Edition 105 - December 2006

Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


The autumn colours have been beautiful this year but are sadly, with the recent wind and rain, disappearing fast. Disappearing fast as well are the days to Christmas!

As you can see, quite a few readers have taken up the idea of sending their Christmas greetings, delightfully enhanced by Debbie, through the Newsletter - thank you and your donations to the Manor Hall funds have amounted to about £100.

Of course my thanks also go to everyone who has contributed to this issue - Debbie for her cover and poem illustration, Paul for his ever-appreciated illustrations for articles and poems and the 'regular' writers - another bumper issue!

The next Newsletter - February - will be the first in 2007 - it seems incredible that it is nearly seven years since we were preparing to celebrate the Millennium: how time flies when you are having fun! Items for February please as soon as possible and by Monday, 15th January at the latest. Thank you.

Judie - Ed




The November Annual Meeting proved to be rather eventful in more ways than one! Members entering the Manor Hall were confronted by a smoke filled room. On closer inspection, the smoke appeared to be coming from a room at the back of the hall so it was decided to call the fire brigade. Fortunately for us, Edith from the Globe, kindly offered us the use of the family room, so twenty five ladies departed to the Globe, leaving the fire brigade to deal with the problem. Apparently the boiler had overheated and an instruction booklet lying on top had begun to smoulder. Please forgive me if I have got the wrong explanation!

The Meeting began with the Secretary, Marion Carter, reading the minutes of the last Annual Meeting which were then approved by members and signed by the President. Ordinary business was then conducted, which included final arrangements for the trip to Exeter on 5th December for shopping and attending the W.I. Carol Service in the Cathedral. Treasurer, Janet Steed, presented the Financial Statement which was adopted and then Marion read the Annual report, which recorded a full and interesting programme of events during the year.

The President thanked Marion, Janet and all members of the Committee for their help and support. Linda Brown and Beryl Brewer were thanked for manning the sales table each month, which had produced a substantial amount of income. The Annual Report was then adopted.

A certain amount of dissatisfaction had grown during the year regarding next year's subscription which has risen from £22 per member to £26 to include a new monthly magazine called W.I. Life. At present the Home and Country magazine is only taken by three members. Consequently, it was decided to hold a ballot to decide whether to stay in the W.I or leave and form an independent ladies' group. The outcome is that 11 members wish to stay and 18 members wish to leave.

At this point in time I am able to report that the 18 members will form an independent group - hopefully the 11 members will join too, but they may decide to form their own W.I. Group - more on this next time.

It is my fervent hope that the new Group will continue to be supported by present members and also attract new ones. We shall put together an interesting programme with speakers and support local charities. There will also be outings. One already put forward for the spring is a visit to the National Trust property, Tyntesfield, near Bristol. The raffle at the Meeting was won by Ann Hinchliffe and the "baby" competition by Marion Carter.

Our December meeting will be on THURSDAY 7th December. This will be a Christmas party when everyone is asked to bring a gift to the value of £3. These gifts will be distributed at the end of the Meeting. Norma and Tony Holland and friends will be entertaining us.

Doreen Prater - President




You can shed a tear that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart is empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he's gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
or you can do what he'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.



My darling Mish passed away after a short illness, peacefully at home during the evening of the 26th October. His funeral, a beautiful, private family humanist service, followed by a celebratory lunch in his honour, took place on Thursday, 2nd November.

I should like to thank all friends and neighbours for their messages of sympathy and kindness at this sad time of bereavement.


It was with much sadness we learnt of Mish's death and we send our condolences to Mavis, to his daughters and son, Daniela, Joan and John, and Mavis's son Clive.

Mish was born in Yugoslavia in 1921 and as a young man in the 1930's played international football as a member of his country's Under 23 squad. Mish came to this country in 1948, after the War in which he found himself a prisoner of war, and it was 45 years before he was reunited with his mother.

Mish, an engineer by trade, and Mavis moved to Berrynarbor from Bideford over thirteen years ago, having come to the South West from Shropshire in 1976.

Apart from his family, the loves of his life were bridge and sport. He had played or taken part in virtually every sport and even had a go at banger racing! Latterly he had enjoyed all sport on television, especially horse racing. But bridge was perhaps his favourite pastime and in the 1980's he was a Local Master, Club Master and County Master of the English Bridge Union. He loved gardens but was quite happy to leave the gardening to Mavis, and enjoyed sitting in the sun in the garden watching her work!

Our thoughts are with Mavis and all his family at this time of sadness.

[26.6.1918 - 9.11.2006]

John had a long association with Berrynarbor, being the husband of our cousin Margaret, daughter of the late Lorna Grove-Price. We shall remember him as a modest, quiet, upstanding gentleman with wide interests and a nice sense of humour.

As it is the time of year for remembering our Service Personnel, past and present, we've written this little tribute to John, although he rarely spoke of his military career.

John was born in Northern Ireland where, aged 16, he joined the 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles as a boy soldier in the Military Band. Here he learned to play the clarinet. He served in Egypt, Hong Kong and Shanghai, protecting British interests during Japan's incursion into China. He went on to India and served on the North West Frontier. As a full rank NCO, he landed by glider in Normandy on D-Day with the Sixth Airborne Division. He was a keen sportsman and a fine shot, winning many trophies in this sport.

After the War he joined the Civil Service and was on the administrative staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, continuing his career in Barnstaple and St. Austell until retiring back to Barnstaple six years ago.

Lorna Bowden - for Margaret Stewart

We are thinking of Margaret and all the family and thank Lorna for her tribute.


For those of us who were privileged to know her, it was with real sadness we learnt that Phyl had died suddenly but peacefully on the 7th November. Her funeral took place at St. Peter's on the 16th November.

Although for some time she had lived in Ilfracombe, Berrynarbor was always a second 'home' to Phyl. She was born in Wales but in her early years spent long spells here, at Cockhill, the family home of her grandparents, attending the primary school, a classmate of Ron Toms. The family later moved to Chambercombe and Phyl worked at the Chambercombe Laundry.

She met her husband, Lionel Dummett - one of the Dummett brothers - whilst visiting her sister Ivy [Richards] and her husband Ivor and they were married in 1942. Their first move to Berrynarbor was to Rockville [now Budicombe House] and later, in the early 50's, to Tower Cottage.

Unfortunately, Phyl suffered very badly from arthritis from an early age and this was one reason for moving to Ilfracombe. However, she did not let it stop her making the most of life. A gentle but very determined lady, with a ready smile for everybody, she never ever complained.

She will be missed by her many relatives and friends and our thoughts are particularly with her daughter Maureen and her husband Eddie, her three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and her sister Ivy.


It was sad to learn that Olive had passed away at Park View on the 13th November, at the grand age of 94, and our thoughts are with all her family and friends at this time of sorrow.

Although born in Devon, Olive [nee Pugsley] grew up in Croydon in Surrey where she met and married James Kent in 1944. Before his retirement in 1960, they undertook an epic cycle ride to Devon to seek a quiet place to live. Proud of her Devonshire ancestry, Olive fell in love with the little cottage up on the hill - Woodlands Cottage - that became her home for over 40 years.

To many, it seems that Olive has always been a part of Berrynarbor and we remember her with great affection and visualise her walking to the village, stick in hand, in welly boots, accompanied by her dogs, either Panda or Pickles.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Olive Kent but reminded myself I was to be considered fortunate that she came into my life or, to be more precise, I was thrust into hers.

