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No. 139 - August 01-08-2012

Jubille Celebrations Country Fayre

 

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

What a\ wonderful celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee! The whole village came together for a truly memorable once-in-a-lifetime event. The church had been asked to arrange a Flower Festival and Sue Neale and her team produced vivid displays with a national and royal theme, giving pleasure to everyone.

On Sunday 3rd June, the Manor Hall was being prepared for the Big Lunch and the church bells rang out to summon us to the Thanksgiving Service when our regular congregation was joined by many families from the parish. A great deal of preparation had gone into this service and our thanks go to Celia Withers who led the worship and to our organist

Stuart Neale. The village choir led the singing and delighted us all with a medley of songs from the four parts of the United Kingdom. Michael Bowden and his team rang out the bells again on the Sunday afternoon and on the Tuesday morning, joining others all around the country.

£102.50 was collected around the village for Christian Aid - thank you to everyone who returned an envelope and also to those who came to the Christians Together service on the 24th June. We were pleased to welcome friends from Combe Martin, altogether an enjoyable evening.

The weather was kind to us on Gift Day and for those of us at the lych-gate the time went quickly as people came up to talk to us. So far £874 has been donated and if you still have an envelope, it is not too late to hand it in. Once again, thank you all for your generosity.

By the time you read this, the Summer Fayre will be over as St. Peter's chose the earlier date of 31st July and the film 'Chariots of Fire' will have been shown in the Manor Hall. Please look out for other events planned for the autumn.

The Harvest Festival will be on Sunday, 7th October with the buffet supper on Wednesday, 10th. More details next time.

Friendship Lunches will continue at The Globe and will be on Wednesdays 29th August and 26th September. Do come along and join us - you will enjoy a meal and good company.

Mary Tucker

 

CONGRATULATIONS

How great it was to see Mary's name amongst those who received an honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours in this her Diamond Jubilee year. Mary's BEM, British Empire Medal, for 'service to the community in Berrynarbor, North Devon' was more than deserved.

Mary does so much for us all, not only through the church, and we thank her and send our congratulations and very best wishes. Well done!

 

IN MEMORIAM

PATRICIA GALE

It was sad to learn that after some years of poor health, Pat had passed away peacefully at home at Watermouth on the 31st May at the age of 91.

Many in the village will remember Pat particularly through the U3A which she and John were instrumental in setting up some 25 years ago.

Pat and John, together with their three children, came to Ilfracombe from Cambridgeshire in 1965 when John was appointed Headmaster of the Grammar School and Headmaster Elect of the future comprehensive school and community college. Here she was introduced to the idea of home-stay students from abroad from which grew the very successful Country Cousins Language School, with Pat as Managing Director and centres at Barnstaple, Bideford, Exeter and Plymouth. In 1972 she and John attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Pat's energy and business drive saw her setting up letting apartments and houses in Tuscany and having become a Counsellor for the Samaritans, she and John took on the daunting task of raising money to provide a centre in North Devon.

After John's retirement they spent many happy times travelling all over the world and in May celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

In 1942 Pat was a sales correspondent with Metropolitan Vickers and her interest in the English Language and Literature remained with her throughout her life, reading The Times daily until a short while ago.

Our thoughts are with John and all the family at this time of sorrow.

 

WEATHER OR NOT

Before we say anything about the weather we should like to thank the people who worked so hard to make the Jubilee Weekend such a success - well done to you all.

A wet, cold start to May gave way to drier conditions and a mini heat wave towards the end of the month when the temperature reached 28 Deg C on the 27th, one of the hottest May days that we have recorded. The minimum of 3.5 Deg C was about average. The total rainfall for the month was 77mm (3") which was fairly average as May's rainfall has varied between 156mm (6 1/8" ) and 31mm (1 "). The sunshine record of 165.28 hours was above average for the month.

After raising hopes of a good summer the weather went downhill over the first weekend in June which unfortunately coincided with all the Jubilee events. Temperatures were down for most of the month with a maximum of 22.5 Deg C on the 2nd. Every weekend seemed to bring strong to gale force winds with a maximum gust of 30 knots on the 22nd. The biggest feature, of course, was the rain, the total for the month was 179mm (7 1/16") with 41mm (1 9/16") falling in twenty four hours. Our previous wettest June was in 1998 when we recorded 162mm (6 3/8"). The miserable weather is reflected in the 142.48 hours of sunshine which were well down on previous years but at least we did escape the really severe conditions experienced elsewhere in the country.

In the first six months of this year we have recorded 556mm (21 7/8") of rain, the second highest total since 2003. However, between 1994 and 2002 every year exceeded this amount in the same period. It may not seem like it at the moment but it would appear that we are getting less rain than we used to.

As we write this it is raining and the weather forecast for the next few weeks is more of the same, let's hope the Met Office has made a mistake.

Simon and Sue

 

BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE

Well, thank goodness we were not entered in any competitions this year because the weather has not been good for gardening and we should have struggled. However, all the village planters and hanging baskets looked great for the Village Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and we were so lucky that the weather on the Monday stayed fine - it was a great couple of days and the whole village was at its very best.

We have had another litter pick afternoon and are planning the next one for the 19th August and we do hope that you can come and join us. Look out for our posters.

The next Open Garden afternoon will be on the 9th September with teas at The Lodge, courtesy of Phil and Lynn when we hope to see you all there.

 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon drizzle cake is always very poplar but these lemon meringue cupcakes are really pretty for a summer tea, in the garden, if we ever get any sunshine!

