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 Newsletter Editions
No. 125 - April 01-04-2010

 

BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP

The February meeting was taken by Vice Chairman Margaret Crabbe and commenced with a short AGM. Both the Secretary, Marion Carter, and the Treasurer, Janet Steed, wished to step down from the committee this year. Janet Gammon kindly agreed to act as Treasurer as well as Outings Secretary. Margaret thanked Marion and Janet for all their hard work and the other members who help to make the Ladies Group a success.

Margaret then welcomed Lani Shepherd, who designs and makes contemporary stained glass panels at her local studio. Her designs have been commissioned for public spaces and private homes worldwide.

Lani originally came to North Devon to retire but after a while realised she needed a hobby, which has now turned into a business! The stained glass panels are made from hand-made art glass in the Tiffany technique, or copper foil method. Lani brought along samples of her work which were admired by one and all.

On 2nd March, Sarah Curtis came from the Dogs Trust [formerly the National Canine Defence League] and brought with her a Bassett hound called Harvey. The Trust, founded in 1891, has 18 re-homing centres nationwide. 16,000 dogs were cared for in 2009 and the average stay is four to six weeks - 94 % are re-homed and only 3 % destroyed. It was nice to hear that 3 % are returned to the owners.

All the dogs are checked by a vet, neutered and an identity chip inserted. Much effort goes into matching a dog to its future home and there is a one-week trial period before a final decision is made. If the new owner experiences a problem, the Trust guarantees to take the dog back.

The facility at Ilfracombe was rebuilt in 1996 and handled 600 dogs in 2009. There are fourteen staff and it costs £200,000 a year to run with no government funding. There is a charity shop in Ilfracombe, which raised

£37,883 last year. Sarah illustrated her talk with colourful slides. Janet Gammon suggested various ideas for this year's outings and asked for comments. The suggestions were a visit to Woody Bay Railway to include a cream tea in the cafe, Arlington Court and a Cream Tea at Simonsbath - we are not counting calories!

The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury. The Meeting ended, as always, with tea, biscuits and a chat. The speakers at the next three Meetings will be: 6th April - Bernard Hill [the fox man], 4th May - Tom Bartlett [Old

Berrynarbor in Pictures] and 1st June - Tim Davies [Birds of Berrynarbor]. Do come along! Everyone is welcome and meetings start at 2.00 p.m. Doreen Prater

 

IN MEMORIAM

Speak my name softly after I have gone.

I loved the quiet things, the flowers and the dew,

Field mice, birds homing; and the frost that shone

On nursery windows when my years were few;

And autumn mists subduing hill and plain

and blurring outlines of those older moods

that follow, after loss and grief and pain -

And last and best, a gentle laugh with friends,

All bitterness forgone, and evening near.

If we be kind and faithful when day ends,

We shall not meet that ragged starveling 'fear'

As one by one we take the unknown way -

Speak my name softly - there's no more to say.

Vera Arlett [1896-1948]

 

 

SALLY ANNE RICHARDS

1958-2010

Too young! The village was stunned to learn that having treated her illness with cheerfulness and disdain, Sally passed away peacefully at home on the 17th February. Our thoughts are with Martyn, her father Norman and her grandmother Ivy and all her family at this time of such sadness.

On the day of her funeral, the sun shone and there was 'standing room only' in the Chapel. So many members of her family, friends and colleagues from work were there to wish her well and send this much loved free spirit on her way 'home'. Bless you Sally from us all.

* * *

Norman, Dave and Martyn would like to thank everyone for the cards and kind words of sympathy following the sad loss of Sally.

Thanks also go to the Rev. Keith Wyer for being fantastic at such a difficult time and all the care and support of the community, Macmillan and Hospice nurses. Money raised, £367 so far, will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support and the North Devon Hospice.

Sally was born in Ilfracombe and grew up in Berrynarbor. She moved away to take on many new ventures, returning home some years ago.

Such a lovely, free-spirited friend, daughter, grand-daughter, soul mate, sister and aunty, she will be greatly missed.

 

Those we love don't walk away

They walk beside us every day.

Unseen, unheard, but always near,

Still loved, still missed and very dear.

 

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

A wonderful service on Mothering Sunday which did the School proud. About thirty children filed into church in an orderly fashion and settled down quickly. Parents and brothers and sisters were already in the pews along with the church choir and our regular congregation.

The Lesson from St. Luke was read very clearly by Oliver Ivan, the school sang a Mother's Day song unaccompanied and one child from each year group read a poem, producing spontaneous applause - and some tears. Each child had a personally made card for their mother and bouquets with cards were distributed around the whole congregation on behalf of St. Peter's. The service ended with Macy Ivan singing 'Somewhere over the Rainbow', accompanied on the guitar.

Special thanks to Mike Taylor who led the service, Mrs. Newell and School Staff for their work with the children and Sue Wright who made up some 50 bunches of flowers for us all.

April 23rd is St. George's Day. St. George is usually portrayed slaying the dragon but there is also a story that the Emperor Constantine [3rd/4th Century] built a church over the Saint's grave and declared him guardian of seaside towns, ships, channels and dangerous waters. And there is a St. George's Channel off the Welsh coast between Great Britain and Ireland.

There will be two special dates in May. Ascension Day is on the 13th and Pentecost [Whitsunday] will be celebrated on the 23rd with Holy Communion. This is the week-end before the Bank Holiday.

Friendship Lunches will be on Wednesdays 28th April and 26th May, 12.00 noon onwards. Everyone is welcome to come along and join us.

A receipt has arrived from Shelterbox thanking us for the £400 sent in response to the Haiti earthquake appeal

The money was collected in church and through the Community Shop. We have also received a thank you letter

from the Children's Hospice for the £250 sent from Christmas collections.

Mary Tucker

 

MANOR HALL MATTERS

The feedback from those who supported the Simon Banks Musical Evening and Supper in early February was extremely positive and thanks must go to committee members for their help in staging the event and providing puddings! Particular thanks to Alan for his tenacity throughout the preceding days and weeks to get things organised. So, a qualified success for our first 'fund raiser' of the year!

Growing our funds is really important as they are forever being stretched!  At the time of writing, for example, we've just had to contend with a major breakdown of the gas boiler which serves the Penn Curzon Room and to reorganise the configuration of some of the guttering at the rear of the building to avoid further water entry and damage to plasterwork beyond that which occurred during the bad weather since the new year.

  So, can I again emphasise the continued importance of fund raising and the hope of your full support for the two Beaford Arts events scheduled for a few weeks' time?

  Also, just round the corner, on Wednesday 5th May to be precise, we shall be holding our Annual General Meeting. This will be, as always, an open meeting and we should love to see a presence from all the User Groups. Please do your best to send a representative.

  Hopefully by now, the Regular User Groups will have received a short form on which to record and input their collective views to define the projects and priorities they believe the Manor Hall Committee should consider in the months and years ahead, both for the buildings and the facilities. From these form inputs and from the Committee itself, we hope to organise a short, medium and long term Action Plan as well as developing plans for further fund raising and grant applications to support the Action Plan and anticipate some ambitious ideas! 

One project which will get underway in the coming weeks will be the external decoration and treatment of window timbers. Timings are not yet fully defined and will be dictated, to some extent, by the weather.

