Edition 103 - August 2006
We certainly can't grumble about our summer weather at present unless it's to say that we are too hot and the gardens need rain!
On the 21st August, post will be priced by size as well as weight. The first band of postage weight will go up from 60g to 100g. So for readers who receive their Newsletter in the post, this means that postage will not only be cheaper, but will also go First Class. Some things do come down in price! However, I'm sorry to say that there will be no reduction in the subscription rate [bet your bottom dollar postal rates will increase before too long], but you should get your Newsletter quicker.
Looks like another bumper issue to follow, so I shall be brief and just thank, as usual, all the contributors and illustrators and Debbie for her cover - Ginger in the hollyhocks.
Our @big, friendly# printer, Len, and his wife Kay, are taking a well deserved holiday in late September, early October. This means that the October Newsletter will come out a week later than usual, on Thursday, 12th October. Items and articles for it should still be with me as soon as possible please by mid-month, Monday, 1l8th September at the latest. Thanks.
Enjoy all the forthcoming village events - fetes, concerts, etc., [details of which appear later] - and the rest of the summer.
Judie - Ed
At our meeting on the 6th June, we were given a colourful and interesting introduction to belly dancing by Bernadette Smocznska and she explained the history of each dance as the afternoon progressed. Unfortunately, nobody took up her offer to 'have a go'!! The competition for the prettiest scarf was won by Beryl Brewer and the raffle by Maureen Wonnacott.
Richard Eales, an Exmoor Park Ranger, spoke to us about red deer on Exmoor on the 4th July. His talk was illustrated by slides featuring firstly photographs of the different species of deer [not all living on Exmoor] and then the life of the red deer through the seasons. He brought along some antlers which the males shed each year. These are different shapes depending on the age of the animal.
The competition for 'a deer' was won by Ethel Tidsbury. She had brought along a charming soft toy. The raffle was won by
Sixteen members enjoyed a visit to Eggesford Garden Centre on the 10th July. Unfortunately, the proposed visit to West Hill Farm, West Down, was postponed due to the possibility of heavy showers - a cream tea was going to be served on the lawn!
As usual, there will be no meeting in August. We commence again on the 5th September when there will be a visit from a member of the Devon Air Ambulance. The competition is for an aerial photograph. Visitors and new members are always welcome.
Doreen Prater - President
DEVON AIR AMBULANCE TRUST
2nd June 2006
We are writing to thank you for the wonderful donation of £600.00 raised from your Barn Dance. As a token of our appreciation, please accept the enclosed Certificate of Thanks. [Now displayed at The Globe]
Devon now has two helicopters. The ED135 helicopter shares a base with the Police Air Support Unit at Middlemoor and the Bolkow 105dbs helicopter is based at Belle Vue Airfield, near Great Torrington. This means that an Air Ambulance can reach 50% of Devon within 5 minutes, with the remainder of the County being reached within 10 minutes.
The Charity has to raise £2.2 million each year to keep both aircraft airborne. This is a huge sum but it is possible thanks to the support of people like you.
Your generosity will make sure that your helicopters are here for anyone who needs them, whether young or old, resident or holidaymaker. Thank you for making a difference by your kindness and support.
Devon Air Ambulance Trust
If YOU would like to support the Trust, why not play their Lottery?
At a cost of £1 a week you are entered in the weekly Friday draw with a 1st prize of £1,350, 2nd and 3rd of £135 and 10 runner up prizes of £13.50.
You can join by standing order, cheque or at a local agent - there are over 150 at Post Offices, Newsagents, etc. For more information, an application form or details on where to find your local agent, ring
01392-469886 or log on to their website www.daat.org and follow the links.
Please support your Air Ambulance by joining now.
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone.
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must, parting is hell,
But life goes on, so sing as well.
Joyce Grenfell [1910-1979]
Longer term residents of the village learnt with much sadness of the sudden death of Dave Yeo on the 20th May 2006.
Dave will be remembered by people both here in Berrynarbor and Ilfracombe and Combe Martin as their cheerful coach driver, and Ilfracombe Parish Church was filled by so many people wishing to bid him farewell.
Dave, a Combe Martin lad, came to Berrynarbor when he married his first wife, Marlene, living here for several years with their two daughters, Tracey and Paula at Riversdale Cottage. A mechanic by trade, he started coach driving first with Blue Coaches, continuing when they were taken over by Loverings and latterly with Filers. 'Tacker' as he was
nick-named, was a bell ringer, here at St. Peter's and also in Ilfracombe and Combe Martin; he loved playing skittles, was a proficient bowler and enjoyed driving the bowling clubs to their matches and the gardening clubs on their outings. Renowned for losing his way, he was even known to drive three times round Mullacott roundabout!
Our thoughts and sympathy are with all his family, especially Marlene, Tracey and Jason, Paula and Stuart and 'Mother' Ivy and Walter. Dave will be sadly missed by them all, and he will be missed by his grandchildren Dylan, Vashti, Devon and Scarlett and Tilly and Finn.
The Village, as one, was shocked and saddened by Ken's sudden and untimely death on the 2nd June. He will be sorely missed by his family and many friends and our thoughts are with Sandra, Neil and Jayne at this time of sorrow.
* * *
Sandra, Neil and Jayne would like to thank everyone for their cards, letters, flowers, visits and telephone calls following Ken's sudden and unexpected death. Also, thanks to everyone who came to his funeral, it was a great comfort to us to see the church so full.
We received donations in his memory amounting to £835.00, which we have taken to The Children's Hospice. Ken was a wonderful husband, dad and granddad, who had so much pleasure from his grandchildren.
He lived and worked all his life on the farm and lived life to the full. We all miss him so much.
* * *
Kenny has left a big hole to fill. Not only in the hearts of all who loved him, but in the lives of most of the villagers. The Carnival Gang will miss his jokes, his enthusiasm and his absolute dedication to the idea of carnival - not only having fun but raising money for charity at the same time.
The Carnival will go on - as it has for the past sixteen years - but he [and Jimmy] will be very much in all our thoughts as we 'sail' through the carnivals this year.
Phil and Lynne
It is with regret that we have to report the death, suddenly but peacefully, of Alf Turner of Watermouth on the 23rd June and our thoughts are with Betty at this time of sadness.
Alf and Betty first visited the area when friends moved here in 1974, and they themselves moved here from London ten years later, in 1984.
Although Betty took holidays away, Alf didn't. He said that living here was one long holiday. His world, with which he was very contented, was Watermouth and Sandy Cove. Always a 'hit' with the holidaymakers, he was like the Pied Piper, collecting children who enjoyed being with him.
