ST. PETER'S CHURCH
you thankful people come,
the song of harvest home!'
We were all [nearly 100 of us] gathered once again on the
first Sunday of October to celebrate the Harvest Festival. The church was beautifully decorated with
autumn flowers, the loaf and grapes on the altar. Celia Withers led the service, involving the children
in her address. The choir sang John
Rutter's arrangement of 'For the Beauty of the Earth' and the school children
sang and said prayers whilst laying gifts on the altar.
The church bells summoned us back to church on the Wednesday
for a short evening service followed by the buffet supper. A lovely spread welcomed us to the Manor
Hall with mouth-watering desserts to follow.
There were fewer of us this year and we did not have so much produce to
auction but we shall still be able to send £100 to WaterAid, the charity
helping to get clean water to deprived people in poorer countries.
Two special services in November. On the 1st Sunday the annual Candle Service
was held in the afternoon, led by Rev. Chris.
At the end the choir sang softly as we all went up to light a candle to
be placed on the altar. There was a
chance to talk afterwards and enjoy a cup of tea.
A muffled peal of bells called us to
another well-attended service the following week for Remembrance Sunday. Again the service was led by
Rev. Chris and we were joined
by members of the Parish Council. The
two minutes' silence was observed at the War Memorial, the Last Post and
Reveille were sounded by bugler Ivan Clarke and wreaths were laid by Theresa
Crockett on behalf of St. Peter's and Adam Stanbury for the Parish
Council. On returning to church, Adam
read the lesson and the choir sang unaccompanied 'God shall wipe away all
tears' by Karl Jenkins. Before leaving
we were able to read poems written by the school children and arranged on the
Lady Chapel altar rail. Our thanks go
to the bell ringers who turn up without fail and to Sue Neale for the lovely
Advent Sunday falls on 2nd December and the first candle
will be lit on the Advent Wreath. Looking
forward to Christmas, services are
planned as follows. Wednesday, 19th December, 6.30 p.m. Carol Service when we hope to be joined by
the choir and school; Christmas Eve, 9.30
p.m. Blessing of the Crib and first Communion of Christmas; Christmas Day, 11.00 a.m. Family Communion; Sunday, 30th December, 11.00 a.m. Family Communion with carols.
During January Services will continue every Sunday beginning
at 11.00 a.m. It is essential that we
keep attendance up, to average over 20, so if you have been thinking about
returning to church or come for the first time, don't hesitate, you will be
There will be no Friendship Lunch at the end of December and
we shall resume in January on Wednesday, 23rd, from noon onwards.
WEATHER OR NOT
We expressed a hope in the last
Newsletter that we should be writing about lovely weather in this one but it
wasn't to be.
There was a brief respite from the
weather in September with only 18mm (3/4") of rain up to the 23rd and warm
sunnier days but this soon changed and on Sunday the 24th the country was hit
by very stormy weather - according to the Met. Office it was the most intense
September storm for over 30 years and it brought widespread flooding. We recorded
44mm (1 ¾") in the 24 hours and by the end of the month the total rainfall was
110mm (4 3/8" ) which was slightly less than last year. The maximum temperature
was 22.7 Deg C with a low of 7.8 Deg C and a maximum gust of wind here of 24 knots.
October is often a wet month and this
year was no exception with a total of 207mm (8 1/8") - probably about average
but seeming much worse after such a wet summer. The wettest day was the 12th
with 28mm (1 1/8") but there were several days which topped 20mm (11/16"). On
the 11th when Clovelly flooded we recorded 23mm (15/16") and also recorded
16.8 Deg C which was the maximum temperature for the month. The minimum was 3.5 Deg C
on the 14th and the maximum gust of wind was 25 knots. On the 31st
we had quite a deep low move through with the barometer falling to 981mb.
The sunshine hours for September
were, in spite of the inclement weather up 11% at 120.61, whereas October at
59.35 were down, but last year's figure was one of the highest recorded for
On Sunday 27th October there was snow in
the north of the country and on Monday 29th Hurricane Sandy hit America. According to some papers Britain is in for a
freezing winter again!
We wish you all a Happy (white?) Christmas.
Sue and Simon
EILEEN JUDE [JEFFERY] HISCOX
On Sunday, 16th September our
dear daughter Eileen passed away at her home in Ilfracombe at the very tender
age of 49. She has left three children
to face life without the love and care of a mother. Although she spent most of her life outside
the village, she is none-the-less very sadly missed by all of us and those she
Do please remember her in your prayers, especially during
this the month of the Holy Souls.
Requiescat in pace.
Peter and Margaret and Peter John Hiscox
at Little Woolhanger.
very sad news and our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time of
It was a sad day when we learnt that Marion, after several
years of coping with poor health, had passed away peacefully at home on the
17th October. Our thoughts have been
with her and John during the last few difficult years and continue with John
who always gave her the most wonderful loving and tender care but especially of
Our thoughts also go to their three children, six
grandchildren and all the family at this time of grief.
Marion and John, who were married for 53 years, came to live
in Berrynarbor 18 years ago from Birmingham where they were both born. Following the birth of their children,
Christopher, Melanie and Richard, Marion worked at the University of
Birmingham, firstly in research [of solarnum, or to us potatoes] and then in
library work particularly with overseas students. Marion was a keen reader. She loved Cicely Mary Barker's Flower
Fairies as a child and enjoyed reading them and looking at the delightful
illustrations with her children and their children.
After John's retirement as a Police
Officer and moving to Berrynarbor, they spent a lot of happy times walking
locally and on Exmoor, and enjoyed travelling abroad on holiday, as well as
helping and supporting many of our village groups and activities.
John would like to thank everyone for their cards, messages
of sympathy and words of comfort, the Revd. John Thompson for a beautiful
service at the Crematorium and the many family members, friends and neighbours
from the village who attended Marion's funeral.
He would especially like to pay tribute to their
granddaughter Katie who came to stay and kept Marion's spirits up during his
treatment in Exeter, and to congratulate her on taking and passing her
practical driving test whilst here. It
was, he says, so fortunate and comforting that she was here at this sad time.
POST-SCRIPT TO JAN BRAGG'S HILL
It was the mis-quotation in the Journal's article about
Ron's book naming Jan Bragg's Hill as Yan Briggs Hill that prompted me to write
in the last Newsletter. The interviewer
couldn't haveeen tuned into Ron's rich Devonshire accent!
To correct myself, this is Michael Wharburton's copy of the
1842 Tythe Map showing Rectory Hill and the footpath that runs through The
Lawn. The hill is part of the ancient
Parish Road system lellading from the village to the Valley and Ruggaton
Lane. The older map shows the road
travelling around Rock Hill past the Old Parsonage.
Jan Bragg was born about 1795-6. The 1841 census records him as a quarryman
living in Berry Village. The 1851 census
records him as blind. I think it is
feasible that he was working on the widening and improvement of Rectory Hill when the accident
occurred. Hence the local name Jan
On a personal note, my granfer, Dick
Richards, as a young man working in Bament's Quarry, was caught too near a
blasting explosion. As a child I was
fascinated by the blue gunpowder spots that peppered his forehead. He always said he was lucky to be alive and
Judith Adam kindly solved my problem with the word 'knap': Knap, Knapping and Knapping hammer = a dialect
word meaning to hit, hammer or chip.
