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 Newsletter Editions
No. 181 - August 2019 06-09-2019
 

WEATHER OR NOT

 

Welcome to the weather report for May and June with a continuing mix of good and bad weather but no named storms for the period.

May was an exceptionally dry and cold month with only 19.2mm of rain of which 12mm fell on the 8th and on 17 days there was no precipitation. This is the driest May I have on my records with the nearest in 2004 at 31mm. The barometer fell to 989mbars on the 8th and a high of 1038.5mbars on the13th. Top wind speed was 32mph from the SSW on the 8th. Top temperature was on the 14th at 21.5°C, which is below average, and the lowest temperature was 0.7°C on the 5th, which is the lowest since 1996 at 0°C. Total sunshine hours were 183.97, the second highest [2015 at 201.79] since recording began in 2003.

June started off very wet until the 19th, with 81.2mm which reminded me of the song by Flanders and Swann, 'June just rains and never stops, thirty days and spoils the crops.' The wettest days were the 7th which produced 18.4mm and the 11th at 20.2mm. The strongest wind reached 31mph - not a beautiful start to the month!


However, we only had 2.5mm during the rest of the month which made it turn out as an average rainfall for June.

The barometer remained low [lowest 998.1 on the7th] early in the month but recovered later with a high on the 26th of 1026.5mbars. The highest temperature on the 28th was 30.3°C which is up near the highest, the lowest on 6th at 5.9°C is well below average which makes a sizable variation. The lowest wind chill factor was 5.7°C on the 22nd. Sunshine hours totalled 155.09, which is poor for June. The lowest I have on record is 2012 at 142.48 hours. Total rainfall for 2019 so far is 377.2mm which is low. Is this part of Global Warming?

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Simon

 

IN MEMORIAM

JOAN WOOD

5th January 1925 - 15th July 2019

It was so sad to learn that after a long illness, Joan had passed away at home on the 15th July. A loving and much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she will be so missed by all her family and her many friends.

Our thoughts and prayers are with David, Jane and Paul and all the family at this time of sadness.

 

GERALD BRAY [NIPPER]

It was with sadness that longer term villagers learnt that Gerald, known locally as Nipper, had passed away and our thoughts are with all his family, especially those at Swimbridge, and his many friends.


Gerald was born in Berrynarbor on the 2nd of September 1934, the son of Fred and Rosina Bray. Fred sadly died in 1936 leaving Rosie, as she was known, to bring up Gerald and his sister Ivy, who was 9 years older. Gerald said Rosie was a very firm mother, and one day when he missed the bus to school, she made him walk, only for him to get the cane when he got there for being late!

When he left school he went to work as a farm labourer, first up at Smythen, after which there followed many years of farm laboring, going from farm to farm as was needed - harvesting, lambing and shearing. He also did trapping, at times working with Gordon Newton. Farmers would call them in when rabbits, foxes or even moles were getting out of hand. The resulting pelts would be dried and then sent off to end up in fashion houses.

Gerald was never short of work. He worked for Woolaway at Watermouth, tending the huge gardens which were at Sawmills, and a good few years were spent as a builders' labourer for various firms.

Gerald and Rosie reared poultry, especially turkeys for Christmas. His spare time was spent on gardening, playing skittles, darts and snooker, and pigeon racing - all very successfully. He enjoyed dancing, whether at the local dances which used to be held every week in the summer at the Manor Hall or at The Runnacleave in Ilfracombe. He would dress in his drainpipes, string tie, long jacket and thick soled shoes and off he would go with his mates to do his favourite rock 'n' roll - he never had a shortage of girlfriends!

In 1979, Rosie had a stroke and so he was left to look after himself, his sister Ivy helped out. Then he met Grace and romance blossomed. She moved in and together they made a success of the garden and poultry. They rebuilt Beech Hill, he still did farm work, private gardening and the local foot paths and life was good. Around 1997, they decided they needed more space for breeding poultry, so they moved to Withycombe, Combe Martin. Very sadly, in 2002, Grace died suddenly, which was a great shock to Gerald.

A few years later, he met Pauline and he introduced her to horse racing and she got him to go on holidays. So the first stop on any holiday was to find the local bookies.

By 2007 he had moved in with Ivy at Wood Park and Pauline had moved to Cornwall with her family, but they still went on holidays or he would go and visit her.

When in 2008 Ivy died, and not wanting to go back to Combe Martin, Gerald came to Wales with me where he enjoyed being with the family. I used to take him out and about and he spoke to Pauline every night, comparing winnings or lack of.

When the time came for us to move to Swimbridge, Gerald was quite sad as he had loved his time in Wales, but he soon settled and when Pauline died in the spring, he had a lot of support from us. He helped me form a vegetable garden and Tracey with her hens - a source of a few arguments as Tracey's hens were pets not money makers!

The last 4 years he was content with being an arm chair sports critic, an expert on politics and a judge on Strictly, all via the TV. He had a great interest in nature and loved to share it with Heidi [his great-great niece]. Alex, Devon and the postman were sounding boards for his football opinions - it was best not to get him going on politics! He got great enjoyment from feeding and watching the birds.

Once a month Bernard Newton would pick him up and take him to Berrynarbor calling on Chris and Barbara Gubb, and he was always pleased if he saw Elaine and Geoff and especially their children. Later, meeting up with Derek, they would go for lunch before Bernard returned him back to Swimbridge.

He was very content with his life; his visitors were few and far between but he could have as much or as little company as he wanted from my family. I just had to make sure I was on time when it came to giving him his meals every day and his trip to the bookies and Lidl's each week.

Gerald was a very colourful character and he will be greatly missed by all of the family at Swimbridge. But we won' t miss his corny jokes!

A thank you to Bernard, Derek, Chris, Barbara, Elaine and Geoff - he really valued your friendship.

Marlene

We've known Nipper for more than 30 years. Over that time, he's been a thoughtful and generous friend, and always there when we needed a hand. He helped us with the garden and fields at Middle Lee and continued when we moved to Hagginton Hill.

I used to have a Labrador called Seamus. Many of you older folk may remember him. After he died, Nipper remarked to Grace, his long-time partner, "To see Pam walking around the village without a dog is like seeing a house without a chimney!"

A little later, we went away for a few days. On our return, I climbed to the top of the garden and there stood a small tree. When I looked closer there was a note attached. I don't remember the exact words but it

was in Grace's neat handwriting and to the effect that it would be there longer than I should and it was in memory of Seamus. It's still there and yearly gives us Bramley apples. On Nipper's instruction, Grace had bought it in Barnstaple for him to plant whilst we were away, he knew how much I missed the beautiful old Bramley tree left behind at Middle Lee.

I said earlier that I had a Labrador. It's well-known that Alex doesn't like dogs. So, for one of my birthdays, Nipper arranged for a record to be played on Devon Radio acknowledging the fact. Its name? Love me, love my dog! He could reveal a wicked sense of humour!

These are just three of the pleasurable memories of our dear friend. For years we have exchanged Christmas gifts, but this year we shall just have to raise our glasses and remember this kind and gentle man. Farewell, Nipper, and thank you.

Pam Parke

 

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

Following his Installation and a special Joint Service on the 19th May, attended by all three churches, our new

Priest in Charge, Rev. Peter Churcher, is settling in nicely and on Sunday 26th May he visited St. Peter's for his

first service here in Berrynarbor. We especially welcomed his wife Josie and their children Sophie, Faith, Izzi and Xander - and not forgetting Harvey the dog!

Our Annual Gift Day was held on Wednesday 19th June at the Church Lych Gate, and £662.97 was raised. We are extremely grateful to all those villagers and visitors for their most generous donations and they can rest assured that the money received will be wisely spent on the maintenance of the Church. One kind lady, who lives in Hampshire, has been coming on holiday to Berrynarbor with her husband for the last 50 years made a very generous donation, and it was interesting to learn that the same annual tradition of Gift Day was held in their village on behalf of their Church.

