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No. 111 - December 01-12-2007

 

BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP

At the October Meeting we were lucky that Mrs Diana Lewis, accompanied by Mrs. Pauline Bussell, was able to come at short notice to talk about the North Devon Animal Ambulance Service. The demonstration of hedgerow baskets, to be given by Mrs. Cooke, was postponed as her husband had to go into hospital. The Animal Ambulance service is strictly a North Devon charity. Over the last four years 1,533 creatures have been helped, sometimes assisted by the Fire Service, RNLI, Coastguards and RAF Rescue. Apart from the normal animal welfare, a successful scheme exists for re-homing older pets with elderly people, these pets, having been left homeless by the death or illness of their owners. The Animal Ambulance service pays the vet bills, with the new owners paying for food etc. Margaret Weller won the raffle.

Marion Carter had a successful coffee morning at her home on 1st November when £142 was raised. Half this amount will be donated to the Mission Aviation Fellowship and the remainder to the Pattaya Orphanage in Thailand. Thank you to everyone for your support.

A cookery demonstration was given on the 6th November by Lesley Nicholas and Carmen Lethaby. They prepared a three course meal showing the versatility of puff pastry which included various hors d'oeuvres, beef Wellington with vegetables and Dauphinois potatoes followed by mince pies and mille feuilles. Members enjoyed sampling the finished products! The raffle was won by Sylvia Yates.

Fourteen members enjoyed a day in Exeter on 12th November visiting the new shopping centre and a similar number will be going to Dunster on 7th December for an evening entitled "Dunster by Candlelight". We are grateful to Janet Gammon, Betty Brooks and Liz Paget for arranging these outings.

The December Meeting will be the Christmas Party when sherry and mince pies will be on offer, as well as tea and chocolate biscuits! Norma and Tony Holland will be giving musical entertainment. Members are looking forward to the Christmas lunch at The Lodge on 17th December.

Because the first Tuesday in January is New Year's Day, the Meeting has been transferred to the Thursday afternoon, 3rd January, when the speaker will be our own Marion Carter. Her talk will be entitled "Oh no - not another elephant!" There will also be a short annual general meeting.

Mrs. Cooke will be coming with her hedgerow baskets on 5th February and Gerry Marangone will be telling us of his early years living in Italy on 4th March. Representatives from the North Devon Hospice will be with us in April.

All these Meetings take place in the Manor Hall at 2.0 p.m. Visitors or new recruits are very welcome.

Doreen Prater

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

Harvest Festival time came round again and was celebrated on Sunday, 30th September. As we are still in the midst of redecoration [to be finished by Christmas], not so many flowers were in church this year but the entrance was welcoming with fruit and vegetables along the back shelves and a huge basket of flowers placed for Mrs. Dummett in memory of her husband. Sunflowers and marigolds brightened up the pulpit and reading desk and, as always, there was a beautiful arrangement at the altar.

The Evensong and Supper on the following Wednesday were enjoyed by everyone and the buffet meal was a great success thanks to Doreen Prater and helpers. A lively auction of produce rounded off the evening and once again we shall be able to send £100 to Water Aid.

Two moving services were held at the beginning of November. The Candle Service on the first Sunday was very well attended. Our own choir was joined by choir members from Combe Martin to sing 'There's a Place for Us' and 'Ave Verum'. The congregation were all invited by Rector Keith to go up to the altar to light a candle in memory of loved ones. The following Sunday, 11th November, saw well over 70 of us gathered in church for the Remembrance Service, conducted by Rev'd. Steve Painting. On this occasion we were joined by the Parish Council and Ann Hinchliffe read the lesson on their behalf.

After the first hymn, everyone gathered at the War Memorial for the two minutes' silence and laying of wreaths. The collection of £165 has been sent to the Royal British Legion.

On Advent Sunday, 2nd December, the first candle will be lit on the Advent Wreath as we begin to anticipate Christmas. This year the services will be as follows:

  • Wednesday, 19th December, 6.30 p.m. - Carol Service

  • Sunday, 23rd December, 11.00 a.m. - Family Communion

  • Christmas Eve, 9.30 p.m. - Blessing of the Crib and First Communion of Christmas

  • Christmas Day, 10.00 a.m. - Family Communion with Carols *Please note earlier start

  • Sunday, 30th December - Communion Service with Carols

  • Sunday, 6th January - Epiphany [last day of Christmas] Songs of Praise with Carols

Cards will once again be distributed around the village and a sincere welcome is extended to everyone to come and join in the celebrations.

Donations towards the cost of flowers in church for Christmas will be gratefully received. We are sorry to report that Linda Brown has now left the village and will no longer be in charge of the flower arranging team. Thank you, Linda, for all your hard work and patient help - we are going to miss you. Sue Wright has agreed to take Linda's place and all queries should be addressed to her, telephone 883893.

There will be no Friendship Lunch in December and the date for January will be announced later.

Mary Tucker

 

JOHN PETER JAMES VALLANCE

For those of you in the village who knew or remember John, it was sad to learn that he had died at the age of 71 on the 22nd April 2007. A much loved half-brother and friend, he will be sadly missed by all his family and friends.

John lived in Berrynarbor from an early age with his mother Maude Perrin. He had lived in Ilfracombe most of his life and spent many happy times there. He was known mainly for his work as a plumber and builder by trade. John was a keen football player most of his life, and a follower to the end.

His funeral took place at the North Devon Crematorium on the 2nd May and the chapel was filled with his family, many friends and neighbours from Berrynarbor, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe.

The family would like to thank everyone for their cards and kind contributions. Money received in his memory amounted to £530, which was donated between the Rainbow Family Trust and the Greater World

Church, Ilfracombe. I should be interested to hear from anyone with photographs of John and any stories about him that you may have. I am woking on the Vallance family history and will be taking it to Australia to show our Vallance family.

Patricia

It was with sadness that I learnt from Patricia about John's death - for some time he had been a contributor to and recipient of the Newsletter. If anyone can help her in her quest, please contact me on 883544. Ed.

 

MALAWI UPDATE

Some years ago now we were introduced to the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Blantyre, Malawi, by June and Bernard and their daughter Mary, a Consultant Anaesthetist. Since then, June and Bernard have raised money and sent items for this most deserving cause by growing and selling fruit and vegetables, knitting baby bonnets, as well as holding events, aided and abetted by so many people from the village.

The village barbecue, sadly postponed due to the wet weather, was held in the barn at Sloley Farm at the end of September, and the stalwarts faced the weather again to support the event and enjoy great grub and good company, raising a healthy amount shared between the Medical Centre and our own North Devon Hospice.

This year June and Bernard will have raised more than £500 and sent more than 150 bonnets, to add to the several thousand pounds raised over the last few years.

Mary spends 6-8 weeks of her annual holiday revisiting Blantyre and her 'update' following her return in May this year makes not only interesting reading, but the humbling realisation of how lucky we are in comparison to so many in this world.

It is a little over four years since I left Malawi but distant and fragmented memories from that year and a half spent working at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital have been suddenly awakened in vivid technicolour. I am back in Blantyre for 6 weeks and I write this a little dazed after a long, sleepless night punctuated by the howling compositions of the neighbourhood dogs, brought to an abrupt end by the guard's radio broadcasting to the nation. When I open the window, I will for sure be comforted by the rhythmic sound of him sweeping the dusty yard with a small rough bundle of closely tied twigs. The day has started.

The hospital is much as I remember it - a sprawling, chaotic complex of buildings. The modern charity-funded constructions continue to pop up in the spaces between and around the original government buildings. Now, with a more distant eye, I can see that this place really is developing in a way that I failed to recognise when I worked here.

