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
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
Enjoy the rest of the summer.
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
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
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.
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
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.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
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
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.
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!
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  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.
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.
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!
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.
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;
Services commence at 11.00 a.m.
1st Sunday: Songs of Praise
2nd Sunday: Holy Communion
3rd Sunday: Village Service
4th Sunday: Holy Communion
will be a Joint Service held on Sunday 29th September at Berrynarbor, commencing
at 11.00 a.m.
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.
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
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!
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
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:
October 20th November 11th
December 15th January
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
The Bishop's Palace, Wells
NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR
a first taste in education
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.
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.
wish all our leavers the best for their future as they start their new
nurseries/preschools and primary schools in September.
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.
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.
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.
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.
hope you are all enjoying your summer break and look forward to the new term
starting in September. Call 07932
851052 or email email@example.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'
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
necessary to duck below the boughs of trees that had come down before the track
dips down to the road.
returned to the footpath on the day of the solstice and - what a difference a
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.
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
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.
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
to the little cove at Sandaway which has been renamed Mermaid's Cove. Eighty steps down but worth the effort.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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!"
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
sun is shining and family and friends come around for tea this is the perfect
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
for the icing
125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
175g/6oz icing sugar
1 lemon finely zested
2tblsp lemon juice or juice from the
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!
FROM THE PARISH
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
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
Annual Governance and Accountability Return of 2018/19 was approved and
submitted to the external auditors, although the Council is exempt from a full
following grants were awarded:  £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  £500 for Berrynarbor in
Bloom towards planting in the village.
application for a dwelling on land off Birdswell Lane was recommended for
refusal due to access concerns.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 01271 855541 or 07803253286
NEWS FROM THE
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
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
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
Would you believe 3 Michelin restaurants! which must be there
mainly for the many tourists because the village itself only has 1000
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
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!
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!
For more information
on Alsatian wines, go to www.jamessuckling.com/alsace, also www.zinck.fr/en and www.hugel.fr
THE BANK JOB
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.
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!
ahead, making the bomb and timer, and when it was clear and the time right, he
placed it in the strong-room.
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."
you very much," replied Fred and then he thought, "Heck, I've got to get that
bomb out of the strong-room."
came the day when he was able to get the bomb out of the bank and take it home.
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."
later, at about midnight, there was a huge explosion. He looked out of his bedroom window to see
his garden shed ablaze.
wonder what has caused that?" his neighbour shouted to him.
don't know," Fred lied, but of course he did!
Tony Beauclerk -
Illustrations: Paul Swailes
'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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lewis moved to The Kilns, on the outskirts of Oxford, with his brother Warnie,
Jane Moore and her daughter Maureen, sharing the financial responsibilities.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
the rest of the summer.
Julia [Chair] 882783.
882782, Alan [Treasurer] 07905445072
The current advertising for the
successful musical, Book of Mormon, reminded me of a trip I made, back in the
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,
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
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
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
"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!
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 82
Baronet, Businessman, Liberal Politician and
of Knightshayes Court, Tiverton
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
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
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
PP of DC
OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW NO. 180
Print and postcard, Smallmouth Cove
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
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.
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
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.
interested in your Old Berrynarbor piece in the June newsletter, as James and
Sarah Gear are my
"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".
second son James, 1824-1897, [my g-g-grandfather], had a connection with the
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
but I have no record of what jobs he was doing in between".
Draper must be connected to the Draper family mentioned by Phil Rollings in 'A
the Globe' on page 32, as they were all from Berrynarbor. Sarah was the
Benjamin Draper  and Sarah Lewis ."
Cottage, July 2019