Edition 125 - April 2010
It's incredible how quickly time goes between issues - here we are again!
By the time you read this, clocks will have gone forward and spring will have officially arrived. It has been a long time coming, but after a week or two of lovely sunny days, but very cold and frosty nights, rain has turned the grass a little greener and encouraged the daffodils to flower.
February was the time for renewing mailing subscriptions and it is gratifying that nearly everyone has renewed so that the mailing list continues to stand at nearly 120. Thank you all and for the generous donations that accompanied your subscriptions.
How lucky we are to have so many regular contributors and artists, thank you to all of you as well - keep them coming! Items for the June issue will be welcome as soon as possible but by FRIDAY, 14TH MAY at the latest please.
In the meantime, my best wishes, especially to newcomers to the village and everyone who is not feeling at their best just now.
Have a Happy Easter.
Judie - Ed
BERRYNARBOR LADIES' GROUP
The February meeting was taken by Vice Chairman Margaret
Crabbe and commenced with a short
Margaret then welcomed Lani Shepherd, who designs and makes contemporary stained glass panels at her local studio. Her designs have been commissioned for public spaces and private homes worldwide.
Lani originally came to
On 2nd March, Sarah Curtis came from the Dogs Trust [formerly
the National Canine Defence League] and brought with her a Bassett hound called
All the dogs are checked by a vet, neutered and an identity chip inserted. Much effort goes into matching a dog to its future home and there is a one-week trial period before a final decision is made. If the new owner experiences a problem, the Trust guarantees to take the dog back.
The facility at Ilfracombe was rebuilt in 1996 and handled 600 dogs in 2009. There are fourteen staff and it costs £200,000 a year to run with no government funding. There is a charity shop in Ilfracombe, which raised
£37,883 last year. Sarah illustrated her talk with colourful
slides. Janet Gammon suggested various
ideas for this year's outings and asked for comments. The
suggestions were a visit to Woody Bay Railway to include a cream tea in the
The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury. The Meeting ended, as always, with tea, biscuits and a chat. The speakers at the next three Meetings will be: 6th April - Bernard Hill [the fox man], 4th May - Tom Bartlett [Old Berrynarbor in Pictures] and 1st June - Tim Davies [Birds of Berrynarbor]. Do come along! Everyone is welcome and meetings start at
I loved the quiet things, the flowers and the dew,
Field mice, birds homing; and the frost that shone
On nursery windows when my years were few;
And autumn mists subduing hill and plain
and blurring outlines of those older moods
that follow, after loss and grief and pain -
And last and best, a gentle laugh with friends,
All bitterness forgone, and evening near.
If we be kind and faithful when day ends,
We shall not meet that ragged starveling 'fear'
As one by one we take the unknown way -
Speak my name softly - there's no more to say.
Vera Arlett [1896-1948]
SALLY ANNE RICHARDS
Too young! The village was stunned to learn that having treated her illness with cheerfulness and disdain, Sally passed away peacefully at home on the 17th February. Our thoughts are with Martyn, her father Norman and her grandmother Ivy and all her family at this time of such sadness.
On the day of her funeral, the sun shone and there was 'standing room only' in the Chapel. So many members of her family, friends and colleagues from work were there to wish her well and send this much loved free spirit on her way 'home'. Bless you Sally from us all.
* * *
Norman, Dave and Martyn would like to thank everyone for the cards and kind words of sympathy following the sad loss of Sally.
Thanks also go to the Rev. Keith Wyer for being fantastic at such a difficult time and all the care and support of the community, Macmillan and Hospice nurses. Money raised, £367 so far, will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support and the North Devon Hospice.
Sally was born in Ilfracombe and grew up in Berrynarbor. She moved away to take on many new ventures, returning home some years ago.
Such a lovely, free-spirited friend, daughter, grand-daughter, soul mate, sister and aunty, she will be greatly missed.
we love don't walk away
They walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
A wonderful service on Mothering Sunday which did the School proud. About thirty children filed into church in an orderly fashion and settled down quickly. Parents and brothers and sisters were already in the pews along with the church choir and our regular congregation.
The Lesson from St. Luke was read very clearly by Oliver Ivan, the school sang a Mother's Day song unaccompanied and one child from each year group read a poem, producing spontaneous applause - and some tears. Each child had a personally made card for their mother and bouquets with cards were distributed around the whole congregation on behalf of St. Peter's. The service ended with Macy Ivan singing 'Somewhere over the Rainbow', accompanied on the guitar.
Special thanks to Mike Taylor who led the service, Mrs. Newell and School Staff for their work with the children and Sue Wright who made up some 50 bunches of flowers for us all.
April 23rd is
There will be two special dates in May. Ascension Day is on the 13th and Pentecost [Whitsunday] will be celebrated on the 23rd with Holy Communion. This is the week-end before the Bank Holiday.
Friendship Lunches will be on Wednesdays 28th April and 26th May, onwards. Everyone is welcome to come along and join us.
A receipt has arrived from Shelterbox thanking us for the
£400 sent in response to the
The money was collected in church and through the Community Shop. We have also received a thank you letter
from the Children's Hospice for the £250 sent from Christmas collections.
MANOR HALL MATTERS
The feedback from those who supported the Simon Banks Musical Evening and Supper in early February was extremely positive and thanks must go to committee members for their help in staging the event and providing puddings! Particular thanks to Alan for his tenacity throughout the preceding days and weeks to get things organised. So, a qualified success for our first 'fund raiser' of the year!
Growing our funds is really important as they are forever being stretched! At the time of writing, for example, we've just had to contend with a major breakdown of the gas boiler which serves the Penn Curzon Room and to reorganise the configuration of some of the guttering at the rear of the building to avoid further water entry and damage to plasterwork beyond that which occurred during the bad weather since the new year.
So, can I again emphasise the continued importance of fund raising and the hope of your full support for the two Beaford Arts events scheduled for a few weeks' time?
Also, just round the corner, on Wednesday 5th May to be precise, we shall be holding our Annual General Meeting. This will be, as always, an open meeting and we should love to see a presence from all the User Groups. Please do your best to send a representative.
Hopefully by now, the Regular User Groups will have received a short form on which to record and input their collective views to define the projects and priorities they believe the Manor Hall Committee should consider in the months and years ahead, both for the buildings and the facilities. From these form inputs and from the Committee itself, we hope to organise a short, medium and long term Action Plan as well as developing plans for further fund raising and grant applications to support the Action Plan and anticipate some ambitious ideas!
One project which will get underway in the coming weeks will be the external decoration and treatment of window timbers. Timings are not yet fully defined and will be dictated, to some extent, by the weather.
Colin Trinder - Chairman
WEATHER OR NOT
We don't need to remind anyone that January and February were cold months!
In January the temperature dropped to below or near freezing on twenty-two nights; daytime temperatures were well below double figures for most of the month. The highest temperature was 11.8 Deg C on the 16th and the lowest was -4.6 Deg C on the 7th. This was not actually as low as last January when we recorded -5.6 Deg C, but then the cold spell was not so prolonged. We got off lightly here in Berrynarbor, temperatures in other parts of the county dropped to -14 Deg C and -15 Deg C. We did record wind chills of -14 Deg C on two days and -11 Deg C, 012 Deg C and -13 Deg C on three other days. There were falls of snow on seven days with a maximum fall of 10mm [3/8"] - a light dusting in comparison to the massive 480mm [19"] Aviemore had in one night! The cold frosty weather meant that there was little rain in the month, the total being 65mm [2 9/16"], this was not exceptional but January can be a very wet month. With a lack of rain, this meant more sunshine and the hours recorded were 20.51, capping last year by 71/2 hours.
February had a few spring-like days but again the temperatures stayed mainly in single figures with a maximum of 11.4 Deg C on the 24th. The overnight minimums although dropping below freezing on several nights were higher generally than in January and the lowest recorded was -2.5 Deg C on the 12th. There was also a wind chill of -11 Deg C on two consecutive days. It was another dry month with a total of 86mm [3 3/8"] of rain, the wettest day being the 2nd with 12mm [1/2"] and there were also four days with some snow. One thing we haven't seen a lot of this winter is south-westerly gales. In January the strongest wind guest was 28knots from the north and in February, it was 24 knots from south-south east.
There was very little sunshine in the early part of February, with the total of 23.06 hours being only .22 hours higher than in 2009.
March has started dry and sunny with high pressure still in control, but it is still pretty cold and the ground is still frozen where the sun hasn't reached it. The daffodils are being held back but the snowdrops and crocuses are putting on a good show.
Simon and Sue
THE LEGEND LIVES ON
Caroline, the world's most famous offshore radio station, where DJ's such as
Johnny Walker, Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis cut their teeth and made
their break in radio, is still on the air, over 45 years on from when the
legend began. As well as land based studios in
Berrynarbor based Paul Crockett, known on air as Paul Andrews [long story], recently became the new early breakfast show presenter, with a weekday show between 6 and . Paul presented many radio programmes for a number of local radio stations when he lived in Hampshire, and after an 11 year break, says, "It's great to be back behind the microphone again and to be part of a great team of dedicated presenters."
Radio Caroline is predominantly an Adult Album station biased towards rock music, offering an alternative to local radio stations, with a mix of comfortable classic songs from the last four and a half decades, together with less familiar songs not often heard on the radio. Radio Caroline can be heard on Sky channel 0199, and over the internet at www.radiocaroline.co.uk. Internet radio is the fastest growing radio medium.
LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
As I prepare to leave you, I just wanted to say 'Thank You' for making my time here so memorable. Thank you for allowing me to share in your moments of laughter and joy, and tears of sorrow. We have experienced the highs and lows of life together and those moments will always stay with me. Our friendship has been an expression of the love we share.
Throughout my ministry I have tried to show and express something of God's love for you. I apologise for the times I have failed but I shall always remember your smiling faces, and the times we have shared together, in Church, at school, in the pub, along the road, in the shops.
When the Queen's anniversary was celebrated and television's Richard and Judy came to Combe Martin, I was given one question that I would be asked by the presenters, which was "What are the people like?"
I never actually got the chance to give the answer I had prepared, because they were running out of time at the studio! I probably muttered something like "There are good and bad here", but what I really wanted to
say came from one of my
favourite stories about a gamekeeper who liked to shoot ducks and wanted to try
out his new gun dog. When he shot a
duck, he said to the dog, "Go fetch." The dog looked up, wagged his tail and
calmly walked across the pond, picked up the dead bird, walked back and dropped
it at his feet. The gamekeeper couldn't
believe his eyes! He shot another duck,
and exactly the same thing happened again.
He could hardly contain his excitement when he invited a few friends
along to see the new gun dog in action.
At the pond he shot a duck, and the dog behaved exactly the same as
before. The gamekeeper looked at his
friends. Not a flicker! He shot another duck and exactly the same
thing happened again. Not a
flicker! Unable to contain his
excitement any more he said, "Did you notice anything special about the
dog?" One of his friends, in a broad
So often we do not see the miracles around us, and so often we take our friends and loved ones for granted. Open your eyes and tell your friends and loved ones just how much they mean to you. Then, maybe, I shall have achieved something here in my ministry. God bless you all.
Your Friend and Rector,
On a very practical note: When I leave on 30th June, after thirty eight years of ordained ministry, I have to cut all ties with the Parishes. In accordance with Diocesan rules for retirement, the Bishop's permission to officiate, that is take services, is withdrawn for twelve months, and the priest has to re-apply if he or she wishes to help out anywhere in the Diocese after that time. So I am afraid I cannot 'come back' to carry out normal Sunday Services, Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals. During the interregnum, these will be organised by the Wardens. A couple of years ago, the Bishop of Crediton assured me that my position would be filled straight away, so hopefully you will not have to wait long to celebrate the arrival of your new priest.
The Berrynarbor Newsletter arrives on my door mat - I recognise it at once. On goes the coffee and I sit curled up in my chair and read it from first to last page!