Queen Elizabeth Central, the tertiary referral hospital for the whole southern region of Malawi, is the home of the College of Medicine [my former employer] and a well-established medical school. Practically, it also serves as a district hospital providing primary health care to all comers. The staff are mostly Malawian, but there are a small number of ex-pats, some passing through and others in for the long-stay.

I worked in the department of anaesthesia. I had been six months away from completing my long specialist training in the UK, a little frustrated with the seemingly endless life as a 'junior doctor', but with a sense that I wasn't quite ready to settle into a consultant post. I was fortunate that the anaesthetic department at Blantyre was looking for assistance just at the time I was sending off tentative enquiry letters. I was employed to work as an anaesthetic consultant and teach. The department runs an 18-month training course and I joined them at the start of one course so had the satisfaction of seeing a fantastic group of 25 students through to the completion of their training.

The clinical workload here is heavy and challenging. It takes time even with previous experience to acclimatise to the lack of resources and consequent standard of care achievable. Even the smallest task becomes a huge challenge, and every clinical situation inevitably involves some form of uncomfortable compromise. Success when it comes is sweet. Here I have experienced bitter frustration and incredible job satisfaction in extremes never imagined back home.

Patients present very late with advanced disease and pitifully low expectations. Yesterday was a typical day.

At the handover meeting at 7.30 a.m. we heard of the night's adventures. Two anaesthetic clinical officers busy with a relentless series of emergency caesarean sections and other operations. By 8.30 a.m. I was starting the Intensive Care Unit ward round with an entourage of eager students. It turned out to be much interrupted. Conjoined [Siamese] twins were brought down to the operating theatre. One was erroneously reported to be dead but when meagre signs of life were recognised, an operation to remove the dead twin was no longer deemed necessary. The babies were taken to intensive care for observation.

We had just managed to wean at 16-year old patient from his ventilator, following surgery the previous day, when I was summoned to assist in theatre. I was diverted again by another call, this time to help resuscitate a patient who had had a cardiac arrest under anaesthesia. The unfortunate patient was a desperately puny 18-month old boy in hospital for nutritional support and in theatre for incision and drainage of a neck abscess. We were successful and restored his heart-beat and circulation. After several hours delay, he was wheeled into intensive care with his breathing assisted by a ventilator but already developing signs of possible brain damage. Room for him had been made by the death, following an uncomfortably hasty withdrawal of treatment to an elderly man who had somehow hung on to life despite an obvious catastrophic and irreversible brain injury. With average life expectancy somewhere in the middle to late 30's, those that make it to qualify as elderly tend to be made of tough stuff.

I took a phone call from a district hospital 80km east and an anaesthetist asking to bring a year-old baby with a head injury for assessment. Over a terrible line I eventually managed to establish the details and accept the patient. They arrived in a van with all the relatives two hours later. We didn't bring the child into the hospital - although they had done their best to treat her, the little girl was barely alive and certainly beyond retrieval. The van turned around and went back home.

An 18-month old girl was pushed on a trolley into intensive care unannounced. She had burns over 40% of her body from a petrol explosion nearly a day earlier. After an hour-long struggle to find a vein in which to site a drip, we started to give her fluids and drugs but with little hope she would survive. With full facial burns she was struggling for breath. I decided not to put her on a ventilator although it would certainly have been the best treatment for her. With limited resources one is forced to save drugs and equipment for the patients with the highest chance of survival. It makes for very difficult decisions, this gamble with life. By now, the tiny boy who had had a cardiac arrest earlier was wriggling and even trying to breathe. We took him off the ventilator and within minutes he enthusiastically accepted a finger feed of milk.

The intensive care unit was suddenly calm and the operating theatres were coming to the end of the day's work. There was just time to give a short tutorial to the students before joining the crowds on foot heading out of the city centre for home before dusk.

At home I found we had no water, but happily the electricity was working so the beer in the 'fridge was lovely and cold.

It's good to be back.

Mary - Blantyre, May '07

 

AN INSPIRATION

"Mum is an inspiration. She has never moaned or made a fuss.

She has just got on with it." Tracy

You may well have read Linda's story in the Journal, but here in the village we are all proud of her achievements and congratulate her, her daughter Tracy and her granddaughter Caitlin, on their success in the recent 10-mile Great South Run in Portsmouth.

Having completed her chemotherapy treatment two months earlier, Linda was determined to take part in the race to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Having taken part in the race last year, this time - not being so fit - was going to be a greater challenge for her, but she did it, completing all 10 miles!

Tracy, who ran at her faster pace, completed before going back to find Linda and join her to finish together, and Caitlin ran in the mile Mini Run the day before. Between them they raised the magnificent sum of just over £800 to help the fight against cancer.

Well done all of you.

Thank You

We should like to thank everyone who sponsored us for the Great South Run in Portsmouth on the 29th October. We are pleased to say that between us we have raised just over £800 for Cancer Research.

Thank you very much.

Linda, Tracy and Caitlin

WEATHER OR NOT

After a rather dismal summer, September and October were quite an improvement with some nice, dry, warm days.

We recorded no rain at all in September up to the 13th, after which we were away for a fortnight. We therefore only have a total for the month, which was only 48mm [1 7/8"], making it a fairly dry September although last year only 37mm [11/2"] of rain fell in the month. The maximum temperature of 22.3 Deg C was slightly below the average but the minimum of 7.7 Deg C was over 1 Deg C up. The sunshine hours of 111.67 were down on previous years, last year we had 139.29 hours. The strongest gust of wind was 24 knots on the 16th, which is about normal.

With a total of only 53mm [2 1/8"] - of which 32mm [1"] fell in one 24 hour period - it was the driest October that we have ever recorded. To illustrate how unusual it was, since 1994 we have recorded under 180 mm [7"] in only four years, including this one, and in fact for five years October was the wettest month of the year. The nearest comparable year was 2003 with 95mm [3 13/16"]. It was a fairly mild month although the maximum and minimum temperatures were both slightly below the average. 68.06 hours of sunshine were recorded, the highest recorded for October so far. The winds were light for all but two days of the month at 17 knots or below, and the maximum recorded was 25 knots on the 28th.

We have already recorded more rain in the first ten months of this year than the whole of 2006, but unless November and December are very wet, it will still be a dry year overall.

Simon and Sue

WARNING!

If you receive a card from a company calling themselves Postal Delivery Service saying that they couldn't deliver a parcel to you and to ring them on 0906 6611911, DON'T. This is a scam and the call will cost you £15!

 

MEN'S INSTITUTE

At the Annual General Meeting of the Men's Institute, the following members were elected:

President: John Huxtable
Chairman: Tony Summers
Treasurer: John Hood
Secretary: John Huxtable
Committee: Clive Abbott, Kevin Brooks, Ivan Clarke,
Vic Cornish, Maurice Draper, Bob Hobson,
Gordon Hughes

Special thanks were conveyed to our retiring Chairman, Gordon Hughes, for his untiring efforts to the Club over the past years.

John Huxtable

 

ELLIE

As many of you know, last year we acquired a little black rescue dog named Ellie. Ellie came with all sorts of problems and if you tried to stroke her she just went rigid. She was terrified of everything and anything.

A year and a bit on and Ellie still has a lot of problems which we are working on. She is still frightened of dogs and wary of people but is happy to greet her friends and be made a fuss of. She now knows what love and cuddles are all about and responds, and that a newspaper is for reading.

So this is by way of thank you to all those dogs and people who have been so kind, understanding and patient with Ellie and a special thank you to Jasmine and Saffron for teaching Ellie how to play.

Marion and Ellie

 

I should like to thank all those kind people who sent me birthday cards for my 94th birthday - it was very much appreciated.

Daisy Carter

GET WELL

 

Get well wishes to everyone on the sick list. Our thoughts are with Len and June and also our two 'bionic' ladies with new knees - Norma and Mavis.

 


THE GREAT AMERICAN RAILWAY

[A Campfire Song]


In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-one

The American Railway was begun.

The American Railway was begun.

The great American Railway.

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

The great American Railway.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-two

I found myself with nowt to do.

I found myself with nowt to do.

Beside the American Railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-three

The overseer accepted me.

The overseer accepted me.

To work upon the Railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-four

My hands were tired and my feet were sore.

My hands were tired and my feet were sore.

Through working on the railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-five

I found myself more dead than alive.

I found myself more dead than alive.

Through working on the railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-six

I went and trod on some dynamite sticks.

I went and trod on some dynamite sticks.

While working on the railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-seven

I found myself on t'way to Heaven.

I found myself on t'way to Heaven.

Through working on the railway.

Patsy, etc

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-eight

I found myself at the Golden Gate.

I found myself at the Golden Gate.

Through working on the railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-nine

An angel's harp and wings were mine.

An angel's harp and wings were mine.

Through working on the railway.

Patsy, etc.

 

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-ten

If you want any more you can sing it yoursen.

If you want any more you can sing it yoursen.

About the American Railway.

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

Patsy ooh-reeah-reeay

The great American Railway.

The last chorus should be sung with increasing tempo and volume to give a rousing finale.

Illustrated by Paul Swailes

 

 

HATCHED

Somewhat belated, we have two new babies to welcome and one very new one! Congratulations to Ann and Brian Bailey on the birth of their third grandchild. Benjamin Francis Beer, son of Jenny and Lee, was born on the 19th July, weighing 8lbs 4oz., a beautiful little brother for Louis.

We also congratulate Juliette and Pyers Cameron on the birth, on 9th August, of their daughter Isabella. A sister for Alex, Isabella weighed in at 6lbs 4oz.

Our Ron is delighted to announce that he has just become a Great Grandfather! His first great-grandchild, Sophie May, was born in Swindon on Monday, 12th November. Weighing 6lbs 3oz, a daughter for Darren and Jane, granddaughter for Sheila and Tony [Bolt] and niece for Craig. Our congratulations and very best wishes to you all.

 

BUSH TUCKER QUIZ

Meet it! Greet it! Eat it! Did that put you off turning up at the Manor Hall on the 13th October [or was your excuse that the rugby was on]? It certainly did us, but on learning that for only £1 we could just spectate and enjoy other people's discomfort, we went along. Spectate? You must be joking - we were soon roped in to savour the delights in store!

Under Quiz Master Steve Eddy, the Education Officer from the Exmoor Zoo, our knowledge of animals and insects was put to the test with some very interesting questions and facts. We were introduced to a 4-legged, furry, long-tailed rat-like creature and learnt that it came from Africa. It's name? Hero Rat, due to its ability to sniff out landmines without setting them off.

Extra points were awarded if a team member held and named a visiting large bird spider. Forfeits were also imposed on low scoring teams but grubs and other creepy crawlies were not on the menu! However, ostrich, kangaroo, zebra and camel were. All quite edible.

With a very high score - and not much to eat - the quiz was won by Shaun and Debbie Gallagher from Combe Martin, and their sons Jack and Luke.

Next time, be brave because you missed an interesting and enjoyable evening - and we even managed to see the final minutes of that exciting rugby match!

The Valley Team

DITCHING YOUR SPARE TYRE!

I was feeling really down, fed up and 'bottom of the pile', having gained 3 stone since giving up smoking. Then I discovered the Slimming World group in Ilfracombe, who meet every Wednesday evening at 6.00 p.m. at the Infants' School in Marlborough Road. The smiles started from the very next Wednesday evening when I was given the friendliest possible welcome on arrival at the group meeting.

In the past, dieting has been about denial and self-control and avoiding most [delicious] foods, but this is NOT the case with Slimming World. Food Optimising is about knowing what you can eat in large quantities, learning how to make informed choices about when to have your treats [they call them 'syns'] and ensuring that you make daily healthy choices. After ten weeks I am only 3lbs away from losing my 2 stone target. I lost 10% of my initial body weight in only 8 weeks and that brings enormous health benefits - and an extra free week at the group meetings! The GMC [General Medical Council] and the Royal College of Midwives approve of Slimming World's eating plan as it is just that, an eating plan for a healthy life, not a fad diet.

Attending the weekly group is the thing that I have found most helpful. If someone has a poor weight loss, the group offers ideas and support to help keep on track. Also sharing recipes, experiences and celebrating success is great fun! So much so that I now feel like the 'Remington man who liked the razor so much he bought the company' as I shall become the new Slimming world Consultant on the 21st November.

If you are concerned at all about your weight or worry that you might pile on the pounds over Christmas, why not come along and see how we work - you would be very welcome to attend a free 'taster' session to see if Slimming World can help you or give me a ring on 07903 851292 or [01271] 863743 to find out more.

So, I hope to see you on a Wednesday evening, 6.00 p.m. at Ilfracombe Infants School either now or following the 'feasting' season!

Liz Sansom - Widmouth

 

ORCHARD HOUSE

It was most interesting to read my cousin Vera's article 'Old Times' in the October 2007 Newsletter, as I have happy memories of visits to Orchard House as a child, when living near Braunton.

It seemed a lovely, large house and garden, which my Uncle Tom had built. I remember him well, as he accompanied Vera and myself when she and I went to a Christmas Dance at the Village Hall. This was a great event for me and terribly exciting, as I guess I was about 14 years of age! The popular song at the time was 'All by yourself in the moonlight', to which we danced a foxtrot.

I enclose a photograph of Vera on her wedding day - she was a very pretty bride.

Audrey Flower, Hitchin

Vera & William Lewis on their wedding day 1937

 

THANK YOU

A big thank you once again to villagers and visitors who have bought plants from my stall outside Higher Rows. I am pleased to say that I have again been able to give a donation of £500 to our Children's Hospice at Fremington, which I hope will in some small way help the children and their families at Little Bridge House through such sad times in their lives.

Thank you all. Margaret Walls

 

MANOR HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Dear Manor Hall Users

Due to the new legislation under the Landfill Directive, the handling of waste on commercial premises, which includes the Manor Hall, has changed from the 30th October 2007.

We are now obliged to recycle all our waste which in the past has been put into the black bin. To help with this process at the Manor Hall, we shall provide a green bin for cardboard only. All other recyclables

will have to be removed by you, the hirer of the Manor Hall.

The following cannot be left at the Hall:

         Glass - green, white [clear], brown

         Drink cans and food tins

         Any plastic bottles

         Paper [newspapers, magazines, office paper, etc.]

Cardboard placed in the green bin will be collected by South Molton Recycle Ltd. at a cost to the Manor Hall. All other waste, such as tea bags, wrappers, etc., should be placed in the black bin provided by North Devon District Council.

Thank you for your help.

Bob Hobson - Chairman, Manor Hall Committee

 

WILLOW'S WHEELS

The day of the event to raise money for Willow's Wheels dawned fine, dry and sunny and after an early start, the Manor Hall was looking welcoming. Tables, each with a flower arrangement, were placed in the middle with stalls set around the walls - raffle, home-made cakes, and guessing games. In the kitchen, Mrs. Bridges, Mrs. Beaton and a few Nigella Lawsons were preparing wonderful food that would keep appearing throughout the day - coffee, cakes, lunch and cream teas.

Outside in the sunshine were games to play and a very well displayed and well manned [or rather woman'd!] bric-a-brac stall. Lily the pig was there to have her weight guessed as she snuffled for truffles.