Animal lovers both, Bet and Alf became foster parents to a female jackdaw. Readers as far back as April 1999 may remember the story about Tootsie. Her arrival is reproduced here so that newer readers [and those who have forgotten it!] can enjoy the antics of this amusing bird:
Our friends, Inge and Tom, brought Tootsie to us late one night in early June 1990. She had been trapped down a chimney for nearly a week and was full of soot. We quickly found our bird cage and Alf set to work on cleaning her up. Poor little thing was so full of soot she couldn't keep food or drink down and we were afraid she wouldn't last the night.
However, next morning found her quite perky. She stayed in her cage for a few weeks, then took to wandering around, indeed taking over the whole household. The dogs weren't too keen on her at first, but soon accepted her as one of the family. We always have the kitchen window open, so she started flying around in the garden and meeting the ducks and other wild birds. We put a green ring on her so we could pick her out amongst the other jackdaws.
She always appeared at mealtimes and various intervals, and slept in the cage at night, with the door open of course. The first night she stayed out all night, we were worried sick - it was a dreadful night, raining hard and very windy. She turned up the next morning, wet and bedraggled, but she must have enjoyed it because she's stayed out every night since, although she's at home all day to torment and amuse us!
She was a great hit last summer with the holidaymakers at the Castle - they couldn't believe how friendly she was. She loved sharing their lunches and picnics. A couple of loud claps and she'd appear from nowhere on to Alf's shoulder. She's always around when I'm cooking and gets to taste and pinch anything that's going. She loves onions - raw or cooked - and eats anything from mustard to ice creams. She sits on the tap and makes noises until we turn the tap on for her to have a drink. She enjoyed Christmas, with her own Christmas pudding and presents, along with our other pets. The cold weather doesn't seem to worry her much as she can fly in and have a good feed, then settle on Alf for a sleep. She doesn't bring her friends in, but I've a suspicion she takes food out for them though!!
Bet and Alf
Tootsie sadly died in 2000, having lived to the ripe old age of 111/2 years.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
The collection around the village for Christian Aid enabled St. Peter's to contribute £288 to the total of
£840 raised by Christians Together in Combe Martin and Berrynarbor - a huge increase on last year. Thank you all for your willing support. With so many demands being made on our purses, we all know it is just not possible to give to everything.
Beautiful weather for Gift Day this year and a day once again which was well worthwhile, with so many coming along to hand in an envelope and have a chat with the Rector. With donations still arriving, over £1,000 has been raised - a welcome boost to church funds. We shall know the final amount by the time the next Newsletter goes to press.
On Sunday 6th August, there will be a Songs of Praise in place of the Family Service. Do come along to enjoy some favourite hymns and a cup of coffee or tea afterwards. Then on the first Sunday in September, 3rd, there will be an Animal Service. Looking forward to October, the Harvest Festival will be celebrated on Sunday, 1st October, with the Evensong and Supper on the following Wednesday, the 4th.
All Sunday morning services begin at 11.00 a.m.
Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 23rd August and 27th September, 12.00 noon onwards. Everyone welcome!
BERRYNARBOR SUNDAY SCHOOL
Summer Holidays have begun! For the Sunday School anyway. The end of term was celebrated in church where a Puppet Show had been arranged - it was fantastic and enjoyed by children and adults alike!
After the service, a quick exit by the children who ran into the Manor Hall, where the food had been laid out - locusts spring to mind! Thankfully it was a dry, sunny day, so the children could play in the park after a good feed.
On a more serious note, Sunday School is lacking numbers. Once the children become teenagers, they tend to do other things, so we are sending out a S.O.S. [Save Our Sunday School] for more children and more helpers, so we can keep our School going.
We all wish you a sunshiny summer.
Children's Letters to God:
- Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each
other so much if they had their own rooms.
- Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love
everybody in the whole world. There
are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.
little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could,
trying not to be late for Sunday School.
As she ran she prayed:
"Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late."
While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off and started running again! Once more she prayed:
"Dear Lord, please don't let me be late, but please don't shove me either!"
Venue: St. Peter's Church
Date: Monday, 28th August
Time: 11.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
We are holding a special Holiday Festival Day on August Bank Holiday Monday at St. Peter's Church, Berrynarbor, and invite all holidaymakers, village and other residents from surrounding villages to come and enjoy this special day.
This is yet another 'first' for Berrynarbor Church and will feature a wide range of activities and attractions to include:
v Wine Tasting and Talk on Wines from Other Countries
v Flower Arranging Demonstrations
v Model Railway Display and Competition
v Face Painting for Children
v Music - with visiting Soloists throughout the day
v Bookstall - Postcards - CD's and Tapes on Sale
v Bell Ringing Demonstrations
v Plant and Produce Stall
v Spinning and Craft Demonstrations
Refreshments will be available throughout the day and Keith Wyer, our Rector, will be on hand to offer pastoral care. He will be joined by David Steed to explain the Church's unique history and architecture.
The day will end with a Wine and Cheese Evening [7.00 to 8.00 p.m.] to which all residents, holidaymakers and other visitors are invited!
Please come and support us on this Special Day!
MANOR HALL NEWS
Our main fund raising event will be the Berry Revels which will be on Tuesday, 15th August, and we hope to see lots of people to support the Manor Hall.
In September we shall be hosts to the South Molton group, Hearts of Oak, for an evening's entertainment.
We'll be starting work on improving access for the disabled during the school holiday period and the first step [!] will be a ramp running through the porch for easy access for wheelchair users - other changes will then follow.
A new book has been provided, kept in the kitchen, for reporting accidents. Please fill in details of any incidents that occur. Tom Bartlett is now in charge of the Health and Safety policy at the Manor Hall.
Bob Hobson - Chairman, Manor Hall Committee
at the Manor Hall on
SATURDAY, 23RD SEPTEMBER at 8.00 p.m.
featuring the folk group
HEARTS OF OAK
£5 per ticket to include a Light Supper
will be available at the Community Shop
You are invited to bring your own alcoholic beverages
All proceeds to Manor Hall Funds
Make a note in your Diary NOW!
A BIBLICAL PUZZLE
Hidden in the following passage are the names of thirty books of the Bible. How many can you see?
This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found in an airplane seat pocket by a gentleman on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much that he passed it on to
some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while in the john. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involved, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves.
There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalised. Truthfully, from answers we get we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph.
During a recent fundraising event which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi Lemonade booth set a new sales record. The local paper, the Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Hamana humbly puts it, "The books are right there in plain view, hidden from sight."
Those able to find them all hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also keep in mind that the punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude helps you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mass exodus, there really are thirty books of the Bible lurking somewhere in these paragraphs.
Ding dong bell,
Pussy's in the well!
We must have all learnt this nursery rhyme when young, and with the economy of water in mind, here are a few jottings you may find interesting.
The construction of old wells was done on a metal circular template, with a small amount of brickwork being done on it. This was dug down and around and lowered until the next brickwork was added and so on until the required depth was reached. Modern wells use concrete pipes which are sunk in a similar way.
If you ever think of burying old batteries, paint pots or things like that, then don't because water courses can travel up to tens of miles and pollute wells or even reservoirs.
There is a village well at Goldhanger still used by the villagers for wine making, as they claim this water is better than tap water. It is said to be 120 feet deep, starting 20 feet above sea level and its source is said to be the other side of the salt water and tidal river Blackwater. But it does not taste salty!
Now we come to what happens when old wells are left and even forgotten.
A builder friend of mine, Dave, had a small depression in his back garden where he decided to plant a new tree. About 6 feet high, the tree was planted in the hole and given a good watering with the garden hose, but inadvertently, Dave left the hose running overnight and when he went to look at his tree the next day, the top of it was level with the ground! It had sunk into an old well where the filling had not completely consolidated.
At Gidea Park, the back wheel of a lorry crossing a building site dropped into a hole which turned out to be an old well.
At Billericay, the Council had laid out drains and people who had cess pits or septic tanks decided to get connected. At our bungalow, a slabbed path ran from the front gate around to the back door. The builder, who was to do the connection, decided to follow that path for the new trench. "Start taking the slabs up there," he told his man, Fred. Fred prised a slab loose and managed to pick it up. Fortunately he stepped backwards, for had he stepped forwards, he would have gone straight down into a barrel-shaped well with the slab probably on top of him!
My brother-in-law, Brian, at one time worked near Colchester Docks. One day when he was sitting outside with his friends, taking their tea break, they thought they could hear a faint whimpering. For two days they
could not make out where the sound was coming from and Brian was unhappy about it. Deciding to investigate further, he rummaged around
and lying on the ground was a rusty piece of tin in which there was a hole, about a foot across. He lifted the tin and exclaimed, "Oh! I see." "What do you see?" called his friends.
"All will be revealed in due course", he replied asking, "Have we got a good pair of stout gauntlets indoors?"
A pair was duly found, Brian put them on and returned to the piece of tin which he carefully lifted. There, crouching in the bottom of Quite a deep hole - probably an old, partly filled in well, was a fox cub. He reached down to grab it but it grabbed him first by his gloved hand! He held it up to show his friends.
Nearby was a low, chain-link fence and there on the other side was the vixen mother, anxiously watching, half hidden in the grass. Brian went over to the fence and lowered the little cub to the ground. Mother and cub ran off and all was well. [No pun intended!]
There are at least three wells in Barton Lane alone, and no doubt in many other parts of Berrynarbor, so please take care.
Tony Beauclerk - Colchester
Ding Dong Bell
Illustrations by: Paul Swailes
The origins of this nursery rhyme, a poem with a moral theme, date back to the 16th Century and the time of Shakespeare, who used the phrase in The Tempest:
'Sea nymphs hourly
ring his knell:
ark! Now I hear them - Ding, dong, bell.'
and The Merchant of Venice:
'Let us all ring
I'll begin it - Ding, dong, bell.'
The original actually drowned the cat, but the words were changed to encourage children to realise that it was cruel and not acceptable to harm any animal. The words are also onomatopoeic, 'ding dong' when spoken convey the actual sound of the bell.
There are quite a few versions of this nursery rhyme and it is interesting to find that the name of the villain of the piece varies from Little Tommy Thin, Little Johnny Flynn to Little Johnny Green, but the hero is always Little Tommy Stout!
. . . and poor pussycat? She never did any harm but killed all the mice in either his father's or the farmer's barn.
Louise & Karl
Our congratulations to Louise and Karl on their marriage at St. Peter's Church on the 10th June - a lovely day enjoyed by family and friends.
Louise is the younger daughter of Alan and Susan Richards of East Hagginton Farm, and Karl the son of Edith and Don Ozelton of The Globe. The bride was attended by her sister Nicola and cousin Kaitlin, Karl's nephew Callum was the pageboy, and Louise's brother Jamie flew in from Australia to complete the family.
The service was followed by a reception at the Barnstaple Hotel and the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Mauritius.
Louise, a Community Support Worker on the District, and Karl, Chef at the Sawmill Inn, live at Sawmill Cottage.
Best wishes to you both for your future happiness.
Kelly & David
A reception at the Sandy Cove Hotel and a honeymoon in Las Vegas and Hawaii followed the wedding of Kelly Gilson and David Cresswell at St. Peter's Church on the 8th July.
Kelly, who is the daughter of Richard and Dawn of Sandy Cove Hotel, was attended by four bridesmaids - Naomi, Michelle, Gemma and Becky - and pageboy Daniel. David, son of Steve and Sue Cresswell of Braunton, was supported by his Best Man Matt. Kelly and David are both accountants and live in Westaway Heights at Pilton.
Congratulations and very best wishes to you both.
Paul & Chris
Congratulations and our very best wishes to Paul, our Newsletter Illustrator, and Chris on their marriage on the 15th July.
The simple ceremony was attended just by their five children and followed by an informal gathering of family and friends.
Our very best wishes and congratulations to Arline and Bernard Lewis on their Diamond Wedding.
Arline and Bernard were married on the 29th June 1946 having met when they were in the Army. Arline was a driver - of a 3 ton lorry - with the ATS and Bernard in the Tank Corps. They lived in Woodford for 26 years before moving to 'Alberta', here in Berrynarbor in 1972, where, says Arline, they spent the happiest 28 years of their 60-year marriage. Sadly they left in 1999 to move to Martock in Somerset.
The day was spent quietly but their daughters, Susan and Merilyn, surprised them with a champagne and strawberry breakfast!
Our very best, but I'm afraid belated, good wishes and congratulations to Mary and Brian Shillaker on their Golden Wedding.
WEATHER OR NOT
May seemed such a wet and windy month that we decided to get all the figures going back to 1994 and were surprised by what we found. According to the Met. Office, nationally it had been the wettest May since 1979. Here, however, we recorded a total rainfall of 136mm [5 3/8"] which was less that the 156mm [6 5/16"] recorded in 2002, and the 147mm
[5 7/8"] recorded in 1996. Wind speeds were slightly above average and there were more days with wind speeds over 20 knots than the last three years. The maximum temperature of 23.1 Deg C was down on the previous five years although the minimum of 4.2 Deg C was up. The sunshine hours reflected the dull month, at only 130.89 hours they were 25 hours down on last year and 40 down on May 2004.
By contrast, June was flaming from the 1st and was a very dry month with only 36mm [1 7/16"] of rain, of which 27mm [1 1/16"] fell between Sunday night on the 25th June and 8.00 a.m. on the 27th. In the previous five years, the driest June was in 2004 when we had 48mm [1 15/16"]. The maximum temperature of 27.4 Deg C was exactly the same as last year though the minimum of 7.5 Deg C was slightly up. Generally the winds were lighter through the month than previous Junes, with a maximum gust of 22 knots. At 191.89 hours, the sunshine record beat all the previous three years, the closest being 2004 with 184.30 hours.
The first six months of this year with only 390mm [15 3/8"] of rain has been drier than the previous five years although we had only 428mm [16 7/8"] for the same period last year. In 2002 we had nearly double the rain with 749mm [291/2"].
The heatwave continued into the first few days of July but it is now a bit cooler and fresher. The rain has been fairly welcome for the garden but not the wind which is currently trying to blow the beans off their sticks.
Simon and Sue
It seems a long time ago that we bid for a boat trip at the 100th birthday party ofthe Newsletter. However, after many tries, foiled by the weather, tide, etc., five of us set out on a Monday evening in perfect
weather for a wonderful trip along the coast toLee Abbey. On our way we saw dolphins, cormorants and several other sea birds. Returning to Combe Martin bay, we anchored for a picnic and watched a spectacular sunset. Ivan was fishing but only managed to catch two small mackerel, which swum happily away when released. Ivan then lifted one of his lobster pots and we were very amused by two small lobsters scrabbling around on the deck before going back into the water.
We should all like to thank Ivan and June for a marvellous evening.
Ann, Jilly, Jane, Jackie and Jan
CELEBRATIONS AT BARN COTTAGE
It all started on the 1st February when my grandson, Ian Redwood, rang me to say, "Gran, Yan and I got married today." "Oh, great!" I say, "We'll have a family gathering during the summer to celebrate."
It turned out that the 15th July was the most convenient date. Invites were sent out and I gardened, painted garden furniture and cleaned the windows!
Donna brought half a mile of bunting and 70 balloons, which spread around the cottage and half way down the garden path. Liz's flowers were beautiful and more than 'Goodenough'. It was hot but with a gazebo and three brollies, we managed to shade the tables.
On their arrival, Ian and Yan were suitably surprised! Thirty odd of my expanding family gathered - ages ranging from Milly at 14 months to Trevor at 93. I now have 8 great grandchildren and two ladies in waiting.
Six tents were erected in the orchard and the young boys played football and the older boys played boules.
Jenny and Genevieve, my sheep, hid in their shed until it was safe to escape to the wood.
We had a great party and Ian and Yan returned to London on Sunday with happy memories and lots of photos.
Our belated congratulations and best wishes to Ian and Yan.
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE
Firstly, a big 'thank you' to 3 new volunteers and several stalwarts who have changed their shift. This has largely relieved our summer holiday crisis but Jackie certainly won't be turning away further offers of help!
She and the duty volunteers were delighted to receive an unexpected accolade earlier this month from a visitor who gave an extra £5 on top of his bill 'because it is such a nice shop'. Well done everyone, and thanks kind donor if you read this - you made everyone's day!
Thanks, too, to John and Fenella Boxall who provided the fridge for salads and vegetables. It was proving a boon even before this recent spell of hot weather and at the moment is invaluable!
We're now well into this year's holiday season. If you have visitors, do tell them please that we have a range of 'take home' gifts. These include local jams, chutneys and honey, fudge and shortbread with a postcard of Berrynarbor on the front, local cider, clotted cream, healthy plants and a pretty range of inexpensive jewellery: surely a good choice for the dog/cat/house sitter - or for friends and family.
We now have notices advertising the shop, which we hope self-catering owners might display in their properties. I apologise if you've not
yet received them but if this is the case and you could use some, please get in touch .
As you know, we now have planning permission to go ahead with building our new shop and much work is going on behind the scenes to get grants to offset the costs. We will keep you informed of progress. Meanwhile, do let me know if you have new neighbours so that we can let them have our introductory welcome pack.
PP of DC
Yes, it's true, PP of DC [Pam] has admitted that she has passed her 'bb date' and is now joining the ranks of those who cannot think how they ever found time to go to work! Good luck and best wishes, Pam, we know you will remain far from idle!
It is a perverse fact that everything comes at once, and nothing more so than crops of fruit and vegetables. If nature has been kind to you and you have more produce than you can cope with, can I ask you to consider giving some to the shop? We can sell it on at a 'less than Tesco' price to our customers and in the process make a little money to go toward our new building fund. We'll arrange collection if that would help, all you need do is tell Jackie  and she will make the necessary arrangements.
• Neil and Katrina Richards are delighted to announce the arrival of their daughter Amber on the 23rd April, weighing in at 7lbs 2oz.
A sister for Kaitlin and Jay, Amber is the 13th grandchild for Maureen and No. 3 for Sandra.
• Great Granny Phil and Great Uncle Chris Walden are very happy to announce baby Ruby's arrival. With her name already chosen, she managed to arrive on the 14th May, her grandparents' Ruby Wedding anniversary!
Weighing over 6lbs, Ruby is the second daughter for James and Beverley and sister for Gracie.
• The stork arrived at Monks Path on the 3rd July bringing baby Isabella Summer, who weighed 8lbs, a sister for Dylan and Lola. A warm welcome to the little one and best wishes to the proud parents, Matt and Gemma Bacon, the proud grandparents Mike, Anne and Alan, and the proud great grannies, Bett and Kathleen.
Our congratulations and best wishes to you all.
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Summer Term 2006
We have achieved two major awards this term after a lot of work and effort from everyone at the school.
Healthy Schools Award
After extensive work in developing Personal, Health and Social Education at the school we have had various official visits to see that all the correct working practices are in place. In early July two members of staff and two Class 3 pupils attended an official ceremony at the Barnstaple Hotel.
Schools Travel Plan Award
In the last year we have been focussing on road safety and issues to do with how families choose to travel to school. We have looked at large maps with the School Eco-School Committee to see where families at the school live. Then we considered the danger points for children living in this village. We have worked closely with the Parish Council on highways issues e.g. children designing 'slow down' posters for the village. The children have designed road safety posters and we've asked parents if they'd like to join a car-share scheme. We operate a small walking bus to the car park already and this is used by three or four families. Dropping off and picking up children can be hazardous times for children's safety and we work with our Community Police Officers to tackle this problem. For completing an Action Plan and committing ourselves to this work, we have received a new Digital Camera and £4170 which will go towards outdoor facilities to develop cycling skills for our youngest children.
Our school grounds have really improved in the last year. Great thanks go to the Friends of Berrynarbor for raising money for a greenhouse and plants. Mrs. Fairchild, a parent at the school, teaches children about planting and she has made our gardens a really wonderful learning resource. Mr. Howell, a grandparent at the school, visits regularly to tidy up the borders and keep the gardens looking wonderful. The Berry in Bloom team continue to support our work in school with seeds, new plants and help. What fantastic support! We recently worked with a local artist, Karen Hawkins, to create new outdoor sculptures too. We have also built a new fitness trail, shelter area and ball /climbing wall.
Just before we broke up, Friends of the School held the annual Summer Fete. A lovely hot and sunny evening, the event was a great success raising, before expenses, the grand total of £2,264. A big thank you to everyone involved - the organisers and the parents and villagers for your support.
Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Head Teacher
Here are some photographs of our new outdoor learning spaces.
Our Fruit and Vegetable Garden
Our Outdoor Classroom
Our new Pond
THE STERRIDGE VALLEY
The beautiful Sterridge Valley is the upper reaches of a long combe running from Watermouth Harbour southwards to the foot of Hempster Farm. Sterridge officially begins at Riversdale Bridge.
A very ancient parish road runs through the valley, once the way for drovers and pack-horse trains, vending their wares. It was the important link between cottage and farm to the village, church and beyond.
The road has been improved and re-routed in places, probably in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At Rock Hill, a cutting was made through the hill, most likely blasted with gun powder and finished with a lot of 'pick and shovel'! This by-passed the old route around the original Rectory [Wild Violets] and Orchard House.
A new road was made between Lower Rows and Venture Cottage, avoiding the steep rocky lane through Lower Cockhill to Knackershole. The track to Harper's Mill was improved and a new road cut from the mill to Berry Down via Smythen Farm - quite a feat with its steep gradient and hairpin bends. The old road went along Bountice Lane towards Bowden Farm, branching right up along the side of the ridge, through Smythen then on to Hempster and Berry Down.
The meadows along the valley from Saw Mills to Ducky Pool and Riversdale to Harper's Mill were re-enclosed with a new wall, surely using the stone from Rock Hill. Old photographs show this wall quite clearly but sadly, through neglect over the years, some parts have all but disappeared. Saplings root, grow into trees whose roots push out the stones in the wall.
The valley meadows were some of the best meadowland in the Parish. It was always a joy to walk in the spring at lambing time, or watch the hay harvest or try to outstare the lovely Ruby Red Devon Cattle. They were always clear on intrusive weeds but rich in wild flowers, especially the tiny indigenous wild daffodils. With the demise of farming and the fragmentation of farms into the ownership of non-farming families, these meadows are now struggling against the encroachment of bracken, bramble, thistle, hemlock, ragwort and dock. It is heartening to see that some work is being done to redress the problem.
The valley is richly wooded. Ruggaton is a mixed woodland holding a large copse of hazel, a lovely stand of beech and mature wild cherry make a lovely show in spring. Woolscott Cleave was partially felled during the First World War. Besides the 1960's planting of larch and fir, many mature oak, ash and sweet chestnut survive. Smythen wood must contain a fair amount of beech for in autumn it glows like burnished copper. Some small fields which border Smythen Hill are now overgrown with young trees.
Smallacombe is no longer the large, grassy space rising to the horizon. It fell into the category 'too steep to be viable' and has been planted with trees. As much as I love trees and woodland, too much in the wrong place can prove oppressive and enclosing. I hope this new wood doesn't prove to be so.
Along the stream beyond Harper's Mill Bridge, the Bassetts raised pheasant. It is possible the derelict cottage on the road above once housed the gamekeeper.
Most of the larger farms encircle the valley on its surrounding hill. I think as homesteads they are very old even if their buildings are more modern. The Bronze Age tumuli at Berry Down and Lynton Cross are evidence of an old English Settlement in the area. Our two manors are definitely pre-Norman and have OE names, even if they were occupied by Saxons at the time of the Norman Invasion.
Smythen was certainly thriving in 1333 when Thomas de Smethenyston paid 1s 8d tax. The Withie family are recorded in Ruggaton in the 1400's. The family of Bishop Jewel, born at Bowden 1522, certainly didn't give it its name - Bowdens are recorded living in the area in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Harper family [OE hearpere] were well established when Church Records began in 1540. Three Harpers were assessed for goods and in 1641 Richard Harper was taxed £4 on his land. Also in 1641, six Harpers assented to the Oath of Protestation in the reign of Charles I. I think the mill must be as old as the surrounding farms.
What is a Wormery?
An easy effective way of converting kitchen waste into the best nutrient packed compost there in, using the digestive power of worms.
We have been farming premium worms for the angling industry for two Years. Now our stock is sufficient to offer for sale wormeries made from recycled material.
We provide the wormery, worms and bedding. All you have to do is feed them with chopped up kitchen waste, which they eat and digest. The end product is worm casts which is a highly nutritious compost.
Worms are one of Nature's little 'recyclers'. About 25% of landfill waste could be recycled by worms. It is this particular kind of waste that causes pollution problems.
Comprehensive instructions are supplied with each wormery
Jane and Bobby Bowden, Lower Birdswell Telephone  883887
WELCOME & FAREWELL
Lots of movement in the village to report this time. To everyone, either coming or going or moving, we wish you luck and every happiness in your new home.
Dennis and Win were sad to leave Red Tiles and we were equally sad to see them go. However, after down sizing and trying, as Win says, to 'get a quart into a pint pot', their new home - the first floor of a cottage - sounds delightful and they are settling in well.
Win writes: "The Trust [set up by W.D. and H.O. Wills] runs this complex for about 200 people, centred on a lovely old listed house in about 30 acres of beautifully maintained gardens and grounds. The house itself has within it a library, an indoor heated pool, a beautiful chapel and a huge dining hall where we can get a good 3-course lunch for £3.50, so there is little else we need. There is a hairdresser on site too. What more can we possibly want, except a good pair of legs!
"We miss 'Berry' very much and send our fondest good wishes to our friends in Berrynarbor and around."
Win and Dennis, we return your good wishes and hope you will both be happy in your new home - it sounds so good I think some of us would like to join you!
Red Tiles will now be home to Dawn and Gerrit of Sandy Cove Hotel.
Observant people will have noticed the demise of the large poplar tree at Alwyns. This was the first job for Paul and Clare White, the new residents there. Not, because it was blocking out the light, but because it was diseased and likely to die in the next couple of years.
Paul, Clare and eight month old Amelia [Millie] have moved from Braunton. Paul, who hails originally from the Channel Islands but has lived in North Devon since the mid-70's, is in the Police Force, a Traffic Motorcyclist at Barnstaple. Clare, who is more local - her family farming at Ashford - is a Nursing Sister at the North Devon District Hospital.
Completing the family are three cats - Sylvester, their original one, and Minou and Zoe who they have recently inherited. Clare, understandably, has little time for hobbies but Paul enjoys giving Advance Motor Cyclist Training to the public. A warm welcome to you all.
After 17 years, Alan and Christine Parr have retired from Watermouth Cove Holiday Park and have moved to Knowle House, Easterclose.
They are now enjoying a more peaceful and relaxed way of life, gardening and growing their own vegetables. After working hard for so long, they are also taking time to enjoy the beautiful local countryside. We wish them both happiness in their new life-style.
It was sad to say goodbye to Hilary and Roger when they moved to Braunton, and rather belatedly we welcome Debbie Bott and Stuart Radley to Brambles on Hagginton Hill.
Although the cottage belongs to Debbie's parents, Judy and Geoff, who hope to move down from near Oxford in the near future, Debbie and Stuart are currently in residence, together with their two bearded collies - Poppy and Ozzy - and their two cats - Casper and Mini-me. Debbie and Stuart, from Woolacombe where they ran the Headlands Hotel, are in the process of converting the hotel into apartments and looking for somewhere, perhaps in the village, to live. Good luck in your 'hunt'!
Vera and Tom Greenaway, their daughter June and their son Tony, have now left Newberry Farm and have moved to Little Stowford at Hore Gate Down. Before moving to Newberry Farm, Tom, Vera and their family lived first in one of the cottages opposite The Globe, later moving to Lee Haven.
We wish them all well in their new venture and look forward to hearing from them soon.
27 The Park is the new home of Verona Hardy. Verona has moved here from Roundswell, Barnstaple, but has lived in the North Devon area for a long time now. She was, before retirement, a Nurse working at Tiverton Hospital and the North Devon District Hospital.
One reason for moving was to be nearer her younger son John, his wife and son and daughter, who live in Combe Martin. Her older son, Robert and his wife, who also have a son and daughter, live in Henley.
We hope you will soon settle in, Verona, and become a part of not only The Park but also the Village.
LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
Have you found your dream home? The place where you want to spend the rest of your life? The place where everything is just right and you
wouldn't want to change it? Well if you live in Berrynarbor, then you
may well have found your "dream home". In which case I bet you had to dig deep into your financial treasure chest to acquire it. But of course it was worth it, and you can't measure the value of your dreams by mere money.
Some things are just beyond price. It may be your home, your loved one, your family, your friends.
All these "treasures" are mere "samples" of the joy, peace, love, and fulfilment of the eternal treasure, which Jesus describes as "the Kingdom of God". All the most precious experiences of life are but pointers to the reality of God's Kingdom.
Jesus tried to describe it in the most joyful and happiest experience that most people of his day enjoyed - a wedding banquet, which in Jesus' day went on for at least a week, with free food, drink, accommodation
and wonderful happy company! Jesus said that it was so good, that it was worth going "all out" to enter. So where is it? All around you, and "look, The Kingdom of God is right inside you." (Lk.17:21, "The New
Testament", a new translation by Nicholas King.)
I hope that as you relax during the hot summer days, and muse on the blessings you enjoy, you will indeed find it!
With all good
Your Friend and Rector,
Rainer's response when asked where he comes from is, of course, Berrynarbor. This rarely satisfies the enquirer and so he explains that when living in South Africa with his wife, Jill, and two daughters, one day Jill declared, "We sell up and go back to England, or else . . ." He never waited to find out what 'or else' meant!
Having recounted this story to Gwen Whitear from Redhill in Surrey, she wrote and sent him the following poem:
The Flower Pot Man
we met a man in Berrynarbor.
We popped into his workshop there,
and found that he, with special care
made flower pot men by the score,
in the village, we saw more,
sitting here, standing there,
lounging, hanging everywhere!
We had a friendly chat
about his work and this and that
then said goodbye and came away,
we'd had a really lovely day.
"I'd love to take one home," I said,
My husband frowned and shook his head
and then put obstacles in my way,
but determined then, I had my say,
I vowed, "I will have one next year,
OR ELSE," I told him loud and clear!
We were first introduced to Rainer's flower pot men in the October 1995 issue when Bill and Ben, tending to his and Jill's garden, were featured and illustrated by Paul. It would be interesting to know how many more have been created since then.
The children's illustrated book went on sale just before Christmas and many thanks must go to Rainer and Jill for the recently received very welcome cheque for over £100 to Newsletter funds, donated from the profits of this book.
RURAL REFLECTIONS - 28
August sees the holiday season at its peak with British seaside towns awash with fetes, fairs and carnivals. Such places, however, haven't always been in existence. In fact, prior to the mid eighteenth century, the term "coastal resort" had never been heard of. Until, that was, a physician named Dr Russell began recommending seawater for his Sussex patients. Sent from his Lewes practice to the dilapidated fishing town of Brighton, his patients were advised to bathe in, and even drink, the seawater to ease their ailments. His prescription was to turn around the town's fortunes and when in 1783 the Prince of Wales visited Brighton, expressing much pleasure at sea bathing, the activity soon became a popular pastime of the gentry. Other coastal towns soon cashed in on the idea, so much so that by the end of the nineteenth century much of the population could be found flocking to the seaside.
People were, of course, transported to the coast by that great nineteenth century manmade power horse, the steam engine. At Ilfracombe, a locomotive was first heard, seen and smelt in 1854. But how, one is left to wonder, did our Victorian holidaymakers choose to spend their time? Was everyday spent promenading along the front inhaling the benefits of the fresh sea air? Probably not, and certainly not in Ilfracombe, where the more adventurous explorer preferred to climb the surrounding hills for a better view.
And so it is today. Whilst perhaps choosing to holiday in this area on the initial basis of it being by the sea, many will use their time exploring, too, the surrounding rural delights. And in this little part of the world there are plenty. To name but a few . . . there is the variety upon The Cairn, allowing one to experience either shady woodland walks or the openness of Cairn Top orBaileys Cleeve. Either walk offers an array of wildflowers.
Running along the edge of The Cairn and then out of Ilfracombe is the solemnity of the Old Railway Line. Once through the Slade tunnel, one enters a world which is silent but for the occasional birdsong and the intermittent sound of running water. Alternatively there is the fluency of The Torrs, where cool offshore breezes bring with them the sound of bleating sheep standing upon its steep slopes. On the other side of town is the supremacy of Hillsborough allowing one to enjoy panoramic views over Ilfracombe and out to Lundy Island, across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh Mountains or eastwards to the dramatic coastline of Exmoor.
It is along this coastline that one can get a sense of anonymity upon the moor, feeling insignificant among the vast swathes of heather that boast a formidable presence at this time of year. In contrast one could choose to experience the tranquillity of the Sterridge Valley, its hills providing the quintessential sights and sounds of a summer countryside.
So yes, breathe in the coastal sea air to clear the airways to your lungs. But take in, too, the nearby rural delights to help release your brainwaves from the stresses and strains of daily life.
PICTURE OF THE PAST
With the skittle season just about to start again, can anyone date this photograph, sent in by Gary, of the triumphant Berry team following the Finals at the Holiday Inn? Gary believes that he and Ray Toms were their 'Sticker Uppers'. The team was:
Back row, l to r: Arthur [Tiddly] Edwards, Jim Brooks, Bill Gammon and Gerald [Nipper] Bray.
Sitting: l to r: Frank [Laddie] Huxtable, George [China} Dymond, Les Thomas [the village Butcher] and Sid [Oh, my haversack] Russell.
NOT A WHOLE BOTTLE!
[courtesy of L. Bridle]
I tried to book a table for a Saturday evening as close to Jane's birthday as possible - 21st July. There was nothing available until September! So I suggested a Sunday evening - only one available,
25th June. I knew that Ben, Jane's elder son, was flying Mary Poppins in to Buckingham Palace for the Children's Party to celebrate the Queen's 80th Birthday on that day, but I didn't know that David Beckham was going to score a goal against Ecuador.
But [and never begin a sentence with a preposition] all that comes later. Our aim was to have a meal at Fifteen Cornwall.
It is the third branch of Fifteen and has opened at Watergate Bay near Newquay, a partnership between Chef Jamie Oliver and a local charity, the Cornwall Foundation of Promise. Cornwall College has guided the students through Vocational training and since January 2006 NVQ 1 and Food Hygiene and Health and Safety Certificates have been gained by each student. A month of work placements at a variety of restaurants around Cornwall have been experienced. Fifteen Cornwall has a team of expert chefs to guide them every step of the way - teaching all the skills needed to become outstanding chefs. From articles I have read, the 'Fifteen' in the name comes from Jamie Oliver's idea to train 15 disadvantaged young people from different areas. He has a restaurant in North London and Amsterdam and now Cornwall. We were looking forward to our trip, leaving Sunday 25th and returning on Monday - shouldn't drive after a 'whole bottle'.
Unexpectedly, neither of us was working on the Saturday, so we decided to take the extra day and visit Padstow - enter the internet. I booked us a night in the Golden Lion pub in the heart of 'Padstein'. We left at 11.30 a.m. and took the A39 expecting to go straight there, but a sign to Boscastle diverted us and I am so glad it did. The village is recovering well after that fateful storm; buildings are renovated, bridges rebuilt and we ate a delicious lunch of lobster in garlic and cream with a salad and a glass of Chardonnay, sitting at the side of the river.
Onwards to Padstow, bright in sunshine. We left our cases in the pub and took the ferry to Rock - the estuary was 'still waters' and we enjoyed sitting on a balcony looking at the sailing boats and the harbour in Padstow from the other shore. Back across on the ferry with the evening sun to a meal on the harbour - all very satisfying.
Next morning we took a boat to sail around Puffin Island - and yes, we saw puffins - two on the water and one that flew past us on to the rock. What a pleasure, but aren't they small birds! We left Padstow via the gardens at Prideaux Place and drove to Watergate Bay and the hotel.
Our room was large and airy with a balcony, table and chairs and whoopee! a flat screen TV - now Jane could watch the football and then Mary Poppins at Buck House!
We walked down to the bay, watched some of the water sports and up to the restaurant. It wasn't open but they let us in. The whole of one side is windows and it is up a flight of outside stairs. We asked for a table in the window for our meal that evening, which we were lucky enough to get although they don't actually book specific places.
Outside and down to the Watergate Bay Bistro where we ordered a glass of wine and sat on the decking - literally as it was packed with surfers and may be, we hoped, one or two of the 'Fifteen Cornwall' chefs. Surprise, surprise, another huge screen showing men running around chasing and kicking a sphere! Jane was up and down reacting to the collective gasps but once I got down I couldn't get up!! Not, that is, until we were ready to go back to our room to get ready - shower and post outfits - whilst the flat screen TV showed Beckham's goal and then Mary Poppins gliding gently down to the Palace Gardens [well done, Ben].
We entered the Restaurant and it was full - we nearly missed our window table - but it was worth the additional fuss Jane made until we got one. A fantastic view over the sea and a magnificent sunset accompanied our six-course meal. Portions are small but how much can you eat for each course? We ordered a bottle of house white and a bottle of house red so that we could choose what we drank with each course and settled down to await the food. We could see the chefs across the Restaurant beavering away for our delectation.
First, freshly baked sun dried tomato bread with a dip of sweet olive oil and two spoons each, one with a crevette, the other a cheese concoction; then asparagus, artichoke and rocket salad; followed by local mussel risotto; on with local turbot, new potatoes and samphire; Cornish blue cheese drizzled with local honey plus oatcake biscuits before finally strawberries and Cornish clotted cream.
The whole experience was well worthwhile - thank you Watergate Bay Hotel and 'Fifteen Cornwall'.
Why the title? We were going to have the Restaurant's package that was planned for the meal - a chosen wine for every course, but Jane had soon worked out that for each of us we wouldn't even get a 'whole bottle'!
NORTH DEVON HOSPICE
You may have seen in the Journal that the Hospice are once again calling all Knitters!
Following the success of last year's knitted Christmas Tree, a new project is underway. Supported by Atlantic Village and the Big Sheep and to raise money for the Hospice and Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, a Gingerbread House - another inspiration of Alison Murray - and produced by Nutty Knitters is being constructed.
About the size of an average living room, the plan is to complete it by June 2007. It will then be displayed at Atlantic Village before going to London to raise further funds.
There will be something to knit for everyone, from squares [bricks, walls and garden] to sweets, cakes and cookies in all colours - not just green!
There are 'Recipes' for a gingerbread man, Battenburg cake, doughnut, iced bun, leaves and flowers. The exterior will be made up of 10" squares in brown, the interior in 8" squares in pastels and the garden in 10" squares in mid to dark green - all in plain or fancy knitting.
If you would like more information, a copy of the recipes or the form to say you are helping to create the Giant Knitted Gingerbread House, please contact Judie on 883544, who will also be happy to receive any knitted contributions.
OUR RON IS 90!
Saturday, 15th July, was the day of Ron's 90th Birthday. One of the village's oldest residents, he is a true local, 'Berry born and bred'.
He enjoyed the day thoroughly, delighted to be surrounded by his family and many friends. A party was held in The globe in the evening, attended possibly by one guest for each year of his very happy and contented life so far - he is aiming to receive his telegram, perhaps from the King? The church bells were rung in his honour, helping to make him a very proud and happy nonagenarian - and the weather was wonderful too!
Ron would like to say 'Thank You' for all the gifts and cards he received [well over a hundred], to everybody who came to his party and to the ringers who helped to contribute to this very special day - one he will remember for a very long time.
THE HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW
Included with the Newsletter is a copy of the Schedule for the Show - open to residents and non-residents of the village - which will be held in the Manor Hall on SATURDAY, 2nd SEPTEMBER. Entry Forms need to be returned by Monday, 28th August, 6.00 p.m., and exhibits can be staged either on Friday 1st in the evening, or on the Saturday morning itself. The Hall will be open for everyone to view from
2.00 p.m. and light refreshments will be available.
We hope you will all 'Have a Go!' and enter something - there are many classes to choose from - and support the event. No one is seeking or expecting perfection but the best entries in each section are up for a prize!
We hope to see YOU and LOTS of entries! And please encourage the kids to have a go too.
Yvonne, Vi, Janet, Pip, Tony and Judie
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE
The sun is shining, the birds singing and I hope you all agree that the village is looking lovely. The Best Kept Village judging is on-going and we do not know when the judges make their visits. So obviously we have to be on our toes all the time.
The judging for Britain in Bloom took place on 12th July. The judge is not allowed to give a hint as to what he thinks, but he seemed to like what he saw. Certainly he enjoyed the cream tea kindly provided by Phil and Lynne at The Lodge. We could not have a band of more willing helpers and thanks to all who help in whatever way.
The first of the Open Gardens, the Village, took place on 18th June. The weather was fine but cloudy and there were plenty of visitors. The second, the Valley, took place on the 23rd July. It was a very hot and sunny day and again there were a lot of visitors, many of whom were anxious to look at the garden at Harpers Mill. Many thanks to Phil and Lynne and Ken and Judie and their bands of waiters and cake makers for once again providing teas at The Lodge and Chicane, where on both days, evening BBQ's followed for everyone involved. The two days together raised nearly £700 - a great effort by everyone involved.
Please keep an eye open for our 'blooming' posters as we are planning a car boot sale in the late summer.
LOCAL WALK - 97
'The hedges full of bloom'
At Willingcott Cross, half a mile south of the old Mortehoe Railway Station, a small car park has recently been created to serve the extension of the cycle track which follows the course of the former railway line. The car park is bordered by banks of wild flowers - mugwort, spear thistle, yarrow and woundwort - which, when we arrived there in mid-July, were noisy with warblers.
A whitethroat balanced on top of a tall hogweed. There were blackcaps and a garden warbler, all three glorying in the beautiful Latin name - Sylvia.
A board in the car park carries interesting information about the history of the railway line to Ilfracombe and some splendid photographs taken in the 1960's showing the magnificent engines bound for Ilfracombe from Taunton, Wolverhampton and Waterloo.
With gradients of one in forty and one in thirty-six, the sections of the line known as Mortehoe Bank and Slade Bank were among the steepest inclines for steam trains anywhere in the country. At Mortehoe Station additional pilot and banker engines were attached to the heavier trains to enable them to cope with these steep inclines.
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
Along the track several large and small skippers fluttered about the willow herb, tufted vetch and meadowsweet and reminded me of the popular Edward Thomas poem 'Adlestrop' about an express train drawing up at a lonely station on the Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire border in late June. In the poem Edward Thomas lists some of the very same flowers growing beside the platform.
The scent of Rosa rugosa wafted over the bank for on the other side were extensive hedges of this lovely deep pink rose. Bristly ox-tongue and goat's beard, those taller and shaggier cousins of the dandelion, added a dash of yellow. Rabbits shared their field with vehicles belonging to a Dare Devin Stunt show, the animals apparently indifferent to the big lorries.
The track continues on the other side of the main road. When this section of the cycle route to Lee Bridge was 'improved' about five years ago, the rich variety of vetches and clumps of some of our finest wild flowers, field scabious and greater knapweed, were lost. In their place grow docks and the weeds which soon colonise disturbed land.
There are some pleasant views across the fields to Borough Wood and beyond it, the sea at Lee Bay. Along this stretch of track bloomed green flowered wood sage with yellow melilot and purple self-heal. A flock of swallows flew close to the ground. A tangle of bedstraw was visited by ringlets and meadow browns, both dark butterflies which are on the wing on dull days as well as sunny ones.
After Lee Bridge, the track passes through a high-sided cutting. There was a lot of birdsong amongst the dense vegetation; the sweet and penetrating notes of a wren and the virtuosity of a song thrush running through its repertoire of tunes.
As we left the cutting I was pleased to find patches of wood vetch as this graceful mauve flower is classified as 'scarce'.
Soon we reached the Higher Slade Reservoir. During the last couple of years work has been completed to provide access to it from the cycle track. The sun had come out and I was looking forward to some butterfly spotting. In previous summers the big grassy slope falling sharply away from the reservoir, had been like a wild flower meadow attracting a wide range of butterflies.
However, this year the area has been tidied up. The grass has been mown very short. The whole floral display had gone and there were no butterflies.
As a consolation, there were several of the big emperor dragonflies whizzing about and the greatest quantity of bright blue damselflies, common coenagrion [agrion puella] that I have ever seen. They formed little rafts of shimmering colour just above the surface of the lake whose clear, still waters were ruffled only by the presence of two dogs enjoying a bath on a summer's day.
OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW NO. 102
For this issue I have chosen a 'part mystery' photographic postcard in the hope that one of our more senior residents might be able to identify where the picture was taken and some of the people shown. The postcard itself dates from somewhere between 1903 and 1906.
1. The postcard was written by Miss Mary Jane Huxtable, who appears on the extreme right of the picture, dressed as a bridesmaid.
2. Her sister, Miss ? Huxtable, is the bride.
3. The marriage took place, presumably at Berrynarbor Church, on the 16th March, and between the years 1903-6 inclusive
4. The sender's address on the card is: Hillside Cottage, Barton Lane, Berry Narbor.
5. The writer, Mary Jane Huxtable, married Arthur John Snell of Capel Cottage on Saturday, 7th February 1907 in St. Peter's Church
6. Arthur John Snell was the eldest of four children brought up by their widowed mother from around 1903-1904.
7. Arthur's brother and sisters were Nelly, Walter and Mabel Snell.
8. Mrs. Snell used to take in the washing for the Rev. Reginald and Mrs. Churchill.
Finally, the undated message on the reverse side of the card reads:
I am sending you another PC. for your collection hope you will like it. I suppose you wont be able to find anyone you know there. It was taken the day my sister was married the 16th of last March. Well dear how are you all rubbing along. I wish you would drop me a P.Card occasionally. My album is getting on fine, have you got one yet. I will send you some views of Ilfracombe when you have, if you will let me know. How is that saucy little Jess getting on, big now. It is Sunday night now and I have just come from Mrs. Snell's where I most times spend my Sunday evenings. Mrs. Snell has had a very bad cold for a week but getting a bit better now. The weather is dreadful here and the mud is something like it was in the lane at Wiveliscombe. With love to you all M.J.H."
It would be lovely if anyone can help with further information relating to this beautiful picture.
Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, July 2006
Illustration by: Peter Rothwell
A LIST OF 'ISTS'
[not to be taken seriously]
Alienist: friend to little green men
Apiarist: keeper of chimps
Archivist; maker of pergolas
Anarchist: assist maker of pergolas
Arsonist: Woolwich fan
Baptist: regular at Burger King
Communist: vulgar person
Cornettist: ice cream seller
Dentist: maker of beaten copperware
Flautist: quality control expert
Illusionist: someone badly treated
Oboist: fat person
Pacifist: South Sea Islander
Pharmacist: agricultural worker
Physicist: dealer in soft drinks
Romanticist: teller of 'porkies'
Sadist: sorrowful person
Socialist: member of high society
Spiritualist: dealer in rum, gin, etc.
Taxidermist : opener of cab doors
Trappist: setter of snares
Violinist: low down inn keeper