History - 15th Century'. Funnily
enough, Bament's Quarry lies above the Sawmills in an area known as The Knapps.
"The 1555 Highways Act made each Parish responsible for its
own roads and local people were expected to work on the roads for 6 days each
year. This was unpopular and the roads
were neglected, especially in Rural Devon.
Wheeled traffic was consequently both difficult and rare. There were few new roads built and the road
network changed very little between the Iron Age and the mid-18th Century. An Act of Parliament in 1706 permitted Turn
Pike Trusts to build roads and charge tolls."
My thanks to Gary Songhurst who, knowing my phobia with the
computer, prints off any local history material which he finds on the
internet. Also to Michael Wharburton
who was brought up at Hammonds Farm and has an in-depth knowledge of the
history of mining in the locality.
MRS. MARY TUCKER BEM
Mary Tucker moved to Berrynarbor in 1986 with a passion to
serve her community.
The Church is a focal point of the village and Mary chose to
serve on the Parochial Church Council as Church Warden and Treasurer.
Mary has been involved in various church activities
including flower arranging, cleaning, acting as a Deacon in administering the
chalice and welcoming visitors and holiday makers into the church.
In addition, Mary started a village lunch scheme, which
meets every month at the local pub and caters especially for the elderly and
lonely. She also regularly visits
people in the village who need help in one form or another - sitting, talking,
shopping or helping in the home.
Mary has been actively involved in fundraising events and
was instrumental in raising the money to set up the village Post Office and
For over 20 years Mary has been a pillar of strength to many
people living in Berrynarbor and her impact on the community has been profound
as she always goes that extra mile to be supportive.
Mary Tucker receives this BEM award for services to the
community of Berrynarbor in North Devon.
Award Presented 8 October 2012 by
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, Mr. Eric
Dancer CBE JP
What a special day!
After an enjoyable pub lunch on the outskirts of Exeter, the five of us
arrived at County Hall in good time for the presentation ceremony. Nine people were there to receive awards
each accompanied by a few family members and friends, and we took our seats to
await the arrival of the Lord-Lieutenant, the High Sheriff and party of Devon
dignitaries. After the playing of the
National Anthem, the Lord- Lieutenant gave a welcoming address and then began
the formal presentation of medals.
It came to Mary's turn.
Her citation was read out and she went proudly forward to receive her
British Empire Medal. When the
congratulated her and pinned on the medal, Mary's photograph was taken in front
of the large portrait of the Queen before she returned to her seat with
At the conclusion of the ceremony, we were served with cream
teas and were able to enjoy a relaxed chat with some of the other guests and
dignitaries before departing for home.
It had been a very special and memorable day for all of us, but
especially for Mary - to receive the honour and recognition she so richly
. . and Mary herself says: Monday 8th
October - a red letter day when my guests and I were invited to County Hall in
Exeter for the presentation of British Empire Medals by the Lord-Lieutenant of
Devon on behalf of the Queen. It turned
out to be a lovely occasion, well organised but not too formal and very
friendly and relaxed.; There were just
nine of us being honoured and dignitaries present included Lord Mayors and
Chairmen of Devon District Councils.
And yes, we were given tea afterwards!
With Mary, are the
Lord-Lieutenant, Doreen, Malcolm and Mary's brother Peter and sister-in-law
A Trip to North Devon
Mike Hancock - August 2012
just bin down to Devon with some very
good friends of ours;
came from south and west and so we came in different cars.
stayed with Mike and Wendy, the Amos-Yeo two,
Berrynarbor Devonshire, paradise to me and you.
of us done swimming, and some of us done chat,
others simply hung about and talked of this and that.
sometimes we played snooker, and sometimes we played pool
all the time the most of us had drink and played the fool!
visited the village, took snaps and walked about,
ate our lunch in an empty pub - now what's that all about?
the village shop you know - such an enterprising thing,
when the owners shut it down, the village opened it again.
when I think of Devon as somewhere nice to go,
think of Mike and Wendy's place and then I really know -
welcome there is legend, full of heart and love and soul -
not just Mike and Wendy's place - but Berrynarbor as a whole!
BIRDHOUSE BY BEAFORD ARTS AT THE MANOR HALL
If you missed this pre-Edinburgh Fringe
stage presentation you missed a treat, for it was exactly what it said on the
bill - a wonderfully surreal, comedy, horror as inspired by Hitchcock's 'The
Birds'. I hope I'll be forgiven by
paraphrasing the story line as follows.
The drama started with a warning that
the presentation would invoke fear, terror and death, and so it turned out.
Apparently there were only four
survivors of the tragic situation whereby the birds of the air turned upon the
human race and attacked them in flocks.
Men, women and children were torn to shreds and left to die, and
Hitchcock told the story through the history of one lonely house on the cliff
edge, where among other things a flock of pigeons had suffered an isolated
The four ladies of the cast, apparently
playing the only 4 remaining survivors of the birds' uprising, were dressed in
classic and authentic 1955 costumes.
They appeared trapped within the now decrepit, local cinema. They were clearly traumatised by the birds'
revolt and played with realistic bird puppets singing and acting as true a
representation of birds as anyone could wish, flying off behind the screen and
even going as far as appearing to lay eggs.
The owl was wise and the black, black crow was evil and DEATH
abounded. Despite their fate, all the
survivors entertained us well to a programme of fun, song and music, attempting
to avoid the TERROR of their fate.
Just as one survivor died there came a
strange announcement over a tannoy: "The old, tumbledown cinema is to be
demolished to make way for a new 10 screen, multiplex cinema". A moment's
thought and of course - the birdsong, the flying and the eggs now made
sense! The birds' uprising had only
been local and not world-wide. Human
kind had not been eliminated and the 3 survivors were not human but really the
remaining trapped birds of the uprising, and even they would now be freed. A happy ending after all the trauma.
Hopefully the Newsletter will be out
just in time to remind you if you have not done so already, to book your ticket
for the next Beaford presentation in the Manor Hall, Friday 30th November.
Murray Lachlan Young 'Christmas Comes But Once a Year' - adult
comedy. Tickets £8.00, and bring a
plate of festive goodies to share, are available from the Shop.
FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
There were 24 members of the public at the
October Meeting concerned with the issue of the Parish Road in the Sterridge Valley.
The Parish Council have not submitted an application for this to be made
a public right of way, nor does it have any plans to do so.
Claude's Garden is at present closed
due to essential garden work being carried out by Chris Townsend, whois funding
the planting of soft fruit trees himself and for which Councillors are
Councillors Clive Richards and Lee
Lethaby represented the Parish Council at a Planning School organised by
Barnstaple Town Council.
The Parish Clerk represented the Council
at a Meeting regarding the Parish Grant. Small Parishes will not have the
Grant withdrawn but Parishes with a population of 500 - 1,000 [Berrynarbor]
will see the Grant reduced by 20% over three years from the 2014/15 financial year.
A Site Meeting is being organised
between Councillors and the Churchwarden/PCC Members of St Peter's Church
regarding the War Memorial and Churchyard wall.
Ilfracombe Town Council has
approached the Council regarding the TAP [Town and Parish Grant] Fund.