Some time in 2001, as a care worker, I was asked to make a home visit to a client in Berry who was in need of some help. Eventually, I found myself walking up a primrose clad lane to be met by a beaming lady with cats at her ankles. This was to be the first of many looked-forward to visits to the delightful Olive, who was always full of greetings, happiness and extraordinary generosity, whether offering a cup of tea or her last piece of cake. Her beloved cats, both house and semi-feral, were similarly spoiled - how she loved them!

Our conversations were always lively and stimulating. As her carer, Olive paid me one of my most cherished compliments, calling me "one of the jewels in her crown." I thought that was just so lovely. May she rest in peace.

Judith Maunder


Artwork: Helen Armstead


The Harvest Service was celebrated on Sunday, 1st October, for which the church was beautifully decorated. The Evensong was held on Wednesday, 4th October when the bells rang and the service was well attended. Our thanks to Mary Tucker and all her helpers for the supper which was very much enjoyed, and to the Rector for doing such sterling work auctioning all the produce. With the money raised through the auction and the collection, the amount of £100 will now be sent to WaterAid, the charity helping communities to establish their own safe water supply in under-developed countries.

Marion Carter

A successful Autumn Bazaar was held on Saturday, 4th November when £144 was raised for church funds. Our thanks to everyone who came along to give support and especially to those who gave to the various stalls. There were lots of bargains to be had and some of us now have space in our wardrobes! Everything left over has been given to the Hospice shops. The Fairtrade and Hospice stalls also had a very profitable afternoon.

Congregations during the latter part of October were somewhat depleted with people ill or looking after others, as well as taking a break before the winter. Nevertheless, services continued with their usual vigour and the enthusiastic input of those present made up for the lack of numbers. Our thanks, especially to Keith and Stuart, for arranging the Candle Service on 29th October - a quiet time to remember loved ones and of comfort to us all.

The church filled up rapidly for the Service of Remembrance on 12th November when we were joined by members of the Parish Council. This year the service was led by Reader Mike Taylor and in his talk the question was asked once again: what lessons have been learnt? The lesson was read by Sue Sussex and the choir sang 'Bring Him Home' from the show 'Les Miserables'. Before the service, the two minutes' silence was observed at the War Memorial and wreaths were laid on behalf of the Parish Council, the Church and the Women's Institute. The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by trumpeter Neil Hamilton. The collection of £113.50 will be sent to the Royal British Legion.

Advent Sunday falls on 3rd December. The first candle will be lit on the Advent Wreath and the service will take the form of a 'Songs of Praise'.

There will be no Friendship Lunch in December and we shall meet again in the New Year on Wednesday, 24th January, 12.00 noon onwards.

Mary Tucker


Armistice Service

How nice it was to pay another visit to Berrynarbor at the kind invitation of our good friends, Margaret and Keith Walls. As this fell over the 11th & 12th November, we were able to attend the Armistice Service, where we met many old friends. The service appeared well attended and we were impressed that there was a choir of 10 ladies and 3 or 4 men in good voice. Also a trumpeter sounding the last post at the war memorial. I wondered how many villages the size of Berrynarbor could put on a service such as that.

Of course it also brought back other memories. This was the first time in the church since I walked my daughter Sally down the aisle in 1982 (for the second time), the first in1972, Sally unfortunately having been widowed at the age of 26 years.

The only part I did not enjoy was looking over the Lee Hills from the churchyard and finding they had just about reverted to 'jungle' after seeing the photos in your August news letter of them in 1953, and remembering the many hours I spent keeping them in good trim during the 70's.

Jean and I look forward to reading your excellent Newsletter.

Jean & George Ferguson



When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I'm not shouting 'I'm clean-livin''.
I'm whisp'ring "I was lost, now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I'm not trying to be strong,
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting that I've failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I'm not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I'm worth it.

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say . . . "I'm a Christian", I'm not holier than thou.
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's grace somehow.

Author Anon

Submitted by - Laurie Harvey


Artwork: Paul Swailes


September was on course to be one of the driest months that we have ever recorded with only 11mm [7/15"] of rain by the 27th. The unsettled end of the month with very heavy showers, however, brought the total to 37mm [1 1/2"] still making it the driest September since we started keeping records in 1994.

The remnants of Hurricane Gordon passed on Thursday 21st but we hardly felt it here, the maximum gust being 27 knots which was the strongest of the month and about average.

Nationally this September was the hottest on record by an average of 3.1 Deg C. Here, however, the maximum of 26.1 Deg C was slightly down on 2003 when we recorded 27.6 Deg C. The minimum of 8.6 Deg C was at least 1 Deg C up on the previous five years.

The unsettled weather continued into October with very heavy, squally, almost violent showers on the 1st and a violent storm [fortunately not too close] overnight on the 10th which produced 42mm [1 5/8"] in just under ten hours. The total rainfall for the month was 187mm [7 3/8"] which made it the wettest month of the year so far, the next wettest being May with 136mm [5 3/8"]. It was still drier than the two previous when we recorded over 200mm [4"].

The maximum temperature 19.2 Deg C was down on the previous five years bar 2004 when the temperature was only 15.6 Deg C. The minimum of 5.8 Deg C was exactly the same as last year and up on previous years. Wind speeds were slightly higher with a maximum gust of 28 knots.

In the South West, this summer was the hottest on record and Chicane's recorded hours of sunshine for both September [139.29 hours] and October [60.15 hours] were up on the previous four years which is as far back as we can go.

The start of November has brought another complete change with high pressure in charge and sharp frosts.

Simon and Sue




Miles Rees, Year 1

Berrynarbor School Forest Schools : An exciting term for Year 5 who have just completed an eight week course based in the woods in the Sterridge Valley, by courtesy of John and Fenella Boxall. We had funded training from South West Forests and this gave us the opportunity to trial a new initiative. The course which the children followed was structured and planned carefully to enable them to learn new skills gradually, safely and successfully. These skills included: woodcraft using specialist tools, woodland awareness, species identification and a whole variety of games and activities to encourage team work. At the end of the course the children invited their parents to come and join in and to have a cook-out. The feedback from children, staff and parents was very positive. We have three members of staff now qualified as Level l Forest School Assistants, after a three day training course at Bicton College. Our next steps will include training a member of staff to become a Level 3 Forest School Instructor and to work as a staff team to plan further opportunities out in the woods.

The Christmas Church Service: Monday 11th December at 2.15p.m. The collection will be for the R.N.L.I. Everyone welcome.

Road Safety in Berrynarbor Village: The Parish Council have commissioned a group of 72 local artists (the children at our school!) to design signs asking visitors to slow down when driving along the narrow lanes. The Parish Council will judge the winning entries and these will be made into proper signs. The competition hasn't closed yet but here are a few of the children's ideas.

Have a restful and enjoyable Christmas and best wishes from everyone at the school.

Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Head Teacher

CaitlinBurgess, Year 1

Connor Balment, Year 2

Ella Gibson, Reception


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We are sorry to have lost Rosemary Gaydon from Barton Lane but fortunately she has not gone far, just to Belmont Road in Combe Martin. We wish her well in her new home and know that she will continue to visit us!