110g/4 oz golden caster sugar

110g/4 oz butter

Grated zest and juice of 2 large juicy lemons

2 free range eggs lightly beaten

100g/4 oz self-raising flour

Lemon curd (from a jar or make your own)

For the meringue

2 large free range egg whites

110g/4 oz caster sugar

 

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs with a little of the flour to help stop the mixture curdling. Beat in the grated zest of the 2 lemons as well as the juice. Fold in the rest of the flour.

Divide the mix between 12 cupcake cases but keep back enough mix to make 12 teaspoons. Smooth, then make a small dip on the top and add a teaspoon of lemon curd, followed by a teaspoon of cake mix. Bake for 8 minutes at 350f/180c, gas mark 4,

Meanwhile place the 2 egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk into stiff peaks and add the 100g caster sugar 1tbsp at a time until glossy and thick. Place the meringue into a large piping bag. When the cakes have had the

8 minutes, remove from the oven and pipe (or spoon) the meringue on the top. Return to the oven and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

These are extra lovely if you make your own lemon curd.

Wendy

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS IVY!

At 19 years...and at 99 years!

In just a few days, on the 8th August, celebrations will be taking place at Southerly, Castle Hill, when Ivy Richards, our oldest life-long resident of Berrynarbor, reaches her 100th Birthday and receives her card from the Queen.

We send her our congratulations, love and very best wishes on this auspicious occasion . . . what an achievement!

Ivy, the eldest of the five children of Eliza [nee Huxtable] and James Watkins was born at Cockhill Farm, Sterridge Valley, on the 8th August 1912. She has lived in the village all her life, attending the school. In 1932 she married Ivor Richards at St. Peter's Church and in due course together they farmed Moules.

With IvorIvy [left] performing with her sister Phylli

With a beautiful soprano voice, Ivy took part in many of the village concerts, as well as performing in Ilfracombe at the Victoria Pavilion and the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple. Involved in many of the village activities she was a member of the village drama group, a Governor of the school and a stalwart of the Manor Hall Management Committee.

She and Ivor had two children, Norman and Yvonne. When Ivor retired, he and Ivy moved into Southerly and Norman and his wife Angela continued farming Moules, now in the hands of their son David and his wife Louise. Together with her close and loving family - 5 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren - Ivy is looking forward to the arrival any day of her first great-great-grandchild!

With a lifetime wealth of memories about the village, Ivy particularly remembers as a child walking to school from Cockhill each day in all weathers with her packed lunch, and helping, with the other children, to remove the metal drugs* from under the horse drawn carriages at the bottom of Smythen Hill. This saved the coachman from getting down and if the children were lucky, the passengers might throw them coins. A far cry from today!

A century of changes - from some of the first cars and flights, to putting man on the moon and Concorde, from slates and chalk to computers and from the first telephones to today's mobiles!

 

* Drug bat, shoe [skid pan]: Metal shoe positioned under the rear wheel when descending steep hills to increase friction.

 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

As you read this, we should all be enjoying our summer holidays, with glorious weather, hopefully!

We have had a very busy six weeks in the run up to the holidays. The children have been involved in lots of activities and Class 3 and Class 4 have been on their residential. Included are some of their writings about their experiences.






Class 1 and 2 children have been learning about various forms of transport through the ages. They went on a day trip to Ilfracombe, on public transport, and looked around the Lifeboat and other boats in the harbour. An exhibition was held in the Manor Hall to show off their work and the children wanted to raise money for the Lifeboat.

Years 5 and 6 have also attended the annual Junior Life Skills. It is a very informative morning where the children learn about the effects of alcohol, beach safety and safety around the home, including fire and electricity, basic first aid and lots more.

Classes 3 and 4 took part in the Arlington Cross Country when we did extremely well and came back to school with two medals. Well done!

The weather managed to hold for our Sports Day and we had a glorious day with all the children putting in lots of effort and thoroughly enjoying taking part. It was not so good for the Summer Fete but in spite of persistent rain, it was a well-attended and enjoyable evening that raised in excess of £1,000.

Mrs. Wellings has been introducing our new risers to the school, visiting once a week and, of course, we are saying 'goodbye' to our Year 6 pupils who will be moving on to their secondary schools. We wish them every success.

We hope you enjoy reading the children's writing and have a good summer holiday.

Sue Carey - Headteacher

 

Note: The Autumn Term starts on Wednesday, 5th September

 

MANOR HALL MATTERS

Hall Charges

Our policy over the last several years has been to review charges every 12 months and introduce small upward changes effective each September.  This year's review is complete and, given the current economic climate, the proposal is to defer any changes at the present time. We'll keep matters under review and reserve the right to introduce a revision down the line but, in any event, would plan for increases in September 2013.

We hope you'll all welcome this decision and continue to support the Hall and its activities.

Berry Revels    

This year's Fete will be on Tuesday 21st August and posters will be sited nearer the time giving details of time, etc.

The record success of the 2011 Fete helped swell our funds and has been a contributing factor to our decision on Hall charges. So, can we match that result, or better it, in 2012?  We could if all our Hall User Groups were to rally and each create and run a Fund Raiser Stall for the Hall, or volunteer to help run one of the established activities. This year, we'll have just 4 of our Committee around on 21st August so we really will be calling as many helpers as we can possibly get! 42 extra pairs of hands were needed last year!  If you are available to help, please let me or any of the Committee know - contact numbers are listed in the Hall.