The PCC have now received a very comprehensive quotation from a specialist building/conservation company with regard to repairs to St. Peter's, but we are still waiting for a second quotation from another specialist company - a requirement stipulated by the Diocese of Exeter. It would seem that scaffolding will be in abundance - particularly over the roof where the lead gullies and their adjacent roof tiles will have to be removed. Protection from a special roof canopy will be erected to prevent rain, birds and bats from entering the building!

As mentioned in the last edition of the Newsletter, we urgently need a new Treasurer to take over from Margaret Sowerby, who will be stepping down from this role. If anyone would be willing to take on this responsible position, please contact our PCC Secretary, Alison Sharples, on [01271] 882782.

Simon, our new gardener, is doing a grand job keeping the churchyard and associated areas in excellent condition and we are also grateful to tree specialist Chris Townsend and his team for attending to the trees that form the perimeter, together with other trees and bushes within the churchyard.

Berrynarbor Choir continues under the direction of Graham Lucas, and Choir practice is on Monday evenings commencing at 7.30 p.m. The Choir have been invited to sing at a special event in August held at the Old Rectory in Berrynarbor, the date and time of which will be advertised locally in the village and at the shop and post office.

Our Bellringers rang in a recent competition at Morchard Bishop, Down St. Mary and Bow churches, one after the other! The bells were all different weights to test their skills as ringers, and in all of them they rang 'raised' 'rang' and 'lowered', which some of them had never experienced before. A great learning curve for all our team who will work to improve for next year's competition!

Our dedicated flower ladies welcome Joan Lupton to their arranging team, and if anyone else would be interested in helping please contact Sue Neale on 883893.

We continue to pray for all those who are unwell in this Parish, especially Carol, Viv and Brian, and Jill.

PLEASE NOTE: there will be a slight change to the Service pattern for the next couple of months, which will be as follows;

 

All Church Services commence at 11.00 a.m.

1st Sunday: Songs of Praise

2nd Sunday: Holy Communion

3rd Sunday: Village Service

4th Sunday: Holy Communion

There will be a Joint Service held on Sunday 29th September at Berrynarbor, commencing at 11.00 a.m.

Stuart Neale

 

 

FROM THE VILLAGE SHOP & POST OFFICE

Volunteers urgently needed!

Due to a number of recent retirements, our Community Shop is looking for new or returning volunteers. If you could spare just half a day a fortnight to help out, please call in and speak to either Debbie or Karen. You would be made most welcome.

So what's it like being a volunteer? Long term volunteer

Sheila Chatterton says: "In all the years I've volunteered in our shop, I can honestly say it's been fun. It's a chance to meet people who live in the village and to get to know them a bit better. The staff are very easy going with lots of patience! It does give you a nice feeling of contributing towards our lovely village and when visitors say what a wonderful shop and how lucky we are to have it, I am in total agreement with them."

So if you can help our award-winning team please call in and ask. The duties should not prove too arduous - we just need to make sure customers are served with a smile, shelves are kept properly stocked and the premises kept clean and tidy.

Mugs away!

The shop has recently taken delivery of souvenir mugs and reusable drinking bottles adorned with the Berrynarbor Village Crest. These are proving to be ideal gifts and they can either be bought individually or as part of a gift set paired with locally sourced treats.

The crest mirrors the design of the metal village signs that adorn the various entry points to our village and make a powerful statement about Berrynarbor's individuality. No village home should be without its mug!


Opening times

By the time this August Newsletter comes out, we shall, hopefully, be in the middle of another spell of glorious weather with the village teeming with visitors. This is just a reminder that during the peak summer holiday period, the Shop will remain open throughout the lunch hour. The Post Office will have its normal opening hours.

 

VILLAGE CAR PARK

Users of the village car park should note that the North Devon District Council have changed the terms of its use.

It now has a maximum stay of 24 hours [free], Monday to Sunday, including Bank Holidays, with no return within 6 hours.

 

BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE

William Shakespeare, Othello

We, the committee members, have had our planning meeting and have eight months of potential presenters and tastings; however, we shall have to leave you in suspense for a few weeks, until our communications become confirmations! Meanwhile, I can reveal our 2019-20 list of Wine Circle Wednesdays:

16th October 20th November 11th December 15th January

19th February 18th March 15th April 20th May

These start at 8.00 p.m. and are at our newly re-vamped, and, therefore, smart and inviting Manor Hall. There are plenty of seats available for new members!

None of us are wine buffs, but these evenings are, by today's standards, a cheap, and convivial, evening out. There is a £5 annual joining fee only and a £7 per person evening fee, which covers wine, biscuits, cheese and hall hire costs. If you enjoy a glass, or six tastings, try us and it out!

Meanwhile, as summer appears to be here and chilled white wine is excellent refreshment, you may like to sip and sample two very different whites that we've tasted recently. Either would make great alternatives to the sauvignon blanc that seems to have grabbed the nation, by the throat!

Vinho Verde, means, literally, green wine, but can also translate to young wine. Geoff and I have drunk this here, but in June we went to Lisbon, to meet up with an Ozzie-based friend and it's very popular in Portugal and cheap! It isn't a grape variety but a D.O.C. for this wine's production. The term refers to Portuguese wine, designated in 1908, in the historic Minho Province in the far north of the country; however, now the modern-day Vinho Verde region, includes the old Minho province plus adjacent areas to the south. It's the biggest DOC in Portugal.

Ours were always slightly effervescent. In its early years of production, this slight fizziness came from malolactic fermentation, or fermentation occurring in the bottle. The wine industry would consider this to be a fault, but VV producers found that consumers enjoyed this. Today, most Vinho Verde producers add this slight sparkle by artificial carbonation. Over here, Sainsbury's has this for about £6.50 and Majestic's stocks begin at £7.99.

We, and our Ozzie friend, found it good to drink with or without food and enjoyed its slight sparkle. It went down very well with a savoury platter, tapas and our fish dishes.

Summer seems to be a great time for socialising and, closer to home, we've entertained our Shropshire-based friends recently. One night, perhaps because they are land-locked, they suggested a fish and chip supper; we took them to a well-known restaurant in Braunton. Our friend chose the wine, the English, Shoreline, made by Lyme Bay Winery. Wines made from several grapes have a more complex flavour and Shoreline is a mix of Bacchus, Pinot Blanc, Reichensteiner and Seyval Blanc grapes. It's won awards, and deservedly so, but this one isn't under a tenner. Ignoring the restaurant price, it can be bought for £14.49 a bottle at Waitrose & Partners, which is the cheapest online supplier that I could find. Lyme Bay Winery describe it as a wine for seafood. They are right!

Judith Adam - Promotional C-ordinator & Secretary

 

A.D. WILLIAMS

As a core part of your community, we are dedicated to serve you at your time of need. Whatever religion, belief or desire, trust in us to give your loved one the service they deserve. Our logo contains a yellow butterfly - beautifully drawn by local artist Emma Haines - which is at the centre of our ethos. As a metaphor for the soul's spiritual journey, butterflies teach us to enjoy the present moment and make the most of our time here on Earth. They also remind us that death is just another transformation-we will just spread our wings and fly in another dimension.

 

David started the funeral directors' business in his home village of Appledore before moving into larger premises in Bideford in 1990. Ten years later, he and Jenny purchased the premises in Portland Street, Ilfracombe and now live above the office in a maisonette, whilst keeping offices in Northam and Bideford.

Jenny and David feel privileged to be available for bereaved families and with their dedicated staff, support is never far away.'    


Jenny & David Williams


Jack Gallagher - Director, Ilfracombe

 

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS - 89

An old college friend has recently decided to come off Facebook. He says he feels much better for it because, living alone as he does, he was starting to replay in his mind all the negative news feeds and pictures of animal cruelty that appeared on his page. He told me he had also come to dislike texting, regarding it as the only way people seem to now communicate with each other. What's more, much as he admitted to being dependent upon social media to converse with people, he had suddenly come to realise that using it was just making him feel more lonely. From now on, he told me, he would make more of an effort to pick up the telephone and speak to people.