After several years in the process, the chalet bungalow, Fernlea, designed and built by themselves - with a little help! - is now home to Iris and Andrew Carrington.

Having spent time in North Devon as an evacuee during the War, Andrew was well aware of the delights of this part of the world, so he and Iris moved from Seaford in Sussex to Ilfracombe some 25 years ago. A 5-year stop in Woolacombe preceded their move to Berrynarbor a few months ago.

Andrew is a retired Research Engineer Draughtsman and Iris was employed in a variety of office and retail posts. As one would expect, a major hobby is DIY but in the past, Iris and Andrew have very much enjoyed walking in our lovely countryside. We wish them both every happiness at Fernlea.

There has again been movement and newcomers at The Park. Paul and Theresa have moved in to Mandalay and Saddlestones is now home to Joan and Malcolm Garbett.

Having slipped through the October 'net', it is lovely to welcome Elaine Filer, who has already become part of the village, singing in the choir and ringing the bells at St. Peter's. The Park is her new home. She says she loves the peace and quiet and is very content, "It's as if I have died and come to heaven!"

Elaine has come from the East Midlands, having been acquainted with the area as her sister lives in Ilfracombe. Three years ago when she was thinking of retiring to North Devon, she saw The Park and fell in love with it, counting the days from then until she could retire last August.

It is no wonder Elaine finds it peaceful, having worked, as she says, for twenty long years of 'busy, busy' at East Midlands Airport. She says the television programmes are true, only it's actually worse! Apart from bell ringing and singing, Elaine enjoys walking and swims regularly.

Next door to Elaine are our newest arrivals, Mike and Joyce Simpson who have only just moved in to The Park. Having been born and bred in Hayling Island, Hampshire, and holidaying on Exmoor, they decided to take retirement and move somewhere quieter and thus found Berrynarbor!

Mike, who was a motor mechanic and says his hobbies are fishing, photography and motor racing, and Joyce who, in the past has been a keen sportswoman playing netball and badminton, etc., and has had various jobs in shops and schools, have two children. Their son Colin and his wife Jackie live on Hayling Island with their son Bradley. Their daughter Clare is currently in Tenerife.

Mike and Joyce are looking forward to becoming part of the village and being keen walkers, have already explored walks up the Valley.

Pat and Jo Carlaw, whilst staying in Dormer Cottage last spring, decided they would like to spend Christmas in Berrynarbor. They have now sold their home in Maidenhead, Berkshire, and move to Dormer Cottage with their two cats at the end of November. Jackie and Roy wish them every happiness in the new home, and we do too!

We warmly welcome all our newcomers and wish them luck, health and happiness in their new Berrynarbor homes.




The November meeting was presented by the ever popular Barney Dunstan from Laithwaites Direct Wines Ltd, the people who run the Sunday Times Wine Club and many others. If you encounter a mail order wine club it is usually run by Laithwaites!. Barney is undoubtedly a natural speaker and extremely knowledgeable about wine. He is also very amusing and kept us laughing all night with comparisons of the meeting with his present day job as a Biology Teacher at a secondary school. When someone's mobile phone went off he went into school mode and asked the "boy" responsible to hand it over, it would be returnable at the end of term!

Our next meeting is on the second Wednesday of the month, 13th December, as usual for the December meeting as it would otherwise clash with Christmas. This is a combined wine and food meeting and this year those attending are expected to bring along, either alone or in conjunction with others they will sit with, whatever food they wish to consume. They should also bring along their own cutlery and crockery. Tickets, from Jill McCrae or Tony Summers, are £6.00.

This meeting will be presented by a vintner from France. Jonathan Coulthard is the English owner and wine maker of a vineyard in the Duras region of France inland from Bordeaux, who is visiting England to promote his wines.

In January 17th [back to the third Wednesday of the month], we are having a new style presentation "Call My Wine Bluff". This will be a panel game with the members divided into teams trying to decide which panelist is bluffing and which telling the truth.



Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook



Following on from his October article in which he spoke of his cousin shot down and killed on a bombing raid on the Krupp Steelworks, Tony has sent this article by Ron Hawkins.

Mid-day on the 16th of June 1942, a fine English summer day at Mildenhall RAF Airfield in Suffolk, our pilot Flight Sergeant Swanson approached us in the Sergeants' Mess and called, "Don't forget we've got a briefing at 1500 hours." Another day and another raid - I wonder where it will be?

Arriving at the briefing room we didn't have long to wait to find out. The Operations Officer announced, "Your target tonight is the Krupp Steelworks in Essen, on the River Ruhr." With the exception of Berlin, the Ruhr was one of the most dangerous and difficult targets because of its heavy anti-aircraft defences. The officer went on to say, "Moose Squadron (419 Royal Canadian Air Force) will be providing thirteen aircraft towards a thousand bomber raid, and take-off is 20:30 hours".

In the late evening sunlight, several crews stood outside the parachute store waiting for transport to arrive to take us to our respective dispersal points on the far side of the airfield where the aircraft were parked. Arriving there, we saw, bathed in sunlight, our trusted steeds, Mk 3 Wellington twin-engine bombers.

This aircraft did not have the rugged and purposeful appearance of the Lancaster or Halifax Bomber, but rather the appearance of an aircraft that had been made by a group of enthusiastic amateurs. In fact the Wellington Bomber was the brain child of Barnes Wallis, who became well known for his 'Dam Buster' bouncing bomb, his 22,000Ib deep penetration Grand Slam bomb and Tallboy bombs. The Wellington aircraft is built with a series of tubular aluminium struts, reinforced with a series of metal strips similar in appearance to a smaller version of a garden trellis, built onto an aluminium frame and then covered with fabric. The great thing about this design was that it could take a lot of punishment, but would still carry on flying in a severely damaged condition.

Most crew members had their own personal routine prior to getting into the aircraft. Many would relieve the tension by peeing on the aircraft's wheels. Whilst the first and second pilots were doing their final pre-flight checks, the rest of us climbed aboard, the crew made their own final checks, then over the intercom we heard the pilot asking each crew member if everything was serviceable. Receiving the reply, "Affirmative Skip", he then replied, "Okay chaps, here we go".

Taking off and heading east in an ever darkening sky towards Southwold on the Suffolk coast, we assembled with other members of our group. At this stage everyone was keeping a watchful eye out for other aircraft, to avoid a mid-air collision. We then headed east towards the Dutch coast.

In the darkness you occasionally saw the red exhaust flames from other aircraft, otherwise we could have been the only aircraft over the North Sea. The crossing was uneventful but as we approached Holland we could see ahead that the leading aircraft were under attack from the coastal defences. A few minutes later it was our turn to meet the flak. The sky lit up with the explosions from the enemy shells, and it wasn't long before a shudder went all through our plane and we quickly realised we had been hit. Fortunately, the damage was only superficial and we flew on towards our target.

Arriving over our target a few minutes before midnight, we were hit a second time in the rear section of the fuselage. We continued our bombing run, straight and level, until we heard the bomb aimer call out 'bombs gone'. We then made a hurried retreat, as the flak over the Ruhr was decidedly unfriendly. Shortly after turning for home, at a point above the Dusseldorf area, the aircraft was again hit, twice in quick succession, but fortunately no serious damage resulted.

Flying over Antwerp, we again, for the fourth time, ran into heavy flak, receiving a direct hit on the underside of our fuselage, setting fire to the flooring from the front turret to the navigator's table. The navigator, Flight Sergeant Brichta, and wireless operator, Flight Sergeant Crosby, managed to snuff out the worst of the fire, but it damaged some of the electrical circuits and rudder and elevator controls, causing the aircraft to stall and drop from 15,000 feet to 200 feet. Equally alarming was the unexpected opening of the bomb doors and then the wheels dropped, causing a marked reduction in our flying speed. But crew members managed to manually close the bomb doors and retract the wheels, allowing our skilful pilot to regain control and return to our normal height and cruising speed.

As we continued to extinguish the small fires, our worst nightmare occurred. A twin-engined enemy night fighter (probably a Me-110) homed in on us, shooting holes through our wing and tail elevators and fuselage. The Second Pilot, Flight Sergeant Eden, and the front gunner were both wounded. Fortunately the enemy aircraft broke off its attack and flew away. We put out all the fires but by then we had lost our radio, direction finder and most of the aircraft's navigation equipment. Our navigator passed directional information on to our pilot from plots on the stars.

Flying due east for some fifty minutes, we came across a coast, hopefully England, but were unable to recognise any landmarks in the darkness. We flew on, hoping we were over friendly territory, because by that time, the engines had started to run very rough and the aircraft dropped lower and lower. It was not long before the pilot decided we would have to make a forced landing. We noticed a church tower and a windmill on our starboard side and the pilot told us to take our crash positions. He told us that he believed we were about to land in Holland, which was disappointing news as we had hoped to be on English soil. The aircraft crash-landed in what appeared to be a large field of standing barley. The landing had fortunately been fairly smooth and the aircraft seemed to be still in one piece. The crew made a hurried exit, assisting the Second Pilot Flight Sergeant Eden, who had been badly injured over Antwerp and in need of urgent medical attention, and the front gunner who, whilst injured, was still able to walk.

Our first thoughts were to get as far away from the aircraft as possible, as we didn't wish to be captured by the enemy. We noticed in the moonlight a small round house a short distance from our crashed aircraft, and agreed with the pilot that we must have landed in Holland. The pilot walked to the door of the house, whilst the crew hid behind some bushes. Hoping that the occupants would be Dutch and friendly, he knocked on the door, and on hearing movement inside the house, called out in French "Please help! We are English airmen and have an injured man with us".

A voice in English replied. "Clear off!"

Dawn would soon be breaking so we decided to hide, it would not be long before the Germans would be out looking for us. We found a ditch after crossing some allotments, and after about thirty minutes in hiding we heard people moving about, presumably German soldiers. Looking over the top of the ditch we could see a couple dressed in uniforms and as they got nearer to us we were able to hear that they were complaining about "walking around this bloody field" in English, which we thought strange. Dawn had now broken and we could see the men quite clearly, dressed in army uniforms and heard them say quite clearly, "The crew must have bailed out before crashing - they could be miles away". Speaking to the other crew members I said, "I think we should give ourselves up", hoping these soldiers were friendly and that they would get medical attention for our wounded Second Pilot.

I don't know who was the most surprised when we emerged from the ditch; the soldiers, who turned out to be members of the local British Home Guard, or ourselves when we realised they were English. The relief we felt was unbelievable when we were told we had landed in England, in the Essex village of Finchingfield.

This story is based on fact. The Mk 3 Wellington Aircraft was part of 419 Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron, based at Mildenhall, and on the 17th June 1942 did indeed bomb Essen, and were attacked on the way home and crashed in the field next to The Round House. Sid Overall, the tenant, had refused to open the door of his house because he believed they were Germans. The Wellington bomber was recovered from Farmer Whittaker's field and returned to be rebuilt at a RAF Maintenance Unit. Following this, it was issued to another RCAF Squadron and whilst returning from a raid on Kiel, on April 5th 1944, it was forced to ditch in the North Sea ten miles off Cromer, Norfolk, with the loss of three crew members of 426 RCAF Squadron.

The following information is from the official Royal Air Force Records of the 419 Squadron:

    Flight Sergeant Swanson, Flight Sergeant Crosby and Flight Sergeant Brichta all received the Distinguished Flying Medal, Swanson for "his skill and devotion to duty", whilst the Crosby and Brichta citations record "outstanding duty under harassing circumstances". Twelve aircraft of Moose Squadron returned safely to Mildenhall from the Essen raid.

    419 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force personnel were awarded several medals, including a Victoria Cross (posthumously to Pilot Officer A.C. Mynarski), 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Bars to DFC's, 35 Distinguished Flying Medals and one Military Cross.

Many years ago, the late Ken Collar, the officer in charge of the Finchingfield Home Guard search party, told me his reminiscences on the Wellington aircraft incident.

Ron Hawkins. Finchingfield Heritage



It's getting cold in 'the potting shed' and Mr. Flower Pot Man is in need of a welcome break! The Potting Shed is, therefore, only open for the first three Sundays in December, 10.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m. Enquiries on 01271 883785 or www.flowerpot-man.com.

A BIG thank you to all who have purchased our book of verse and postcards from either ourselves or the Community Shop - we are in the process of making donations to village and children's charities. Thank you also, to Sue's of Combe Martin for displaying the books.

Rainer and Jill



Slowly, silently now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare was born on 25th April 1873 in Charlton, Kent. He died on 22nd June 1956 in Twickenham, Middlesex, and is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral.

As a boy he attended St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School before working as a statistics clerk for the Anglo-American Oil Company until 1908, when he was granted a Civil List pension. He was, however, a lifelong writer and began to contribute poems and stories to magazines when he was in his mid-twenties as well as writing novels. His mother was related to the poet Robert Browning and he was a modest and gentle man. At first he wrote under the assumed name Walter Ramal - part of his real name spelt backwards!

Imaginative, whimsical and sometimes grotesque, his writing often draws on the dream world. Among his best known works are The Listener [1912], Peacock Pie [1913] and The Traveller [1946].

His poem 'Silver', illustrated by Paul Swailes, is especially for Doreen Siviter.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A very warm, if somewhat belated, welcome to baby Alexander Michael Angus Cameron, born on the 8th August, weighing in at 8lbs 5oz, at the Hospital in Barnstaple. Congratulations to the proud parents, Juliet and Pyers and to the proud grandparents. Juliet's mother and father, Rose and Michael flew over from Canada to welcome the new arrival, whilst he took one of his first journeys up to Suffolk to meet Pyers' mother Jill. Now a 15lb cheerful chap, Alex is giving his parents a good night's rest by sleeping through. Our very best wishes to you all.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Congratulations to Tracey and Linda Camplin on their recent success in the Great South Run at Porstmouth. Training beforehand, they joined 12,000 runners on the ten mile run on a very wet [Linda says 'terrible!'] Sunday, 22nd October, raising £300 for Marie Curie funds.

This was Linda's first run, although Tracey has taken part in a couple of events before, including the Hospice Race for Life, and they will both be taking part in the Christmas Cracker run at Weston-Super-Mare in December. This is a charity event in aid of the local Hospice and if you would like to sponsor them, please do get in touch, they would be delighted to hear from you.


Brian Wright

Solution in Article 33.