Parish and Town Councils are eligible for £1.10 per electorate towards
something to benefit towns and parishes and the idea is for one or more
parishes to work together and submit a bid. Ilfracombe Town Council
wishes to submit a bid for an all- weather pitch and asked Berrynarbor if the
sum allocated to them could be included with Ilfracombe. Other parishes
have agreed and Councillors were also in agreement to help boost the fund for
Tenders for the 2013/14 financial
year were awarded at the November Meeting in respect of Grass Cutting and Seats
and Shelters. The successful tenderers were Chris Townsend and Gary Songhurst.
Sue Squire - Clerk to the Parish Council
OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE
We were all very sad when Anita gave
notice that she would be leaving our shop at the end of November. She has done a great job over nearly five
years in helping to create a shop that has won admiration - and customers -
from the whole area, and always with a smile and good nature. She will be very much missed and we all wish
her well in whatever her future plans are.
By the time you read this, her successor should have been appointed and
we look forward to working with our new Sub-Postmaster.
Plans are underway again for our annual
competition for the village school, which Peter Rothwell has kindly agreed to
judge once more. This year, using a
tissue box, the younger ones will design a 3D postbox and the older ones a
telephone box. Parents please support
and encourage them!
Now is the time to place orders for
Christmas poultry, cakes and puddings, cream and vegetables. All order forms are now in the shop. Oh! And if you need last posting dates for cards
and parcels, you can pick up a Royal Mail leaflet 'Delivering More' on your
All that's left now is to wish our
customers a Very Happy Christmas, and Good Health and Happiness in the New Year
from the Staff, Volunteers and Committee.
A THOUGHT FOR CHRISTMAS
Christmas comes but once a year! "And a good thing too." I can imagine many a
harassed parent saying.
suppose the nearest to a second one is Easter with its cards, hot cross buns
and chocolate eggs, but it isn't as yet commercialised to
anything like the same degree, thank
goodness! Easter cards are not common
and gifts almost non-existent. So,
Christmas remains a unique festival and long may it stay that way.
VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED!
None of us truly ever own anything in
life - property, chattels -possession is as transient as we are for there are
no pockets in a shroud. We are
custodians of what we have during our lifetime. We leave our footprints behind us and time
The older a property is the more footprints are left to find
for those who choose to look.
I have a natural affinity for old properties and consider
myself fortunate to have lived all my life in very old and interesting homes,
or buildings that have a special and often unique historical interest and
The house in which I was born turned up a Roman burial
ground in the garden. The first house
that I owned myself was where the Cosworth engine was designed, and the last
property that I sold before moving to North Devon was Tudor in origin and
consisted of salvaged stone features from the destroyed castle where Katherine
of Aragon was imprisoned whilst she awaited her inevitable divorce from Henry
I suppose that this is from where my love of history and
times-past comes. With family business
interests in property and development and a personal background in sales and
conveyance, it was inevitable that I would become a property sleuth, and have
come to know all of my past homes as well as one would a good and trusted
Venture Cottage, our home here in the beautiful Sterridge
Valley, is true to form and no exception to the wonderful richness of history
that almost seeps from the very fabric of the building.
The cottage came on to the open market on a Saturday and by
the following Friday palms were spat in, hands were shaken and the deal was
done. Venture Cottage was to be
ours. Dan and I moved into our new home
in January 2007, shortly before the birth of our little girl Ruby.
love our home, and let's face it, what's not to love?
Venture Cottage started life as 76
Sterridge Valley when Watermouth Estate cottages were identified by numbers
rather than the fancy names that they all have now. Following the death of Harriet Mary Bassett,
the Watermouth Estate began selling off its land and property assets at
auction, giving many of the tied tenants the opportunity to purchase the freehold of their homes,
including Philip Jones who was the then tenant of this property. The land opposite No. 76 was known as
Venture, and it was the saying of Philip Jones at the time of the auction,
"'Tis my venture to buy the property." On
his success in being the highest bidder at the auction, Philip Jones duly signed
the contract on the 23rd June 1921 putting his name to paper alongside the wax
seals of Edith Bassett Curzon and Charles Ernest Bassett Lothian Curzon.
From that date on. No. 76 Sterridge
Valley was known as Venture Cottage and we are fortunate enough to be in
possession of all the original documentation relating to the sale and
purchase. Venture Cottage then remained
in ownership of the same family until 1977!
Of course, Philip wasn't new to Venture Cottage even in the
1920's, having been a tenant here since 1888. Originally from West Down, he was
married to Mary and they had nine children - Philip, Daniel, John (known as
Jack, as was common), Albert, Frederick, Nellie, Emma, Elizabeth (Lizzy) and
Florence. Florence was the baby of the family and was either born here at
Venture Cottage or was a babe-in arms at the time her parents moved here. Florence plays an important part in the story
of Venture Cottage.
Before taking up a tenancy here in the Sterridge Valley,
Philip rented a property with his growing family at Haggingon Hill. He was employed as a groundsman and was
responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of both churchyard grounds and the
then vicarage of the time. I am not sure
whether this meant that he would have been paid by the Watermouth Estate as a
tied worker, or was retained by the church, or possibly a combination of both.
Anyway, he was a man of stature, in every sense of the
word. He worked physically hard all
week, and on Sundays he was a travelling Methodist preacher who went about
North Devon on his horse preaching in the various parishes. Mornings were given over to services and
sermons and then a break for lunch was in order. After lunch, however, Sundays took a very
different course indeed, for Philip Jones was a well-known, and very much
respected amateur all-in wrestler.
One particular Sunday, having been preaching in Parracombe,
Philip was making his return journey on his horse when he was set upon by two
footpads, or highwaymen of the time.
With no knowledge of who their intended victim was, it was only a matter
of minutes before both would-be assailants found themselves half-cocked against
a man who was a far superior adversary!
They were trussed up and tied to the nearest gate before Philip calmly
resumed his journey.
In a further, and far more sinister and
terrifying ordeal, Philip and Mary Jones were to suffer every parent's worst
nightmare. Travelling gypsies or tinkers
as they were known at the time had passed through the village, calling at all
and sundry to sell pegs, sharpen knives and tell fortunes. The travellers had received short-shrift from
the Jones household and had passed on.
Shortly after the door-step encounter it was discovered that Florence,
who had been sleeping in her pram in the garden, was missing!
With all haste Philip saddled his horse and gave hot pursuit
down the Sterridge Valley. The tinkers
in their caravans were caught at the quarry point near Harpers Mill.
As any father would do in the given circumstances, Philip
Jones, with a single-handed and single-minded animal ferocity, beat all those
suspected abductors who had the courage to confront him to within an inch of
their lives. Those that realised it
would be prudent to stand back from the affray left the devoted father
unchallenged as he recovered his baby from within one of the caravans where she
was discovered hidden. Philip Jones left the scene to return his infant
daughter to her mother's arms.
Philip Jones enjoyed his freehold of Venture Cottage until July
1929 when he died. His death was shortly
followed by that of his beloved wife Mary in October of the same year. Venture Cottage then passed into the hands of
Florence, but that is another story . . .
Florence and Mary
The Brennams were a large family, a very successful family
too, all living in the town of Cranley.
Some had made small fortunes from computers and others from building
industrial estates. All in all they had
Mr. Bill Brennam and his wife Mary had a daughter, six sons
and many grandchildren and they all lived nearby. They were thinking about the usual family
Christmas meal and the arrangements to be made. They loved the annual get-together.
