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No. 140 - October 01-10-2012

Mo [11] Joint 1st, Class 3

 

IN MEMORIAM

JOHN HUXTABLE

'The peace is yours

The memory ours.'

John's sudden death on the 11th August came as a great shock to us all, but especially to Bett, Kevin and all his family, Nita, Vic and Melanie. Our thoughts are with them all at this time of sorrow.

The love and esteem with which John was held in the village was evident from the very full church of those who attended his funeral. He will be sadly missed by everyone.

John was born at North Hill Farm, Shirwell, where with his two sisters he had a happy childhood, working on the farm, riding his pony and rabbiting with his pet ferret. His love of ponies, the Exmoor in particular, remained with him all his life. The donations for the Exmoor Pony Society made at his funeral amounted to a fantastic £850.

John went to school first at Shirwell, then Barnstaple and later at Combe Martin. In 1949, when his father died, John and his mother moved to Berrynarbor to live with his grandmother, where he lived for the rest of his life.

After leaving school, he went in to farming, always his first love. When that came to an end, he spent his time gardening for and helping people in the village and taking care of his few sheep. A familiar sight in his blue van with a silver roof.

John really enjoyed his snooker at the Men's Institute and had been a member for sixty years. Not only an excellent player, he served for many years as Secretary and latterly President of the Club.

John will be remembered for his kindness, his friendly, outgoing manner and his ever cheerful smile. This 'gentle'man was happy with his lot!

With thanks to George Billington for sharing his Eulogy for John with us.

* * *

Bett and family, Anita, Vic and family would like to say thank you for all the messages of sympathy, cards, flowers and offers of help, and everyone who came to the funeral, it was such a comfort to us to see a full church. He will be missed so much by all who loved him.

 

WEATHER OR NOT

June's miserable weather continued well into July with rain or damp on 19 of the first 20 days. On Friday 6th into Saturday 7th, South Devon experienced torrential rain with a month's worth falling in 24 hours; here we were lucky and had only 16mm (5/8"). The wettest day was Thursday 12th when it rained steadily from about 10.00 a.m. then in the evening the heavens opened and 6mm (1/4") fell in 15 minutes giving a total of 24mm (15/16") by the next morning. The total rainfall for the month was 120mm (4 ") which was fairly high for the month although in recent years July has been wetter - 303 mm (11 15/16") in 2009! Temperatures struggled to get into the twenties for most of the month although after the 20th the jet stream shifted north and for a week it was quite warm with a maximum of 25.4 Deg C on the 27th. After that the temperature dropped away again and showery conditions returned. The maximum gust of wind was 25 knots on the 16th..

There was no improvement in the weather in August, temperatures stayed mainly in the teens or low twenties with a maximum of 25.8 Deg C on the 11th. It was yet another wet month with only five completely dry days and a total rainfall for the month of 148mm (5 7/8"), not a record for August but still fairly high.

It is not surprising that the records of the hours of sunshine were down on the average for both months with 166.47 hours in July and only 146.29 hours in August.

In case there was doubt in anyone's mind that it was a wet summer we recorded 447mm (17 5/8") of rain in this June, July and August which was more than in any previous year, although 2007 came a very close second with 444mm (17 1/2").

It would be nice in the next Newsletter to be writing about the beautiful weather we have been having but we shall have to wait and see.

Simon and Sue

 

BERRYNARBOR CARNIVAL CLUB

Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make the Old MacDonald float one of the best in the Combe Martin Carnival.

We all had great fun planning, making, painting, decorating, etc., and it paid off. We gained a 1st in our Class and came 2nd Overall. We are looking forward to next year - please come forward with your ideas for 2013,


Richard and Be

 

BERRYNARBOR TODDLER GROUP

The Group is back after the summer break, 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Fridays, £1.50 per session plus 50p for additional children.

We welcome all babies, toddlers and parents on a Friday morning in the Manor Hall. Lots to do, plenty of activities and a variety of toys to play with, all in a friendly and relaxed environment. Mums and Dads get a cuppa as well!

Look out for posters soon for another Bingo Evening at the Manor Hall in October, with cash and meat prizes! Any queries please telephone [01271] 882885.

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

Our congratulations to Stuart and Sue Neale for master-minding another successful Summer Fayre. In spite of challenging weather and fewer visitors, £932.50 was raised and once expenses have been deducted we shall have cleared just under £800.

A big thank you to the team who came to get everything ready and to everyone who put in so much time and effort to run the stalls and side-shows - again a wonderful atmosphere.

The Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday 7th October beginning as usual at 11.00 a.m. and we shall be joined by the Choir and children from the School. The church will be decorated at the end of the week before and gifts of flowers, fruit and vegetables will be most welcome. Evensong on Wednesday, 10th October will begin at 6.30 p.m. in church and will be followed by a Buffet Supper in the Manor Hall. Tickets will cost £5.00 for adults, £2.00 for children and will be available at Sunday services and from the Community Shop. Proceeds from the auction of produce will go to the charity WaterAid.

Looking forward to November, the Candle Service in Memory of Loved Ones will be held on Sunday, 4th November from 3.00 p.m. This is a simple service of hymns, readings and prayers, open to all. At the end everyone is invited to go up to the altar to light a candle. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided afterwards.

Remembrance Sunday actually falls on the 11th November this year and we shall gather in church at the earlier time of 10.45 a.m. ready to assemble at the War Memorial at 11.00 a.m.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 24th October and 28th November, from 12.00 noon onwards.

Mary Tucker

 

MANOR HALL MATTERS

The record result for the Berry Revels in 2011 was a tough act to follow, but the outcome this year was very pleasing indeed, with takings in excess of £1500 and a net result of over £1200.

Thanks go to all who came and supported us on the night, to the individuals and local businesses who were so generous in their donations to support our raffles, etc. and to the 42 volunteers who combined to staff our stalls and activities across 2 hours or more on a very showery August evening - well done and many, many thanks!