BOOK CLUB - After reading 'The Magician' - rather a tome - the Book Club will be taking it a little easier and the next meeting will be a Christmas Social evening at The Globe on Friday, 15th December, when the choice of book and venue for the January meeting will be made. See you all there!

NORTH DEVON BRANCH OF EPILEPSY ACTION - Do you or a member of your family have epilepsy? Then you may be interested in coming along to the North Devon Branch of Epilepsy Action. We are a friendly group who meet informally between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the Henry Williamson Room at Barnstaple Library. Disabled access is available. For further information contact Steve on [01271] 863087.

SCAM ALERT - The Devon Association of Parish Councils has asked if the following can be circulated especially as Christmas is fast approaching: it has been confirmed by Royal Mail. The Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam: A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS [Parcel Delivery Service] suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 [a premium rate number]. DO NOT call this number as this is a mail scam originating from Belize. If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message, you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call. If you do receive a card with these details, please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072 396655 or CSTIS [the premium rate service regulator] at www.icstis.org.uk.




Apologies for not contributing an article this time but I have been rather busy recently writing something a little longer. Some of you may have read in the Journal or Gazette of my request for information on the Cairn for the book I am writing entitled 'Discoveries On My Doorstep'.

Since then I have been inundated with responses - including one from a man in Australia who read the Journal on-line in his local library! In an attempt to keep up with all this information, the deadline for this edition's Rural Reflections crept up and took me completely by surprise! So, for now, may I take this opportunity to wish all of you the merriest of Christmases, a healthy [and in my case hopefully a wealthy!] New Year.

And, of course, if You have any information,or stories about the Cairn, please dont hesitate to ring me on [01271] 863087.

Steve McCarthy


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


A parking space for the disabled has to be provided as close to the Manor Hall entrance as possible and this will be in place by Christmas. We held a folk evening in September and thanks to our Secretary, Margaret, and her team, raised over £300 for Manor Hall funds.

In the new year we hope to update the electrical fuse box and rearrange the switch by the door to meet safety standards - we are waiting for a further quotation for the job.

Finally, I should like to thank our hard working team for their support over the year and wish them a Very Merry Christmas.

Bob Hobson - Chairman


We have had a fire in the boiler room and as a result part of the building is out of use, but the main hall is still available although a bit grimy in places. Work is in hand to clean the Hall and other areas but we ask for your forbearance in this matter until we can get back to normal.




It seems ages since our second birthday party on 6th October, yet so many people to thank who helped to make it such a success. The lowering skies and intermittent deluges couldn't dampen the preparations. Garry's banner was fixed in the shop; Jackie and Roy's - and Gilly's - gazebos erected, with Alan and Nora's permission; Ann was busy preparing food [in spite of leaving for a 5-week holiday next day] and Stuart was priming his keyboard on Bett and Kevin's front terrace. His vibrant music added much to the atmosphere, whilst Richard and Angie uncomplainingly took up Mike and Jo's offer of a parking space to allow extra room in the street. Charley on Sallamar [not forgetting Melanie and Harry!], Richard and his tractor and Malcolm and Joan with their rucksacks were stars! John and Tony handed out tastes [or more!] of celebration wine provided by John. Jill had been bullied at very short notice to design the special label. Pip fried sausages kindly provided by Ivan, whilst Anita and Mark calculated the 10%'s at the till. We had good publicity: ITV West Country splashed through the torrents in the afternoon and produced a news item on Tuesday 10th October featuring Jennie, Jill, Peter, Jo and Sandy. The North Devon Journal did us proud in both the 5th and 12th October editions. Finally, without Fenella's hard work behind the scenes and about 100 shoppers, it wouldn't have been possible. It was a real community effort, so thanks to everyone - including anyone I've missed.

The shop is now piled high with Christmas cards and wrappings, wines, gifts, ingredients for seasonal cooking and other goodies. It's not [yet!] too late to order The Village Bakery Christmas cakes and puddings, yule logs and mince pies [not forgetting extra bread], Mike Turton's pork pies and your extra - and special - greengrocery. The 'Buy a Brick' box in the shop is yielding a useful amount towards the new shop in its first couple of weeks - every little helps!

In July I wrote to Bill Deedes in the Daily Telegraph to see if he could help our shop with an article. He replied "Many thanks. I'll consider writing something that helps but no promises!" Some of you may have seen his Comment Column on 27th October entitled 'Village shops survive only if we use them' I quote from it:

    "I reckon that two-thirds of our household needs can be bought there. Village shops do not sell fish or butcher's meat [We sell some of Ivan's meat and chicken, from the freezer] or strawberries and mangoes in December, as the supermarket does. But they serve most other needs. It's so much easier to run the car to Tesco and do the week's shopping in one outing. Yes, and undeniably there is also more variety, but the butter, cheese, cereals, soups, jams, pies biscuits and a lot else taste no better than the village shop's offerings."

I'm reminded that we now have a super new range of fresh soups from Sacks in Barnstaple, Turton's pork pies at the weekends, tasty coleslaw and quiches from Swiss Cottage in Ilfracombe and a good range of edible gifts from the Fudge Tree Company at Mullacott Cross.

Finally, Bill Deedes ends "If we lose these [village] shops, we cannot lay blame on the government; it will lie with those who neglected them." Thanks, Lord Deedes!

As you know, since September we have kept the shop open until 7.00 p.m. on Fridays. This was popular with visitors but it is no longer viable so we have reverted to the 5.30 p.m. closing. We may try again during the 2007 holiday season, but will keep you informed.

Talking of closing times, please note that the Shop will be closed all day on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and on New Year's Day - 25th, 26th December and 1st January - otherwise all shop opening times will be as normal.

Seasonal good wishes from Jackie, her many volunteers and the committee - and with everyone's help may we move much nearer in 2007 to building our new shop.

PP of DC




Light up a Life

Christmas is a special time for remembering loved ones no longer with us. The North Devon Hospice and Children's Hospice South West are jointly organising Light Up a Life that enables you to make a donation and dedicate a light in memory of some you have loved on a special Christmas Tree of Light. Any one can be remembered - they may not have recently passed away, but their loss is still with us. The name of your loved one is then recorded in a book of remembrance. There will be services of remembrance across North Devon: at llfracombe Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, 3rd December at 6.30 p.m. and Combe Martin Methodist Church on Saturday, 9th December at 7.00 p.m.

If you would like to support the work of the Hospice and dedicate a light, please ring the Fundraising Office at the Hospice for more information on [01271] 344248.

The Santa Fun Run

Sunday 3rd December, 2.15 p.m. Barnstaple Football Club. It is a 2.3 mile fun run. All participants will be given a Santa suit and will run as santas on a safe route in Barnstaple. If you would like to join in this sponsored event for the Hospice call Emma on [01271] 344248 or if you want to come and see a sight of a lifetime, pop along on the day- it will be like no other fun run!

Great North Devon Knit In

The Hospice will again be holding their Great North Devon Knit In and as in the past few years, we shall be holding the Village's event as part of the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Coffee Morning in the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 20th February, 2007, from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon.

Knitters will need a pair of No. 8 needles and one or two balls of double knitting wool and they and [everyone is welcome to join in] knit for two hours, although breaks are allowed for tea, coffee and a pancake! A sponsored event to raise money for the Hospice, the sponsor forms and posters advertising the event will be available in January from the Shop or Judie, but in the meantime please make a note of the date and keep it free. Last year we hoped to top the £400 we raised in 2004 and we did - raising just over £600. Can we do better this time? Let's try!

The Hospice are fortunate to have a large team of valued volunteers but would like additional help from:

  • Volunteer Drivers from across North Devon
  • Volunteers to assist in the in-patient unit during evenings and week-ends
  • Volunteers to assist with the sale & distribution of donated items on e-bay
  • Volunteers to help in the shops in North Devon and in the new shop due to open soon in Joy Street, Barnstaple.

For further information please contact Barbara Andrew on [01271] 344248.


Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook



I should like to thank everyone - locals and our summer visitors - who have bought plants from me during the last few months. My donations to the Children's Hospice South West this year have amounted to £400. This sum, added to the donations of the last 4 years, makes a grand total of £2,100.

On behalf of all the children and their families who are cared for by the Hospice, thank you most sincerely for your help and generosity.


What an achievement! Congratulations and well done, Margaret.

We should like to thank the man driving a silver-grey Volvo estate car, who stayed with our son Robert after his accident with a fallen tree at the bottom of Sterridge Valley on the 31st October until we arrived to take him to hospital. Robert has made a good recovery. Thank you.

Michael and Julie Parkin



[1863 - 1907]

Owner of Watermouth Castle and Designer/Engineer of the Riesenrad Prater Park, Vienna

Last April we enjoyed a delightful river cruise along the Danube from Passau in Bavaria to Budapest in Hungary. A day was spent in Vienna and dominating the skyline was the Riesenrad. Knowing the connection with the Basset family, we felt we must pay homage to it. "How do we get there?" we asked our purser. "We come from the village where the engineer lived who designed it". "Oh", she replied, "You mean Walter Basset" I confess that until that moment I hadn't known his first name, and we were astonished that he was so well known here. Having now done some research, I can understand why.

Walter Basset was born in September 1863. His family tree goes back to Thurston Basset who came to these Isles with William the Conqueror. Fast-forward 800 years! The Berry family who owned the BerryNarbor Estate lived in the old Manor House next to the church. In the early 1700's, the Davie family from Orleigh bought the estate from the heirs of Thomas Berry. In 1797 they inherited great wealth from their uncle, Frances Basset. In his will he requested that they take the name Basset, to avoid the name dying out. Several succeeding generations changed their names, too.

Walter's family was wealthy. They travelled extensively, were seafarers, landowners, tin miners, coal importers and rent collectors. The main structure of the castle was carried out in 1825-6, by Walter's great grandfather, Joseph Davie Basset and grandfather, Arthur Davie Basset. George Wightwick, a notable Plymouth architect completed the final interior design in 1845 [although Murray's Handbook for Travellers in Devon and Cornwall, published in 1859 describes it as "unfinished but commenced about 40 years ago by the father of the present proprietor" who was A D Basset]. It is not a castle in the true sense, but a substantial Manor House built to resemble one. It was apparently modelled on Caerhayes Castle in Cornwall.

On the estate were grown bananas, grapes and oranges [so much for global warming!], and it is recorded that in 1871 eight servants lived in the house and many villagers worked there as gamekeepers, carpenters, coachmen, gardeners, stonemasons, woodsmen and general labourers. The Basset family owned many of the local country houses including Heanton Court and Umberleigh House. They also owned many of the surrounding farms, the whole of Berrynarbor [with one exception - see below] and property in Challacombe and East Down. Lorna Bowden records in her delightful "Scrapbook of Watermouth Castle for my Grandchildren" that her grandparents came from Cornwall in 1892 to work for the Bassets. Her grandmother was head laundress and grandfather a shepherd. Because 'Gran' lived in, when they wanted to get married, they had to ask permission from Mrs Basset. She saw them in her study and gave them a brass clock off the mantelpiece as a wedding present. But let's return to Walter. He became a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and an engineer with an interest, amongst other things, in Ferris Wheels. George W G Ferris had had a meteoric but short career. In 1893 he built his awesome wheel for the Chicago World Fair. It would show the world that America could rival France's Eiffel tower.

Three years later he died, bankrupt and alone. The wheel, too, had a chequered history being moved several times until it was finally destroyed in May 1906. However. it had been a success, and success almost always will be imitated. Suddenly there was a spate of Ferris Wheels, some large and some small enough for travelling fairs. The patentee of the Chicago Wheel, James Weir Graydon, a US naval engineer, signed over his European rights to Walter Basset who then erected the Great Wheel of Earls Court for the 1895 Oriental Exhibition. It was 300 feet in diameter and had 40 cars each carrying 40 passengers. [By comparison, the original Ferris wheel was 100 feet in diameter and the Millennium Eye's capsules rise 440 feet.] There were cars for smokers and non-smokers and a hollow axle to walk through for an extra fee. The wheel carried 2,500,000 passengers in a decade and then ceased to be profitable and was demolished by Basset in 1906/7. The Gigantic Wheel in Blackpool followed the Earls Court one. This featured a ping pong table in one of the carriages!

And so we come to his most famous wheel, the Riesenrad, or Giant Wheel of Vienna. Walter Basset proposed this to celebrate Kaiser Franz Josef's golden jubilee. Gabor Steiner, well known in the commercial life of Vienna's amusement circles took up the idea and it was built in 8 months during 1896/7. Built to imperial units - 200 feet [approx. 61m] it is, over 100 years later, one of Vienna's most famous landmarks. [It held the record as the largest wheel still operating until1981when the Japanese built a 208-foot version.] Those years, however, have not been without their problems. Although very popular, it was closed in 1914 and used as a lookout. It remained closed for the next 2 years. In 1915 the new landowners refused to extend the lease to the heirs of Walter Basset who had died in 1907. The decision was made to scrap it, but dismantling costs were prohibitive. It was mortgaged, again threatened with dismantling; again it was too expensive so it was decided to re-lease it. In 1944 it was severely damaged by fire, but within 2 years was once again operating albeit now with only half of the original 30 gondolas. And that's how we saw it.

The girl in the ticket office knew of Walter Basset. The views were splendid but it was just as fascinating to look inwards to the hub's construction. The gondola in front of us was laid out for a romantic dinner for 2 [with curtains if required!] and another gondola was equipped for small conferences or family parties. After that, a modest 30-foot wheel, La Grande Roue, gracing the Paris Exposition of 1900 was almost an anti-climax! Not too much is known of Walter Basset's personal life. In 1890 he married Ellen Caroline Charlotte Daws of Bideford. They had no children and he died comparatively young in 1907. His sister, Edith inherited the estate. She married Ernest Pencurzon and her portrait is in the Manor Hall. Existing records show that the farms were sold on 17th August 1920. Smythen Farm and its 216 acres fetched the princely sum of £2,700 and Hempster Farm, [199 acres] £2,350.

The cottages were sold on 5th June 1924 - except for 15 Hagginton Hill, which belonged to the Water Board [the pumping station opposite is still there today]. Lot 67 was 14 Hagginton Hill [Bess Hill] which sold for £315. "This lot gets water from the tap of the adjoining property." 15 The Village [Tower Cottage] "A good slated cottage and the old pound" went for £275. The whole village raised £62,000.

Edith retired to her Scottish estate in 1942 where she died in 1943. In September of that year her daughter Lorna [who married Earl Howe] arranged a sale of "Antique and period appointments". She left the area in 1946. The castle fell into disrepair before being bought by Nathaniel Charles Black in 1949. He hoped to restore it, offer it to the National Trust and live there with his wife for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately he had set himself an enormous task and anyway the National Trust turned it down. It was then acquired by several owners including the Brain family and briefly by Peter de Savory. Fortunately in 1977 Richard Haines bought and restored it and the grounds to their present glory.

There are many unsubstantiated rumours about the Bassets: court cases won but with crippling costs; bankruptcy and so on. One is left to wonder how such a wealthy family lost its money, why the village was sold, and where are the descendants of this noble family whose motto is "Bene agere ac laetri" [Do your best with joy]? Does anyone know?

I am indebted for help given by Lorna Bowden, Richard Haines and Sue at Watermouth Castle, Keith and Margaret Walls, Tom Bartlett and the 1989 souvenir book of the Riesenrad.

PP of DC


The Keep Fit Class that Gets You Fit for Life!

Valerie will be starting another session of Classes in the New Year, beginning on Wednesday, 10th January, 11.30 a.m. in the Manor Hall.

Come and try our gentle, effective, friendly Class. A 10-week session costs £30.00, in advance, but before committing yourself, you are invited to try a 'taster' session. So go on, after the indulgences of the festive season, come and try it!

Keep fitters work at their own level and pace, so it is suitable for all ages and abilities. No special clothing is required but wear loose fitting clothes and trainers. If you would like more information, why not ask one of the people who have enjoyed and benefited from this class over the last few years, or call Valerie on 01598 763250 or 07815 290508.


Artwork: Harry Weedon


We have had a lovely autumn and cannot complain about the well needed rain. We recently had a work party to clear the summer bedding and plant spring bulbs and primulas in the tubs. The hanging baskets are down and in storage until next year.

The presentation of a plaque was made to Sue Sussex, on behalf of the group, for our position as Best Kept Village Runner Up. This took place at the Globe [due to the fire in the Manor Hall] at the beginning of the November Parish Council Meeting.

We should like to thank the Parish Council for their support over the past year and look forward to their continued support next year. As a group, we start again in the spring and hope to welcome any new faces.

Happy Christmas, Wendy


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


This cake has gone down well with the litter pickers and I pass on the recipe for you all to try. It is lovely as a cake or served warm as a dessert with cream or custard.

  • 1lbs cooking apples peeled and sliced
  • 6 oz butter or margarine
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • 12 oz self-raising flour [sifted]
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 medium or 1 1/2 large free range eggs beaten
  • 4 oz sultanas or raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 oz Demerara sugar
  • icing sugar and extra cinnamon to dust

Melt the butter/margarine in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the granulated sugar, sifted flour, salt and the egg and using a wooden spoon stir everything in to a stiff smooth dough.

Now place roughly two-thirds of the dough in to an 8" greased cake tin with a loose bottom. Press out the dough to cover the bottom evenly. Mix together the apples, sultanas/raisins and the cinnamon and place in the cake tin. Sprinkle over the sugar and level the surface as much as possible. Place the remaining dough in the tin and spread using your knuckles [it does not matter if there are a few gaps, but try to cover the edges]. Bake for 50-55 minutes at gas 5, 375 Deg F [190 Deg C]. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin. Remove from the tin and dust thickly with more cinnamon and icing sugar. Eat hot or cold and enjoy!

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

I love the story about an eight year old girl who was so excited on Christmas Eve. All the house was decorated, and there were presents around the tree, including a big one with her name on it. It took her a long time to go to sleep, because she was so excited. Her parents were woken up at two o' clock in the morning, as she called out, "Mommy, Daddy, come and look!"

"Oh dear", thought her father, "She has opened her surprise present. Oh well, I'd better go down and then come back to bed later." Wearily he put his dressing gown on and left the bedroom, only to discover his daughter on the landing, gazing out of the window.

"Oh, Daddy, do come and look! Isn't it beautiful? Look, there in the sky. The star of Bethlehem is shining!"

The little girl's delight in the shining of the star, beat all her presents for magic and beauty. She was captivated by the star and what it represented. It reminds us that Jesus has to be born in our hearts and minds so that we can experience the joy and beauty of what Christmas really means. It has nothing to do with profit margins and the "big sell". Nothing to do with eating so much that we feel sick. It is to do with the miracle of God on earth so that we can share with God in heaven.

Have a wonderful and Christ-filled Christmas,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer



"The river running by"

It was Friday the thirteenth, late afternoon when we stopped, on the way home, to walk along the Taw near Pottington. A few straggly blooms of tansy and St. John's wort remained. Three black-tailed godwits stood at the water's edge. Their legs are longer and their bills straighter than their cousin the bar-tailed godwit [which has the pretty Latin name Limosa lapponica].

Waders present along the river were mainly curlew, lapwing, redshank, dunlin and the ubiquitous oystercatchers but a single whimbrel had been observed on the estuary; most often seen as a passage migrant in spring and autumn.

Among the redshank was one which looked rather different, taller and more slender. It was a spotted redshank though in its pale ash grey winter plumage it did not look particularly spotted.

Autumn is a good time to find interesting arrivals on the river but most unexpected and spectacular was the appearance of twelve spoonbills flying in single file up river, with long necks extended, swan-like; slow and silent without the 'singing' sound made by swans' wings in flight. All twelve were mature spoonbills with greyish-pink bills. The adults have black bills with a yellow tip.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

On landing, the spoonbills waded through the shallow water sweeping their bills from side to side to feed. Passing cyclists and walkers had climbed onto the low wall at the side of the track to gain a better view of these impressive birds. Something special for Friday the thirteenth!

Sue H



The Garden Tea Room will be open for Christmas Lunches from Monday, 11th December to Friday, 15th December, inclusive. The 3-course meal and coffee and tea costs £15.00 and advance booking is essential.

Lunch will be served from 12.00 noon and you are welcome to take a stroll in the gardens, either before or after your meal, and plants will be on sale at the Plant Centre.

Why not ring NOW and book your lunch [01271] 342528.




Due to the small fire in the Manor Hall, the November Council Meeting was held in The Globe and our thanks to Don and Edith.

Mrs. Kriteman, from the C.P.R.E., presented the Berry in Bloom Group with the Runner Up Shield in the Best Kept Village [Devon] Award. Following this, a discussion took place with the Group regarding Claude's Garden and it was agreed to work together in its refurbishment.

A meeting took place between the School and Council representatives regarding the yellow lines in Silver Street and it was decided that white lines only would be put outside the school, the two bollards that used to be there would be replaced and warning signs would be painted on the road either side of the school.

To save money, the Council agreed that only the disabled toilet would be left unlocked during the winter.

Sue Sussex - Chairman





Our best wishes go to everyone not feeling their best at present, we hope you will be better soon, in time for the festive season.

Sadly, we have been too well represented at the 'Pilton Hilton' recently, but it is good to see Hedy, Sally, Barbara and Val home again, and we send our love and very best wishes to Inge and hope to see her soon.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Watermouth Beach

The first view, The Beach Smallmouth, was probably originally photographed by W.S.Woods the Bamstaple photographer and produced by The Pictorial Stationery Co. Ltd., London back in 1906-7 as a black printed postcard No.6350. This version is published as a photographic postcard and has a date on the back of July-August 1920. The number of rowing boats shown gives some indication of just how popular the caves and beach were at the turn of the last century. Visitors would pay a toll of 1d or 2d to enter the caves and beach and would be brought out to Watermouth by coach and horses, later by charabancs. The boatmen and their boats would take visitors over to Broadsands Beach and for trips to Combe Martin and around the Bay.

In the background is the formidable but breathtaking sight of Little and Great Hangman. Note the lady on the left with her long dress down to her ankles and a foiled umbrella to shade herself from the sun and wearing a large brimmed hat with artificial flowers on top, as any lady would in those times!

The second view is identical but taken over half a century later around 1958, numbered 2166 and published by Dearden & Wade of Bournemouth. It is likely that this picture was taken in July or August and shows a very busy Watermouth Beach [Smallmouth Cove] with children clambering over the rocks in every direction. Note the old fashioned knitted woollen swimming costumes being worn and the lack of almost any beach chairs or windbreaks.

The other two postcards, both published by J. Valentine & Sons and originally with the Valentine's number of 18703, date back to c1905. You will immediately notice in the second of these two cards that three sailing boats have been added as well as a small rowing boat/dinghy. The latter card has been given a different number by Valentine's and was sent in June 1938. So don't always believe what you see on a postcard! Frith's also often updated their postcards by removing horses and carriages and inserting cars and differently dressed people.

The small beach at the high tide end of Smallmouth Cove became enclosed shortly before or just after the Second World War by the building of a wall across the beach. This was to give not only a protected and safe beach but ensured that a pool was present at all times with a change of seawater at every high tide.

Wishing you all a great festive Christmas and a healthy New Year 2007.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 2006
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



Not just a Newsagents!
Why not visit us and see one of the largest
selection of toys and gifts in the area, hassle free!

We stock all the main names - Action Man, Barbie, Fisher Price, Mamas and Papas and Hasbro, just to name a few.

Like doing jigsaws?

We carry probably the largest selection in Devon.
See 2007 in with a bang!

We stock fireworks all year round, Special Offer: 10% extra fireworks free when you spend over £50!
And, don't forget our well stocked Off Licence!
Find us at Seaside with free parking right outside.



Here is a game to while away the long winter evenings and test your knowledge of Christmas songs and carols! The list of initials below gives you the first letter of the words of the first line or lines of a Christmas song all you have to do is work out the song!

For example: OCAYF is O Come All Ye Faithful.

  8. RATCT
  11. CTTMPRppp
  4. DDMOH


Have a go and for those of you who hand in or send your answers to Chicane or the Shop by the end of the year, there could well be a prize for the most correct answers!



3rd St. Peter's Church: Advent Sunday, 'Songs of Praise'
N.D. Hospice: Light Up a Light Service, Holy Trinity Church 6.30 p.m.
4th Christmas Card Post Box open at the Community Shop
5th W.I. Trip to Exeter, Cathedral and Carol Service
7th W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m. Manor Hall: Christmas Party
9th N.D.Hospice: Light up a Light Service, Combe Martin Methodist church, 7.00 p.m.
11th to 15th December: Christmas Lunch at Marwood Hill Gardens
12th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall 7.00 p.m.
13th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
Wine Circle: Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. Christmas Wines
15th Primary School & College: End of Autumn Term
16th Manor Hall Management Committee: Christmas Coffee Morning and Card Distribution - Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. onwards
Village Christmas Dance at Sloley Farm, 7.30 for 8.00 p.m.
20th St. Peter's Church: Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.
24th St. Peter's Church: Family Communion, 11.00 a.m. Carols and Blessing of the Crib. 9.30 p.m. First Communion of Christmas
St. Peter's Church: Family Communion with Carols, 11.00 a.m.
31st NEW YEAR'S EVE St. Peter's Church: Carol Praise with carols and Gospel Readings, 11.00 a.m.
2nd Primary School & College: Start of Spring Term
7th St. Peter's Church: Celebration of the Epiphany, 11.00 a.m.
10th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
17th Wine Circle: Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. "Call My Wine Bluff"
24th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners 10.00 a.m. onwards
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m.
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m.

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.20 - 11.45 a.m.Sandy Cove
11.50 - 12.05 p.m.Barton Lane
1.15 - 1.40 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley




Christmas Menu: A starter, main course, sweet, cheese & biscuits, and coffee and mince pies - all for £15.75! Phil and Lynne are serving their Christmas Menu from 2nd December to the 23rd December, inclusive. Groups, small parties and individuals catered for but BOOK SOON to make sure of your Festive Feast! [01271] 883246.

Phil and Lynne would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their custom and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



The computer's swallowed Grandma
Yes, honestly, it's true.
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.

It's devoured her completely
The thought just makes me squirm,
Perhaps she's caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.

The recycle bin I've gone through,
And files of every kind.
I've even tried the internet,
But nothing did I find.

I went on to the website
My searches to refine,
The answer came back negative
Not a thing was found 'online'.

I'd like her back for Christmas
I miss her company,
She always leaves nice presents
Beneath the Christmas tree.

So, if you come across her,
Wherever she may be,
Please 'scan','copy' and 'paste' her
In an e-mail back to me!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



Once again the Manor Hall Management Committee will be organising the village Christmas Card distribution. Cards may be with a donation [10p per card please] in the box provided in our Community Shop. This facility will be available from the 4th December until the Coffee Morning on the 16th. Cards will be sorted and delivered by willing helpers. Santa's elves have asked that you be sure to put the full name and address of the recipient - those just marked 'John' or 'Jane' have proved hard to identify!

The Coffee Morning will be on
from 10.00 a.m. at the Manor Hall.

Everyone is welcome for coffee, tea, sherry and mince pies.

Finally, just a reminder that we are rapidly approaching the recommended last dates for post via the Royal Mail for cards and parcels going further afield.

A Merry Christmas from the Chairman & Committee of the Manor Hall



Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

"Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Was confusion and chaos,
Because of a mouse.

It scampered around
Both upstairs and down.
It shot up the sleeve
Of mother's nightgown.

It tasted the turkey,
It sampled the cake,
It nibbled the mince pies
Aunt Ethel did bake.

"I'll catch him" sang father,
"I'll give him what for!"
And went for his stick
Which was hung by the door.

He searched every nook
And he prodded each cranny
But cute mousey was safe
the bed where slept granny.

Which all goes to show,
That where food is concerned,
Mice are cuter than men
As no doubt you have learned.


With apologies to Clement Clark Moor, a professor of Religion, who published his one celebrated poem in time for Christmas 1823.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


"2 for 1" Meals at the Sawmill every lunch and evening, except Saturday nights and Sunday lunches. Choose 2 meals off the '2 for 1' board and get the cheapest one free, This offer runs from November to March, Both pubs will be serving the 5-course Christmas Menu at £14.50 per person, 1st to 24th December [inclusive), Booking only.

We hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best wishes from Karen & Boys, Kari & Lou, Edith & Don & Staff



Saturday, 16th December, 7.30 for 8.00 p.m.
Sloley Farm
dancing to The Parcel of Rogues

Mulled Wine and Light refreshments
[bring your own drinks and glasses]
Entry by 'generous donation'
Proceeds to Children's Liver Disease Foundation and
Friends of Berrynarbor School PTA Music Fund


Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook