Edition 117 - December 2008

Artwork: Charlotte Cornish - Primary School

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Whilst completing work to get the December Newsletter to you on time, the sky is blue and the sun is shining, but there is a cold wind and a definite wintry feel - a little different from the temperatures Ken and I were enjoying in Florida a week ago!

Will we have snow this year? I think that Charlotte Cornish, whose wintry scene appears on the cover probably hopes we do. Her delightful picture, which did not appear with the other pictures from the Primary School in the October issue, was drawn as part of the school's entries depicting the four seasons for inclusion in the Horticultural Show and Charlotte was placed Joint Second in Class 3. Thank you, Charlotte.

With only a few weeks to go now, the pre-Christmas panic is about to set in - cakes, puddings, presents and cards, etc. Why, if you are like me, do we always leave it to the last moment - some resourceful people will be out in the January Sales preparing for next year!

Thinking only a few weeks ahead, our next Newsletter will be February and items for that issue are welcome as soon as possible and by Thursday, 15th January at the latest please. My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this, our December and Christmas issue, but especial thanks to Paul, who in spite of recently losing his mother, has continued to enhance it with his illustrations. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Paul, at this sad time.

There are an even greater number of Christmas messages being sent via the Newsletter this year. It looks as if with your generous donations [and still some to come] both the Manor Hall and the Newsletter funds will get quite a boost and my thanks to Debbie for the engaging Christmas scenes.

There are lots of festive events planned for our enjoyment, so make a note of them in your diaries and on your calendars - have you got your new one for 2009 yet?

In the meantime, my best wishes and thanks to you all for your support of the Newsletter, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Judie - Ed



The October meeting took place on Tuesday, 7th, when Janet Gibbins opened the meeting by giving birthday cards to Bett Brooks, Janet Gammon and Di Hillier. She then welcomed Keith Pugsley who had come to speak to us about his work as a hypnotherapist.

The practice of promoting healing or positive development in any way is known as hypnotherapy. It aims to re-programme patterns of behaviour within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. The technique does not involve the patient being put into a deep sleep and the patient cannot be made to do anything they would not ordinarily do. They remain fully aware of their surroundings. The important thing is that the patient wants to change some behavioural habit or addiction and is highly motivated to do so. Hynotherapy is used to relieve pain in surgery and dentistry and has proved to be of benefit in obstetrics. It has been shown to help people to overcome addictions such as smoking, alcoholism, chronic asthma and stammering. Mr. Pugsley said each therapy session takes about one to one and a half hours. At the end of his talk he invited members to relax while he spoke to them in a soft and calm voice which induced in them a feeling of wellbeing.

As usual the meeting ended with a chat over tea and biscuits with the raffle being won by Phil Walden.

Jan and Bill Butcher came to the November meeting and after demonstrating encaustic art, encouraged everyone to have a go! Encaustic art is decorating by fusing wax colours to a surface. The word "encaustic" comes from the Greek enkaiein - to burn in. Each member was given a small iron, pieces of white card and wax in various colours. When the iron was hot the colours were added to the surface and then ironed onto the card. Everyone made a great effort, but the results were more abstract than pictorial! Nevertheless, we all agreed it was great fun. A birthday card was given to Joan McCallam and the raffle was won by Janet Steed.

The Christmas Lunch this year will be on the 8th December in the restaurant at Chambercombe Manor. We are very sorry that Lyn from The Lodge is suffering so much with her hip and hope she will soon have the operation to ease the pain. [A sentiment echoed by us all, Lyn. Ed.]

The Meeting on 2nd December will be the Christmas Party when sherry, fruit juice, mince pies and tea and coffee will be offered.

The programme for 2009 is now being compiled and the first meeting, on 6th January, will be the AGM which will be followed by a talk about the WRVS given by member, Margaret Crabbe. At the February meeting, on the 3rd, Bernard Hill, a Stockman, will be coming to speak to us. We look forward to welcoming all existing members and hopefully some new ones!

Doreen Prater


Artwork: Helen Armstead


There were over 60 of us in church to celebrate the Harvest Festival on Sunday, 5th October. We were especially pleased to welcome children from the school with their families and the singing of 'Look at the World' by them and the church choir was enjoyed by all. Once again the church was beautifully decorated thanks to the efforts of the flower arrangers, but not a lot of produce was given this year although more was brought in ready for the Wednesday evening auction. There was a happy atmosphere at the Evensong and we all walked over to the Hall afterwards to the sound of the bells ringing out over the village. The appetising supper prepared by Doreen Prater and helpers was much appreciated by us all. The auction, conducted by the bell-ringers raised £51.40 and, when added to the collection taken in church, the PCC will again be able to send £100 to Water Aid.

The moving Candle Service held on Sunday, 2nd November, was well attended and once again the altar was aglow with all the candles lit in memory of loved ones. The choir led the singing of hymns chosen by members of the congregation and they also sang 'Lead Me Lord'.

Members of the Parish Council joined us for the Remembrance Service on Sunday, 9th November. The congregation numbered almost 70 and it was good to see families with children present. In spite of the heavy rain and wind, Rector Keith led us to the War Memorial to observe the two minutes' silence at 11.00 a.m. Ivan Clarke was the bugler and wreaths were laid by Marion Carter and Paul Crockett on behalf of the Church and Parish Council respectively. The lesson was read by Sue Sussex and the choir sang 'Band of Brothers'. The collection, taken up for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, amounted to £125.

Christmas Services will be as follows:

  • Wednesday, 17th December 6.30 p.m. Carol Service
  • Christmas Eve - 9.30 p.m. Blessing of the Crib and 'Midnight' Service
  • Christmas Day - 11.00 a.m.

Family Communion with Carols As always, a warm welcome is extended to everyone to come and join in the celebrations. The church will be decorated just before the Christmas Eve service and donations towards the cost of flowers will be gratefully received.

There will be no Friendship Lunch in December but we shall all be meeting again at The Globe in the New Year on Wednesday 28thJanuary.

Mary Tucker





19.11.1925 - 30.9.2008

It was with real sadness that the village learnt that Ivy, one of its longest-term residents, had died peacefully during the afternoon of the 30th September, after suffering stoically, but with her usual humour, ill health for many years.

Ivy, a loving and much loved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother, and friend, was a real character - always ready with a smile, a joke and wonderful tales of village life past. 'Wild and wicked' was how Keith Wyer described her at her funeral on the 8th October, when the sun shone as she left, for the last time, the village she so loved.

Our thoughts are with Walter, Marlene and Gerald [Nipper] and all the family at this time of sadness.


16.6.1924 - 5.10.2008

Margaret's stay at Lee Lodge was brief and it was with sadness that we learnt that she had passed away peacefully on the 5th October. Margaret, daughter or the late and much-loved Lorna Grove-Price, was the beloved wife of the late John Stewart. Our sympathy and thoughts are with the family, but especially with Lorna and Michael at this time of sorrow.

Dennis Collins

Born in 1918 in Sutton Coldfield, Dennis was the youngest of six children, and after leaving school began training as an apprentice with Lucas, preparing him for the family business of industrial jewellery.

The war interrupted his training and he joined up at the age of 21 in 1939, spending the war in various postings both home and abroad - he was involved in the evacuation of Dunkirk and narrowly escaped capture, as a signal officer, whilst taking messages to another regiment.

On a short leave home, he met his first wife Anne and they were married on a snowy day in January 1941. After the war he returned to the family business and he and Anne settled to family life in Hockley, Birmingham, bringing up their daughter Sheila and son Bob. Tragically, Anne died in an accident in 1956. But happiness was to come again when Dennis met Win, and they were married in 1958.

On his retirement, in 1982, Win and Dennis moved to Berrynarbor and both quickly became a part of the village community - Dennis acting as a church Warden, both were members of the U3A and the local Gardening Club, and they enjoyed and supported the many activities and fund-raising events held in the village.

After living here for 24 years, they moved to Westbury-on-Trym to be nearer the family.

Always cheerful and willing to help everyone, Dennis was a family man, never happier than when he and all the family were together.