Their eldest son Fred and daughter Jane were usually given
the task of catering arrangements for the family at a local hall. One evening in mid-December, whilst visiting
their parents, the subject of the Christmas dinner came up and Fred and Jane
were asked to arrange it all.
"Fine," said Fred, "We'll see to it, no worries."
Fred and Jane were very close and the thought of wandering
down to their little town of Cranley occurred to Fred, Jane agreed and off they
As they walked along, they soon came to houses illuminated
with Christmas lights of all kinds.
Some had little Christmas trees in their windows with brightly lit
lights. Others had huge Father
Christmas's flashing, blinking and twinkling.
Further along the road they came to what might be called competitive
illuminations with all sorts of reindeer, stockings, snowballs, flickering
lights and floodlighting - a large strain on their electricity bills, let alone
health and safety with their wiring, and what if it rained?
Soon they reached the town and the local council had done
their main street and square proud.
Twinkling lights strung between lampposts and a huge and beautiful
Christmas tree stood in the centre of the square. The Salvation Army band was playing all the
well-known carols and the surrounding crowd were all happily singing along.
"What a lovely time of year this is." Fred remarked, "Shall we have a little drink
before we go home?"
"Why not?" replied Jane as they entered The Crown. They sat down in front of the huge log fire
and enjoyed their drinks before returning to their respective homes.
A few days later when visiting their parents the matter of
the annual meal came up.
"I've arranged it all with Smith's Catering at the village
hall for the 21st" said Fred.
"No, I've arranged it at the church hall for the 21st," Jane
replied, looking a little puzzled.
"Well, you'll have to cancel one of them," their father Bill
Jane and Fred got on the telephone straight away but neither
firm would cancel. "It's too late", they
"I'll think of something," their mother Mary chirped in, "I
know you both meant well."
Fred and Jane left, both feeling rather silly. Straight away their mother got on the
"Is that Cranley Home for Waifs?" she enquired.
"Indeed, it is" a voice replied, "And this is Mr. Clancey
speaking. How can I help?"
"What have you in mind for your boys and girls this
Christmas?" asked Mrs. Brennam.
"Not very much I'm afraid.
It's been a bad year with donations and so many charities are finding
"Very well, please take all your children to the village
hall at seven o'clock on the 21st. I am
sure you will be pleased" Mrs. Brennam added.
"You are so kind and I will call to see you soon to thank
you properly" Mr. Clancey replied, hardly believing his luck.
On the 21st both the Brennams and the Cranley Home for Waifs
had fine Christmas dinners. All were so
happy and it showed that there can be a good outcome when mistakes are made.
Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket
OF THIS AND THAT . . . .
Macmillan Afternoon Tea
A Huge thank you to everyone who supported
us at the end of September when we hosted a fund raising event for Macmillan at
Lee, serving coffee, cream teas and delicious home-made cakes. There were local crafts for sale, a raffle
and fun things to do for the children as well and it was lovely to see so many
locals and visitors enjoying a chat over a cuppa and cream tea! We raised a fantastic £408.98 - thank you
all so much, we could not have done it without your help!
British Red Cross
The Red Cross operating in the North Devon
area is desperately short of volunteers and struggling to keep up with
demand. The charity is appealing for
people to help especially in the Ilfracombe area. Service Co-ordinator, Jen Kirk says, "We're
actually having to turn people away. We
don't ask for a huge time commitment from our volunteers and all expenses are
paid so no one's out of pocket."
Care and Support Service volunteers offer
practical support to people after a stay in hospital and can often prevent
people going into hospital by offering similar support. The volunteers take clients home, settle hem
in and help with such things as shopping or collecting prescriptions. The service is free but donations to the Red
Cross are always welcome.
If you can help for just a few hours a
month and really make a difference to some please contact Jen Kirk on 
Don't Miss Out on your Bus Pass!
Please contact DCC if you have moved home
since your pass was issued or if you would like a new photograph on your
pass. The Majority of passes issued by
DCC will expire on 31st March 2013. We
are in the process of issuing replacements.
If we do not know where you live then you will not receive new bus pass
and if your photo does not look like
you [!], drivers may refuse
you free travel.
Contact us on  383688.
North Devon Theatres
On target to be the Queen's Theatre best
ever Christmas Show - Robin Hood will be riding in to Barnstaple with much
merriment and mirth from the 15th December.
Based on the much-loved English folk tale, Robin Hood is to be an action
packed show with stunning new costumes, fantastic live music, brand new script
and the usual comedy mayhem you would expect from the Queen's Theatre
Pantomime. Tickets are
£12-£19, young person
For further information or to book, call
the box office on  324242.
Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all our friends in Berrynarbor from Bill and Jill in Fleet, Hampshire
a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all my friends in
Berrynarbor. Janet Gibbins
Greetings to all our friends and neighbours in the village. We wish you a very Happy Christmas and the
best of Health and Happiness in 2013. Keith and Margaret
everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a Healthy and Peaceful
2013. Ken and Judie
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all our friends and
customers. Joyce and Songbird
Liz and Roger Paget of
Berrynarbor Park wish friends and neighbours A Merry Christmas and a Happy New
The Chairman, Adam Stanbury, and
members of Berrynarbor Parish Council wish everyone in the Village A Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Betty Richards of
Seascape, Barton Lane, wishes friends and neighbours A Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year.
Janet and Jasmine wish
all their friends and neighbours A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The Parochial Church Council wish
all Members of the Church and Villagers A Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Christmas
and New Year.
Christmas to all friends and neighbours and wishing you a Happy and Prosperous
New Year. Jill, Rainer and Amber of Hillside.
Greetings to all friends and acquaintances from Joan and Malcolm, Stourport-on-Severn
Mark and Hilary wish
all their friends and neighbours A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
wishes for a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and every Blessing in the New Year to
all friends in the Village and neighbours and friends in Berrynarbor Park. Di
Hillier and, of course, Martha and Didi who don't want to be left out!
The Davies Family at
Leeside wish all friends and neighbours A Very Happy Christmas and New Year.
Chris and Jen of
Berrynarbor Park wish all friends and neighbours A Very Happy Christmas and best
wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year.
Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year to our friends and neighbours in
Berrynarbor from the Harris Family.
year away is complete and we are very
happy to be back home amongst friends and neighbours. We'll report on our adventure more fully
when we've finished unpacking! We wish
you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year. Our best wishes and love, Jean and Peter
Christmas and A Happy New Year 2013. Gilly
George, Ethel, Allan, Jasmine, Tracy, Darren and Caitlin [Barton
Lane] would like to wish everyone
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
at Lee Lodge wishes all his village friends and visitors A Very Happy Christmas
and Health and Happiness in the year ahead.
Greetings to all friends and neighbours in Berrynarbor. Yvonne
send warm greetings for Christmas and wishes for a Healthy New Year 2013 to all
their friends, neighbours, villagers and readers of the Berrynarbor Newsletter.
of Rose Cottage wish all their friends A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New
would like to wish all their friends in the village, old and new, a Very Happy
Christmas and New Year. Lee View
Happy Christmas and New Year to all friends.
wish all their friends in Berrynarbor A Very Merry Christmas and Good Health
and Happiness throughout 2013. Damson
send Christmas Greetings to all friends and acquaintances in Berrynarbor and
best wishes for Health and Happiness in 2013.