The next Manor Hall fundraiser will be the customary Christmas Coffee Morning and Christmas Card Exchange. So Saturday, 15th December is a date to go in the diary NOW!

I'm told that plans are afoot to stage a Christmas Market in late November, Beaford Arts events are scheduled this Autumn, also 2 Bingo sessions . . . so plenty planned for the coming months!

Project work at the Hall in recent times has seen new vinyl flooring fitted in the Penn Curzon Room. The mains water pipe under the floor in the Main Hall has a history of leaks so we're taking the opportunity to replace it with new, modern piping ahead of a major project to re-surface the Hall floor - more news on that and its timing will follow.

Finally comes the invitation to anyone in the parish wishing to contribute to the on-going planning and running of Manor Hall business to step forward and join the Management Team, to bring fresh ideas and purpose. Please discuss with me or, indeed, any of the Committee whose names are listed on the notice boards inside the Hall.

Colin Trinder - Chairman

 

BERRYNARBOR HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW 2012

Another well supported Show. In spite of the inclement summer's weather, the horticultural entries were good and not that much down in number. The Hall was buzzing with activity in the afternoon as villagers and holiday makers viewed the exhibits.

Sue Neale made a clean sweep in the Floral Art class winning the Globe Cup and Sarah Lee-Pettifer's beautifully decorated cupcakes walked off with the Walls Cup for Home Cooking. Angie Rumson went home with an armful of cups - The Davis Cup for Handicrafts, the Ray Ludlow award for the best Non-Horticultural Exhibit and the Watermouth Castle Cup 'Jubilee Year', all with a fantastic counted cross-stitch embroidery. The Watermouth Cup for Handicrafts was won by Judie Weedon and the George Hippisley Cup for Art by Judith Adam. From a varied and interesting set of photographs, one of Jim Constantine's won him the Vi Kingdon Award. Back on form was Tony Summers but this year carrots not onions! The Derrick Kingdom Cup for Fruit and Vegetables is back where it has been so often of late. The Lethaby Cup for Cut Flowers was won by Tom Bartlett and the award - the Manor Stores Rose Bowl - for Cut Flowers went to the Sloley All Starts and Ron Toms, whilst the Manor Hall Management Cup for the best Horticultural Exhibit went to the Sloley All Stars for their very decorative large marrow!

Some sunflowers and spuds defied the weather and the widest sunflower went to Sloley Farm and the Junior prize to Matt and Josh Rumson. The heaviest haul of spuds was grown by Sylvia and Dave Mason, and for the juniors by Louis Beer.

The Rose Bowl for the Junior Entrant with the most points was again awarded to Caitlin Burgess, with a massive 244 points. Caitlin took honours in Floral Art, Handicrafts [The Sally Barten Bowl], Art, Fruit and Vegetables, Potted Plants and Cut Flowers. Shannon Wedlake took the honours for Junior Home Cooking, Jack and Tom Thorne for Handicrafts and the Junior Photographer was Shannon Hill.

The organising group would like to congratulate all the winners, thank everyone who took part or helped run the event in any way and they look forward to seeing you next year!

 

THE BOOK OF BERRYNARBOR

The proofs have been returned, the School Registers lodged with the North Devon Record Office, Halsgrove have done the final editing and the publishing date, I am told, is the 16th October.

There will be a book signing, organised by Waterstones, Barnstaple, once we have the copies. The pre-publication offer of £19.99 is still applicable if ordered through the Shop, and they gain £7.00 from every copy ordered.

To those of you who have placed a pre-published order: Thank You.

Judith Adam

 

 

REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

August and September 2012

At the August Meeting Reports were received from the Police and District Councillors Julia Clark, who advised that the Customer Service Department at North Devon Council is now open for longer hours on Tuesdays, from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., and Yvette Gubb who reported that 47% of all household rubbish is now being recycled instead of being sent to landfill.  Councillor Lorna Bowden, as Parish Council Representative, gave a Report on behalf of the Manor Hall.

A request for a donation was made from Berrynarbor Pre-School and Councillors unanimously agreed to donate the sum of £2,000 to include the purchase of a printer, ink cartridges and a dongle for internet connection.  This part of the Meeting was chaired by Vice Chairman, Councillor David Richards, the Chairman, Councillor Adam Stanbury having declared a pecuniary interest, left the room and did not take part in the discussion, decision or voting due to a family connection.

Councillors have adopted the Model Code of Conduct to mirror the Code adopted by North Devon Council in connection with the Localism Act which came into force on 1 July 2012.  Councillors Linda Thomas, Lorna Bowden, Clive Richards and Lee Lethaby attended Code of Conduct training in Ilfracombe and the Parish Clerk, Sue Squire, attended a similar training session at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple.

Councillors Clive Richards and Lee Lethaby will represent the Parish Council at a Planning Seminar in October, the day-long event being organised by Barnstaple Town Council.

Councillors spoke at length regarding the state of the road surfaces, particularly those with potholes.  The telephone number to report road defects and potholes is 0845 155 1004 [My Devon Customer Service Centre]. They were pleased to hear that the Millennium Fountain in the Square had been repaired and was now in working order.

A Working Party was formed to inspect the Parish Council assets with a view to preparing and issuing Tender documents which were expected to be awarded at the October Meeting.

The 2012 Annual Return has been signed off by the Audit Commission as satisfactory with no issues arising.

Sue Squire - Clerk to the Parish Council

ts at the Museum, please ring [01271] 889031.

 

 

OUR ADOPTED PUPPIES

It is some time now since we last had news of our puppies and newcomers to the village may not be aware that, through the Newsletter, we have adopted two puppies - Amelia and Alfred - with Canine Partners.

These dogs are trained to help people with disabilities in many different ways, giving their owners independence, confidence and transforming their lives.

Alfred tells us that he is possibly a slow learner but now enjoys going into town to do 'shop work' and is now learning 'gold level' tasks such as being controlled and steady through doorways, of particular importance if he is partnered someone in a wheelchair. Approaching the end of his early stage training he will be leaving his puppy trainer Jim to embark on his next stage of becoming a fully qualified partner'.

