Edition 124 - February 2010

Artwork: Peter Rothwell


It was grey.
For some of the time
It was bright with
Momentarily encouraging
Flashes of latent sunlight.

In the bare laid hedge
Birds sang
Until the breeze,
For want of better to do,
Blew their breath away.

Trees swayed,
Complaining rooks,
High in their tenement,
Came and went, desultorily
With the wind.

On the stubble-field
A crowd flocked
Rook-shy crows, mute gulls,
Looking in the east
Black and white wind-vanes.

The wood,
A cap on the hill's brow,
Gathers gloom
Deepening its mystery
As the light steals away.

In a tinted sky
A half-high cloud,
Veils the sliding sun,
A fitting end
To an ordinary day.

Peter Rothwell - Treetops


Artwork: Judie Weedon


Happy New Year to you all! We may not actually have had a white Christmas, but as I begin work on this issue, it has been white virtually ever since! Let's hope that by the time this reaches you, it will have warmed up a little.

The village itself seems to have suffered less than the outreaches and at times like this we should, perhaps, be aware of our neighbours and as always, the community spirit was here with everyone assisting with shopping and other helpful jobs. The staff and residents of Lee Lodge would particularly like to thank everyone for their kind offers of help.

For those of you who view the Journal website, hopefully this period of relative inactivity has produced larders full of jam and chutney!

Thank you to everyone who sent their Christmas greetings via the Newsletter. The Manor Hall and the Newsletter each benefited by the fantastic sum of £160.

It looks as if the weeks ahead will be busy with various coffee mornings, a musical evening and, of course, the annual BBC Show. This time last year we were all worried about Gary, so it is good to see him back at the helm again, this time with a pantomime. Do make a note of all the dates and support these events if you possibly can.

By the April issue, Easter will be upon us and hopefully we can look forward to another good spring but a better summer. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this issue and particularly Peter for his cover and poem, and please keep items coming for April. They will be welcome as soon as possible and by Monday, 15th March, at the latest.

Judie - Ed



Yes, F is for Finance as well as February and this is the time when postal readers need to renew their subscription and for those of you to whom this applies, a letter is enclosed with your newsletter. Thank you to everyone who has already renewed and sent donations.

With ever-increasing costs for printing, stationery, etc., and postal charges due to rise again in April, to receive your copy by post will now cost £5.00 a year, from February through to December. This does not include any donation towards the cost of the Newsletter itself, which now averages £1 a copy. Donations towards that cost are always very welcome and appreciated.

If you would like to receive your copy this way, please let me know.

I should like to thank advertisers for supporting the Newsletter in this way, and I am sorry that charges - having remained the same for many years - will now have to increase and will be:

Quarter Page £5.00 or £25.00 for six issues
Half Page £10.00 or £50 for six issues etc.

I must also take this opportunity to thank the Parish and Parochial Church Councils for their continued support and everyone who kindly donates via the Shop, Sue's, The Globe and the Sawmill and by post. The Newsletter can only survive by your support. I must also thank Sue and our paperboy Dave for delivering copies on his round.




Back in the autumn of 2004 I somewhat unadvisedly suggested to the Editor that the Berrynarbor Newsletter should have an online presence.  Ever since then I've been getting bi-monthly emails of 'joy' containing the latest newsletter to upload - thanks mum!  The website editions are cut down versions of the full newsletter and are edited to remove personal details and articles not suitable for the internet.

One of the benefits of viewing the newsletter online is that you get to appreciate the artwork and images in a higher resolution than is available via the printed hard copy.  Tom's postcards often end up with remarkable clarity given the age of the prints.  The same goes for a lot of the original artwork which looks especially crisp online.  There is also a section displaying some of the original artwork that has been created for the newsletter over the years. I often wonder what some of the subjects would think of being online as their memory now lives on in cyberspace.  I suspect most would find it totally baffling!

Over the years a large number of people have contacted the Editor via the web site, which got us thinking about how many visits the site gets and which pages people are viewing. So in October of last year we added Google Analytics to the site. Google Analytics is a clever package that allows web site administrators to track how people locate their site, which pages people visit and some basic statistics about them. Rest assured, the data collected is very 'broad brush', this is the Berrynarbor Newsletter and not Orwell's 1984!

The more eagle-eyed of you may have also noticed a small thumbnail map on the front page of the web site. This is a freeware [i.e. no cost] application that can be installed on web sites to show the locations where visitors to the site come from. Unlike Google Analytics, this one pays for itself by offering focussed adverts when you click on it, so in theory it should offer links to sites related to Berrynarbor. The authors make their money when users click on a link as they are paid a small transaction fee by the advertisers for each 'click through'. Enterprising stuff!

10 facts you never knew about the Berrynarbor Newsletter online, statistics as of 13th Jan 2010:

  1. If you Google for Berrynarbor, the Newsletter is generally the number one hit!
  2. The website typically gets around 350 visitors per month.
  3. Since October the site has been visited by people from 30 countries worldwide, with hits from places as diverse as Brazil, Lithuania and Nigeria!
  4. 75% of visitors reside in the UK, with 9% in the US 2.5% in Russia and 2% in Canada.
  5. Within the UK, 37% of visitors come from London, with Birmingham (7%) and Luton (4%) next up.
  6. There have been more hits from visitors in Caerphilly, Mansfield and Glasgow than from within North Devon itself!
  7. 43% of the site's visitors are referred from Google.
  8. The most popular word used to locate the site via search engines is perhaps unsurprisingly "Berrynarbor", but a lot of people clearly think it is spelt "Berrynarbour"!
  9. The December edition has been viewed 75 times online, with users spending an average of 3 minutes and 28 seconds on the page.
  10. 42% of users have a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixels and 75% run Internet Explorer on Windows. 

As you can see, Google Analytics opens up a world of useless facts!  However, it is heartening to know that people do visit the site and that the Newsletter has a truly global audience.   The website is a 'front door' for the village online, so if you have any ideas or suggestions for the web site please pass them on to the Editor.  We can't promise to implement them all, but we'll do our best.




The Christmas Party took place on the 1st December. In the absence of the Chairman, the meeting was taken by Margaret Crabbe who exercised all our brains with various quizzes and kindly brought along prizes for the winners. Following this, sherry, fruit juice and mince pies were enjoyed by us all. A clown, knitted and kindly donated by Ethel Tidsbury, was raffled and won by Joan Wood, and the monthly raffle was won by Nora Rowlands.

Unfortunately the meeting on the 5th January was cancelled due to the weather conditions. so Margaret Crabbe was unable to tell us about her experiences as a special constable. Hopefully she will be able to do this at a later date.

Sixteen members enjoyed a new year lunch at Ilfracombe Golf Club on the 12th January - luckily the weather had improved sufficiently for people to get there.

At the next meeting, on 2nd February, there will be a short A.G.M. followed by a demonstration of stained glass given by Lani Shepherd. Sarah Curtis, from the Ilfracombe Dogs Trust, will be the speaker at the meeting on the 2nd March and on 6th April 'The Foxman', Bernard Hill will be coming to talk to us. Why not start the new year by coming along to these meetings? All welcome. They take place in the Manor Hall at 2.00 p.m. Happy New Year!

Doreen Prater



Artwork: Alvary Scott


Looking out today on a darkening, snowy, late afternoon, how bright and colourful the church was in comparison over Christmas. The lit crib, the Christmas tree and the red and gold of the flower arrangements could not have been more welcoming. The church was full for the Carol Service [see Stuart's article] and it was all over too soon - we would have been happy to sit listening to the choirs all evening. The services over Christmas itself were well attended and as always we were joined by visitors to the village. Collections this year were taken up for the Children's Hospice South West.