I live in
The February issue and the article about Gentlemen of the Roads was of particular interest. I well remember seeing George as a child. None of us children were afraid of him. I grew up, married and we had a flat at Chambercombe, overlooking the pier, harbour and Hillsborough.
One very cold morning, my first baby woke for a feed and whilst I was giving her a bottle, I was looking out of the window. Then I saw him. A man asleep in the shelter on a bench. He awoke and walked to the cold stream - yes it was George. He took off his coat and 'whitish!' shirt, proceeded to wash his face, neck, chest - down to his waist - after which he dried himself with his shirt. Then he put his shirt in the stream and gave it a good wash, after which he wrung it out and put it back on. After replacing his coat he returned to the bench for breakfast which looked like a piece of bread.
George enjoyed talking to our many visitors on the sea front and harbour, people seemed to find his tales of great interest.
I have never forgotten seeing George, Gentleman of the Road getting ready for his day. A gentleman yes, and a very clean one as I saw that morning!
Mary Binding [Huxtable]
As you know from my many requests for plant pots, I sell plants in aid of our children's hospice at Little Bridge House in Fremington.
Two weeks ago I had an invitation to go and see this wonderful place.
The thought, love and care which takes place there is beyond belief and I cannot begin to tell you of the impression it leaves. Above everything, you get a feeling of the happiness it gives to the families and children who are able to spend time there when their lives are sad.
Care staff and equipment of every kind is in abundance. One room is full of toys, one for family meals and a wonderful kitchen where meals are provided at any time. A bathroom catering for any disability, size or age, which gives the children a freedom not always possible at home, a soft play area, messy play area, teenage room, Jacuzzi [complete with cinema screen], beautiful family bedrooms for mum and dad and brothers and sisters - these are just some of the facilities and I could go on, but seeing is believing and above all, this is the complete care these children and their families are given during their stay.
Then we were taken out into the
Little Bridge House has only 11% government funding and when I tell you that it costs £3 million a year to run, it is amazing how this money is raised. 200 families are helped each year, both for planned respite and emergency care and when the time comes, for palliative and end-of-life care.
We are so lucky to have Little Bridge House in
Plants will be on sale again from Easter - weather permitting - when between us we can 'do our bit' in 'making the most of short and precious lives'.
A CHRISTMAS/EASTER CAROL
My programme went out with the recycling before I was asked to write my thoughts about the Berrynarbor panto . . . I need it to work out exactly what the plot had been, which says something in itself, or maybe it's because I'm from Ilfracombe and I is blonde!
I was there on the recommendation of the
Charalambous bros., accompanied by a three year old and my visitor from
Naff costumes, bad timing, muffled old gags and cringe-worthy sexual innuendo! Despite reading magazines in his shop all day, fairy narrator Nick Charalambous struggled to read his lines in the French voice of Rene - just a few of the many things that made this village amateur production so hilariously amateurish and utterly, delightfully, charming. The scenery artwork was impressive as were the sound effects, when Paul Crockett remembered them, and I think I recognised some professional singers who weren't at all bad.
I expected the night to be fun and it was! 'Fun' being a quote from the three year old. I see Nick Charalambous daily who's been so excited about an opportunity for public cross-dressing but I had no idea that so many inhabitants of Berrynarbor shared the same eccentricity and make-up that terrified my grandson. The cast included a male fairy, a male genie and so many dames with varying degrees of lunacy and scary legs!
I have two Golden Globe nominations - the local pub's called that, get it? - for best performances. Firstly to Phil Charalambous, a man normally appearing in a dazed world of his own who clearly excels at portraying characters other than his own and to Seretse, recognised by my grandson from his playgroup at Sure Start, for a splendid spliff-waving, all-singing [about doughnuts with jam in], quick-fire joke-telling Bob Marley. Explain that one next week Seretse!
Hat's off to everyone. Thank you for a great night out. Village life at its best.
Erica Castle - Amateur Critic!
SOME LOCAL CHARACTERS - 4
Sid was a real wit and always had a smile on his face and a joke on the tip of his tongue.
One morning when he and several of his colleagues were waiting for the transport to pick them up from the village to take them to work, down through the village came a stranger. With his brief case, umbrella and very smart clothes, he looked completely out of place in Berrynarbor at that time. He knocked on the door of one of the cottages.
"T'is no good knocking on that door," piped up Sid. "Theyem all out except for the clock and even ee be gwain!"
At this remark, Sid and his fellow workers fell about laughing - it's not what you say but the way that you say it! The poor man, thinking he had met all the village idiots in one go, turned about and beat a hasty retreat.
Sid and his Wife Flo
One lovely summer evening, the lads from the village including Gerald and his cousin Frank Huxtable, known as 'Laddie', and any visitors who wanted to join in, were playing a game of cricket in the field opposite Middle Lee Farm. As was usual, a small group gathered to watch and they were joined towards the end by William Draper or 'Muxey' as he was known. Muxey was a very good gardener and used to till the land up the lane behind Middle Lee, now known as Thirkles Field. He used donkeys to do the ploughing.
On this occasion Muxey was carrying a basket in which he had some of his produce and the vegetables were admired by everyone gathered.
A few days later Gerald met up with the very chipper Frank who told him he had won first prize at Combe Martin Horticultural Show. Gerald was somewhat surprised, knowing that Frank wasn't in to gardening let alone growing vegetables.
With a wink, Frank told Gerald that he had crept up to Muxey's field at dusk and pinched some of his carrots, entering the best of them in the Show, thus winning the first prize and pocketing some very welcome prize money!
ARTHUR [TIDDLY] EDWARDS
Although Tiddles was not the brightest lad, he commanded a great respect from his peers for his sporting ability - he was simply the best at football, cricket, darts, snooker and skittles. And he could also run very fast. Everyone wanted Tiddles on their team.
He amazed his friends by throwing a stone at the church clock, stopping the hands at !
Once, when The Globe was being renovated and the builders had some sand delivered, a large tipper lorry emptied a mountain of sand in the car park at the rear of the pub. What a wonderful playground for the village lads! They put some planks up each side of the heap and on their old bikes raced down from the Manor Hall and up and over the sand, Time and time again they raced until one of the lads removed the plank. Unknown to Tiddles, who was in front, he hit the pile of sand, the front wheel stuck fast and he flew over the top, landing flat on his back, somewhat dazed, on the other side.