I agree with his opinion about social media up to a point. Although I have a Facebook page, I have not used it for many years and only really set it up initially when I published a book; and, much more significantly, I know people personally who have been especially susceptible to its negative impact. For example, a friend's daughter was the victim of cyber bullying on social media after the bullying issue had been resolved in the classroom and playground. But one must not generalise, especially as I have another friend for whom his Facebook page is an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with the people he knows. I have written about this friend in previous articles, one whom I have had the fortune of knowing for nearly fifty years. We met in the first year of infant school whilst living in Cheam, then a quiet suburb of southwest London. We were blessed with having Nonsuch Park on our doorstep, a 250-acre space that is the last surviving part of the Little Park of Nonsuch, once a deer hunting park established by Henry VIII to surround the former Nonsuch Palace which he began having built in 1538.

The park provided everything we needed so that no consecutive days were ever the same. Whilst on one day we might explore the paths of the elm woodland that ran the peak of the park's eastern border, on another day we would cycle to the woodland on its western boundary and ride daredevil stunts in the deep, disused clay pit which was christened Devil's Dyke. Other times we would inspect the small clusters of tall trees dotted about the park which, once inside, we would create imaginary secret camps. Much enjoyment was also gained cycling the pathways that connected The Avenue or, as it was commonly known by local children, Conker Alley. At this time of year my friend and I spent many hours hurling sticks high in our attempts to knock loose the largest conker shells that hung from The Avenue's double-breasted line of horse chestnut trees; in readiness, of course, for pitting our conkers' robustness and stamina against those of our school friends when we returned for the autumn term.

All but the eastern woodland are still there, this being a victim to Dutch Elm Disease. Yet despite their demise, the hilltop along which the woodland ran still holds a special memory. For every Saturday my friend

and I would ride up to the woodland edge and then look eastwards across the suburban valley to a high row of semi-detached houses that ran along the appropriately named Ridge Road. Beyond these rooftops, two grey monsters, or so they seemed to us, stretched into the sky, these being the Telecom Tower [then the Post Office Tower] and Tower 42 [then the National Westminster Tower and, standing at 183 meters or 600 feet, the then tallest building in London.] Having taken in the view, we would head off and cycle along the roads and back alleys of suburbia, arriving at Ridge Road about an hour later so that we could look back at the woodland edge from where we had set off.

Our journey was always interjected with a break on a bridge that crossed the Pyl Brook, a small stream that rises in Sutton Common, flows along Cheam's north eastern boundary and eventually joins the Beverley Brook in New Malden from whence it flows northwards into the Thames. Bearing mind that the Pyl Brook was the only stream in our vicinity and that it spent most of its course underground, one can perhaps identify with my amusement at watching this fast flowing water; not to mention the fun we had running along the path as we raced against the sticks we had thrown into the Brook where it emerged and watched as they disappeared out of site where it flowed underground once more.

Trees, flowing water and distant views; small, yet at the same time significant aspects of my childhood that now allow me to recall happy memories. Interestingly, my friend has a passion for just one of these three; for he still adores his views. But for him, they need to be urban; and it is in this capacity, albeit indirectly, that Facebook gives him the opportunity to post to friends and family the accounts of his trips into the capital. They include ventures down side streets and squares that are tucked away, strolls through busy markets, observations on architecture and feedback on visits to churches and museums. For him his Facebook page is, in effect, a lifeline and one from which he reaps great reward from reading the positive feedback he gets.

But for me, I still need the connection with all three. It was interesting therefore that our last location in North Devon, Yelland, was relatively devoid of trees. So I was pleased to discover that on moving to

Weston-super-Mare there ran along its hillside the densely packed trees of Weston Woods. Sadly, its rocky ground played havoc on our Labrador's paws. Not only that, I found I was always aware, audibly if not psychologically, that the hectic hurley burley of the town was very close at hand. This has meant having to walk the dogs out of town - in countryside that is on the whole devoid of woodland, clear running waterways and undulation. Thank goodness then for technology where online videos abound on any rural subject I may choose to watch - not that it necessarily be in the countryside. For in recent weeks I have watched with fascination the pen sat on her nest thanks to the Bishop's Palace Swancam situated on the bank beside the moat in Wells. To date, one cygnet has hatched and she is sat on two further eggs.

However, I still feel strongly there is a place for books and periodicals. For example, a mindful study of one of the pictures in Halsgrove's books on Exmoor immediately relocates me back to the fourteen years we spent living in North Devon, a place where woodlands, streams and vantage points were never too far away, if not a feature when looking out from one of the windows of the property in which we were living. One dear friend who lives in North Devon now sends us the Exmoor Magazine each quarter. Like the books, I find that the magazine's pictures of Exmoor's flora, fauna and panoramic vistas, when studied mindfully, help me to reconnect with its unique countryside so that I am almost metamorphosed into the picture. It isn't of course like having Exmoor on my doorstep. But it certainly helps.

Steve McCarthy


Exmoor


The Bishop's Palace, Wells


 

NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL


a first taste in education

We have all been very busy this term with the older children visiting the Primary School, a visit to Exmoor Zoo, which was postponed due to bad weather but thankfully turned out lovely when rearranged, a Quiz Night that raised £227.00 and the School Summer Fayre raised £36.00.

We have had a new member of staff join our team and we welcome Emma Isaac to our Pre-school. She seems to have fitted in seamlessly with all the children taking to her instantly. With a vast knowledge in child care and education, she is working with us to support the children's learning and to meet their wellbeing needs.

We wish all our leavers the best for their future as they start their new nurseries/preschools and primary schools in September.

The children enjoyed their learning topics - Creepy Crawlies and Life by the Sea, exploring our environment, keeping safe at the beach and caring for our coast.



The children got to watch caterpillars turn into butterflies, learnt about bees and worms. The bug hotel had residents and the insects loved the wild flower garden. This has been in full bloom and is ready to be judged by the panel from the RHS.

The children's knowledge was reinforced at Exmoor Zoo at a bug handling session where they got to touch stick insects, a millipede and a giant African snail. They learnt how import all insects are in our garden and that they all have an important part to play in the garden.

Life by the Sea involved being sun safe, naming different sea creatures and listening to stories. Lots of sand, water and 'seaweed' spaghetti was played with. Both topics involved exploring different ways of writing, drawing and putting meaning to marks.

Pre-school Committee

Berrynarbor Pre-school is a Charity, run by a small committee team which allows the Pre-school to legally function. The committee is made up of volunteers, mainly parents of the children, but we also invite members of the community. As the new school year is due to start, we are looking for new members to join the team and help us ensure Berrynarbor Pre-school can offer its services to the local families that access it. This does take up a small amount of time, with evening meetings being held approximately every 6 weeks and helping hands needed during our fundraising events.

We really hope that all parents and any members of the community can make the AGM meeting to be held in October [date to be confirmed] even if you don't intend to be a committee member, as it is important to understand how Berrynarbor Pre-school runs. We certainly would love to hear any fun ideas for fundraising for the or you may have some handy contacts who would be interested in becoming a member. This is a great way to make new friends, gain a new skill and be supportive in your child's education and learning journey.

We hope you are all enjoying your summer break and look forward to the new term starting in September. Call 07932 851052 or email preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for any information.

From the staff: Sue, Karen, Lynne, Emma and Ellie

 

 

LOCAL WALK - 175

'Running across a meadow, pickin' up lots of forget-me-nots'

So goes the song [You make me feel so young] but in this case the forget-me-nots were not in the meadow but growing along the roadside verge - lots of them, with bush vetch and ox-eye daisies. And no wild flowers were actually picked during the course of this walk!

We used often to take the field path from Barton Lane to Newberry Hill but had not used it since the main road was realigned in the 1990's.

But now a sudden curiosity drew me towards it. In late May passage through the first field was pleasant and easy. Encouraged by the sight of two newish looking metal gates with a concrete platform between, I proceeded to the second field.

However, it was so overgrown I almost turned back but plunged through, seeking the hidden exit and enjoying the butterflies including a small copper landing on a ribwort plantain. A little gem.

Near the corner of the field I thought I was on terra firma, only realising I was at the edge of a bank when I slid down a couple of feet.

Brambled had encased the stile which led to the shady track behind where Windyridge once stood. The bungalow was demolished at the time of the road building.

It was necessary to duck below the boughs of trees that had come down before the track dips down to the road.

I returned to the footpath on the day of the solstice and - what a difference a month makes!

At Barton Lane I was forced to use the stile as the gate now sported a shiny new chain and padlock. But a transformation awaited me. The second field had been mown, the path clearly defined and waymarked.


Paul Swailes

 

The stile had been cleared of brambles and the fallen trees removed from the track and cut into logs at the side. So this is a local walk I would now happily recommend.

I crossed the road to Newberry Close and a welcome sight was greater knapweed and an abundance of tutsan, a wild hypericum most common in the west. Its flowers have long yellow stamens and give rise to yellow berries which turn red and finally black.

At the bottom of the flight of wooden steps from Newberry Close, a flurry of young dunnocks. Near the footbridge I met a song thrush as I paused to take in the view of Little Hangman and the Welsh coast.

Then on to the little cove at Sandaway which has been renamed Mermaid's Cove. Eighty steps down but worth the effort.

I reluctantly decided against crossing the large blue boulders to the narrow cave. It's tempting but once inside what if there were a rock fall and no one within earshot to stage a rescue? It is a very quiet and hidden cove despite being next to a camp site.

On leaving I caught a glimpse of Stealth House on the former cliff-top

site of Rope's End. It looked interesting. The architect, Guy Greenfield, was a Stirling Prize finalist and won a RIBA award for his design 'Nautilus' at Westward Ho!

 

 

 

500 WORDS BBC RADIO 2 COMPETITION 2019

Awarded Silver in the 5-9 category for being 'laugh out-loud funny', Mya Dainty's story Pants won her the Duchess of Cornwall's height in books. Here is her story.

 

PANTS

Have you ever thought about something that lives in such terrible conditions? Something that lives in horror and disgust? Well, pants are probably the most ill-treated products in the universe!

At house number two, Holly Branch Drive, lived Frilly. She was a beautiful frilly pair of pants. Frilly hated being worn in such an utterly disgusting place. Sometimes she would cry to sleep that no one had seen her frilly frills. Frilly wanted to be loved like the new fluffy jumper or the fancy little hat. "I'm sick of this!" She would shout. Soon, she formed the RSPCP.

The RSPCP was the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pants. Knickers from all over the house came to the meeting held in the pants drawer. Along came Boxer, Y-front, Granny, Long-John and many more. Even Stinky Sam, the toddlers training pants came! "We should be treated like the other clothes, like Kings and Queens!", announced Frilly, who was the leader. "We are treated like rubbish!" boomed Boxer. "Too right you are!" shouted Stinky Sam. Frilly said, "Yes, and that's why we're going to cover ourselves in itching powder!"

All skipping back to their drawers with a pinch of itching powder, the pants sprinkled each other, as they all wanted to take part in the grand plan. The very next day the humans were itching their bottoms like mad! Throwing off the itchy pants, they were thrown into the washing machine. "Oh Pants!" cried Granny. A long series of groans came from inside the spinning ride and Sam moaned, "It's not fair!"

The second RSPCP meeting was held in the spare bedroom. "As the plan with the itching powder didn't work, I thought we should actually talk to the humans, pants to face," said Frilly.

The pants all laughed. "They won't understand!" grumbled Granny.

"They'll put us in the wash!" bellowed Boxer. Shouts came from the unhappy underwear. Sighing, Frilly was left feeling defeated but still determined she could win this battle. She would not give up yet!

That evening Frilly crept out of the pants drawer as the others were settling down for bed. She made her way


down the carpeted staircase reaching the polished tiles. "Whoa!" Frilly said, as she slipped over. She entered the dining room and could see the family of five eating their dinner. "Excuse me." Frilly politely said. Mother, father, the twin toddlers and the older sister carried on eating. "EXCUSE ME!" she shouted at the top of her squeaky pant voice.

Frightened and confused at the tiny pair of shouting knickers, their eyes popped out of their heads. The toddlers started to wail. "Oh Mummy!" cried the big sister. The two terrified adults grabbed the screaming twins and pushed the big sister out. The slamming of car doors and the screech of tyres could be heard as they sped off into the distance.

As for the pants, they lived in luxury and delight, never having to see a naked bottom ever again!

 

BERRY IN BLOOM AND BEST KEPT VILLAGE

June and July have been the busiest months of the year for the Bloom team as this year's judging date was 22nd July. We have worked hard in the car park area, pulling out overgrown shrubs, cutting back and tackling the worst of the weeds. Alan Eales has made some new tubs, some of which contain herbs that shop users are free to pick.

We have not yet cut back the hedge at the Manor Hall as we are awaiting the end of July when the bird nesting season ends. However, we have been in the pub garden - not boozing, I promise - helping to tidy up and plant.

Because of the lovely weather, watering has been a mammoth task all around the village and I should like to thank the dedicated team who have undertaken this task.

Berry in Bloom is participating in the Blue Heart Campaign. This is the idea put forward by the R.H.S. that some areas of grass should be left un-mown to allow wildflowers and insects to thrive. So, if an area is looking a bit scruffy but has a blue heart on it, you will know the reason why.

The community spirit is brilliant and if we don't get a Gold I'll have to eat a hat-shaped cake all by myself! We don't get the results until early October.

Talking of cake, please come and support our fund-raising afternoon at the Old Rectory Berrynarbor on Sunday, 11th August, for Tea on the Lawn, 2.00 to 4.30 p.m. And let's hope the sun keeps shining!

Raspberries and Cream Cake

When the sun is shining and family and friends come around for tea this is the perfect cake.

 

for the cake

250g/8oz unsalted butter, softened

250g/8oz golden caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

200g/7oz self-raising flour

50g/2 oz ground almonds

1tsp baking powder

zest of 2 lemons

splash of milk. If needed

for the filling

100g/3.5 oz mascarpone

200ml/7fl oz whipping cream

3 tbsp icing sugar

200g/7oz frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained

for the icing

125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened

175g/6oz icing sugar

1 lemon finely zested

2tblsp lemon juice or juice from the defrosted raspberries

pink food colouring

fresh raspberries to decorate

 

Pre heat the oven to gas 4, 180°, 160° fan. Grease and line 3 x 18cm/8-inch loose bottomed cake tins.

Sift the flour and baking powder together.

In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, little by little, adding a spoonful of the flour if the mix looks like curdling. Then fold the flour into the mix with the lemon zest and ground almonds. Add a splash of milk if needed as the mix should fall off the spoon if tapped. Divide the mix evenly between the 3 cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn on to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile make the filling. In a large bowl whisk together the mascarpone, icing sugar and whipping cream until stiff enough to just hold its shape. Fold in the drained raspberries and set aside.

For the icing, beat the butter, icing sugar, lemon zest and either raspberry juice or lemon juice until light and fluffy. Add a few drops of pink colouring until you get the desired shade of pink.

To assemble the cake, place 1 sponge on a serving plate and spread with half the filling. Place the second cake on top and spread the rest of the filling. Top with the third and final cake and spread the icing over the top. Decorate with fresh raspberries and maybe a scattering of pink or red rose petals.

You can make and freeze the sponges ahead and then fill and decorate just before serving.

This is summer on a plate, Yummy!

Wendy

 

FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

June

The Council welcomed 3 new councillors on to the Parish Council: Councillors Jody Latham, Debbie Thomas and Martin Johns. Applicants that also applied for the vacancies but were unsuccessful were thanked. We are lucky to have many great people in the community.

The Planning Application for Brackenbury House was discussed and Councillors recommended approval subject to a condition that the wall is set back using existing stone and methods to the same appearance, height and width that is already there.

The Annual Governance and Accountability Return of 2018/19 was approved and submitted to the external auditors, although the Council is exempt from a full review.

The following grants were awarded: [1] £500 for Berrynarbor Pre-school towards an Early Talk Boost pack which is a new targeted intervention aimed at 3-4 year old children with delayed language development, and [2] £500 for Berrynarbor in Bloom towards planting in the village.

July

An application for a dwelling on land off Birdswell Lane was recommended for refusal due to access concerns.

Councillors discussed and approved to attend a Neighbourhood Planning training course to see if it is something that the Council could complete to benefit the village in the future.

Possible landing sites for the Air Ambulance night flights was discussed and the Clerk to investigate whether there are any possible locations to be used in the village.

Councillors agreed a wildflower area to be planted by Berry in Bloom in a part of the dog exercise area and look forward to watching it grow and hope villagers will enjoy seeing what can be achieved.

There are a number of play area repairs that need to take place. The Council will be investigating this and actioning repairs as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the baby swing has had to be taken down but Cllr. Joe Tucker has kindly offered to donate some of his District Councillor grant towards a new one. Thank you Joe!

Kate Graddock - Acting Parish Clerk [07703 0050496]

 

IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO, IT'S . . .

Perhaps over the last few months you have seen a strange new sight in the village: a blur of black and yellow whizzing past you as you walk around. Do not fear! It is not a giant bee nor a new tourist attraction. It is in fact me, your new vicar whizzing past on my bike whilst wearing my dog-collar and reflective clothing.

My name is Peter Churcher - yes, really! I'm married to Josie, a dog trainer and groomer, and we have 4 brilliant kids. I have the joy of serving and caring for St. Peter's, Berrynarbor and St. Peter Ad Vincula, Combe Martin, as well as Pip and Jim's in Ilfracombe. We live in Ilfracombe - hence the need for the bike - but you'll see us in the village plenty. If you see me, please flag me down or come and say "Hi", I'd love to get to meet each of you.

Jesus once said, 'I have come that you may have life, and life in all its fullness' [John 10:10]. It's something that I have had the privilege to experience again and again, and I hope that I, and those in the churches, can share with you in your journeys. If you've never been to the church or even thought about God, then why not make my new beginning a chance to explore for yourself? There are loads of opportunities to get started from Sunday services: Berrynarbor at 11.00 a.m., Combe Martin at

9.30 a.m., to Messy Church at Combe Martin Village Hall, 9.30 a.m. on the 2nd Saturday of each month in term time. Next one is 'Teddies from the Tower' in August and everything in between.

If you'd like to know more, or just chat, I'd love to hear from you. I'm extremely blessed to get to live in such wonderful communities in such beautiful places and already feel so welcomed. Thank you for your kindness. May God bless you all richly.

Peter

revchurcher@gmail.com, 01271 855541 or 07803253286


 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

It is nearly the end of a busy term and it has been a great one!  Our children [and grown-ups] have worked hard all year and the end of term assessments and performances reflect this hard work.

At the beginning of July, Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 children joined together to perform an awesome performance of Rock Bottom at The Landmark Theatre.  A couple of weeks later, children in Year 2 to Year 6 joined with children from West Down School for a shared musical extravaganza.  Ilfracombe Academy allowed us to use their inspiring venue and their school band supported our children to perform individually and in groups showcasing their musical talents.  The evening ended with all the children singing and playing their musical instruments together.

Sports day was great: perfect weather, lots of parents supporting and, of course. children supporting each other to have a go and do their best. 

Mulberry and Aspen Classes had a great day at Exmoor Zoo as part of their Jungle and Rainforests topic.  Pine Class went to Beam House for a residential trip. Year 2 children joined with Year 2 from West Down School for their first sleep-over in readiness for the many residential opportunities on offer as they enter KS2 in September.  All the children have had fun time learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Our new children have been in to visit us and get to know their teachers ready for starting school in September.  We're looking forward to welcoming them to the school. 

Next week we say goodbye to our Year 6 children.   This is always a time of mixed emotions.  We are sad to say goodbye but very proud of them and excited to see them move on to the next stage of education.  We all wish them well in the future and hope they'll stay in touch.

Sue Carey - Headteacher

 

 

TOP TOWNS & TIPPLES IN ALSACE

The drive from Berrynarbor to Morcote in Switzerland would take 14 hours non-stop even with a heavy foot on the pedal. But no-one should try it without a stop-over. To avoid the many convoys of Polish and Romanian heavy trucks returning home after dropping their loads in the UK, it is best to drive on a Sunday. And make a start as early as possible in the morning. I normally get to Folkestone before midday, and then have a 30 minute kip as the train takes us quickly through the Channel Tunnel. Then, happily, most heavy goods vehicles are banned from the French road and motorway network on Sundays, so we can make good time. It takes some 6 hours easy driving from Calais to Strasbourg after which we find a small Alsace hotel to rest up for the night. Or, if we are on the German motorway, we stop-over in a town or village on the other side of the Rhine.

The Rhine forms the border between French Alsace and German Baden-Wurttemberg running through a wide flat fertile valley which rises up to the Vosges mountains on one side and the Black Forest on the other: the steep slopes of both are covered in magnificent vineyards. This is, in our opinion, the home of the very best Pinot Noir in the world. Also, the best Riesling, the best Gewurztraminer and the best Pinot Blanc. All created within the rich and unique mosaic of soils that exist in Alsace from the different eras of Earth's development. Though it is France's smallest region, no other boasts such diverse vineyard soils: granite, limestone, schist, clay, gravel, chalk, loess, sandstone - all recognised as perfect for grape vines by the Romans who settled here thousands of years ago. The problem is that you will not be able to appreciate these wonderful Alsatian wines unless you actually go to Alsace, which I strongly recommend that you do, because you will not find them on the shelves of Tesco's or any other UK supermarket, and certainly not in Majestic.

The many small producers of Alsace wines sell almost exclusively to their local hotels and restaurants, or to visitors. Dedicated oenophiles and lovers of great gourmet holidays in magical fairytale French villages and towns, will know of the delights and treasures to be found in Alsace, an area of amazingly gilded historical value. It starts in Strasbourg City centre with its magnificent gothic cathedral full of incredible art and the fascinating Astronomical Clock. Strasbourg is a busy and overcrowded tourist hot spot bursting with Michelin-starred restaurants which, unfortunately, can be full of bloated EU bureaucrats. Great to visit, especially at Christmas, but best, and cheaper, to base yourself in a hotel in one of the small surrounding towns like Dorlisheim or Obernai. Then, deeper south into Alsace, is Colmar, the Venice of France, an important and interesting place to visit but there are better and more enjoyable places to stay if you want to relax. We normally stay in Eguisheim, Rouffach or Jungholtz.

There are 35 wine producers in Eguisheim, all based around the small circular and walled medieval village of less than 2000 inhabitants, all open for free wine tasting. You will feel extremely happy, and somewhat unsteady on your feet, after visiting each one before dinner. Pope Leo IX was born in Eguisheim over a thousand years ago and his statue stands proudly outside his former home. Storks fly low through the narrow streets early mornings and evenings. The restaurants feed you with superb Rabbit Stew. The wines of Leon Beyer, dry and austere, and Paul Zinck, young and fresh, are the most acclaimed here, although Wolfberger is probably the most commercially famous as it operates a massive Alsace co-operative selling a blend of fairly reasonable Pinot Noir throughout Europe.

In Rouffach we stay at the D'Isenbourg Chateau, which has its own vineyards, and we dine al fresco with a bottle of their fine chilled Pinot Noir on the wide chateau balcony which looks down and across the Rhine to the impressive Black Forest in the horizon.

The small village of Jungholtz, known as the flower village, is both a culinary and historical high point even though it only has a population of 910. The hotel Les Violettes provides the good food and the Basilique Notre Dame de Thierenbach the historical attraction. The origins of the baroque basilica can be traced back to the 8th century when it was just a small church founded by Irish monks. The story goes that, later in the days of old when Knights were bold, a young and very important Strasbourg nobleman, a brave and respected knight, was terminally wounded in battle and taken to Jungholtz church. During prayers to the Virgin Mary for his soul, he was suddenly healed and came back to life to fight another day. A miracle! Five years later a Benedictine priory was founded and then legend took over. Now the priory is a minor Basilica of major importance - over 300.000 pilgrims go there every year to pray in front of the glittering gold shrine of the Virgin Mary and view the largest collection of ex-voto paintings in Europe.

This year, at the beginning of June, we had a most enjoyable stop-over in Riquewihr. Another very small circular Alsace wine village built on the slopes of a steep hill with walled ramparts and cobbled streets. Riquewihr is a most unusual and delightful medieval village the centre of which looks as if nothing has ever been changed since first built. It has obviously been kept in good order for hundreds of years and now looks absolutely spotless. A must for every wine lover to visit. It is a fascinating place where the residents have decorated their timber facade and colourful plastered homes with odd statues and strange things hanging out of their windows. Witches, tin cars and scooters, giant corkscrews, storks, and beautiful flowers everywhere. Food was great too.

Would you believe 3 Michelin restaurants! which must be there mainly for the many tourists because the village itself only has 1000 residents.


We loved it.




Before dinner I carefully negotiated the cobbles and we slowly made our way down the main street to one of the many cafes to get a cool Cremant D'alsace and people watch. All the tables and chairs outside were full, so I just stood waiting for one to come free whilst Margaret visited the cheese cellar to buy some local specialities. Sat on one of the tables was a Frenchman of about 60 who looked like Porthos of the three musketeers, complete with impressive pure white beard, long flowing white hair, bright blue eyes and a neat little handlebar moustache which he twiddled when he smiled. He took pity on me and offered one of the free chairs at his table which I gratefully accepted. He had a short plump Japanese wife who, he explained, he had fallen in love with when he left Alsace as an up and coming teenage adventurer and now he had upped and come back, more than 40 years later, with his wife and two daughters to show them the wonderful village he had been born in. On the next tables there were a large group of Japanese old lady tourists dressed to kill - I guessed they were rich widows, and so funny to watch as Japanese old ladies don't seem to have any bums and they waddle around on sparkling silver designer trainers and T-shirts with colourful printed messages on them like 'BornTo Have Fun' and 'Kiss Me Quick'. They were drinking Coca Cola and local Riesling and constantly giggling and taking iPhone photographs of each other. The Japanese are welcome and favoured visitors to Riquewihr as they can buy their 6-pack bottles of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir tax-free and get it shipped back home cheaply by the wine merchants within two weeks.

In spite of its small size, Riquewihr is probably the most important stop on the famous Alsace Wine Route. It has over 20 special vineyards and the cobbled streets are dotted with half-timbered winemakers' shops and tasting rooms. The largest and most renowned of these are Family Hugel, Domaine Dopff Au Moulin and Dopff et Irion. They have been producing great wines for hundreds of years. Their wines contain sulfites to help preserve their wines and prevent oxidization. But for those of us who are sensitive to them, like me, sulfites can cause breathing difficulties and may even cause colorectal cancer. So, I imbibe sparingly and with caution.

One of the joys of buying the wines of the smallest Alsace producers is that they rarely contain sulfites, mainly because their wines don't stay on the shelves for long.Visiting the Hugel tasting rooms is a treat and we bought 4 bottles of their fine 2015 Pinot Noir to take home. £12 a bottle. We took six bottles of the young and fresh

2018 non-sulfite Pinot Noir from Sophie et Joel Fritsch. Only £ 6 a bottle. The Hugel wine was good. But Fritsch was better! If you could find them in the UK, then both would cost twice as much.

Look for the slim-bottle shape of original Alsatian wines.

Looking around the village, we found lots of winemaking tools and a restored kitchen on display in the 16th-century Maison de Vigneron. And in a 12th century tower, the Musée du Dolder, featured centuries-old weapons - frighteningly horrible old things to be killed with if you were on the side of the losing army. You wouldn't have liked any of those spikes up you!

The 14th-century Tour des Voleurs was a former prison and also had some terrible torture instruments on display. Many of the things around the Riquewihr village centre looked very medieval grim but, when it was time to move on, we were reluctant to leave as the place seems now to induce severe happiness. Well it made me feel very happy!

Mike M

For more information on Alsatian wines, go to www.jamessuckling.com/alsace, also www.zinck.fr/en and www.hugel.fr

 

THE BANK JOB

Fred Stokes worked at a bank. He was not very happy with his pay and began to think about how he might improve his lot by some devious mean.

He knew how to make bombs as he had been taught this at school. One day an idea came to him, to make a bomb with a timer which he would put in the bank's strong-room.



If timed correctly, this would blow a hole in the strong-room wall giving access from the street outside, from which he would hope to fill his pockets with the bank's money!

He went ahead, making the bomb and timer, and when it was clear and the time right, he placed it in the strong-room.

"Morning Stokes," said the Manager. "Lovely day for you today, as I have some good news. Next week I am going to retire and you are being promoted to Manager in my place. Of course, your salary will be increased accordingly."

"Thank you very much," replied Fred and then he thought, "Heck, I've got to get that bomb out of the strong-room."

At last came the day when he was able to get the bomb out of the bank and take it home.

The time for the bomb to go off had gone by, so things were not quite right! He put it in his garden shed and thought, "There must be a fault in the timer."

A week later, at about midnight, there was a huge explosion. He looked out of his bedroom window to see his garden shed ablaze.

"I wonder what has caused that?" his neighbour shouted to him.

"I just don't know," Fred lied, but of course he did!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrations: Paul Swailes

 

CHILDHOOD LITERATURE

'She did not shut it properly because she knew that it is very silly to shut oneself into a wardrobe, even if it is not a magic one.'


Original illustration by Pauline Baynes

During World War II, four children are sent to the country for safety. Lucy finds a wardrobe that takes her to a magic world, Narnia. After coming home, she soon returns taking her brothers Peter and Edmund and her sister Susan, where they meet the magical lion Aslan.

So begins The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis, the first of the seven novels in the Chronicles of Narnia.


Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast in November 1898, the younger of the two sons of Albert and Florence Lewis. When he was four, his dog Jacksie was run over and he announced that his name was now Jacksie, a name by which he was known by his family and friends for the rest of his life.

As a boy, Lewis, an avid reader, was fascinated by anthropomorphic animals, especially those created by Beatrix Potter, and he wrote and illustrated his own animal stories.

Until he was nine, he was schooled by private tutors but following his mother's untimely and impressionable death from cancer in 1908, he went first to board at Wynyard School in Watford before returning briefly to Belfast and Campbell Collage. Due to respiratory problems, he was sent to Malvern, Worcestershire. where at the age of 15 he decided to renounce his Christian faith and became an atheist. Later returning to Anglicanism at the age of 32, due to the influence of Tolkien and other friends.

In 1916, following a further spell of private tutoring, Lewis was awarded a scholarship at University College, Oxford. However, within months of going up to Oxford, he was called up to the British Army and shipped to France to fight in the First World War, arriving in the Somme Valley on his 19th birthday, where he experienced trench warfare for the first time. In August 1918, he was wounded, and two of his colleagues killed, by a British shell falling short of its target. During his recovery he suffered from severe depression and homesickness. On his demobilisation in December 1918, he restarted his studies at Oxford, gaining firsts in Greek and Latin Literature, Philosophy and Ancient History, and English. In 1924 he became a philosophy tutor at University College and in 1925 elected a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, a position he held for 29 years until 1954.

Whilst training in the Army, Lewis struck up a friendship with 'Paddy' Moore [1898-1918] and it is said that they made a pact that if either died during the war, the survivor would take care of both their families. When Paddy was killed, Lewis kept his promise and lived with and cared for Paddy's mother, Jane, until her death in 1951.

In 1930 Lewis moved to The Kilns, on the outskirts of Oxford, with his brother Warnie, Jane Moore and her daughter Maureen, sharing the financial responsibilities.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, they took in evacuees from London and other cities and Lewis tried to re-join military service offering to instruct cadets, but his offer was rejected. Later he served in the local Home Guard. At the same time be became President of the Oxford Socratic Club, a post he held from 1942 to 1954.

He was nominated for a CBE by George VI in 1951, but declined to avoid association with any political issues. However, he did accept in 1954, the newly founded Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he finished his career. He remained attached to Oxford, returning to his home there at week-ends until his death in 1963.

In later life, Lewis corresponded with Joy Davidson Gresham, an American writer who came to England with her sons following her separation from her alcoholic and abusive husband. To allow her to continue living in the UK, she and Lewis entered a civil marriage in1956. Their relationship developed and when Joy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, they sought a Christian marriage. Since she was divorced and this was not straight forward in the Church of England at the time, a friend, the Rev. Peter Bide performed the ceremony at her bedside in the Churchill Hospital in March 1957. After a short time in remission, her cancer returned and she died in July 1960. Lewis continued to raise Joy's two sons.

From 1961, Lewis's health began to decline. Although there were times when his health improved, after suffering a heart attack in July 1963, he died of renal failure on the 22nd November the same year.

Lewis is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Headington, Oxford. His brother, Warren [Warnie], died ten years later and is buried in the same grave.


Joy and Lewis

 

Media cover of Lewis's death was almost completely overshadowed by the news of the assassination of President J.F. Kennedy which occurred on the same day. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, he was honoured with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

In addition to his scholastic work, Lewis is best known for his many works of fiction, his most popular being the Narnia novels which were written between 1949 and 1954, selling over 100 million copies and adapted numerous times for radio, television, stage and cinema.

 

THE MANOR HALL TRUST


Thank you to those who attended our AGM in June, there were some helpful contributions. The minutes of this meeting can be found on the Village Website.

Our last fund-raising event was the 80's Disco in May, when we enjoyed a fun evening with many excellent fancy-dress outfits! It was also nice to see some new faces.

At the end of July, the Bassett Room will have had a makeover and we hope to have a new outdoor shed for storage by early September.

Our next big fund-raiser is our Fete on Sunday, 25th August from 3.00 p.m. This will be a traditional style fete with lots of fun things for all ages, including stalls, BBQ, plant stall, cream teas, games and much more! Please make a note of the date and come and support us if you can.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Julia [Chair] 882783.

Allison [Bookings] 882782, Alan [Treasurer] 07905445072

 

SALT LAKE

The current advertising for the successful musical, Book of Mormon, reminded me of a trip I made, back in the early seventies.

I was working for Courtaulds as the technical manager of an experimental pilot plant developing carbon fibre. We were stretching the fibre under inert gas at a temperature of over 2500c. The only thing that doesn't melt at that temperature, let alone vaporise, is graphite, so it was all a bit difficult, and very technical!

Courtaulds then had a technical exchange agreement with the American Hercules Powder Company who made explosives. At that time, the peak of the space race, they were making rocket engines and were also interested in carbon fibre. Their factory was about 12 miles outside Salt Lake City, and I was sent there to exchange knowledge on the developments.

Most of you will know that Salt Lake City is the home of the Mormons. And this story is about them, rather than carbon fibre.

I was booked into a hotel in Salt Lake City and was driven every day back and forth to the plant. The driver was a retired steel worker and he would say things like, "Gee, I wish I had the vocabulary of you English folk!" It turned out that he was the Elder of the local Mormon Tabernacle, and he was at least as articulate as I was. He started to tell me about Mormonism, and it became clear, that if you were a devout believer, you had a numbered place awaiting you on the right hand of the deity. If you were so unfortunate as not to have met Mormonism, then there was an antechamber where you could become 'educated', and then claim your place. If, however, you knew about Mormonism and did not accept it,

there was only one way for you and that was down! I said, "Joe, I am a total unbeliever, and I won't be convinced. If you tell me about Mormonism, aren't you committing me to Hell?" It didn't stop him and when I got home, he sent me The Book of The Mormon. It stayed at home on our bookshelf for a long time just to confuse our visitors!

The Mormons take things very seriously and they eschew all stimulants including tea, coffee and alcohol, but they are not bigoted. If, as I was, you were taken out for a meal and you would like wine with it, you must not ask a Mormon to serve you against his principles. However, you might see a table at the side of the room with bottles on it. You helped yourself, left the cash and that was acceptable.

Mormons are supposed to allocate 10% of their income to their church or other charity. Certainly, at that time I was made aware of Mormons in difficulty that their church was caring for. They were also expected to give one or two years of their lives to spreading their gospel before starting their careers. At that time, you would occasionally open your door to one or perhaps a pair of Mormon preachers. That does not seem to happen so much these days.

In Salt Lake City there is a big four-block square that contains the Mormon Tabernacle [you don't get in unless you are a card-carrying member], the Concert Hall where the wonderful Mormon Choir and Orchestra perform, and the Mormon Visitors' Centre where you can go to 'learn all about it', which I did.

The centre looked as if it had been finished and furnished by a major hotel chain, thick carpets, framed pictures, and luxurious furniture. Walking along a corridor I felt my elbows gripped by a handsome young man and a pretty girl. They said, "Have you seen our hall of mirrors? Gee, you should see our hall of mirrors!", then opened a door in the wall, pushed me through and shut it behind me. I was standing in a room about 6 foot-deep and 15 foot-wide. The front wall was curtains and the end walls were full length mirrors. I was wondering what would happen when a huge voice boomed out from up there said: - "Have you thought about all the SIN AND EVIL that there is in the world? Who do you think is RESPONSIBLE for all the SIN AND EVILTHAT THERE IS IN THE WORLD? LOOK INTO THE MIRROR!" The curtains opened and then, feeling about four-foot six high, one was wafted through into the Mormon 'promised land'. They did not convert me, but I gave them full marks for effort.

While I was at The Hercules Powder Co. I became friends with the chief Electrical Engineer of the plant, and he and his wife invited me to come for a week-end in their holiday house near Moab in Utah, about 150 miles south of Salt Lake City. We packed up his car, an enormous Buick, on the Friday afternoon with my bag, their luggage, and most important, a six-bottle box with various bottles of spirits and mixers, so that that we would have a comfortable weekend! We did.

I don't recall much of my visit, but they took me to Dead Horse Point. [see picture]. This was a promontory high above the Colorado River, a bit up-stream from the Grand Canyon. Legend has it that the natives in the area used to round up wild horses onto the point, where they could corral them. They could then select those they could break and tame, then drive the rest over cliff into the river 100 feet below; hence the name!

On the Sunday it snowed and we had to drive over a pass back to Salt Lake City. Fortunately, a snow plough had come over the pass, but only one way, towards us, so we were driving on the wrong side of the road. There was no other traffic until a car approached us and we then had to drive off into the snow. Our car stalled and no amount of churning with the starter would make the motor start. My friend, the engineer, said he knew nothing about cars. He had bought this one a couple of years back. If the petrol consumption got over about 8 miles to the [American] gallon, he took it to be serviced, but he had never opened the hood [bonnet!] himself. We were miles from anywhere and there was no other traffic. There were, of course, no mobile phones in those days.

"Bill," I said, "We have got to do something, and at least we should have a look". He pulled the catch, and I opened the bonnet. There was the massive V8 engine and on top of it a huge distributor, the size of a large dinner plate. I put my hand on it and it was loose. I could rotate it through perhaps 30 degrees. I moved it fully anticlockwise, and fully clockwise, then put it in what I guessed was the mid position. Lacking a spanner, I tightened the bolt as best I could with my fingers.

