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No. 107 - April 01-04-2007

BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP

The first meeting, on 25th January, got off to a fine start with 27 ladies attending. The meeting was held to discuss the yearly subscriptions, monthly entrance fee and future speakers. It was agreed that the yearly subscription should be £12.00, with a 50p entrance each month to cover tea or coffee, biscuits and a raffle. As the Manor Hall is still available on the first Tuesday in each month, it was decided to hold meetings on that afternoon - it is easier to remember!

The February meeting was on the 6th when the speaker was Karen Barker from the Calvert Trust. There are three centres in England, each doing a magnificent job welcoming the disabled, with their families who enjoy a much needed holiday with plenty of activities for both the disabled and able bodied. The raffle was won my Madeline Harris.

David Gayton from the RSPB was the speaker on 6th March. He showed photographs of birds to be found in local gardens. Because of the mild winter, the birds can still find all the food they need in the woods and hedgerows so fewer can be seen in the gardens at the moment. The raffle was won by Joan Wood. Ethel Tidsbury raffled a doll she had knitted and this was won by Ursula Rouse. Four more ladies became members at this meeting, bringing the total to 28.

Our next meeting is on 3rd April when Mr. Mandrey will be telling us about local shipwrecks, and on the 1st May, Susan Coles, an aromatherapist, will be with us.

All monthly meetings now begin at 2.00 p.m. It is hoped that some younger ladies might like to attend before collecting their children from school.

Doreen Prater

 

IN MEMORIAM

It is with sadness we report the death of Bernard Allen and three past residents of the village, Joan Smelt, George Ferguson and Bernard Lewis.

 

JOAN SMELT

Joan, and her husband George, lived at June Cottage, Cross Park, and those who knew her will remember her as a cheerful lady, friendly, full of fun and willing to help anyone, but who terrorised the village on her speedy mo-ped! When George died, Joan moved to Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire to be nearer her family - her daughter Jean and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jean says she often spoke of her time in Berrynarbor, of which she had very fond memories.

Sadly, following a stroke last summer, from which she never fully recovered, Joan died peacefully just before Christmas at the age of 86.

We extend sympathy to Jean and all the family in their loss.

 

GEORGE FERGUSON, M.B.E. 1922 - 2007

Having visited the village last November, attending the Armistice Service at St. Peter's and writing in the December Newsletter, it was a shock and with much sadness that we heard George had died on the

7th February. His funeral at the Parish Church of St. Thomas at Lymington, was attended by his good friends Keith and Margaret Walls.

We send our sincere sympathy to Jean, Sally, Ian and all the family.

___

George was born in Dumfries, South West Scotland. On leaving school he started work as an apprentice in the motor trade. However, his apprenticeship was cut short as in 1939 he signed up for military service. In 1942 the Parachute Regiment was formed and George was one of the original 'Red Berets'. The War took George to many battle fronts - North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Greece and the Far East.

After the War, he decided to remain in the armed services until 1970, when he retired as a Major. During these years he met and married Jean, and they had two children, Sally and Ian.

In 1971, George and Jean came to Berrynarbor and purchased Middle Lee Farm and within twelve months, had turned certain of the outbuildings into self-catering holiday accommodation. He also ran the small farm keeping sheep, chickens, pigs and two donkeys.

They very quickly fitted into village life and George became a member of the Men's Institute, he served as a Parish Councillor and was an enthusiastic member of the local Conservative Party. He was also a member of the Ilfracombe Freemasons' Lodge.

In 1982, George decided to retire so Middle Lee Farm was sold and he and Jean bought a house at Pennington, Hampshire. Now, with more time, George started to play golf more often, and he also became a computer fanatic. Between his hobbies, he and Jean had numerous holidays, often travelling to Australia where his son Ian has settled.

George was last in Berrynarbor in November 2006 when he attended the Armistice Day Service at St. Peter's.

Keith

Life Unbroken

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we are still . . .
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval.
Somewhere very near, just
around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland [18347-1918]
Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral

 

BERNARD ALLEN

The village was deeply saddened to learn that Bernard had lost the battle he had so bravely and cheerfully fought and passed away on the 12th February aged 81 years.

St. Peter's, beautifully decorated with yellow and white flowers, was full for his funeral on the 21st, and the sun shone as he finally left the village, his home for some thirty years.

A beloved husband, dad and granddad he will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with Eunice, Val and Jeff and his five grandchildren at this difficult time.

___

I should like to thank all my friends and neighbours for the wonderful support and sympathy they showed me during the time both before and after Bernard's death in February. The tributes to him and the large number of cards and flowers which were sent, were a great comfort to me and my two children, Val and Jeff, and my five wonderful grandchildren.

Eunice - Bali Hai

Bernard Allen

[with thanks to John Gale and John Saffin]

Bernard and Eunice have known one another from the time she was in her pushchair! Their parents were friends and they grew up together through the school years. They lived in Maidenhead and were married in 1951 where they brought up their two children, Val and Jeff.

During the War, Bernard became a Bevan Boy, later completing his engineering apprenticeship, gaining qualifications, and over the years his engineering skills secured him various posts until in 1978 he joined Selkirk in North Devon where he rapidly became a much respected employee until his retirement.

An articulate, positive man with very high standards, Bernard was a perfectionist in all he undertook - from mending things in and around the house to his wonderful hillside garden. Over the last years, he was a stalwart of the North Coast U3A, giving generously of his time to various groups, especially history and local history, and acting as an outstanding Membership Secretary.

In his eulogy at Bernard's funeral and we couldn't agree more with him. John said: 'For the last five years I'm sure we have all been impressed by Bernard's bravery and strength of will to overcome the effects of his cancer. He could so easily have given up and turned inwards. Speaking was difficult but he continued to speak publicly and to ignore his difficulties; asked for and expected no special consideration, he just wanted to be treated normally. Only Eunice will know how much it cost him to persevere. I have always admired Bernard, never more so than in these last years, moths, weeks and final days!

 

BERNARD LEWIS

It is with sadness that I am writing to tell you that my beloved husband Bernard passed quietly away in his sleep on Tuesday, 6th March, in his 96th year. A few days before that, he had a fall resulting in a fractured hip and although he survived the operation, other medical problems arose which he was unable to fight, due no doubt to his advanced age.

However, he had a very good life, especially the 28 years at Berrynarbor.

We shall be having a private family humanist funeral at Yeovil Crematorium on Friday, 16th March.

Arline

Arline, we are deeply sorry to hear your news and send you our love and thoughts at this time of sadness.

 

REMEMBERING GORDON NEWTON [1920 - 2006]

One of ten children, Gordon was born at Berrydown in June 1920 and spent all his working life in Berrynarbor. He married Vera Dummett, one of eleven children, in 1940 at Berrynarbor church and lived at 6 Croft Lea with Vera's sister Doreen, her husband Fred Spear and mother-in-law Louisa Dummett. Gordon was then working as a farm labourer at Sloley Farm for Lester Bowden and the next five years saw the arrival of Gordon and Vera's first three children - Derek, Joan and Bernard - all born at No. 6. As the house became more and more crowded with only three bedrooms, and no bathroom, Gordon decided it was time to move! So he bought the cottage at 18 Hagginton Hill for the sum of £500. There was no inside toilet until the mid to late 1960's when the main sewers came down the hill. The family lived there happily for another five years and then another three children were born - Christine, Pamela and Patsy. The baby, Patsy, was just eleven months old when Vera tragically died of cancer, aged 39, in 1957, leaving Gordon alone with the six children. His sisters-in-law helped and Joan was given special dispensation to leave school at the tender age of 14 to bring up the three young children.