Not so long ago, Candlemas Day [February 2nd] was an important church festival. It commemorated the Purification of the Virgin Mary and people gathered for the blessing of the candles and tapers to be used during the year. Lit candles were then taken in procession around the church to ward off evil spirits. With the days lengthening, Candlemas was regarded as the turning point of winter and there was a saying:

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again

Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday on the 17th February and Mothering Sunday will be on the 14th March and Palm Sunday will be celebrated on the 28th March. On both these occasions we look forward to being joined by the children and the children from the Primary School, who will be taking part in the services. Easter falls over the first week-end in April.

All Services begin at 11.00 a.m. and are followed by coffee and tea and biscuits.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be held on Wednesdays 24th February and 24th March, from 12.00 noon. Our thanks once more to Karen and all the staff at The Globe who always make us welcome and put in every effort on our behalf.

Mary Tucker


The Legend of the Snowdrop

The snowdrop appears in February [or earlier!] and is, according to legend, a symbol of hope. When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve was giving up hope of winter ending when an angel appeared and transformed some of the snowflakes into snowdrop flowers, proving that winter does eventually give way to spring.

The snowdrop, in purest white array,
First rears her head on Candlemas Day.



Since the re-formation of our Choir early last year, I am pleased to report that we have increased our number from seven singers to twelve and have actively pursued a more diverse repertoire, which has proved very popular with our members.

From Easter onwards we joined forces with the Primary School Choir on several occasions and this has also proved to be very popular with both parents and residents alike.

On the Sunday before Christmas the Choir visited Lee Lodge to sing songs from the shows and festive carols. Our young star, Poppy Andrews, sang a lovely version of The First Noel, which was very well received by one and all!

The Wednesday was, of course, our annual Carol Service in St. Peter's and it was especially pleasing to see the church full to capacity! Apart from the usual carols, the Choir and the School Choir joined together in singing a beautiful arrangement of The Snowman - the applause from the congregation said it all! There was a little bit of fun when the Choir sang a special arrangement of Deck the Hall, especially when kazoos were played! The School joined us later in the service for a special rendition of Away in a Manger.

I must pay tribute to all those teachers at the Primary School who spent many hours coaching the children during 2009, and a further special thanks to all those parents who supported their children throughout the year. It was so heartening to see so many of them attending the Carol Service, particularly on such a cold and frosty night.

We now look forward to a continued association with the School throughout 2010 and if anyone would like to join our Choir, we practise in the church every Monday evening for just an hour starting at 7.30 p.m. Please come along and join our 'happy band'.

I must pay tribute to all our singers for their support during the last year and send you my best wishes for a very Happy New Year!

Stuart Neale - Organist and Choirmaster


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"
"Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."
"But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."
"Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."
"And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"
"Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."
"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
"Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."
"Who will protect me?"
"Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."
"But I shall always be sad because I will not see you any more."
"Your angel will always talk to you about Me and teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven but voices from Earth could be heard and the baby hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."
God said, "You will simply call her 'Mum'".

A New Year Baby in the Valley! Sara and Chris Townsend are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their new baby daughter, Rosie Josephine, on the 1st January. A sister for May, Rosie weighed in at 7lbs 6oz.

Alan and Sue Richards of East Hagginton House are delighted to announce the safe arrival of a lovely granddaughter, Isobelle Lucy, on the 15th January, weighing 8lbs 4oz, a daughter for Nicki and Tim Schneider.

Our congratulations and best wishes to you all.




November was a miserable month, wet and windy without much respite from the beginning. The daily rainfall amounts were not exceptionally high, with 20mm [13/16"] on the 19th being the highest total for 24 hours, but there were only three days in the month without a measurable amount of rain. The total for the month 254mm [10"] which made it the third wettest November we have ever recorded. The wettest was in 2000 when we had 311mm [12 5/16"], which was slightly less than Cumbria had in 24 hours! It was a fairly mild month with daytime temperatures into double figures for most of the month and a maximum of 14.5 Deg C on the 19th. Overnight minimums were so mild until the 30th when the temperature dropped to 0.3 Deg C and we had a frost. Chicane reported that there were 16.27 hours of sunshine.

Winds were a feature of the month with gale after gale. Bearing in mind that we are fairly sheltered here we recorded gusts of 30 knots or more on 9 days with a maximum gust of 35 knots. In fact there were only 8 days with less than 20 knots.

After such a wet November we had one of the driest Decembers on our record with only 112mm [41/2"], and also lighter winds than normal.

Nationally it was the coldest December for 15 years but despite the freezing conditions in the second half of the month, we did not record any exceptional temperatures. The maximum temperature was 12.3 Deg C which was slightly down on normal and the minimum overnight was -1.4 Deg C, last year we had a -3.9 Deg C and in December 1995 -5.9 Deg C. We did measure a wind chill factor on the 18th of -14 Deg C which equals December 1997. We noticed the temperatures fluctuated very rapidly, for example on Christmas morning at 12.30 a.m. it was 2 Deg C, by 5.30 a.m. it ha risen to 5.5 Deg C and then at 9.30 a.m. it was back down to 1.5 Deg C. There were four days when snow fell, albeit in very small amounts. According to our records, snow fall in December is rare, the nearest was three days in 2000. Sunshine hours were down to 9.2 but this is influenced at this time of year by the sun being behind the hill for most of the daylight hours.

In spite of the disappointing summer and some very wet months, the total rainfall for 2009 was 1409mm [55 5/8"] which is about average for the last 16 years, but it was a cooler year than normal with a top temperature of only 27.3 Deg C.

As we write this the country is in the middle of 'the big freeze' - more about that in the next Newsletter.

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Harry Weedon

Berry in Bloom and Best kept Village

Obviously with all the Arctic weather we've been having there has not been a lot going on with the Berry in Bloom group. We shall be having our first meeting of the year in March, so look out for the posters and please come and join us.

We should like to thank John and Fenella for the Christmas trees in the village, and Tom and Inge for allowing us to plug in to their electricity. This all added to the atmosphere at the Carol Singing in the square, as usual led by Phil and Tony, and of course this being Berrynarbor there had to be mince pies donated by the Globe and a good helping of mulled wine, which helped us to raise £84.00 for the Devon Air Ambulance.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Fuller's Walnut cake

This cake is absolutely delicious - old fashioned, rich, sweet and without doubt fattening, just what you want for Sunday tea on a cold winter's day after a long walk on the beach or through the woods!

For the cake

  • 6oz/175g butter or margarine
  • 3oz/75g golden syrup
  • 6oz/175g self- raising flour
  • 3oz/75g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 4oz/110g chopped walnuts

Cream together the butter and sugar with the golden syrup. When light and soft gradually add the three well beaten eggs. Next fold in the flour and finally the chopped walnuts. Spoon in to 3 greased and lined 7inch sponge tins and bake in a fairly hot oven at 375 Deg F/190 Deg C/ gas mark 5 for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cakes from the tins and cool on a wire rack. When cool sandwich together with the walnut butter filling.

For the filling

  • 4oz/110g unsalted/slightly salted butter at room temperature
  • 8oz/225g sifted icing sugar
  • 2oz/50g chopped walnuts

Cream together the butter and sugar and stir in the walnuts. Use to sandwich the cakes together. Then cover with the special icing.

For the special icing
[this icing is a little tricky but well worth the effort]

  • 8oz/225g granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 large free-range egg white whisked stiffly as for meringue

Heat the water and granulated sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar melts. Now boil until it reaches 240 Deg F on a sugar thermometer without stirring. If you do not have a thermometer, test by dropping a little drop in to cold water. If it will make a softish ball between finger and thumb it is ready. Now pour the hot sugar syrup slowly on to the whisked egg white whisking all the time until it thickens. Spread it quickly over the cake and decorate with a few whole walnuts.

Cut me a thick slice and I'll be round for tea!




This car scheme was set up many years ago to help people who needed hospital, doctors, dental appointments, etc., or just wanted a 'trip out' to visit friends and relatives.

Some people find it difficult to access public transport and may need individual help with shopping or just 'getting around'. The scheme is run from the North Devon Volunteer Centre in Ilfracombe High Street [next door to Mike Turton's Butchers].