We got into the car, he turned the key and away we went. Thereafter of course, I was the miracle-working mechanic from over the pond!

Alex Parke

 


 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 82

SIR JOHN HEATHCOAT-AMORY,

First Baronet, Businessman, Liberal Politician and

Commissioner of Knightshayes Court, Tiverton

4th May 1829 - 26th May 1924


"Why don't we take a day off and go somewhere interesting?" said my husband the other day. And that's how we revisited Knightshayes Court after a gap of far too long.

If you've not been, the house is tucked away up a narrow lane from the village of Bolham on the old A361 just outside Tiverton.

From one of the bedrooms you can glimpse in the distance the factory of Heathcoat's, started in the early 1800's by inventor John Heathcoat, making lace, suitable for wedding veils. It has produced most of the royal wedding veils since, but not including Queen Victoria, and that includes our present Queen. John's factory was originally based in Loughborough but it is said that it was sabotaged by Luddites and machinery destroyed. John declared that he had it on good authority that the Nottingham Lace Makers were responsible, seeking to preserve their own trade. He was offered £10,000 to restart, providing he remained in the area. John refused the compensation and in 1816 decided to move his business to Tiverton where he created the mechanised bobbin lace-making machine and by the late 19th century it was the largest lace-producing factory in the world.

Although no longer owned by the family, the factory is still there and now manufactures high specification materials such as textiles for NASA and products used in car fan belts as well as many knitted and woven fabrics including sailcloth.

But on to his grandson, John Heathcoat Amory. Born John Amory, his parents being Samuel Amory, a London lawyer and Anne Heathcoat, daughter of John, the factory owner. He assumed the additional surname of Heathcoat by Royal Licence. In 1863 he married Henrietta Mary Unwin. They had five sons and four daughters, 6 of whom reached adulthood.

On the death of his father in 1861 John inherited a large share of the business, but didn't show much interest in it. His aim was to be a country gentleman, and for this he needed a large mansion, so he set out to look for a suitable site.

Back in 1766, Knightshayes estate was advertised in the Exeter Flying Post as a '...very agreeable spot for a gentleman's seat'. It was a fairly small estate and bought in 1785 by the Dickinson family.

Benjamin Dickinson, a clothier and banker in Tiverton, who had built a modest white-painted house about 100 yards south of the present building, sold the estate to Heathcoat-Amory in 1868. By the late 19th century the family owned much of the manufacturing and land around Tiverton, and were able to enlarge the estate to 5,200 acres.

Even before contracts were signed in 1867, Heathcoat-Amory commissioned William Burges to build his dream country house. Although a renowned designer of the day, Burges was a particularly eccentric architect and many of his ideas and high costs didn't go down well with the family. In 1874, when the exterior was complete, and not to Burges' original design, he was fired. John Dibblee Crace, a much less flamboyant and famous decorator, was commissioned to complete the interiors in more modest style. This was another ill-fated choice. Over the years, the family covered up much of his work including ornate ceilings.

The National Trust took the house over in 1972, opening it to the public two years later, and are still in the process of restoring it when funds allow.

In 1868 at the age of 39, as well as purchasing the house, John became Liberal Member of Parliament for Tiverton, a position he kept until 1885. He was created a baronet of Knightshayes Court in 1874 and later appointed a JP and then Deputy Lieutenant of Devon. He died in May 1914 aged 85 and his second but eldest surviving son, Ian, succeeded him. Their firstborn, John Murray Heathcoat-Amory sadly lived only 3 days.

Ian was much more interested in the family business than his father and he and his brother ran it successfully. Lady Heathcoat-Amory died in November 1923. The last person to live at Knightshayes was Joyce Wethered, wife of Sir John Heathcoat-Amory, 3rd Baronet. She was a respected gardener and world champion golfer, winning the English Championship four times.

Not many people know that in 1944, Knightshayes like other large mansions, became a rest and recovery venue for American officers. There was room for 40 men. It was also the headquarters of the

1st Bomber Division and had an airfield with two small military spotter planes which were attached to the army artillery unit. Once the men recovered it was customary to fly over the estate, dipping their wings to salute the remaining officers. One day, tragedy struck. On 1st May 1945, just a few days before the end of the war in Europe, Lieutenant Albin Zychowski set out in his P47 Thunderbolt in a formation of 18 planes for the flight. Sadly, his plane clipped the top of a pine tree in the grounds, causing the fully armed plane to crash, exploding on the edge of the estate and Albin couldn't be saved despite the help of bystanders.

If you visit Knightshayes, it's worth visiting the Woodland Garden, although the roses sent by Albin's parents to be planted at the base of the tree he hit are long gone. But you will see a huge range of rare shrubs and trees. One year we spotted a splendid handkerchief tree there, which is in full bloom in May.

The Heathcoat-Amory name is still well known. Over the years, Sir John's progeny have become amongst others: military men including a brigadier, sadly a number of casualties in both world wars, a viscount, a Chancellor of the Exchequer and political news editor of the Daily Mail.

And the 6th Baronet, Sir Ian Heathcoat-Amory, born in 1942 and a director of many companies, is hopefully continuing the family name by producing four sons.

But the long-lasting memorial to Sir John will surely be Knightshayes Court, now in the safe hands of the National Trust. During the season there are lots of events and there's still time to enjoy the Terrific Tomato Day on September 7th and a free Heritage Open Day for non-members on September 14th.

The house is closed in November and December except for Christmas festivities. It's worth checking events on the internet. Happy visiting!

PP of DC

 


 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW NO. 180

Print and postcard, Smallmouth Cove

As in the June Newsletter, I have again chosen a print, this time of Smallmouth Cave at Watermouth. It was published about 1830 and has been drawn and engraved by William Willis. William Willis appears to have made many engravings of Ilfracombe and Devon and Cornwall generally.



The second is a postcard depicting the same view published by E.A. Sweetman & Son Ltd. in 1929.

This particular postcard has been purchased and sent in June 1955 to someone in Thornton Heath, Surrey. The writer states "We are catching the 10.30 a.m. from Ilfracombe, arrive ruffley at Waterloo about 4.30 p.m. Arrive home around about 5 o'clock. We are having a wonderful time. Have been to Clovelly, Bude, Westward Ho and Bideford. Love Marilyn."

Both views show in the distance the view of Little Hangman at Combe Martin and I personally believe the photographer for the Sweetman card has taken his view having seen the much earlier print.

Although no connection between the print for my article in the June Newsletter and a link to Sarah and James Gear has been able to be established, I received the following interesting e-mail from Yolande Ghosh, a long-term mail reader of the Newsletter living in Wales.

  • "I was interested in your Old Berrynarbor piece in the June newsletter, as James and Sarah Gear are my g-g-g-grandparents.

  • "James and Sarah Draper married on 3rd July 1820. He worked on farms, although I don't know if he ever owned one. In the 1851 and 1871 censuses, he was at South Lee Farm and in 1881 he was a widower at Leworthy, Bratton Fleming, with his daughter Fanny Burge and her family. His oldest son Benjamin farmed at Henstridge".

  • "Their second son James, 1824-1897, [my g-g-grandfather], had a connection with the Bassett's and Watermouth, as he was a gardener and was on the 1841 census, age 15, at Watermouth with Joseph Bassett (75) and his wife Mary (55) and 6 others. I assume he was a gardener there, as on the 1851 census he was a journeyman gardener at Bicton Lodges, Bicton. By the 1861 census, he was in Swansea and had become a grocer with children born in Staffordshire and Kent, but I have no record of what jobs he was doing in between".

  • "Sarah Draper must be connected to the Draper family mentioned by Phil Rollings in 'A Visit to the Globe' on page 32, as they were all from Berrynarbor. Sarah was the daughter of Benjamin Draper [1770] and Sarah Lewis [1771]."

Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage, July 2019

e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com

 
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