     

During the time the family lived at Hagginton Hill, Gordon did many different jobs to earn a living: working on several farms, and before the arrival of myxomatosis, he caught rabbits using gin traps [later banned]. He caught hundreds of rabbits a week, supplying local butchers and sending many to London to help with the food shortage after the war. He rented many plots of land around Berrynarbor, growing fresh vegetables and supplying local shops and guest houses. He also grew anemones which the older children helped to pick and put into bunches of 12. These were put into boxes and sent to the flower markets in London. Later on, Gordon went to work on the buildings, first working with Les Bowen in the Sterridge Valley and then with Tom Greenaway. He helped build and renovate many properties around the village and surrounding area.

When he finally retired and all the children had left home, the house and garden became too much for him and so No. 18 was sold. He was sad to leave the village and all its fond memories, where he had spent his life and had so many friends. He moved to a small bungalow in Ilfracombe where he met Grace, who became his partner for the next 17 years until his death.

Gordon sadly died in November 2006 and leaves his partner Grace and his 6 children and their families, which include 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. He was much loved, much admired and will be greatly missed by all his family and friends.

 

Derek and Cyndy

It was not without sadness and nostalgia that I read in the February Newsletter that Gordon Newton had died.

As a family, we lived next door to Gordon and his family - Mrs. D. Miller, my grandmother, lived in Sunrise Cottage and my mother, Mrs. Heather Zapletal, my brother Rod and myself lived in the bungalow up the garden.

Most fine days we would see Gordon working his garden and very often veg. or fruit would be handed over the hedge for us. I remember my grandmother saying that Gordon had helped her with the odd jobs she was unable to do.

I remember the excitement at lambing time and occasionally Gordon would take me up to the field behind us to see his lambs and bottle feed some of them. My first introduction to clotted cream on jam and bread came from sometimes having tea in his house.

Those wonderful childhood memories have always stayed with me. My sympathy and best wishes go to all his family at this sad time.

  Litzi

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

The songs of Praise at the beginning of March was very well attended and already hymns have been chosen for the next one on 1st April, Palm Sunday. There will be a notepad at the back of the church to give everyone the opportunity of choosing a favourite hymn and hopefully coming along to help sing it! Sunday, 6th May will be the next date.

It would be lovely to see the church as full at Easter as it was at Christmas. There will be a Quiet Hour led by Rector Keith on Good Friday, 2.00 - 3.00 p.m., with hymns, readings and prayers. Do set aside time to come if you can. Then in the late afternoon, the flower arrangers will arrive to begin decorating the church ready for Easter Day. Please let Linda know if you would like to contribute towards the cost of lilies [Tel. 882600]. On Easter Sunday the Family Communion Service will begin at 11.00 a.m. Will there be surprises for the children?

Special Services during May? Sunday 27th will be Whitsun, which actually coincides with the Bank Holiday this year! So hopefully lots of visitors to join in our Family Communion Service.

There was a lovely atmosphere at the Pancake Day Coffee Morning and Knit-In. The pancakes were delicious and at the end a donation of £65 was made to church funds. Our thanks to the organisers and the valiant team in the kitchen.

The next Coffee Morning held by the PCC will be on Election Day, Thursday, 3rd May, in the Manor Hall, from 9.30 a.m. until noon. Please come along and support us and as always gifts for the various stalls will be most welcome.

We are all looking forward to the Friendship Lunches at The Globe on Wednesdays 25th April and 23rd May. It was lovely to see all the familiar faces again in February and two friends were celebrating birthdays.

This year Christian Aid Week is from 13th to 19th May. After the successful house-to-house collection last year, envelopes will be delivered and collected once again for those who wish to make a donation. Look out for the posters!

Mary Tucker

* * *

The Annual Meeting of the PCC was held in the vestry on the evening of Thursday, 15th March. Listening to the various reports, it was astonishing how much had been achieved over the year and how much time members of the Council had spent on the work of the church. This meeting is open to all whose names are on the Electoral Roll: perhaps more will manage to come next year. The Rector expressed his thanks to all the Officers of the PCC and to the ladies who now clean the church on a rota basis, not forgetting Bet Brooks who continues to polish the brassware. Once again there is a strong team of bell ringers and Michael Bowden was able to report that all is in good order. The churchyard is being well maintained by Tom Tucker and Matthew Walls.

PCC Officers continue as before:

Churchwardens:Doreen Prater and Stuart Neale
Secretary:Marion Carter
Treasurer:Mary Tucker
Additional Members:Sylvia Berry, Janet Gibbins, Jean Ed & David Steed<
Deputy Wardens:Sylvia Berry, Janet Gibbins, David Steed<

We are sorry to lose Margaret Walls from the PCC after more than five years' service, three spent as Treasurer. Margaret will continue as Magazine Distributor and is still a Sidesman. No doubt we shall also see her behind the plant stall at various events!

Margaret Andrews has not been with us for some months now due to ill-health but continues to do what she can from home and is with us in spirit. She has recently taken on the Chairmanship of Christians Together in Combe Martin and Berrynarbor and we wish her well. Margaret says thank you for all the support and prayers she has received during her incapacity.

We are already a quarter of the way through 2007 and with your support we look forward to another year of fellowship and growth.

M.T.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

A timely reminder to all newcomers to the Village. The local elections are due to be held on 3rd May 2007.

To be eligible to vote in this election, electoral services need your current address in order to enter your name on the electoral register. If you think you may not have been registered in October when the forms went out, it might be a good idea to contact Electoral Services at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple - 01271 388277 - as soon as possible to make sure your name is on the current electoral register. The last date to register is 18th April. The following link will answer most questions: wwwaboutmyvote.co.uk.

 

WEATHER OR NOT

It seems no time at all since we prepared the report for the end of 2006 and the report for the first two months of 2007 is already overdue - it is unbelievable how quickly the time has gone by.

The first three weeks of January were quite wet, windy and mild. There was only one day without recordable rain and by the 22nd we had recorded 144mm [5¾"], with the wettest day being the 6th with 26mm [1"] in the gauge. This was, in fact, the total rainfall for the month as after this the rain stopped. The daytime temperature was into double figures throughout most of this time but when the rain stopped, the temperature dropped a bit.

The maximum temperature during January was 13.2 Deg C on the 9th, and the minimum -0.4 Deg C on the 25th, with a wind chill factor on the 25th of -10 Deg C. The top wind speed was 43 knots on the 22nd.

We were away for part of February and March, so the period we are covering overall is from the 1st February to the 6th March inclusive, much of the information was gathered for us by Bill Jones, for which we thank him.

Winter arrived briefly on the 7th February with snow on three days although in the village we managed to miss a lot of it. Daytime temperatures climbed steadily through February and March with a high of 14.3 Deg C on the 24th; the average night-time temperature was 5.7 Deg C. The rainfall for this period totalled 221mm [8¾"] and although we have no record of the wettest day, we think it was the 2nd March. The coldest night-time temperature was -0.7 Deg C on the 5th February with a wind chill on the 9th of -10 Deg C.

The wet weather in these first two months was reflected in the sunshine records. Both January, with 7.24 hours, and February, with 24.05 hours, were down on previous years for the same period.

Looking at the records that Bill kept for us, we think that we did the right thing by going to New Zealand when we did! Apart from one drizzly day, we enjoyed beautiful, very warm, sunny weather the whole time we were away. It was nice to see all the signs of spring when we got home.

Sue and Simon

 

PANCAKE COFFEE MORNING & KNIT IN

Shrove Tuesday at the Manor Hall saw what is now becoming a tradition - great activity in the kitchen and ladies furiously clicking their knitting needles!

The 16 knitters produced over 16 feet of colourful 'strips' and raised £548 for the North Devon Hospice, who say: "Well done and pats on the back all round to the fab. Berrynarbor group!"

With Janet at the frying pan producing scrumptious pancakes and Sally at the raffle, together with their band of able helpers, a sum of £130 was raised, with half going to Church funds and the other half to the Hospice.

Another very successful morning and thank you to everyone who supported the event.

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

We have had a busy Spring Term and survived the seasonal colds and bugs as well as inclement weather.

Firstly, the staff and children at the school would like to extend a very big thank you to our wonderful Friends of Berrynarbor School who continue to offer exceptional support to the school. Through fundraising events we have been provided with 10 keyboards to enhance music lessons [with headphones, I hasten to add!]. We have also received the gift of a whole-class set of waterproofs for all of our adventures in the Sterridge Valley.

We have received an award for providing children with an active and health focussed curriculum - The P.E.D.P.A.S.S. Award. This award also provided new playtime equipment worth £150 to encourage active playtimes. So, well done to all our staff for offering such a rich and varied programme of learning indoors and out.

In January and February, Class 2 wrote and created a class play based on a West African traditional story - The Leopard's Drum. The story tells how the tortoise may have earned his tough, hard shell. We visited Exmoor Zoological Park to find out more about some of the animals we were focussing on. We also supported the Park in their campaign to raise funds for Lemurs in Madagascar.


 
Reuben Noall, Year 2


 
Oliver Ivan, Year 2


 
Callum Rudd, Age 7


 
Macy Ivan, Year 2


 
Caolân Darch, Age 8

Lastly, I should like to say a fond farewell to you all. I am due to become the new Head Teacher at Caen Primary School in Braunton after Easter. I have enjoyed my four years as Head of Berrynarbor School. This school has a wonderful atmosphere of friendliness and calm which is very special. Especial thanks to Reverend Wyer and the Church community who have given the school encouragement and support in all its endeavours.

Mrs. Susan Carey has been appointed as the new Head Teacher and I wish her, the school and the community the very best for the future.

Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Head Teacher

Karen, may we in turn thank you for the wonderful care you have taken of our school over the last four years - you will be missed. However, we wish you well in your new post at Braunton and look forward to welcoming Susan Carey at the start of the Summer Term.

 

BERRYNARBOR PRIMARY SCHOOL GARDENING CLUB

Jac, Ella, Molly and Elyse

Things are once again coming to life in our little garden and the children have been busy sowing seeds to hopefully produce lots of vegetables and salads for their school dinners.

A big thank you to the Berry in Bloom team who very kindly donated a generous £100 to our funds. We hope to buy seeds and equipment for our greenhouse with it. Other projects this year include a carrot growing competition in conjunction with Trelawney Garden Centre and a Great Pumpkin Competition with Rosemoor.

Last autumn we planted mini pots of daffodils for Marie Curie Cancer Care - here are some of the children from Class 1 with their results.

 

BERRYNARBOR PARISH COUNCIL

The Annual Parish Meeting will take place in the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 10th April, 7.00 p.m., prior to the monthly Parish Council Meeting. Everyone is welcome.

 

CHAIRMAN'S ANNUAL REPORT

This past year has been very rewarding: Councillors have been actively working together with other organisations for the benefit of the village. We are at present working with the Berry in Bloom group on the redesign of Claude's Garden. Over the past few years, the maintenance costs have been very high. The new layout will be low maintenance and will allow once again a view down into the village from the seating area. Congratulations must again go to the Berry in Bloom group and helpers who this year won two separate awards. The Manor Hall Committee, together with Councillor Gingell, has sorted out the trees around the Manor Hall and thanks to them and anyone else who helped.

We have actively been trying to get a regular bus service resumed through Berrynarbor, and continue to fight. To date we have only been able to get Stagecoach to agree to a service from Barnstaple to Combe Martin, at half hourly intervals, Monday to Saturday, starting on the 8th April. Stagecoach will also put on a bus between Combe Martin and Woolacombe. The buses will be 78-seater double-deckers, and will have a low floor to make them more accessible to everyone.

Councillors have been inundated with complaints concerning access to the headland at Watermouth Cove. Whilst I cannot go into detail, the matters are being addressed with the Public Rights of Way Committee now being involved.

The parking problems outside the school have now been resolved with all parties involved and we are waiting for the formal traffic order.

The Council would like to express its thanks to Judie, who has edited and produced the Berrynarbor Newsletter so well over so many years. She always includes points from the Parish Council minutes - all this takes so much of her time at no expense to the village.

Finally I should like to personally thank all the Councillors and the Clerk for all the hard work and time they put in to the running of our village. As you know May brings with it Local Elections, so if there is anyone who thinks they might like to stand for Parish Council, please do have a word with one of the existing Councillors or our Clerk as soon as possible as nominations should be in by noon on Wednesday, 4th April.

Sue Sussex - Chairman

 

ON A THOUSAND A YEAR . . .

In this issue, I write about my father, Sidney Beauclerk, who was born in 1864. He married twice, once in about 1890 to Alice Matilda and later in 1925 to my mother, Vi. Sidney and Alice, or rather Alice, was a builder. She would have been called a 'field ranger' and built many roads of houses at East Ham, Manor Park and Forest Gate.

As you will see from the pictures, they lived in a fine house called 'The Towers' at Snaresbrook. They had servants, including maid, coachman and gardener. A maid in those days would have earned about 50p a week and her keep and uniform. The final picture shows my half-brother, Gerald, as a baby on the lawn with his nursemaid by the stables.

My father gave up his horse-drawn carriage for a modern car, as shown, but probably due to building slowing down, he and Alice moved on.

During World War II, a flying bomb landed on The Towers, which blew out a lot of the back of the house. However, upon our return to Upminster, I asked Gerald if we could go and see it. He agreed and took me there where we found the stairs still intact and were able to see quite a lot. I look in wonderment - such splendour on a thousand pounds a year!

The Towers was to be rebuilt by the War Damage Commission and for some odd reason they offered our family £6,000. My family declined and it was not rebuilt and the site was later turned into two plots with two houses. The lives of the Beauclerk family became more ordinary over the years as the cost of living and inflation took its toll.

I hope you enjoy this little insight into history and the photographs, which would have been taken on a plate camera about 100 years ago.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Telephone: [01271] 8833785.

 

COMBE MARTIN CARNIVAL

Planning is well on the way for this year's Carnival which will start on Saturday 4th August, and for the first time run over 8 days, finishing on Saturday 11th August with the raft race, as this will be the best tide of the week to hold the event.

Our first fund raiser will be the Easter Bingo at the village hall on Wednesday 4th April, eyes down at 8.00 p.m. - all welcome.

Presentation of the cheques awarded to local organisations will take place on Monday 23rd April, at 8.00 p.m. in the function room of The Royal Marine. This will be a social evening for all members of the Carnival Club and any one else who would like to join will be welcome - wine and cheese will be available. The Carnival Committee would like to thank Merv and Pat for their hospitality.

We are now taking bookings for Strawberry Fayre, Sunday 17th June. If you would like to book a table, please contact our Secretary, John Fletcher on 883924.

Sue Sussex - Carnival Chairman

 

HATCHED

Chris and Barbara Gubb are delighted to announce the arrival of the first grandchild, A son for John and Sarah, Charlie John arrived on the 25th November 2006, weighing in at 8lbs 10oz.

Our belated congratulations to John and Sarah and the proud grandparents and a warm welcome to Charlie John.

Twins at Briar Cottage: Happy grandparents, Nora and Alan, announce the safe delivery of John, at 4lbs 11oz, and Emily, at 4lbs 5oz, twins to Kate and Tony Rowlands. Born at St. Michael's Hospital, Bristol, on the 27th February, the babies and mother are doing very well; father, despite fore knowledge, is still in a state of shock!

Double trouble! But congratulations and best wishes to you all.

A very warm welcome to Ruby May, currently the youngest resident of our village. Ruby May, a first child and daughter for Denise and Daniel of Venture Cottage, was born on the 10th March and weighed 6lbs 10oz. New home - new baby, and after a bit of a rough ride all is now fine. Well done!

 

MANOR HALL NEWS

During the Easter period, the fuse boxes and switches in the Hall are due to be updated, which will bring the standard of electrical wiring up to the latest legislation.

Trees have been cut down in the grounds to save damage to the Manor Hall roof tiles and work is progressing on tidying the hedges on both the road side and the car park.

We should like to thank the people, holiday makers I think, who left a cheque for £40.00 at The Globe recently - the money was given for the upkeep of the Hall.

Finally, it is getting near AGM time and we should welcome anyone interested in joining us to look after the Manor Hall for the people of Berrynarbor.

Bob Hobson

THE BERRY BROADCASTING COMPANY

'In the Beginning'

Well, that's the end of an era for me. All that remains is to reiterate my thanks to the many people that have performed, helped and attended the performances over the years. I know that I speak for Stuart as well when I say this. This year's Show was a credit to everyone who took part, as has been the every year.

We all have our favourite memories of past acts, but in their own way they have all shone. A lot of the acts over the years have been a 'first performance', but the performers still came back for more!

The proceeds from the Shows have gone to a diverse selection of charities. Although most of them have been local village ones, other organisations, for example the Special Care Baby Unit and Children's Ward at the North Devon District Hospital have also benefited from the efforts of the BBC. I think that the total sum raised over the years is close to £20,000.

For those of you interested, a recording has been made of the last Show, which will I think include clips from past years.

There will be a village Get Together later on in the year - all invited - just our way of saying 'Thank You' for all your support.

Our accounts will be made available should anyone wish to see what has been achieved over the years. The equipment that has been bought by the Show has been left in the Manor Hall for the use of the village.

Thanks again. Songbird

 

'It's not where you start but where you finish' - the BBC

It all began as a 40's Night at The Globe and for 15 years under the guidance of Songbird - our own BBC has brought great entertainment and fun to so many of us and realised the multi-talents of villagers - old and young alike, with some participating as toddlers through to teenagers.

Many local charities have benefited from the proceeds - the Newsletter being just one - and I should like to take this opportunity to thank Gary and everyone involved with the Shows over the years for the hard work and dedication they have put in to give us first class entertainment.

The BBC must also be thanked for the fittings and equipment with which they have furnished the Manor Hall and for donating it for the future use of the village.

'It's not where you start but where you finish, and you've all finished on top'!

Judie

 

THE VILLAGE SHOW

The village Show . . . what can I say? Well I don't know what it's like out front, but behind the scenes it is, as you can probably guess, a bit of a riot and tremendous fun!

It all starts just before Christmas, when we get the call from Gary to meet in The Globe. We have a few beers, throw around a lot of ideas, all of which seem enormously witty and brilliant, and it is agreed that we will start rehearsing the second Wednesday in January. As nobody has, of course, written this down, come the date we all forget to turn up! But a week later we do assemble and desperately try to remember all those enormously witty and brilliant ideas. We fail and so start from scratch.

For the next month, we turn up at the Sawmills and confuse the customers by singing/dancing/performing as they play darts, skittles or try and eat their romantic Valentine's Dinner. Stuart battles on nobly on the keyboard against background muzak and the rest of us fall in and out of love as people fail to show for rehearsals - "Oh I didn't know you meant this Tuesday" . . . "I thought you said 9.30 not 8.30".

By the end of February we move to the Manor Hall and 15 more cast members appear who have been secretly rehearsing at home. Strange conversations are overheard in the pub ranging from "So Seretse, do you still have that outsized bra and feather boa?" to "What I really need are three piano legs and a rifle", "Tony can I borrow your flippers?" and "Has anyone seen the cow?"

Then comes the dress rehearsal, and I have to admit you get to know people so very much better than you ever would over a pint or dinner. There is nothing quite as intimate as a crowded dressing room for breaking down barriers and cementing friendships. And while we all behave like divas going frightfully over the top, Gary quietly rebuilds the stage, the sparkies rewire the lights and the sound technician tunes and tweaks the microphones. And all the while Chris Jenner remains unflappable, writing copious notes such as 'Exit Hitler stage L. Enter 3 grannies req. stand mikes. Cue B Hill strobe'.

On the night, it is a bit of an alcoholic whir and then suddenly it is all over for another year and life, I have to confess, is a little bit flat. But will it happen again next year? I do hope so. BUT we need some brave person to come forward, not to replace Gary [he is, after all, irreplaceable], but to marshal all those talents and skills. They must cajole Gary into revealing just exactly how the stage fits together, plead with Stuart to

continue to play, find another way of killing Derek off, persuade Judie to produce the tickets and programmes and Alan to sell the ice cream. And last, but not least, request Ron to man the door because 'LET'S go on with the Show'.

Fenella

 

WATERMOUTH CASTLE AND ESTATE

The Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, on Friday, 20th September, 1946, at 3 p.m. saw Messrs. Jackson Stops & Staff auction the Valuable Freehold Estate

WATERMOUTH CASTLE

Watermouth

ILFRACOMBE

including the Castellated Mansion containing Fourteen Bedrooms,

Great Hall and Six Reception Rooms, Eight Bathrooms, Nine W.C's

Sub-tropical Gardens, Beautiful Cliffs and Foreshore

DELIGHTFUL LAND-LOCKED HARBOUR CALLED WATERMOUTH

with Bathing Beach and Boathouse. Lydford and Widmouth Farms, Secondary Residences, Watermouth House and Watermouth Cottage,

several other Cottages, Valuable Woodlands in all

407 Acres

North Devon Journal-Herald, September 1946:

Watermouth Castle, the North Devon residence for many generations of the Bassett family, was to be auctioned in the Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, yesterday, but just before the commencement of the sale the auctioneer said Watermouth Castle [Lot 1], the gardener's cottage and gardens [Lot 2] and the sawmill on the estate [Lot 13] had all been sold privately.

Watermouth Castle, a castellated mansion with its 86 acres had been purchased by Mrs. L.E. Lewis of Langleigh Park House, Ilfracombe. The sawmill was bought by an old tenant, Mr. F.W. Banks, in neither instance was the price paid disclosed.

Messrs. Chalke and Son of Salisbury bought most of the woodland giving £4,000 for 72 acres, comprising Northfield wood and pasture; £1,800 for Mill wood 12 acres; and "1,900 for Gratton Plantation 30 acres. Mr. B. Watts, the tenant, bought Lydford Farm, 69 acres for £3,700; Watermouth cottage, £1,125 and 25 acres of pasture and arable fields of which he is tenant £1,025. Watermouth House with cottage and four acres made £2,650 to Mr. F. Annear, solicitor, Ilfracombe. Mr. Waldron gave £1,650 for Widmouth Farm and six acres and £1,100 for eighteen acres of accommodation land.

Other lots sold were: Two pasture fields of seven acres to Mr. Toms, £400; pasture field and wood eight acres Mr. Harris £520; Bamants wood 13 acres Mr. F.J. Richards £750, who also bought Hagginton Hill Cottage and reservoir for £750; and Woolscott Cleave Plantation in Sterridge Valley, 46 acres, was bought by Mrs. Harris for £160.

Don Thirkell - St. Columb Major, Cornwall

 

AUSTRIAN FOLK SONG

Heard on the radio many years ago, this poignantly beautiful tribute lay buried in some deep recess of memory to surface recently, without prompting, complete with its simple, plaintive melody. I can't reproduce the latter but here the words, attributed to that great poet Anon and translated by another of the same name [not myself].

How can I leave thee?
How can I bear to part?
That thou hast all my heart,
Dearest believe.

Thou hast this soul of mine,
So wholly is it
That I can love no-one
But thee alone.

Were I a bird love,
Soon would I fly to thee.
Falcon nor
hawk tone
Would terror bring.

If slain by huntsman's hand
I at thy feet lay dead,
If thou one tear didst shed
Gladly I'd die.

Blue is the flow'ret
Called the forget-me-not.
Oh lay it on the heart
And think of me.

Should fate be too unkind,
Hope gone faith out of mind,
Love shall remain with us,
Dearest, believe.

Trev

 

LETTER FROM THE RECTOR

The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends

Easter celebrates New Life. Jesus was raised from the dead and  appeared to the disciples.

All that happened about two thousand years ago. What about now? Today I came across Anthony Bloom's book,  "School for Prayer." He writes:

" While I was reading the beginning of St. Mark's Gospel, before I reached the third chapter, I suddenly became aware that on the other side of my desk there was a presence. And the certainty was so strong  that it was Christ standing there that it has never left me.This was the real turning point.Because Christ was alive and I had been in his presence I could say with certainty that what the Gospel said  about the crucifixion of the prophet from Galilee was true, and the centurion was right when he said "Truly he is the Son of God"... I became absolutely certain within myself that Christ is alive and that certain things existed.I didn't have all the answers, but having  touched that experience, I was certain that ahead of me there were nswers, visions, possibilities."

His presence and New Life is here for all of us to experience. That s a real cause for celebration.

A Happy and Joyful Easter to you all,
With all good wishes,
Your Friend and Rector,
Keith Wyer

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS - 31

A story partly based on true facts

Once upon a springtime, a main road running out of town was being repaired. With temporary traffic lights in place, most drivers were happy to tolerate the extra time incurred upon their journey. One driver, however, was not prepared to wait. His name was Mr. White Van Man.

Mr. White Van Man didn't like his job very much. Every morning he would go in to work and collect his delivery list, and every day there would be far too many deliveries for him to finish when he should. Time, therefore, was precious to him. If there was one thing he hated most of all, it was road works. So when he came upon the queue of cars on the main road, he looked at his map for an alternative route. Luckily, he found one along a nearbycountry lane. The route saved him time, so long as he didn't meet any people walking along the lane. Meeting people meant having to slow down. Worse still, it meant losing the precious time he had gained. Frustrated, he decided one day to toot his horn whenever he saw some one. This had the desired effect, with people quickly getting out of his way.

On this particular morning, he saw a very old man who was standing in the lane with his back to him. Mr. White Van Man tooted and tooted until his thumb was sore, but still the old man did not move. Assuming he was deaf, Mr. White Van Man got out of his vehicle and loudly slammed his van door. Slowly, the old man turned to face him.

"I noticed you heard me slam my door!" shouted Mr. White Van Man.

"I did," replied the old man. "And I also heard your horn."

"Then why didn't you get out of my way?"

"Because I was enjoying this lovely spring morning," explained the old man.

"But that's not my concern!" snapped Mr. White Van Man, "I've got loads of parcels to deliver."

"And what, might I ask, is the rush?" enquired the old man.

"Because if I didn't rush, I wouldn't get them delivered on time. And then I probably wouldn't get home until this evening. Look, I'll go and get my list."

"I believe you," replied the old man, reassuringly, "But can you not see that by rushing you are missing out on all that is going on around you?"

"But there's nothing to see."

"Dear boy," said the old man with a chuckle, "Just look around you. Can you not see the wonderful primroses stretching along this bank? And look, close by you, the marvellous sunshine flowers of celandine. And just there, in the hedgerow, a little wren is bobbing about. And look at that nest, high up in the oak tree. Nature's own work of art. And all this, you see, is just the start."

"The start of what?" asked Mr. White Van Man.

"The start of spring. Soon the wood will be a carpet of bluebells; the hedgerow will be awash with cow parsley. Everything, you see, is coming to life!"

"And my life won't be worth living if I don't get these parcels delivered on time. And I won't be earning a living, either."

"Poppycock!" replied the old man.

"You don't know my manager," explained Mr. White Van Man. "If I took my time delivering this lot, I'd hate to think what time I'd finish. And if I went back to the depot with any of these parcels still on the van, I'd be shown the door. So now do you see? I have no choice but to rush."

With that Mr. White Van Man walked away and got back into his vehicle. He started the engine and the old man stepped to one side to let the van pass. Then, just as it went to pass him, the old man put his hand up. Mr. White Van Man pulled up alongside him and wound down the window.

"What now?" he asked rudely.

The old man smiled and then said, "A poor life this is, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare."

"If you say so." And with that Mr. White Van Man sped away and then laughed at what the old man had said. As he did so, he glanced into his rear view mirror. Instantly he stopped laughing and turned icy cold. The old man had vanished.

Steve McCarthy

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

It has been decided that the village will enter the Britain in Bloom and Best Kept Village competitions again this year. The emphasis is on natural sustainable beauty and care for the environment. As usual we know we can count on everyone to pick up any litter, scoop the poop [please don't throw the bags in the hedge], and go mad with flowers. The first meeting of the year in The Globe was well attended and the first litter pick gathered the usual motley assortment of 'goodies' including a badger's skull!

We have asked Streamways Nurseries at Georgeham for their help again with the hanging baskets. Anyone who wants to join in the scheme [we take the empty baskets to them and they deliver them back beautifully filled for a reasonable price], please contact Wendy on 882296.

Our main fund raising events are the Open Gardens. The two dates this year are: Sterridge Valley Gardens on Sunday, 17th June, with teas at Chicane, thanks to Ken and Judie, and the Village Gardens on Sunday, 15th July with teas at The Lodge thanks to Phil and Lynne. We are always looking for new gardens, so if you think your garden is up to friendly scrutiny, please do let us know.

Thanks to Pat and Maureen for the donation from the coffee morning held on 9th March at Fuchsia Cottage, and to Rainer and Jill for the donation from the Flowerpot Men books.

We are on the lookout for small, plastic flowerpots to pot on the small plug plants we have ordered. If you can spare any, please drop them off to Jenny at Middle Lee Farm.

Happy gardening to you all.

 

Recipe for Easter

As it is almost Easter, this is a simple Simnel Loaf Cake. All the ingredients can be purchased at our local village shop - except maybe the Cointreau!

2 Oranges, grated zest and juice

2 tbsp Cointreau [or Vodka]

350g/12oz mixed dried fruit

100g/4oz glace cherries

500g pack marzipan

200g/8oz soft butter, diced

200g/8oz caster sugar

350g/12oz self-raising flour

4 large free-range eggs

2 tbsp milk

Heat oven to 160 Deg C/fan 140 Deg C/gas 3

Soak the mixed fruit and halved cherries in the orange juice and Cointreau/vodka with the orange zest. Grease and line a 2kg loaf tin or halve the mixture for a 1kg tin. Halve the marzipan. Roll half in to a sausage shape and flatten to the shape of the tin.

Beat the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and milk with an electric hand whisk in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the fruit and juice. Spoon in half the mix then cover with the marzipan. Top with the rest of the mix and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour 50 mins until risen and firm to the touch. Take care when testing with a skewer as the marzipan will be sticky. Cool in the tin and when cold remove the lining paper. Keep wrapped in foil for up to 2 weeks. Decorate on the day you serve the cake.

Mix 5oz icing sugar with the juice and zest of an orange. You need the icing to be runny enough to flow thickly over the cake and drip over the sides. Top with 11 balls made from the remaining marzipan - these represent the 12 Apostles minus Judas. Little yellow chicks and Easter eggs would add the final touch.

Wendy

GARDEN VISITORS

Many of us will have watched and even taken part in Springwatch with Bill Oddie, Kate Humble and Simon King, so let's take part in our own Garden Watch.

There are more than 15 million gardens in the UK which provide important homes to wildlife and nowhere more than here in Berrynarbor where many of us provide food, shelter and water to make our gardens into 'wildlife homes'.

Do you have a pond with frog or toad spawn? Have you already seen a bumble bee or peacock butterfly? A kingfisher and little egret have recently been spied in the Valley. What birds have visited your feeders and garden recently? But not only birds, have you had unusual butterflies, wild animals or perhaps even snakes? Please make a written note, just a brief one with the variety [perhaps a photograph] and let us know so that we can build up our own overall picture of wildlife here in the village over the seasons. Spot it, record it! Thanks.

 

BEN

Liz and Graham [Goodenough] would like to thank the two drivers who stayed with lurcher Ben and comforted him following his accident at the corner of Barton Lane. A very lucky [but naughty] boy, he is home again and other than a fractured shoulder blade is none the worse for wear. If it was you, or you know who these kind people were, please contact Liz as she and Graham would like to thank you personally [01271 8797490].

 

ISAAC MERRITT SINGER

October 26th 1811 - July 23rd 1875
Founder of Singer Sewing Machines and builder of
Oldway
Mansion, Paignton

An item by Victoria Graham on BBC News Spotlight at the end of January caught my attention. "Torbay Council" she said, "Is considering selling Oldway Mansion in Paignton, which it claims is too expensive to maintain." Nothing remarkable in that - I'd not heard of the place. Then she continued, "Oldway Mansion was bought by Isaac Merritt Singer, the founder of the sewing machine company in 1871." Now that was interesting because I'd always thought Singer was an American company.

The research proved fascinating, Isaac Singer's personal life equalling - if not outdoing - his business acumen. He was born in Pittstown, New York, the youngest son of Adam Singer [a German immigrant whose family name was Reisinger] and his first wife Ruth. When Isaac was 10 his parents divorced. He didn't get on with his stepmother and at the age of 12, went to live with his older brother who had a machine shop. Here he grew into a strapping young man of 6'4" and as an apprentice learnt the machinist trade that would provide his vast fame and fortune. His real love, however, was acting and at the age of 19 he left to join a touring group of actors.

In 1830 he married Catherine Haley and there are conflicting reports about the next few years. What is known is that his personal life became complicated. He and Catherine returned to New York with their son William, born in 1834. He again worked in a machine shop, but was still bitten by the acting bug, and by 1836 was once more 'treading the boards'. Now 25, he met 18-year old Mary Ann Sponseler and proposed marriage. In 1837 he fathered two children: Lillian by Catherine, and Isaac by Mary Ann. Not surprisingly his and Catherine's marriage was effectively over although they didn't divorce until 1860 on the grounds of her adultery! Mary Ann, unfazed by the fact that Isaac was already married, agreed to their presenting themselves as a married couple and over the years produced 10 children of his.

In 1839 he patented a machine to drill rock, selling it for $2000. With this money he went back to the stage, forming the Merritt players and using the name Isaac Merritt. Mary Ann appeared as Mrs Merritt. The troupe toured for about 5 years until the money ran out.

In 1844 Isaac took a job in a print shop in Fredricksberg, Ohio. Moving to Pittsburgh, he invented and patented a machine for carving wood and metal. In 1850 he was invited to Boston by Orson G Phelps to continue developing his machine. Phelps was making Lerow and Blodgett sewing machines, which were difficult to make and use.

Singer did not invent the sewing machine and never claimed to have done. It was first invented by an Englishman,Thomas Saint in 1790, and went on to be 'invented' several more times.

  

Initial machines had a chain stitch, which could easily unravel. In 1833, an American, Walter Hunt invented [but failed to patent] a machine that used a lock stitch which all subsequent machines used, including Lerow and Blodgett's.

Isaac Singer's cutting machine was not a success, but he saw how he could improve Lerow and Blodgett's sewing machines by introducing a straight needle instead of a curved one, and a shuttle that moved in a straight line. He patented his design in 1851. Up to this time, industry - mainly tailors - used the heavy sewing machines, but now smaller ones were available for home use and I M Singer and Co made it happen.

Singer then crossed the Atlantic, opening a factory in Clydebank, with agencies in Paris and Rio de Janeiro, making Singer's one of the first American multinationals. Such was his financial success that he moved his second family into a mansion on Fifth Avenue. Whilst continuing to live with Mary Ann, he had an affair with Mary Eastwood Walters who bore him a daughter, Alice. The real crunch came, however, when, already suspicious, Mary Ann spotted Isaac, driving openly in a carriage with Mary McGonigal, an employee who it later emerged had already borne him 5 children! [All these Mary's must have made things easier for him!]

Mary Ann was furious and had Singer arrested for domestic violence. Let out on bail, but with his reputation in tatters, he fled to London with Mary McGonigal.

Shortly afterwards, Singer moved to Paris where he renewed acquaintance with Isabella Eugenie Boyer whom he had lived with in 1860. She left her husband and married Singer - being already pregnant - and the marriage lasted for the rest of his life. They had 6 children.

About the time of his final marriage, I M Singer and Co was dissolved and "The Singer Sewing Machine Company "emerged, with Singer on the Board of Trustees and a major shareholder.

Isaac and Isabella lived briefly in London and then moved to Paignton. And so finally we come to Oldway Mansion! Sadly I have not yet visited it, but "Stories of Oldway" by Joyce Packe paints a fascinating picture. Built in 191/2 acres, it has more than 100 rooms. The foundation stone was laid on May 10th 1873, but not finished until two months after Isaac's death in 1875. The family were living in a smaller house he built on the estate, Isaac referring to the 'big house' as 'The Wigwam'. The Rotunda was built first - a circular building housing an indoor exercise ring for the children and their horses, and a swimming pool that could be covered for balls and parties.

Built in French classical style, it boasted "large halls and bold staircases" and most of the chimneys and flues would be swept from the basement.

On July 14th 1875 one of Singer's daughters, Alicia Merritt [no, I can't work out who her mother was!] was married with great ceremony from Oldway Mansion. The bride wore a gown and diamond earrings each costing £2000. The whole town celebrated including 800 schoolchildren who had parties in their schoolrooms.

Nine days later, Isaac Singer died of "an affection of the heart and inflammation of the windpipe". In his will he left between £12,000,000 and £15,000,000 - an unimaginable sum in 1875. He also left behind five known 'wives' and over 20 children.

It is said that his widow Isabella, 30 years his junior and both beautiful and intelligent, sat as the model for M Frederick-Auguste Bartoldi's Statue of Liberty.

Paris Singer, one of their sons, was responsible for re-modelling Oldway Mansion in the style of the Palace of Versailles. Amongst his other claims to fame:

  • He had an affair with the American modern dancer Isadore Duncan with whom he had a son [killed in a car crash when only 3 years old]. Isadore herself was strangled in 1927 by her floaty scarf when it caught in the wheel of the open car in which she was a passenger.

  • Our own Sandy Cove Hotel was built for him in the 1920's as a love nest. It was converted to a hotel in the '30's but several interior features have survived the many alterations over the years.

Torbay Borough Council bought Oldway Mansion and the estate for £46,000 in 1946. Now for £1 [Seniors 75p] you can have a conducted tour, marvelling at the impressive marble staircase, painted hall ceiling and a huge painted replica of Lebrun's "The Crowning of Josephine by Napoleon". The original was sold by the Singer family in 1946 and now hangs in the Palace of Versailles. Oldway is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. [summer Sundays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.], but don't delay, it may be sold for a super casino!

[Grateful thanks to Europa Cards and Graham Wetherley for information on Oldway Mansion.]

PP of DC

 

SIMPLY DANCING at the MANOR HALL

Our Manor Hall is blessed with a large, open room and good sized stage. Is it any wonder then that when dancing was the prime social entertainment, for young and old, weekly dances were held there and that it gathered dancers from miles around? During the war years, American soldiers and other service personnel, including those involved in the Pipeline Under the Ocean project [PLUTO] at Watermouth and Mill Park, used to mix there with the locals, and many a romantic tale resulted.

In recent years we've had jazz evenings and barn dances, but since TV has taken over our entertainment and dancing by the young seems to involve very loud music and frenetic activity, ballroom dancing has become less available despite much continuing interest. Nowadays, there are fewer opportunities to learn and practice the basic dances of waltz, foxtrot and quickstep, while Latin American rhythms of cha cha and samba have subsided away.

Well, a small core of ballroom dancers are attempting to reverse this trend at your Manor Hall on Wednesday evenings.

To date we've held 3 sessions, each with 15 or so dancers and there are definite signs of fun, exercise and improved dance performances. We've obtained a £250 grant for buying a sound system, CD's and Instruction books, and have so far learned two or three simple moves to get us going round the room. Waltz, social foxtrot, cha cha and samba have been tried, and one evening we spontaneously succeeded in the old time moves of the St. Bernard's waltz, followed by some jiving.

Clearly we have a core of interest but would welcome more people, of any age or ability. While we can't formally teach, the various steps can be demonstrated to beginners and tips given on moving around the room smoothly and well.

If you have any glimmer of interest, please do come along and give 'Simply Dancing' a try. At £2 a session, it's good value and even one evening could enliven your next wedding or family party! Eventually we hope to ascend to the dizzy heights of having [irregular] Dances, and even perhaps live music again at the Manor Hall.

Alan Rowlands [01271-889393]

 

WELCOME

Two new arrivals at The Park and we extend a warm welcome to Neil and Vanda Cunliffe at No. 24, and Roy and Ann Whiteman at No. 45, and hope they will be very happy here in Berrynarbor.

Neil and Vanda have retired from their careers as Purchasing Manager and Buyer and have moved here from just south of Cambridge, near to Duxford War Museum. The area, however, is not new to them as they have been coming for some years and have a holiday home at Porlock. The family consists of four children and six grandchildren, with two on the way, who all live in the Chelmsford area.

Neil enjoys sea fishing and plans to take up golf again now he has more time. Walking and reading are favourite pastimes and they enjoy 'dining out'. They should be happy as there are so many lovely walks and plenty of good eating places!

Although they have been living in the area now for some eighteen months, it is only about six weeks ago that Carmel and Gary Ball and family moved in to Maple Cottage up Birdswell Lane.

Both in the teaching profession, they have come from Southminster near Chelmsford in Essex. Gary, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent teaches Design and Technology, and Carmel, who was born in Slough, P.E., although currently she is teaching English on a part-time basis.

Their move here was, in many ways, for the benefit of the children, but they all love it! Finlay is four and his little sister, Ciara, two, and they both go to pre-school [Toad Hall and Oak Tree] in Ilfracombe. Also on the move this way are Gary's parents who hope to move in to their new home in Ilfracombe in the next few weeks.

Country life is for the Balls! When there is time they enjoy all outdoor pursuits including cycling, walking, camping and running. They could not have come somewhere more suitable and we wish them every happiness in their new home.

Roy and Ann are, perhaps, our newest residents having only moved in on Mothering Sunday. Their move from Takeley, near Bishops Stortford and right beside Stanstead Airport, has taken only a few months, having seen The Park on the internet.

Roy says that he has had many jobs over the years starting as a Lab. Assistant for Hartley's Jams in the Old Kent Road. Sadly, due to severe arthritis he had to take early retirement but has spent much of his time since then volunteering [RNIB, Mind, Age Concern, etc.], gaining certificates on the way. Ann says she has spent much of her life moving around. Born in Birmingham but with a father in the Forces, moves were inevitable, but the London area became the family base. She, too, has had a variety of jobs, but mainly in the retail field. Sadly, due to an unfortunate accident, her talents as a performer - dancer, ice-skater, etc - were curtailed at an early age.

Between them they have a son and a daughter and four grandchildren. Completing the family is their black Labrador/whippet cross, Cindy.

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE

The news this month is mainly devoted to 'thanks'.

Firstly, if you've been in the shop recently you can't have missed the magnificent Easter hamper generously given by Brian and Judy Jones. As we go to press it has already raised over £60 and there is still time to get your tickets - but hurry! The raffle will be drawn on Saturday morning 7th April. Many thanks, Brian and Judy.

Pat and Maureen had a successful coffee morning at Fuchsia Cottage on Friday March 9th - not so much from the number attending, but for money raised: £154 to be equally divided between 'Berrynarbor in Bloom' and the Community Shop. Those unable to go missed a feast of goodies - but perhaps next time? Many thanks, Pat, Maureen and helpers.

Developments on the shop front are happening constantly at this stage and thanks to Fenella - our new and excellent community reporter in the North Devon Journal - you can keep abreast of both shop news and village activities. Keep up the good work.

Thanks are also due to Fenella for making up the large hamper, which raised £60, as a prize for 'Name the Berrynarbor Bear' raffle at Gary's brilliant final [is it really?] BBC "In the Beginning" Show. Young Amy had no problem with naming the bear 'Gary'!

Last but by no means least, a big thank you to Jackie. The shop at the moment is well stocked with Easter cards and goodies, and new items are being introduced all the time. Latest to hit the shelves are a range of hand-baked biscuits and Tyrells crisps. The cold counter now carries mouth-watering pies and quiches by Orchard Lea [ask Jackie for their complete range that can be ordered] and a small selection of Moules Farm fresh meat, adding to that supplied by Ivan Clarke and Westgate Angus. By the time you read this, mugs and coasters depicting the village [for once not specifically advertising the shop!] will have arrived. They are ideal gifts and souvenirs for visitors to take home [and you to take to friends], and join the fudges, jams, teas, biscuits, etc. already on sale. Jackie works very hard to source different and interesting stock - and reduced price items. Those who have not ventured in recently might be very surprised at the wide range. Certainly we get many compliments from visitors on how well stocked and clean it is, and praise for the way Jackie runs it with her team of volunteers. Incidentally, in the past two weeks the shop has had a slight increase in turnover compared with this time last year. Thank you shoppers who have spent a little extra.