Margaret Stewart, nee Grove-Price

My cousin Margaret died peacefully at Lee Lodge after a long illness. It was fitting that she spent her last days in her home village. Michael and I should like to take this opportunity to thank Ann-Marie and Jan for their dedicated care during the time she was with them. Our gratitude also goes to the District and Hospice nurses who attended her. They're great.

Margaret and John were very interested in the natural world, spending hours walking and bird-watching throughout Cornwall. There were few wild plants they couldn't name and would identify a bird by its song long before it was visible. They also loved gardening. Margaret's love of nature was influenced by her early school years at BerryNarbor by Miss Veale and our Aunt Muriel.

In 1943, at the age of 19, she joined the ATS, finding her shorthand and typing skills useful for clerical work. In 1945 she was posted to Belgium to the British Army HQ of the Rhine in Brussels under Field Marshall Montgomery. By 1946 she was in Germany at the HQ at Bad Oeynhausen doing administrative work in hospitals .

She had already met John when he was posted to Woolacombe. They met again in London and were married there in 1947. John retrained for the Civil Service and was posted to Barnstaple. Promotion took them to St. Austell in Cornwall, where Margaret worked in the County Library.

They retired to Barnstaple at Norah Bellot Court, wardened, Methodist apartments, where they met many new friends and were very happy.

Copied from Margaret's autograph book 1934:

There was a Knight of Bethlehem
His men-at-arms were little lambs
His trumpeters were sparrows.
His castle was a wooden cross
Where on he hung so high
His helmet was a crown of thorns
Whose crest did touch the sky.

With best wishes from L.C. Veale
Little Thatch Berrynarbor [now Little Gables]

Think of me on the ocean
Think of me on the lake
Think of me on your wedding day
And send me a slice of cake.

G.M. Keen 6-10-1934
[Greta - Ronnie Tom's sister]

Christmas Menu 1945

  • Breakfast: Porridge, Fried Egg and Bacon, Tea, Bread & Butter, Marmalade
  • Dinner: Roast Turkey, Roast Pork, Roast Potatoes, Green Vegetable, Apple Sauce and Stuffing - Christmas Pudding, Custard Sauce, Mince Pies, Beer
  • High Tea: Cold Ham, Pickles and Sauce, Russian Salad, Tea, Bread 7 Butter, Jellies, Christmas Cake, Pastries

'Monty' - 1945

Margaret and John in their garden at St. Austell in the 1960's


Lorna found the following letter addressed to me from Margaret in Cornwall for inclusion in the newsletter, but it had never been sent. Ed.

    "Does anyone remember in the 1930's going to school on Ash Wednesday with a piece of ash twig with at least one black bud? I was one of the children arriving at school with my piece of ash to avoid being pinched. But after twelve o'clock, this was reversed, then any child still carrying an ash twig was pinched by those children who had thrown their's away. I wonder if children going to Berrynarbor School today still take their ash twig with them on Ash Wednesday, or has the custom been lost in time?"

Phyllis Ivy White

Ivy, born at Castle Hill, was the second daughter of Fred and Rosie Bray, who worked a smallholding. In 1927, when she was only just over a year old, Ivy and her sister Audrey were very ill with pneumonia; sadly Audrey died but although she was not expected to live, Ivy made a full recovery. Some years later, in 1934, the family was joined by her brother Gerald.

Ivy always remembered how she nearly burnt the house down! Climbing on a chair to get something off the mantelpiece, she knocked down the shirt collars airing in front of the fire. Being cellulose, they quickly ignited and the fire spread rapidly to the clothes airing on the rack above. Quick action by Rosie and the farm boys saved the day! The family moved to Beech Hill in 1935, due mainly to Fred's poor health - he suffered having been gassed in the First World War. He died shortly after in early 1936 at the age of 41, leaving Rosie to care for Ivy and the young Gerald, as well as her own elderly mother.

Being older, Ivy was expected to keep an eye on Gerald but she had other ideas, particularly when friends called to play, and on one occasion she locked Gerald in the porch whilst she went out, getting back just in time before her mother returned from work. She was suitably chastised and threatened with being shut in the attic if she did it again! She was in trouble once more when the latest 'must have' fashion accessory was hair curling tongs. With no money, Ivy improvised by heating two knitting needles in the fire, but to say her 'model' friend ended up with a frizz is an understatement and the singed hair had to be cut off!

After leaving school, Ivy worked at Watermouth Caves before joining the ATS and being stationed at Plymouth, where she operated the search lights. She returned to the village and by 1947 had her two children - Marlene and Larry. Her husband, Roy Hunt, returned to Canada, but for some reason Ivy never followed him. In 1955 she married Walter White and with Marlene and Larry they moved into 2 Wood Park in 1957. In 1963, Tracey, the first of her grandchildren was born, followed by Paula, Tina, Kerry and Alex - she doted on them all.

During her working life Ivy had a variety of jobs, mainly in catering. Latterly at Coutant Electronics [now Lambda] where she made many friends with whom she spent happy holidays abroad, and then The Sandy Cove Hotel. She was reluctant to retire but a fall resulting in a broken foot when she was over 70 forced her to admit defeat. Her life then revolved around her great-grandchildren and she was sure to tell anyone who would listen how wonderful they were, especially clever little Vashti and her temper to match her great-grandmother's!

Over the last ten years, Ivy endured a great deal of pain and several operations, spending long periods in hospital. Her final stay was at the Tyrell Hospital where she died on the 30th September. Being diabetic, Ivy's diet was strictly controlled but a lasting memory will be of her drinking Baileys through a straw during her last few weeks in hospital!

We should like to thank everyone who gave their help, support and time to Ivy during her ill health, whether on a friendly or professional level, all who sent messages of condolence, attended her funeral or donated money in her memory, Rev. Keith for the service in which he summed her up to a T, Mr. Baker, the undertaker who conducted the funeral arrangements, and The Globe Inn where we held the wake.

Thank you all.
Marlene and Family




September carried on from where July and August left off and by the 11th we had recorded 143mm [5 5/8"] of rain. The morning of the 11th was the first completely cloudless sky since 27th July, and it heralded the start of a predominantly dry, settled period. Fortunately for us, it was also the day that we started our holiday in the Scillies, after which we only recorded a further 9mm [7/16"] bringing the total rainfall for the month to 152mm [6"], which made it the wettest September since 2000, when we had 198mm [7 13/16"]. It was also cooler than usual with a maximum 22.4 Deg C and a minimum of 5.9 Deg C. Wind speeds reached 30 knots, also a record for the month. At 98.08 hours, the sunshine hours were the lowest since we began recording, the second lowest was in 2004 when they were 105.94.

October is often the wettest month of the year but with 163mm [6 3/8"] it was easily beaten this year by both July and August. The total was, however, greater than other parts of Devon, including East Devon which had 132.5mm [5 1/4"] despite the floods in Ottery St. Mary. The end of the month gave a foretaste of winter, with the temperature dropping and a biting Easterly wind which gave a wind child of -8 Deg C at 1913 hours on the 29th. The temperature ranged from a warm maximum of 20.3 Deg C to a chilly 1.9 Deg C in the early hours of the 29th. We also had two gales in the month, one of them gusting up to 37 knots.

The sunshine hours at 51.37 were again down, only lower in 2005 when they were 49.77. There have been rumours of a hard winter, but we shall have to wait and see whether they are correct or not.

We wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas whatever the weather!

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We don't wish to boast [well, only a little!], but Berrynarbor has pulled out all the stops as far as the shop is concerned. The turnover is a fairly steady 20-25% higher than in the old shop and by mid-October was already higher than the whole of the figure for 2007. To all our regular customers, 'well supported', and thank you Anita for filling the shop to capacity. The range of items on sale might surprise those who never visit it. Why not call in and try it some time? The Post Office, in Jackie's care, is also doing very well. A paypoint machine is arriving shortly, which will improve the service. Please check with Jackie for details.

Dates have passed for sending surface mail to far-flung places, but there's still time for air mail to get there for Christmas. International air mail should be posted between the 5th and 10th December, and for Europe by the 12th. UK 2nd Class by 18th December, 1st Class by the 20th, and Special Delivery by the 23rd.

