing to do was to ride it until it ran out of petrol. But, as the tank was nearly full, this was going to take some time. Riding at quite a speed, he lost complete control and ended up in Leonard's potato field which was ready for digging. With potatoes shooting everywhere, like bullets from a gun, Billy clung on for dear life, much to the amazement of the others.

Illustrations by Paul Swailes

 

Berry in Bloom & Best Kept Village

This is proving to be a cold winter, good and bad news for gardeners. Good because the cold will kill quite a few of the creepy crawlies that plague us and I am thinking particularly of the 'foreigners' that have thrived in the run of really mild winters we have had in the last few years. However, the cold is bad news for all of us trying to nurse tender plants through the winter. This is a quiet time for the Berry in Bloomers but we dream of the spring and our plans for 2009!

We shall be having a meeting at the Globe on Wednesday, 11th February at 8.00pm. If you would like to join us, we hope to see you there.

 

Honey Ginger cake

If you like a moist sticky cake this is the one for you. Make the cake at least a couple of days before eating to allow it to mature. This will encourage the crust to become deliciously sticky.

Cake

110g/4oz light muscovado sugar

110g/4oz-unsalted butter

15g/1/2 oz golden syrup

70g/3oz runny honey

225g/8oz plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

2 medium free-range eggs beaten

2 tbsp lager

Butter a 22cm non-stick loaf tin [if not non-stick line the base with baking paper]. Pre heat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/350F/gas4. Place the butter, sugar, syrup and honey in a small pan and heat gently and stir until liquid and smooth. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a large bowl, add the melted ingredients and blend. Beat in the eggs and lager. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in to the middle. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes and then run a knife round the edge and turn out on to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap the cooled cake in cling film and allow to mature for up to a week before icing.

Icing

110g/4oz-unsalted butter

100g/just under 4oz icing sugar

1 rounded tsp black treacle

A squeeze of lemon juice

When ready to ice, whisk the butter in a bowl using an electric whisk for a couple of minutes until pale and fluffy. Blend in the sugar and then the treacle and lemon juice until moussey and light. Spread over the top of the cake taking the icing to the sides. Enjoy with your feet up, a cup of tea and a seed catalogue.

Wendy

 

Water, water, every where

Nor any drop to drink.

Coleridge - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

"My New Year resolution is to lose my bottle" was the headline for Johann Hari's article in a recent edition of The Independent, in which he points out that our addiction to bottled water [and Coke], is ruining the lives of the poorest people on earth.

He states that: it is tempting to imagine that our luxuries appear fully-formed on the supermarket shelves - they come from nowhere and we toss them away, back to nowhere. How can something we slurp down daily be so destructive!

Like many youngsters think today, and Hari thought, water comes in bottles. It costs 10,000 times more to drink bottled water rather than tap water, and its sales have surpassed those of milk and beer.

Why are we paying a fortune for something we have running almost free into our homes? In the past, the bottled water industry provided a series of myths claiming that tap water was filthy, when in the US and Europe we have the safest drinking water on earth. They also falsely claimed that you need to drink 8 glasses a day to promote better health.

Hari goes on to say: Look at one of the primary sources of mineral water for the developed world - Fiji.

Every day, a million litres of freshwater are pumped from an aquifer beneath a Fijian rain forest, it is then shipped 10,000 miles to Europe and the US. The water may come from one of the last pristine ecosystems on earth - the adverts state - but they don't mention that it also helps to destroy it. By the time we factor in making the bottles and shipping this heavy liquid half-way round the world, every bottle of mineral water is, in effect, filled a quarter of the way up with petrol and the fizz might as well be greenhouse gases dissolving in the atmosphere.

And what of the people on the island of Fiji? While we are sipping their water, a third of them have no clean water at all. There are regular outbreaks of typhoid and dengue fever, culling the children and the elderly first.

It is claimed by the water companies to be justifiable to take their water as they are carbon-neutral because they buy 'carbon off-sets', but evidence shows this is just a con. a way to salve consciences rather than the environment. Last July the government there decided to bring in a tax on the bottled water being shipped off the island to pay for clean water for ordinary Fijians. The bottling companies went ballistic, threatening to shut down factories. The government rescinded. The typhoid continues.

Hari's article continues in a similar vein on the disturbing facts surrounding the production of coke. He finishes off by saying that although it will be annoying for him not to have his favourite drinks, he does not want to drink oil or blood.

 

LETTER FROM THE RECTOR

The Rectory,
Combe Martin.

Dear Friends,

There was once a Hotel in the West Country which was drifting along quite nicely, but the manager wanted to improve things. So he got all his staff together and told them that things needed to improve, especially their mental attitude. There was too much laziness and negative thinking. People complained too much, and that was just the staff! He wanted a new start with a fresh attitude! In future there would be no problems, only opportunities.

With this in mind, he wanted to see a big improvement starting with the clergy conference which was starting that very afternoon.

Inevitably some clergy arrived early [glad to get out of the parish] and were shown to their rooms. After a few minutes the telephone rang down at Reception.

"Good morning, Reception. How can I help?"

"Good morning. This is the Revd. Jackson-Smythe in room 201. I have a problem."

The receptionist, remembering the "pep-talk", responded. "We don't have problems here, only opportunities."

"Er, hum . . that may well be, but I have a blonde in my bed."

Problems or opportunities? It depends on how we view things. The problem of the village Post Office and Shop closing, became an opportunity for the village to come together to produce something which was vital for the community. What a blessing it is too!

This year will bring many problems I expect, but we can view them as opportunities to improve the quality of life for all the villagers.

It's the same for the church. As some of you may know, we have a "problem" with the bell frame which will need replacing or repairing. However, while we are waiting for the various authorities to give their permission, we have an opportunity to start raising the money necessary for the repair. I am sure that with a good positive attitude and the good-will, which is obvious in the village, Michael need have no worries, and bells will once again ring out over Berrynarbor.

With all good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

The Wine Circle held its Christmas Food and Drink evening on the 10th December and once again it was a resounding success. The food was organised by the members, table by table, so that the food brought was plentiful and varied, with all tables finding themselves with a multi-course meal to accompany the wine. This side of the evening was organised and presented by one of our favourite presenters - Brett Stevens from the Fabulous Wine Company in Barnstaple. As always, his knowledge and enthusiasm was superb, as were the wines he presented for tasting.

For February, the presenters will be from Majestic Wines in Barnstaple and will be on the usual third Wednesday, the 18th. In March we have a change to our published programme as Jonathan Coulthard, winemaker and owner of the Domaine Gourdon vineyard in the Duras region of France will be our guest speaker.

Anyone wishing to join us is most welcome, but please contact me on [01271] 883600 beforehand.

Tony Summers - Secretary

 

THE LYNTON & BARNSTAPLE RAILWAY

The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway was promoted by Lynton businessmen, including wealthy publisher Sir George Newnes, and was officially opened on 11th May 1898. It started at sea level in Barnstaple and climbed steadily for most of its 16 miles to Woody Bay Station, the highest point on the railway and the entire Southern Railway network, nearly 1000 ft above sea level. It continued to its terminus 3 miles away at Lynton.

Built to a narrow gauge [600mm], the line was able to follow the landscape contours. Engineered to a very high standard, the eight span Chelfham Viaduct was the largest narrow gauge viaduct in the country.

It could not compete with improving road transportation and only survived 37 years, closing on Sunday, 29th September 1935, the last train leaving Woody Bay at 2010 hours - the time marked by the clock in the tea rooms at the Station today.

On the following day, a wreath was placed on the stop block at Barnstaple Town Station by a Woody Bay resident. The card read:

"To Barnstaple & Lynton Railway with regret and sorrow from a constant user and admirer - Perchance it is not dead but sleepeth."

Since 2004, thanks to the enthusiasm of volunteers, it has been waking and if you have not already done so, do pay a visit to the railway at Woody Bay, it is well worthwhile, especially for youngsters. For more information visit www.lynton-rail.co.uk.