Bingo !           

Natalie Stanbury has organised 2 trial sessions of Bingo in the Hall which have brought encouraging results as Fund Raisers for Pre- School and the Toddlers' Group. Follow-on sessions are being considered at the request of regular Bingo fans around the area. The opportunity arises therefore for any of our Hall Users to take a future session under their wing as a fundraiser for their own dedicated group. Interested? Want to have a go? Then please contact Natalie on 882252 to explore further.

New Projects 

The latest project on the drawing board is exploring the prospect of re-furbishing and re-coating the floor in the Main Hall with new markings for the badminton court. We'll keep you advised as thinking and plans progress and will try to keep disruption or any closures to a minimum.

See you at the Revels on the 21st August!

 

Colin Trinder - Chairman

 

THAT LEMUR

At around 8.00 a.m. I was driving my son Mikey to work in Woolacombe. We had just left Berrynarbor and were heading along the lane towards Berry Down Cross when we saw a very strange animal, on the road, in the distance.   As we got closer it became apparent that it was something special, stood on all fours with a very long tail curled above its back. It didn't move so we had to stop. You can imagine our amazement when we identified a Ring Tailed Lemur!

We thought it must have escaped from Combe Martin Wildlife Park. It trotted towards us, past the side of the car and off towards Berrynarbor.

We called home and told Debbie, my wife, what we had seen and asked her to call Combe Martin Wildlife Park to let them know where we had seen it. We continued to Woolacombe.

At home my wife called the Wildlife Park, but as there was no reply, and worried about the lemur's welfare, she called the non-emergency police number and spoke to a very bemused switchboard operator, explaining that, yes it was a real ring tailed lemur, like King Julian from the "Madagascar" films. The operator laughed and explained that she was trying to find a sensible way to verify the identification, and it wasn't even April the 1st! 


I returned home to find wife, son Ross and daughter Kathryn feeding it - he loved bananas, but wasn't keen on apples. He was exploring our roof and had a peek into a bedroom through an open window but didn't go in. He was happy to take food from my son's hand but wasn't too keen on getting any closer.

Eventually we ran out of bananas and he jumped off the roof and set off down the hill towards Moules Farm. Ross followed him so we should know where he was when the Wildlife Park people turned up. He passed the farm and turned up the driveway of Southerly. My son called us and we directed the police and man from the Wildlife Park, who had just arrived, down to the lemur.

They caught him quite quickly with some of his favourite food, nuts and raisins, and he was duly returned to the Park. Apparently he is called Sambava.


I gave the story to The Journal and SWNS and by the end of the week we had gone global, with all the daily nationals, Lady magazine and many internet news services carrying our humble story. We even had a visit from BBC's The One Show, who ran a light-hearted piece the following Friday on prime time TV.

Gavin Denyer

 

 

REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL

At the June and July meetings, the Police reported just 4 crimes but asked villagers to be aware that anyone looking for scrap metal might not be all they are taking!

Reports were given by County Councillor Andrea Davis and District Councillors Julia Clark and Yvette Gubb. These focussed on:

  • Fostering Service to support young children
  • Jerry Brook, the new Chairman of Devon County Council
  • Berrynarbor School premises
  • Programme of Activities for young people during the school holidays
  • Olympic Torch Relay
  • Parish Grant Meeting at the Civic Centre

Parishioners are encouraged to go, where possible, to the DCC website [www.devon.gov.uk] and complete the survey form to help bid for faster broadband, and to complete and return the forms registering to vote.

22 Active Villages forms have been returned to support the PC's application for new nets, goalposts, basketball hoop and other sports equipment for the Recreation Field.

As an adjoining parish, the Council was consulted on the proposed sculpture in Ilfracombe. They were in favour of a sculpture, but the subject was not felt to be appropriate for the location.

Details have been received advising of a road closure at Pitt Hill from 5th-7th September to enable utility works to be carried out.

The Council adopted the new Code of Conduct as a result of the Localism Act.

Sue Squire - Parish Clerk

 

NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE

It has taken quite a time to get the Lottery into our shop. The aerial went up some time ago, but the 'innards' aren't there yet. Hopefully, by early August we shall be in business.

But one thing that is up and running is our entry on Facebook. Do come and visit our new page and watch out for special offers and news updates.

On 18th August, the Alan Lewis Allstars return to Sloley Farm for another evening of Jazz. Depending on the weather, it will be in the garden or barn from 6.00 p.m. Bring your own food and drink, although a small pay bar will be there. So, too, will be a lit barbecue for you to cook your own supper. Tables and chairs will be provided and the entry charge is just £6. It should be a fun evening and proceeds will be for village activities such as Berry in Bloom, the Manor Hall, and our Shop.

Have you any spare time on one Saturday in four to help as a volunteer? You won't be on your own as there are already two 'regulars', but this would help Anita and Deb who at the moment have to cover. If you can help, please speak to either of them when in the shop, or 'phone them on 883215.

Do keep an eye on all the very healthy plants supplied for us by grow@jigsaw', a non-profit registered charity working with disadvantaged adults and helping them to get back into work or giving them a real purpose in life. Further details can be obtained from Ann Davies.

Don't forget that if you are going on holiday to 'foreign parts', you can get your currency from our Post Office. Euros are usually available on the spot, but more obscure currencies will need to be ordered a few days in advance.