Colin Trinder - Chairman

 

WEATHER OR NOT

We don't need to remind anyone that January and February were cold months!

In January the temperature dropped to below or near freezing on twenty-two nights; daytime temperatures were well below double figures for most of the month. The highest temperature was 11.8 Deg C on the 16th and the lowest was -4.6 Deg C on the 7th. This was not actually as low as last January when we recorded -5.6 Deg C, but then the cold spell was not so prolonged. We got off lightly here in Berrynarbor, temperatures in other parts of the county dropped to -14 Deg C and -15 Deg C. We did record wind chills of -14 Deg C on two days and -11 Deg C, 012 Deg C and -13 Deg C on three other days. There were falls of snow on seven days with a maximum fall of 10mm [3/8"] - a light dusting in comparison to the massive 480mm [19"] Aviemore had in one night! The cold frosty weather meant that there was little rain in the month, the total being 65mm [2 9/16"], this was not exceptional but January can be a very wet month. With a lack of rain, this meant more sunshine and the hours recorded were 20.51, capping last year by 71/2 hours.

February had a few spring-like days but again the temperatures stayed mainly in single figures with a maximum of 11.4 Deg C on the 24th. The overnight minimums although dropping below freezing on several nights were higher generally than in January and the lowest recorded was -2.5 Deg C on the 12th. There was also a wind chill of -11 Deg C on two consecutive days. It was another dry month with a total of 86mm [3 3/8"] of rain, the wettest day being the 2nd with 12mm [1/2"] and there were also four days with some snow. One thing we haven't seen a lot of this winter is south-westerly gales. In January the strongest wind guest was 28knots from the north and in February, it was 24 knots from south-south east.

There was very little sunshine in the early part of February, with the total of 23.06 hours being only .22 hours higher than in 2009.

March has started dry and sunny with high pressure still in control, but it is still pretty cold and the ground is still frozen where the sun hasn't reached it. The daffodils are being held back but the snowdrops and crocuses are putting on a good show.

Simon and Sue

 

THE LEGEND LIVES ON

Radio Caroline, the world's most famous offshore radio station, where DJ's such as Johnny Walker, Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis cut their teeth and made their break in radio, is still on the air, over 45 years on from when the legend began. As well as land based studios in Kent, it still has a radio ship, the Ross Revenge, docked at Tilbury, which is undergoing renovation works. Radio Caroline broadcasts special live programmes from the Ross Revenge over bank holiday weekends, and tours of this legendary vessel are available.

Berrynarbor based Paul Crockett, known on air as Paul Andrews [long story], recently became the new early breakfast show presenter, with a weekday show between 6 and 7am. Paul presented many radio programmes for a number of local radio stations when he lived in Hampshire, and after an 11 year break, says, "It's great to be back behind the microphone again and to be part of a great team of dedicated presenters."

Radio Caroline is predominantly an Adult Album station biased towards rock music, offering an alternative to local radio stations, with a mix of comfortable classic songs from the last four and a half decades, together with less familiar songs not often heard on the radio. Radio Caroline can be heard on Sky channel 0199, and over the internet at www.radiocaroline.co.uk. Internet radio is the fastest growing radio medium.

 

 

LETTER FROM THE RECTOR

The Rectory,
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

As I prepare to leave you, I just wanted to say 'Thank You' for making my time here so memorable. Thank you for allowing me to share in your moments of laughter and joy, and tears of sorrow. We have experienced the highs and lows of life together and those moments will always stay with me. Our friendship has been an expression of the love we share.

Throughout my ministry I have tried to show and express something of God's love for you. I apologise for the times I have failed but I shall always remember your smiling faces, and the times we have shared together, in Church, at school, in the pub, along the road, in the shops.

When the Queen's anniversary was celebrated and television's Richard and Judy came to Combe Martin, I was given one question that I would be asked by the presenters, which was "What are the people like?"

I never actually got the chance to give the answer I had prepared, because they were running out of time at the studio! I probably muttered something like "There are good and bad here", but what I really wanted to

say came from one of my favourite stories about a gamekeeper who liked to shoot ducks and wanted to try out his new gun dog. When he shot a duck, he said to the dog, "Go fetch." The dog looked up, wagged his tail and calmly walked across the pond, picked up the dead bird, walked back and dropped it at his feet. The gamekeeper couldn't believe his eyes! He shot another duck, and exactly the same thing happened again. He could hardly contain his excitement when he invited a few friends along to see the new gun dog in action. At the pond he shot a duck, and the dog behaved exactly the same as before. The gamekeeper looked at his friends. Not a flicker! He shot another duck and exactly the same thing happened again. Not a flicker! Unable to contain his excitement any more he said, "Did you notice anything special about the dog?" One of his friends, in a broad Devon accent, replied, "Funny you should say that. he can't swim, can he?"

So often we do not see the miracles around us, and so often we take our friends and loved ones for granted. Open your eyes and tell your friends and loved ones just how much they mean to you. Then, maybe, I shall have achieved something here in my ministry. God bless you all.

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

 

On a very practical note: When I leave on 30th June, after thirty eight years of ordained ministry, I have to cut all ties with the Parishes. In accordance with Diocesan rules for retirement, the Bishop's permission to officiate, that is take services, is withdrawn for twelve months, and the priest has to re-apply if he or she wishes to help out anywhere in the Diocese after that time. So I am afraid I cannot 'come back' to carry out normal Sunday Services, Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals. During the interregnum, these will be organised by the Wardens. A couple of years ago, the Bishop of Crediton assured me that my position would be filled straight away, so hopefully you will not have to wait long to celebrate the arrival of your new priest.

 

REMEMBERING GEORGE

The Berrynarbor Newsletter arrives on my door mat - I recognise it at once. On goes the coffee and I sit curled up in my chair and read it from first to last page!

I live in Swindon now but was born in Ilfracombe, the youngest daughter of Charles Huxtable, Stone Mason.

The February issue and the article about Gentlemen of the Roads was of particular interest. I well remember seeing George as a child. None of us children were afraid of him. I grew up, married and we had a flat at Chambercombe, overlooking the pier, harbour and Hillsborough.

One very cold morning, my first baby woke for a feed and whilst I was giving her a bottle, I was looking out of the window. Then I saw him. A man asleep in the shelter on a bench. He awoke and walked to the cold stream - yes it was George. He took off his coat and 'whitish!' shirt, proceeded to wash his face, neck, chest - down to his waist - after which he dried himself with his shirt. Then he put his shirt in the stream and gave it a good wash, after which he wrung it out and put it back on. After replacing his coat he returned to the bench for breakfast which looked like a piece of bread.

George enjoyed talking to our many visitors on the sea front and harbour, people seemed to find his tales of great interest.

I have never forgotten seeing George, Gentleman of the Road getting ready for his day. A gentleman yes, and a very clean one as I saw that morning!

Mary Binding [Huxtable]

 

PLANTS AND LITTLE BRIDGE HOUSE

As you know from my many requests for plant pots, I sell plants in aid of our children's hospice at Little Bridge House in Fremington.

Two weeks ago I had an invitation to go and see this wonderful place.

The thought, love and care which takes place there is beyond belief and I cannot begin to tell you of the impression it leaves. Above everything, you get a feeling of the happiness it gives to the families and children who are able to spend time there when their lives are sad.