Christmas and Happy New Year to all friends and neighbours in Berrynarbor and
best wishes from Tim and Jill
sends Christmas Greetings and Good Wishes for 2013 to everyone.
all our friends in the village a Very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year. Wendy
wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Paula,
Ray and Sandie
everybody in the Village a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love Jo
and Mike [Lane]
wish everybody in Berrynarbor A Merry
Christmas and a Good New Year.
and Tony Holland
wish all their friends in the village and neighbours on The Park, A Merry
Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
wish everyone A Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
at Bessemer Thatch wish all their friends and neighbours in Berrynarbor A
Peaceful and Happy Christmas and New Year.
our friends and acquaintances in the Village a very enjoyable Christmas and
Happy New Year. Best wishes to all, Wendy and Mike at The Old Rectory
Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year to all our village friends Janet and David [Steed]
Christmas from the Ozeltons [Don
& Edith, Karen, Callum, Morgan and Roker, and Karl, Lou, Tyler and Corey].
all our friends and neighbours A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy
Year Ahead. Pat and Maureen, Fuchsia Cottage
Patricia and the Staff and Volunteers at
Marwood Hill Gardens wish all their
visitors from Berrynarbor A Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
I cannot believe we are already on the
countdown to Christmas!
all just enjoyed a two week half term.
The children are now refreshed and looking forward to the busy end of
We should like to welcome two new
children to our school: Austin who joins Mr Jones in class 3 and Alex in class
1 with Mrs Wellings. We hope they have a
very enjoyable time with us.
In the next couple of weeks we shall be
holding our Inspire Mornings. This is
where the children have a family member or friend come into school to see them
work for the morning. We have very good
feedback from these mornings and the children really do enjoy it - even if the
teachers are a little nervous!
This year we are involving the whole school
in a big 'stir up' of an enormous Christmas pudding. These puddings will then be shared with the
older members of our community . . . should there be any left, we shall be
enjoying them for our school Christmas Dinner!
As a school we raise lots of money for
charity by holding various events and activities throughout the year, currently
the children are:
shoeboxes for 'Operation Christmas Child'.
This is a very worthwhile cause and brings the joy of Christmas to many
On Friday 23rd November the
whole school will have done a fun run around the village in aid of Children in
Need dressed in their pyjamas! We should like to thank Edie Maytum in Class
2 for this great idea - please look out for them and give them a cheer!
As you can see the children really do
have a busy, but exciting time ahead and below are more events that will be
like to wish everyone
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Sue Carey - Headteacher
In my February article I wrote that 2012
could be a year of broken records, both Olympian and meteorological. The latter suggestion was based upon extremes
in our weather conditions over recent years - extremes that have occurred with
such regularity that, like the Olympic Games, one has come to view the
excelling of previous records as a mere expectation.
This year our weather hardly excelled
itself. But records were still
broken. First we had the driest ever
February, leading to hosepipe bans in the eastern counties of England. A warm and sunny March then lead to hopes of
a spring that would be a carbon copy of recent years. There was disquiet, however, that each of
these previous unseasonable springs had given false assumptions that summer had
This year was to be no exception. Not only did spring dissolve as April
progressed. Summer chose to make only
the briefest of visits. For our flora
and fauna this last summer was hardly a seasonal vacation, more an occasional
excursion made on the days when the clouds chose to evaporate; days that were
so rare we consequently experienced the wettest summer in over 100 years. Even the autumn weather gods failed to
deliver on their tried and trusted guarantee: 'If during August cloud and rain be here, When school bells start ringing sun and blue
The absence of a prolonged or memorable
spell of good weather will make this winter hard for some to bear, particularly
those that suffer with S.A.D. But I may
have a remedy. Every winter I endeavour
to set myself an indoor project that will keep me occupied during the months of
lesser daylight hours. This year I have
taken on the mammoth task of sorting out all of my 'un-albumed'
photographs. My system, placing each
picture in an appropriately labelled box, is working fine, but it is the length
of time that it is taking. Not only am
I mulling over all the old photographs destined for the boxes labelled 'family',
'friends', or 'pets'. I am utterly losing myself in the pictures being prepared
for the album entitled 'flora, fauna and landscape', but it is turning out to
be quite therapeutic, for they are drifting me back to a time when our
countryside was awash with varied and vivid colours.
I have come across pictures of wooded
paths lined with ransoms or celandine, a lone violet peeking out from the ivy;
a cherry tree loaded so heavy with deep pink blossom, its branches are forced
to hang over a stream where newly born ducklings seek refuge, the dappled
sunshine on a woodland floor carpeted with bluebells, a parade of foxgloves
leaning out from a hedgerow, a line of swallows resting on a telegraph wire, a burnt
orange sun sinking behind the Tors, a herd of Friesians seeking shade beneath
the tall oak tree, a red admiral basking on an ancient stone wall and a low
harvest sun pouring its rays upon the deep purple heather of Exmoor.
My partner and I have also been
privileged to be given a book of which only a handful were published. Compiled by the father of a dear friend, it
is a photographic record of his visits to public gardens and houses in
Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon. Taken
between the summers of 2005 and 2011, a study of the
photographs enables me to do virtual walks around gardens such as Marwood Hill,
Rosemoor and Castle Hill when at their very best, and more
allow me to forget about the dark wintry nights hidden behind my drawn
curtains. So find yourself some
photographs, a magazine or a book with pictures that reflect our countryside
when it is lush with greenery and filled with its amazing varieties of deep
colour. Remember, too, that as you wake on Christmas
morning the winter equinox will have passed.
Daylight hours will be on the increase again and gradually your curtains
will be drawn a little later every day.
. . FROM THE RECTOR
Warm congratulations to Judith Adam
whose very impressive book of Berrynarbor is a memorable record of local life
and captures what will otherwise be lost.
What next though I wonder? . . .
secretary of the Wine Circle, local author . . . !
I have plenty of memories of my own
arising from my recent mountaineering expedition. My goodness, what a challenge! The summit of Kilimanjaro is in fact the rim
of a volcano. It is the highest point
on the planet you can trek to without ropes and technical climbing assistance. At nearly 20,000 feet, you face extreme
altitude, extreme effort and extreme cold that seeped through two pairs of
Nevertheless, despite there being only
50% less oxygen, seeing the sun rise over Africa and walking round its frosty
roof is an exhilarating experience. I didn't suffer from altitude sickness but
on the way down, my leg muscles were protesting in no uncertain terms! Nothing that the warm seas of the Indian
Ocean didn't put right afterwards! If
there is a local interest, I shall be pleased to do a slide show.
For now, the church calendar moves
forward in orientation as we enter the period of Advent. I am saddened that people tend to gloss over
this and rush towards Christmas. That
can only reflect a materialistic age for there is much in Advent to make us
think. It is far more than a build-up to
the main event, as I used to think. Advent
is about preparation, entering into a time of self-examination which used to be
called a 'penitential season'. That
sounds heavy but basically it means making room in our busy lives for God.
I pray that Advent may come to mean
something to us this year, so that in turn, Christmas may be more deep and
There will be full Christmas services at
the church. Beat the rush and come early to avoid disappointment!
friend, Rev Chris
BERRYNARBOR HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW
The Organising Group would like to take this opportunity to
wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Also, to let you all know that one of the photographic
categories for next year will be:
Christmas in Berrynarbor. So,
get those cameras clicking, as if you need an excuse, and we'll look forward to
seeing them next year. Remember - they
are not to be enhanced in any way. Thank
Floored Regular users of the Manor
Hall will know that it was necessary to close the Main Hall for several days
during November in order for the floor to be refurbished, all of which is now complete,
with the floor looking almost as good as new! Prior to the work the opportunity was
taken to replace the mains water pipe that runs under the floor, which had a
history of leaks. In the interest of
safety for all users, not least for the badminton players for whom new court
markings have also been applied, the floor has been sealed with a special
non-slip coating to preserve the surface.
apologies for any disruption caused while the work was being carried out, our
thanks go to all our regular users, not only for their understanding but who
accepted the need, where necessary, to relocate their activities into the Penn
Card Distribution With
Christmas just around the corner, the Annual Village Christmas Card
Distribution will again be available, with the Collection Box in the shop until
Friday December 14th. Although no exact 'postal' fee is levied,
please be generous with your donations as in previous years, which go
towards the upkeep of the Hall. The card
distribution Coffee Morning will
take place in the Hall on the morning of Saturday
15th December, 10.30 a.m. - a date for your diary and a time to come along
to meet friends over a coffee and a mince pie, take your chance with the raffle
and, of course, collect your cards. PLEASE put your cards in the box well
in advance of the 14th, so that the majority of sorting can be done ahead
of the Coffee Morning.
Bingo Fast becoming a regular event
in the Hall, another Bingo Evening is planned for Friday 7th December as a fund raiser for the School and Pre-
another date for your diary! So
come along and have a go and if you really enjoy it, perhaps you too would like
to arrange a similar event in the New Year as a fundraiser for your own
dedicated Group. While you are thinking
about it - perhaps there is some new activity you would like to start in the village,
for which the Manor Hall could be the ideal location!
Farewell Having sold their house and presently uncertain of where the next home
will be, in November we said farewell to Colin Trinder, who stood down as
Committee Chairman after a second term, having previously held the post for a
number of years during his 10 year total as a committee member. In that time Colin has handled and seen
through some difficult issues, devoting many hours of his time to drive forward
and oversee a number of improvements, not least essential maintenance, the
renewal of the kitchen area and now the 'new' floor. Our thanks to Colin for all he has done over
the years, we wish him and Annie a quieter but long and happy future life,
wherever that may be.
The Manor Hall Committee
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 42
THOMAS J. SMITH 1823-1869
Inventor of the Christmas Cracker
At Christmas, we all enjoy pulling
crackers, laugh at those corny jokes, put on the paper hats, and ponder whether
we'll ever use the small gift - it's all part of the fun! But it was Tom Smith who made it possible.
Now we all know how crackers work: a
cardboard tube, covered in a brightly coloured paper twist, and when pulled by
two people, the friction of a strip of chemically impregnated paper gives the
'pop' and the lucky one gets the goodies!
But how did it start?
Tom Smith began work as a small boy in a
bakery in London early in 1830. The shop
also sold confectionary - fondants, pastilles and pralines. Tom enjoyed his
work and particularly the wedding cake decorations. It didn't take him many years to leave and
start his own business in Clerkenwell, East London. Often he travelled to Europe for ideas and
in 1840 on a trip to Paris, he discovered the 'bon bon', a sugared almond
wrapped in a twist of tissue paper. He
brought some back to London which sold well at Christmas but then died in
January. To stimulate sales, he added a
love motto and persuaded his regular customers to buy these. Sales rapidly
increased. He knew he had a good idea,
but still continued with his wedding cake ornaments and confectionary business.
Wanting to increase his 'bon bon' sales,
it was casually throwing a log on the fire which crackled that gave him the
idea that produced today's cracker. He
worked hard and experimented, and eventually came up with a cracking mechanism
that went 'pop' when the [by now larger] 'bon bon' wrapping was broken.
By 1847 he had moved to larger premises
and his ideas had evolved into crackers. He had dropped the 'bon bon' in favour
of a small gift, increased the size and called his new product 'Cosaques' -
Cossacks. That name was quickly replaced by the eponymous 'cracker'. He had overnight success with this one
design, decided to export it and it was only marred when he discovered that an
Eastern manufacturer copied his idea and sent crackers to Britain just before
Not to be outdone, Tom designed 8
different types of cracker, worked his staff day and night and delivered stocks
all around the country in time for Christmas. From then on he never looked
When he died he left his business to his
3 sons, Tom, Henry and Walter. Walter
took up the challenge of continuing improvements changing the
love mottoes to those of topicality, employing special writers to compose
snappy references to every important event of the day. Eventually these were
replaced with puzzles, riddles and paper hats - not the thin tissue of today's
hats, but elaborate ones good enough to exhibit on proper hat makers'
stands. He went to Europe to find
surprise gifts such as Bohemian bracelets, scarf pins from Saxony and tiny pill
boxes filled with rouge and a powder puff.
Tom Smith crackers expanded into special
orders for companies and private people.
In the records is an order for a six foot cracker to decorate Euston
Station One order in 1927 was from a
gentleman who wrote enclosing a diamond engagement ring and a ten shilling note
for a special cracker for his fiancee. The
only problem was he forgot to include his address and never contacted the
company again. The ring, letter and ten shilling note are, I am told, still in
the company safe today - and no doubt the marriage didn't take place!
In the early days, Tom Smith made
specialist boxes of Wedgwood crackers, Japanese menagerie crackers and crackers
relating to current affairs, War Heroes,
Charlie Chaplin, Wireless, Motoring, and the Coronation etc. Exclusive crackers were made also for the
Royal Family - and still are to this day, although it is a secret what designs
and contents are used. Since 1906 when
they were granted their first Royal Warrant by the Prince of Wales and this
they have retained.
And so today, crackers are found in many
countries. In Russia, where they are called
хлоиүшқ - from my 3 session Russian
Language Survival Course on a recent holiday, I think that is pronounced
'Helonyooshka'. In some countries of the former USSR, crackers are a tradition
of New Year celebrations, but are more like our fireworks. One person activates them, they are used
outdoors, and produce a large bang and lots of smoke. In Southern Germany they are practically
Over the years, several mergers have
taken place and today, the Tom Smith group is a subsidiary of Napier
Industries, the largest manufacturer of crackers in the world.
A few years after Tom Smith's death,
Walter erected a drinking fountain in Finsbury Square in memory of his mother,
Mary, also commemorating the life of his father.
So as you sit down to your Christmas
lunch, give a thought to Mr. Thomas Smith, the man who invented the great
British Cracker - and don't forget the hat.
PP of DC
K9focus is a local dog rescue charity
founded by a lady called Lynne Hall about three years ago. In this country an unwanted dog is put to
sleep every hour that passes. Not many
people know that horrible fact! Like
many other rescue charities, we want to save as many of those dogs as we can
and give them second chances in good and loving homes.
We are often able to help local people
who are unable to care for their pets any more due to ill health or financial
hardship and re-home them. We can vet
the new owners and follow them up so we know their beloved pet is going to a
good place, providing reassurance and comfort to people who are giving up a pet
at an already difficult time in their life.