There was another occasion when Tiddles ended up on his back. Tiddles exercised Bebe, Ivor Richards' pony. Like a lot of ponies, Bebe had to be pushed to go anywhere, but once turned for home, quickened her pace, especially with a novice rider on her back. Tiddles had ridden Bebe up through the Valley, turning about mid-way to come back. Bebe then gained pace until she was cantering through two rocks, the noise from her hooves echoing and Tiddles shouting. Rosie Bray was in her garden, half way up Jan Braggs Hill, and could hear the racket. She went to the gate just in time to see the horse fly past, over the brow of the hill it went and down through lower town, with the noise still echoing around. A swift turn up Castle Hill heading to her stable and food. But alas for poor Tiddles, the wind had blown the top stable door shut - no problem for Bebe but Tiddles came a cropper!
Val and David Hann are delighted to announce the arrival of their eighth grandchild. Rosamund Lucy Alexandra, a second daughter for Ben and Pip and sister for Penelope, was born on the 17th February, weighing 8lbs 13oz.
Congratulations and best wishes to you all.
A beautiful sunny morning welcomed Teddy, Wendy and Peter to the Manor Hall and there was a good turn out to greet them - a few more would have been even better!
After we had indulged in delicious cakes and coffee, Wendy, who suffers from a rare skin disease that makes her skin vulnerable to tearing, told us how her life with Teddy came about and having had him as a puppy, how they have worked together to achieve today's wonderful partnership.
Teddy, a three-year old golden retriever, demonstrated just a few of the ways in which he can help Wendy - fetching, carrying and unzipping and removing her coat. Literally a 'life saver', he knows when she stops breathing in the night and after holding her breath for a brief moment, Teddy immediately barked.
When he is wearing his blue jacket, Teddy is a 'working' dog - calm, gentle, alert, obedient, watching and waiting to help. When his jacket is off, he is a normal young dog - exuberant, full of life and fun, and it was lovely to see him wagging his way around the hall, greeting and talking to everyone and lapping up the attention!
A very big thank you to Teddy, Wendy and Peter for sharing with us all their inspirational faith and loyalty, and to everyone who came to support them and the event, especially those who came from beyond the village.
must also go to the generous raffle donators -
Lastly, thank you to all the cake-makers and helpers who both set up and cleared away.
A heart-warming and happy morning which will see Canine Partners benefit by some £250.
The hope was to buy a puppy for training, but this was out of our reach! Instead, on behalf of those present - and the village - two puppies have been 'adopted', one now and a second one will be chosen after Easter. The remainder of the money we raised will go towards necessary equipment and training.
Julie, who is the Corporate Fundraising Manager and deals with adoptions for Canine Partners has written:
Thank you so much for your support and we are glad our Wendy and canine partner Teddy inspired your group; they are both excellent ambassadors for the charity.
Thank you so much for adopting two of our puppies and supporting the work of Canine Partners.
Your puppy, Pebbles, a very fluffy black labradoodle was the
third of five puppies born. The breeder
also has her grandmother who had 10 puppies only 11 days previously. So Pebbles has been brought up with her
siblings and 10 'aunts and uncles', along with her dad, a standard poodle, and
great granddad, a yellow
I hope that you will be happy with your choice of puppy and she will hopefully become another highly skilled assistance dog to help people with disabilities.
Our puppies are real dogs, with real stories to tell. Inevitably there are ups and downs in their training and occasionally a puppy may not be considered suitable for matching to a person with disabilities. This is all part and parcel of our work and ensures that our assistance dogs are of the very highest standards. It goes without saying that any pup that does not 'make it' is found a suitable loving home.
You will follow Pebbles right the way through her training by way of regular 'pupdates' up to the point of her graduation with her allocated partner as a fully trained assistance dog. It normally takes about 18 months to train each puppy from first selection to eventual graduation.
On behalf of all of us at Canine Partners, but particularly on behalf of our puppies, thank you very much indeed for joining us in our work.
Direct Line: 01730 716015
Details of Pebbles' progress and our new, second adopted puppy will be given in future Newsletters.
As I've said before, I am privileged, as Editor, to hear from and talk to readers from near and far.
Browsing the internet for Harding and Berrynarbor, Marie
Tieche came across our website.
Interested to see mention of Sam Harding the blacksmith. she asked if it
was his picture that hung in The Globe.
Able to look more closely at the photograph and make a few enquiries, I
found that the picture was of Dick Huxtable and Sam Harding. However, not Sam the blacksmith! This Sam Harding lived at Bountice,
With affectionate remembrance of my two dear Friends
from Chas. W. Fletcher
In researching her family, Marie found that she was descended from blacksmiths of Kentisbury and Berrynarbor, from the Harding family and from George Dendle/Daniel whose son William, her great-great grandfather, married Mary Jane Scamp in Berrynarbor and whose father, Robert Scamp, was the blacksmith at West Down. Marie had had difficulty tracking back until she discovered that for some reason, the family had changed their name from Dendle to Harding!
According to the 1851 Census and White's 1850 Director, George Dendle was the innkeeper of The Globe as well as a lime burner.
Marie currently lives in Jesteburg, just south east of
Marie met a German professor in a bar in
Marie hopes to return to the
Molly Alcock [nee Barrett] of Sheringham,
I have only just been made aware of your newsletter by my cousin, Maureen Underdown, nee Peachey, who used to live at 'Prospect' during the War.
I, too, lived with my mother and older brother John in Berrynarbor in 1940-1 when I was 6. We attended Miss Veal's school and loved it - or at least I did!
For a short while we lived with Mr. and Mrs. Ivor Richards at Moules Farm and then for a longer period at Capel Cottage - I still have a postcard of this wonderful cottage and wonder if it is still there? During our stays in the village, we also spent time at Croft Lee, Hagginton Hill and a cottage owned by Mrs. Toller at Widemouth House that had its own little private beach - an absolutely idyllic spot.