 

CAMPTOWN RACES

De Camptown ladies sing dis song - Dooh-dah! doo-dah!
De Camptown racetrack five miles long - Dooh-dah,doo-dah-day!
I come down day wid my hat caved in - Dooh-dah! doo-day!
I go back home wid a pocket full of tine - Dooh-dah, doo-day-day!

Gwine to run all night! Gwine run all day!
I'll bet my money on de bob-tail nag - somebody bet on de bay!

De long tail filly and de big black oss - Dooh-dah! doo-dah!
Dey fly de track an dey both cut across - Dooh-dah, dooh-dah-day!
De blind hoss sticken in a big mud hole - Dooh-dah! doo-dah!
Can't touch bottom wid a ten foot pole - Dooh-dah! doo-dah-day!

Gwine to run all night! Gwine to run all day!
I'll bet my money on de bob-tail nag - somebody bet on de bay!

Trev

'Camptown Races' was one of the many songs written by Stephen Colins Foster and with 'Beautiful Dreamer', probably his best and best known, are still popular today more than 150 years after their composition.

Foster was born in Pittsburg in 1826, the youngest of ten children in a relatively well-off family. He had little formal music training, but had several songs published before he was 20, when he moved to Cincinnati to become bookkeeper with his brother's steamship company. There he had his first 'hit' song, 'Oh! Susanna', later the anthem of the Californian gold rush in 1848-9.

In 1849 he returned to Pennsylvania, formed a contract with the Christy Minstrels and so began the period on which the majority of his best-known songs were written, amongst them 'Camptown Races' [1850], 'Nelly Bly', 'Old Folks at Home', 'Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair [written for his wife Jan McDowall, from whom he became estranged as his life spiralled downhill], and 'Beautiful Dreamer'. His songs were in the minstrel show tradition, poking fun at the slaves and provoking merriment. However, he never lived in the South and only visited the Deep South once on a river-boat on the Mississippi in 1852 whilst on his honeymoon.

His life unfortunately went from bad to worse and the impoverished Foster died at the age of 37 in Lower East Side Manhattan in 1864, following an accident when he collapsed with a persistent fever. In his worn leather wallet were 37 cents and a scrap of paper that simply said, 'Dear friends and gentle hearts', these words are now the title of a book of the Songs of Stephen C. Foster. He is buried in Alleghenny Cemetery in Pittsburg.

 

THE GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER

The Blackbird sings enviously
As you hang
Oh, so casually
From the little basket
Of green plastic
That holds
A few delectable kernels.

This upside-down
Tit-like agility is,
Sadly,
Beyond the wit
Or skill
Of a mere Blackbird
All it can do
Is whistle in admiration.

Peter Rothwell - Treetops


Illustration by Paul Swailes

 

NEW ARRIVALS

There is stork news from Fuchsia Cottage. Maureen has a sixth grandchild, a little boy named Archie who was born on 3rd November weighing in at 9lbs 3oz. A son for her son Kevin and his wife Clare, and a baby brother for Megan [5] and Imogen [3].

Melanie and Chris are delighted to announce the arrival of their baby daughter Grace Olivia on the 14th November, at home, and weighing 6lbs 12oz. Grace is a little sister for Harry who is approaching his 4th birthday, another granddaughter for Carol and Dave Ayres and the first grand daughter, after four grandsons, for Chris and Glyn Evans of Combe Martin.

Our congratulations and best wishes to you all.

 

REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

David Farwig of Digital UK was to give a presentation at the Meeting on the 9th December regarding the switchover in July 2009. Unfortunately, due to illness, he had to cancel at the very last minute. Apologies to those of you who came to hear his talk and it is hoped that he will be able to give his presentation in the near future.

The January meeting was held on the 13th in the Manor Hall, with County Councillor Mrs. Andrea Davis and District Councillor Mrs. Yvette Gubb in attendance.

Thank you to all who completed the Local Housing Needs Questionnaire which has been evaluated and Mr. Colin Savage, the local housing needs enabler will be attending the February meeting to discuss the analysis of the survey. Mr. Savage will address the Council at the start of the meeting, at 7.00 p.m. Do please try to attend as this is very important and concerns the future of the village.

PLEASE NOTE that the next meeting, the February meeting, will not be on the usual second Tuesday, but on the 4th Tuesday instead, that is TUESDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY, at 7.00 p.m.

Watermouth Cove: A Public Meeting/Enquiry has now been arranged for the 11th and 12th June 2009 in the Manor Hall. An Inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State, will be present to hear the evidence from all parties.

Sue Sussex - Chairman [01271] 882916

 

REQUIESCAT IN PACE

For 35 years, in the garden at Lee Lodge, it stood at the head of the valley, erect and majestic, like a monarch inspecting a guard of honour.

During that time, from small beginnings, it had grown in stature, with outstretched limbs which were resting places for a myriad of birds. Squirrels also found shelter amongst its branches, and pigeons often called to one another as they sat on the swinging arms.

When a strong breeze came along, a motley of needles fell to the ground, adding a carpet of colour to the green of the grass. On bright summer days it was a welcoming shade from the glare of the sun, the coolness and the subtle scent of pine combining to the tranquillity for those seeking shelter beneath.

Now all that is in the past.

A noisy chainsaw came along, lopping branches right and left, leaving the stately monarch bare and sombre.

Soon that, too, was levelled, the stump looking forlorn, surrounded by sawdust and wood chippings. A sad day in the garden.

Even the birds are grieving. There are no birdsongs. The squirrels are casting about, looking confused. The pigeons have given up calling to one another.

That was a living tree. Requiescat in Pace.

Walter

 

THE GREAT BERRYNARBOR PLANT SALE

Following the success of last year's event, we shall be holding another Plant Sale on

Bank Holiday, Monday, 4th May 2009

Please save some of your plants and seedlings to help make it an even bigger and better sale. We hope to have plants from all categories including:Trees and Shrubs, Herbaceous Perennials, Fruit and Vegetables Indoor and Pot Plants, Bedding and Annuals.

There will also be some space for stalls connected with gardening and plants. If you would like to have a stall to promote and advertise your business or cause, please contact Kath Thorndycroft on [01271] 889010.

Proceeds to Berrynarbor Community Shop

 

TO PARK, OR NOT TO PARK, THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Talk of car parking charges going up , yet again, reminded me of the following story. Many years ago when parking cost 6d [21/2p], I saw a sign outside a car park which said "Pay as you Enter". I duly put my sixpence in the box and entered. Alas, on driving around the car park there was not one free space. Being rather annoyed, I drove my car some distance away and parked very inconveniently behind a friend's shop. As I walked back into town I thought, "Why should they get away with it? I'll call at the Town Hall." This I did and spoke to the man behind the counter. "Can I help you?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "I have just put sixpence in the box at your car park and there were no spaces available. This is a breach of contract and I should like my money back."

I could read his mind which said: "We've got a right one here!"

Anyway, he reached into his pocket and took out a sixpence which he handed to me. I thought: "Heck, now the council's employees have to pay for the mistakes of others."

About two weeks later I had reason to go to the same car park. Cautiously I parked first intending to go back and feed their meter. Reaching in to my pocket, I found that I had no small change. "Better go to the nearest shop and get some," I thought. Which is what I did, but upon my return to the car, I saw a nasty ticket under the wiper. I read the note and decided to go to the Town Hall right away. Yes, you've guessed it! It was Mr. "What can I do for you", the very same man.

I explained what had happened to which re smiled and said, "Well, we'll overlook it this time."

I shook him by the hand and thanked him for being so considerate.

When I got home, I told my wife about the event before asking "By the way, what's for tea?" "How about a large slice of humble pie," was her reply.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

 

 

Maureen and Pat

Invite you to a

Coffee Morning £2.00

with delicious Home-made cakes

and a Raffle

at Fuchsia Cottage

on Friday, 13th March

from 10.30 a.m.

 

Proceeds to:

Berry in Bloom

and The Community Shop

 

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE

The North Devon Journal has started a timely initiative to help businesses face both the credit crunch and lack of visitors during the winter:

'Keep it local - backing North Devon.' If you didn't read the start on January 8th, you can catch up as it's running for several weeks. This will be a really worthwhile project if it keeps local businesses prospering. I remember reading last Autumn that if you spend £10 locally, then £8 will remain in the area, some buying more local products, and some to pay local wages, much of which will again stay in the area.

In our shop, Anita tries to buy as much locally as possible: nine suppliers are from Combe Martin and Ilfracombe [including baked goods, water, fruit and vegetables, biscuits and fudges, jams and chutneys, potato salad and coleslaw], two more are within 8 miles [organic milk and fresh meat] and 16 within 25 miles. Not bad for our little shop!

And whilst you are buying locally, don't forget Valentine's Day, February 14th. We shall have cards, red roses, and chocolates - or if you want something different, how about Brasso and cleaning cloths? [!!]

On Saturday 7th February, 'Tales of Time and Tide' - an evening with Beaford Arts has been arranged. Our Shop, the Manor Hall and the RNLI will benefit. Doors open at 7.00 p.m. and the show begins at 7.30 p.m. Tickets cost £10, to include a light supper. Do try and support this event and help all three good causes.

There will also be another event to raise funds for the Shop and Manor Hall. 'It's Not Just About Birds', again with Beaford Arts, will take place on Sunday, 5th April with Alex Horne, who has performed at the Edinburgh Festival - a Twitcher with a Twist! Look out for further details.

If it's not too late, very best wishes for 2009 to everyone.

PP of DC

 

BERRY BROADCASTING COMPANY

'The show must go on . . . and it will' and it did! The phoenix rose and once again we were treated to a lively and excellent programme of songs and sketches. Those who arrived early were able to benefit from the new, soft seated chairs and as usual there was a bar and fish and chip suppers after the Show.

Now the BBC is planning to entertain us all once again. The Show will be on Friday and Saturday, 27th and 28th March, so book the date in your diaries. Tickets at £6.00 each will be on sale shortly in the Shop and the show will begin at 7.30 p.m., doors open at 7.00 p.m. There will be a raffle, bar and hopefully fish and chip suppers again, and proceeds will be in aid of local charities.

Look out for the Posters!

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 19
SIR WILLIAM HILLARY

June 14th 1774 - January 5th 1847

Founder of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution


Two things persuaded me to find out more about Sir William. Back in May last year, the Daily Telegraph's 'Weekend' featured an article on the RNLI - 'Come Hell or High Water' - that mentioned him. Just before Christmas, the Six O'clock News did a short piece on people who were giving up Christmas to serve others, and one evening featured the lifeboat men.

There are now some 4,800 lifeboat crew members, 300 of whom are women and 95% are volunteers. They man 230 lifeboat stations -our local ones are Ilfracombe, Appledore and Minehead. In 2007, around the country there were 8,141 launches that rescued 7,834 people and saved 306 lives. This is quite a feat, considering that 185 years ago, no one thought of rescuing ships; the wives and children just waited for the bodies of their loved ones to be washed ashore. So how did the transformation happen?

It was all due to one man: William Hillary. He was a Yorkshire Quaker who became a soldier, author and philanthropist - and also enjoyed adventure. He learnt his seamanship and navigational skills whilst serving as equerry to King George III's young son, Prince Augustus Frederick.

William eloped with an Essex heiress, Frances Elizabeth Disney Ffytche and married her on 21st February 1800. Later that year, their twins - Augustus William and Elisabeth Mary - were born. The bride's father did not approve of William's religion and it wouldn't have helped that William spent his wife's inheritance [about £20,000] on assembling England's largest private army, which he put at the disposal of George III for fighting against Napoleon. It is thought that this is how he achieved his baronetcy.

By 1808, the inheritance had gone and his marriage was in ruins. He fled to the Isle of Man, some saying that it was to put a few miles and a little water between him and his creditors. In 1813 he married Emma Tobin, a Manx woman, his first wife having died by then. From his coastal home in Douglas, he became very aware of the many ships in difficulties on the Irish Sea. In the early hours of October 6th 1822, the RN cutter 'Vigilant' foundered on rocks visible to Sir William's home. He rushed down to the shore and offered men payment if they would crew the nearby pleasure craft to help the ship. It was pulled to safety and for the next two days, as the storm continued, they saved 97 men . . . and the seeds of his idea of saving lives at sea were formed.