Most of our dogs are strays or come from
pounds where the clock is ticking - when a dog is picked up by a warden they
are only given 7 days to be claimed. If
no one comes forward they are put to sleep.
In April we celebrated re-homing our
100th dog, called Tia she was used for breeding then dumped still full with
milk for her pups. We managed to get
some newspaper and other media coverage and by November this year we have
re-homed another 50 dogs those numbers are amazing and show the power of the
media is quite staggering.
K9 focus is lucky that it has a dedicated
bunch of volunteers who work hard at shows, fetes, collection days, generally
raising money whenever and wherever they can to help dogs like Tia to be given
a second chance. Every dog we have is vet checked, neutered, vaccinated and
chipped before being sent out to its new home.
We are always looking for new
volunteers to do the variety of tasks the charity needs. For example fundraising, fostering, home
checks, computer work, etc. So if you
are interested please call Lynne on 01769560928.
Check out our website k9focus.co.uk to
see some of our dogs and read more about our charity, and remember if you are
thinking of getting a new best friend in your life the best breed of dog is a
Our dog of the month this month is Kia. Kia was waiting to go to his last
destination - the vets to be put to sleep.
We took one look at his face and loaded him in the van! He is a 3-year old Staffie whippet cross,
fully vaccinated, chipped and neutered.
His owner was notified that he was in the pound but didn't want him back
- he had a new puppy! Can anyone offer
a home for our thrown-out boy? He is
very friendly and loves to run. We do
not know what he is like with children or cats but appears friendly when
walking past other dogs. If you can
offer this lad a home of his own, please call Lynne on 01796560928.
Have a fantastic Christmas and don't
forget if you are still looking for presents that k9 focus are selling some
wonderful calendars in the Shop.
PLANTS SOLD IN AID OF CHILDREN'S HOSPICE SOUTH WEST
After a very poor summer weather-wise we are now into early
winter with dark evenings and cold weather, so my plants are resting [what is
left of them] and I am thinking about my plant sales for next year. This year has been very good and I am
pleased to say £100 up on last year to £800.
This seems too good to be true
The Children's Hospice sent me a letter the other day
thanking me and saying how much each donation meant to them with some words
from the families and children on the support they receive:
Little Bridge 'makes you feel important and puts you in a
good mood. They understand you.' It is 'wonderful and we love going
there. It's great.' 'They look after me and cook for mum and
dad.' A 'brilliant place, everyone is
happy and friendly.' Our Children's
Hospice is the 'best place in the world!'
They also extended an invitation to anyone who would like to
look round Little Bridge House. Each
month they open their doors to supporters to give them an insight into the
hospice life. They do not have any
planned family stays during these days and use it as an opportunity to carry
out maintenance and so can provide donors and volunteers with a day of thanks
for all their on-going support. To book
and find out more ring  325270.
Believe me, it IS a wonderful place and a happy one. Thank you everyone for your support.
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT
This year it feels as though we have had
no summer and the autumn seems to have slithered straight in to winter. We are very relieved that we did not enter
any competitions and although we planted up the tubs and hung up the hanging
baskets we were more relaxed about how they looked after all the hard work and
stress of representing the south west in the national competition last
year. However, every rain cloud has a
silver lining and one of these was that we did not have to worry about the
watering quite so much, in fact I think some of the plants must have grown
flippers and water wings it was so wet.
We have tidied up and planted the tubs
with bulbs and bedding plants and pray and hope that next year the weather will
be kinder to all of us.
Thank you to the entire Berry in
Bloom team for litter picking, opening their gardens, baking, weeding and
planting, and all the villagers who support us in whatever way. Don't forget we are always looking for more
good folks to join us!
This year I am determined to cut down
the costs of Christmas and one really nice way is to give home baked Christmas
gifts. I have made these cookies for
fetes and coffee mornings and when presented in a clear cellophane bag tied
with a Christmas ribbon I think they will look and taste very seasonal. [I buy the cellophane bags from Lakeland www.lakeland.co.uk,
Catalogue reference 12007, 50 bags for £2.99].
Cranberry and white chocolate
to 30 cookies
225g/8oz-unsalted butter softened
225g/8oz golden caster sugar
170g tube Carnation condensed milk
(or weigh out from a small tin)
350g/12oz self-raising flour
150g/51/2oz white chocolate chopped
150g/51/2oz packet sweetened dried
Preheat the oven to 180 Deg C, 350 Deg F,
Gas mark 4
In a large bowl cream the butter and
sugar until pale and then stir in the condensed milk. Sift in the flour and work in to a soft dough
with your hands. Mix in the chocolate and
Take a small handful of dough and
flatten with your fingers. Place onto
parchment lined baking trays, spacing out well, as the cookies will spread as
they heat in the oven.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until
golden brown at the edges but still a little soft. Leave to cool slightly and set before
transferring to a cooling rack.
The dough can be made 2-3 days before
baking if kept in the fridge or better still when you are busy at Christmas in
the freezer for up to a month, freeze in slightly flattened chunks and bake as
[I usually double the recipe and make
half as cranberry and white chocolate, but omitting the chocolate and
cranberries make the second half with grated zest of 1 orange, 150g/51/2oz
raisins and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. If
you choose to do this you can decorate the bags with cinnamon sticks and slices
of dried orange.]
Happy Christmas baking and giving.
WHERE HAVE OUR GREENFINCHES GONE?
I sometimes get asked why
Greenfinches have disappeared from many of our gardens. Certainly in the 12
years that Tim Jones and I have lived at Harpers Mill we have noticed fewer
Greenfinches in and around the village, as well as at Smythen Farm. For some reason
Greenfinches are only infrequent visitors to our garden, despite lots of
apparently suitable habitat. Among several diseases which affect birds, one in
particular, trichomonosis, has been the principal cause of the decline in
Greenfinches, and to a lesser extent Chaffinches.
Trichomonosis typically causes disease at the
back of the throat and in the gullet. Affected birds show signs of general
illness, such as lethargy and fluffed-up plumage, and may show difficulty in
swallowing or laboured breathing. Some individuals may have wet plumage around
the bill and drool saliva or regurgitate food that they cannot swallow. In some
cases, swelling of the neck may be evident. The disease may progress over
several days or even weeks. It does not affect humans or
An item on the British Trust
for Ornithology's website in mid-September reported new research that brings
our understanding of the disease outbreak up to date.
The widespread emergence of
trichomonosis in 2006 has resulted in a substantial decline in the Greenfinch
breeding population. The new research demonstrates
that mass mortality in Greenfinches continued in 2007-2009 at a rate of more
than 7 per cent of the population each year, but with a shifting geographical
distribution across the UK. In this time the population of Greenfinches in
Great Britain fell from some 4.3
million to about 2.8 million birds. It appears that the disease jumped from pigeons or doves to finches, but
quite why Greenfinches suffered more than other small birds remains unknown.
For more information on
trichomonosis and other bird diseases, visit the BTO website at www.bto.org and
follow these links: home > volunteer-surveys >
garden birdwatch > gardens & wildlife > birds > disease. This will
take you to a page on 'Disease and garden birds'. Here you will find advice on
what you can do to look after your garden birds, especially the need to keep
feeders clean. If you would like to report finding dead garden birds or signs
of disease in garden birds, there is also an online reporting form.