Back inside, displayed on a long table, a silent auction was set out with a wonderful selection of first class gifts.

After consuming delicious lunches of soup or chilli, everyone was ready for the main event of the day - the Grand Auction of Promises. How did so many promises of activities come about? The answer is because of the generous spirit of so many people, not only from the village but farther afield - the milk of human kindness by the buckets full. Under the direction of auctioneers Tony Summers and Ann Davies, items as diverse as a romantic week-end break, having your home 'Dun and Dusted', garden and home maintenance, to fishing and sailing trips - and many, many more - the hammer fell on some incredibly generous bids. The same generosity was shown in the silent auction, raffle tickets were issued ceaselessly throughout the day and the stalls were soon selling Christmas cards, bedsocks and other gifts.

Competitiveness was rife as guesses were made as to the secret ingredient of Wendy's cake worth drooling over - yes, it really was tomato soup! And outside the rat was well batted, the skittles bowled over time and time again, and Lily's weight guessed by all and sundry.

Throughout the day, Willow herself was whizzing around in her current wheelchair and when someone commented "You're really good at that!" she replied, "Well, of course, I've been doing it a long time."

As the event came to an end it was obvious that a lot of money had been raised towards the cost of a new wheelchair for Willow, suitable for her to begin her schooling and there were tears in everyone's eyes as Louise and Martin thanked everyone for their wonderful support. Holly, their elder daughter who was outside, said "They're all crying in there!"

So, think of the number we first thought of raising and double it. That's what your generosity achieved - £4,400! To everyone who bid and bartered, who offered their skills and time, who manned the stalls and provided and served refreshments or who helped in any way, a very sincere thank you.

Jane and Gilly

 

What can we say? There are successful events and then the Willow's Wheels Promises Auction . . . wow! Berrynarbor, you really did pull out all the stops - over £4,000 was raised!

Never-ending thanks to everyone who attended the Auction at the Manor Hall and to those who donated promises or helped in any way. Jane Jones and Ann Davies deserve to be singled out for special thanks for all the hard work they put in to organising the whole event.

We have raised over £10,000 and are now able to seek further advice from Willow's physio and occupational therapists on the exact chair for her. She doesn't care as long as it's pink or red!

We are truly grateful to you all and although we've moved up the road, feel honoured to still be a part of this wonderful village community that is Berrynarbor.

Thank you. Louise, Martin, Holly and Willow [Lancey]

 

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
 

We will begin with a box, the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox becomes oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,

Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,

Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet

And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set of teeth,

Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

One may be that, three would be those,

Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,

And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But although we say mother, we never say mothren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,

But imagine she, shis and shim!

 

A few more reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound

  • The farm was used to produce produce

  • The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse

  • We must polish the Polish furniture

  • He could lead if he got the lead out

  • There is no time like the present, so he decided to present the present

  • I did not object to the object

  • The insurance was invalid because he was an invalid

  • There was a row among the oarsmen on how to row in a row

  • He was not close enough to the door to close it

  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail in

  • After a number of injections, my jaw became number

  • After seeing the tear in my dress, I shed a tear

  • I spent the evening evening out a heap of soil

Let's face it, English is a crazy language! There is neither egg in egg-plant or ham in a hamburger. No apple or pine in a pineapple. Why does quicksand work slowly and boxing rings are square? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by boat? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, whilst a wise-guy and a wise man are opposites. And finally, if dad is pop, how come mum isn't mop? Enough!

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

The Berrynarbor Wine Circle commenced its new season with a presentation from Majestic Wines of Barnstaple which was truly excellent. Paul Firman, Assistant Manager at the Barnstaple branch, displayed great enthusiasm, coupled with wide ranging knowledge of his subject. He presented the usual six wines for us to taste, three whites and three reds, but then finished by offering an Australian Dessert wine, a first for virtually everyone present. All were in agreement, however, that it would make an excellent accompaniment to mince pies or Christmas pudding at the end of Christmas Dinner and in fact had virtually all the flavours of Christmas pudding in alcoholic-liquid form.

December 12th [please note a week earlier than normal] sees the Christmas Food and Drink evening with wines selected and presented by myself. I hope I can match the earlier presenters with some interesting wines for the festive occasion. At the November meeting and for this meeting only, members will have grouped themselves into tables of 12 and organised jointly their starter, main course and dessert and hopefully a great time will be had by all.

In January, in response to many requests from members, we are repeating the wine quiz - "Call my Wine Bluff". This is based on the TV panel game "Call my Bluff" where three panellists give their interpretations of an obscure word and the other panel have to guess which of the three was telling the truth. In our version, the members, divided into teams, have a wine to taste from a covered bottle and then listen to three different explanations from the panel as to what they are tasting. They then have to decide which panellist is telling the truth, estimate the age of the wine and also its price. The team with the most points at the end of the evening wins a small prize.

If anyone wishes to join us for either the December or January meeting, we should be delighted to see them provided that they have contacted us to arrange membership at least 24 hours beforehand. We regret that to comply with licensing laws we cannot sell tickets at the door to members of the general public.

Tony Summers, Secretary [01271] 883600

 

WELCOME AND FAREWELL

Although their leaving was on the cards, Fred and Linda's sudden departure has left a hole in many of the village activites, but we wish them well in their new home in Farnham, Surrey, where they will be nearer all their family and extended family.

Devon Cottage on Hagginton Hill had been their home here for 14 happy years and Linda's floral skills

have been much appreciated during that time - not only the regular decorating of St. Peter's Church, but also her work in organising and helping with the Flower Festivals. A stalwart of the W.I., Linda was disappointed at its demise - hopefully there will be an active institute near her new home - and from 1996 until 2003, Linda chaired the organising committee of our Horticultural and Craft Show, running seven excellent Shows. Whilst Linda was in the fore of village events, Fred was always there for support, his enjoyment being in more solitary pursuits - music, books and beautiful woodcarving - but he also played a mean game of golf and was a one-time member of our Badminton Club. You will be missed!

Devon Cottage is now home to Nick and Zoe Williams from Highgate, London. We welcome them and hope to do so more fully in the next issue.

Sally Barten has moved next door! Now settled in her new, smaller home, Poppies, she says housework only takes five minutes! Please would visitors now call via the gate to the side. We all wish you well in your new cosy home.

Berri Home will be the temporary home of Mike Floyd, a member of the Prison Service, who comes from London. Mike's family - his parents and brother - live in Ilfracombe. His father used to help Paul and Jackie Lethaby in the butcher' shop and his grandparents are buried in St. Peter's churchyard. He is, therefore, virtually a 'local'!

Also not moving very far, we wish Stuart Neale well in his new home at No. 23 Berrynarbor Park.

 

PARISH COUNCIL REPORT

The last Council meeting was held on the 13th November, when all Councillors were present; also attending were District Councillor Yvette Gubb and County Councillor Andrea Davis.

It is sad to report that Parish Councillor Len Coleman has now resigned due to ill health. The Council would like to say thank you to Len for his many years of service to this village and also to June for her support in enabling him to carry out his various duties.

As a result of Len's resignation, there is now a vacancy on the Council. Anyone wishing to apply to fill this vacancy should please contact the Clerk, Mrs Sue Squire, telephone 01598 710526.

County Councillor Andrea Davies told the Council that there will shortly be a traffic questionnaire delivered to every house in the village to determine where the 30m.p.h. speed limit should start.

Plans are in the process of being drawn up for the children's playground and these will be shown to the public before any decisions are taken.

For the winter months only, the disabled toilet will be the only public toilet open in the car park, which will save money that can be spent elsewhere in the village.

The report in the North Devon Journal regarding North Devon District Council and Torridge District Council merging is untrue. There maybe future discussions regarding some services merging if there is a possibility of reducing costs and improving services.

Finally, as we come near to the end of 2007, on behalf of the Parish Council thank you to all who worked for the Council and also those who give their time voluntarily, a special mention must go to Sue Squire the Parish Clerk and to Judie for the ever popular newsletter.

Sue Sussex -Chairman

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS - 34

At Christmas time there is a great emphasis on the value of the family. Yet for some people friends can be just as valuable. If not more so. At least we can choose which friends we want to be with at Christmas; we can't always our families. And it is a fact of life that for some families this can cause a little stress.

On Christmas day I am looking forward to seeing one of my best friends; and what a dear friend she has been. Like any good friend, she is always there for me. She has helped me through some of my most difficult times and never minds what time of day or night I contact her. It is such a comfort knowing she is there for me at a moment's notice. I feel I can tell her any of my problems. Best of all, she never judges me on what I tell her, preferring instead to just listen whilst I ramble on. Sometimes I don't have to speak, yet she is still able to read my mind and interpret my muddled thoughts. Always at one with herself, her calm demeanour helps me to unwind and relax.

One of the things I like most about her is her appearance. She has an immaculate dress code and a wardrobe of clothes with colours ranging through the whole spectrum. And oh, how she loves her brooches.

No doubt on Christmas day she will wear one of her silver brooches attached to her holly coloured dress - a dress which only comes out of the wardrobe once a year. Green is a colour she wears off and on at the moment although as a rule she wears outfits of a softer shade during the winter months, cream and beige in particular. They match her hazel eyes beautifully. As winter turns to spring she wears but one colour: yellow. Blouses, jackets and sweaters are all of varying shades yet all the while she wears but one brooch - made out of amethysts, and in the shape of a violet. By mid-spring she will vary her colours once more, wearing pinks, blues and whites in particular. The amethyst is put away for another year and is replaced instead by a sapphire brooch.

Come summer I never know what colour she may be wearing when I see her! But whatever it is, it's sure to be shocking. It could be a dazzling scarlet or lemon, or a deep purple or burgundy. It's a time when she really does show how many colours are available. Yet for her brooch, she wears an emerald. Always an emerald. Then in the middle of summer she will surprise me by occasionally wearing a much softer colour,

lavender. And as summer progresses she'll wear it more and more frequently. Yellow, too, appears once more although these outfits aren't the bright yellow colours she wore earlier in the year. Instead, they are mustard in shade. This change to more mellow colours is a sign that she'll soon be wearing her orange clothes again along with her gold brooch, both colours perfectly matching her ginger hair.

In time she will start to wear brown, a sure sign that the holly coloured dress is once again being aired in preparation for Christmas day.

Wondering how she will look when I meet up with her and never failing to be amazed by the wonderful colours she wears, is just one small attribute that makes her the special friend that she is. Her name? Mother Nature. And to be specific, the trees and flowers of our beautiful countryside.

Merry Christmas.

Stephen McCarthy

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

On the whole we have had a lovely autumn - just what we all needed after the miserable summer, but now winter is upon us. The group have had a year of litter picking, planting and tidying up the village and can now rest until the spring. We hope you've enjoyed the floral displays around the village and may be you will consider joining us next year.

This year we again won a Silver Gilt Award from the Britain in Bloom competition. We were very pleased, as the difficult weather conditions in the summer meant we, ourselves, were a little disappointed with our show of flowers. Of course the competition is not just about flowers but about community involvement, care of the environment, etc. That is something that abounds in this village and of which I am sure we can all be proud.

We hope to see you next year, our first meeting will be some time in February, so look out for 'blooming' posters!

 

Recipe for December

Last Minute Christmas Mincemeat Cake

If you have been harassed and a bit late making your Christmas cake, this one tastes lovely and is quick to make.

1lb [450g] good quality mincemeat

[you must use best quality as cheap brands have too much liquid]

8oz [225g] wholemeal flour

3 level teaspoons baking powder

5oz [150g] dark brown sugar

5oz [150g] butter/soft margarine

6oz [175g] mixed dried fruit

2oz [50g] walnuts

Grated zest of a small orange

Grated zest of a small lemon

3 free-range eggs, size 1 or 2

4oz [110g] whole, blanched almonds [if you don't intend to ice the cake]

Place all the ingredients except the whole almonds in a large mixing bowl. The eggs can go in whole but give the flour a sifting to get in some air and then tip in the bran left in the sieve.

Using an electric beater [or wooden spoon], beat everything until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into an 8" round cake tin, greased and lined with greaseproof paper. If you are not going to ice the cake, arrange the whole almonds in circles over the top.

Bake the cake at gas mark 3 [325 Deg F or 170 Deg C] for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until the centre springs back when lightly touched. Let it cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning it out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

If you have time you can feed it with brandy by making holes with a darning pin and pouring on brandy. This can be done as many times as you like! Store the cake wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil in a polythene box or cake tin.

Happy Christmas, Wendy

 

OUR OWN ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

What fun we had! A goodly band of friends turned up to arrange the hall. Judie's tablecloths, balloons and table arrangements in Macmillan colours brightened the scene. I wish I'd had a camera when she emerged from the back seat of the car with a dozen or so helium-filled balloons threatening to whisk her off like Mary Poppins!

  71 tickets were sold and 69 people turned up - quite a squeeze! It was exciting watching folk turn up with their packages and bundles for valuation - just like the genuine BBC Roadshow. The items were displayed on tables in front of the Valuer and everyone sat around enjoying excellent 'nibbles' generously provided by our shop suppliers and friends, washed down with a glass of wine. Janet, Vi and Margaret performed miracles in the kitchen, working like beavers and presenting a superb spread.

Some people brought various items for a table auction where bids were placed and the highest bidder won. This added £177 to the kitty.

The raffle, all prizes donated, raised £106, whilst Fenella's 'Guess the Age of the Chair' caused some interest and raised a bit more cash. 1815 was the date and Jill Massey won a gorgeous bouquet of flowers arranged by Sue Wright [now an area floral art demonstrator - congratulations, Sue].

  Everyone agreed that Christopher Hampton [of Hampton and Littlewood, Auctioneers and Valuers, Exeter] made the evening. He handled, spoke about and valued each of the many items brought, in two one-hour sessions during which you could hear a pin drop! And generously, he would accept neither a fee nor travel expenses so that we would maximise funds. In the interval, Janet and helpers served coffee, tea and delicious biscuits from the Fudge Tree Company and everyone tucked in to the remaining nibbles.

  The evening raised a total of £740 with all expenses paid, so that Macmillan Cancer Support and our new Community Shop are richer by £370 each. We were very grateful to all who contributed in whatever way - including those who turned up and then generously supported the various money raising events.  Thanks, everyone!

PP of DC

 

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS

The very successful Antiques Roadshow in the Manor Hall reminded me of an article in a glossy 'Homes' type magazine I read recently.

The writer had inherited articles and memorabilia from her parents, but as they did not fit in with her 'minimalistic' decor of stainless steel and glass, she had got rid of them.

My daughter and I once caught my granddaughter staring into an old glass paperweight in which a flower was encapsulated. As she turned the paperweight around, my daughter said she could remember doing the same thing to this paperweight in my parents' home, many years ago.

The articles brought in by residents last Friday were fascinating, in the stories and memories they held. What a loss to our society it would be if we stopped handing down the memories of our, and our parents' past.

Yvonne Davey

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP

Finally, after a last minute hiccup, the first sod was turned on Friday 2nd November [with gilt spades no less!], the honours being performed by Ron Toms and Hazel, youngest daughter of Kate and Seretse. Thank you both, you did a great job. Since then, the footings have been dug, the first of many breezeblocks laid and now our new shop is underway just over 3 years after the village took over from Alan. We apologise for the disruption in the car park. When work is complete [hopefully by next Easter], it will be laid out differently with only 2 or 3 spaces lost.

We haven't yet had a chance to evaluate the results of the questionnaire recently circulated. Didn't get one? Please 'phone Alex on 883758. Haven't filled it in yet? It's not too late. If it's not been collected, do please take the completed form to the shop. It really is helpful in deciding future policy. The generosity of so many people in the village is overwhelming. In the last two weeks the shop has benefited by: an increase in shares of £1650, a donation of £1,000 from Gary following the disbanding of the BBC and £1,500 from an anonymous donor - not forgetting £370 from the Antiques Road Show - a grand total of £4520. If you haven't bought shares yet, there's still time. We hope to raise another £2000 to reach our target and hope our German style Christmas market in the Manor Hall on December 8th will help.

Jackie has the shop full of Christmas cards, wrapping paper, pretty boxes of biscuits, sweets and chocolates, tea and other gifts. It is also time to order your Christmas poultry and meats. Ivan Clarke's order forms are already in the shop and no doubt Westgate Angus will follow shortly. It's also not too early to order fresh fruit and vegetables from Edds and so save a last minute panic? Oh - and post early for Christmas [although some dates have already passed!].

Last date for sending internal mail is: parcels - Friday 14th December, 2nd class post Monday 17th December and 1st Class on Thursday 20th.

By the time you read this, the number of shopping days to Christmas will be diminishing rapidly, so Happy Christmas Shopping everyone!

PP of DC

 

HELEN'S MODEL VILLAGE

Many villagers will remember Helen Armstead. Helen was not only a competent artist who produced many delightful watercolours of local views and delicate floral prints, but she also made models of many of the cottages and other buildings in the village. For some years these models have been displayed in the Sunday School corner of the church and used for informal dioramas for church events. Sadly, they are now deteriorating and need some TLC if they are to survive, together with better storage or display facilities. The buildings include the Church, School, Manor Hall, Bessemer Thatch, Briar Cottage and Shop, and Miss Muffets.

Has anyone any suggestions as to how these models could be refurbished and where they could be stored? If you can help, please give me a ring on 889393. Alan Rowlands

 

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS - No. 12

Derek J Miles

It's Saturday afternoon in summer. Visitors have found our Community Shop by SatNav and are now stocking up for the weekend - bread, butter, bacon, eggs, and PG Tips. I'm duty volunteer with Hedy.

"Have you tried Miles tea?" I ask, "It's very good with our local water."

The PG Tips are quickly returned to the shelf, Miles Original picked up and another customer is converted.

But who is D J Miles? With some trepidation I check that Mr. Miles is happy to appear in 'Movers and Shakers', after all, this is the first time that the subject can correct what I've written!

The website reveals a fascinating history, written by Derek Miles, of a family business going back more than 100 years and run by three generations, all experienced in the tea and coffee trade and all contributing their expertise.

Derek started working in the tea trade in the early 1950's in London. His job involved tasting, inspecting and selling tea. In 1961, however, he bought a house in Porlock and a small shop at the foot of Minehead Church Steps, which he ran for about 12 months. He continued his connection with the tea trade and was soon offered a job by his old company, travelling to Avonmouth once or twice a week to inspect and sniff imported tea. At that time, all tea chests were bored and a sample of tea taken to ensure that the leaves were evenly sized and free of taint. [This quality inspection ceased in 1968]. Mr Miles agreed readily to this job as it gave him an extra income, he was able to live in a beautiful part of the country, and still run his shop from where he sold small amounts of tea.

A problem arose when the London company, who had no difficulty selling single chests of tea to small firms in the London area, didn't find it so easy to get customers in Avonmouth. Derek, grasping a marketing opportunity, bought a few chests, blended them on a piece of hardboard and packed them in his front room. This was the start of D J Miles!

The Company grew rapidly and tea was sold locally and in Bristol. He moved the blending and packing business to increasingly larger premises, and eventually to The Vale Yard in Porlock, which is still its Head Office.

In 1974 he went into partnership with a friend, Norman Halls and bought out Henry Miles and Co. Henry Miles, Derek's grandfather, founded the Company in 1888 in Birmingham. On his death in 1940, his two sons, Eric and Leslie, took over the business and ran it until 1974. Derek's brother, Philip Miles, joined them in 1941.

This was then incorporated into Derek's existing company. Norman brought his engineering skills to the fore in setting up a teabag-making site in Chepstow, Gwent, where it was convenient for Avonmouth. Eventually, this and the tea blending and packing were moved to their present site in Minehead. Norman's son John and Paul Marsh [whose father had worked in the tea trade for over 50 years], joined the Company and continue its very proud tradition.

The daily ritual of tea tasting is carried out by Derek, Paul and John who are experts in this field. Samples are carefully weighed into pots using an old sixpenny piece. Freshly boiled water is poured on; the tea allowed to infuse and then drained into bowls. The batch of teas is then tasted and discussed and up to 100 teas may be tasted before one is selected for blending.

The daily coffee roasting continues in Porlock, its aroma drifting across the streets of this beautiful and friendly Exmoor village. The Roaster's skill, gleaned over many years, allows him to judge when to let the beans fall from the roaster to the cooling tray. Next door is the shop, which you can find in the lane between the High Street and the main car park. Normal opening hours are from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Their most popular products are still the Original teabags and loose tea, but coffee is catching up fast and a wide range of Miles products is on sale in our Community shop. Miles will be in the Food Hall at the Devon County Show next May 15-17 where tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be on sale.

Miles provide talks and tours for local groups. These are very popular and need to be booked well in advance and there are plans at some stage to introduce weekly tasting sessions at Porlock. The Company has done some promotions with Paignton Zoo over the past two years. In the first year they raised enough money to buy a special set of scales to weigh the elephants which is vital for maintaining their health!

And after 46 years, Mr Derek Miles continues as Chairman. Long may this family business continue to provide quality products that give pleasure to so many.

PP of DC

 

THE BIGGEST COFFEE MORNING IN THE WORLD

This event seems a long time ago now, but it happened too late to be included in the last Newsletter.

The Manor Hall hosted the event, Macmillan supplied the advertising posters, banners, balloons and two gigantic blow-up mugs, which nearly blew away! However, we were 'blown away' by the support given. Visitors came, not only from the village, but families and friends from Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and many surrounding villages.

Cakes were baked to provide a truly luscious coffee morning. Tables were beautifully decorated by Judie and the band of 'good fairies', who seem to live in the Manor Hall kitchen, were at work once more. Stuart's musical support was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The raffles contained prizes generously donated from the whole area and we thank the kind donators for their support. The White Elephant stall groaned under the weight of articles donated for sale, and the Fabulous Wine Company from Barnstaple gave us the chance to sample and purchase their wines.

A really good time was had by all and, with all this help, we raised the fantastic total of £718. All money raised in Devon for Macmillan is spent on care in Devon. We thank you all for your support.

Yvonne, Vi, Ann and Pam

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

We are pleased to welcome Bill and Disnie to our School. They have moved from Nuneaton and we wish them and their families lots of happiness in North Devon.

We also have two new Governors. The Governing Body works hard to support the school and we are delighted to welcome Mrs. Linda Balment as Community Governor and Mrs. Sian Barten as Parent Governor.

Operation Christmas Child We have received a lovely selection of filled and wrapped shoe boxes to bring hope and a smile to some of the world's poorest children. These have now been delivered to a centre in Barnstaple shortly. This is now an annual undertaking for our school and the children put a lot of effort and thought into preparing their special gift boxes, even putting in their favourite toy for someone else to enjoy just as much as they have.

Children In Need On Children in Need day, pupils and staff all went to school in their pyjamas! To raise money, they made a trail of 1p and 2p pieces and cooked Pudsey Bear biscuits. Photos were taken throughout the day and a sum of £78.21p was raised.

Christingle We shall be holding our Christingle in the Church at 9.15 a.m. on Monday, 10th December. This is a magical time and everyone is welcome to come and join us. The service will last approximately 30 minutes.

'Senior Dudes' Christmas Evening Dinner Children from our Years 5 and 6 will be cooking this special dinner on Thursday, 13th December, for the Senior Citizens of Berrynarbor. It starts at 5.00 p.m. and will be finished by approximately 6.30 - 7.00 p.m. This is always a very popular evening and if you would like to come along, please call in at the Community Shop and put your name on the list so that the children can send you an invitation. Numbers are restricted, so please get your name on the list as soon as possible.

School End of Term Christmas Service Our end of term service will take place in the Church on Monday, 17th December at 2.30 p.m. We should very much like to welcome you all to join us for this occasion.

We break up for Christmas on Wednesday, 19th December and return to school on Thursday, 3rd January 2008.

Hockey Mrs. Lucas is very keen to teach hockey to our oldest children. Unfortunately, we do not have enough suitable hockey sticks. If anyone has any unwanted hockey sticks that they feel able to lend or donate, we should love to hear from you.

On behalf of the Pupils, Staff and Governors,

we should like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and

Prosperous New Year. Thank you for all the support which

the village offers to the School throughout the year.

Susan Carey - Headteacher

 

MANOR HALL CHRISTMAS CARD COLLECTION & DELIVERY

& COFFEE MORNING, SATURDAY 15TH DECEMBER

Once again we shall be running a Christmas Card Collection where you 'post' your cards, together with a donation to Manor Hall Funds, in the special box in the Shop and we deliver them on Saturday, 15th December.

The Saturday morning in the Manor Hall will be very special this year as the cards will have been sorted by the Primary School children and delivered by them on that morning.

We shall be providing coffee, mulled wine and other 'goodies' during the morning from 10.00 a.m. onwards. At 11.00 a.m., the Primary School children will entertain us with carols and some live music, so do come along and support this community event, we shall even have a raffle!

Bob Hobson - Chairman,

Manor Hall Management Committee

 

LOCAL WALK - 105

A Memorable Day at Raparee Cove

It was on the Today programme that I first heard about it; how the day had been dubbed 'Emancipation Day' and that afternoon, Friday the first of August 1997, there was to be a ceremony at Ilfracombe's Rapparee Cove to commemorate the St. Lucians who lost their lives when the ship they were travelling on, 'The London', had been wrecked on the rocks there, on the night of the ninth of October 1796.

As well as a detailed report in the programme, the Bishop giving his 'Thought for the Day' had chosen the event as the topic for his talk.

Earlier in the year, February 1997, severe weather had caused erosion in the cove and this had led to the discovery of human skeletal remains and iron shackles.

At the time of the shipwreck, two hundred years ago, the bodies of the sixty or more men, women and children from St. Lucia, who had drowned, were buried at the cove in a mass grave.

There has been some uncertainty as to whether they had been slaves or prisoners of war. It was the time of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

On 'Emancipation Day' in 1997, I walked from Larkstone down to Rapparee Cove. Families of Rastafarians were walking slowly about the beach and down to the water's edge, solemnly selecting pieces of seaweed, pebbles or shells.

Although it was the height of summer, it was a grey day and soon a grizzly drizzle started which lasted throughout the rest of the afternoon.

Dignitaries in African robes of gorgeous fabrics and colours; some with swathes of cloth around their heads like turbans, others with round embroidered caps, appeared at the top of the cliff and wound their way down the path.

I held back, trying to look inconspicuous, but some kind ladies took me under their wing and drew me forward. They had never been to North Devon before and were impressed by the scenery which reminded them of the Poldark series on television.

A minute's silence was held and when we looked up again the scene was transformed by a sea of white as men and women dressed in white from head to foot had arrived and were assembling on the little platform at the back of the cove. They were members of a choir.

We were addressed by a king from who was robed in emerald green. Reporters and camera crews from the BBC and ITV were recording the event and Bonnie Greer [a regular on Newsnight Review] wrote a radio play about it, starring Tony Armatrading.

In the intervening years, Rapparee Cove has looked rather neglected. Recently we walked up from Hele Bay and over Hillsborough to revisit it, ten years on from that memorable day in 1997, and were pleased to see it less litter-strewn than usual, although there was evidence of several fires in and around the shelter.

It was a mild, sunny autumn day but the beach was deserted apart from a grey wagtail flitting about the stones near where the waves were breaking and a pair of ravens 'kronking' overhead.

There was a lone cormorant swimming and diving at the mouth of the Cove as there had been on that afternoon ten years ago but it was difficult to believe that this tiny cove could have held such a large gathering of people.

We walked up to where a memorial stone has been placed and stood to watch the great bulk of a ship, of the Grimaldi Line of Genoa, moving almost imperceptibly up the Bristol Channel.

Only 8 Darwin Gallery shopping days to Christmas!

 

AH, YES, CHRISTMAS

Following my father's death in 1936, my half-brother Gerald took it upon himself to look after my mother, sister and myself. Although time leaves a haze on things which happened in the past, there are still plenty of memories to recall. It must have been Christmas 1936 when Gerald booked the family into a house at Seaford in Sussex - full board and we were looked after by the owner.

Mornings were usually a walk along the beach or a trip to the recreational ground for goes on the swings, roundabout or slide and it comes back to me now that both Gerald and my mother had several goes on the slide, which was, of course, only meant for children! I was on the high end of the seesaw, and a lad who had come along on the low, when suddenly his mother called him and he jumped off. I went down with a wallop, winded - a very unpleasant feeling, particularly as the other didn't seem to understand why I was gasping for breath!

We would also go for a walk up Seaford Head, flanked by the cliff. I have been back there more recently, and they seem to have increased the gradient! You may have experienced the same kind of thing.

Before going to see the pantomime in Brighton, we would go to Harris's restaurant for a sausage supper. Theirs was a large family, Harris No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and so on, all brothers. The pantomime was great with a full orchestra and the story was 'held over' whilst you were entertained by comedians, balancing acts, etc. The compere would come on the stage to remind everyone of the story so far and then the panto would continue.

On another Christmas at Seaford it snowed and Gerald said we should get a toboggan. So off he went to a local carpenter, who said he was sorry but it wouldn't be ready until the next morning. We kids were, of course impatient, so to keep us amused we were taken to the local cinema to see 'Alf's Button Afloat', with Flanagan and Allen. In black and white, of course, it was about Aladdin's lamp which was found melted down and recast as a button. The button had to be polished, so you can imagine the fun they had with that!

Next morning after breakfast, we hurried off to the carpenter's and the snow was still falling. After paying, we hurried off to Seaford Head, where tobogganing was reasonably safe as the land sloped upwards

towards the cliff edge. I think the whole of Seaford had turned out! Grownups and children, as well as dogs, were there, with sleighs, toboggans and even skis, and to jolly things along, Father Christmas came to talk to the children, patting them on the head after asking them what they wanted for Christmas.

I have told you about two Christmases before the War, but there is one particular one after the War that comes to mind. For some reason I decided to have a holiday in your part of Devon and my old schoolday's friend, Bob Becker, who lived at Woodlands, Combe Martin invited me to have Christmas dinner with his family. It was one of the best dinners I've had. We stuffed ourselves silly! Bob's people had farming relatives and friends there and I thought it only right to help with the washing up. When we returned to the living room, they were all asleep and I shall never forget the chorus of snoring or the volume - a good time was had by all!

I hope and trust you all have a wonderful Christmas, but please give a serious thought about the reason we celebrate Christmas. Thanks.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester.

 

This picture of Christopher Beauclerk's milk float was taken in February 1984, when he was the roundsman at the hamlet of Hardy's Green. He carried crates of milk to the customers as he was unable to get through! The picture, which appeared in the whole of Lord Raleigh's dariy area, was taken by a customer.

Many years ago when I was a student in the east end of London, the person I lodged with used to be a Company Secretary in the City of London, and when it came to Christmas he used to work out his Christmas list by putting his friends under different priced presents; so there were £2.50 friends, there were £5 friends, and there were £10 friends.

This reminded me of O'Henry's story about the young couple who couldn't really afford Christmas presents for each other. The only thing of value was his pocket watch which had been his father's, but it didn't have a chain. She had long, flowing, red hair but no comb to hold her hair in place. Imagine his joy and disappointment when he found a shell comb in the market but could not afford to buy it for her, unless he pawned his watch, which is what he did. At the same time she saw a beautiful watch chain which she could not afford, unless, of course she could sell her wonderful hair to a wig-maker, which is what she did.

Imagine their horror and delight when they faced each other that Christmas Eve. She was left with red stubble on her head, and he was without his watch! Yet, their love for each other had been so great that they had given their most valuable possession for each other, as a token of that love. Monetary value could not compare with the value of their love. 

Our Christmas gifts cannot compare with God's gift to us at Christmas. His love cannot be priced in financial terms, only in the sacrificial love he showed on earth and in his death on the cross. He loves us so much that he gives himself to us in his Son, in that small, valuable baby at Bethlehem. I reckon that that young couple knew something of the value of God's love that Christmas.

With all good wishes for a joyful and blessed Christmas,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer.

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW 110

General View. Berrynarbor

This photographic postcard of Berrynarbor was published by Francis Frith & Co. Ltd. Of Reigate, England. I find it particularly appropriate at this time when work has started on the building of our Community Shop in the car park on Castle Hill.

Whilst I believe the photograph was taken around 1960, the actual card was sent from Berrynarbor to Holt in Norfolk and has an Ilfracombe postmark of 21st August 1969. This picture shows Capel Cottage with a field opposite, which is where the car park is now. To the right we can see Moules Farm, which has been in the ownership of several generations of the Richards family. It must have been a particularly clear day, as part of the Welsh coast can be seen. There also appears to be a large number of mature trees, including those behind and to the side of Capel Cottage.

The writing on the reverse I found quite interesting: "Left Harrow at 9am and a good journey to Devon by 5pm, lovely countryside, we are right down in the Sterridge Valley. Caravan very nice, everything supplied, stands in orchard with stream at the bottom. Car did very well, but a knock started near back wheel, going in garage tomorrow. Have just climbed 200 steps from beach. Love M.B.J.S. & C."

We can see that it had taken 8 hours to cover the 200 odd miles from North West London and the beach they had visited had been Broadsands. Is there anyone who can give me a date as to when the picture had been taken?

 

In the Papers 150 Years Ago

North Devon Journal, August 1857

ILFRACOMBE and WATERMOUTH - DANGEROUS FOOTPATH

To the Editor of the "North Devon Journal"

SIR - Having just returned from your excellent North Devon watering place - Ilfracombe - and its delightful neighbourhood,

I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the authorities to the frightfully dangerous state of a short portion of the path to Watermouth. The earth and rock have broken away on the left-hand side of the originally narrow path, leaving barely room to pass, and exposing the unsuspecting traveller to a precipice of such fearful depth that falling from it must be instantly fatal.

It is a shame that a peril so easily to be guarded against should exist amidst such beautiful and attractive scenery, and I trust a regard to the public safety will induce the responsible party at once to prevent the sacrifice of life which, if the path be neglected, I expect to hear has arisen. Hoping the insertion of this notice may be useful. I am Sir, yours &c.

Leicester, Aug. 1857

A VISITOR

COMBEMARTIN PETTY SESSIONS

Monday Dec. 7th [Extract]

GAME LAWS - James Tucker, was charged by farmer Dermaid of Hele, near Ilfracombe, with trespassing in search of rabbits in a field of his in the parish of Berrynarbor, on the 10th September. Complainant heard the report of a gun and going in the direction of the sound, he found the defendant in his field with a gun with which he shot a rabbit. - Richard Gammon, a witness called by the defendant, said that on the day in question, he invited him [defendant] to come and shoot some rabbits with him on his land. They went to Mr. Watt's where they had leave to shoot, and acknowledged having passed over one of Dermaid's fields, but denied having fired a gun there. The Bench considered the charge proved, and fined defendant 10s with 8s 6d costs.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, November 2007

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 

CHRISTMAS PAST

[Reminiscences of Childhood]

My father, a true Yorkshireman - albeit half Welsh - was careful with his brass, for most of the year that is! But, as Christmas approached a kind of spending madness took over and he would lavish a veritable cornucopia of gifts on his family, mother, my elder brother and me. All in the name of Father Christmas, of course.

My brother and I would wake to find bulging pillowcases by our bedside [stockings would have been hopelessly inadequate], crammed with books, toys, games, toffees, chocolate, boiled sweets, etc. To support the deception, father and mother also had pillowcases containing gifts, though never so full as ours. Mother would usually get some much-desired item of finery, a silk blouse perhaps which had previously been beyond our means, but became suddenly affordable. We boys also might receive items of clothing, no doubt at mother's insistence.

Boylike I would have to sample the various sweeties and, although never actually sick, I had no appetite for breakfast.

Besides the largest available goose or turkey, father would also buy a large joint of spare rib pork. Not for the day itself, but for later. Mother would be up half the night preparing the bird for the oven and would be up early lighting the fire to get the oven hot and start off the bird on its slow roast. She always made 5 puddings - one for Christmas, the others for each of our birthdays which conveniently were all in January and February.

On mother's shopping list were always a bottle each of brandy [for cakes and puddings], rum [for the sauce], and whisky, all at 7/6d. [36p] each. When our milkman came with the morning milk, he was offered a choice of drink. I think he usually had whisky, which he drank neat. As no doubt he was offered similar hospitality at other homes, I imagine he relied on his faithful nag to get him home safely in the milk float to his hill farm.

Dinner was usually ready about 3 o'clock, by which time my appetite would have recovered enough to tuck in heartily. My brother and I would have whiled away the morning playing with our new games and toys. The pudding contained various silver 'charms' - a lucky horse shoe, a donkey, etc., as well as several threepenny 'bits'. None of the latter ever appeared in my portion, always turning up in father's. Mother said father knew just where he had put them, which I found hard to believe. After dinner we would all relax over a few hands of whist or some other card game. Later on, about 7 o'clock, there would be 'high tea', with a trifle, jellies, blancmange, etc., and, of course, mince pies and the cake. We never had wine with our meals, but some time or other, mother would bring out the elderberry wine and we boys would get a small glass each. Under aqe drinking indeed! But it never did us any harm to my knowledge.

I went on believing in Father Christmas [we never called him Santa Claus] until I was 12 or so, because my brother kept up the pretence and I strongly contended anything my pals said about him being just father.

Ah, the innocence of youth! Happy Days!

Trev

 

TO ALL NEWSLETTER AND WEBSITE READERS

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS AND GOOD WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR

 

 
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