In February 1823 Hillary wrote a pamphlet to the British Navy on Saving Lives and Property from Shipwreck. The Admiralty was not interested, but on appealing to the more philanthropic members of London Society, his ideas were enthusiastically adopted. On 4th March 1824 the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was formed. Thirty Years later, the title was changed to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

At the age of 60, Hillary commanded the lifeboat that rescued the packet St George, which had foundered on Conister Rock at the entrance to Douglas Harbour. He was washed overboard with several other members of the lifeboat crew, but in the end everyone was rescued safely. This incident prompted Hillary to build the Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock, which was completed in 1832. It still stands today at the entrance to Douglas Harbour.

Over the years, he helped to save 509 lives and was awarded the Institution's Gold Medal three times for Gallantry. Yet he never learnt to swim!

He died on January 5th 1847 and is buried at St George's Church, Douglas. Even in death it is said that his creditors pursued him. They dug up his body and sold it for dissection.

Sadly, by the time you read this we will almost have missed the RNLI's big fund raising effort: SOS Day. [30th January this year.] Schools, businesses, fund raisers and individuals think up an appropriate title - Sponsor Our Silence, Savour Our Spices and so on to raise funds. If you are interested for next year, go onto www.rnli/sos.com or for any other information on the RNLI, www.rnli.com should give it.

Don't forget, however, that there is still a chance to help the RNLI [and our shop!] by attending the evening 'Tales of Time and Tide' being put on by Beaford Arts on Saturday February 7th when Fenella has arranged for the RNLI to be there to sell their range of products and for just £10 you'll get a light supper too! Hope to see you there!

PP of DC

LOCAL WALKS - 112

Bird Notes

Recently, the centenary of the birth of the French composer Olivier Messiaen was commemorated. He had a lifelong fascination with birdsong and this was an important influence on his work.

An anecdote from his childhood claims that while out in his pram one day, he had asked his mother, a poet, to stop talking so that he could hear the birds! Later he was to transcribe birdsong into musical notation.

That so many of us share an interest in observing the behaviour of birds and derive such please from their beauty and colours and movement intrigues me. I suppose we envy and admire their ability to fly.

But it's an interest which can all too easily tip over into eccentricity and obsession. For some enthusiasts, pagers alert them to the latest unusual sighting and the internet keeps them constantly updated.

For others there are no electronic prompts but simply a case of going for a walk and finding the unexpected. Or a passing stranger might say, "Have you seen the . . . ?" or "Did you know there's a . . . ?"

We belong to this latter category and over the last year we have been fortunate in coming across by chance some very special birds while out on our usual stamping grounds.

In October we were walking around Capstone Hill and going up the path from Windy Corner on the seaward side, my companion said, "There's a little bird here and I'm afraid there must be something wrong with it because it's not flying away. I almost trod on it."

Luckily there was nothing wrong after all. It just wasn't very shy and was soon pecking about the grassy slopes beside the path.

It was a Snow Bunting, a native of Norway and Iceland, white with apricot fawn striations on its back and a short yellow finch-like beak. Later, on our return, we found the pretty bird sheltering between two vertical slates on top of a low wall.

That same day we continued on to Ilfracombe harbour. From a distance there appeared to be a cormorant out on the water. Nothing unusual there but as we approached the harbour wall we saw it was a Great Northern Diver. A stunningly glamorous bird, still in its summer plumage; a black back with a white chequer pattern which created a sparkling effect like spangles; a glossy black head and neck with a band of black and white stripes around the throat.

It had ruby red eyes and a large dagger-like bill. It was diving frequently. We watched it catch a fish and a crab. In America it is known as a Loon and is noted for its melancholy wail.

In March we were walking along the river between Braunton and Barnstaple when a man ran past and asked if we'd come to see the Long-eared Owl. No, we had not known about it. His friend had seen it the previous evening and if it was still about it would be roosting high up in a tree, probably obscured by the foliage of a conifer. We crept along not wanting to disturb the owl, craning our necks as we peered up into the branches.

Not far from the lime kiln near Heanton Court we found the owl fully exposed and perched in a low hawthorn bush staring at us. Its streaked buff and brown plumage made its body resemble a piece of bark.

The bird was motionless so that when two young women with children in pushchairs came by, they asked, "Is it real?" The owl winked at them as if in reply.

A couple of twitchers arrived. They showed us their pagers which informed them that the Long-eared Owl was in an olive tree! We were amused by the idea of olive groves flourishing along the River Taw.

If you have ever come face to face with a Barn Owl or Tawny Owl, you will have noticed that their eyes are wholly black. In contrast, the eyes of the Long-eared Owl are golden orange with a black pupil which gives it a feline expression.

Last spring I mentioned the King Eider which had appeared in the Taw Torridge estuary; the first ever seen in Devon. It was hoped that it would return later in the year. It did, having spent the summer in Ireland. It arrived in October and stayed just over a month in the vicinity of Northam and Appledore.

And finally, it is good to know that as a result of government proposals the coastline should be open to walkers, we Berrynarborites will again be at liberty to walk our local stretch of coast between Big Meadow and The Warren. Alleluia!


Paul Swailes

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW 117

This month I have chosen a postcard I was very fortunate to pick up at an Exeter Postcard Fair way back in 1995, from one of the best known dealers in the West Country, Anne Scott of Exmouth, who can often be heard on Radio Devon. This real photographic postcard was taken and sent around 1904 and shows Mr. Ephraim Street, an agricultural labourer, outside his cottage, 71, Higher Sterridge Valley with his horse and jingle [trap].

The postcard was sent by Kitty - his daughter - to Miss F. Clarke at Wildersmouth Villa, Ilfracombe. It is interesting as it had been sent without a stamp and had incurred a 1d postage due charge, which Miss Clarke would have had to pay!

Ephraim, who was born in Marwood in about 1844, and his wife Susan, who was born in Berrynarbor about 1854, had a large family: Mary Jane, Richard, William, Ellen, Elizabeth [Tilly], Caroline [Kitty], John, Edward, Matilda and Dorcas.

The second postcard shows Tilly and Dorcas feeding the ducks and chickens outside No. 71. This appeared as View No. 4 in the April issue of the Newsletter in 1990.

It shows on the right the tap house which supplied fresh water to all the nearby cottages. It was lovingly restored in the 1980's by the late Vi Kingdon who by her marriage was related to the Street family. Barn Cottage, home of Kath and Trevor, can be seen in the background in both views.

Does anyone have any information on or pictures of Berrydown Chapel? I should really like to produce an article on this Chapel at some future date. If you can help, please DO contact me on [01271] 883408.

Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage, January 2009
e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 

What the Papers Said 150 Years Ago

Combe Martin Petty Sessions Monday Feb 7th 1859:

Betsy Ley, farmer's wife of Berrynarbor, was charged by her servant, Prudence Perin, with assaulting her. The charge was admitted, but circumstances of provocation were pleaded. Fined 2s 6d, with 6s, costs.

24th February 1859. Ilfracombe.

Drunkenness and Disorder: Richard Snow and John Slee, two married labourers, of Berrynarbor, were brought before N. Vye, Esq., on Saturday, charged by P. C. Hodge, with being drunk and creating a disturbance in the street on the previous night. The defendants had been locked up all night in the 'Stone Lodge', a small cell under the town clock. Before hearing the charge, the magistrate told the policeman that he would not have any whom he might find it necessary to take into custody, kept in that small, cold, close place, all night; especially during the winter. It was not a place fit for a human being to be confined in the whole of a cold winter's night: in summer it might do, but even then not for two persons. The cell might serve for the confinement of a prisoner for a few hours in the day, but if they were required to be kept all night, it must be a private house: when the new station was built, the difficulty now felt by the police with a prisoner in charge would be done away. On the charge being laid against the prisoners above named they denied being drunk - they only had 'two pints o'drink' each. P.C. Hodge found them in Portland Street about half-past ten o'clock followed by a mob of noisy fellows, using the most horrible language. Slee having his coat off and offering battle to any one that would fight him. As defendants refused to leave or give any satisfactory accounts of themselves, Hodge found it necessary to stop the outrage by