In the last couple of years, our records show that 140 journeys have been made by residents in Berrynarbor, so the service is well used. A leaflet on this scheme can be picked up from the Community Shop.

At present, the funding for administering the scheme is running dangerously low and so we are hoping to run an event in the early spring to raise money. Please support this event if you can, or be kind enough when passing Turton's, to drop in to the Centre where you will find all the information and, of course, receive a warm welcome! Thank you.

Yvonne Davey -Vice Chairman



Can you work out what these words all have in common? Answer later.



Stanley Barnes

I was upset to learn from Patricia Carty, his niece, and Dorothy Grinall that Stanley had died peacefully in York at the age of 94 on Sunday, 29th November. Sadly he would not have received the December issue containing his General Knowledge Crossword Puzzle. Stanley was a great supporter of our Newsletter.

A single man, he was a confirmed bachelor, who loved his extended family. He was born in Walton-on-Thames and his connection with the village was that he was a grandson of our Blacksmith, Sam Harding. His mother, Nellie Harding, was one of Sam's family of seven and when Sam went off to serve in the First World War, his wife was concerned about Nellie and her family living in London, and so they evacuated and came to Berrynarbor, staying for a few years at Castle Hill.

His old Riley car was his pride and joy but as Head of P.E. at St. John's College, the University of Leeds, Stanley was also proud to have trained several well-known and successful rugby players, as well as the English Coach in the World Cup held in England in 1991.

It would seem that Stanley's crossword had you all baffled, or perhaps there was not enough time in the rush up to Christmas to put your thinking caps on? The £10 Book Token remains, therefore, to be won! So, have another go and this time one or two letters have been inserted to help you on your way! A longer time before the closing date of MONDAY, 22ND MARCH, should also help and I look forward to receiving some entries this time! Please send in your entry [however, many clues you have managed] in a plain envelope marked 'Crossword' and leave it either at the Shop or Chicane. If those who said they'd only managed a couple of clues had sent their forms in, someone would be reading a new book by now! The answers will be published in the April issue.


  • 1. U.K. Reform Movement 1837-48 [8]
  • 5. Kiln for drying hops [4]
  • 9. A Roman Catholic Bishop or founder of an order [9]
  • 10. Polynesian garland [3]
  • 11. Band of Kaffir warriors [4]
  • 13. Unfavourable [7]
  • 16. Bone of the forearm [4]
  • 18. Machine producing electrical energy [6]
  • 19. Directly overhead in the sky [ 6]
  • 21. Adam & Eve's second son [4]
  • 23. A device that transmits a force [7]
  • 25. Ingesting food [4]
  • 27. Area on a golf course [3]
  • 28. Drug prepared from foxglove leaves [9]
  • 30. Monetary unit of South Africa [4]
  • 31. Protein used for making glue [8]


  • 1. Member of the Christian Church in Egypt [4]
  • 2. Small insect of a colony [3]
  • 3. Isotope of Hydrogen [7]
  • 4. Native of the country with capital Damascus [6]
  • 6. Derivative of immune response of the body [9]
  • 7. A proverb says you are if once bitten [5,3]
  • 8. Slang term for a knife or razor used as a weapon [4]
  • 12. Dualistic religious system [9]
  • 14. State of stunned confusion [4]
  • 15. Instrument for measuring distance travelled by a vehicle [8]
  • 17. Something or money borrowed to be returned [4]
  • 20. Scheming daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra [7]
  • 22. Small hound as a pet or for hunting hares [6]
  • 24. Form of motor racing round an oval circuit [4]
  • 26. Essential nature in philosophy [4]
  • 29. Monetary unit of Romania [3]


Winner and answers will be published in the April Newsletter

Solution in Edition 125 Article 9.



It must be about twenty years ago that our television mast arrived here in the village, ending years of misery of receiving BBC/ITV Wales and even worse, S4C! Not only did we receive programmes that had no relevance to the population of North Devon [and indeed parts of Somerset], but we had to endure the Welsh language via S4C - which as it happened, the vast majority of Welsh people couldn't understand either! On top of all that, many residents [due in part to the hilly terrain] had to endure poor quality pictures in black and white and to pile on the agony, if there was a strong wind blowing or heavy rain, the black and white pictures became impossible to watch, unless you enjoyed watching random black and white dots for the remainder of the evening. Remember it folks?

At that time our Parish Council made strong and vigorous attempts to redress the situation by contacting the relevant broadcasting authorities, but nothing positive happened save that we were 'on the list', as they say, and basically Berrynarbor had to 'wait its turn'. My late father must have thrown, in utter frustration, at least sixteen house bricks at this television screen in the vain hope that a service for North Devon be installed!

Eventually, a rebel group of three got together - namely Bill Berry [now watching North Devon TV in heaven], Terry Phillips [a former policeman] and I agreed that enough was enough, and so we put on our thinking caps, by-passed the usual channels and wrote directly to the IBA [The Independent Broadcasting Authority] in an effort to get things done! Within the space of two weeks we had the reply for which we were really waiting. Because Berrynarbor was receiving television reception from across water [the Bristol Channel], and not overland, we automatically shot to the top of the priority list for the installation of a television mast! "Could this be true?", we asked ourselves.

Within three months the IBA and other engineers arrived and following various test sitings around the village, a site to provide the majority of residents with an acceptable signal was selected in a field adjacent to the middle section of Barton Lane. Obviously, because of the hills, there were regretfully going to be some homes where the new signal was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to receive. A situation which thankfully modern satellite dishes have now overcome.

Anyway, with respect to any Welsh residents who may feel aggrieved at my earlier comments, the main reason in writing this article is to inform everyone that I was contacted by the IBA, many years ago now, to act as a central contact for residents of the village whenever a signal failure occurred at the relay masthead. The IBA's course of action in nominating me was to eliminate the possibility of up to 800 residents en-mass telephoning their switchboard in the event of a breakdown in signal transmission.

I really must apologise for my role in connection with this, but like the IBA I didn't want to receive up to 800 telephone calls either. What I can tell you in all honesty is that whenever a transmission fault occurred - and there have been quite a few over the years - I have immediately contacted the transmission department on their special telephone number to alert their engineers that a fault [major or otherwise] had occurred. This I shall continue to do and would request that those people living in areas of the village where television reception from our transmitter is variable to poor, to feel free to contact me on 889115 should a major breakdown arise, now or in the future.

Please DO NOT contact me if you have a fault when receiving programmes via a satellite dish, since this is NOT my responsibility.

In conclusion, I must simply relate a telephone call from Terry Phillips, one of the rebels and an ardent snooker fan, who declared to me on the very day of the first BBC South West transmission in the village, and I quote: "Hey, Stu, I'm watching a great snooker match and I can actually see the colour of the balls!" - need I say more!

Stuart Neale



To be able to play an instrument and make music is such a creative thing to do - whether it is something we do in the privacy of our own home, with the door locked and the curtains drawn, or whether we play with a group, bouncing ideas off each other, interweaving harmonies. Music draws people together and has a language of its own.

It is a known fact that we learn much better when we are at ease and there is no pressure on us. I have been teaching piano to beginners for several years now. The aim of my lessons is to enjoy the experience of learning. I do not enter any of my pupils for piano exams. I would much rather they play pieces of music that they like and that inspire them, rather than being forced into playing exam pieces that may turn them against learning to play. It is rewarding to see the joy on my pupils' faces [both young and old] as they master music that they thought was beyond them.

If you would like to learn to play the piano in an enjoyable and stress-free way, please 'phone me on [01271] 864055 for more details.

Heather Watts




David Simpson was the village baker in Bathgate. He had seven sons, all of whom went into the Bakehouse to work in the family business when they were old enough. That is except James, the youngest.

His brothers felt that he especially warranted a good education, and they resolved to club together to pay whatever it cost. So James went to Edinburgh University as a teenager, and later qualified as a doctor of medicine.

He became one of the outstanding physicians of his day and pioneered the discovery of chloroform, describing it as one of the greatest discoveries ever made in medicine, saving thousands of lives and first used during one operation in 1847.

Queen Victoria appointed him her Physician in Scotland, and six years later, when she gave birth to her fourth son, was prescribed chloroform.

We continue to remember today the importance of James Young Simpson, who was knighted in 1866. His achievements were made possible by those who gladly sacrificed their prospects for his.


It is not unusual for performers and entertainers to take stage names when launching their career. Four favourite performers who are currently popular with their listening public are :

  • Freddy Fender - In 1958 Baldemar Huerta changed his name to Freddy Fender, taking Fender from the guitar and Freddy because the alliteration sounded good.
  • Spike Jones - born Lindley Armstrong Jones. Spike took his nickname by being so thin that he was compared to a railroad spike.
  • Acker Bilk - Acker Bilk was born as Bernard Stanley Bilk, and earned the name Acker from the Somerset slang for friend or mate.
  • Richard Clayderman - Philippe Pages changed his name to Richard Clayderman to avoid mispronunciation of his real name outside France.


It is easy for us to turn a switch and within seconds hear people talking on the radio. Yet we have had radio for only just over one hundred years.

What about television? I hear you say. But that's another story.

In 1898 Marconi set up a crude, experimental transmitting station at Poole, in Dorset. In 1899 he opened the world's first radio factory in Chelmsford, Essex, moving to a new purpose-built radio factory in 1913.

Marconi inaugurated Britain's first broadcasting service in 1920, and on 12th February 1920,the world's first wireless news service was transmitted from Chelmsford. Remember London 210?

Following that, in June 1920, Dame Nellie Melba became the first professional artiste to broadcast in Britain with a half-hour show which was commissioned by Lord Northcliffe of the newspaper Daily Mail.

Since those early days technology has given us the power and ability to speak to anybody in the world - all by radio. The sophisticated equipment of today is a long way from the crystal set of the early days - I remember it well - when earphones had to be used to pick up the indistinct voices whispering over the ether.


Voltaire, the French writer and philosopher, born in 1694, was a witty but ruthless critic of the corrupt ruling powers of his era. He was a man whose refusal to ignore injustice not only offended the authorities, but also led to periods of imprisonment and exile.

His was a turbulent existence, so it is not surprising to read that he once described life as a shipwreck. But he went on to say, "We must not forget to sing in the lifeboats." That sort of shipmate would be invaluable.

There are times when most of us have a compelling desire to tell the world what we think of a certain person or problem, and other occasions when we realise that it would be wiser not to do so.

Each time I am temped to let off steam, I am reminded of this advice, given to me in my younger days - true wisdom is the skill to know just when to speak your mind and when to mind your speech.



[Contributed by Trev]

"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the rain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, "As I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door
Pray what is the reason for that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment one shilling a box
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."
"You are old," said the youth, "One would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose
What made you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father, "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off or I'll kick you down stairs."

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


This poem, as recited by Alice to the Caterpillar in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, was written by Lewis Carroll [1832-1898] and first published in 1855. It is a parody of an earlier poem written by Robert Southey [1774-1843] in 1799, which reads:

and how he gained them

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first
That I never might need them at last.
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did
That I never might grieve for the past.
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death!
Now tell me the reason I pray.
I am cheerful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God !
And He hath not forgotten my age.

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the 'Lake Poets' whose work was and is still overshadowed by his contemporaries and friends Wordsworth and Coleridge. From 1813 until his death in 1843, Robert Southey was Poet Laureate. He was, however, also a prolific letter writer, literary scholar, essay writer, historian and biographer. His biographies include John Bunyan, John Wesley, William Cowper, Oliver Cromwell and

Horatio Nelson. He was also fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and translated a number of works from those countries into English. But perhaps to most of us his most enduring contribution to our literary history is the children's classic, The Story of the Three Bears, the original story about Goldilocks, which was first printed in 1834 in his novel The Doctor.




We are holding three fund raising events during February and March. The North Devon Knit In is one of our most popular events raising huge amounts of money. Clicking needles can be heard all around North Devon towards the end of February. The blankets made up from the strips knitted are shared between the Dog's Trust, Age Concern and the David Rundle Rwanda Trust. [See the Craft Group article for Berrynarbor's Knit In].

Following the huge success of last year's Big Breakfast , organisations and businesses will be holding another Big Breakfast across North Devon between the 26th and 28th March. Local cafes, restaurants, canteens and pubs will be asking you to eat breakfast out for the day or donate at breakfast time to a collection bucket - all profits going to the Hospice. Watch out for a breakfast near you! Locations will be publicised in the Journal nearer the time.

Well fed on breakfasts, Sunday 28th March will be the time to 'walk them off'. Walk for Life brings people together aged from 5 to 105 to stroll some of our most scenic local routes. There are 8 walks to choose from, ranging from 3 miles to 10. Entry fee is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children and walkers are asked to raise money from sponsorship to go to the Hospice.

If you would like more information on any of these events, please ring the fundraising team on [01271] 347224.


Our New Spring/Summer 2010 Brochure at a Library near you!

Adult & Community Learning is offering courses and training opportunities at Combe Martin Community Centre.

All Maths & English courses are FREE and available to individuals and businesses. Brochures are in all local Libraries & Community Centres! Come & try our Try It Out sessions - You won't be disappointed

Course Date Time Weeks COST
Try it Out Digital Photography Tues. 23 Feb 12 noon 3.00 pm 1 £5
Try it Out Internet & e-mail Wed. 24 Feb 11am - 2pm 1 £5
Digital Photography Beginners Tues. 2 Mar 1pm - 3pm 5 £33
£30 60+
£10 *MTB
Internet & Email Wed.3 Mar 11.00am - 1.00pm 10 £81
60+£36 *MTB
Spreadsheets Thurs. 1st Oct 1.00pm - 3.00pm 10 £81
£30 60+
£36 *MTB
Try it Out Spreadsheets Tues.20 Mar10.00 am - 1.00 pm 1 £5
Try It Out Making the most of your Money Mon.18 Jan 12.45 -3.45 pm 1 FREE
Try it Out Maths Thurs. 21 Jan 12 noon 3.00 pm 1 FREE
Making the most of your Money Mon.25 Jan 1.00 - 3.00 pm 9 FREE
Improve your Maths Thurs. 28 Jan 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm Various FREE

* MTB Means Tested Benefits

Please contact Devon Adult and Community Learning on 01271 864171 for more information and/or to book your place now!



Did you work out what the words had in common? No? Well the answer is:

    Take the first letter of each word and put it at the end. Now read the word backwards and it remains the same - clever!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


You will remember our evacuee friends Dave and Tom. It was a Saturday morning and Tom had got up early to spend the day with his friend Dave. His mother didn't know what time he'd be back but she knew it would probably be late and was bound to come home when he was hungry.

Sitting in Dave's cottage's front room, the boys chatted about what to do for the day. "We could go up to the Vicarage and get some rooks' eggs," said Tom. "Yeah, but the Vicar is always about and might see us up those tall trees," came the reply. "What about the beach? Oh no, the tide will be out, so that's off."

At that moment there was a knock on the door and in came Mr. Braund who lived two doors away. "Hello boys, what are you doing today". "We haven't decided" said the boys in chorus. "Well, I've got a business trip to Exeter and there are two empty seats if you would like to come with me. You could have a good look around Exeter and we could meet later, say 3 o'clock at the cafe in Station Road, to come home."

To ride in a car in war time was a luxury, the general ways of transport were to walk, cycle or go by bus, so the boys jumped at the chance. Mr. Braund told them he'd be back in quarter of an hour to collect them. In those days there were no motorways and many of the roads were narrow and winding, or both. It was a fine sunny morning as the three set off towards Barnstaple.

"I must tell you this," Mr. Braund said, "There were fourteen bombs dropped in fields near Mortehoe and fortunately no one was hurt. Did you know that a German pilot mistook Chivenor for Holland and landed there? Realising his mistake, he tried to return to his plane but was caught. The R.A.F. had a complete German aircraft."

After Barnstaple, Chumleigh, Lapford and Crediton and the boys were surprised when they got to Exeter how quickly the journey had passed. "I'll leave you here and see you later at the cafe as arranged," said Mr. Braund as he stopped the car. "Off you go!"

Getting out of the car, the boys stood there with their mouths wide open. They were right in the centre of Exeter. There were spaces where shops had been; there were buildings where the side walls had been taken out, leaving the rooms in full view, still with furniture in them. The bombing of the city had been very severe. As they walked around, Tom and Dave found enormous devastation almost everywhere.

Presently a policeman came their way, and stopping said, "Hello boys, what are you looking at?" "Well," replied Tom, "We live in Berrynarbor near Combe Martin and we've never seen anything like this." "You're a couple of lucky lads then," said the policeman as he walked on.

As arranged the lads met up with Mr. Braund in the cafe, where he had parked the car outside. Before starting their journey home, they all had a cup of tea and a biscuit.

"We haven't really seen anything much about the war until today," remarked Dave to Mr. Braund on the way back. "Although there were incendiary bombs and a couple of high explosive bombs dropped on the Hangman Hills. There may have been a couple of cows killed, I think."

When they got back to Berrynarbor, Mr. Braund dropped them off at Dave's home saying, "I think you have learnt something today." "We certainly have," the boys agreed.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

With the kind help of Ray Easterbrook

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



My name is Wendy Hilling. I suffer with a very rare skin condition called dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa recessive.  It means my skin inside and outside my body blisters and tears at the slightest knock. 

As my condition worsened I found it difficult to open doors, use the cash machine, dress, undress. I applied for a canine partner to assist me and it was decided that I should train my own puppy so it would learn at an early age not to knock me. 

Edward came into my life at 9 weeks old. A snowball on legs, a bundle of fun.  I worked really hard to train him. Sometimes when I was very ill and the pain was bad I struggled to teach him. He has never let me down. 

My husband, Peter, is my carer and Edward, or Teddy as we call him, gives him time off as he is capable of doing so much to give me independence. 

Peter used to stay awake at night while I slept as I can stop breathing. One night, when Edward was about 10 months old, Peter accidentally fell asleep and I stopped breathing. Within seconds Edward woke Peter by pulling his pillow from under his head. We thought this might be a 'one off', but as time went on, Edward was awake the instant I stopped breathing. Edward has proved to be so reliable at waking Peter that we now rely on him for my life. I know he will wake Peter if needed.

In recognition of his valued work, Edward is paid £30 a week by the Government, saving them over £29,000 a year. 

I have now fulfilled a lifelong ambition to go to art college, I would not have been able to cope there without Edward. I found in the past that if I took Peter along as my carer, people treated me different love having Edward there and I have exhibited and sold my paintings. 

I owe Edward so much. I hold his lead, he holds my heart.


Come and meet this inspirational three-some. Wendy, Edward and Peter will be coming to:

10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon

At 11.00 o'clock, Wendy will tell her tale and Edward demonstrate some of the way in which he helps her.

Proceeds in aid of Canine Partners.



The 2010 season at Marwood Hill Gardens starts on 1st March, but before that on Sundays, 21st and 28th February, the Gardens will be open for Hellebore and Snowdrop Days, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., with hot drinks and light snacks available from the Garden Tea Room. We hope to see you.

Admission charges this year have sadly had to increase and are: Adults £5.50, 12-16 year olds £2.50, Under 12 free. The group rate is £5 per head for a party of 10 or more. However, why not invest in a Season Ticket? At just £20 for a year, this is a real bargain and you can visit as often as you like.

The Tea Room will be open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and the Plant Centre from 11.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. daily. If you wish to go direct to the Plant Centre and/or the Tea Room, no charge applies. But, normal admission does apply if you plan to go round the gardens.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Hopefully, it's not too late to send good wishes for the New Year to all supporters and users of the Manor Hall.

The support we get from the village and beyond is really appreciated and it is pleasing to report that the proceeds of the Christmas Coffee Morning resulted in over £300 going to our funds. Particular thanks to the school children who blessed us with their carols, to Stuart for entertaining the gathering with his music, and to the Newsletter for sharing with us the money raised from the Christmas messages in the December issue.

In the last Newsletter I was thanking Hedi and wishing her well as she retired as Caretaker, and now I have to record special thanks to Anne Hinchliffe, who has served tirelessly on the Manor Hall Committee for many, many years but has decided now to step down for personal reasons. Sincerely, Anne, we thank you.

As we move on with Manor Hall work in 2010, it is pleasing to report that repairs are now completed on certain sections of the roof, we've got rid of various electrical gremlins and the kitchen window has had its long-awaited make-over!

Over the next six months or so, your Committee hopes to lay down the foundations for a short, medium and longer term plan for any necessary repairs, renovations and upgrading of the facilities and the funding requirements, and it is planned to get inputs from user groups in due course . . . more news in the following weeks!

Hoping to see you at the several fundraiser events coming up, including the evening with Simon Banks in February and Beaford Arts events a little later.

Colin Trinder - Chairman


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory,
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

One of my Christmas presents this year was a DVD of Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"; Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.3 and Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."

For years I have been waiting for Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to issue Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" after seeing them on television perform it at the Albert Hall during the Proms season. It is not available on CD, only on DVD. So I sat down to watch and listen to my recording. Can you imagine my frustration when during the performance, the picture would freeze and the music jump a few bars!? It was like being driven mad with the old 78 records when the needle got stuck. Remember? The fault spoilt the whole experience.

When something like this happens, I suppose in sheer frustration we might just throw the whole lot out! Or, we could take it out and examine the disc and remove any specks of dirt there may be, give it a good clean, and try again.

With my turn of mind, it reminded me a lot of Lent, when we are encouraged to see if there is anything in our lives which is spoiling the image which God has of us.

We are encouraged to look at our lives and remove the things which do not enable us to be the best we can possibly be. [Missing the mark is actually the meaning of 'sin'] In God's expectation of us he realizes that we are human, and we do make mistakes, either deliberately, or by omission. He does not take us out and discard us, in frustration, but asks us again to look at his example of love and ask for his gift to enable us to change, or improve.

He has the vision of what He wants us to be. Being human we spoil this vision and expectation, but God does not 'give up' on us.

He gives us the encouragement and support we need as shown in Jesus and his teachings. What is his vision for us? To be the loving, caring people that esus describes as 'his family' because we do the will of God.

Have a Happy and productive time as we move into Lent.


With all good wishes,
your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer



'Tired we are of summer . . .
Fill the marsh with snipe.'

Charles Kingsley

In the autumn and winter, the circular walk from Yelland, alongside Isley Marsh and the River Taw to Instow and back via the Tarka Trail, yields plenty of sightings of waders and wild-fowl - many of them winter visitors.

However, when we took this route last November it provided some surprises, two birds we had not previously seen at that location - a Little Owl and a Green Woodpecker.

The Green Woodpecker flew into a hawthorn bush, near the entrance to the RSPB Reserve, where it was half hidden amongst the foliage. But when it came down to a patch of grass, startling a rabbit, we were able to watch it feeding warily until it crept behind a clump of Stinking Iris berries.

There were six Spoonbills on the marsh that day, standing close together at rest with their long bills tucked under their wings. Berrynarbor residents, Tim Davis and Tim Jones, have made a detailed and interesting study of the history of these spectacular birds becoming a regular feature on the Taw estuary since the late 1980's.

Sea Buckthorn, with its silver leaves and orange berries, grew around the site of the former power station. On the pond beyond the jetty a pair of Little Grebes disappeared beneath the surface. There was a lot of Bristly Ox-tongue still in flower beside the path; small yellow daisy-like flowers and leaves covered in vicious prickles.

Then as we approached the lane leading to Instow cricket ground, we saw the Little Owl perched on a low post between gorse and Tamarisk. Its yellow eyes stared intently. It had the appearance of a fawn egg streaked with brown. It remained static for a long time, apart

from turning its head. But after it had flown off we were lucky enough to spot it several more times from the cycle track.

In the winter of 2008, the arrival of a Long Eared Owl beside the Tarka Trail on the opposite bank of the Taw created a lot of interest.


Illustrations by: Paul Swailes.

According to Trevor Beer the ancient Greeks believed the Long Eared Owl to be so stupid that if you walked around it a couple of times it would turn its head and keep turning its head until it had strangled itself!

In praise of Leycesteria Formosa:

The Leycesteria Formosa is not the most elegant of shrubs. Its persistence in throwing up clusters of green cane-like suckers can be rather a nuisance. But how the birds love its purple berries, held within dark red bracts and arranged in pendulous 'lanterns'. The berries are especially popular with Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Blackcaps and Bull Finches. For several weeks this winter we have had up to five Bull Finches feeding regularly on our Leycesteria

Sue H



[We've got 'em, have you?]

Once in my garden I dug a deep hole
And what did I find but a dear little mole.
It was ever so sweet, rather like a fat mouse
But nurse wouldn't let it come into the house.
I hunted and called for it all the next day,
But it must have decided to go far away.

Phyl W - Cherry Tree







Self Portraits by Millie, Henri and Hazel - Reception

Happy New Year from us all at the village school. We managed to stay open for most of the snowy start to term, despite the playground looking more like a skating rink!

Millie, Hazel and Henri have joined our Reception Class and we hope they will be very happy at Berrynarbor School. Their self-portraits accompany our news. We have now settled in to another term of exciting learning.

Just before Christmas, the children joined in with the Christmas Service at the Church. They really enjoyed the singing and we hope we can take part in a few more services in the future.

There are a couple of fund raising events we should like to bring to your attention:

  • Friday, 12th February: A Musical Evening with Chilli Supper in the Manor Hall, in conjunction with the Manor Hall Committee and
  • Friday, 26th February: Our PTA are organising a Curry and Quiz Nite in the Manor Hall to raise funds for our school.


We have had a lovely addition to the school in the form of an impressive new fence to border the path down to the playground. We also have a few new additions in the form of 4 new children hoping to move to the area and we look forward to welcoming them when they arrive.

This term, as a school, we are trying to encourage the children to think about their Healthy Lunch Boxes, also Class 3 are doing a topic about World War II. If anyone has any stories, tales or memorabilia that they would consider sharing with the children, we should love to hear from you.

As ever, if there is anyone in the village who feels they have a moment or two to spare and would like to share any skill with the children, please feel free to get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you.

Mary-Jane Newell - Acting Headteacher



Do you enjoy a game of Whist? Then why not pop over with a partner and friends to Kentisbury Village Hall! St. Thomas's Church Kentisbury will be holding Whist Drives on Saturdays 13th February and 13th March, and Kentisbury Village Hall on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March. All evenings begin at 8.00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you there.




Inventor and Promoter of the Pilates method of exercise

What do Darcy Bussell, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a goodly number of 'celebrities' and a proportion of our village folk have in common? They are all keen students of Pilates! Darcy Bussell is so enamoured that she has brought out a DVD: 'Pilates for Life'. Many dancers and actors have followed the Pilates teachings and I have a newspaper cutting in front of me that opens with 'Gordon Brown has become a devotee of Pilates as he limbers up to take on any prospective challengers to his leadership' - and that was dated August 7th 2008! Is he still 'limbering up', I wonder? As for our village, if folk aren't going to the Wednesday class in the Manor Hall, then they bustle off to Ilfracombe on a Thursday for their 'feel good' hour. So it seemed a good idea to find out about the founder.

Joseph Pilates was born in Munchen Gladbach, Germany, to a gymnast father of Greek extraction and a German mother who trained as a naturopath. The family name was Greek 'Pilatu' but was changed to Pilates when Joseph was a child. He suffered taunting at school because other children nicknamed him 'Pontius Pilate.'

As a child he had poor health, suffering from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets. To offset these, he took up bodybuilding, gymnastics, yoga, and Zen Buddhism. His health and stamina were so improved that by the age of 14 he was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.

When Pilates started work, it was as a gymnast, body-builder, skier and diver, but moving to England in 1912, he became a professional boxer, worked in a circus and then became a self-defence instructor at Scotland Yard. This didn't stop him, when World War I broke out, being interned on the Isle of 'Man as an 'enemy alien' along with other German nationals. During this enforced captivity , he refined his ideas of good posture and breathing being the key to good health and trained other internees in fitness and exercise. He used available items such as bedsprings and beer keg rings as resistance equipment - the basis of ideas in today's general training equipment. In 1918 there was a major 'flu epidemic. Not one of the inmates became ill, which was believed to be due to their fitness.

At the end of the war, he returned to Germany where he worked with experts in dance and physical exercises, and also trained police officers. When he was asked to do the same for the German Army, he decided to leave the country of his birth. In 1925 he emigrated to the United States of America. On the ship, he met his future wife, Clara, a nurse. Together they founded a 'Pilates' studio in New York and operated it until well into the 1960's. They named their method as 'Contrology', which encouraged the mind to control muscles, focussing on core muscles keeping the body balanced and aligning the spine.

Two of his students, Carola Trier, a dancer,and Bob Seed, a former hockey player, opened their own studios. Joseph helped Carola to open her studio in the late 1950's and he and his wife and Carola remained good friends for the rest of his life. Bob Seed was another story. He tried to take over some of Pilates's students by opening at 7.00 a.m. Apparently, one day Joseph visited Seed with a gun and warned him to get out of town. Seed went!

In his later years, Joseph Pilates is said to have been flamboyant and intimidating. He smoked cigars, liked to party, and wore his exercise shorts wherever he wanted - even on New York's streets.

Joseph Pilates died in 1967 aged 87 [and still working!] He left no will and no line of succession. Clara continued to operate the Pilates Studio on Eighth Avenue for another 17 years until around 1970.

Romana Kryzanowski, a former student, became director. 'Celebrities' began to see the sense of his exercise and breathing techniques, and where they are, there goes the media. By the late 1980's Pilates was in favour and today over 10 million Americans practise it. [Sorry, I couldn't find a number for UK- but in Berrynarbor and Ilfracombe I'd guess the number is getting on for 100]

"I'm 50 years ahead of my time", Joseph Pilates once declared. He may have been right, but even so, over 80 years later, many people are still benefiting from his life's work.

PP of DC




The January Parish Council meeting was held on the 20th, postponed from the previous week due to the weather conditions.

During this meeting, the Council was informed of Councillor Anne Hinchliffe's decision to resign as a Councillor for this Parish for personal reasons. Anne has been a very loyal and supportive member of this Council, as she has with other organisations in the village, and I should like to say thank you to her for her many years of work and commitment on behalf of the Council and the village.

There will obviously now be a vacancy on the Parish Council and the relevant notices will be displayed shortly.

Thanks also go to the Parish Clerk, Sue Squire, for 10 years of service to this Council, her knowledge and advice during this time has been greatly appreciated.

The Manor Hall playground will shortly be closed temporarily to allow refurbishment of the playground to take place. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The next Parish Council meeting will take place at the earlier time of 6.30pm on the 7th February, this will be to discuss The North Devon and Torridge Joint Core Strategy. This document will set out the future development that is needed across northern Devon up to 2026. Public consultation will take place from 21st January to 4th March 2010. Exhibitions and information will be at many various locations but will be at the Lantern Centre in Ilfracombe on Saturday 6th February and Sunday 21st February, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. This document will be available to view and comment via www.northdevon.gov.uk/corestrategy

Sue Sussex - Chairman

North Devon Councillor [Combe Martin Ward] 01271 882916




Bert lived at the far end of Goosewell, near Hole Farm. As were a lot of farm workers, Bert was usually to be seen with a sack tied around him, especially in the winter. Bert owned a horse but the grazing in his field was not very good. So, when it got dark, Bert would take his horse and put it in with his neighbour's to get some good grazing. Before daylight, he would remove it again and no one was ever the wiser! And they say country folks are dim!


In the '50's, George and Dr. Head were gentlemen of the road, or tramps as they were known before PC. They lived at the start of the old coast road in what was part of the old lime kiln, well hidden from the road. Each had a bed of dried leaves under the over-hanging rocks and a stone fire circle with a very black kettle, and some tree trunks on which they sat.

George never ventured far from the village, knowing where he could call to get a welcome cup of tea, a meal or some left over food, even some milk in his can for later. Dr. Head would travel farther afield and would sometimes be seen at Berrydown, Combe Martin or even West down, but he always returned after a few days. They seemed to get along together very well and being given hand-me-down blankets, coats, boots, socks and shoes made their chosen way of life a little more comfortable.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

One day, when George arrived back at their 'camp' there was a stranger on the scene - Whiskers, as he later became known. All hell broke loose and when Dr. Head arrived back and joined in things got worse! They were shouting and throwing large stones at each other and making such a commotion that a passer-by went in to the Sawmills and phoned the police, who arrived in force and calmed the situation down. George and Dr. Head grudgingly allowed Whiskers to stay. Like Dr. Head, Whiskers also tended to travel further afield.

George and Dr. Head were an accepted part of the community and most people, including the children, would pass the time of day with them. Whiskers never seemed to fit in and the children would run away if they saw him coming.

In his later years, George moved in to Ilfracombe but he was not forgotten by some of the villagers who when they went in to Ilfracombe would look out for him and give him some money for a cup of tea or a packet of cigarettes.





Sadly, our plea for help with this year's Show and the possibility of a new organising group coming forward seems to have fallen on stony ground, or deaf ears! If you think you might be able to help, do please contact one of us to at least have a chat about what it entails - you might be surprised how little, especially when everyone knuckles down together. It would be a great shame to see this long-term village event hit the dust, but as the saying goes, 'cho[use] it or lose it'. Come on, let's be hearing from YOU!

Commercial over, let's talk about this year's Show. The Grow a Spud competition, which was a great success, will be repeated together with another new competition, Sunny Smiles. This will be to produce the largest diameter sunflower head. So, make a note of the date and buy your seed potato and sunflower seeds at a Coffee Morning to be held at the Manor Hall on Saturday, 10th April, from 10.30 a.m. Indulge in coffee and cakes, participate in the raffle and purchase items from the produce, plant and craft stalls. Spuds and seeds must be purchased either at the Coffee Morning or by 'phoning 883544 to reserve yours. These are simple and fun competitions for all the family - get them all, kids, parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents to 'grow their own'.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the Coffee Morning.

Yvonne, Pip, Tony, Jack and Judie


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Special Offers:

  • At The Globe: Kids eat free, Monday to Friday. One free meal from the 'Kids' Free Menu' for children under 10 when an adult's meal is purchased [£6.50 or over].
  • At the Sawmill: *Curry & Pint, £6.50, Monday to Friday *2 for £10 - 2 meals for £10 from the Special '2 for £10' Menu, Monday to Friday. These offers run throughout February and through March until Friday, 26th March [last day].

Sunday Quiz Nights at The Globe, 8.30 p.m. start: 7th &21st February, 7th & 21st March.

Valentine's Day, Sunday 14th February Menus available soon but book early for a candle-lit romantic meal!

Race Night at The Globe, Friday 19th February: Tickets are now available from The Globe and must be purchased in advance. Proceeds from this event will go to the Well Child Charity. [Karl's chosen charity when he takes part in the London Marathon in April.]

Saturday, 20th February, 'All You Can Eat [Chinese]' for £10.95. The Sawmill - Booking advised.

Sunday 14th March is Mothering Sunday. So remember to book early.

Saturday, 20th March, 'All You Can Eat [Chinese] for £10.95. The Sawmill - Booking advised.

Tuesday, 23rd March: There will be a Fashion Show at the Sawmill to raise money for Berrynarbor VC Primary School and Berrynarbor Pre-School. Tickets will be available soon from the Sawmill, Globe or Louise Richards at Moules Farm.

Every Sunday:

  • Traditional Roast Lunch at Ye Olde Globe, Main meal £6.95, 2 courses £8.95, 3 courses £10.95. Booking is advised.
  • Carvery at the Sawmill £7.50*

*Special Offer: Book your table by Thursday night before the week-end you're booking for and get one free dessert with every carvery meal purchased! Offer ends Sunday, 28th February.


Artwork: Helen Weedon


"It's nice to see the green of the countryside again," a lady was heard to remark when the ice and snow finally melted. And who could disagree with her? The recent snowfall was incomparable to last February when, having cloaked the valleys and hilltops, it then melted and vanished within days.

This time, however, the night time temperatures plummeted, causing snowflakes to link with their next-door-neighbours, toughening in so doing and turning transparent. Surfaces were soon suffocated beneath thick layers of ice, too thick for the sun's winter rays to penetrate. Indeed, if the musical chords of Bolero had been rolled out across the conurbations, Torville and Dean could have taken their choice upon which pavement to skate. What's more, they could have danced their routine without fear of interruption, concrete making a rare appearance; and just like it always does when it lingers in urban locations, the snow soon turned grey and looked dirty.

The countryside meanwhile remained bleached. Green blades of grass were concealed beneath the white. Hedge banks acted as buffers for drifts of snow. Tree branches became ledges upon which flakes could come to rest. Villages and woods mirrored the scene on the Christmas card that still stood on the mantelpiece; and whilst the card would be on view for only a few more days, the picture outside was intent on remaining unchanged for some time to come.

When news broke that the inclement weather was to hang around for a while, some people reacted in the way they seem programmed to do when such events occur, panic. Or more specifically, panic-buy!

Out in the countryside meanwhile, wildlife had its own problems to focus on, with the day-to-day availability of food, or more specifically access to it, becoming difficult. The media however, fully aware of this, encouraged people to help bird life in particular by making food available in our gardens.

Yet birds which are commonly found within our fields, hedgerows and woodlands were not just to be seen upon a bird feeder or bird table. Whilst taking a walk in Bicclescombe Park, I observed a bird whose appearance indicated it to be a member of the Thrush family. Distinct by the spots on its breast, these were more elongated than those upon the mistle thrush and song thrush. As the bird turned sideways, continuing to turn over leaves in search for insects, the light stripe over its eye and the pinkish-chestnut area on its flanks confirmed that this was in fact a winter visitor normally found in the open country, a redwing.

Later that day, on my way out of town along a busy road, I saw a bird that I normally associate with the open fields near Ashford. From a distance they appear as a mass of black and white spots against the green pasture. Yet here was one on a grass verge, poking about the snow in the hope of finding something edible underneath. As I slowly passed by, I enjoyed the opportunity of being able to appreciate at close range the lapwing's fine long crest and its glossy iridescent plumage.

Stephen McCarthy

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes




From its beginnings arising from the North Devon Hospice Knit In, the Craft Group has gone from strength to strength with fun and fellowship and definitely no bitching, but some stitching!

We meet each Monday afternoon in the Manor Hall, from 1.30 p.m. onwards. There are knitters, beaders, embroiderers, lace makers and other crafters, who during the afternoon enjoy tea and choccy biccies [cakes sometimes] all for just £1.50 a session.

Last June we enjoyed a day visit to Powderham Castle and in December a Christmas Lunch all together at Marwood, and we'll shortly be planning this year's trip out.

Anyone and everyone is welcome - there is always room for more. Why not come along and see what we are up to.

Up to? We shall again be supporting the North Devon Hospice Knit In and this year plan to knit whilst holding a Coffee Morning at the Manor Hall on Friday, 19th February from 10.00 a.m. onwards. Everyone is invited to enjoy coffee and cakes and anyone wishing to knit as well will be warmly welcomed.

With 20 stitches, size 8 needles and plenty of wool, it is hoped many colourful strips will be produced for the Hospice to turn into blankets. Rather than seeking sponsorship, knitters will be asked to donate £5 to Hospice funds. All other proceeds from the morning will also be donated to the Hospice.

Look out for posters and come and give your support - either knitting or just nattering! See you there.



9th Parish Council Meeting, Penn Curzon Room, 7.00 p.m.
12th Valentine Musical Evening with Simon Banks, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
15th Primary School & College: Half Term to Friday, 19th February
17th Ash Wednesday. Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m. Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: West France Wines, Nicola Keeble
19th Coffee Morning & Knit In, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. onwards
21st Hellebore & Snowdrop Sunday, Marwood Hill Gardens, 10am to 4 pm
24th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, from 12.00 noon
26th Berrynarbor School PTA: Curry and Quiz Night, Manor Hall
28th Hellebore & Snowdrop Sunday, Marwood Hill Gardens, 10am to 4 pm
1st Marwood Hill Gardens Re-open for 2010
2nd Ladies Group, 2.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Speaker - Sarah Cutts, Ilfracombe Dogs Trust
3rd Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
6th Coffee Morning with Wendy and Teddy [Canine Partners], 10.00 a.m.
9th Parish Council Meeting, Penn Curzon Room, 7.00 p.m.
12th - 13th BBC Show , A Christmas/Easter Carol, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
14th St. Peter's Church: Mothering Sunday Service with Children 11 am
15th Deadline for Items for April Newsletter
17th Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Majestic Wines of Barnstaple
24th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, from 12.00 noon
26th To 28th North Devon Hospice Big Breakfast
28th St. Peter's Church: Palm Sunday Service with Children 11.00 a.m.
North Devon Hospice, Walk for Life
31st Mobile Library in Village from 11.20 a.m.
1st Primary School & College: End of Spring Term
2nd Good Friday
4th Easter Sunday
5th Easter Monday
6th Ladies' Group, 2.00 p.m. Manor Hall: Speaker - Bernard Hill, 'The Fox Man'

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 1.30 p.m. onwards
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 - 12.30 p.m.Car Park
1.40 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley




The Berrynarbor Wine Circle has had two meetings since the last newsletter, one in December and one on the 20th January. In December the theme was Christmas Food and Drink, where the ladies for each table got together to organise a starter, main course and dessert, while I, as the presenter for the evening, organised and described the wine. This arrangement is excellent as if it was the other way round and I organised the food . .. !

The wines provided covered those most people like to drink at the Festive Season, ranging from an alternative to Champagne, to Claret and Vintage Port, and a superb evening was had by all.  

In January we had a very different meeting - Call my Wine Bluff, a quiz loosely based on the old television show, but instead of having to identify obscure words, the teams of 6 had to identify the wine they were tasting, a much better idea.

 A panel of three 'experts [?]' , Geoff Adam, John Thorndycroft and Tony Summers, gave three different suggestions as to what the wine might be. The teams then had to decide who was giving the true description, the year of the wine and how much it cost. Points were awarded on a sliding scale according to how close to the year and price they were. At the end of the evening the 'Other Halves' [a team which included the wives of the panellists] were clear winners. Despite claims to the contrary, they had no prior knowledge of what was to be offered.

Next month will be a very interesting one as the guest speaker will be Jill McCrae's daughter, Nicola, who lives in France and will be giving a talk and tasting of wines from the area where she lives, close to Bergerac. Anyone wishing to join us will be most welcome but please contact me on 883600 beforehand.

Tony Summers






As you probably know, our Shop and Post Office has been voted the Best in the South West for the second year running according to the Countryside Alliance judges.

We were all delighted with, and proud of, our shop under the guidance of Anita and Debbie. Thank you everyone who wrote in and supported the shop. One of the key factors was the commitment to customers. Fenella wrote that a visitor came in and bought a bottle of Pimms. "What a pity I've no mint to go in it." She remarked. Anita asked Geoff Adam, who was in the shop, if he had any mint in his garden. He came back with a bunch and in minutes, the visitor went away a very happy lady! There aren't many shops where you would get that service!

And whilst on the subject of herbs, I hear on the grapevine that Berry in Bloom might be planting a few herbs outside the shop for people to pick as needed. What a nice idea!

The National award winners are to be announced at the House of Lords on the 3rd February, and Debbie plus one or two others will be representing our shop. Wouldn't it be nice to be the best in the country?

Sadly, Robin Downer has resigned as Treasurer due to other commit-ments. We thank him for his work over the last year and are lucky that Phil Brown of Middle Lee Farm has agreed to step in. Thank you, Phil.

We are always looking for volunteers, even if they can only manage a two-hour shift. Also, one Sunday morning shift is still vacant. If you could help with either of these, please do speak to Anita.

By the time of our next Newsletter, Easter will be upon us - so the shop will have lots of cards and Easter eggs.

Now, with few visitors around, this is our quietest time of the year - and the mortgage still has to be paid.! So please do come and support it.

PP of DC



Following the success of the two years' Sale, we shall be holding another on


Please save some of your plants and seedlings to help make it an even bigger and better sale. Donated plants will be welcome at the Manor Hall from 10 am.

We hope to have plants from all categories including: trees and shrubs, herbaceous perennials, fruit and vegetables, indoor and pot plants, bedding plants and annuals.

There will also be some space for stalls connected with gardening and plants. If you would like to have a stall to promote and advertise your business or cause, please contact Kath Thorndycroft on [01271] 889019.

Proceeds to Berrynarbor Community Shop


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


St. Peter's Church and the Manor Hall

This photographic postcard published around 1920-1921 by the Photochrom Company Limited of Tunbridge Wells, shows St. Peter's church, the Manor Hall, Tower Cottage and part of the thatched roof of Bessemer Thatch.

At first glance, the picture is dominated by a huge tree apparently growing in the churchyard and seemingly almost ninety foot in height! The yew tree near the entrance path is still there today and with its bright red berries has provided food for many wild birds over the years. The 'Elizabethan' Manor House, now the Penn Curzon Room and Mens' Institute [snooker] Room shows a door on the left of the east facing wall and on the right an ivy clad wall where the present entrance door is. Part of the Manor Hall, built 1913-14 can also be seen. Over its porch was a large gas lamp, very similar to the one over the Lych Gate at that time.

These gas lamps were shown in Views No. 27 and 29 in the Newsletters of February and June 1994.

Beyond the church, there is also a complete absence of houses on the eastern side of Barton Lane.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 2010
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



Following the earthquake in Haiti and the horrific problems in its wake, collections have been made both at St. Peter's and our Community Shop. The resultant sum of £400 has now been sent direct to Shelter Box to help them with their relief operations.


[Illustrated by some old chestnuts]

  • "My wife's off to the West Indies for a fortnight,"
    "No, she's going of her own accord."

  • "I've booked us a holiday in Spain for this summer."
    "No, I'm telling the truth."

  • Two old gaffers meet on the village green. "Spring in the air George" says one, shaking his stick.
    "Hey, what's that you say?" says deaf old George.
    "Spring George, in the air."
    "Spring in the air yourself, if so be you've a mind, I be too old for such.

  • "I had a smashing holiday in North Italy with a lovely girl I met in that big port."
    "Never set eyes on her before."
  • Three slightly inebriated men sitting together on the London
    tube. As the train draws in to a station, one says "Is this Wembley?"
    "No," says the second, "It's Thursday."
    "Sho'm I" says the third, "Let's get out and have a drink."

  • "What's your profession?"
    "I'm a naval surgeon."
    "Golly, don't chaps specialise nowadays!"

  • "I had a lovely holiday in Eastern Europe."
    "No, it was quite reasonable."

  • "My dog's got no nose."
    "No nose? How does he smell?"


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



See You There!