Whilst at Moules Farm I helped hand-rear a newborn lamb, which I christened Tibby, who would rush up to me in the paddock as soon as I came home from school. However, one day Tibby was not there and I was told where he had gone. I didn't eat lamb for a long time!
I remember once that Ivor took me 'up over' to one of the farm's far flung fields where the sheep were. I sat in front of him on a horse that I think was called Tommy. I wonder if Ivy can remember if my recollections are correct? [Yes, Ivy does, Tommy was his name!]
When we left to go home, Ivy gave me a little black and white kitten which we called Bimbo, one of whose sons became an absolutely adored companion of mine for ten years until I was sixteen.
Some of my family are spending time in Ilfracombe during the Easter school holidays - they have been told to visit Berrynarbor at length and photograph everywhere so I can see what it all looks like now!
RURAL REFLECTIONS NO. 43
A clump of snowdrops cling to a bank where the urban road becomes a country lane. The emergence of these nodding white flowers is supposed to herald the end of winter. Yet this morning they appear to be hunching their stems as much as possible in order to protect themselves from the biting north-easterly wind. Every cold blast forces their spear-shaped leaves to tremble, whilst up above the wind whips through the sycamores arching the lane. As their branches shake in response, it is hard to imagine them awash with fresh leaves rustling in a warm spring breeze. Where the archway ceases, the rhubarb-like leaves of winter heliotrope dominate the western bank.
Although some of the pale lilac flowers have now withered, as one would expect at the beginning of March, many are still standing resplendent; and was that a scent of vanilla I caught in a cold gust of wind, just then? The flowers' presence is a testament to winter's grip despite having passed the first of March, "the first day of spring".
Moreover, the fields which rise on the eastern side of this tight valley are blanketed by frost; a reflection of how, yet again, temperatures dipped well below freezing last night. The sun has only just appeared above the woodland which adorns the ridge of this hillside; it will be a good hour yet before the sun's early-spring rays can set to task upon the frost.
The hedgerow's shadow having receded a little, I followed the narrow path of sunlight on the far side of the lane. The unabated wind, however, had a cold, penetrating feel to it which prevented the sun from warming my icy cheeks. Today is no morning stroll, more an urgency to keep walking at a swift pace in order to stay warm - not that I run the risk of missing any sights within the passing hedgerows and banks. None of last year's wildflowers have survived, a change to previous years when mild winters encouraged species such as red campion and herb Robert, to name just a couple, to remain in flower throughout winter.
The only variation to the plethora of greens, browns and greys on view are the pale blue and primrose-yellow feathers of a blue tit who is hunting for any tiny morsels of food life available upon the nearby branches. Yet even he is persuaded to fly off and seek refuge within the woods when his feathers are literally ruffled by yet another cold blast of air.
The hedgerow gives way to the old stone bridge, allowing the
An hour later, on my way back home, the sun had risen sufficiently to shine upon the whole lane. Stopping at the farmer's gate, I spotted the gorse flowers on the far hilltops. No longer twinkling like the lights of Christmas, their bright yellow colour was fading fast. I knew this to be a sign that the same hilltops would soon be dusted in the white blossom of Blackthorn. Leaning against the gate, the hedgerows at either end acted as a buffer from the wind's race with itself down the lane. I turned to face the sun, closed my eyes and allowed its mid-morning rays to warm my cheeks. Lovely! I then heard a sound which brought a smile to my face: the bill of a spotted woodpecker vibrating and drumming fast upon a branch somewhere in the distance - a sure sign of early spring. On opening my eyes, I observed a lone flower taking advantage of a sheltered spot within the hedge bank. Away from the cold wind, the sun's rays had encouraged its yellow, shiny petals to open up - the first lesser celandine of spring. On a tree above the bank, a male chaffinch began calling; not just a 'pink' or a 'weef', but his distinctive longer song that ends with a flourish. Was he rehearsing his courtship song for the coming of spring? His plumage, in particular the pink on his breast and the slate-blue on his head and behind his eyes, was no longer as dull as it had been throughout winter.
Perhaps spring really is just around the corner.
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY POST OFFICE
As of now, the new glass porch is going up! This should be ready for Easter, and already the smart trolley for fruit and vegetables, well made by Tony Kitchin, is in place. It is hoped, too, that we can have second-hand books for sale on display.
Everyone should by now have received a newssheet about our bonus offer. The shop is doing well, but we still have that mortgage to pay, so every pound extra that you can spend will help. Don't forget that Anita tries to shop locally, which helps producers as well as the shop [and is often cheaper!]. Also, if you order fruit and vegetables in advance, there is a10% discount!
Yvonne Davey has started a folder where people within the village who have accommodation to let can add their own details. Just bring these into the shop. If you have friends or family coming, and not enough room to take them, then this is a good place to find accommodation. See Yvonne's article which follows. The folder will be found in the coffee area.
Kath Thorndycroft is hoping that all gardeners [and others!] have planted extra 'bits' for the Great Plant Sale to be held in aid of our Shop on Monday, 3rd May. She'd like to hear from you - Tel: 889019.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 15th May at We hope that as many shareholders as possible will be there.
A File, to be kept in the Community Shop, is being compiled to advertise to visitors Bed and Breakfast, Guest House, Hotels and Self-Catering establishments in the village.
If you are in the accommodation business and would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please bring details - brochures, cards or A4 advertisements to the Community Shop. These will be collated and included in the file at a cost of £5.00, the money going towards Shop funds.
If you would like more information or have any queries, please contact me on  882822.
Brian and Mary's Christmas message from Stogursey brought memories of early days flooding back.
I took up residency in the
What of Stogursey itself?
It was a small village about nine miles from
Johnson's Garage had its own electric generator and supplied
the hotel and a couple of private houses.
I had lodgings with Mrs. Johnson's parents and fetched water a couple of
times a day from a well. Just about
every family in the village had to cook with paraffin stoves or if you could afford it, Calor gas for light, heat and
cooking. To me the whole set up was a
paradise after living in
I became totally integrated into village life. To the locals I was, 'that there boy from
Like all small villages, Stogursey had its characters, but for me, Old Liza, as she was called, had no competition! In her late '70's, she had an addiction to alcohol and sleeping rough. Nevertheless, once a year Johnson's Garage supplied a taxi to transport her to the hotel where she had been employed in her youth, for a special meal. What a transformation - she looked a proper lady!