Care staff and equipment of every kind is in abundance. One room is full of toys, one for family meals and a wonderful kitchen where meals are provided at any time. A bathroom catering for any disability, size or age, which gives the children a freedom not always possible at home, a soft play area, messy play area, teenage room, Jacuzzi [complete with cinema screen], beautiful family bedrooms for mum and dad and brothers and sisters - these are just some of the facilities and I could go on, but seeing is believing and above all, this is the complete care these children and their families are given during their stay.

Then we were taken out into the Narnia Sensory Garden. Being a gardener, I was overwhelmed by the thought, once again, of sound, vision, texture and movement - I could imagine the pleasure everyone visiting Little Bridge House gained from it. I feel now that when I am asked what I should like my donations to go to, I shall say the grounds, play equipment and the Narnia Garden.

Little Bridge House has only 11% government funding and when I tell you that it costs £3 million a year to run, it is amazing how this money is raised. 200 families are helped each year, both for planned respite and emergency care and when the time comes, for palliative and end-of-life care.

We are so lucky to have Little Bridge House in North Devon carrying out such wonderful work. Hopefully the donations I am able to give with your help, both from Berrynarbor and the many visitors to our village can in some small way help to carry on this work.

Plants will be on sale again from Easter - weather permitting - when between us we can 'do our bit' in 'making the most of short and precious lives'.

Margaret

 

THE BBC

A CHRISTMAS/EASTER CAROL

My programme went out with the recycling before I was asked to write my thoughts about the Berrynarbor panto . . . I need it to work out exactly what the plot had been, which says something in itself, or maybe it's because I'm from Ilfracombe and I is blonde!

I was there on the recommendation of the Charalambous bros., accompanied by a three year old and my visitor from Turkey, who I'm introducing to English culture and language. I explained that local productions include local people and local references, which were a-plenty, and despite our total confusion, and maybe that of some of the cast, we chuckled away whether we got it or not.

Naff costumes, bad timing, muffled old gags and cringe-worthy sexual innuendo! Despite reading magazines in his shop all day, fairy narrator Nick Charalambous struggled to read his lines in the French voice of Rene - just a few of the many things that made this village amateur production so hilariously amateurish and utterly, delightfully, charming. The scenery artwork was impressive as were the sound effects, when Paul Crockett remembered them, and I think I recognised some professional singers who weren't at all bad.

I expected the night to be fun and it was! 'Fun' being a quote from the three year old. I see Nick Charalambous daily who's been so excited about an opportunity for public cross-dressing but I had no idea that so many inhabitants of Berrynarbor shared the same eccentricity and make-up that terrified my grandson. The cast included a male fairy, a male genie and so many dames with varying degrees of lunacy and scary legs!

I have two Golden Globe nominations - the local pub's called that, get it? - for best performances. Firstly to Phil Charalambous, a man normally appearing in a dazed world of his own who clearly excels at portraying characters other than his own and to Seretse, recognised by my grandson from his playgroup at Sure Start, for a splendid spliff-waving, all-singing [about doughnuts with jam in], quick-fire joke-telling Bob Marley. Explain that one next week Seretse!

Hat's off to everyone. Thank you for a great night out. Village life at its best.

Erica Castle - Amateur Critic!

 

 

SOME LOCAL CHARACTERS - 4

Sid Russell

Sid was a real wit and always had a smile on his face and a joke on the tip of his tongue.

One morning when he and several of his colleagues were waiting for the transport to pick them up from the village to take them to work, down through the village came a stranger. With his brief case, umbrella and very smart clothes, he looked completely out of place in Berrynarbor at that time. He knocked on the door of one of the cottages.

"T'is no good knocking on that door," piped up Sid. "Theyem all out except for the clock and even ee be gwain!"

At this remark, Sid and his fellow workers fell about laughing - it's not what you say but the way that you say it! The poor man, thinking he had met all the village idiots in one go, turned about and beat a hasty retreat.

Sid and his Wife Flo


FRANK HUXTABLE

One lovely summer evening, the lads from the village including Gerald and his cousin Frank Huxtable, known as 'Laddie', and any visitors who wanted to join in, were playing a game of cricket in the field opposite Middle Lee Farm. As was usual, a small group gathered to watch and they were joined towards the end by William Draper or 'Muxey' as he was known. Muxey was a very good gardener and used to till the land up the lane behind Middle Lee, now known as Thirkles Field. He used donkeys to do the ploughing.

On this occasion Muxey was carrying a basket in which he had some of his produce and the vegetables were admired by everyone gathered.

A few days later Gerald met up with the very chipper Frank who told him he had won first prize at Combe Martin Horticultural Show. Gerald was somewhat surprised, knowing that Frank wasn't in to gardening let alone growing vegetables.

With a wink, Frank told Gerald that he had crept up to Muxey's field at dusk and pinched some of his carrots, entering the best of them in the Show, thus winning the first prize and pocketing some very welcome prize money!


 

ARTHUR [TIDDLY] EDWARDS

Although Tiddles was not the brightest lad, he commanded a great respect from his peers for his sporting ability - he was simply the best at football, cricket, darts, snooker and skittles. And he could also run very fast. Everyone wanted Tiddles on their team.

He amazed his friends by throwing a stone at the church clock, stopping the hands at quarter to three!

Once, when The Globe was being renovated and the builders had some sand delivered, a large tipper lorry emptied a mountain of sand in the car park at the rear of the pub. What a wonderful playground for the village lads! They put some planks up each side of the heap and on their old bikes raced down from the Manor Hall and up and over the sand, Time and time again they raced until one of the lads removed the plank. Unknown to Tiddles, who was in front, he hit the pile of sand, the front wheel stuck fast and he flew over the top, landing flat on his back, somewhat dazed, on the other side.

There was another occasion when Tiddles ended up on his back. Tiddles exercised Bebe, Ivor Richards' pony. Like a lot of ponies, Bebe had to be pushed to go anywhere, but once turned for home, quickened her pace, especially with a novice rider on her back. Tiddles had ridden Bebe up through the Valley, turning about mid-way to come back. Bebe then gained pace until she was cantering through two rocks, the noise from her hooves echoing and Tiddles shouting. Rosie Bray was in her garden, half way up Jan Braggs Hill, and could hear the racket. She went to the gate just in time to see the horse fly past, over the brow of the hill it went and down through lower town, with the noise still echoing around. A swift turn up Castle Hill heading to her stable and food. But alas for poor Tiddles, the wind had blown the top stable door shut - no problem for Bebe but Tiddles came a cropper!

Marlene

 

HATCHED!

Val and David Hann are delighted to announce the arrival of their eighth grandchild. Rosamund Lucy Alexandra, a second daughter for Ben and Pip and sister for Penelope, was born on the 17th February, weighing 8lbs 13oz.

 

Congratulations and best wishes to you all.

 

CANINE PARTNERS

A beautiful sunny morning welcomed Teddy, Wendy and Peter to the Manor Hall and there was a good turn out to greet them - a few more would have been even better!

After we had indulged in delicious cakes and coffee, Wendy, who suffers from a rare skin disease that makes her skin vulnerable to tearing, told us how her life with Teddy came about and having had him as a puppy, how they have worked together to achieve today's wonderful partnership.

Teddy, a three-year old golden retriever, demonstrated just a few of the ways in which he can help Wendy - fetching, carrying and unzipping and removing her coat. Literally a 'life saver', he knows when she stops breathing in the night and after holding her breath for a brief moment, Teddy immediately barked.

When he is wearing his blue jacket, Teddy is a 'working' dog - calm, gentle, alert, obedient, watching and waiting to help. When his jacket is off, he is a normal young dog - exuberant, full of life and fun, and it was lovely to see him wagging his way around the hall, greeting and talking to everyone and lapping up the attention!

A very big thank you to Teddy, Wendy and Peter for sharing with us all their inspirational faith and loyalty, and to everyone who came to support them and the event, especially those who came from beyond the village.

Thanks must also go to the generous raffle donators - Mullacott Veterinary Hospital, Marwood Hill Gardens, Moules Farm Meats, Barbara and Simon at Hele Billy's Ilfracombe, the Harbour Deli at Combe Martin, Sue's of Combe Martin, Sue Wright and other individuals. Henry Humpty and Daisy Dumpty and a lovely cardigan - all knitted and donated by Joan - went for £34 at auction.

Lastly, thank you to all the cake-makers and helpers who both set up and cleared away.

A heart-warming and happy morning which will see Canine Partners benefit by some £250.

The hope was to buy a puppy for training, but this was out of our reach! Instead, on behalf of those present - and the village - two puppies have been 'adopted', one now and a second one will be chosen after Easter. The remainder of the money we raised will go towards necessary equipment and training.

Julie, who is the Corporate Fundraising Manager and deals with adoptions for Canine Partners has written:

Thank you so much for your support and we are glad our Wendy and canine partner Teddy inspired your group; they are both excellent ambassadors for the charity.

Thank you so much for adopting two of our puppies and supporting the work of Canine Partners.

Your puppy, Pebbles, a very fluffy black labradoodle was the third of five puppies born. The breeder also has her grandmother who had 10 puppies only 11 days previously. So Pebbles has been brought up with her siblings and 10 'aunts and uncles', along with her dad, a standard poodle, and great granddad, a yellow Labrador. This gave her a lot of confidence around large dogs. Early intense socialisation meant that she adores adults and children and especially cuddles! Her favourite activity has been running through an agility tunnel with her playmates. She was quick to learn a recall whistle by the time she was 8 weeks old and ready to leave for her Canine Partners volunteer puppy parent.

I hope that you will be happy with your choice of puppy and she will hopefully become another highly skilled assistance dog to help people with disabilities.

Our puppies are real dogs, with real stories to tell. Inevitably there are ups and downs in their training and occasionally a puppy may not be considered suitable for matching to a person with disabilities. This is all part and parcel of our work and ensures that our assistance dogs are of the very highest standards. It goes without saying that any pup that does not 'make it' is found a suitable loving home.

You will follow Pebbles right the way through her training by way of regular 'pupdates' up to the point of her graduation with her allocated partner as a fully trained assistance dog. It normally takes about 18 months to train each puppy from first selection to eventual graduation.

On behalf of all of us at Canine Partners, but particularly on behalf of our puppies, thank you very much indeed for joining us in our work.

Julie

Direct Line: 01730 716015

www.caninepartners.co.uk

Details of Pebbles' progress and our new, second adopted puppy will be given in future Newsletters.

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

As I've said before, I am privileged, as Editor, to hear from and talk to readers from near and far.

Browsing the internet for Harding and Berrynarbor, Marie Tièche came across our website. Interested to see mention of Sam Harding the blacksmith. she asked if it was his picture that hung in The Globe. Able to look more closely at the photograph and make a few enquiries, I found that the picture was of Dick Huxtable and Sam Harding. However, not Sam the blacksmith! This Sam Harding lived at Bountice, Orchard Park, before moving to Corfe Cottage next door to The Globe. On the reverse of the photograph is written:

With affectionate remembrance of my two dear Friends

from Chas. W. Fletcher

"Glen Roy"

282 Watford Way Hendon NW4

In researching her family, Marie found that she was descended from blacksmiths of Kentisbury and Berrynarbor, from the Harding family and from George Dendle/Daniel whose son William, her great-great grandfather, married Mary Jane Scamp in Berrynarbor and whose father, Robert Scamp, was the blacksmith at West Down. Marie had had difficulty tracking back until she discovered that for some reason, the family had changed their name from Dendle to Harding!

According to the 1851 Census and White's 1850 Director, George Dendle was the innkeeper of The Globe as well as a lime burner.

Marie currently lives in Jesteburg, just south east of Hamburg, having arrived there from Spitsbergen. You can read about her adventures there in her book 'Champagne and Polar Bears'. [I have a copy you can borrow!]

 

When Marie met a German professor in a bar in Norway, her life took a turn for the extraordinary. She agreed to spend a year in the Arctic with him on a remote, glaciated island with only two dogs for company. The deal was a year or nothing in a hut surrounded by polar bears. It would be like landing on the moon and living in a rabbit hutch.

Marie hopes to return to the UK and visit the village and The Globe in the hope that 'they still sell their rather more-ish fruit wines'.

Judie

Molly Alcock [nee Barrett] of Sheringham, Norfolk, sent pictures and writes:

I have only just been made aware of your newsletter by my cousin, Maureen Underdown, nee Peachey, who used to live at 'Prospect' during the War.

I, too, lived with my mother and older brother John in Berrynarbor in 1940-1 when I was 6. We attended Miss Veal's school and loved it - or at least I did!

For a short while we lived with Mr. and Mrs. Ivor Richards at Moules Farm and then for a longer period at Capel Cottage - I still have a postcard of this wonderful cottage and wonder if it is still there? During our stays in the village, we also spent time at Croft Lee, Hagginton Hill and a cottage owned by Mrs. Toller at Widemouth House that had its own little private beach - an absolutely idyllic spot.

Whilst at Moules Farm I helped hand-rear a newborn lamb, which I christened Tibby, who would rush up to me in the paddock as soon as I came home from school. However, one day Tibby was not there and I was told where he had gone. I didn't eat lamb for a long time!

I remember once that Ivor took me 'up over' to one of the farm's far flung fields where the sheep were. I sat in front of him on a horse that I think was called Tommy. I wonder if Ivy can remember if my recollections are correct? [Yes, Ivy does, Tommy was his name!]

When we left to go home, Ivy gave me a little black and white kitten which we called Bimbo, one of whose sons became an absolutely adored companion of mine for ten years until I was sixteen.

Some of my family are spending time in Ilfracombe during the Easter school holidays - they have been told to visit Berrynarbor at length and photograph everywhere so I can see what it all looks like now!

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS NO. 43

A clump of snowdrops cling to a bank where the urban road becomes a country lane. The emergence of these nodding white flowers is supposed to herald the end of winter. Yet this morning they appear to be hunching their stems as much as possible in order to protect themselves from the biting north-easterly wind. Every cold blast forces their spear-shaped leaves to tremble, whilst up above the wind whips through the sycamores arching the lane. As their branches shake in response, it is hard to imagine them awash with fresh leaves rustling in a warm spring breeze. Where the archway ceases, the rhubarb-like leaves of winter heliotrope dominate the western bank.

Although some of the pale lilac flowers have now withered, as one would expect at the beginning of March, many are still standing resplendent; and was that a scent of vanilla I caught in a cold gust of wind, just then? The flowers' presence is a testament to winter's grip despite having passed the first of March, "the first day of spring".

Moreover, the fields which rise on the eastern side of this tight valley are blanketed by frost; a reflection of how,

yet again, temperatures dipped well below freezing last night. The sun has only just appeared above the woodland which adorns the ridge of this hillside; it will be a good hour yet before the sun's early-spring rays can set to task upon the frost.

The hedgerow's shadow having receded a little, I followed the narrow path of sunlight on the far side of the lane. The unabated wind, however, had a cold, penetrating feel to it which prevented the sun from warming my icy cheeks. Today is no morning stroll, more an urgency to keep walking at a swift pace in order to stay warm - not that I run the risk of missing any sights within the passing hedgerows and banks. None of last year's wildflowers have survived, a change to previous years when mild winters encouraged species such as red campion and herb Robert, to name just a couple, to remain in flower throughout winter.

The only variation to the plethora of greens, browns and greys on view are the pale blue and primrose-yellow feathers of a blue tit who is hunting for any tiny morsels of food life available upon the nearby branches. Yet even he is persuaded to fly off and seek refuge within the woods when his feathers are literally ruffled by yet another cold blast of air.

The hedgerow gives way to the old stone bridge, allowing the East Wilderbrook to flow beneath the lane and surge northwards towards its underground meeting with the West Wilderbrook just before Wildersmouth Beach. 'Surge' seems a very apt word for the brook today, its waters swollen and covering the majority of rocks; a reflection of this year's frost, snow and rain now seeping out of the hills. Beyond the bridge, the wood's border comes down to meet the lane. I tried hard to picture the carpet of bluebells that will adorn the woodland's floor in spring. Instead, my eyes were distracted by the sight of two horses in the field beside the wood, both standing tight in its lowest corner in order to seek refuge from the cold wind whistling through the trees.

An hour later, on my way back home, the sun had risen sufficiently to shine upon the whole lane. Stopping at the farmer's gate, I spotted the gorse flowers on the far hilltops. No longer twinkling like the lights of Christmas, their bright yellow colour was fading fast. I knew this to be a sign that the same hilltops would soon be dusted in the white blossom of Blackthorn. Leaning against the gate, the hedgerows at either end acted as a buffer from the wind's race with itself down the lane. I turned to face the sun, closed my eyes and allowed its mid-morning rays to warm my cheeks. Lovely! I then heard a sound which brought a smile to my face: the bill of a spotted woodpecker vibrating and drumming fast upon a branch somewhere in the distance - a sure sign of early spring. On opening my eyes, I observed a lone flower taking advantage of a sheltered spot within the hedge bank. Away from the cold wind, the sun's rays had encouraged its yellow, shiny petals to open up - the first lesser celandine of spring. On a tree above the bank, a male chaffinch began calling; not just a 'pink' or a 'weef', but his distinctive longer song that ends with a flourish. Was he rehearsing his courtship song for the coming of spring? His plumage, in particular the pink on his breast and the slate-blue on his head and behind his eyes, was no longer as dull as it had been throughout winter.

Perhaps spring really is just around the corner.

Stephen McCarthy

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY POST OFFICE

As of now, the new glass porch is going up! This should be ready for Easter, and already the smart trolley for fruit and vegetables, well made by Tony Kitchin, is in place. It is hoped, too, that we can have second-hand books for sale on display.

Everyone should by now have received a newssheet about our bonus offer. The shop is doing well, but we still have that mortgage to pay, so every pound extra that you can spend will help. Don't forget that Anita tries to shop locally, which helps producers as well as the shop [and is often cheaper!]. Also, if you order fruit and vegetables in advance, there is a10% discount!

Yvonne Davey has started a folder where people within the village who have accommodation to let can add their own details. Just bring these into the shop. If you have friends or family coming, and not enough room to take them, then this is a good place to find accommodation. See Yvonne's article which follows. The folder will be found in the coffee area.

Kath Thorndycroft is hoping that all gardeners [and others!] have planted extra 'bits' for the Great Plant Sale to be held in aid of our Shop on Monday, 3rd May.  She'd like to hear from you - Tel: 889019.

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 15th May at 11.00 a.m. We hope that as many shareholders as possible will be there.

 


HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION IN BERRYNARBOR

A File, to be kept in the Community Shop, is being compiled to advertise to visitors Bed and Breakfast, Guest House, Hotels and Self-Catering establishments in the village.

If you are in the accommodation business and would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please bring details - brochures, cards or A4 advertisements to the Community Shop. These will be collated and included in the file at a cost of £5.00, the money going towards Shop funds.

If you would like more information or have any queries, please contact me on [01271] 882822.

Yvonne Davey

Cherry Hinton, Barton Lane

 

MEMORY LANE

Brian and Mary's Christmas message from Stogursey brought memories of early days flooding back.

I took up residency in the village of Stogursey, Somerset, in 1947. I was 15 years of age and had been accepted for a trainee motor mechanic apprenticeship in Johnson's Garage. It boasted a staff of 4 fitters and an electrician foreman. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, had bought the business a couple of years earlier and had set about rescuing a dying concern. They were very successful. The onus now was on buying all the old and dilapidated Fordson tractors, covering all models, and overhauling them for a quick sale.

What of Stogursey itself? It was a small village about nine miles from Bridgewater. It boasted two pubs and a small hotel. The majority of houses had no running water or electricity in 1947 and there was no public transport as I remember. A private company ran a school bus and a limited service to Bridgewater mid-week and Saturdays.

Johnson's Garage had its own electric generator and supplied the hotel and a couple of private houses. I had lodgings with Mrs. Johnson's parents and fetched water a couple of times a day from a well. Just about every family in the village had to cook with paraffin stoves or if you could afford it, Calor gas for light, heat and cooking. To me the whole set up was a paradise after living in London.

I became totally integrated into village life. To the locals I was, 'that there boy from London'. Cricket was my favourite sport and I wasn't disappointed, playing for the village within a week of arriving.

Like all small villages, Stogursey had its characters, but for me, Old Liza, as she was called, had no competition! In her late '70's, she had an addiction to alcohol and sleeping rough. Nevertheless, once a year Johnson's Garage supplied a taxi to transport her to the hotel where she had been employed in her youth, for a special meal. What a transformation - she looked a proper lady!

However, to finish my feat of memory it would not be complete without mentioning Colonel Armstrong. He was the epitome of the old soldier and that, of course, was what he was. About 80 years old but still upright and smart, he was full of tales of the old British Empire and the two big wars in his time, and yes, he had the legendary monocle!

Sadly, all good things come to an end. On 9th June 1949 I received my call up papers for eighteen months' National Service in the British Army, but that is another story.

Peter West

 

 

THE NORTH DEVON HOSPICE

Waking up to a white and wintry morning, one wondered if the Knit In Coffee Morning for the North Devon Hospice would go ahead. But as normal in Berrynarbor, knitters and supporters braved the elements and turned out! Twenty-one knitters nattered whilst producing amazing technicoloured strips and enjoying unlimited gorgeous cakes and coffee, also enjoyed by those who came just for a natter.

Thank you to everyone who supported this event in any way - knitters, cake makers, raffle prize donators, helpers and visitors. Your generosity meant that £255 and a bagful of multi-coloured strips were taken to the Hospice in the afternoon.

 

WHY WORRY?

In life there are only two things to worry about.

You're either rich or poor. If you're rich, you've nothing to worry about, if you're poor, you've only two things to worry about. You're either well or ill.

If you're well, you've nothing to worry about. If you're ill, you've only two things to worry about. You'll get better or you'll die.

If you get better, you've got nothing to worry about. If you die, you've only two things to worry about. You'll go to heaven or to hell.

If you go to heaven, you'll have nothing to worry about. If you go to hell you'll be so busy greeting all your old friends you won't have time to worry! So why worry?

 

This little gem was circulated round the office where I worked in the '60's by the draughtsmen, always the first to latch on to anything of this nature!

Trev

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

We are pleased to welcome Lydia [Class 1], Harry [Class 3] and Finley Carless [Class 4] who have moved from Buckinghamshire with their mum, dad, grandma and grandpa to Berrynarbor. We hope they will be very happy at our School.

Congratulations to Sally and Mark Jefferys and Millie [Class 1] on the birth of George - 8lbs 5oz on 18th March. Everyone is doing well!

The Reverend Keith Wyer has been a wonderful supporter for all our pupils, parents, staff and governors for so many years, and it is with much sadness we learn that he is leaving us. We shall be making sure he is really busy between now and his departure time!

We've had a few events over recent weeks and our sincere thanks go to the helpers and supporters who make these events successful.

·         £181 was raised from the Bring and Buy and Cake Sale for Haiti on the 19th February.

·         The PTA Curry and Quiz Nite on 26th February raised £400 profit! The Manor Hall was full and everyone had a fantastic fun evening. Look out for the next one!

·         £80 was raised for Big Yellow Friday [Liver Disease Foundation] on the 5th March

·         We sold off unclaimed/un-named lost property for approximately £20.

We have received an 'All Clear' from our recent asbestos inspection.

Once again we are collecting the current promotion vouchers from Tesco and Sainsbury's. Being such a small school it takes a while to accumulate a large number. Please ask your friends and families to save them for us. Thank you for your support.

Thank you for the kind donation of £100 from two village members. The money has been used to buy screening trellis with planters and plants. Thank you also to the Community Shop for donating the Walt Disney Dinosaur books.

Our school took part in the lovely Mother's Day Service in the church and the children read their poems about 'My Mum'. Here are some for you to see:

My Mum

Mum you are great

You're more than a mate

Because you are my mum

And you are so much fun.

 

You care for me

Even before I was 3

You've helped me learn

And you ask none in return

 

 

Even when I'm bad

You never get mad

And I'd just like to say

I love you more each day.

by Billy, Age 10

 

My Mum by Josh, age 5

My Mum loves me

My Mum kisses me

My Mum hugs me

My Mum cooks dinner

My Mum is lovely

My Mum helps me with my homework

I love you

 

My Mum by Louis, age 5

My Mum does the lunch

My Mum does the feeding of my Little brother Ben

My Mum does the washing up

My Mum does the making of the beds

My Mum does the washing

I love my Mum.

 

Mother by Kitty-May, age 7

M My Mum is so special to me

O She is the only Mum that is best for me

T She takes me on bicycle rides

H I love my Mum in my heart

E Sometimes she gets grumpy but I know every single day

she loves me and that's what counts

R When the rain comes down she makes sure I am warm.

 

Our Class 4 pupils will be cooking a 3-course meal for their parents on Friday, 26th March. They have chosen their menu and parents have made their choices. The children will spend the day preparing and cooking the food under the supervision of Mrs. Lucas and they will serve it and wait on tables in the evening.

We shall be having our usual Easter Egg Hunt before we break up and then our hectic schedule of summer activities starts on Monday, 19th April.

Thanks again for all the support we receive from the village.

Mary-Jane Newell - Acting Headteacher

 

WINE CIRCLE

The Berrynarbor Wine Circle, which meets every third Wednesday in the month from October to May has

had two meetings since the last newsletter. In February, Nicola Keeble, Jill McCrae's daughter who lives in France, gave us an excellent presentation of wines from her area near Bergerac. She had obviously put a lot of work into it, giving us many details of wine production as well as choosing some superb wines for us to taste and all presented in a very professional, light hearted manner. Many thanks Nicola, you are welcome back anytime!

In March, we had a first visit from James Nancarrow, the manager of Majestic Wine Warehouse in Barnstaple. We have had previous visits from Majestic but these have been done by Paul his assistant manager whose enthusiasm has been rewarded by promotion to manager of another branch. Congratulations Paul.

James' theme for the evening was wines from Argentina and he certainly gave us some different wines to taste with examples of wine from not so well known grape varieties - Torrontes, Bonarda, and of course the Argentine speciality, Malbec. The latter he described as "a bit of an indulgence" and I think most people would agree wholeheartedly as it was on special offer, reduced from £26.00 to only [?] £22.00 per bottle! The consensus was that it was very nice but if the alternative was three bottles at £7.00 guess what the choice would be?

Our next meeting is on 21st April when our speaker will be

Brett Stevens from the Fabulous Wine Company. Brett is a real wine enthusiast and with a generous budget to work to will undoubtedly present us with some excellent wines to sample. In May the normal meeting is preceded by a short AGM - most years it takes all of 10 minutes - then our speaker for the evening will be the ever popular Jan Tonkin with his usual mix of wine knowledge and lively wit. Bound to be a fun evening.   Anyone wishing to attend is most welcome but if it will be your first time, please contact me beforehand on [01271] 883600.  

Tony Summers

 

 

WALK 119

In pursuit of an April rarity: Romulea columnae

It was April and we were heading for the Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Exe Estuary.

There is a flower that grows at Dawlish Warren and at no other location on the British mainland - so, a true rarity. It is the Sand Crocus [aka the Warren Crocus] and April is the month when it comes into bloom.

We wondered whether we were likely to find an example during our visit. A voluntary warden, working beside a pond, indicated the little dune meadow where the crocus grows. We searched thoroughly but found no crocuses. We were told that as the sun had gone in, the flowers would have closed their petals and were likely to remain closed, and thus invisible, for the remainder of the day.

We returned the following morning. It was bright and sunny - a good sign. But we searched again and found nothing. Feeling rather sheepish, we continued our walk, enjoying the coastal scenery, birds and butterflies.

When we came across the warden, we mentioned our lack of success. He explained that although the sun was out it had not yet been out sufficient hours to coax open the shy crocus petals.

We left the reserve via the railway bridge, which carries the mainline trains at frequent intervals. We paused along the road to admire an acacia tree, with its knobbly yellow mimosa flowers. The tree's owner soon popped out of her house to tell us about its history. She was proud of her splendid tree but had been asked to have it cut down when it was threatening nearby power lines. However, a compromise had been reached. A few offending boughs had been removed and the tree saved. She was keen to show us around her garden but when she suggested giving us a guided tour of her neighbours as well, we declined! We said we'd hoped to see the Sand Crocus but had failed totally. Were we so unobservant or had it all been anelaborate hoax? "You'll need a magnifying glass," she laughed, "It is very, very tiny."

That afternoon, at our third attempt, when we walked back to the Warren, we knelt down and scanned the short turf with our hand lens and quickly located the elusive flowers. And they were exquisite.

To appreciate fully the subtleties of colour and markings a magnifying glass proved a useful aid. The narrow pointed petals are pale lilac mauve with purple veins; yellow at the base with bright yellow anthers and a delicate apple green on the outside. The Sand Crocus plant is one to two inches high and the flowers, half an inch across when fully open. The thin grass-like leaves are curly and wiry.

Later, when we saw from the coast path a man walking slowly over the crocus meadow, staring earnestly down at the ground, we asked if he was looking for the Sand Crocus. He was, and suddenly we had become experts! We crouched down and found several open crocus flowers spangling the turf. We handed him the magnifying glass and on cue, as he photographed one of the flowers, a Small Copper butterfly landed on it. Normally mauve and bright orange clash but in this case the colour combination looked perfect.

The man had been travelling around the country seeking and photographing rare plants. He had received his training at Kew Gardens where he said he had been a contemporary of Alan Titchmarsh!

Paul Swailes

W.A.W. - the 'Walkers are Welcome' Accreditation

Last autumn, at the time the future access to our local coast path, on the headland at Watermouth, was being

reviewed, Wiveliscombe in West Somerset was awarded the 'Walkers are Welcome' accreditation.

Described by Martin Hesp in the Western Morning News, as an accolade and an 'Oscar of the walking world', the W.A.W. status is expected to help strengthen Wiveliscombe's attraction for visitors and in turn, to boost the area's economy

 

PAST TIMES WITH WALTER

During the construction of the Forth Railway Bridge, it appears a problem arose which had not been foreseen.

When the engineers were laying the final section that would complete the links between the two sides of the bridge, they found they were too short. The holes in the girders were not in line with the holes they would need to match before the bolts could slide through.

Some bright spark in the construction team told the workers not to panic, but to wait as the rising sun shone on the nearly completed bridge. So they waited, while the sun warmed the metal and expanded the bridge.

Two hours later those vital bolts slipped smoothly into place.

Charles Babbage was born in Teignmouth in 1791. He was a prolific inventor and mathematician.

He is best remembered for conceiving the idea of an analytical engine which could be programmed by punched cards to make a variety of different calculations. His vision was never realised, mainly due to the limitations of the mechanical devices of the time, but his concept is now recognised as the basis for modern electronic computers.

Charles Babbage, the 'father of computers', died in 1871.

 

In 1787, the regal copper coinage being very scanty, pennies and halfpennies were struck by a number of firms, among them the Anglesey Copper Mining Company, and there began a fresh token epoch.

Those token coins presented an immense variety of types - persons, buildings, coats of arms, local legends, political events and so on, all drawn upon for subjects of design. They were struck by many firms in most cities and towns in the country and are to be found in good condition. It is quite good fun to browse in shops which sell antiques, asking to see their collection of coinage and spotting some of the token money which circulated many years ago.

With the issue of the copper coinage of 1898 tokens were made illegal, but the dearth of silver currency was still felt. During the Napoleonic Wars there came a small wave of prosperity in the industrial districts and the inevitable need of small change, so in 1811 tokens again made their

appearance. These were suppressed before the last coinage of

King George III in 1830.


Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott was born in 1832. He became a land agent and, in the 1870's, went to County Mayo in Ireland, acting as agent for the landlord, Lord Erne.

In 1880, his tenants, spurred on by the Irish Land League under Charles Purnell, demanded a substantial cut in their rents. Boycott refused and Parnell suggested that everyone in the area should suspend all dealings with Boycott. No one would work on the land, household servants downed tools, shops would not serve him, and even his post remained undelivered.

It turned out to be a highly effective tactic and one newspaper, The Times, in London adopted Boycott;s name as a word meaning 'to ostracise or refuse to deal with'. This word has since passed into the English language. Every day, it seems, a new word enters our vocabulary. In recent times we have added hyperinflation and credit-crunch. Don't hold your breath for the next spate of verbal gymnastics.

Walter

 

PARISH COUNCIL REPORT

During the Parish Council meeting held on the 9th March, various planning applications were discussed, including the refusal by the North Devon District Council for a retrospective planning application for the lion enclosure at the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. This property is within the Parish boundary of Berrynarbor. Having discussed this application at length at previous meetings, Councillors were unanimous in their decision to write to the planning authority and voice their disappointment that this decision had been made and to demonstrate their support when eventually an appeal is made to the Planning Inspectorate.

The children's playground by the Manor Hall is, as I write this report, nearing completion. Thank you to all those in the village who have helped and to the BBC for their generous donation. An official opening will be held and the date will be advised when all the work is complete.

There is still a vacancy for a Parish Councillor. Anyone who has the time and interest to join YOUR Parish council would be very welcome to apply, either to myself or in writing to the Parish Clerk.

The April meeting, on Tuesday 13th, is the Annual Parish Meeting at which the past year will be summarised and plans for the future given. to which parishioners are warmly welcome - please do attend if you can. This will be followed by the April Parish Council meeting. The May meeting, on the 11th, is the Annual Parish Council Meeting at which officers for the coming year are elected.

On behalf of the Parish Council I wish you all a Happy Easter.

Sue Sussex - Chairman

District Councillor, North Devon District Council

 

 

Berry in Bloom and Best Kept Village

Spring has been such a long time coming but at last the sun is shining and although cold, the spring bulbs are just about showing their faces. In the autumn we planted about a thousand crocus bulbs in Claude's Garden and they are in bloom along with several clumps of snowdrops that were already there - they look lovely. This autumn we could plant another thousand and it would not be too many!

I expect many of you who use the shop and the car park will notice that the hedge at the back and side of the public toilets has been cut back and a membrane laid with gravel over it. This has tidied up the area and completes the work that was done in conjunction with the shop last year. This work was funded by Berry in Bloom and so we are very grateful for the very generous donations from the Hart and from Amos-Yeo families.

We are planning to have a litter pick on either of the two last Sundays of March [dependent on the weather] prior to the Easter holiday. The litter over the winter has definitely accumulated in certain areas, although I know that some good souls pick litter all year round.

We are also collecting up and delivering the hanging baskets to Streamways Nurseries, Georgeham, for filling. If you would like to join in with this scheme, please let me know.

 

Hot Cross Bun Puddings with Pecan, Orange and Honey

Not a cake recipe this time but lovely little bread and butter puddings with an Easter twist. They are very easy to make, so I hope you enjoy them.

3 large free-range eggs 1 x 500ml pot of readymade custard

grated zest of 1 orange plus juice of 1/2 orange

4 hot cross buns torn into small chunks

50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1tbsp light soft brown sugar 2 tbsp runny honey

Cream or crème fraiche, to serve

You will also need: 6 x 200ml ovenproof dishes, or ramekins

 

Pre heat the oven to 180 Deg C, fan 160 Deg C, Gas mark 4. Lightly butter the ramekin bowls. Break the eggs into a large bowl and lightly beat together. Stir in the custard, half the orange zest and the hot cross bun chunks. Divide the mixture among the dishes. Toss the pecans in the sugar and scatter over the puddings.

Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes [check after 20 minutes] until set and golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm the honey, orange juice and the remaining zest, pour this over the puddings and serve with cream for a lovely Easter pudding.

Wendy

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 26

 

SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY

14th February 1793 - 28th February 1875

Surgeon, chemist, pianist, lecturer, consultant, architect,

builder, scientist, inventor . . .

Going through my files a couple of days ago checking for whom I might write about next, I came across the Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker from Morwenstow, a slightly 'dotty'' vicar who dreamt up Harvest Festivals and wore eccentric clothing. But this rang a bell.

At the end of 2008 I had copious notes on Stephen Hawker, to which I added an article from last August's Travel Telegraph 'Tales from Cornwall's wild side'. I remembered receiving an e-mail from John Fryer Spedding thanking me for sending the article about him [December 2008]. In it he commented on being deputy chairman of the Tennyson Society and had studied Stephen Hawker and how nice it was to see such lovely photos of his Vicarage and Hut in that same newsletter. That's where I'd heard of him! Checking back there was a delightful article about Hawker in Walk 111 - and with the same photos I'd saved. [great minds, etc!]

About to throw away my notes, I realised that there was someone else in the Cornish Tales article: Sir Goldsworthy Gurney. Blessed with a name like that, he might be interesting - and so it proved.

Goldsworthy Gurney was born in the village of Treator near Padstow on St. Valentine's day 1793. His unusual Christian name came from his godmother who was a maid of honour to Queen Charlotte. The Gurney family's lineage could be traced back to arriving in Britain with William the Conqueror.

Goldsworthy attended Truro Grammar School before studying medicine, inheriting a medical practice in Wadebridge when he was twenty. They trained them quickly in those days! There he met Elizabeth Symons and married her in 1814. Their daughter Anna Kane was born the following year.

In 1820 he moved his family to London to 'seek his fortune'. Their son Goldsworthy John was born in 1822. Whilst still practising as a surgeon, he followed his interests in chemistry and mechanical science. His great skill was to put scientific thought on to paper and into lectures. So medicine gave way to lecturing in chemistry and natural philosophy at the Surrey Institution where he was appointed Lecturer in 1822.

Whilst there, he invented the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, a system for producing a very hot flame from a jet of oxygen and hydrogen. After experimenting with various substances, he discovered that a brilliant light could be produced when the flame was played on to a piece of lime. This was limelight, which was so intense that it could be spotted many miles away.

He invented a high pressure steam-jet or blast-pipe. This increased the draw of air through pipes and could be used to improve mine and sewerage ventilation. It could also put out underground fires.

In contrast to scientific workings and inventions, Gurney was an accomplished pianist and even constructed his own piano.

At an early age he had met his fellow Cornishman Richard Trevithick, the pioneer of steam railways. Inspired by this meeting, Gurney later went on to develop steam-power for, as his patent read 'propelling carriages on common roads or railways - without the aid of horses, with sufficient speed for the carriage of passengers and goods'. An 'embryo' carriage travelled from London to Bath and back in July 1829 at an average speed of 14 miles per hour, including refuelling and taking on water. It was not a commercial success, however, mainly because passengers were not happy to sit atop a dangerous steam boiler. So he developed an articulated carriage called the 'Gurney steam drag'. Here the passengers sat in a carriage pulled by the steam engine. Sir Charles Dance, using three of these articulated vehicles, started a regular service between Cheltenham and Gloucester but apparently the hope of a business was dashed by the interference of wealthy horse coach proprietors, narrow-minded county gentlemen and district magistrates. By means of parliamentary intrigue [nothing changes!] and fearing the loss of their livelihoods, these folk made sure that turnpike tolls on steam carriages were £2. A horse drawn carriage charge was two shillings. Added to this, these 'worthy squires and magistrates of the Cheltenham district', without any need for it, covered the road with a foot deep layer of loose gravel, which added further to difficulties and put a stop to the business. By 1832 he had run out of funds and had to auction his remaining assets, losing a lot of money in the process.

One of his many achievements was building Bude Castle. Having leased a plot of land overlooking Summerleaze Beach from his friend Thomas Acland in 1830, he determined to build on shifting sand, using a specially constructed concrete raft. It is still standing today nearly 180 years later.

At the Castle and licking his wounds after the failure of his carriage enterprise, he turned back to illumination developing the Bude light, patented in 1839. With one light, plus lenses and prisms, he distributed light into every room - and even into one room at the Falcon Hotel, 500 yards away across the canal. The Bude light also added to the improvement of theatre lighting.

Three Bude lights were used in the House of Commons, thus dispensing with 280 candles, and these remained for 60 years until the arrival of electricity.

His innovations were also used in lighthouses. By using lenses and introducing on-off patterns of light, sailors were able to identify exactly where they were.

The Gurney Stove, patented in 1856, used external ribs to increase the area for heat to be transferred. These are still in use in some cathedrals today.

In 1852, based on his experience with mine ventilation, Gurney was appointed as a consultant to improve the ventilation for the new Houses of Parliament. Two years later he was appointed 'Inspector of Ventilation'. He had success in moving air around the buildings, but getting rid of the foul smells from the Thames was beyond him!

Goldsworthy 's wife died in 1837 and he moved to Poughill on the outskirts of Bude with his daughter Anna Jane who became his constant companion. Perhaps because of this, when Gurney married Jane Betty, a farmer's daughter from Sheepwash, the marriage didn't succeed. He was 61; she was 24 and Anna Jane was 39. Jane Betty was removed from Gurney's will although they never divorced. However, it is probable that she didn't lose much! In 1863, Queen Victoria knighted him for his inventions and discoveries but later that year he had a stroke that left him partially paralysed. He died apparently penniless on 28th February 1875 and is buried in Launcells Church near Bude.

What an extraordinary man he was! There isn't space to tell more of his many inventions and activities, but if you are in Bude, the Castle is now a heritage centre, open daily, with galleries of his work - and a bistro to refresh yourselves afterwards!

And shame on Cornwall that in the whole of the county there is no memorial to this forgotten genius.

PP of DC

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR - NO. 124

The contribution for this issue is unprecedented. Postcards from previous articles have been used, but as they date back to issues in 1989/90, there will be many people to whom they are new!

This winter has played havoc with many of our local roads, but of course they were not always tarmaced and smooth. In the early 1900's, they were just made of compacted stones as these pictures show.

The first is a Garratt postcard c1904 showing Pitt Hill with Fuchsia Cottage on the right and the steps leading up to the old Post Office on the left. The first building on the left is where the Bassetts of Watermouth stabled their coach and horses whilst attending Sunday Service at St. Peter's Church.

The knife-sharpening barrow, outside The Globe, belonged to Jim Glass who would go round from village to village, spending one or two days sharpening knives, scythes, scissors, etc. At night he would doss down with Sam Harding's horses at the blacksmith's, next to the school. There he would be warm!

The second picture is another Garratt postcard of the same date and shows members of the Street family on the unmade lane at Wood Park, with the cottages Riversdale, Brookvale and Woodvale.

As and when these roads needed maintenance, large stones and rocks would be brought in, probably from the quarry at Harper's Mill in the Sterridge Valley. They would be broken into smaller, suitably sized stones by men employed as 'stone crackers'. A steam driven traction engine would then be used to roll the stones into the road, leaving a relatively hard but dusty surface.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, March 2010

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 
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