That's about it. Do keep shopping here. If everyone gave up just one visit per year to the supermarket and spent that money in our shop, we would have a healthy profit!

Happy holidays.

PP of DC

 

 

THE BOOK OF BERRYNARBOR

A Biography of Devon Life from 1920

You may be aware that what started as a project two years ago, listening to some of Berrynarbor's pupils interview Ron Toms, evolved and has become a limited edition, hard-back book with over 200 photographs, published by Halsgrove Group in Wellington. This is to be part of their successful Community History Series and will, therefore, have a print run of 1000 copies only.

Their website, www.halsgrove.com should give you a flavour of what is to come. They have expressed enthusiasm as its biographical approach differs from their usual publications. The old photographs of our village and parish, Braunton, Barnstaple, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe enhance Ron's descriptions of people, places and things.

If you would like a copy, there are three purchasing options. You can order on-line http://wwwl.halsgrove.com/proddetail.php?=9780857041876. This is a secure website and the book priced at a pre-publication rate of £19.99, postage and packing free.

Or you can order with the promotion flyer that includes an order form and is available at the Shop or has been put through your door. The cost remains at £19.99 but postage and packing is another £2.99 unless you order two when that is free.

Alternatively, the book will be available in book shops from October at a cover price of £24.99.

I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it.

Judith Adam

 

HISTORICAL TREASURES

During the many months dedicated to research for Ron Toms' biography, The Book of Berrynarbor, I was alerted to the fact that our village and parish school, once his, had discovered two school registers on their premises. Fortunately, I was entrusted with the safe keeping of these while my book was in the making. When I turned some of their pages, I realised what wonderful historical treasures they are.

The binding for the older of these two books is falling apart, but the handwriting is legible throughout; Ron's grandmother, Ellen Pethrick, is the eleventh entry and was admitted to the school on January 12th 1874. The final admission date, in the newer register, is 1.2.1954.

These Admission Registers are to be taken for safekeeping to the North Devon Records Office. They have a flat-bed camera enabling all this information to be digitised and put on to a disc for all interested parties to read and use in the future.

Judith Adam

 

VESTS FOR AFRICA

A big thank you to everyone who has answered the plea in the June Newsletter to knit vests for Africa. Many gaily coloured vests have been left at the Manor Hall or Shop or handed in to members of the Craft Group. We have now contributed a substantial number but more would be welcome, so keep knitting! Thanks.

PS A copy of the pattern can always be obtained by ringing 883544, or why not come along to the Manor Hall on a Monday afternoon, from 1.30/2.00 p.m. and knit along with the Craft Group - as well as enjoying tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits!

EXMOOR SPONSORED WALK

FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPICE SOUTH WEST

A sponsored charity walk is an ideal way to explore one of Britain's smallest national parks - Exmoor and what better time of year than September with its autumnal colours and diverse and spectacular landscape

Children's Hospice South West is hosting the 12 mile circular walk on Sunday 23rd September and the charity is calling on participants to take part. Walkers will set off from Hawkridge at 9.30 a.m. and on completion will enjoy refreshments including a burger van and tea and coffee.

Children's Hospice South West provides the only hospice care in the South West for children with life-limiting conditions. Our three hospices, Little Bridge House in Devon, Charlton Farm in Somerset, and Little Harbour in Cornwall provide respite care and support for in excess of 400 families. Of these some come to us for planned respite and a rare opportunity for a break. Others will also be supported through our bereavement team after the loss of their child.

Children's Hospice South West is the only organisation in the region offering this vital service in a hospice environment and is almost entirely funded by the generosity of people in the South West.

There is no registration fee for the event but walkers are encouraged to raise sponsorship for the charity. Sponsor forms are available on registration.

For further information and to register, please contact Ivan Huxtable on 01769 540835 or Little Bridge House on 01271 325270.

WANTED!

Another plea to help the Children's Hospice!

I am running out of 5-6" plant pots and still have two months left of the selling season for my plants.

Thank you to all the people, both local and visitors, who have made it possible for me to give the Hospice £400 already this year, and hopefully I shall make it to £700 as I did last year.

Margaret - Higher Rows, Sterridge Valley

.

WOW - WHAT A PARTY!

In the two months from discussing celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee, the village showed its true community spirit, not only by planning the events but in raising enough money for every activity to be free to all who attended.

We estimate that 200 people joined the Bring-and-Share Lunch, over 300 people attended the Diamond Country Fayre, over 500 cups of tea were served at the Cream Tea and 200 sausages and 150 burgers were cooked for the barbeque.

The generosity of the village was amazing, both in terms of the money raised and the support given. Together with funding given by the Parish Council, we raised over £2,500 enabling us to provide all the activities free, as well as presenting every child of 16 and under living in the Parish with a commemorative Jubilee £5 coin.

It was a real team effort and showed the true village community spirit. The Queen would have been proud and we can't thank the village enough!

Berrynarbor Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebration Committee

. . . and we, in turn, thank the Committee and everyone involved in all the events - the Thanksgiving Service, the Big Lunch, the Country Fayre, the Music in the Square, the Flower Festival, the Barn Dance and the magnificent bonfire and fireworks. It was great!

. . . and so say all of us:

Congratulations to the Committee and all the hard workers involved in the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. It was a pleasure to attend.