However, to finish my feat of memory it would not be complete
without mentioning Colonel Armstrong.
He was the epitome of the old soldier and that, of course, was what he
was. About 80 years old but still
upright and smart, he was full of tales of the old
Sadly, all good things come to an end. On
Waking up to a white and wintry morning, one wondered if the Knit In Coffee Morning for the North Devon Hospice would go ahead. But as normal in Berrynarbor, knitters and supporters braved the elements and turned out! Twenty-one knitters nattered whilst producing amazing technicoloured strips and enjoying unlimited gorgeous cakes and coffee, also enjoyed by those who came just for a natter.
Thank you to everyone who supported this event in any way - knitters, cake makers, raffle prize donators, helpers and visitors. Your generosity meant that £255 and a bagful of multi-coloured strips were taken to the Hospice in the afternoon.
In life there are only two things to worry about.
You're either rich or poor. If you're rich, you've nothing to worry about, if you're poor, you've only two things to worry about. You're either well or ill.
If you're well, you've nothing to worry about. If you're ill, you've only two things to worry about. You'll get better or you'll die.
If you get better, you've got nothing to worry about. If you die, you've only two things to worry about. You'll go to heaven or to hell.
If you go to heaven, you'll have nothing to worry about. If you go to hell you'll be so busy greeting all your old friends you won't have time to worry! So why worry?
This little gem was circulated round the office where I worked in the '60's by the draughtsmen, always the first to latch on to anything of this nature!
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
We are pleased to welcome
Congratulations to Sally and Mark Jefferys and Millie [Class 1] on the birth of George - 8lbs 5oz on 18th March. Everyone is doing well!
The Reverend Keith Wyer has been a wonderful supporter for all our pupils, parents, staff and governors for so many years, and it is with much sadness we learn that he is leaving us. We shall be making sure he is really busy between now and his departure time!
We've had a few events over recent weeks and our sincere thanks go to the helpers and supporters who make these events successful.
£181 was raised from the Bring
and Buy and Cake Sale for
* £80 was raised for Big Yellow Friday [Liver Disease Foundation] on the 5th March
* We sold off unclaimed/un-named lost property for approximately £20.
We have received an 'All Clear' from our recent asbestos inspection.
Once again we are collecting the current promotion vouchers from Tesco and Sainsbury's. Being such a small school it takes a while to accumulate a large number. Please ask your friends and families to save them for us. Thank you for your support.
Thank you for the kind donation of £100 from two village members. The money has been used to buy screening trellis with planters and plants. Thank you also to the Community Shop for donating the Walt Disney Dinosaur books.
Our school took part in the lovely Mother's Day Service in the church and the children read their poems about 'My Mum'. Here are some for you to see:
by Billy, Age 10
Mum you are great
You're more than a mate
Because you are my mum
And you are so much fun.
You care for me
Even before I was 3
You've helped me learn
And you ask none in return
Even when I'm bad
You never get mad
And I'd just like to say
I love you more each day.
by Kitty-May, age 7
M My Mum is so special to me
O She is the only Mum that is best for me
T She takes me on bicycle rides
H I love my Mum in my heart
E Sometimes she gets grumpy but I know every single day
she loves me and that's what counts
R When the rain comes down she makes sure I am warm.
by Josh, age 5
My Mum loves me
My Mum kisses me
My Mum hugs me
My Mum cooks dinner
My Mum is lovely
My Mum helps me with my homework
I love you
by Louis, age 5
My Mum does the lunch
My Mum does the feeding of my Little brother Ben
My Mum does the washing up
My Mum does the making of the beds
My Mum does the washing
I love my Mum.
Our Class 4 pupils will be cooking a 3-course meal for their parents on Friday, 26th March. They have chosen their menu and parents have made their choices. The children will spend the day preparing and cooking the food under the supervision of Mrs. Lucas and they will serve it and wait on tables in the evening.
We shall be having our usual Easter Egg Hunt before we break up and then our hectic schedule of summer activities starts on Monday, 19th April.
Thanks again for all the support we receive from the village.
Mary-Jane Newell - Acting Headteacher
had two meetings since the last newsletter. In February, Nicola Keeble, Jill McCrae's
daughter who lives in
In March, we had a first
visit from James Nancarrow, the manager of Majestic Wine Warehouse in
James' theme for the evening was wines from Argentina and he certainly gave us some different wines to taste with examples of wine from not so well known grape varieties - Torrontes, Bonarda, and of course the Argentine speciality, Malbec. The latter he described as "a bit of an indulgence" and I think most people would agree wholeheartedly as it was on special offer, reduced from £26.00 to only [?] £22.00 per bottle! The consensus was that it was very nice but if the alternative was three bottles at £7.00 guess what the choice would be?
Our next meeting is on 21st April when our speaker will be
Brett Stevens from the Fabulous Wine Company. Brett is a real wine enthusiast and with a
generous budget to work to will undoubtedly present us with some excellent
wines to sample. In May the normal
meeting is preceded by a short
In pursuit of an April rarity: Romulea columnae
It was April and we were heading for the Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Exe Estuary.
There is a flower that grows at Dawlish Warren and at no other location on the British mainland - so, a true rarity. It is the Sand Crocus [aka the Warren Crocus] and April is the month when it comes into bloom.
We wondered whether we were likely to find an example during our visit. A voluntary warden, working beside a pond, indicated the little dune meadow where the crocus grows. We searched thoroughly but found no crocuses. We were told that as the sun had gone in, the flowers would have closed their petals and were likely to remain closed, and thus invisible, for the remainder of the day.
We returned the following morning. It was bright and sunny - a good sign. But we searched again and found nothing. Feeling rather sheepish, we continued our walk, enjoying the coastal scenery, birds and butterflies.
When we came across the warden, we mentioned our lack of success. He explained that although the sun was out it had not yet been out sufficient hours to coax open the shy crocus petals.
We left the reserve via the railway bridge, which carries the mainline trains at frequent intervals. We paused along the road to admire an acacia tree, with its knobbly yellow mimosa flowers. The tree's owner soon popped out of her house to tell us about its history. She was proud of her splendid tree but had been asked to have it cut down when it was threatening nearby power lines. However, a compromise had been reached. A few offending boughs had been removed and the tree saved. She was keen to show us around her garden but when she suggested giving us a guided tour of her neighbours as well, we declined! We said we'd hoped to see the Sand Crocus but had failed totally. Were we so unobservant or had it all been anelaborate hoax? "You'll need a magnifying glass," she laughed, "It is very, very tiny."
That afternoon, at our third attempt, when we walked back to
To appreciate fully the subtleties of colour and markings a magnifying glass proved a useful aid. The narrow pointed petals are pale lilac mauve with purple veins; yellow at the base with bright yellow anthers and a delicate apple green on the outside. The Sand Crocus plant is one to two inches high and the flowers, half an inch across when fully open. The thin grass-like leaves are curly and wiry.
Later, when we saw from the coast path a man walking slowly over the crocus meadow, staring earnestly down at the ground, we asked if he was looking for the Sand Crocus. He was, and suddenly we had become experts! We crouched down and found several open crocus flowers spangling the turf. We handed him the magnifying glass and on cue, as he photographed one of the flowers, a Small Copper butterfly landed on it. Normally mauve and bright orange clash but in this case the colour combination looked perfect.
The man had been travelling around the country seeking and
photographing rare plants. He had
received his training at
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
W.A.W. - the 'Walkers are Welcome' Accreditation
Last autumn, at the time the future access to our local coast path, on the headland at Watermouth, was being
Described by Martin Hesp in the Western Morning News, as an accolade and an 'Oscar of the walking world', the W.A.W. status is expected to help strengthen Wiveliscombe's attraction for visitors and in turn, to boost the area's economy
PAST TIMES WITH WALTER
During the construction of the
When the engineers were laying the final section that would complete the links between the two sides of the bridge, they found they were too short. The holes in the girders were not in line with the holes they would need to match before the bolts could slide through.
Some bright spark in the construction team told the workers not to panic, but to wait as the rising sun shone on the nearly completed bridge. So they waited, while the sun warmed the metal and expanded the bridge.
Two hours later those vital bolts slipped smoothly into place.
Charles Babbage was born in Teignmouth in 1791. He was a prolific inventor and mathematician.
He is best remembered for conceiving the idea of an analytical engine which could be programmed by punched cards to make a variety of different calculations. His vision was never realised, mainly due to the limitations of the mechanical devices of the time, but his concept is now recognised as the basis for modern electronic computers.
Charles Babbage, the 'father of computers', died in 1871.
In 1787, the regal copper coinage being very scanty, pennies and halfpennies were struck by a number of firms, among them the Anglesey Copper Mining Company, and there began a fresh token epoch.
Those token coins presented an immense variety of types - persons, buildings, coats of arms, local legends, political events and so on, all drawn upon for subjects of design. They were struck by many firms in most cities and towns in the country and are to be found in good condition. It is quite good fun to browse in shops which sell antiques, asking to see their collection of coinage and spotting some of the token money which circulated many years ago.
With the issue of the copper coinage of 1898 tokens were made illegal, but the dearth of silver currency was still felt. During the Napoleonic Wars there came a small wave of prosperity in the industrial districts and the inevitable need of small change, so in 1811 tokens again made their
appearance. These were suppressed before the last coinage of
Charles Cunningham Boycott was born in 1832.
He became a land agent and, in the 1870's, went to
In 1880, his tenants, spurred on by the Irish Land League under Charles Purnell, demanded a substantial cut in their rents. Boycott refused and Parnell suggested that everyone in the area should suspend all dealings with Boycott. No one would work on the land, household servants downed tools, shops would not serve him, and even his post remained undelivered.
It turned out to be a highly effective tactic and one
newspaper, The Times, in
PARISH COUNCIL REPORT
During the Parish Council meeting held on the 9th March,
various planning applications were discussed, including the refusal by the
North Devon District Council for a retrospective planning application for the
lion enclosure at the Combe Martin Wildlife and
The children's playground by the Manor Hall is, as I write
this report, nearing completion. Thank
you to all those in the village who have helped and to the
There is still a vacancy for a Parish Councillor. Anyone who has the time and interest to join YOUR Parish council would be very welcome to apply, either to myself or in writing to the Parish Clerk.
The April meeting, on Tuesday 13th, is the Annual Parish Meeting at which the past year will be summarised and plans for the future given. to which parishioners are warmly welcome - please do attend if you can. This will be followed by the April Parish Council meeting. The May meeting, on the 11th, is the Annual Parish Council Meeting at which officers for the coming year are elected.
On behalf of the Parish Council I wish you all a Happy Easter.
Sue Sussex - Chairman
District Councillor, North Devon District Council
Spring has been such a long time coming but at last the sun is shining and although cold, the spring bulbs are just about showing their faces. In the autumn we planted about a thousand crocus bulbs in Claude's Garden and they are in bloom along with several clumps of snowdrops that were already there - they look lovely. This autumn we could plant another thousand and it would not be too many!
I expect many of you who use the shop and the car park will
notice that the hedge at the back and side of the public toilets has been cut
back and a membrane laid with gravel over it. This has tidied up the area and completes the
work that was done in conjunction with the shop last year. This work was funded by
We are planning to have a litter pick on either of the two last Sundays of March [dependent on the weather] prior to the Easter holiday. The litter over the winter has definitely accumulated in certain areas, although I know that some good souls pick litter all year round.
We are also collecting up and delivering the hanging baskets to Streamways Nurseries, Georgeham, for filling. If you would like to join in with this scheme, please let me know.
Hot Cross Bun Puddings
Not a cake recipe this time but lovely little bread and butter puddings with an Easter twist. They are very easy to make, so I hope you enjoy them.
grated zest of 1 orange plus juice of 1/2 orange
4 hot cross buns torn into small chunks
50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1tbsp light soft brown sugar 2 tbsp runny honey
Cream or creme fraiche, to serve
You will also need: 6 x 200ml ovenproof dishes, or ramekins
Pre heat the oven to 180 Deg C, fan 160 Deg C, Gas mark 4. Lightly butter the ramekin bowls. Break the eggs into a large bowl and lightly beat together. Stir in the custard, half the orange zest and the hot cross bun chunks. Divide the mixture among the dishes. Toss the pecans in the sugar and scatter over the puddings.
Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes [check after 20 minutes] until set and golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, warm the honey, orange juice and the remaining zest, pour this over the puddings and serve with cream for a lovely Easter pudding.
SIR GOLDSWORTHY GURNEY
Surgeon, chemist, pianist, lecturer, consultant, architect,
builder, scientist, inventor . . .
Going through my files a couple of days ago checking for whom I might write about next, I came across the Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker from Morwenstow, a slightly 'dotty'' vicar who dreamt up Harvest Festivals and wore eccentric clothing. But this rang a bell.
At the end of 2008 I had copious notes
on Stephen Hawker, to which I added an article from last August's Travel
Telegraph 'Tales from
About to throw away my notes, I realised that there was someone else in the Cornish Tales article: Sir Goldsworthy Gurney. Blessed with a name like that, he might be interesting - and so it proved.
Goldsworthy Gurney was born in the
In 1820 he moved his family to
Whilst there, he invented the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, a system for producing a very hot flame from a jet of oxygen and hydrogen. After experimenting with various substances, he discovered that a brilliant light could be produced when the flame was played on to a piece of lime. This was limelight, which was so intense that it could be spotted many miles away.
He invented a high pressure steam-jet or blast-pipe. This increased the draw of air through pipes and could be used to improve mine and sewerage ventilation. It could also put out underground fires.
In contrast to scientific workings and inventions, Gurney was an accomplished pianist and even constructed his own piano.
At an early age he had met his fellow
Cornishman Richard Trevithick, the pioneer of steam railways. Inspired by this meeting, Gurney later went
on to develop steam-power for, as his patent read 'propelling carriages on
common roads or railways - without the aid of horses, with sufficient speed for
the carriage of passengers and goods'.
An 'embryo' carriage travelled from
One of his many achievements was
At the Castle and licking his wounds after the failure of his carriage enterprise, he turned back to illumination developing the Bude light, patented in 1839. With one light, plus lenses and prisms, he distributed light into every room - and even into one room at the Falcon Hotel, 500 yards away across the canal. The Bude light also added to the improvement of theatre lighting.
Three Bude lights were used in the House of Commons, thus dispensing with 280 candles, and these remained for 60 years until the arrival of electricity.
His innovations were also used in lighthouses. By using lenses and introducing on-off patterns of light, sailors were able to identify exactly where they were.
The Gurney Stove, patented in 1856, used external ribs to increase the area for heat to be transferred. These are still in use in some cathedrals today.
In 1852, based on his experience with
mine ventilation, Gurney was appointed as a consultant to improve the
ventilation for the new Houses of Parliament. Two years later he was appointed 'Inspector
of Ventilation'. He had success in moving air around the buildings, but getting
rid of the foul smells from the
Goldsworthy 's wife died in 1837 and he
moved to Poughill on the outskirts of Bude with his daughter Anna Jane who
became his constant companion. Perhaps
because of this, when Gurney married Jane Betty, a farmer's daughter from Sheepwash,
the marriage didn't succeed. He was 61;
she was 24 and Anna Jane was 39. Jane
Betty was removed from Gurney's will although they never divorced. However, it is probable that she didn't lose
much! In 1863, Queen
What an extraordinary man he was! There isn't space to tell more of his many inventions and activities, but if you are in Bude, the Castle is now a heritage centre, open daily, with galleries of his work - and a bistro to refresh yourselves afterwards!
And shame on
PP of DC
OLD BERRYNARBOR - NO. 124
The contribution for this issue is unprecedented. Postcards from previous articles have been used, but as they date back to issues in 1989/90, there will be many people to whom they are new!
This winter has played havoc with many of our local roads, but of course they were not always tarmaced and smooth. In the early 1900's, they were just made of compacted stones as these pictures show.
The first is a Garratt postcard c1904 showing Pitt Hill with Fuchsia Cottage on the right and the steps leading up to the old Post Office on the left. The first building on the left is where the Bassetts of Watermouth stabled their coach and horses whilst attending Sunday Service at St. Peter's Church.
The knife-sharpening barrow, outside The Globe, belonged to Jim Glass who would go round from village to village, spending one or two days sharpening knives, scythes, scissors, etc. At night he would doss down with Sam Harding's horses at the blacksmith's, next to the school. There he would be warm!
The second picture is another Garratt postcard of the same
date and shows members of the Street family on the unmade lane at
As and when these roads needed maintenance, large stones and
rocks would be brought in, probably from the quarry at Harper's Mill in the
Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, March 2010
I have to get rid of this weight!
But I do like lots on my plate!
I'm sure that its all the fattening things
That round my middle a tyre brings!
What shall I do to drop it?
I love sweet things, I can't stop it!
I've seen the stars try to get thin
And get fat again - oh, what a sin.
Lots of people have good advice
They think they are being nice. [Huh!]
I'll think while I gobble this bun
Just how to tackle the problem, head on.
But eating gives so much pleasure,
The more, the better the measure.
I really must give this some thought
Yes, I must, I really ought!
Some say, 'T'is will power, you know.'
So, I think I had better give it a go.
For breakfast it's down to one slice,
And eat it real slow.
For dinner, don't eat like a horse,
Try having just one course.
For tea, a sandwich lace thin,
Will begin to help me win.
Now the fat's dropping off,
And I am losing that nasty cough,
And no more a great double chin.
Now the weight's off I feel so good,
I'm even resisting that very last pud!
For a shadow I stand in the same place twice,
And quite enjoy that small bowl of rice! [I wish!]
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland