Jubille Celebrations Country Fayre
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Harvest Festival will be on Sunday, 7th October with the buffet supper on
Wednesday, 10th. More details next time.
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
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.
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!
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.
in the village will remember Pat particularly through the U3A which she and
John were instrumental in setting up some 25 years ago.
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.
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.
John's retirement they spent many happy times travelling all over the world and
in May celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
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.
thoughts are with John and all the family at this time of sorrow.
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
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
¼"). 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.
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
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 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!
oz golden caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 large juicy lemons
range eggs lightly beaten
oz self-raising flour
curd (from a jar or make your own)
large free range egg whites
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
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
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.
|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
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 Ivor||Ivy [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
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.
FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
As you read this, we should all be enjoying our summer holidays, with glorious
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
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.
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.
hope you enjoy reading the children's writing and have a good summer holiday.
Carey - Headteacher
The Autumn Term starts on Wednesday, 5th September
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
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.
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.
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!
Trinder - Chairman
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.
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
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.
FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
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
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
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.
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
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.
have been received advising of a road closure at Pitt Hill from 5th-7th
September to enable utility works to be carried out.
Council adopted the new Code of Conduct as a result of the Localism Act.
Squire - Parish Clerk
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
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
BOOK OF BERRYNARBOR
Biography of Devon Life from 1920
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.
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.
you would like a copy, there are three purchasing options. You can order
This is a secure website and the book priced at a pre-publication rate of
£19.99, postage and packing free.
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
the book will be available in book shops from October at a cover price of £24.99.
hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it.
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
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.
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
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
information and to register, please contact Ivan Huxtable on 01769 540835 or
Little Bridge House on 01271 325270.
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
WHAT A PARTY!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
to the Committee and all the hard workers involved in the Diamond Jubilee
Celebrations. It was a pleasure to attend.
and June Clarke
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.
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
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.
Morris and Family
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!
should like to thank the Jubilee Committee for two days of fantastic
organisation and fun.
and Alan Richards
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
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!
. . and from a letter to Lorna and Michael
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;.
Sio [Sally Barten's daughter] - Australia
Jubilee Pet Show was a great success and I should like to congratulate everyone
on their beautifully behaved pets!
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.
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
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.
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?
to right: Ella Graves, Silvia Berry, Don Ward [Producer],
Muriel Richards and Rita Smith
front: Sonia Stoddart [Duckett] and Elaine Crighton [Fanner]
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.
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
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
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!
every good wish,
WALK - 133
heads better than one
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.'
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.
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.
by courtesy of Matt Edworthy of the North Devon Biosphere Service
often asked "Why the fox weather vane on the church tower?"
original traditional weather vane was damaged beyond repair in the gales before
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.
and Wendy with Bobbie
Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale]
once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul,
e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;
boozing about 'twas his praise to excel,
among jolly topers he bore off the bell.
chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease,
flower-woven arbour, as gay as you please,
friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away.
with honest old stingo was soaking his clay
breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
died full as big as a Dorchester butt.
body when long in the ground it had lain,
time into clay had resolved it again,
potter found out in its covert so snug,
with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug;
sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale,
here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale!
Gaily Circling Glass
gaily circling glass,
see how minutes pass;
hollow cask we're told
the waning night grows old.
too soon, the busy day
us from our sports away.
have we with day to do?
of care t'was made for you!
silence of the owl;
chirping on the thorn,
butts that empty roll,
foretell the approach of morn.
then, fill the vacant glass,
precious moment slip,
the moralising ass:
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
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
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.
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
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
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
AND SHAKERS NO. 40
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
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
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
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.
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
in this innovative - and local - Dennis Family Company.
With thanks to John Dennis for giving me the facts and photographs!
BERRYNARBOR NO. 138
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.
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
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.
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.
Cottage, July 2012