Ivan and June Clarke

 

We were just visiting for a few days and want to congratulate everyone who was involved in the organisation of the Jubilee celebrations. A lot of fundraising and planning were undertaken in advance and the hard work of lot of people was required but it all paid off as everything went like clockwork. The events on the Monday - the Fayre, BBQ and band and the barn dance, enormous beacon and spectacular fireworks were all great and just for one day the bad weather left off allowing us all to enjoy ourselves in the sun. It was good to see both visitors and villagers having fun together and we heard many exclamations of surprise that the events were free. Well done to all that helped and THANK YOU.

Jane and Brandon

 

To the villagers who organised our village celebrations for the Jubilee: on behalf of my family I take my hat off to you and thank you so much for the absolutely wonderful celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee you gave us. To achieve a whole weekend of celebrations is one hard feat and

takes such organisation, which is only achieved from hard work and dedication. It was obvious you had decided to give us a 'right royal old knees-up' and boy did you succeed in that aim. No one massaging their personal ego or wearing an 'I'm in charge badge', just people ensuring that the village celebrated in style. Many, many thanks to you.

Neil Morris and Family

 

A big thank you to everyone involved in the celebrations, particularly for the Big Lunch. The Hall bedecked with flags and bunting, the tables most beautifully decorated and wonderful food and bubbly - fabulous!

Margaret Weller

 

We should like to thank the Jubilee Committee for two days of fantastic organisation and fun.

Sue and Alan Richards

 

I should like to thank everyone who made the Queen's Diamond Jubilee such a wonderful event in our village. I know a lot of organisation, preparation and hard work went into making it such a great time and I should just like everyone to know that I really appreciated all their efforts and I had such a wonderful time.

Marion [Carter]

 

Congratulations to all that hard work on such a professional well organised Jubilee weekend. Superbly presented delicious teas in the Manor Hall and such fun at the fete for everyone. Fabulous fireworks, music and dancing. Thank you South Lee. Roll on the next event we can celebrate in such style again!

Susie and Jonathan

 

. . . and from a letter to Lorna and Michael

Thank you for thinking of us and sending us that wonderful CD of photos. Please thank Colin for taking the time to put it together. It was fantastic to see them and recognise some familiar faces. The jubilee celebrations looked great fun and I see that the set of skittles got dragged out again for the occasion! It was good to see the beautiful painting of the lady still hanGs in the Manor Hall, I loved it as a child and would gaze at it for ages. The flowers in the church were brilliant and it was great to see the park is still a park. In a couple of shots I thought I could make out Mum's grave, so she was still a part of it all - shed a little tear actually;.

Wendy Sio [Sally Barten's daughter] - Australia

 

Pet Show

 

Our Jubilee Pet Show was a great success and I should like to congratulate everyone on their beautifully behaved pets!

My job was very difficult, especially in the class 'The Pet the Judge would most like to take Home', as I was most impressed by all the entries.

The variety was amazing, from the smallest, being a praying mantis and a jar of snails belonging to a small boy who was very proud of them, to Diesel, a large mastiff.

My Best in Show was Harvey, a super little dog shown by Caitlin Richards. Thank you everyone who took part, I hope you all enjoyed yourselves.

Jan

 

BERRYNARBOR VILLAGE PLAYERS

 

Before the BBC were the Berrynarbor Village Players. This photo is of some of them, raising funds for their next production. The event is a Summer Dance to choose 'Mrs. Berrynarbor' in 1958/9?

Left to right: Ella Graves, Silvia Berry, Don Ward [Producer], Muriel Richards and Rita Smith

In front: Sonia Stoddart [Duckett] and Elaine Crighton [Fanner]

LB

 

THANK YOU

 

 

Ron would like to thank everyone, so many people, who helped him celebrate his 96th birthday at Lee Lodge, and for the very many cards and gifts he received. His family came to join him over the week-end of his special day.

The wonderful party put on by Shane and all the staff at Lee Lodge also celebrated Ursula's 93rd birthday and both she and Ron would like to thank Shane and the staff not only for the fantastic spread they put on but for the wonderful care they take of them.

 

. . . from our Rector ROOTED!

As I write, I have been doing some garden clearance over the weekend. Nothing too strenuous or heroic but enough to take advantage of the green bin moment in North Devon! My goodness, aren't some of those bushes and weeds deeply rooted? Nettles in particular seem to be everywhere. The rain hasn't helped that aspect of life; the heart-warming greeting of everything lush, green and profuse means it's all spread! Some of those roots have got well stuck in....

If we need any reminder, the Bible shows us how much we are firmly rooted in this world. The ancient texts of the Hebrew Scriptures depict human life as being cradled amidst a creative sphere exploding with diversity and wonder. What we used to call mankind (whoops- not anymore!) is firmly rooted amidst a stellar canopy. Indeed, it is even said that God stretched out the heavens in a phrase that echoes the incredible idea of an expanding universe! The Roman orator Cicero observed that God did not make us on all fours like a dog to be focussed on what is below us and around us but on two legs so we could look up and wonder. It doesn't end there, of course, and we are also firmly rooted in land and a place that is shaped by huge physical forces (we call geology and meteorology). Lastly, we are placed in a setting that includes the enormous array of life forms we see around us and our relationship to the earth. In a course on science and faith that has just finished, that explores if there is contradiction between them, we have been looking into our place in the creation. Courtesy of Google and the National Geographical Magazine, some stunning images have accompanied this exploration. All this raises big questions about the fragility of nature, environmental degradation and how we protect and preserve natural resources against the need to feed and house growing populations. It also raises far-reaching questions about who we are and whether we are just animals or is there something in our nature that sets us apart?

Sorry if you missed that but you may like to know of another course that is taking place in September that may be less taxing but will stretch your spirit rather than boggle your mind. 'Start' is a six-session discussion and DVD course designed to help people think through where they are going in their lives, what does it mean to have a faith and is there anything in it anyway?! The sessions are free and cover such issues as: Life is for living. Oh my God! Jesus who? What's gone wrong? Dying to save us. Into the arms of love

With kind permission, the discussion course will take place at The Globe on a Monday night in the family room. 'Start' starts on 3rd September for 6 Mondays except Monday 17th September. Hope to see you there. If possible, please let me know if you can come or just turn up!

With every good wish,

Rev Chris (Rector)

 

LOCAL WALK - 133

Three heads better than one

Three giant wicker heads had been suspended from trees along the Tarka Trail between Torrington and Weare Giffard as part of a national 'Giants in the Forest' project to encourage people to visit the Biosphere Reserves in North Devon, Dumfries and Galloway and the Dyfi Valley in Wales, and to help raise awareness of the Biospheres' Nature Improvement Area work.

So, having read reports about the wicker heads in the Journal and the Gazette, naturally we were curious and set off from the Puffing Billy near Torrington to track down the 'giants'.

Tangles of mauve bush vetch and yellow wood avens grew alongside the track. A grey heron waited motionless beside the weir and then, just beyond the third of the old railway bridges which cross the River Torridge, we discovered the first of the wicker heads. We almost missed it.

Though enormous we had not noticed it as we walked past because it was located high in a tree and by chance we just happened to look up at the right moment. It was impressive; simultaneously comic and sinister.

The wicker heads were placed along the Trail in May and will stay until November. As they have been seeded with grass they will grow and chance with the seasons and the organisers hope people will photograph the heads over the summer and autumn to create a record of these changes.

 
Illustration by Paul Swailes

We continued along the Tarka Trail scanning the trees for the other two heads. A few more benches had been added since our last visit, some quite sculptural like the sturdy three-breasted bench opposite a gap in the trees which gave a view of Weare Giffard Hall and church tower. Up a flight of steps a large shelter had been constructed from old railway sleepers.

Near Annery, in the narrow strip of land between the track and the road, there was a smallholding with ducks, hens and rabbits and an old fruit cage. A viewing platform overlooked the river and a family of swans with cygnets.

But we still had not found the remaining heads. Disappointed we retraced our steps. We had

asked cyclists and other walkers we met en route if they had spotted the heads None of them had known about them either. The cyclists remarked that if they craned their necks to look for them up in the trees as they cycled they would have toppled off their bikes.

We paused to admire the view of the Beam Aqueduct also known as the Canal Bridge. It no longer carries water but was part of the Rolle Canal opened in 1827 to carry agricultural produce and imported coal and limestone until 1871 when it was superseded by a branch of the South Western railway which used part of the canal's route for its track bed.

In their book 'West Country Waterway Heritage : Discovering Inland Waterways in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset', Jean Hall and Joy Yeates claim that the Beam Aqueduct is 'one of the finest and most impressive canal features in the South West.' It is in a very beautiful setting spanning the River Torridge.

The canal had been the idea of Denys Rolle of Torrington and it was engineered by James Green, the Surveyor of Bridges for the County of Devon. It was intended to form part of a network of canals in North Devon and to link up with the Bude canal, but the six mile stretch to Bideford was all that materialised.

 
The Canal Bridge c. 1830

James Green pioneered a system of raising and lowering boats by means of inclined planes and lifts in hilly country, instead of using locks, thus saving time and water.

Suddenly, not far from where we had started our walk, two giant heads stared down at us, with more prominent noses than the first head; the wicker entwined with ivy, moss and polypody ferns. They were rather gorgeous. We greeted them with surprise.

According to the Biosphere organisers the heads were supposed by 'combining art, technology and the natural environment to inspire people to think about their surroundings and how they are changing' and 'to reflect on their relationship with the environment and the seasons.'

Well, I don't know about that. Those lofty aims certainly had not been realised by all the people who had walked or cycled pasT the giant heads without even realising they were there.

However, they are fun and I would recommend hotfooting along to the Tarka Trail at the Puffing Billy sometime between now and November to see them while they are still there.

 

Photographs by courtesy of Matt Edworthy of the North Devon Biosphere Service

 

THE FOXY GENTLEMAN

I'm often asked "Why the fox weather vane on the church tower?"

The original traditional weather vane was damaged beyond repair in the gales before Christmas 1981.

 

I'm John Barten of Lydford Farm offered to replace it. The fox has had its nose to the wind ever since. It was no mean feat to take on this task. John has not been very well lately and we wish him well.

John is the brother of the late Sally Barten who so often entertained us with her beautiful voice. She was the mother of Wendy, Rachael and Janet Fanner. They ran the Manor Stores when it was a shop. Wendy and Rachel emigrated to Australia about twenty years ago.

 

Rachael and Wendy with Bobbie

Lorna

 

TREVOR'S TWITTERS

The Brown Jug

 

Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,

[in which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale]

Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul,

As e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;

In boozing about 'twas his praise to excel,

And among jolly topers he bore off the bell.

 

It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease,

In his flower-woven arbour, as gay as you please,

With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away.

And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay

His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,

And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.

 

His body when long in the ground it had lain,

And time into clay had resolved it again,

A potter found out in its covert so snug,

And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug;

Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale,

So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale!

 

By the Gaily Circling Glass

 

By the gaily circling glass,

we can see how minutes pass;

By the hollow cask we're told

How the waning night grows old.

Soon, too soon, the busy day

Drives us from our sports away.

What have we with day to do?

Sons of care t'was made for you!

 

By the silence of the owl;

By the chirping on the thorn,

By the butts that empty roll,

We foretell the approach of morn.

Fill, then, fill the vacant glass,

Let no precious moment slip,

Flout the moralising ass:

Joys find entrance at the lip.

 

These two ditties are taken from the Edinburgh Musical Miscellany of 1808. The first was written by Francis Fawkes [1721-1777], the second by John Milton [1608-1674].

 

RURAL REFLECTIONS

NO. 54

Tall grasses sway in a summer breeze along the wide verges of a country lane, obscuring the hedge banks so that only the narrow hedges growing upon them are visible. Leaving the hamlet behind the lane straightens and, having passed a few field gates, reaches a tended area of grass surrounding a bench. A juvenile silver birch accompanies the bench, perhaps a favourite tree species of those to whom the bench is dedicated.

Rapid bird song rises up and over the hedge, courtesy of invisible skylarks hidden within the fields. Only the periodical announcement of a flock of starlings soaring low above challenges the skylark's audible monopoly. It is only as the starlings come to rest upon the telegraph wire that the skylarks cease their chitter chatter. But for the breeze rustling the leaves of the silver birch, all is quiet.

A minute passes by. Still the breeze offers no sound from the surrounding hills. Perhaps the current of air is coming from the south, a direction offering an uninterrupted, and seemingly uncivilised, view to Dartmoor. Between here and the moorland, the nearby fields gently slope before rising to meet the hedgerow lining the lane to Hayes; and beyond this second horizon, the moor itself some fifteen miles away.

Hayes farm 1534

 

A glance in the opposite direction confirms the breeze's southerly source, the steam from the chimney of the Ayelscott Feed factory being swept to the north. The silence at the bench, however, would be broken if the breeze were coming from the north; for it would episodically bring with

it the swiping sound of turning blades. Invisible to begin with, the distinctive red cause of the noise would first appear above the line of trees on the horizon, then above the ever-rotating radar and finally above an apparent gigantic golf ball before rising vertically from Eaglescott airfield. Then, steering its course, the Devon Air Ambulance is, within moments, both visually and audibly a memory; and whilst the neighbouring inhabitants of North Heale would have heard every turn of its blades, the dwellings of Furze Barton, West Arson and Austins may not have even been aware, nestled as they are into the steep hillside beneath the radar station.

Meanwhile, the sound of another form of transport would give notice that the wind is coming from the west. Sat upon the bench, one would hear the distant hum of vehicles including the buses which, having climbed up from Dolton, then turn at Dolton Beacon to head either to Exeter or to Barnstaple. The wind would also bring with it the chugging of an old Ferguson working away tirelessly within the fields of East Westacott Farm.

Like the helicopter, both the tractor and the buses can be clearly seen from the bench (the latter as they pass along the western edge of Hollocombe Moor). But it is sounds brought in by an easterly wind whose sources remain forever out of site. The furthest to travel is the horn and rat-ta-ta-tat of the Tarka Line train whilst passing through, one imagines, Kings Nympton station. Nearer and just as rhythmic are the pealing bells of Ashreigney Parish Church.

 

Closer still and perhaps less melodious are the squawks of the peacocks residing at Churchwater, and the nearest of all are theneighing horses stabled in the nearby hamlet.

A pleasant bench to rest a while. But where is it exactly? And what is the hamlet? Why not get out a map and see if you can guess! Answers in the next article.

Steve McCarthy

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 40

JOHN DENNIS

Chairman,

Philip Dennis Foodservice

July 1952 -

 

After a pleasant walk to Baggy Point, we called for lunch at the Sandleigh Tearooms by the car park. It was a lovely day and everyone wanted to sit outside. There were no vacant tables, but at one sat a lone man, reading. Asking if we might join him [and promising not to interrupt the reading!] we got into conversation. He turned out to be John Dennis, Chairman of Philip Dennis Foodservice. And from this 'brief encounter' comes the story of one of Ilfracombe's most successful 'Movers and Shakers'!

John is the third generation of the Dennis Family providing meat and other food products to North Devon and beyond. In the last 35 years he has developed the business into a multi-million pound turnover with 200 employees, 58 of whom are in Ilfracombe, and delivery vans have grown from just two to sixty five. So how has all this happened?

Well, his grandfather, Archie, the youngest of 13 children, was one of 4 brothers who were butchers. Many years before the First World War, he opened a butcher's shop in The Square at Braunton and specialised in sausages, He was so proud of the quality of his meat that he would buy beasts before they were due to be slaughtered and graze them for a few weeks to ensure his high standards.

His son, Philip, helped in the shop as a young man. After the second World War, he started his own farming business and in time, sold pork, chickens, ducks, turkeys [a rarity in the UK at that time] and eggs to hotel owners in Woolacombe. He also sold frozen poultry. Customers were delighted, and the secret of his success was that they could rely on top quality products, from a local supplier, operating a fast and regular delivery system.

 

Dennis Family - Christmas 1961

 

As a teenager, John, Philip's son, helped out, plucking turkeys and poultry in the busy Christmas period and with deliveries. He took a degree at Leeds University in mining engineering, preparing to work abroad. Fate intervened, however, for there he met his wife-to-be. He and Elizabeth married in 1975. Returning to Ilfracombe in 1977, he joined his father. He enjoyed the idea of self-employment and brought new ideas to the business. Spotting a need for frozen food, a new concept at the time, he decided to supply it.

You may remember that Youngs Seafood had a base at Bideford in the '70's. They decided to relocate to Newton Abbott where the trade was not so seasonal and John struck a deal with them. He would sell their range, for a generous discount. The deal was accepted. Just before this, Bernard Maskell had changed the Thatched Barn at Croyde from a tea room into an inn and licensed restaurant. His wife Barbara was not happy that Youngs would only deliver twice a week and suggested to John that if he could supply prawns, peas etc. on a more frequent basis, she would buy from him. By mid-1979, Philip Dennis Foodservice was on its way!

Two years later, the Company had outgrown the premises in Wrafton Road, Braunton. Devonia Supply Ltd [remember them?] had moved to Mullacott Industrial Estate and In November 1981 Philip Dennis bought them out. All of Devonia's staff were employed.

As the Company developed, John felt the need for a new distribution centre. Ilfracombe is a great place to live, but so many directions from it point out to sea! If he could find a base with all-year-round trade it would help the Company. Cornwall had to be rejected as it was no different from Devon, so he moved east. He knew of a company selling ice cream in Brize Norton, who initially weren't interested in selling, but gradually realised that this man from Ilfracombe meant business - and sold! From this Oxfordshire base they now distribute to a much larger area including parts of the Midlands. Plans are already afoot to develop other distribution centres on the eastern side of the Midlands and in the London area.

John's wife has always had a role in the Company, as well as bringing up three sons. She is particularly interested in marketing, and is largely responsible for the new brochure: Dennis Family Butchers and Dennis Family Fishmongers. I haven't mentioned it before, but John is very aware that more and more folk want local foods, which is why he is promoting sale of fresh meats, often delivering within 24 hours of the order being placed. And from past experience he is well qualified to ensure high quality produce. He no longer buys in animals to graze before slaughter, but his brochure states, 'Much of our meat is fully traceable to the farm gate'. For Dennis Family Fishmongers, he has joined forces with Scott Wharton, an Ilfracombe fisherman and his brother-in-law, Lee Burdis, to provide fish 'as firm as a Frisbee because they are so fresh'. The meat and fish businesses are at Roundswell, Barnstaple, where, together with tele-sales, 70 people are employed.

At the moment, the Company only sells to catering suppliers: hotels, teashops, schools, hospitals, garden centres and so on, but plans are afoot to include ordinary households - and this is how.

Recently, you may have noticed a solitary wind turbine at Mullacott. No it's not 'escaped' from the forest of turbines at Fullabrook, but has been installed to cut down the massive energy costs at Philip Dennis [£180,000 per year!] and hopefully to sell surplus electricity back to the National Grid. It has now been running since April this year and so far is paying its way. Its German manufacturers who can make any necessary adjustments from Germany control the mechanism.

The whole project has been paid for by the Company and makes it the first food supplier in the UK to be self-sufficient in energy. And who played a key role in achieving this? Christopher Dennis, John's middle son, a fully trained architect and fourth generation, who has now joined the family firm.

The money saved in energy will be used to upgrade IT including a new website. Then the Dennis Family will sell meat and fish nationally to all. Good news for everyone!

 

This month, John Dennis celebrates a special '0' year and we wish him well. It's worth noting that the high standards set by Archie and Philip Dennis are still motivating the present owner over 100 years later. Hopefully this will continue into the fourth generation. We'll look forward to further

developments in this innovative - and local - Dennis Family Company.

With thanks to John Dennis for giving me the facts and photographs!

PP of DC

 

OLD BERRYNARBOR NO. 138

Watermouth, Berrynarbor

On this occasion I have taken two postcards produced and published by Stengel & Co. of London, printed in their works in Dresden, Germany, about 1901. Stengel & Co. was established in Dresden in the mid 1880's and was one of Germany's biggest [export] postcard printing houses. They were famous throughout the world for their very popular 'autochrome' process. This gave a half tone image, with colours where applicable, superimposed by litho.

The first card, 'Watermouth Bay Ilfracombe' is numbered 16403 and shows the bay and also the relatively new road from Ilfracombe to Combe Martin, passing Watermouth Bay and the Castle. Before this road was opened up, traffic would take the old road from Hele Bay to Berrynarbor entering the village down Hagginton Hill. Note the dovecote on the headland, Burrow Nose, on the right. Whilst there are no boats showing, the roof of Watermouth Castle boathouse, now the Harbour Master's office can be seen in the foreground.

 

The second card, 'Small Mouth Cave Ilfracombe' is numbered 16402 and shows the entrance to the cave, which is anything but small! This has been taken at low tide with all the seaweed showing clearly on the rocks where the gentleman is standing.

Note also the view of Great Hangman and beyond.

 

On the reverse side of both cards is printed 'The address only to be written on this side, together with a space of affixing a stamp, the cost of which for Inland was1/2d and Foreign 1d.

 

In real terms, this meant that any message up until 1902 had to be written on the very small space left under the picture and only the address was allowed on the stamp side of the postcard. From 1902, the same cards could be sent with a line down the centre of the stamp side, with the address written on the right and any message on the left hand side.

 

Tom Bartlett,

Tower Cottage, July 2012

e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com

 
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