Amelia is also coming to the end of her puppy training with Jill and has been learning the tasks that will progress her to touching buttons that call lifts or at pedestrian crossings. She is likely to be partnered with someone in a wheelchair. Although, she says, she looks good in her purple jacket she doesn't like wearing it but approves of the idea that she might just wear a bandana, that looks really cool! Apparently the jackets tend to make the fur of Labradoodles itch and she couldn't be seen to sit and scratch in public places!

 

TREV'S TWITTERS

Nothing Like Grog
(Charles Dibdin)

A plague on those musty old lubbers,
Who tell us to fast and think,
And patient fall in with life's rubbers
With nothing but water to drink.
A can of good stuff, had they twigg'd it
Would have sent them for pleasure agog;
And in spite of the rules.
And in spite of the rules of the schools.
The old fools would have all of 'em swigg'd it
And swore there was nothing like grog.

My father, when last I from Guinea
Return'd with abundance of wealth,
Cried, "Jack, never be such a ninny
To drink." Says I, "father, your health."
So I pass'd round the stuff soon he twigg'd it,
And it set the old codger agog
And he swigged it and mother
And sister and brother
And I swigg'd, and all of us swigg'e it,
And swore there was nothing like grog.

One day, when the Chaplain was preaching,
Behind him I curiously slunk,
And, while he our duty was teaching,
As how we should never get drunk,
I tip't him the stuff, and he twigg'd it,
Which soon set his rev'rence agog.
And he swigg'd; and Nick swigg'd,
And Ben swigg'd, and Dick swigg'd,
And I swigg'd, and all of us swigg'd it,
And swore there was nothing like grog.

Then trust me, there's nothing as drinking
So pleasant on this side the grave;
It keeps the unhappy from thinking,
And makes e'en more valiant the brave.
For me, from the moment I twigg'd it
The good stuff has so set me agog
Sick or well, late or early
Wind foully or fairly,
I've constantly swigg'd it,
And dam'me there's nothing like grog.

 

Charles Dibdin 1745?-1814

A British musician, dramatist, novelist, actor and song-writer, Charles Dibdin was born in Southampton, the son of a parish clerk and the youngest of 18 children.

He had a colourful life with connections to many of the London theatres and playhouses and wrote in excess of 360 songs. Married early in life he deserted his wife leaving her destitute. Two illicit relationships followed, marrying the second, Miss Wild, on the death of his wife. Father to numerous children, his two sons, Charles and Thomas John, were also popular dramatists in their day.

There is a memorial plaque to Dibdin on the tower of Holyrood Church Southampton, and one at the Royal Hospital Greenwich. Michael Heseltine, MP, is a distant relative. A fan of Dibdin's works, he was responsible for the Government's erection of a statue in Greenwich.

 

An Irish Drinking Song

Of the ancients it's speaking my soul you'd be after,

That they never go, how come you so;

Would you seriously make the good folks die with laughter;

To be sure their dogs tricks we don't know.

With your smallilou nonsense and all your queer boddens,

Since whisky's a liquor divine;

To be sure the old ancients as well as the moderns

Did not love a sly sip of good wine.

 

Apicius and Aesop, as authors assure

Would swig 'till as drunk as a beast.

Then what do you think of that rogue Epicurus,

Was not he a tight hand at a fest.

With your smallilou, etc.

 

Alexander the Great at his banquets who drank hard,

When he no more worlds could subdue,

Shed tears to be sure, but t'was tears of the tankard,

To refresh him and pray would not you.

With your smallilou, etc.

 

Then that other old fellow they call Aristotle,

Such a devil of a tippler was he.

That one night having taken too much of his bottle,

The thief staggered into the sea.

With your smallilou, etc.

 

Then they made what they call of their wine a libation,

Which as all authority quotes;

They threw on the ground, musha what baderation,

To be sure 'twas not thrown down their throats.

 

[Taken from the Musical Miscellany, 1808 Edition] Trev

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP

We had an expensive blip in early September when our refrigerator holding cooked and raw meats and dairy items stopped working during the night, resulting in a room temperature 'fridge the next day! Anita and Deb worked very hard to keep up supplies, but if you were not able to get everything you wanted, we apologize. Fortunately the replacement is now installed - at a cost! If you're feeling generous next time you are in the shop, the tin on the counter would love to hear a jangle of pennies falling into it!

The National Lottery is finally with us. Installed in mid-September, it promises 'It could be you' - providing you buy a ticket! At the very least, it saves lottery patrons having to go in to Combe Martin - and might even persuade folk to think of buying a ticket as a weekly donation to good causes and shopping at the same time. With 2012 visitors largely back home, we need your support now more than ever.

The publishers of Judith Adam's 'The Book of Berrynarbor' has kindly offered to extend the pre-publication offer of £19.99. The only difference is that it is too late to get a dedication in the book. If you order it from the shop, you avoid postage of £2.99 AND the shop gets a bonus of £7.

That's all for now - next time it will be nearly Christmas!

PP of DC

 

THINGS THAT HAPPEN!

Out of Date

It was very late in the day and George Murray had had a long day at the office. He thought he'd get his newspaper on the way home so that he could browse through it before going to bed.

His local supermarket stayed open all night so he would probably get one there. He drove into the car park and made for the newspaper section. A man was sitting behind the counter, chewing gum and reading a newspaper.

"Excuse me, is that the Inform You Daily paper?" he asked the man.

"Yes, it is" said the man, not bothering to look up.

"Well, I'd like to buy it," George replied.

"You can, when I've finished it", the man whispered, again not looking up.

George began to get annoyed. "Look here, I want to get home and have a read before I settle down and go to bed."

"And so you shall", said the man, "When I've finished."

George's temper was beginning to get the better of him. "Look here, if you don't stop mucking about I'll call the manager."

"I am the manager", the man grunted.

"I'll tell you what", said George raising his voice, "I'll give you half the normal price of that paper right now!"

"What do you mean?" the man replied, looking up.

