Edition 123 - December 2009
December and Christmas is just round the corner. Panic . . . cakes, puddings, presents, cards to organise!
Once again your Christmas messages sent via the Newsletter will boost both its funds and those of the Manor Hall. Thank you. Thank you, too, to Debbie for her borders [and teddies] to enhance the messages, also for the wrap-round winter scene cover.
Congratulations to Isabel and Tolly for their delightful Christmas cards that accompany the News from the Primary School.
Since the last issue I was delighted to hear from Mike Cottee, who many of you will no doubt remember. Mike was born in Combe Martin and says: "I worked for the late Claude Richards in the late '60's and early '70's . . . mainly at Hammonds Farm but on occasions did the milk round in Berrynarbor. I sometimes felt more at home in Berry than I did in Combe Martin." He was pleased to see that the community spirit in the village is alive and well and remembers, with pleasure, working with Ron Toms, 'a very kind and gentle man'.
I was sorry to read in the paper, following Walter's article on Gold Hill, Shaftsbury, that it is now on the 'slippery slope' and crumbling due to dispute regarding its responsibility between the Town and County Councils.
A warm welcome to all newcomers [and some returning] to the village, we hope you will be happy here. And a 'Get Well' message to anyone not feeling at their best just now - we hope you feel better soon.
Thinking beyond Christmas, the next issue will be February 2010, the year when the Newsletter will come of age! Items for February will be welcome as soon as possible and by Thursday, 14th January at the latest please. February is also time for finances. With ever-increasing prices, from February, I am afraid advertising charges will be going up: £5 per 1/4 page £25 for 6 issues] and £10 per 1/2 page £40 for 6 issues].
My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed not only to this issue but throughout the year and to all readers for your continued support.
My best wishes to you all, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.
Judie - Ed
BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP
Nineteen members attended the October meeting, when birthday cards were given to Betty Brooks, Janet Gammon and Ann Williams.
Mr. Roger Groos then began his talk on Reflex Zone Therapy. The principle is well judged pressure on the soles of the feet, which helps to alleviate anxiety and poor sleep patterns and also beneficial effects on other parts of the body. This therapy dates back many years. The Egyptians used foot massage for healing around 2330BC. Roger gave each member a diagram showing which part of the foot relates to parts of the body.
At the end of the meeting, members enjoyed the usual tea and biscuits. The raffle was won by Jenny Cox.
The November meeting was held on the 3rd when eighteen members attended. A birthday card was given to Joan McCallam.
The speaker was Mr. Barry Webb who is the Station Commander
in Ilfracombe for the
There are less house fires now than there were 25 years ago
when Barry joined the Fire Service and this is due to the construction of new
houses, installation of smoke alarms and fire retardant furniture. The greater risk now is of flooding. The call centre is situated in Topsham,
The raffle was won by Janet Steed.
The next meeting will be the Christmas Party on 1st December, when sherry and mince pies will be on offer! This will be the usual time of in the Manor Hall. Member Margaret Crabbe will be the speaker on 5th January when she will be telling us about her experiences as a Special Constable.
This will be a good start to the new year, so please come and join us in the Manor Hall. Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.
I was saddened to learn from Patsy that her husband, Alan, had died, following a long time of illness, on the 2nd October. I am sure that everyone will join me in sending Patsy, her daughter Lisa and the family, our prayers and thoughts at this time of sorrow and bereavement.
Not many readers will have had a chance to meet my husband, Alan, even though we moved to the village nine years ago. This was because, following a stroke, he was unable to walk very far - and not keen on using a wheelchair - we were not, therefore, able to join in with all the lovely village activities.
I am sad to say that Alan, after a long series of illnesses
stretching back twelve years, lost his fight for life in the
It is now my strong faith in our Lord, which he shared, which I must rely upon knowing that the Lord has called him home.
It was with sadness we learned that Margaret had passed away suddenly at home on the 9th October. Margaret and her late husband Graham were actively involved in the life of our village and our thoughts are with all their family and friends.
Margaret came to Berrynarbor when she married Graham and they
lived for many years at Tree Tops on the
She played a full part in the life of St. Peter's Church, acting as Secretary to the Parochial Church Council. On her retirement, and ten years ago, Margaret qualified as a Reader, mainly taking services at St. Peter's and in Combe Martin.
A keen member of the W.I., Margaret served on the Committee as well as acting as Vice-President. She and Graham were dog lovers, enjoying the company of their King Charles spaniel and Bichon Frise.
In 2002, when Graham's health began to fail, they moved to Combe Martin to be nearer amenities. Sadly he died just over three years later.
Bereft, Margaret suffered a fall from which she never really recovered,
becoming housebound and devoting her time to her beloved poodle, Tammy, who was with her when she died.
Many of you will remember Bernard and Arline Lewis who spent
28 very happy years here in the village at
Earlier this year, Arline moved to a home to be cared for and
nearer her family in
Our thoughts are with their daughters Merilyn and Susan and grandchildren Daniel, Katie and Charles at this time of sadness.
Hedi Belka has long been a supporter of the Manor Hall and has acted as Caretaker for more years than she cares to remember!
So it is sad that she has decided to retire from the role. Consequently, I'd like to record everyone's sincere thanks for her much appreciated contribution over the years.
With Christmas fast approaching, please remember you can again send your greetings cards within the village using the Manor Hall distribution box, to be found in the Shop. All donations will be appreciated and will go towards funds for the Hall for 2010. Please put Saturday, 19th December as a 'not to be missed' date in your diary and on your calendars for the customary Coffee Morning in the Hall, with festive goodies, carol singing, raffle and more! Meet from
The New Year is when we'll be trialling a Saturday morning 'Table Top Sale', aka Indoor Boot Fair. We'll need 8 - 10 tables to be booked to ensure viability . . . please 'phone me on 889298 if you'd be interested in booking.
There is also the prospect of a Jazz Evening - provisionally for Saturday, 20th February and new Beaford Arts events for the spring . . . so lots in store!
All for now, except best wishes from your Hall Management Committee for the Festive Season.
Colin Trinder - Chairman
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
The bright reds, oranges and yellows of the flowers brought the church alive for the celebration of Harvest Festival on Sunday, 4th October. Thank you once again to our talented team of arrangers. The porch looked particularly welcoming and pumpkins were brought in from the Tongues of Fire event. The Sunday service was a truly family occasion with children from the School singing and also the village choir. Harvest Evensong and Supper were not so well attended this year - about 30 in all coming so soon after the Saturday event. But those of us who were there enjoyed a delicious meal, once again prepared by the ladies of the church. The food looked most inviting and by the end very little was left! Michael Bowden and Bill Huxtable made short work of the auction of produce raising just over £50, and together with the church collection and donations, we'll again be able to send £100 to Water Aid.
Candles were lit and placed on the altar on Sunday afternoon, 25th October, for All Saints Day - a moving service for those who came to remember family and friends. There was time afterwards to talk and share tea and biscuits.
The Remembrance Service on the 8th November was very well attended. Wreaths were laid by the Parish Council and the Church and the Last Post and Reveille were sounded by Ivan Clarke. Our thanks also to Chris James who officiated and to the choir who sang 'From a Distance' by Julie Gold - beautiful!
A Coffee Morning was held on Saturday, 24th October, arranged after the magazines had gone to press. Nevertheless, £134.30 was raised for church funds thanks to all who contributed and supported us on the day.
There will not be a Friendship Lunch in December and details of the January one will be announced later.
LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
We often complain about the
commercialisation of Christmas and Father Christmas appearing in shops and on
cards in August. Well, I remember a
story about a class full of children in
Now, presents, children and Father Christmas are all linked. Father Christmas is the same as Santa Claus, a European variation of our Saint Nicholas who was a Bishop in the year 326 and whose saint's day is the 6th December.
He was going home one night and overheard a conversation through an open window which indicated that the children were to be sold off the next morning into slavery because the family were so poor. This was to be their last night together as a family and Nicholas was determined to do something about it. In the dead of night, he crept back to the house, leaned through the open window and deposited a gold coin in each of the sandals at the foot of the bed. The family were saved by the 'miracle', although it didn't take them too long to discover that it was Nicholas who was responsible. That's why we have Chocolate 'gold coins' in our stockings at Christmas, and why we have Father Christmas, which actually means the Father who gives Christ's Blessing. Christ's Blessing is for all God's children, whatever their chronological age. His Blessing or gift for us all is the gift of eternal life.
With all good wishes for a Happy Christmas and Wonderful New Year.
Your friend and Rector,
KING EDWARD VIII [1894-1972]
to the throne:
Edward was not a traditionalist, evidenced on patterns for the proposed coinage, where he insisted against all advice on having his effigy face the same way as his father's, instead of opposite. He also let it be known that in the inscriptions of the coins, he preferred to do away with the normal Latinisation of Edward - Edwardus - leaving the inscription plain Edward.
No coins of Edward VIII were issued for currency within the
This was the same with the Maundy Money which was to be issued in 1936 - proof sets were struck by the Royal Mint. Several sets of those Maundy coins, four in number, found their way on to the market and were offered at auction. I was fortunate enough to acquire a set of the coins.
From my archives I have selected the Instrument of Abdication
and the complete text of the King's farewell message on the radio on
LONDON, Dec. 11 - following is the text of the farewell broadcast of former King Edward, who was introduced to the radio audience as 'His Royal Highness Prince Edward':
At long last I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never wanted to withhold anything, but until now it has not been constitutionally possible for me to speak.
A few hours ago I discharged my last duty as King and Emperor. And now that I have been succeeded by my brother, the Duke of York, my first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with all my heart.
You know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the throne, but I want you to understand that in making up my mind I did not forget the country or the empire which, as Prince of Wales and lately as King, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve.
But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.
And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine and mine alone.
This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself. The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course.
I have made this the most serious decision of my life only upon the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all.
This decision has been made less difficult for me by the sure knowledge that my brother, with his long training in the public affairs of this country and with his fine qualities, will be able to take my place forthwith without interruption or injury to the life and progress of the empire, and he has one matchless blessing, enjoyed by so many of you and not bestowed upon me, a happy home with his wife and children.
During these hard days, I have been comforted by Her Majesty, my mother, and by my family. The Ministers of the Crown and in particular Mr. Baldwin, the Prime Minister, have always treated me with full consideration.
There has never been any constitutional difference between me and them and between me and Parliament. Bred in the constitutional traditions by my father, I should never have allowed any such issue to arise.
Ever since I was Prince of Wales and after on, when I occupied the throne, I have been treated with the greatest kindness by all classes of the people wherever I have lived or journeyed throughout the empire. For that I am very grateful. I now quit altogether public affairs and I lay down my burden.
It may be some time before I return to my native land, but I shall always follow the fortunes of the British race and empire with profound interest and if, at any time in the future, I can be found of service to His Majesty in a private station I shall not fail.
And now we all have a new King. I wish him and you, his people, happiness and prosperity with all my heart.
God bless you all! God save the King!
1936 saw the unprecedented situation of the country having three monarchs on the throne:
V - 1910 to January 1936
Edward VIII - January to December 1936
George VI - December 1936 to February 1952
WEATHER OR NOT
After a disappointing July and August, September was a much improved month. The first few days were wet and windy but then a high pressure became established over us and the weather settled to warm, dry and calm, just in time for our annual fortnight to the Scillies! The total rainfall for the month was 78mm [3 1/8"], most of which fell in the first four days, which was also when we recorded the strongest gust of wind of 28 knots. The maximum temperature of 21.4 Deg C was actually down on all the previous Septembers we have recorded, but the minimum of 6.4 Deg C was about average. We had 121.04 hours of sunshine which was slightly more than the last couple of years, but was not a record.
The dry weather continued into October giving us a chance to get the garden back under control, but on Tuesday 20th, the heavens opened! The rain started to fall about 0945 hrs and within 21/2 hours we had had 30mm [1 3/16"] and by 1400 hrs the rain gauge had collected 41mm [1 9/16"]. The final total for the day was 42mm. Despite this it was the fourth driest October that we have ever recorded with 117mm [4 5/8"] in the whole month. The temperatures, particularly towards the end of the month, were above average although the highest daytime temperature of 18.3 Deg C was, if anything, slightly below the norm. 66.37 hours of sunshine were recorded which was also higher than average. Winds were light for the majority of the time with a maximum gust of 28 knots on the 24th.
The first of November heralded a complete change in the weather, with gales and heavy showers - autumn seems to have arrived with a vengeance.
We should like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Simon and Sue
Many readers will remember Chris Jesson and her late husband, Edward, who lived at Brambly Hedge. In 2004, Chris moved to Nottinghamshire to be nearer her family. For many years she has been a counsellor for Cruse Bereavement Care and to celebrate their Golden Jubilee, a reception took place in St. James's Palace in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, their Royal Patron.
Thank you Chris for sharing your special day with us. She writes:
I suspect that invitations were sent out to cover one [at
least] guest from each branch and I felt very privileged to be chosen to
My biggest fear was that with a strange handbag to carry, I'd
be out of routine and could easily lose my purse, and all the security I had to
take, somewhere along the way. But, by
following the rules, I found my way to the
Security was there but very discreetly. No one looking at credentials looked more than anyone inviting us into their own home and the atmosphere was immediately relaxing. We were spread through three state rooms [including the throne room], mostly ladies but a fair number of men too. There must have been several hundred of us, all looking very smart in afternoon clothes, but by no means overdressed.
There were drinks and canapes brought round on trays and people being presented were advised in advance to line each side of a central path and were presented in turn when the Queen approached.
I was just behind this line-up and so close I could have touched her and at least claimed eye contact and a smile - or did I imagine this?
I am not very tall, as you know, but I am taller than the Queen, still slightly built and wearing a simple light green two-piece. She had something to say to each person and was introduced to a considerable number, and the whole event went very smoothly. I was struck by the real interest she took in us. There must have been support and security all around, but we were hardly aware of this. She seemed to be managing the occasion on her own.
It was a rare privilege to be in a
Thank you CRUSE for making it possible.
SOME LOCAL CHARACTERS - 2
Dan and Lizzie Toms
Dan and his wife lived in Dormer House from where he used to keep a sharp eye on the young village lads, often 'phoning the police if he thought they were up to mischief.
One winter, after it had snowed heavily and the lads were having a grand time, Dan thought things were getting out of hand and decided to ring the police. As his home phone wasn't working, he had to use the public one, which at that time was sited where the bus shelter is now. Puffing on his pipe and muttering 'I'll put a stop to this', Dan made his way across to the 'phone box, dodging a few snowballs as he went. But, while he was making his call, the lads built up a large supply of snowballs and were waiting patiently for him to emerge; one even went up to the church and got on the roof of the 'phone box. His call finished, Dan opened the door, when an avalanche of snow was pushed off the box and a volley of snowballs came from the front. Dan hastily went back, shutting the door, and was now trapped inside by the lads. His pipe had got wet and gone out and there he had to stay until the lads decided to go and find some other sport!
Dan's wife Lizzie took in visitors and ran the cafe, so there was always washing to be done. She used to hang her lovely white table cloths, bed linen and towels on the grass area between the garage by The Globe and Tower Cottage. Often the village children would be playing football on the Manor Hall grass and many a time the muddy ball would hit the washing, and poor Lizzie would have to wash it all again!
In his article 'Old Berrynarbor - View No. 21' in February 1993, Tom wrote about Dan and Lizzie Toms and their children Reg and Vi, and included a photographic postcard of the family outside their home Woodvale in the Valley.
Photo reproduced from
Newsletter No. 22.
From Woodvale, the family moved to Middle Lee, where Lizzie sold full Devonshire Cream Teas to visitors who would arrive by Royal Red coach from Ilfracombe. When ill health forced Dan to give up farming, he and Lizzie moved into Dormer House, now Miss Muffet's and Dormer Cottage.
In October 2001, in his 'View No. 73', Tom showed a postcard from his collection entitled 'Tom's Tea Room, Steerage Valley', showing Dan Toms standing in the doorway of Middle Lee Farm, reproduced here.
HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT
After a 7-year stint, we feel that the Show, an enjoyable, successful and important event in the Village calendar, will be ready for a further injection of fresh blood and new ideas, and 2010 will be our seventh year of running the Show!
Before we took over, it was run under the umbrella of the Manor Hall Management Committee. The present Committee feel unable to take it back under their wing.
We are sorry to have lost two of our group this year, but have been fortunate to be able to take Jack, with his previous experience of such events, on board.
We are, therefore, looking for new recruits to come forward to join us for this year with a view to perhaps forming a group to take over for 2011.
If you would like to know more, please contact us or come along and join us when we next meet some time in March.
Please give positive thought to helping and give any one of us a ring. We look forward to hearing from you.
Yvonne [Davey - 882822], Jack [Gingell - 883306]
Pip and Tony [Summers - 883600], Judie [Weedon - 883544]
A FOOTNOTE TO WILL LERWILL
Scat, as he was affectionately known, never succumbed to mechanised farming. Everything was done by man and horse power.
He was very fond of little children and always found time for a natter. Our boys loved to feed bread to the glennies [guinea fowl]. They perched on top of the farm gate and set off an awful rattle when anyone approached.
On New Year's Eve, Scat would keep up an old local tradition by carrying a faggot of wood, on his pony, from Rowes to The Globe. At the stroke of , it was placed on the dying embers in the Kitchen Bar to light in the New Year. When the bells finished ringing,he would lead the gathering with his lovely, clear voice in singing traditional songs.
In spite of his hard physical life and his commitment to nursing his sick wife for many years, he always had a twinkle in his bright blue eyes and a quick witted sense of humour. Fondly remembered.
Michael and Lorna
The ringers would like to thank everyone involved in providing such a pleasurable evening at the Harvest Thanksgiving and Supper - a simple, meaningful service, good company and lovely food.
The Harvest Supper is an old nationwide country tradition. It brought the whole parish together to celebrate, catch up on news [or gossip] and exchange ideas.
In times past, in
Before the Manor Hall was available, this would have taken place in the Old Temperance Hall, the ruins of which still stand in the grounds of Orchard House, and would have been part of the original Rectory.
THE BEST PRESENT
Jack and May Bryant were living in Berrynarbor in 1936 and had a five-year-old daughter, June. A pretty little girl and popular with the other children in the village, she attended the school and was liked by the teachers who were always pleased with her response to their lessons.
June had always wanted a kitten and one day her father came home cuddling a pretty little bundle of fluff.
"What are we going to call her?" June's mother asked.
"Let's just call her Fluff", chirped June.
"What a good idea," her father agreed. So they were all happy.
Over the months, Fluff became a lovely Persian fully grown cat and every night would sleep at the foot of June's bed. Sadly, on the night of Christmas Eve, Fluff didn't come in.
June began to cry, "Where, of where is my darling Fluff?" she sobbed. Her parents were equally upset, not only for the missing pet but to see June crying so. They all went to bed with tears in their eyes.
At about on Christmas morning, Jack was awakened by a curious clinking sound. It was a moonlit night and as he looked out he could just make out a cat limping up the front garden path. "It's got to be Fluff" he thought to himself as he opened the door.
Sure enough it was Fluff! The clinking noise was due to a wire snare used for catching rabbits which was attached to Fluff's left back leg. Somehow she had managed to pull the peg out of the ground and get home.
"You poor thing", Jack whispered, as he picked her up and put her on the kitchen table, loosening the snare which he then cut with pliers.
Fortunately, the snare had only caused a cut and Fluff's leg was not broken. He bandaged the leg and carried her up to June's room, laying her on the bed.
Jack and May were awakened early by a very excited June. "She's back, she's back, isn't it wonderful?"
June cried. More tears, but this time tears of joy. That night as June said her prayers, she gave thanks for the
best Christmas she ever had - it was for her parents too!
Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland
The wedding of Jancy, only daughter of Ann and Brian Davies, and Simon, only son of Yvonne and John Overell of Ilfracombe, took place on the 12th September at Barley Town House, near Hitchin in Hertfordshire. It was a glorious day and a perfectly happy occasion. Congratulations from both families who wish them a very happy future together.
June Coleman is delighted to announce the safe arrival of her
third grandson, William Giles, who was born on 8th October in
It was open day at Lee Lodge to help Amy celebrate her 99th Birthday on the 11th November - one year to go for that special birthday card!
We also add our congratulations and very best wishes to Jancy and Simon, June and all her family and Amy.
NEWS FROM THE COMMUNITY
Another year has gone - and quite an eventful one: joining the Plunkett 'Making local food work' [which now yields nearly one third of our food takings]; winning the Countryside Alliance award for the Best Village Shop and Post office in the South West; opening all day for the summer visitors; Jackie leaving and Debbie now assisting Anita and, of course, Anita's extending our food range to an impressive choice.
For next year - there are plans for the erection of an outside canopy stretching between shop door and unloading cover thanks to a hard earned promise of £4000.grant. This will start as soon as we get planning permission and will then give us a chance to display vegetables and fruit, and reduce the amount we get wet when shopping!
From the great comments I've received, everyone enjoyed Tim and Tim's 'stroll around Lundy to see the birds and other wildlife' on November 12th. They put a lot of hard work into organising their presentation and the quiz beforehand, and we thank them for a very pleasant evening. The amount raised was £337, of which £72 was from the raffle. Cheques have gone out to both the North Devon Hospice in memory of Brian Hillier, and to our shop. Thank you to everyone who supported the evening.
Don't let Christmas shopping get you down this year - remember you can do quite a lot of it - quietly - in our shop! We shall shortly be taking orders for bread, cakes and meat - so please don't miss the deadline.
Tolly Ross-Bushell [age 5]
Isabel Astill-Chandler [age 8]
NEWS FROM THE
They have arrived! Our two expectant teachers have had their babies. Mrs. Carey had a baby boy on the 28th October, Gilbert William, weighing 9lbs 12oz! Unfortunately, Mrs. Barrow lost one of her twins at the birth, but has a lovely little girl, Ruby Susan, born on the 24th October and weighing 6lbs 1oz. We look forward to them coming in to school as soon as they can.
The rest of us carry on with many of our school Christmas traditions, including the Christingle and Christmas Fair on Tuesday, 8th December. The Senior Dudes Meal is on Monday, 14th December and the Christmas Service on Thursday, 17th December. The time and details of these events will follow - please look out for these in the Village Post Office.
We hope to put in a visit to the pantomime in
We made a brave decision to put our 'occasional' days together at the end of the October half-term so parents could take children away out of term time and take advantage of cheaper holidays without taking them out of school. This we hope has worked better for everyone and we are very grateful to those parents that did use this time. With an overwhelming level of support for this idea, we may well be doing it again.
The lovely pictures accompanying our news are the winners of our school Design a Christmas Card competition.
We wish you all a Happy Christmas and thank you for all your continued support.
Mary-Jane Newell - Acting Headteacher
A very wet and windy Saturday afternoon didn't deter the bargain hunters wending their way to the Manor Hall for the Jumble Sale organised by Vi and Bett. With lots of tables loaded with clothes, bric-a-brac, books and jigsaws and other items, the hall was buzzing as pounds and pennies changed hands. There were greetings cards, plants, welcome tea, coffee and biscuits and a raffle. Congratulations and thanks to Vi and Bett and all their helpers on a very successful afternoon, raising an amazing £210.
And a big THANK YOU from me and the Newsletter because funds have received a very welcome boost of £100!
ILFRACOMBE & DISTRICT COMMUNITY TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION is very grateful to the Berrynarbor Minibus Ring and Ride Ladies [Bett, Vi and Joan] who organised a jumble sale on Saturday, 21st November and as a result kindly made a donation of £110 to the Association. There are many people in Ilfracombe and the villages around who are eligible to use the community minibus services. Just ask! Joan Miller on 863425 has full information.
RURAL REFLECTIONS - 40
Mid-November, time for the annual climb into the loft to look for the box marked "XMAS CARDS". Not that I'll be writing them just yet. I do admit, however, to enjoying the task of writing Christmas cards; or more to the point, choosing which card to send to which person. So, with the kitchen table cleared after a very late lunch, its surface was soon concealed beneath a multitude of packs.
I surveyed all the cards on the table and instantly realised they had one universal feature. It was on the robin's branch; it was on the post box into which a small boy was on tiptoes posting his card; it lay across the field in which the stag stood; it was on the rooftops over which Santa and Rudolph were flying; it was even on the tall hats of the men driving the coach and horses in the Victorian urban scene. It was, of course, snow.
As my eyes took in the white scenes strewn across the table, my mind drifted back to last February when another table surface, this time in the garden, was hidden beneath real snow. I chuckled to myself as I recalled how the weather gods had decided to play a trick on us all. Rather than sprinkling little parcels of snow everywhere and dusting the countryside in white, the gods decided to deliver it by parcel force instead!
Some people were frustrated at the havoc it caused. Ilfracombe, for example, was temporarily cut off from the outside world. But the scene it created was purely magical. Unable to get to work, or indeed go anywhere, everyone just put on their big coats and boots and took advantage of an opportunity to observe our countryside shrouded beneath a white blanket. Residents from one village spoke to residents from another as they passed along a country footpath. Meanwhile complete strangers began having snowball fights in parks and whilst all other plants had their spring preparation halted, the snowdrops were given the chance to stand tall and boast their splendour and resilience in the face of harsh conditions.
Yet those early spring flowers seemed to benefit from being stopped in their tracks. As days passed by and daylight hours increased, urban and rural areas were dazzled by yellow. The green blades of open grassland disappeared beneath dandelions, daffodils dominated the parklands and hedgerows were immersed in primroses; and when the yellow subsided we were, once again, blessed with a magnificent carpet of bluebells in our woodlands; a carpet of blue which, for the third year running, peaked early as a result of warm temperatures.
The snow of late winter and the warm sunshine of spring rose hopes of a good summer. Optimists argued that the seasons were possibly returning to their natural pattern. A harsh spell in winter usually bodes well for a hot, dry summer, they were saying. Others were more sceptical; the previous two years had also seen exceptionally warm springs - then look what happened! By midsummer it seemed as though the pessimists were right; and by the end of August it was obvious that the weather gods had indeed played us another trick. Whilst the spring countryside had been healthy and vigorous, it didn't take a medical or environmental expert to diagnose how our countryside was feeling as summer reached its final stage: bedraggled and washed out.
Yet in early September [just as the children went back to school], the clouds began to break. The sun started to appear more and more on the daily register and the temperatures rose. Trees which had already allowed one or two leaves to decay and even fall decided it wasn't time to allow the other leaves to go the same way. By October we were having a mini renaissance, with temperatures well above the seasonal average. Midges were seen swarming along country lanes, small tortoiseshell butterflies were observed regularly following the contours of garden bushes and woodlands were abuzz with the droning sound of hover-flies.
Then came the strong winds - but the autumn leaves failed to fall. Once more the weather gods dealt a trick card, confusing the woodlands with warm, southerly winds. With the trees now thinking that summer had returned, they held steadfastly on to their golden leaves whilst their branches were violently tossed about. The sight was uncanny. The dawn of November heralded another bizarre observation closer to home, when a sparrow cleared out a nest box in the garden and began replacing it with new feathers and straw. Did the little creature also believe summer was still here?
My meandering thoughts were suddenly jolted by the sound of rain thudding against the window pane. Only then did I realise how dark the afternoon had become, causing the kitchen to lose much of its natural light. Unless it's just a squalid shower, I thought, I'll be drawing the curtains and switching on the lights prematurely today. Indeed, the next few weeks would no doubt see the curtains being pulled a little earlier with each passing December day.
I quickly decided upon the types of cards I needed to buy and packed away those I already had, having enjoyed my little reflection of this year's weather and its effects on the surrounding countryside. In a week or so I would begin the task of writing my cards, adding snippets of news from what had gone on over the past year. For that is what December is all about; a time for reflection and for making contact with people who, if it were not for Christmas, we might otherwise allow to permanently drift from our thoughts.
Christmas Day means many things to many people. For me, it represents a turning point; for we are past the shortest day. It is a fact that never fails to bring a smile to my face on Christmas morning, as I remind myself that some day soon I will no longer be turning the lights on earlier. The curtains will instead be drawn a little later. Come New Year, the time for reflection is over. It is time to look forward.
REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
Thank you to all who attended the Public Enquiry on the 8th and 9th September, and on the 6th November, regarding the footpaths at Watermouth Cove. And to those who braved the weather to walk around the headland with the Inspector on the 5th November. This was a very informative afternoon with a lot of local knowledge coming forward. My thanks also go to Councillor Paul Crockett for all his time and effort in joint assisting me in preparing and putting forward our case, also County Councillor Andrea Davis for her part in taking the lead role in the Enquiry and to County Councillor Rodney Cann for all his help and advice. We await the Inspector's decision.
I have been very fortunate in securing a £10,000 grant from The Lottery Awards for All fund for the refurbishment of the Manor Hall children's playground. The order has been placed and this project will be done in the New Year.
Finally, I should like to thank Richard Gingell and all other members of the Parish Council, the Parish Clerk Sue Squire, the Manor Hall Committee, Judie for the Newsletter, various contractors and anyone else who has contributed in the running and success of our village this last year.
On behalf of the Parish Council I should like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
Sue Sussex - Chairman
Joe Denyer lost his fight against cystic fibrosis on the 26th
September. Just six days before he
passed away, he went to watch
He never gave up his fight for life, he never complained, he just got on with it - a person who brought joy, smiles and inspiration to us all.
We all loved Joe very much. Jane [Jones]
You will remember from the October Newsletter that for her
birthday Jane asked for contributions for Foulis Ward at the
I should like to say thank you, once again, to everyone who has bought plants from me throughout the summer, making it possible to give a donation to the Children's Hospice of £500. We all know that this is a drop in the ocean to the cost of caring for these children who have such a short time here with us. The care at the Hospice is also taken of the siblings of the sick children, helping them to come to terms with the illness of their brother or sister and their eventual loss.
Many people will have seen this in the programme 'The Secret Millionaire' which took us into the hospice to see some of the wonderful work they do.
Thank you all again. The plants, all being well, will be outside Higher Rows from next Easter, when I do hope you will 'stop and buy one' as you pass.
Penn Bar Nutters
By popular request, these biscuits are very suitable for serving with drinks before a festive meal.
4oz soft margarine 31/2oz self-raising flour
2oz semolina 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
pepper cashew nuts
4oz strong Cheddar [or combination of any strong cheese] grated
Mix all the ingredients together, except for the nuts. Pipe or place the mixture in small 'rounds' on a greased tin. Press a nut into the centre of each biscuit. I have found the nuts adhere to the biscuit better if you dip them in milk first.
Cook for 15-20 minutes at 180 Deg C/350 Deg F.
Chestnut and Chocolate Truffle Cake
With the winter months upon us and cold weather imminent, it is a time of year when it's slim pickings from the wild larder. However, I always like to try and make the best use of what is available . . . and for me that means chestnuts!
Nothing could be more 'Christmassy' than hot chestnuts over a roaring fire and this cake is an excellent alternative for anyone who's not keen on traditional Christmas pudding. Not only does this winter warmer scream decadence it is also the perfect way to indulge with your family over the festive period. Enjoy!
250g Good dark chocolate 250g Butter
250g Chestnuts (peeled and cooked) 250g Whole milk
125g Caster sugar 4 Eggs
Pre-heat the oven to 160 Deg C/Gas Mark 3. Melt the chocolate and butter over a very gentle heat. In another pan, heat the cooked chestnuts with the milk until just boiling, and then process to a rough puree. Separate the egg yolks from the white. Mix the yolks with the sugar and stir in the chocolate mixture and chestnut puree. Whisk the whites until stiff and fold them carefully in to the mixture before transferring it to a greased, lined 23cm cake tin and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until only just set. Serve warm or cold.
Sean Sibthorpe at The Pickled Crofter
The Christmas Food and Drink meeting is on 9th December, when members get together beforehand to organise food for a table of their friends. The theme is High Quality Wines for Christmas. Entrance is £6 for members and £7 for guests.
In January, on the 20th, we have our very popular panel game based on 'Call My Bluff', except ours is 'Call My Wine Bluff'. Each wine is offered for tasting as an anonymous covered bottle, when a panel of 3 experts [?] each give an explanation of what the wine is. Teams of 6 then have to decide who is telling the truth, what year the wine is and how much it has cost. Marks are gained on a sliding scale according to how accurate they are. If super confident about a wine, they can opt to play their joker, which doubles their points. An evening of much merriment.
Co-Founder of Banbury's Department Store and Furnishings 1892 - 1973
Last week I received through the post my Banbury's Loyalty Voucher earned during the last six months. In the same envelope was an invitation to their Gala evening: 15% off for most purchases, a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie - a nice touch in these straightened times. Yet it didn't hold a candle to Arthur Banbury's days! Then, many of the farming customers paid their accounts once a year, normally during the Barnstaple Annual Stock Fair. In recognition of their loyalty, Arthur Banbury treated those that paid their accounts to lunch in his dining room, now named Arthur's Restaurant.
If you want to check this, take a look at the plaque in the restaurant whilst sipping your coffee. It also gives a brief history of the founding of this family department store, which has operated on the same site for 94 years, changing from a 'general drapery store' to a modern and well-run department store. And all because of Arthur Banbury.
Arthur Banbury was born in 1892 in
There he met John B. Horwood, a draper, who recognised
Arthur's business skills and selling potential and offered him the opportunity
of a partnership for a drapery store, F. J. Oakley, in
Shortly afterwards, in 1925, he moved into the top two floors over the shop with his wife, Gwendoline, and baby son Peter. There is no record of staff living on this site, yet graffiti found on the top floor suggest that staff were living there in 1905.
Arthur became responsible for managing the business and the shop was renamed 'Banbury Ltd. Drapers and Furnishers'. The front of the shop was fitted with arcades of brass framed window displays, which were declared the largest and finest in the area, occupying almost a third of the ground floor retail space. Some of us may remember these arcades, as they remained largely unchanged until the seventies, when they were replaced to give extra selling space.
In the early days, mahogany counters ran the full length of the shop; the sales staff served behind them and most of the stock was kept in cabinets behind, and something after my own heart, bentwood chairs were placed at regular intervals for the comfort of customers. At the end of each day, young staff would sprinkle the lino floor with wet sawdust to keep down the dust, and then sweep it up ready for next day's trading.
Company headed paper of that time shows there were four main
departments: Milliners, Haberdashers, Costumiers and Furnishers. Contrary to
today's trends, Millinery, Haberdashery and Silks [dress fabrics] were all
large and very busy departments. The
linens' department was known as '
Sales receipts from this period showed that a lady's hat could be bought for 4 shillings [20p], in the furniture department one could buy a '3-piece iron bedstead with spiral spring and wool mattress' for just £2 [for some people, a week's wage] and a settee suite was 14 guineas [£14.70p].
The business continued to develop and after the war, his son
Peter, and John Horwood's son John Bentall Horwood, who had just finished his
apprenticeship at Gamages in
During the '60's and '70's, retailing changed a great deal.
draperies with arcade windows and long counters were out and replaced by boutiques and self-service shopping. Banbury's needed this new image.
And so the family company continues to keep up with the
latest ideas and trends. Over the last
35 years, the company has expanded into a department store, adding a carpet
What would Arthur Banbury and John Horwood have thought of
all this development? They would no
doubt be delighted. So, too, are
And their latest improvement? Peter Banbury, Arthur's great grandson, who took over the managing directorship about 18 months ago, has noted the growth in cosmetics. So the entrance area is now solely given over to such items. To celebrate this, there are double points for loyalty cardholders form December 1st to 26th, guess what some of my friends will be getting for Christmas!
PP of DC
We were very pleased to be awarded a Silver Gilt in
Over the last few weeks we have planted around 1000 crocuses in Claude's garden. The children from the playschool group were going to help but the weather was against us and we were afraid they would blow away! We had our last litter pick at the end of half term and all the tubs have been planted with bulbs. We look forward to Christmas and then another lovely Berrynarbor spring.
Chocolate Truffle Torte
This is a lovely, no cook chocolate dessert that can be made now and frozen ready for Christmas. It is very rich but when served in small portions and with some chilled single pouring cream, it is absolutely 'chocywockydoodle'!
1lb/450g of plain dessert chocolate [the very best you can afford]
5 tablespoons liquid glucose
[available from larger supermarkets or chemists)
5 tablespoons rum 1 pint/570ml double cream
3oz/75g Amaretti biscuits crushed with a rolling pin
Line a 9"/23cm cake tin with a circle of silicone paper. Brush the sides of the tin and the paper with lightly flavoured oil such as groundnut oil. Sprinkle the crushed Amaretti biscuits on to the paper in the tin.
Break up the chocolate and put in a large bowl over barely simmering water. Add the glucose and rum. Leave until the chocolate has melted. Do not allow the water to boil, if needs be turn off the heat and allow to melt slowly. Stir and remove the bowl from the heat and let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl whip the double cream until just slightly thickened. Fold half in to the chocolate mixture and then fold the chocolate mixture in to the remaining cream. When smoothly blended, spoon in to the prepared tin. Gently tap the tin to even out the mixture and cover with cling film. Chill overnight in the 'fridge for immediate use or freeze for Christmas. Just before serving run a palette knife around the edge to loosen, give it a good shake, place a plate on top of the tin, invert and turn out on to a plate, biscuit side up. Serve the torte dusted with sifted cocoa powder. It looks lovely garnished with physallis [cape gooseberries, available from larger supermarkets] Tear the papery skins to open them then dust with icing sugar and place around the top of the torte.
Happy Christmas. Wendy
Our Local LOCAL
Two peregrines were perched companionably on their favourite
Men were fishing from the rocks and there were a number of kayaks and small sailing boats out on the water.
We had stopped at Widmouth Head to watch gannets diving when we spotted a pod of about half a dozen porpoises beyond Sexton's Burrow.
Their backs were arching above the surface of the water in a smooth, unhurried movement as they swam; their triangular dorsal fins prominent.
There were still a few tents and caravans at Watermouth but the path around the headland itself was deserted. Had it been possible to walk there, a wonderful view of the porpoises could have been enjoyed.
The combination of fresh air, exercise and beautiful scenery is restorative; so effective that walking is becoming more and more recognised as a form of therapy.
The poet and composer Ivor Gurney [1890-1937]
spent the final fifteen years of his life as an inmate of a mental hospital in
the City of
Eventually a friend brought him a set of Ordnance Survey maps so that he could relive his favourite walks in his imaginations.
I remember when as a school girl I was given my first one
inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of
Not only was it aesthetically pleasing to look at but it opened up a vast possibility of hikes - the steepest hills; hidden patches of woodland; remote churches. With it I planned round routes for my Girl Guide patrol to venture out on Sunday afternoons.
This week we came a sizeable step closer to being able to
walk around the entire coast of
Illustrations by: Paul Swailes
OLD BERRYNARBOR NO. 122
Caravans at Watermouth
This month I have chosen 'Caravans at Watermouth' The first of these two real photographic postcards shows these caravans taken
c1955-60. In addition to the long line of static 'vans, a number of private ones can be seen - one in the foreground and two or three further down the field. I imagine the picture was taken in September, as the open field shows grass cut and formed into small stooks. When dried, this would be collected up as hay and stored for food and bedding for cattle over the winter months. Note the almost forest of trees beyond and above what was termed 'Big Meadow'.
second postcard has been taken at about the same time from Napps Campsite and
it gives a clear view of the whole of Watermouth, looking west-wards. Part of the roof of
Following my request for information on the 'Berrynarbor in
the Snow' picture in article No. 121, I should like to thank Jenny Taylor [now
Jenny says: "The moon gate is in the garden of 9 Goosewell and was built by Edith Rumley's husband, Les. Edith was a keen photographer. They lived there from the '50's until the early '80's. They were there when I moved there in 1981, but Pete Newell can probably give you better dates. Edith was a member of the Women's Institute, with her sister Florrie Rendell, also with her husband Les, who lived at 7 Goosewell. As far as I know, the gate still exists but I am not sure about the bird/snow bath."
"Les and Edith Rumley lived at Goosewell [where Pete
Newell lives]. As I recall, Les was in
the army and took a course in building when he came out. When we moved here he was working for
"With reference to the WI postcard taken by Edith Rumley, I can tell you exactly where it was taken from! We moved into Meadowsweet, 9 Goosewell, in 1980, previously occupied by Edith and Les Rumley. We moved in partly due to that view from the garden, although when we moved in the hedgerow was somewhat taller [and it was not quite so snowy!] The garden has changed a large amount, with the collapse of the circulate structure which was built of roof tiles. Fortunately, we realised its lack of security before it fell on one of our family!" Pete N.
So we now have no doubt at all as to where the picture was taken or who Mrs. Rumley was.
Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, November 2009
Marlene has told me:
"Mr. and Mrs. Rumley lived at Goosewell, just a door away from her sister and her husband. Mrs. Rumley was a trained dressmaker and her work was of a very high standard. In fact, Mrs. Rumley made my wedding dress and bridesmaids' dresses in 1961. When my daughter Tracey was born in 1963, she took the skirt and made the christening gown and it has been used for the christenings of all my children and grandchildren to date.
"The donkeys and horses that were said to be buried in the field, were ones that were worked at the lime kilns out on the old coast road."