Greenfinch © Mike
SIGNS THE BOOK
L to R:
Seated: Sheila with Shaun, Ron,
Tony with Katie
Sophie, Jane, Craig, Jenny and Darren
I'm sure when Ron Toms was clearing the
parish ditches then ploughing fields he never expected in his wildest dreams
that on a November Saturday in 2012, he'd
be asked to sign copies of his biography, but he did.
More than 50 people arrived in the
Family Room of Ye Olde Globe to see Ron and have their copies signed. He apologised for his 'shaky hand' and
admitted he'd never 'liked writing at school', but the smile on his face and
his chatter conveyed that he was enjoying the moment. Indeed, Sheila, his daughter, had a job to
'drag' him away from the pub and return him to Lee Lodge!
The evening was a rarity as he hadn't
left the home for many months.
Furthermore, it brought four generations of the family together: Ron,
the patriarch, daughter Sheila and her husband Tony, their sons Craig and
Darren and their wives and Ron's three great-grandchildren: Sophie, Shaun and
It proved to be a memorable 'moment' and
will stay with his family, and me, for the rest of our lives. Life continues to amaze me, because this book
began with a comment about capturing Ron's memories before it was too late,
became notes in an exercise book, a script downloaded on to a memory stick and
then the published and permanent descriptions of times past.
The Book of Berrynarbor is still
available for purchase via the Community Shop.
Additionally, I have copies at home.
- Flowerdew Cottage.
LOCAL WALK - 135
Fauna among the Flora at Marwood Hill Gardens
Our esteemed editor had kindly given ma a voucher for entry
to Marwood Hill and as most of our previous visits had been in Spring or
Summer, we decided to delay our visit this time until the Autumn. I was curious to see what colour might
remain in late September - especially after the soggy Summer - and before the
russet and golden tones of Autumn leaves had got underway.
On arrival we headed for the quarry
garden and soon discovered on a path, beside the ericaceous border, a dead
mole. It is unusual to see these
industrious and beautiful creatures above ground alive so although regrettable
to find poor Moldy Warp like this, it did provide a rare opportunity to observe
the special features which adapt it for a life underground, excavating its
system of tunnels; the large muscular
'hands' with shovel-like palms and strong claws, the long flexible snout, club
shaped tail and coat of dark velvety fur.
Moldy Warp. the creation
of Alison Uttley in her Little Grey Rabbit books and illustrated here by Paul
We went down to the middle lake where a secluded seat
enabled us to pause to enjoy the view of the little island with its fine
sculpture of a mother and two young children by John Robinson.
When we first visited Marwood Hill in the 1980's there were
mandarins on the lake; the neat little
ducks which looks as if they have been carved out of wood and painted in bright
colours. They are no longer there and
now there are mallards with moorhens and a few Canada geese. Grey wagtails flitted to and fro across the
The rabbits we encountered among the eucalyptus trees were
not at all timid. At the top of the
hill is a spiral seat inside a circle of six silver birches.
In late September there were
still a lot of flowers blooming in the bog garden; alpines flowering in the scree beds and in
the Summer Garden, beyond the folly, the herbaceous plants were attracting red
admirals and small tortoiseshells.
the greatest number of butterflies were around
a large shrub near the walled garden.
The shrub was unfamiliar to me so I asked one of the gardeners what it
was. She told me it was a clerodendron,
also known as clerodendrum or glory tree.
The fragrant flowers in August and September are followed by turquoise
It was here I found the only painted lady butterfly I have
seen all year. I like its Latin name
Cynthia cardui. It is a migratory
butterfly which cannot survive the British winter. I imagine the painted lady in a love
triangle with the small and dull grizzled skipper jealous of his much larger
and more colourful rival, the red admiral.
A curious plant caught my eye. I was surprised to learn it was a member of
the pink family. Dianthus superbus. With its shaggy pink, deeply fringed petals
it resembled a ragged robin.
A small rodent shot out from under the dianthus, crossed the
path and disappeared among shrubs. It
was a bank vole; its back being a rich
reddish brown. A field vole would have
been greying brown. This is the easiest
way to distinguish between the two if you only have a glimpse.
Other differences are the length of tail. The bank vole's tail is about fifty per cent
of the length of its head and body, whereas that of the field vole - alternatively named short-tailed vole - is
only 30 per cent of the length of the head and body and all one colour. The bank vole's tail is bicoloured, dark on
top and pale below. Both voles have
very small ears but the field vole's ears are less visible than those of the
Our autumnal walk of discovery around
the gardens demonstrated that there's more to be enjoyed there than trees and
Footnote: A big thank you from the staff and
volunteers at the Garden for the support received for their Macmillan Fund
Raising Event which raised over £1700 for this worthy cause! £491 was raised on the day but a fantastic
amount of £1,244 came from Sage, the Eurasian Eagle Owl's collecting box
throughout the season.
The Gardens are now closed for the winter but will welcome
you all again from Friday,1st March 2013.
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
6 + 17
+ 20 +
42 = 1st Berrynarbor Wine Circle meeting of 2012-13.
reverse order . . .
members, new and old, were reminded that our Wine Circle has existed for twenty years in its current form by
Alex Parke, our Chairman, who was also the Master of Ceremonies for this
season's first meeting on 17th October
. Six wines were presented by Paul Firman,
Manager of Barnstaple's Majestic.
Paul has become a regular with our
Circle, but this presentation was a special, entitled Award Winners - a summer
theme this year, if ever there was one! A white Rioja, and an Argentinian Malbec for
under £10 were voted Best in Show by the prestigious Decanter World Wine
Awards, 2012 and were just two sampled by those present.
November's meeting on the 21st will be
hosted by yet another visiting professional, Jonathan Coulthard. Jonathan's wines are, however, his own, from
his vineyard: Domaine Gourdon in south-west France. His wines are, certainly, worth tasting and
worth buying, which will be a possibility.
Our festive tastings will be on
12.12.12, accompanied by a 'bring and share' meal - the tables groan, but the
participants don't! A great time is had
Judith Adam - Secretary and
OLD BERRYNARBOR VIEW NO.140
This photographic postcard was published around 1927 or
earlier by, I believe, Meakings of Combe Martin. The postcard is numbered 12461 and has an
Ilfracombe 6th August 1927 postmark over a red 1d King George V stamp.
The card shows our village and St. Peter's Church taken from
the road towards the Sterridge Valley and Berry Down. Our National School, complete with bell
housing, can be seen on the right and Bessemer Thatch and Little Gables are
thatched. To the left of Bessemer can
be seen part of the roof of Miss Muffet's, Dormer Cottage, whilst the white
cottage behind is 51 The Village, Tower Cottage. Further to the left, the Manor Hall and roof
of the Elizabethan Manor House, now the Men's Institute snooker room and Penn
Curzon Room can be seen. It is
noticeable that the only visible building on Barton Lane is Sea View, just to
the right of the church tower. Above
the School and to the left is No. 54, Dunchideock, where Claude Richards had
his Dairy. To the right are two of the
three cottages, which were formed from the original Jacobswell
Cottage, the first being
Olives, the next Jacob's Well and the third Ferndale.
On the extreme left of the picture we can just see part of
The Globe and the cottages next to Bessemer Thatch and the Manor Stores -
Bartlett, Tower Cottage