Let's all keep up the momentum. Happy Shopping!

PP of DC

 

HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW - 1ST SEPTEMBER 2007

The Gardeners' and Crafters' Lunch on the 24th March was a great success, with lots coming for soup and jacket potatoes, eating 'al fresco' in glorious March sunshine. Thanks to everyone who 'lunched', a profit of £215 will help towards the cost of prizes and printing for the Show.

As promised in the February Newsletter, details are now available for the Art and Photography Sections of the Show, giving you all plenty of time to work on your entries. The general theme this year is 'Music' and some of the classes reflect this.

ART

Any medium may be used for all classes - oil, watercolour, acrylic, pen and ink, pencil [even collage], etc. Other than Class 3, which is obviously smaller, the maximum size must not exceed A3 [297 x 420mm].

1. 'Music'

2. Harvest - a Still Life

3. An invitation to . . . an event of your choice. On A5 [A4 folded] card

4. 'Songs of the Sea'

5. 'In the style of an Old Master'

6. A design suitable for printing on fabric

PHOTOGRAPHY

All photographs must be maximum size 5" x 8" and mounted on A5 card or paper.

1. Happiness is . . .

2. Falling Water

3. The Sound of Music

4. Entrances

5. In the Pink

6. At Close Range

Get working and good luck!

 

WALK 101

A Lundy Sunday

On the final day of April last year, we landed on Lundy Island. As we climbed the cliff path from the quay to the sound of warblers, the formal, classical building facing us as we neared the top, looked oddly familiar. A few years ago a drama documentary about Napoleon's exile on St. Helena had been filmed on Lundy. The actors portraying Bonaparte and his doctor had been seen to emerge from Millcombe house for their stroll around the island.

The house was built by the Heaven family who bought the island in 1834, giving rise to the nickname, "the kingdom of Heaven".

As we had not been to Lundy before, we first headed south to the thirteenth century Marisco Castle with its square keep, passing the austere St. Helena's church built in 1896, using granite quarried on the island. The Lundy Granite Company supplied stone for the construction of the Victoria Embankment in London.

On the cliff tops at the south west of the island, we came across a flock of linnets; wheatears and around some boulders, a black redstart; the sooty grey bird flicking its red tail. This winter there has been a female black redstart among the rooks at Wildersmouth Beach in Ilfracombe.

We arrived at the Old Light, a disused lighthouse also built of granite in 1819. Pevsner described it as a 'beautifully proportioned structure ninety feet high and at 567 feet above sea level, the highest in Britain'. We could not resist climbing up it.

By the end of the century, it had been replaced by two new lighthouses at the north and south ends of the island.

In fields nearby were hoards of rabbits, many of them black. There are plenty of interesting creatures living on Lundy, including wild goats grazing the cliff sides and Soay sheep, which look goat-like - an ancient breed, natives of the remote Scottish island of St. Kilda.

The Quay and Lighthouse.

As Lundy is only three miles long and half a mile wide, we had soon crossed the plateau to the eastern side, where we witnessed a small group of sika deer emerging cautiously from the cover of the rhododendrons.

They still had their grey-brown winter coats but in summer would be chestnut red to yellow-brown, with white spots, rather like a fallow deer but smaller. They were introduced into Europe from Japan and north east China.

The rhododendrons have to be controlled if the rare Lundy cabbage is to survive. This yellow flowered plant is found only on Lundy.

It was a grey, drizzly day but peaceful and it is this quality that is emphasised nowadays when attracting visitors to the island. But it was not always so.

Occupying its strategic position at the junction of the Bristol Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, Lundy became a base for pirates in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and in the middle of the eighteenth century it was leased to the notorious Bideford merchant and smuggler, Thomas Benson MP.

The trip to Lundy was organised by the Devon Bird Watching and Preservation Society, a splendid body formed nearly eighty years ago with the object of furthering the study of birds and assisting in their conservation.

The Society manages about a dozen reserves throughout the county; undertakes surveys and maintains detailed records of bird species in Devon, as well as producing an impressive range of publications each year and arranging field events.

St. Helena's Church

Illustrations by Paul Swailes

OUZO

A Cautionary Tale

Some years ago [before I came to Berrynarbor], I booked a singles holiday with Thompson on the Greek Island of Spetsa [or Spetsai or Spetses, as preferred]. Flying to Athens, I took the airport bus to Piraeus, where I boarded the dolphin hydrofoil for the relatively short crossing. Arrived and disembarked, I was disappointed not to be met by the Thompson rep. as expected.

No matter, I lugged my cases the short distance to my hotel. I had just booked in when the missing rep. arrived, full of apologies. She was a pleasant, plump girl who introduced herself as Julia and offered me a drink in compensation, which of course I accepted. I discovered later that she was married to Nick, the Greek barman, but that's by the way.

I had one of my favourites - rum and coke - and as some of you will know, in Greece all drinks are doubles. Having disposed of this, I felt it only polite to buy Julia one too. We had some light conversation, during which it transpired that she had been brought up not many miles from my home town. After a while, she excused herself and I went to unpack. It now being evening, I then went into town, found a rooftop restaurant, where I enjoyed an excellent meal, washed down with a good bottle of local white wine.

Back at the hotel, I went to the bar for a nightcap and decided to try the famous ouzo. One drink went down smoothly, so I had another - and remember Greek drinks are doubles! After that I must have blacked out, for I have no recollection of taking the lift to my room, getting undressed and into bed. That I must have done so was evident the next morning, for there I awoke, in my pyjamas and more or less, my right mind.

I later taxed Nick with helping me but as he strenuously denied it, I have to believe that somehow I made in on my own.

I had a very pleasant fortnight on the island and by avoiding ouzo, I was able to imbibe freely, including 'retsina', without ill effect.

TC of BC

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

The February meeting was a great success with Brett Stevens of the Fabulous Wine Company giving a presentation, which included wines from Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Italy and California. All members felt the Brett's presentation and choice of wines was superb and every single wine he presented was given a star rating by all present.

March saw James Nancarrow of Majestic Wines presenting two excellent white wines from Marlborough, New Zealand, followed by three reds from Rioja, Spain and finishing with a fortified [17%] red desert wine also from Spain.

Members are now looking forward to the next meeting on 18th April when our own Ruth Diggle will be giving a knowledgeable presentation on Denbies Vineyard. Then on Wednesday, 16th May, we have the short AGM to be followed by a presentation by Jan Tonkin as the final meeting of the current season.

Tom Bartlett - Publicity Officer

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR

Combe Martin from Barnstaple Road, View 106

This is a very interesting "Peacock" Series post card produced by the Pictorial Stationery Co. Ltd. of London and printed in Saxony [Germany] around 1904-08. In the foreground, the limestone workings known as 'Berry Quarry" can clearly be seen. This quarry was worked from around 1840 until 1916 and the limestone was mined and then transported on tramways. The tramway lines are just visible on the card - those on the left running to the 'spoil' or waste heaps, and one to the right ending at the lime kiln, visible to the left of the cottage or farmhouse on the right. Coal [culm] would be shipped from South Wales to Combe Martin harbour, where it would be unloaded onto horse and carts and taken to the many limekilns in the village. In the limekilns, layers of local-mined limestone would be covered with layers of the Welsh 'culm' and then set alight and roasted to slake the lime which was then collected by the local farmers to 'sweeten' their acid soils and increase yields significantly. This card also clearly demonstrates just how long the High Street is, with houses on either side of it.

Tom Barlett
Tower Cottage, March 2007-03-25

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 
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