taking him into custody. Much scuffling ensued in getting him to the cell, his fellow tippler demanding him as his 'property' and on reaching the Lodge, Snow assaulted the officer, and attempting a rescue, was himself seized and first placed behind lock and key. By this time his 'property' had walked off, who had to be pursued and re-captured, which was soon affected and the pair left to their reflections in the rogue's roost. - Mr. Sommers, watchmaker, described the conduct of the men as outrageous and profane, but that the row was greatly heightened, perhaps, would not have occurred if they had not been maddened by the hounding of a knot of lawless youngsters in the street. Mr. Henry Harding, postman, gave evidence to the same facts. The magistrate said there could be no doubt about the defendants being drunk, and that a very disgraceful outrage had been committed. Until recently, all a magistrate could do in such cases, however disorderly parties might have been, was to fine them 5s, and the expenses, but he would take the opportunity of saying that by a late act, persons guilty of disorderly conduct might be fined 40s, or sent 7 days to prison, at the discretion of the Bench. Those whom it concerned would see that conduct of this description would be followed by far more serious consequences than had been the custom, and which would certainly be inflicted. In the present instance, he would not inflict the severer penalty, as they had already been punished by being locked up all night, and he understood the police constable intended in bringing a charge against them at the petty sessions for assaulting him in the execution of his duties. Fined 5s each, with 2s 6d each expenses.

Tom Bartlett

 

HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW

 

GARDENERS' & CRAFTERS'

LUNCH

Manor Hall

SATURDAY, 4TH APRIL

 

Come for Coffee at 11.00 a.m.

and Stay for Lunch at mid-day

 

Home-made Soup & French Bread

Filled Jacket Potatoes

£3.00 each

Raffle, Produce &

Cake Stall

All Proceeds to the Show

 

This year there will be a new competition for the Show - Grow a Spud!

Buy your seed potato at the Gardeners' & Crafters' Lunch and plant it in a container of up to 10 litres of compost or soil. Prizes will be awarded at the Show, to be held this year on 29TH AUGUST, for the largest [heaviest] potato and the best [heaviest] crop, in both the Overall and Junior classes. Potatoes cost £1.00 each and must be purchased either at the Lunch or by telephoning 883544 to reserve your spud.

A simple and fun competition for all the family. Get them all - kids, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents to grow their own lunch!

Further details will be available with each purchase.

Subjects for the Art and Photography Classes of the Show should, as in the past, be available in the April issue of the Newsletter and it will soon be time to think about planting those flowers, vegetables and fruit.

 

MANOR HALL NEWS

The Pre-Christmas Coffee Morning and Christmas Card distribution was well attended and very successful. Money raised from the coffee, cards and raffle amounted to £184 and with the contribution from messages in the Newsletter, the total amount for the morning was a very welcome £324. Thanks to all those who supported the event, helped in any way, the pupils from the Primary School who entertained us with Christmas songs and carols, and Judie and the Newsletter for the shared message funds.

Work is in progress for the redecoration of the main hall and by the time you read this the work should be complete. We also hope to replace the four sets of curtains and for the future we are looking at obtaining grants to put new double glazed windows in the hall to improve the light and reduce heating costs.

There are two events being run by the Manor Hall and Shop committees, Tales of Time and Tide on Saturday, 7th February and Twitcher with a Twist on Sunday, 5th April. Please make a note of the dates and we hope to see you at one or both of these performances by Beaford Arts.

The AGM for the Hall will be with us again before too long and I again urge people who use the hall to come and join the Committee. We shall also need a new Chairman, as I shall be resigning at the AGM, so please ring me to discuss the situation.

Best wishes to everyone for the New Year. Bob Hobson - Chairman

 

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 their 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'. 

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'.

Whoever said history was boring !

 

 
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