George was now getting impatient. "Well it's second-hand now, it even looks fainter now you've rubbed half the print off it."

"A couple more minutes and my shift will be up and you can have it then", the man grunted.

Reluctantly, George agreed to wait.

The minutes ticked by and at twelve o'clock midnight the man said, "You can have it now."

"I don't want it now", George replied.

"Why's that?" the man asked.

"Well, it's gone midnight and that paper is now yesterday's. Goodbye." George stormed out.


 

The Telephone Trick

In January 1946 we moved back from Berrynarbor to Upminster. The war being over we had to re-settle and resume our lives in our old home.

Soon we applied to have the telephone laid on and this took about two months - things were very slow and material in short supply. Eventually a man from the GPO [as it was then] came and installed our new 'phone and I watched with interest as he finally tested it.

I noticed its bell ring was almost identical to our front door bell and thought, "I can have some fun with this!"


All I had to do was to nip outside and ring the front door bell. Hurriedly coming back in I would listen to hear other members of the family answer the 'phone! As they could see there was no-one at the front door, they fell for the telephone trick. It was all taken in good fun and we all laughed about it.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

FROM THE RECTOR

People like living round here. Apparently, inhabitants of the rural areas of the West Country are almost twice as likely to cherish where they live than city dwellers. A recent study by insurer NFU Mutual found that more than a third of those living in the countryside 'loved' their local area. Of all areas surveyed in their Countryside Living Index, no one said they disliked their surroundings. Introducing the satisfaction survey of attitudes towards rural and urban areas, the NFU Mutual Chairman observed the clear preference for country living that continues to rise. This was despite the rise in the cost of living which had increased at twice the rate of urban areas in the previous twelve months. The cost of fuel and the cost of running a car results in financial pressure on life in the countryside that is tantamount to year-on-year rural inflation. Crime was also very much the main bone of contention for country people, a blot on the landscape.

Yet despite crime and the cost of getting around, the countryside continues to have much to offer. An abundance of amenities and vibrant high streets in urban areas are clearly no match for the fresh air, outdoor pursuits and community spirit cherished by those who live in the country. As one West Country incomer put it, "I think you tend to work more efficiently when you know you can go for a walk on the beach in the sunshine."

Of course, how communities think of themselves is not just a matter of beautiful natural surroundings that enhance that mysterious factor called 'quality of life'. It is a complex mix of tradition, history and previous experiences. Local people here probably make sense of life in a different way according to whether your family has lived here for generations or whether you are an incomer. The effect of social change on patterns of life and faith is indeed fascinating and I hope to have some conversations with local people in the near future on this subject.

As I write, change is of course in evidence in physical and not just the social environment. Autumn is coming on and summer is ended. What a mixed experience that was! A summer of sport like none other combined with the wettest summer for a hundred years!

Now we are looking towards harvest time and school and church celebrations I am away in Africa from 21st October for twelve days - Kilimanjaro here we come! I return in time for the Candle Service and Remembrance Sunday.

By the way, October and November sees that discussion and DVD course about life and faith I told you about before, taking place at The Globe Inn on Monday nights. It is called Alpha and will be led by

George Billington and myself. No questions too hard or too easy to discuss and it's all interesting and enjoyable in a completely non-threatening atmosphere. Why not try these things?

Best wishes, Rev. Chris

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

It looks like we are coming to the end of one of the wettest summers on record, but just as the day of the village Jubilee celebrations turned out to be one of the only fine days in June, we were lucky with the weather on the 9th September for the Village Open Gardens. The sun brought out at least 50 villagers and holidaymakers. The gardens, surprisingly considering the wet summer, were looking lovely and the teas were as usual yummy. Many thanks to everyone who opened their gardens and to Phil and Lynn and all the 'girls' involved with the teas.

We shall be removing the summer bedding and hanging baskets and planting some spring bulbs and hope to have another litter pick in October. Please look out for our 'blooming' posters.

 

One of the cakes I made for the last litter pick proved to be very popular and as it was so simple to make here is the recipe. This cake does not contain any flour and takes long slow cooking.

 

Toffee Banana Loaf

115g/4oz butter, plus extra for greasing

115g/4oz soft brown sugar, dark or light (I used half and half)

115g/4oz golden syrup

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

3 ripe bananas, roughly mashed (if very large use 21/2)

2 free range eggs, lightly beaten

250g/9oz ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Grease a 20cm/8inch loaf tin (or 20cm/8inch round loose bottom tin). Line the tin with baking paper and grease once again.

Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, boiling for 3 minutes. It should have the appearance of fudge sauce. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and banana.

Beat in the eggs one by one and then fold in the almonds. The mix will look very wet and a bit lumpy but that is OK.

Bake for about 11/2-2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 1/2 hour in the tin and then finish the cooling on a wire rack. This makes a very moist cake.

Of course the cake can be eaten warm as a pudding with some fudge sauce and cream. Yum, yum!

Wendy


Edie [6] 1st, Class 1


Louis [7] Joint 3rd, Class 2


Dylan [9] 1st, Class 2


James [8] Joint 2nd, Class 2


Conor [8] Joint 3rd, Class 2


Millie [7] Joint 2nd, Class 2


Shannon [10] 3rd, Class 3


Jak [10] 2nd, Class 3

 

 

THANK YOU!

Ivy Richards had a wonderful 100th Birthday on the 8th August. She would like to thank everyone for their good wishes, cards and gifts. Special thanks to the ringers who rang the church bells so joyously to celebrate her 100 years.

She was delighted to greet the many family and friends who came to see her - especially her great, great grandson George, just five days old.

It was a joyful, memorable day. Thank you.

 

WELCOME!

It is nice to be able to welcome baby George [Junior] who was born on the 2nd August weighing in at 7lbs 9oz.

George is the son of Kirsty Richards and George Kritikos of Combe Martin, both of whom have done tours of duty

in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congratulations to you both.

Congratulations also to the grandparents, David and Julie, great grandfather Norman and, of course,

great, great granny Ivy - five generations!

 

JAN BRAGGS HILL - RECTORY HILL

Jan or Janny is a local familiar name for John and is still used today.

In the 1800's an extended family of Braggs lived in the village. Of these, I think Jan Bragg senior was the man who lends his name to Jan Braggs Hill because he was a 'quarry man'. As such he would have been experienced in the use of explosives and stone-knapping. This was the term used for breaking up large stones into small ones used to dress roads. I think it must be a local word because I can't find it in the Oxford Dictionary. There are many old quarries in the parish.

During the late 18th Century and into the 19th, the Industrial Revolution was changing the face of Britain. There was extensive building of new roads, railways and bridges. During this period most of our ancient Saxon lanes, which criss-crossed the parish interlinking farms, villages and towns were being improved. Many were widened, levelled and hedged with high wide banks, which are a feature of our countryside today.

The old ways were only suitable for walking or riding on horseback. They were the routes of the pack-horse trains carrying goods - the original door to door salesmen. Drovers followed these ways taking all kinds of livestock to markets near and far.

Jan Braggs Hill didn't exist on the 1842 Tithe Map. Just Blind Lane and the track across Little Oaklands, which led into the valley around Rock Hill via what is now the main drive to Wild Violets and the drive from Orchard House. Rock was probably already partially quarried for its slate. Neverthelessill was probablyt already partially quarried for its slatewas , the cutting of the road through was no mean feat with a pick and shovel. The Reverend Chichester in 1727 wrote in a terrier to the Bishop of Exeter about his 'necessary house' [toilet] being 'covered and slated with ye Berry Flat Stone'. As Rock Hill was on the doorstep of the original old parsonage, it must have come from here.

Jan Bragg died a blind man and in poverty and is buried in the churchyard.

I think it would be fitting for a little memorial to Jan Bragg to be placed at Turn Rounds. It would remind us of how much was achieved by the men of his generation by the strength of their arms and the sweat on their brows for little return.

Lorna - with help from Garry S and Micky W.


Peter Rothwell

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS NO. 55

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th Edition) defines 'rural' as 'relating to, or characteristic of, the countryside rather than the town'. Of the word 'reflect' it states, 'to embody or represent in a faithful or appropriate way'. The beech trees surrounding Riddlecombe, the mystery hamlet in my last article, will turn to gold during the next two months and in so doing will become one of the most appropriate representations of autumn.

The hamlet of Riddlecombe meanwhile has many appropriate features that reflect the countryside. Originally a combe farmed for generations by the Ridd family, it eventually developed into thirty or so dwellings. Bereft of a church or inn, its population was still able to justify three shops one of which combined as general store, post office and a one pump petrol station! All are now gone of course. Though the car has replaced the horse and cart, other features ensure the hamlet retains its rural character: sheep hurriedly driven along the main thoroughfare by farmer and sheepdog, horses slowly clip clopping in a yard, cockerels idly pecking at the verges and jersey heifers randomly drinking at the trough adjacent to my back garden fence.

On a personal level Riddlecombe also represents the twilight months in the life of our dear black Labrador, Gifford, who was put to rest in August aged 14. When we moved to the hamlet last October his legs were already too arthritic to go for walks. A wander to the end of the road was sufficient. There he would lay on the grass beneath the tall copper beech and we would sit on the bench for as long as was needed for him to regain his strength in order to manage the 200 yard stroll back home. At times he struggled, but he loved it, sniffing every blade of grass along the way. And when even that short amble became too much, he was content to just sit on the front lawn sniffing the air, listening to the sounds of livestock and wildlife and watching passers-by. Arthritis may have got the better of his legs but he was blessed with excellent hearing and sight till the day he died.

The death of a pet, friend, or family member brings about what one may regard as a period of reflection. Yet my dictionary defines reflection as 'a serious thought or consideration'. Perhaps in the case of when we mourn the word serious is too strong. I know from personal experience that in the days following the loss of a loved one I can be crying one minute, be in a serious and reflective mood the following minute but then be laughing the next. Thinking about Gifford is no exception. When I first realised he would no longer be there to fetch the post it broke my heart. It was even worse the first time I returned home from work. Not only was the post still on the mat, my slippers were still in the bedroom. Where was Gifford's lovely greeting? His tail wagging so profusely it caused the rest of his body to swagger. How proud he was to hear me coming down the

garden path so he could retrieve my slippers in time for my opening the front door. I just sat on the bed and sobbed. Yet the next moment I was chuckling as I recalled how we trained him to yawn on command; and then laughed as I remembered the day on Putsborough Beach when he ran across the rock pools before suddenly disappearing, having misjudged the depth of the water!

If reflection involves serious consideration, maybe the word "

'reminiscence' would better describe our thoughts when bereaved. For one is certainly looking back; but with happy as well as sad memories. Of course you do not need to be bereaved to reminisce. Friends, for example, can reminisce over old times. I am blessed to have a friendship that began over 40 years ago when we were both aged 5; and whenever we meet up we find ourselves either reflecting on the affairs of the day (grumpy middle aged men putting the world to right is another description) or reminiscing over previous times spent together. On hearing of Gifford's passing, he wrote these words:

"It is sobering just how much can happen in the space of a pet's lifetime. Due to all kinds of things that have happened, personal and worldwide, I think we are all different people to what we were in 1998 when Gifford came along - perhaps that's one of the reasons we have pets: to maintain a constancy when everything else in our lives insists on changing. If only they could talk."

The same can be said of the beech tree beneath which Gifford used to lay. If only it could talk. Appropriate, therefore, that Gifford's ashes were returned to us in a beech casket. It now rests beside the casket of his old pal Bourton. Together again on earth, it is comforting to know their spirits have been reunited up above. Farewell, Gifford. No more aches or stiffness. Run free once more with your old mates through the golden beech woods of heaven.

Steve McCarthy


Debbie Cook

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

We hope everyone enjoyed the summer holidays, despite the weather. They seem to have flown by and I can't believe we are starting the autumn term already.

We should like to welcome into Mrs Wellings class; Keira, Sophie, Ben, Dillon, Daniella, Joffre, Kensa, Lucy, May and Alex. Also joining us this term are Oliver, Emily and Melanie, we hope they enjoy their time at our school.

At the end of last term we said goodbye to our year 6 pupils; Isabel, Kelly, Caitlin, Harry, Kyle, Charlie, Mo, Miles, Kaitlin, Morgan, Lucy and Xanthe. We wish them all every success in their new schools.

Children in Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be starting their swimming sessions now. This is an important part of the curriculum, especially in the area we live.

Class 3 and 4 children will be taking part in Wild Night Out at Stowford Meadows. This is a great experience for them, where they learn to appreciate the natural environment during the magical twilight times of dawn and dusk. It really is a 'wild night out' as they are not allowed to use the facilities after teatime!

Year 5 pupils are taking part in Forest Schools again this year, where they learn forest crafts.

Our Harvest Festival will be held on Wednesday 3rd October, 2.15pm at Sloley Farm.

We are looking for members of our local community to help our Ethos Committee. Volunteers could join the committee, help with projects in school, or help by preparing and researching things at home. The Ethos Committee are developing our community links and Christian distinctiveness. If you would like to get involved please telephone the school on [01271] 883493 to find out more.

Sue Carey - Headteacher

 

OLD COB WALL

C. Fox Smith

On a recent visit to Rosemoor, this poem by Cicely Fox Smith and illustrated for us by Debbie, hanging on the wall of the summerhouse made me smile - I hope it makes you too!

Cicely Fox Smith, an English poet and writer with over 600 poems to her name, was born in Lymm, Cheshire in 1882. The daughter of a barrister and granddaughter of a clergyman she was educated at Manchester Grammar School for Girls. For a short while she lived in Canada before returning to the UK shortly before the advent of World War I, settling in Hampshire where she lived until she died in the spring of 1954.


Old cob wall have fell at last;

Us knowed he might a good while past.

 

Great-grandad he built thicky wall

With maiden earth and oaten straw.

 

He built en in the good old way,

And there he've stood until to-day.

 

But wind and rain and frost and snow

Have all combined to lay en low.

 

Us propped en up with stones and 'ood,

Us done our best but t'weren't no good.

 

He give a bit and then a lot,

And at the finish down he squat.

 

 

And now, since barns has got to be,

Us'll build another 'stead of he.

 

But not the same he was afore,

'Cos no one builds cob walls no more.



Debbie Cook

 

LOCAL WALK - 134

We Saw Meshaw

Illustrated by Paul Swailes

In a hollow where six roads converge, lies the small village of Meshaw, seven miles south-east of South Molton; a cluster of thatched cottages and pretty gardens packed with traditional cottage garden flowers.


This is reflected in the choice of house names. I saw at least three with the word 'rose' in the title. Apart from the main road to Witheridge, the other roads rise steeply out of the village giving the impression of a compact and sheltered little settlement.

Lavender and pale yellow rock roses grew near the church gate and tight rubbery clumps of stonecrop hugged the ground; the yellow flowers so luminous that an old country name for the plant was 'Welcome Home Husband Be Ye Ever So Late'.

The steep path through the churchyard was bordered by ox-eye daisies, cat's ears and orange hawkweed - the latter a naturalised garden escape. I like its alternative name Fox and Cubs referring to the bright flowers grouped closely together, several to a stem.

The church of St. John the Baptist was rebuilt in 1838. The architect was R.D. Gould of Barnstaple who was also responsible for Butchers' Row, Bideford Town Hall and the rebuilding of Arlington church. The tower, however, is much older, dating from 1691, castellated but without pinnacles. The outer door of the porch was closed which often indicates yet another locked church. There is always a brief moment of suspense as you turn the handle but this time

the heavy door yielded. It is a simple, modest church; an all-in-one nave and chancel with no side aisles. Some nice stained glass windows in the chancel but no elaborately carved bench ends or other ancient features. Even the guide books have little to say about Meshaw church. However, there were two features which impressed me, both unusual in their different ways and which said a lot about the village, suggesting a generosity of spirit. The door of the bell tower was ajar and bore a notice ; 'Welcome to Meshaw Book Exchange' with an invitation to swap or buy books. The small space had been fitted out with book cases crammed with a good selection of contemporary fiction such as A.S. Byatt and William Boyd whilst classics available included Marcel Proust!

There was seating, a square of carpet, even a kettle. I bought a copy of The Pilgrim's Guide to Devon's Churches with details and illustrations of all 618 Anglican churches in Devon. Now there's a challenge - to visit all of that lot! A useful reference book, well presented and modestly priced.

In a prominent position in the nave, next to a copy of the famous painting of Jesus saying, 'Suffer the little children to come unto me'. was a large picture frame entitled 'Meshaw Evacuees 1939-45' containing photographs of the children with names, ages, dates of arrival to the village; a record of outings and activities, a sketch of the village and a Prayer of Thanks.

One hears accounts of the callous, even cruel treatment of evacuee children by their 'hosts' but here they seemed to have happily enjoyed the presence of the evacuees among them, drawing them into the life of the village and continuing to remember them.


When travelling less frequented routes in North Devon it is interesting to stop off at unfamiliar villages along the way, to have a wander and visit the church. There are always discoveries to be made.

 

MEMORIES OF THE FIRE AT BESSEMER THATCH

On the 5th May 1937 at about 4.30 p.m., Bessemer Thatch House, the house owned by Canon Jolly of the Deanery of Southampton, and the end property known as Little Gables, occupied by Miss Lillian Veale the Head Mistress of Berrynarbor School, were burnt down. The weather on the day was good and very warm.

The fire was first noticed by Mrs. Toms of Dormer Cottage (now known as Miss Muffet's Tea Room] who raised the alarm. Two fire brigades tried to fight the fire. The one from Ilfracombe tried to dam up and pump water from the little stream that runs down from Moules Farm up Castle Hill, but without success. The more powerful machine from Barnstaple tried to pump water from the stream at the bottom of Pitt Hill, but due to the length and gradient of the hill, this was not very successful and the whole place was virtually destroyed.


Before . . .

. . . after


I was only eight years old at the time but I can remember the fire quite clearly. All the residents of Croft Lee, where I was born and lived, came down to the village to watch in devastation. It was spectacular at the time and probably the largest gathering the village had known, with approximately 16 people from Croft Lee alone.

My elder brother Kenneth, Raymond Brookman and my uncle, Albert Jones, all from Croft Lee, helped to remove the furniture from the building.

The fire lasted for several hours with men still at the scene at midnight.

News spread quickly and a group of men came down from Berrydown on their bicycles to see what was going on. I remember the names of six of them because they worked at Bodstone Farm at different times with my father Benjamin Draper. They were George Barrow, Victor Smallridge, William Irwin, William Coats, John Hockridge and the local carpenter, Charlie Jewell, all of whom are now deceased. A local police constable, named Northey, was in attendance from Combe Martin.

The next morning an article appeared in the Western Morning News stating that a spark from the chimney had caused a fire in Berrynarbor and destroyed a thatched house. The damage was estimated at over £900.

Maurice Draper - Holmleigh

The article from the Western Morning News the following day was reprinted in the December 1990 Newsletter by Tom Bartlett. His article also contained a report, again from the Western Morning News, of the 8th May 1937 which stated:

'Smouldering Beam - Fire Breaks Out Again at Berrynarbor

Barnstaple Rural Fire Brigade returned to Barnstaple about 2 a.m. yesterday after a night call to the scene of the fire which destroyed Bessemer Thatch House, a picturesque dwelling on top of the hill at Berrynarbor on Wednesday night and at which two brigades had been engaged.

'Barnstaple Rural Brigade under Capt. F. Parker found a beam in the chimney between Bessemer Thatch House and a cottage and stores occupied by Mr. R.J. Baker had apparently continued to smoulder since the previous outbreak.

'A great deal of thatch among the debris of the earlier fire had caught alight, but with a plentiful supply of water from a stream in the village the brigade concentrated on extinguishing the fire and removing the thatch and beams from the burnt-out portion and were able to save Mr. Baker's cottage from any serious damage.'

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

'Miss Chichester's Big Adventure' There haven't been many dry August days and evenings, but the 2nd was, which added to the enjoyment of 36 members and friends attending a first: a Wine Tasting at Arlington Court. Majestic supplied the wine and Circle supplied some of the support! Someone has to do it!

In the 1920's, Arlington's lady of the manor, Rosalie Chichester, travelled to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Twenty-first century testers tasted a trio of samples from each - a small selection from Majestic's current stock. It gave us all an opportunity to socialise, discuss and decide those we liked or not. Samples were ample, so too were the delicious canapes produced by the National Trust's caterers.

Many seized the opportunity to have a private house tour or a quiet walk around the grounds as well as a drink and chat on a summer's evening in majestic surroundings. The homeward coach journey was a noisy, high-spirited affair. I wonder why!

 

Via the 'grape-vine', I have heard that there are couples who are interested in our group, but one person is either a teetotaller or doesn't drink wine. Geoff and I joined the month after we moved into the village and have always enjoyed, thoroughly, these evenings because it is a superb way of meeting and getting to know fellow villagers. Usually, there has been a £6 charge for every person attending each meeting; however, from October, there will be no charge for anybody that wishes to socialise, comes with their 'partner' but does not participate in the wine tasting at all.

Judith Adam: Secretary and Promotional Co-ordinator

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR VIEW NO. 139


This photographic postcard was published by the local photographer Grattan Phillipse at the Royal Kingsley Studios in Ilfracombe around 1927-28. It shows the marriage of Polly Huxtable to Archie Brittan of Bratton Fleming at our Parish Church of St. Peter.

However, the significance of this picture is the fact that it shows our latest Berrynarbor centenarian, Ivy Richards [nee Watkins]. Ivy, who celebrated her 100th birthday in August, is seen here to the right of the bride as a bridesmaid then aged around 15 years, with her younge4r sister, Phyllis, the bridesmaid on her right. On the left of the groom is Dora Delve who many locals will remember helped run Bessemer Thatch together with her mother, Annie Gray, her son Ron and daughter-in-law Marian.

The young lad on the left in a cap and holding one of the many streamers is Bill Huxtable, but not the Bill we know here today.

I am sure everyone will join me in wishing Ivy many more years living in her bungalow, Southerly, next door to Moules Farm which she and her husband Ivor farmed for many years.

The second photographic postcard was taken around 1939 by the Bristol photographer William Garratt. This shows Ivor with his two sheep dogs and three cows outside Moules Farm. Note the shippen on the left and the Virginia creeper growing on the farmhouse and the two 'phone lines.

On the reverse side of the postcard is written:

'This is a photo of the farm we are staying at - although the weather is not as warm as it might be, we are having a good time. The food is delicious and every day, chicken, in fact everything we can't get at home. I hope Nick isn't giving any trouble. Yours D & G'.

The card was sent in 1942 to a Mrs. Welsford living in Poole in Dorset.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 41

MRS DIANNE THOMPSON CBE

Chief Executive Officer of Camelot, Operators of the UK National Lottery

31 December 1950 -

As you probably know, you may now buy Lottery tickets at our shop. Personally I've never bought one: it would be just my luck to win millions! Many folk look at their weekly purchase not as a form of gambling, but as a 'regular charitable contribution'. Whatever the reason, good luck to everyone.

The UK National Lottery is run by Camelot, started in1994 and now in its third term, with a licence until 2019, which in March this year was upgraded to 2023, giving it a 30-year run.

Originally it was set up by five companies: the Royal Mail, Thales, De La Rue, Cadbury Schweppes and Fujitsu, but was bought up by the Ontario Teachers Pensions Plan in 2010 for £400million.

Dianne Thompson, who joined Camelot in 1997 as Commercial Operations Director and took over as Chief Executive in December 2000, has a formidable CV ranging from Product Manager with the Cooperative Wholesale Society, a seven year Lectureship at Manchester Polytechnic, Director of Marketing for Woolworths, Signet Group [formerly Ratners], ICI and Wyevale, amongst others and has won various business awards including Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year.

In appearance, Dianne is tiny. Until a back accident in France in 2009 she was 5'01/2", now she is just 4'11". In her words she "shrunk a bit, but I'm fine now!" She is also at 61 a workaholic. Even after her accident, when advised by Stoke Mandeville to lie on her back for 3 months, every Wednesday for 6 weeks she worked all day, standing upright at her kitchen table. Two nights a week she gets home at midnight, and is on call every weekend. Even on holiday, although she turns off her Blackberry, she checks it once a day in case of emergencies. No wonder she describes herself as 'a woman with balls - balls of steel', yet the Daily Mail interviewer wrote after meeting her that she was 'surprisingly warm and twinkly'.

But then she is a Yorkshire lass from Batley with a strong work ethic, ingrained into her by her parents. They were poor though loving: her father was a butcher and mother worked in a shoe shop. Their home had an outside lavatory and the sink doubled as a bath, but they taught her that "Nothing comes to people from my background on a silver plate. If you think you can, then you can, but you've got to work hard for it." And so she did. After winning a place at the local grammar school, she went to Manchester to do an honours degree in English and French and then began her marketing career.

Nine years ago, long hours at work cost her her 29-year marriage to Roger, her teenage sweetheart and father of her only child Jo, and she now lives alone in Buckinghamshire.

Since she became CEO she has built up 28,000 retailers [28,001 with Berrynarbor!]. Anyone who wins £50,000 or more is allocated a special Winners' Adviser, who does everything from mopping up tears to reminding you to take your medication. There is also a panel of advisers on tax, finances and law who stress, as Dianne says, to "make no decisions, go abroad, sit in the sun and try to get your head round it all". Perhaps I should try just ONE ticket!

Oddly enough, her interest in prize-winning millionaires runs second place to her interest in the Good Causes that the lottery helps - around £30 million weekly. Camelot has no say in choosing causes to receive funding but raising funds for the Olympics was high on her agenda. In 1994 when John Major launched the lottery, he said that sport was one of the 'good causes' to benefit. By 1997, British athletes began to get funding and their standards have improved ever since, leading to this year's achievements, beating all previous records. For these Olympics and Paralympics, the National Lottery has contributed £183.5 million investment in sports out of a total of £313.5 million, and £2.2 billion towards construction of the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome and the Aquatics Centre - and all because people buy lottery tickets!

Amongst various trials and tribulations during her time with Camelot, Dianne has had two major battles. Back in 2000, she fought Richard Branson in a David and Goliath contest when he tried to grasp the Lottery from Camelot. She won, and averted her worst nightmare: telling her 850 staff that they no longer had a job. Later at a TV interview, Branson met Dianne and his most memorable comment was "God, you're short!" After her surprise win, he was very congratulatory.

This August, she has done battle with Richard Desmond, whose parent companies are Channel 5 and The Daily Express. "It is my fortune in life to be haunted by Richards," she joked. Desmond has set up a Health Lottery which Dianne said was unlawful and contravenes the 2005 Gambling Act. If it continued it could jeopardize the thriving National Lottery - and its Good Causes. The High Court ruled against Camelot, so she is now taking on the Government to close the loophole in the 2005 Act before other commercial ventures trade in.

Her best achievement she reckons was launching Euromillions in February 2004 in partnership with lotteries in France and Spain. Today taking part are 9 countries, with 3 currencies, in 2 time zones. billions have been paid out in Europe, the UK alone gaining over £1.1 billion.

So, at 61, when does she think she will retire? Initially she planned it this year, after the Olympics. "I had this romantic vision of stepping down as the flame was being extinguished at the closing ceremony". That dream failed when her new bosses asked her to stay on until 2015. "I will retire after that," she says - but who knows? Even if she does admit to enjoying slobbing around in her pyjamas and watching the Eastenders Omnibus, when she retires from Camelot it's a safe bet that she does more than that with her retirement!

PP of DC

 

CHRISTMAS FAIR

We are hoping to hold a Christmas Fair at Mill Park in early December with stalls and a Santa's Grotto for the children. A donation from the event will go to The Children's Hospice South West.

We invite local 'crafters' and 'producers' to 'buy' a stall [tables provided] for £5.00 to display and sell their wares.

Cards, Plants, Knitted Items, Cakes, Jams, Beaded articles, Cakes, Eggs, Meat, Christmas Gifts, Soaps, Candles, etc., all would be very welcome.

There would also be refreshments for stall holders and visitors, a raffle and, of course, Santa and his Grotto for the children.

If you would be interested in helping us to get this event for such a worthwhile cause off the ground, please ring me on [011271] 882036 or 07813034212.

If we do, full details, dates, times, etc. will be in the December issue of the Newsletter. So give me a ring and let's get going!

Steve - Mill Park

 

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS THROUGH THE NEWSLETTER

Yes, it might seem rather early to mention the 'C' word but it will be upon us all too soon!

This popular way of sending greetings to all friends and neighbours in the village could be even more popular this year with postage charges having increased and the cost of cards also risen.

 

To all villagers and particularly newcomers, if you would like to participate please let me have your message, together with a donation, as soon as possible and by THURSDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER at the latest. Messages may be left at the Shop or Chicane and I look forward to receiving them.

If you are concerned that the Manor Hall Christmas Card Exchange might lose out, just to let you know that the donations received are shared between the Manor Hall and the Newsletter. Last year's donations boosted funds for both by a very welcome £150 - so give as generously as you can!

Judie


Miles [11] Joint 1st, Class 3


Dulcie [5] 3rd, Class 1


Ben [4] Joint 2nd, Class 1


Amelia [6] Joint 2nd, Class 1

 
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