It's not too late to order Christmas Fare: poultry and meat, Christmas cakes and puddings, Christmas ice cream, baked goods and fruit and vegetables. Don't forget that greengrocery has a 10% reduction when booked in advance but don't leave it to the last minute! The last date for orders is December 12th, although Ivan Clarke can take orders until the 19th. Our shop is bursting with gorgeous chocolates, a range of Christmas cards and wrapping paper, special jams and chutneys for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and lots more. Do come and indulge.

Several people in the village kindly nominated our Shop and Post Office in the Countryside Alliance Award for the 'Best Village Shop and Post Office'. Entries are now closed and results will be announced in the New Year. It would be great to get an award, but nice to know that some feel it's the best anyway! Thanks go to those who entered us.

A special thank you to our stalwart volunteers, including some who have joined recently. If in the New Year you feel that you could help - even for 2 hours, or as a standby - please have a word with Anita. And finally, for the whole of December, why not treat yourself to a hot drink in the shop and enjoy a FREE mince pie?

Very best wishes to you all from Anita, Jackie and the Committee, and here's to another successful year!

PP of DC



I've just read in the newspaper [14.11] that the all-thinking [?] Gordon Brown has finally realised that it would be extremely damaging to the survival of the rural post offices if the POCA system was handed over to a private company and would create even more unemployment and further ravage rural communities. It was a long time coming, but what a relief!

Now thank goodness, we like others in similar situations, can at least rest easier that this potential nail in the coffin has been removed. I don't think the mandarins in Whitehall realise how much a shop and post office can mean to villages. It isn't just for posting a letter or buying a newspaper or pint of milk, it is the hub around which so much depends.

It is therefore now vital that we ensure that ours remains viable both by using it and helping to run it. On the subject of which, it is a bit worrying to see more and more occasions in the afternoon when there is no volunteer on duty. If anyone has a few hours to spare in the afternoon, preferably on a regular basis, even if it is as little as once a month, I am sure that Anita would be delighted to hear from you.

Keep up the good work!.

Tony Summers




The Berrynarbor Wine Circle commenced its new season of meetings in October but not without a bit of a hiccup!

We were all there at 8.00 p.m. ready to start but no presenter!   When it got to 8.15 p.m., it was clear that Jonathan Coulthard from Domaine Gourdon in France was not going to appear so emergency plans had to be called upon, namely Alex Parke and I returned home and raided our own supplies! Between us we rustled up a couple of bottles each of 6 different wines and returned to give an impromptu presentation and tasting. Whilst not as interesting, perhaps, as the slide show and local delicacy tastings that Jonathan was to have done, everyone seemed to have a good time and we certainly tasted some different wines.

The next day, having sent Jonathan an e-mail to find out what had happened, on the principle of belt and braces I found his telephone number in France and tried phoning. To my great relief, I did not have to rely on my French, which is very suspect, as his wife answered. She checked his calendar and said it was entered as 17th not the 15th, so I arranged for her to contact him in the UK to avoid him having a wasted journey. As it happened, no sooner did I put the phone down, than Jonathan rang, full of apologies. Having checked the e-mails he found that he had entered it incorrectly on his calendar. However, all is not lost, he is coming to the UK again in March and Pam has kindly agreed to give him the date she was going to present, giving her presentation later.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 10th December when we have our Christmas Food & Drink Evening for which the presenter is Brett Stevens, the knowledgeable and lively owner of the Fabulous Wine Company in Barnstaple.  It is sure to be an excellent evening with tastings of more expensive wines than usual ready for our Christmas purchases.

By now, if you are planning on coming you should have organised yourselves into tables of six and arranged who is doing what in the way of food for your table. If you haven't, please get cracking, there's not long to go!  If you have not been before and wish to come along, please contact me [883600] and I'll put you in touch with others with whom you can join.

Best Wishes, Tony S. 


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Quarrels, tantrums, scolding, cuts, bruises, knocks and teardrops are the daily storms in a young child's life, but all of them are tempered by love, kisses and hugs to restore the sunshine. Children are loud noises with arms and legs, they are sweet-eating bundles of kicks and shouts, they are damp laps, they are sleepless nights, they are precious, they are beautiful. They are much-loved.

Wendy Barber

Val and David Hann [now living in West Sussex] are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their fourth grand-daughter in September. Penelope Alice Maria Hann was born on the 5th September weighing 71/2lbs, a baby daughter for Ben and Pippa.



The Institute held their Annual Awards Presentation Dinner on Saturday, 22nd November, at Ilfracombe Golf Club. After an excellent meal, Chairman Tony Summers proposed toasts to 'Absent Friends' and to 'The continued success of the Institute'. He then presented the trophies for the 2007-2008 season.

  • The Winter League [played from September 2007 to April 2008]
    Winner: Kevin Brooks Runners Up: Chris Jenner and John Hood

  • The Handicap Singles Knockout Cup
    Winner: Gerry Marangone Runner Up: Keith Walls

  • The Scratch Singles Knockout Cup
    Winner: Tony Summers Runner Up: Robert Draper

  • The Doubles Knockout Cup
    Winners: Tony Summers and John Fanner Runners Up: Gerry Marangone and Tim Davies

  • Summer Scratch League
    Winner: Robert Draper Equal Runners Up: Brian Draper, Gerry Marangone and Kevin Brooks

  • The Ray Toms Memorial Cup
    Winner: [yet again!] Maurice Draper

  • Highest Recorded Break

    throughout the Season: Dave Harris


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Work will start on the 5th January 2009 to redecorate the hall. This means that the hall will be out of use for everyone until February. A letter has been sent to all hall users. We apologise for the inconvenience this work will cause and hope you will bear with us until it is finished. The Penn Curzon Room could be an alternative in the afternoon if any group is willing and able to use the space available.

With ever-increasing costs of maintenance and services, it is proposed to increase the charges for hiring the Hall and Penn Curzon Room by a nominal 10% as from May 2009. The current charges, operational since April 2006, are:

Room/EventCategoryPrice per Session
Main HallA£8
Penn Curzon RoomA£7
Fund Raising, i.e. Coffee Morning£20
Children's Party£25

  • Category A: Is for Non Profit Organisations working for the benefit of those living in the Parish
  • Category B: Is for all other regular user groups
  • Sessions: 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. 5.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight

Once again we'll be organising the Christmas Card Collection and Distribution. The posting box will be available in the Shop from the 1st December and will close just before the Coffee Morning. The charge for using this service is 10p per card [a big saving on postage] or a generous donation! The Coffee Morning with mulled wine and mince pies will be from 10.30 a.m. on Saturday, 20th December. Cards will be distributed, and we shall also have the pleasure of listening to the pupils of the Primary School singing carols, and of course you can catch up on all the gossip. We hope there will be lots of people there to say 'Merry Christmas' to each other!

Bob Hobson - Chairman




The year is flying by and we are already planning hard for the many Christmas events that are coming up! We sent our shoe boxes of goodies to the Samaritan's Purse earlier this week and it is good to think that the boxes will be taking our best wishes to children across the world in time for the festive season.

Looking back over the school year so far, there have already been many highlights - a very muddy Wild Night Out for the oldest children and a Space Odyssey for the whole school, to name a couple. This week the children have been learning about road safety with the help of our Chair of Governors and local PCSO Katie Simpson. You might have seen the children around the village sporting our new high visibility bibs, purchased to improve the safety of the children when out and about - you'll certainly be able to see us coming now, even if we do resemble a class full of satsumas! Next week the national focus on anti-bullying will see our Year 6 children going to the college for a morning of art and drama with children from primary schools across the Local Learning Community.

Our philanthropy continues this year with fund raising for Breast Cancer care, Children in Need and the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, already totalling over £200. The older children's efforts to organise a bring and buy sale in aid of the Poppy Appeal followed work to find out about the British Legion and the sacrifice made by so many during the world wars and subsequent conflicts. Five of the older pupils represented the school at the Service of Remembrance held at the War Memorial in Ilfracombe, whilst the rest of the school observed the two minutes of silence in their classrooms.

Our work to improve the school environment continues with the addition of PC's in Classes 2, 3 and 4. The children and staff are enjoying the flexibility that this new resource offers and we hope to extend their use by offering after-school access to computers and the internet by the spring.

We continue to build on the excellent academic standards achieved last year. Our focus on improving writing has led us to adopt the Big Writing Programme. The children are making good progress, writing for sustained periods independently of their teacher. I have included for publication a piece of writing by Dylan of which we are all particularly proud. He wrote a description of Bonfire Night and his mastery of the English language at just five years old should be applauded and celebrated by us all. Dylan is one of the many children making excellent progress - watch the notice board outside the shop for more examples of work to be admired.

On the 8th November we organised a day out/shopping trip to IKEA and Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. It was an excellent day and 42 people came on the trip - already we have had enquiries for a similar event for next year! £195 was raised for school funds - a big thank you to everyone for your support.

Listed here are some of the events we shall be holding in the run up to Christmas. We hope you are able to join us for some of them.

  • 10th December: Christingle Service & Christmas Bazaar at the Manor Hall 2.30 p.m. Gifts, Cakes, Bric-a-Brac, etc. If anyone would like a stall, please call Julia on 882783.
  • 11th December: KS1 Nativity
  • 15th December: Senior Dude's Christmas Meal at the Berrynarbor Primary School Bistro! 5.30 p.m.
  • 18th December: Giving Day and Christmas Service in the Church 2.30 p.m.

Sue Carey - Headteacher


Artwork: Harry Weedon

Berry in Bloom & Best Kept Village

We are thrilled that we managed to get a Gold for Berry in Bloom. The judges were most impressed with the community effort shown in the opening of the new shop - our small part was to supply the tubs and hanging baskets and try to keep the car park area weed-free and tidy. They visited the gardening club at the school in a downpour when they were met by the children and their helpers and were impressed by their enthusiasm and effort. We were able to explain that Claude's Garden was a 'work in progress' and a trip around the village couldn't fail to impress. Finally, refreshments at the Lodge and the sight of Phil's well tended and lovely garden did the trick! Thank you to all involved, both for the physical efforts and for the financial support - there are too many to mention but you all know who you are.

We have had our last litter pick of this year and completed our autumn clear up. 'Get a Stick and Flick it!' - this is the policy of Exmoor National Park, Devon Countryside Access Forum and the Kennel Club, as seen on the notices on the walks to Heddons Mouth, regarding the disposal of dog poo. How sensible! This is a far pleasanter and environmentally friendly way of keeping our 'walkways' free, and so much better than poo left in bags beside the road or beside paths. On a recent 'litter pick' walk up the Valley, no less than 4 poo bags were found surreptitiously hidden in the undergrowth on the side of the road - it can't rot in plastic bags but the rain and weather will break it down if it is 'flicked' into the hedgerow.

You may have noticed that the shrubs at the bottom of Pitt Hill have had a severe haircut, but they were very overgrown and will soon grow again in the spring. The planters and tubs have been planted with bulbs and polyanthus and we hope you enjoy them in the spring.

We shall meet early next year to discuss our plans, so look out for our posters and we hope you will join us.




Artwork: Angela Bartlett

White Chocolate Cheesecake

This cheesecake is easy to make and it can be made a month or so before Christmas and frozen. Then just whip it out of the freezer and serve it with fresh fruit or a compote of fruit such as blueberries.

For the biscuit base

  • 225/8oz Hobnobs [or chocolate chip] biscuits
  • 100g/4oz melted butter

For the Cheesecake

  • 300g/10oz white chocolate broken in to small pieces
  • 200g pack full-fat soft cheese at room temperature
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • 500ml/18 fluid oz double cream

Line a 23cm round x 4cm deep loose bottom tin or spring form tin with greaseproof paper.

Process the biscuits to a fine crumb then mix with the butter and press in to the base of the tin. Chill in the 'fridge until you have made the filling.

For the cheesecake, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Cool until tepid. Beat together the soft cheese and sugar and stir in to the melted chocolate. Whip the cream to very soft peaks and fold in to the chocolate mixture. Spoon in to the tin and smooth the top.

If the cheesecake is to be eaten immediately, chill for 2-3 hours or better overnight, or cover with cling film and freeze for Christmas.

Blueberry Compote

A very nice compote for the cheesecake can be made using a packet of frozen blueberries. Just bring the whole packet to a gentle simmer with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and thicken with 2 teaspoons of corn flour mixed with a little more lemon juice. Cool and serve with the cheesecake which may be decorated with white chocolate curls or crumbled white flakes. Another low calorie recipe!

Happy Christmas!




Brian Wright

Solution in Article 39.




The Garden Tea Room, with its garden views and log fire, will be open for individuals and parties for Festive Food [but not the usual turkey and trimmings] on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th December for lunch, 12.30 for 1.00 p.m., and in the evenings for Supper on Thursdays and Fridays, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th December, 7.00 for 7.30 p.m. 3 Courses £20;00: 2 Courses £16.00, including coffee or Tea. Booking Essential. For a copy of the Menu and a Booking Form, please ring Patricia or Katie on 342528 or e-mail: info@marwoodhillgarden.co.uk.

The Tea Room will also be open on Sunday, 7th December, when< Glenda Ramsey will tell 'Sunshine Stories' with puppets at 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. Refreshments will be available.

Advance Notice: Sundays 8th, 15th and 22nd February - Snowdrop and Hellebore Days. Tea Room open for hot lunches. Booking essential.

The Gardens are seeking volunteers to join the team. If you think you might be interested to help, please ring Patricia on 342528 for more information.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Crime Stoppers

Keith Meldrew was a bit of a loner. People in the village thought he might be to blame for when things 'went missing', but never had any proof. However, in December 1942 there was a certain amount of stealing going on. It was on a small scale - things like vegetables, mud-scrapers from outside people's front doors, and even children's toys left outside in error. Something had to be done! And it was, in a roundabout and amusing way.

You may remember that for his prize for the best boat, Dave gave Tom one of his slowworms, but Tom was ticked off by his mother and told to get rid of it 'straight away'! However, Dave still collected a few at times and would take them to school to sell - a little bit of extra pocket money.

One evening, Dave and his mother were sitting in front of their coal fire at their cottage at Goosewell. Dave had managed to collect three slowworms, which he had put in a tin on the windowsill.

"I'll take them to school tomorrow", he said. But the next morning, when he was about to leave for school and he went to pick them up, the tin had gone!

The strange thing was that in the middle of the night, both Dave and his mother thought they had heard a loud yell and footsteps disappearing into the night. "I didn't fasten the window last night, and someone must have taken it," said his mum.

On his way down Hagginton Hill, Dave met another lad from school. "I had my slowworms pinched last night," he told him, "Did you hear or see anything?" "Yes, I did," replied his friend, "there was someone shouting 'adder, adder, adder!'" Just then, Dave saw something shining, "Look, there is my tin and there is the lid," he said as he picked them up. There was no sign of the slowworms and the two boys continued on their way to school.

A week later and across the valley, Tom and his mother sat warming themselves by their coal fire. They hadn't bothered to put the lights on, nor pull the curtains, because of the 'black out'. The window to the left of the fireplace had a stay which often jammed and for this reason it was mostly left slightly ajar. As they sat there in the dim light, a hand came through the gap and was trying to unlatch the stay.

Tom's mother, who had been dressmaking, had left her very sharp scissors on the little table beside her. Silently she picked up the scissors and carefully took hold of the sleeve on the arm protruding through the window. Gently, she cut off about an inch from the sleeve to about half-way round. With the last snip of her scissors, the hand was suddenly withdrawn. She sat down again, with the piece of cloth in her hand. "That will teach whoever it is not to do that again!" she said to herself.

Meeting a few days later in the village shop, the two mothers were talking about how the mini crime wave had stopped. "What would you do", said Dave's mother, "If you caught the villain? I'd give him a cuff or at least a bit of a cuff!" was the reply. "And what would you do? I wouldn't adder a thing to what you say." The two mothers laughed and went on their way.

... and for Christmas

Christmas is for the family,
We must remember that.
It's not just the food that makes us feel good
As we put on our paper hat.

Remember the reason for Christmas
And those who don't do so well.
Donate something to others,
I'm sure you will, I can tell.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

All too often in the past, the Church has been charged with making people believe in a better world to come because life is bad on earth, preaching a form of 'escapism'. Christmas can be a time when people wish to escape from the harsh realities of the economic situation into a world of beauty and wonder, as highlighted in children's eyes and our imagination. Some people think they can buy their way into the hearts of others by buying expensive gifts - trying to escape from the fear of rejection by others.  But because our options may be reduced this year, for obvious reasons, let us just consider what Christmas is really all about. First it is all about Jesus being born in poverty. In a stable for animals, not a home for people. Placed in a manger not a cot. Born a refugee not in a secure home environment. [This is not escapism.] But nevertheless, born in an environment of love. How often on cards and in crib scenes do we see the 'holy family' together, bound in the mystery of birth and love. We cannot buy love, we can only give it away and see its results. There is no fear of rejection here - only a welcoming presence that seeks to embrace. [God has started his ministry of reconciliation by being born among us as being very vulnerable. We are all very vulnerable, and God shares that vulnerability.]

The shepherds - the outcasts of the Jewish world at that time - have the vision of heaven and are invited to go and see this thing that has happened at Bethlehem. We are also invited to 'come and see' in our hearts. For it is only when Jesus is born in our hearts that we even begin to get a glimpse that this event is not just something that affects us now, but has eternal qualities. As we go through the life and death of Jesus, where he opened his arms wide on the cross to embrace the world, the message comes through loud and clear that we are the object of God's love for the world. He does care, and feels for us, and wants us to begin to enjoy the eternal gifts he has in store. But you cannot buy or force love, you can only give it and hope that the recipient responds.

That's what Christmas is all about. Not the giving of expensive gifts, but of responding to the vulnerable love of God as revealed at Christmas and sharing that love with others.

Have a really wonderful & joyful Christmas,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

Illustration by: Paul Swailes







[23rd January 1937 - ]

Founder of the Calvert Trust

On our way home from a lovely walk at Wistlandpound, my husband commented, as we drove past The Calvert Trust, "I wonder who Mr Calvert is - or was?"

Dear old Google came to the rescue once more. On their website, the Calvert Trust's history section tells us that they came into being in 1978 by the inspiration of John Fryer-Spedding, whose vision it was to enrich the lives of people, all with disabilities, by taking part in outdoor activities in the countryside.

When the first National Park opened in 1951, Harold Macmillan declared: "The National Parks are for all people for all time."

John Fryer-Spedding realised that this was not quite true in that without accessible facilities, people with disabilities could neither enjoy our superb countryside, nor benefit from outdoor activities. He consulted Elinor, Viscountess Rochdale, and together they searched for people with the same vision as themselves. Soon they gathered a small group of people who decided to form a Trust.

The Fryer-Spedding family donated to this Trust, two farmsteads in the Lake District - Old Windebrowe and Little Crossthwaite. Conceived in 1974, Little Crossthwaite Adventure Centre was officially opened in 1978 with a warden, a secretary, an instructor, two horses and two dinghies. It was so popular that shortly after, the Calvert Trust Keswick came into being. Today this centre employs 24 permanent staff and with its many facilities, welcomes over 3,000 visitors a year.

Because of the success of Keswick's centre, the founders realised that another centre was needed, including accommodation for families. Kielder, with its man-made reservoir became the setting, and after much fund-raising, Kielder Calvert Trust was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra in 1984. Today it welcomes over 5,000 visitors at the Centre, and also in 10 superb log chalets that are set in the beautiful Kielder forest.

And so we come to our 'local' Calvert Trust. With two successful Centres in the north of England, there was scope for developing another one in the south, particularly as people didn't always want a long journey. What better area was there than Exmoor, with its beautiful countryside, beaches and good road access?

A farmhouse near Wistlandpound Reservoir came up for sale. Because of an anonymous donor and many other generous gifts, together with the enthusiastic support of local people, the Calvert Trust made the purchase and the Exmoor Centre opened in 1996. It offers rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, fishing, horse riding, carriage driving, archery, zip wire, orienteering, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, a swimming pool with Jacuzzi and a steam room. If you've not been to Wistlandpound recently, you could be in for a surprise. The Calvert Trust in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and South West Lakes Trust have developed the area into a £1 million natural and social heritage centre. There is a discovery trail suitable for wheelchairs around the lake, with beautiful woodcarvings to help visually impaired people, and a bird hide. There is also a 2 km Challenge trail with exercises for wheelchair users [the first in the UK]. You may meet horse riders, and once down at the lake there may be 'yachties' or canoeists, with various disabilities having a great time. Near the Calvert Trust Exmoor is a Discovery Centre [open 7 days a week] with toilets and two large car parks.

And all this has happened because of one man's vision and determination! John has now retired from being a trustee of Calvert Trust Exmoor so does not visit it as often as in the past, but his legacy will continue in all three Centres: friendship, support and the desire to help people with disabilities to further their potential.

So how about the name? Well, we have to go back over 200 years. Raisley Calvert had grown up with William Wordsworth, and the childhood friendship had lasted into adulthood. Sadly, at 21, Raisley developed tuberculosis. As he faced death, he wanted his friend to continue writing and a legacy was arranged allowing Wordswoth to write full time. The old Windebrowe Cottage was given to him and his sister rent-free. As we all know, Wordsworth went on to fulfil his literary potential thanks to his friend, even writing a poem dedicated to Raisley. When John Fryer-Spedding gave the same cottage to the Trust it seemed right that Raisley's name be used.

If you would like to help the Calvert Trust, you can find details on their website www.calvert-trust.org.uk. Calvert Trust Exmoor would be delighted if you wished to support them by joining its Friends. The fee for a year is £10 [single], £15 [couple] or £18 [family]. With this you may use the swimming pool for 1/2 price and get newsletters and details of forthcoming events. This might solve a Christmas present!

Contact 01598 763221 or e-mail them on exmoor@calvert-trust.org.uk.

PP of DC

[Grateful thanks to John Fryer-Spedding for all his help and for providing a photograph. It was an honour to write about his work.]




Items of concern raised and discussed at the last Parish Council Meetings were:

  • Flooding at Birdswell Lane - this was discussed at length and measures put in place to alleviate the problem, together with a letter to the County Council Highways Department requesting them to investigate the flooding.

  • Claude's Garden - due to weather conditions and the fact that all the work done so far in the Garden has been voluntary, the Council has not been able to proceed with this project as far as it would have liked. Councillor Clive Richards, after consultations with the Council and the Trustee of the Garden, is endeavouring to arrange for ornate railings, in keeping with the village and also to conform to safety standards, to be erected. So hopefully by next spring and working with the Berry in Bloom group, this Garden will be restored to its former glory.

  • No Smoking Signs - the signs in the bus shelters are continually being removed. We are obliged because of government legislation to replace them, and this is an added cost to the Parish.

  • The Children's Playground - revised plans have been drawn up and will be submitted to the Council for their approval at the next meeting.

  • Housing Questionnaire - thank you to everyone who completed the questionnaire. Answers are currently being evaluated but we have received an apology from the Housing Officer for the delay in receiving the results.

  • Digital Switchover- David Farwig of Digital UK will be giving a presentation at the Council Meeting on Tuesday, 9th December at 6.30 p.m. regarding the switchover in July 2009. Please come and listen to this and air your views because as I understand the situation at present, Combe Martin and Berrynarbor will only receive half of the free channels to which we should be entitled.

Finally, I should like to thank all Councillors, especially Richard Gingell who as Vice Chairman has stood in for me, Sue Squire, our Parish Clerk, and District and County Councillors Yvette Gubb and Andrea Davis. Thank you, too, to Council Contractors for their services, Judie for her work [and patience!] with the Newsletter and anyone else who has worked for the benefit of our community in this last year.

With my best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year.

Sue Sussex - Chairman



Given the weather this summer, it was amazing that we managed to make any cider this year. But, last Saturday was just the ticket for any outdoor activity.

The Warburton Mk II Press was erected in the garden of 'Chez Wild Violets' and the hoards descended from far and wide - Manchester, Tiverton, Barum and 'Combe. Apples were picked and this year's vintage was begun.


It was decided apples should be measured in Qwerts [old Berrynarborian measure]. 2 Qwerts = 1 Trug = 2 Gallons.

The usual production line swung into action:

  1. Cutting apples,
  2. Shredding apples [in the Mk I Warburton Chopper - an old garden shredder],
  3. Pressing the apples and
  4. Pouring into the barrels.

The Press Maister, Mitch Warburton, brought with him three trees of the Bens Red Variety. These can be struck by just pushing a small branch into the ground. After the planting, the well-known wassailer, Ray Thorn [as seen on TV], blessed the orchard - all three trees! I think I should mention that during all this, some of last year's cider was being hastily consumed - no wonder I lost count of the Qwerts!

At the end of a thoroughly good and slightly drunken day, 85 gallons had been poured in to the vats. A BBQ ensued with entertainment provided by part of the Berry Skiffle Ensemble, and Chris Townsend was last seen being pushed home in a wheelbarrow! 'Yers tu next yer.'

So, having told you all about the Berry pressing - a balmy, late summer day, with a gentle zephyr breeze blowing down from Lee hills and the sun sliding into the sea over Hele gasworks, the smell of new mown cider - truly stuff that halcyon days are made of - what happened a week later?

It's off to Combe Martian for the Silver Mine Pressing. I think we'll call it the Gloom Martian pressing - the site, although covered with Barum Boxing Club's tarpaulin, resembled a cross between Glastonbury on a bad day and a good day on the Somme! But in true stoic bulldog [no, sorry, this is North Devon] Jack Russell spirit, the merry band set to work. Children covered in mud ... no change there then! Adults covered in mud ... no change for me!

The work was going well, all be it slippery. The Mine Captain, Mitch Warburton, had a party of visitors from the Friends of Devon Society to show round the silver mine site - I'm not sure what they made of our antics - so we were left to puddle on unsupervised. It's hard treading apples when they are wet! All this said, another 50 odd gallons were poured into the waiting barrels.

We have been asked how the general public can obtain some of this highly medicinal potion ... only licenced persons are allowed to purvey it. Unfortunately, none of have a licence.

We have tried other legal applications: a hair restorer - Mitch tried it but he still looks like the white ball on the Institute snooker table; an underarm deodorant - attracted too many fruit flies; a soap on a rope - liquids tend not to stay on bits of string; paint stripper - no good. I guess we'll just have to drink it ourselves.




When the new premises of the Combe Martin Museum are opened next year, it is proposed to have facilities for researching your Family History. We are being helped by Devon Libraries in the venture. Between now and early next year, we shall have a few local Parish Records at Combe Martin Library for you to look at. Should you need help in finding out how to go about researching your family, I'll gladly help you. Please 'phone me on 882167.

Jean Skowronski



We should like to thank all who assisted with the Biggest Coffee Morning at the end of September and those who supported us with their attendance and donations, helping us to raise the sum of £513.



The North Devon Hospice will again be holding Light up a Life Services this Christmas. This is an opportunity to remember loved ones at this special time of year by lighting a candle in their memory at one of their uplifting services:

  • Sunday, 7th December: Methodist Church, Combe Martin 6.30 p.m.
  • Sunday, 7th December: Holy Trinity Church, Ilfracombe 6.30 p.m.
  • Monday, 8th December: St. Sabinus Church, Woolacombe, 7.00 p.m
  • Wednesday, 10th December: Holy Trinity Church, West Down, 7.00 p.m.



The Combe Martin Branch of this Charity held a Coffee Morning on 15th October.

We were especially pleased to welcome quite a few Berrynarbor folk and wish to thank you for making the effort to be there, for your contributions and gifts and for your general support.

You will be pleased to know that you helped raise £340 for this very worthy charity.

Ethel Parkin - Secretary



"Welcome! wild rock and lonely shore,
Where round my days dark seas shall roar;
And they gray fane*, Morwenna, stand
The beacon of the Eternal land."

Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker

*fane - archaic word for church.

I had only seen Morwenstow Church from the sea previously, while on board the Balmoral on a cruise from Ilfracombe to Padstow. The tower came into view first, a prominent landmark to ships, and then the old vicarage could be seen, nestled in its dell between high cliffs, and from 1834 until 1875, home to the famous Reverend Hawker described as a noble hearted eccentric.

Three months later, on an autumn Sunday that was more like high summer than any day in August had been, we crossed the border to visit the church of Saint Morwenna and Saint John the Baptist and to explore its stretch of coast.

Hawker's Hut

Morwenstow is in Cornwall, but only just, about eight miles south of Hartland, it is the most northerly of Cornish parishes. The Celtic Saint Morwenna was one of twenty four children of the ninth century Welsh King Brychan. In 'Westward Ho!', Charles Kingsley described the Atlantic coast there as "a howling wilderness of rock and roller, barren to the fisherman and hopeless to the shipwrecked mariner."

Under the trees at the top of the churchyard are the graves of many sailors including those from the brig, the Caledonia of Arbroath which sank in 1842, on her homeward journey from Odessa. The ship's figurehead was placed next to the graves and has recently been restored. It had been usual to cast the drowned bodies of sailors into a single pit just above the high water mark without inquest or religious rite, but the Reverend Hawker would search amongst the rocks for the victims of wrecks and ensure that they received a Christian burial.

Above the church porch is a sundial with the inscription "Life is like a shadow". The church is large for such a sparsely populated parish and has many unusual features. The Saxon font is an irregular oval shape, with a cable moulding, like a twisted rope around its middle. One of the Norman arches in the north aisle is decorated at its centre with a grotesque face, part man, part bird. The carved oak bench ends are Tudor. There is a Mediaeval fresco in the chancel, possibly depicting Morwenna. The rood screen incorporated carvings of deer and oxen feeding on vine leaves. A boss in the wagon roof of the chancel shows a pelican feeding her young.

When a visitor commented on the 'zig-zags' on the capitals of some of the pillars, the Reverend Hawker explained that the chevron pattern represented the waves on the Sea of Galilee.

The Reverend
Robert Stephen Hawker

The Vicarage, Morwenstow

The Church of Saint Morwenna and
Saint John the Baptist

Next to the church is the vicarage, designed by Hawker in 1837, with chimneys made to resemble in miniature the towers of churches with which he had been associated. In its garden is a holy well, the water from it used for baptisms.

We walked across the glebeland fields and along the coast path to Hawker's Hut, a tiny hut with a turf roof, set into the side of the four hundred foot cliff, which the Reverend Hawker had built himself out of driftwood. It has been preserved by the National Trust and is the smallest property in its care. It was here that the Reverend Hawker came seeking inspiration for his sermons and poetry and it was here, too, that he was visited in 1848 by the Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. The following year Charles Kingsley came to see the clergyman in his hut. We clambered down to it, opened the stable door and sat inside watching the waves crashing far below and the ravens flying past with their 'cronking' cry and it was strange to think of the Reverend Hawker sitting in the same spot a hundred and sixty years ago, composing his sermons and being visited by those famous authors, with the sea pinks and yellow toadflax and wild scabious growing all around.

Continuing south we descended the steep drop to Tidna Water, with patches of water mint and betony and a pair of wheatears getting ready for their long autumn journey; then up to Higher Sharpnose Point with its wartime lookout, now serving as a useful shelter. The promontory is so high and narrow that it has been described as 'almost an arete' - like a mountain crest. But it makes a good viewpoint, overlooking sixty miles of coastline and Lundy seen from a different angle to the one we are used to.

On neighbouring Lower Sharpnose Point is a collection of large white dish aerials used for surveillance. [When we had turned off the Atlantic Highway for Morwenstow, we had passed a discreet sign with the letters GCHQ.] Originally set up to monitor Soviet satellites, it was claimed that the site was a primary target during the height of the Cold War. I recalled those few days in 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world held its collective breath, while we felt we were on the brink of Armageddon.

We returned our steps to Morwenstow and its church, forever linked with the memory of its former vicar, the humane Robert Hawker, whose normal garb combined the clerical collar with a fisherman's jersey and boots; who originated and made popular the celebration of the harvest festival and wrote 'The Song of the Western Men' [otherwise known as 'Trelawny'] which became an unofficial National Anthem for Cornwall.

He placed a stone over the doorway of the vicarage with this verse inscribed:

'A house, a glebe, a pound a day,
A pleasant place to watch and pray!
Be true to church, be kind to poor,
O minister for evermore.'

Sue H


Artwork: Helen Weedon


I write this article whilst on holiday. Yet in many ways I could easily be in North Devon. A 'mewing' buzzard circles above a wooded valley with a stream that is destined either to meet the sea at a rocky inlet or spill out on to the sands of a wide, sweeping beach. It's like having Lee Bay and Woolacombe Bay just around the corner.

Alternatively, the stream will flow into a river which will disperse at a gaping estuary where curlews continue their never-ending search for food under the sands and where the call of an oyster catcher echoes across the sand dunes. For all intents and purposes, it could be the Taw or Torridge estuary.

Elsewhere, deeply sloping valleys are replaced by gently rolling hills and miles upon miles of hedgerows. The scene makes for an eerily familiar patchwork quilt - even the ploughed earth is red.

However, distant sights give the game away. To the north lie hills which rise to become mountains. Looking west, tall thin chimneys choke out smoke and naked flames.

To the east is another source of industry; this time wind turbines which shatter the rural picture. It is a sight which, for a little longer, at least, confirms that I am not in North Devon. Is our countryside really to be tainted by these mechanical monsters?

Within closer proximity are other reminders that I am away from home. Gone are the cosy villages with thatched roofs whose cottages would, if they could, tell yarns of self-sufficient villagers who lived off the land. Hard times, but happy times. Today, the happy smiles and friendly 'hello' can still be found.

This is in contrast to the villages dotted in the countryside around me. The cottages lack warmth and vitality. If I was an artist, I'd repaint the scene without browns and greys so that the drab, pebble-dashed buildings would individually stand out. Instead, these cottages reflect a different industrial era, one of coal rather than agriculture, and one devoid of any happy times, or so it seems.

Standing upon a headland, I look across the waters to a distant stretch of land - my home. Its presence on the scene brought my father to mind.

Oh, how I would get upset every December when he would turn down my invitation to spend Christmas at my place. Now, older myself, I have become just like him! Just as that distant land on the horizon is reminding me now, there is indeed nowhere quite like North Devon. And there is nowhere like home, especially at Christmas.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and happy new year.

Stephen McCarthy

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Angela Bartlett



This month I have chosen a postcard taken and published by F. Frith & Co., Ltd. of Reigate towards the end of 1939. The postcard is numbered 89036 and shows Pitt Hill with the Manor Stores, now in 2008 known as Flowerdew Cottage, on the left. Following further down is the original single storey cottage opposite the entrance to the Globe, completely transformed by Charlie Layton in the late 1950's and now known as Blue Mist. Then there is the series of cottages with the roof of Langleigh [Boarding] House just showing.

On the right is the window of Dormer Cottage [Miss Muffets], the gardens of Whitley Cottage and Corfe Cottage before the 'TEAS' sign for The Globe Public House. Finally on the right, is the roof and chimneys of Fuchsia Cottage.

Note the girl sitting outside the Manor Stores and the Cadbury's Chocolate Bar dispenser, as well as the interestingly shaped windows, with the top glass panels almost chapel-like. Also of note is the large telephone pole outside The Globe with over 20 isolated cables. The postcard itself was sent in the 1940's from Ilfracombe to a lady in Torquay and posted with a King George VI green 11/2d and an orange 1/2d stamp.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 2008
E-Mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com


What the Papers Said 150 Years Ago

28th October 1858:

A CHILD MORTALLY BURNT - On Friday, an inquest was held at Berrydown Cross, before R. Bremridge, Esq., county coroner, on the body of Emily Jewell, a girl between seven and eight years of age, the daughter of James Jewell, a labourer, residing in the hamlet. It appeared that on Wednesday morning, the father and mother left the house, the former to go to his work and the latter to the mill to get her grist ground, leaving the deceased and a younger child to take care of themselves as best they could. After the mother was gone, the children fastened the door by pushing something over the latch to prevent other children entering the house. In the course of the morning the neighbours perceived the smell of fire, and soon ascertained that it proceeded from Jewell's house. As the door was fastened they had to force it open; and, on doing so, found the elder girl burnt in a miserable manner. Mr. Stoneham, surgeon, of this town, was sent for, and on his arrival, pronounced the case to be hopeless. The poor child lingered until the next morning, when death put a period to her sufferings. The verdict of the Jury was in accordance with the facts, but the coroner thought it his duty to address the parents in strong terms of censure for their carelessness in leaving children so young in the house by themselves. It appeared that about eight years ago they had a child, of the same age, burnt to death under similar circumstances, and a third had since suffered from a like casualty, though the injuries had not proved mortal.

4th November 1858 County Courts [Before John Tyrrell, Esq., Judge.]

Tuesday, November 2nd -THE GAME LAWS -Quick v. Beer - Plaintiff is a farm servant, lately in the employment of Mr. Ley, of Crosshill, in the parish of Berrynarbor; and the defendant, gamekeeper to Arthur Davie Bassett, Esq., of Watermouth. The action was brought to recover £1.15s, the value of a gun and a quantity of powder and shot, the property of Quick, which Beer had illegally seized and taken possession of on the 20th of Sept., last. Mr. Incledon Bencraft appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Hooper Law for the defendant. The plaintiff and James Ley [brother of his late master] were recently summoned before the Bench of Magistrates at Combmartin, for trespassing in quest of game, and convicted and fined for the offence; although the defence set up was, that they were upon ground where they had a right to be, and employed in farm operations - that the farmer had the right to kill rabbits, etc. It appeared that on the day named the two young men went to the field to work, taking with them a gun, intending to kill a rabbit if one should chance to start up - that Ley fired off the gun, which had been loaded several days, throwing up a stone as a mark at which to aim - that immediately after the gamekeeper and the Rev. Arthur Crawford Bassett entered the field and demanded who had fired the gun to which the plaintiff returned an evasive answer. Beer then searched in the hedgerow and found the gun hid under Quick's coat, of which he took possession, together with a quantity of powder and shot in the pockets of the coat. Evidence was given pro and con., the plaintiff and

his witness denied that either beat or searched for game, and Beer deposed that he saw Quick fire, and both beating the covers, though he confessed he was at a great distance at the time and several hedges intercepted the view. His Honour reviewed the evidence, and said he did not consider that adduced by the plaintiff worthy to be trusted, as much as that of the game-keeper. Judgement for the defendant - Mr. Law declined to ask for costs.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 2008



The caustic and cynical definitions contained in the Devil's Dictionary are the work of Ambrose Bierce. During his lifetime, 1842 - 1914, he was a writer, poet and journalist, as well as being a veteran of the American Civil War.

His best known creation was the Dictionary, in which he sought to influence enlightened people who prefer dry wines to sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to humour and clear English to slang.

Browsing through the work at random one comes upon many gems. Here are a few:

  • Achievement - The death of endeavour and the birth of disgust
  • Adore - To venerate expectantly
  • Armour - The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith
  • Barometer - An ingenious instrument which indicates the kind of weather we are having
  • Bore - A person who talks when you wish him to listen
  • Coward - One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs
  • Famous - Conspicuously miserable
  • Fidelity - A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed
  • Hermit - A person whose vices and follies are not sociable
  • Hope - Desire and expectation rolled into one
  • Influence - In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid
  • Language - The music with which we charm the serpent guarding another person's treasure
  • Misfortune - The kind of fortune that never misses
  • Painting - The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic
  • Politics - The conduct of public affairs for private advantage
  • Telephone - An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable keep his distance
  • Twice - Once too often




That was the question I asked in the piece I wrote for the October Newsletter [see page 39], and from research I have been doing recently, the answer may be forthcoming in a couple of years hence.

It appears that for some time there has been a shortage of five pound notes. The banks seem reluctant to issue this denomination in paper currency but nobody knows the reason why. Shopkeepers have remarked on the scarcity of the 'fiver' and rumours abound on the possibility of the note eventually being withdrawn and demonetised. To support this theory, it is interesting to learn of the activities of the Royal Mint in recent years during which time they have been striking cupro-nickel coins of five pounds value on an experimental basis, the coins being confined to low mintings.

These coins have been struck to commemorate certain important historical events. For instance, in 1999 a coin, measuring 38mm in diameter - that is large - was issued for the millennium. On the reverse side the design showed a representation of the British Isles with a pair of clock hands emanating from Greenwich, set at twelve o'clock with the inscription 'anno domini', with the denomination five pounds and the dates 1999 and 2000. The designer was Jeffrey Matthews who also has been responsible for the designs on many of our postage stamps. The mintage of the £5 coin was small, some 51,500 pieces.

Another coin, issued in 2001, was commemorating the Victorian Anniversary. The design was of a classic portrait of the young Queen Victoria based on the penny black postage stamp with a 'V' representing Victoria and taking the form of railway lines and in the background the iron framework of the Crystal Palace with the denomination five pounds and the dates 1901 and 2001. Again, the coin measures 38mm in diameter and was rather heavy. The actual mintage was only 21,000.

Since then further experimental coins have been issued between 2003 and 2007, the mintings varying from 50,000 to 100,500 per annum.

It is my guess that, by Twenty-ten, we shall be waving goodbye to the paper fiver and begin coping with its weighty successor.




2nd Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Christmas Party
5th Primary School PTA: Friday Night is 'Bingo Nite' - all welcome
6th Christmas Coffee Morning: Lee Lodge, 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon
7th Sunshine Stories with Puppets, Marwood Hill Garden, 11.30/ 2.30 pm
8th Ladies' Group: Christmas Lunch, Chambercombe Manor
10th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m. Primary School: Christingle Service & Christmas Bazaar, Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m: Christmas Food and Drink
11th Primary School: KS1 Nativity
13th Christmas Farmers' Market, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
15th Primary School: Senior Dude's Christmas Meal, School Bistro, 5.30pm
17th St. Peter's Church: Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.
18th Primary School: Giving Day and Christmas Service at St. Peter's, 2.30 p.m.
19th Primary School & College: End of Autumn Term
20th Manor Hall: Christmas Card Coffee Morning, 10.30 a.m.
22nd Carols and Christmas Sing-a-Long, The Square, 6.30 p.m.
24th NO LIBRARY. St. Peter's Church: Blessing of the Crib and 'Midnight Service', 9.30 p.m.
25th CHRISTMAS DAY St. Peter's Church: Family Communion with Carols, 11.00 a.m.
31st New Year's Eve
1st Bank Holiday
5th Primary School & College: Start of Spring Term
6th Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m., AGM - Speaker, Margaret Crabbe, the WRVS
7th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
21st Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
28th Friendship Lunch: The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
3rd Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Bernard Hill, The Work of the Stockman

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 2.00 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
FridaysTerm time only: Toddlers Soft Play and Activity
Penn Curzon RoomTerm time only: Monday - Friday Mornings: Berrynarbor Pre-School

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.20 - 12.05 p.m.Sandy Cove
1.15 - 1.35 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley





[A guide to festive drinking]

Here's to good old ale,
Drink it down, drink it down.

Here's to good old ale,
Drink it down.

Here's to good old ale,
It will never fail,

Drink it down, drink it down,
Drink it down.

Here's to good old beer,
It fills you with good cheer.

Here's to good old brandy,
It keeps you fine and dandy.

Here's to good old cider,
It warms you up inside yer.

Here's to good old gin,
Not to drink it is a sin.

Here's to good old mead,
It's very good indeed.

Here's to good old perry
It keeps you feeling merry.

Here's to good old rum,
It stops you feeling glum.

Here to good old sherry
[see perry] It keeps you feeling merry.

Here's to good old whiskey,
It makes you feel quite frisky.

Here's to good old wine,
It makes you feel just fine.

[With acknowledgements to the original] - Anyone brave have a good rhyme for vodka?




The Mummers - An amateur band of players going from house to house at Christmas time and performing 'St. George and the Dragon', etc., in a dumb show - hence the name [Brewer].

As time went by, words in rhyme were added, also extra characters, for example 'Bold Slasher'. The object was, of course, to raise money. When I was 8 or 9, my elder brother and some of his pals got together to do the same, and I was included. My part was 'Little Devil Doubt' and I had to rush in with a broom and cry:

    "Here I am, Little Devil Doubt,
    If you don't give me money, I'll sweep you all out.
    Money I want and money I crave,
    If you don't give me money,
    I'll sweep you to the grave."

The Waits - People who sing carols outside houses at Christmas time, especially on Christmas morning. The name originated from the watchmen of former times who blew a horn to mark the passing of the night hours. They later developed into uniformed town bands [ Brewer]. I well remember hearing them on Christmas morning while lying in bed and opening my stocking. My father maintained that our own band used to swap places with a band from another town and for that reason, refused to contribute. I don't suppose it occurred to him that people in the other town were supporting our own!

Wassail [old English Waes Hael - Be Well]

    Here we come a-wassailing,
    Among the leaves so green.
    Here we come a-wassailing
    So plainly to be seen.
    Love and joy come to you
    And to you your wassail too,
    And God bless you and send you
    A Happy New Year,
    And send you a Happy New Year.

The Wassail, or more exactly the Wassail Bowl, containing spiced ale, was carried from house to house by young women on New Year's Eve and presented to the inhabitants, together with a song as above, expecting a small tip in return [Brewer].




Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Some dates for your diaries of coming events:

  • Friday 5th December: Bingo to raise money for Berrynarbor PTA, at The Globe. Details to be confirmed - please look out for posters
  • Saturday 13th December: Christmas Party at The Sawmill. 5-Course Dinner & Disco £18.50per person. Places are now limited so 'phone soon to book a table.
  • Sunday 14th December: Christmas Quiz, 8.30pm at The Globe. Come early to get a table.
  • Friday 19th December: Live Music in the bar at The Globe - "Songbird, Warble Fly and Walter Cress" Skiffle and sing-a-long.
  • Wednesday 24th December: Christmas Eve Draw at The Globe. Tickets are now available at the bar at 25p each.
  • Friday 26th December: Boxing Day End Of Year Quiz, 8.30pm at The Globe BUT come EARLY to get a table!
  • Monday 29th December: Games Night at The Globe - Pool, Skittles & Darts. Teams of 4 for an 8 o'clock start.
  • Wednesday 31st December: New Year's Eve Party at The Globe. This year's theme is '50's & 60's' Rock 'n' Roll, so get creative with those costumes! Free Buffet at 9.00 p.m. Live Music in the Bar 10.00 - 11.00 p.m. Disco in the Back Room 10.00 p.m. to 1.00 a.m. Children Under 14 years are welcome in the Back [Family] Room from 6.00 p.m. until 10.00 p.m. Bar open until 2.00 a.m. with music to listen or dance to in the Bar from 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. and then after the Band 11.00 p.m. until approximately 2.00 a.m.


  • Thursday 1st January: Beetle Drive at The Globe, everyone welcome.
  • Saturday 10th January: Curry Night at The Globe
  • Sunday 11th January: [Fortnightly] Quiz Night at The Globe 8.30pm start.
  • Saturday 17th January: Team Dinner & Disco at The Sawmill ..for all players in The Globe or Sawmill Teams [Darts, Skittles and Pool]
  • Saturday 24th January: "All You Can Eat" Chinese Night at The Sawmill £9.95 per person. Book Early!

Our Opening Times Over Christmas:

The Globe
[as normal except]:
The Sawmill
[as normal except]:
Christmas DayBar open 11.30-2.00 [no food] Night: ClosedClosed
Boxing Day NormalClosed
New Year's Eve No food, free buffet From 9.00 p.m.Open for food, 6.00 to 8.30 p.m. Bar closes 9.00 pm
New Year's Day NormalClosed

We should like to wish all our customers, old and new A Very Happy Christmas and a Great 2009

Don & Edith, Karl & Lou, Karen & Boys and all the Staff



Winter 2008

I am writing this note to remind you
That inflation has taken away
The things that I hold most essential -
My heating, my lighting, my pay.

So, forget Christmas cards and roast turkey,
Red peppers and peaches and cream,
The things that I once took for granted
Are now an impossible dream.

But you'll know that I wish you sincerely,
The best for the season ahead,
As I pull on my old woollen bonnet
And retire, in the cold, to my bed.

Edith Stewart

Lisa Shelley


Wishing all Readers
A Very Merry Christmas
a Happy New Year