Edition 144 - June 2013
Photo: Judie W
I can't believe that by the time you read this we'll be just three weeks away from mid-summer and the longest day! As I write, winter's returned and the central heating has been put on again! Say no more . . .
Mailing subscriptions have now been renewed and it is gratifying that all bu a very few have signed up for another year's newsletters, in all over 90 readers.
It is always a pleasure to hear
from those readers with their news
and Maureen Underdown from
Diss in Norfolk has written: 'It
takes me back to my school days
during the War when I lived at
Prospect in Birdswell Lane with
my mother, brother and father [who
was Lt. Peachey in the Home Guard]. Happy days!
Having missed its distinctive call recently, it was good to hear a cuckoo, which obviously for Trevor brought to mind the poem opposite.
Thank you to all contributors to this issue and for getting them to me in such good time so that our printer Dave can take a well-deserved break from duty. But nagging doesn't stop, articles for the August Newsletter will be needed, as always, as soon as possible and by Monday, 8th July at the latest please.
Again we welcome all newcomers to the village and say goodbye to those leaving and wish everyone well in the new home and for those noting feeling so good, get well soon.
Now let's hope the weather improves and warms up for the outside events planned for June and July.
Judie - Ed
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
The Easter Service led by George Billington came well up to expectations. A good number of families with children attended and the choir was well up to strength singing Rutter's 'A Clare Benediction' beautifully. Our thanks to Stuart Neale for his dedication. At the end, there were only just enough mini-eggs to go round!
Services will begin as usual at 11.00 a.m. during June and July and will follow the usual pattern:
1st Sunday in the Month: Village Service following a simplified version of Morning Prayer without Communion, so a good chance to make a start if you are not used to coming up to the altar.
2nd and 4th Sundays: Holy Communion
3rd Sunday: Songs of Praise - again a simplified service of worship with plenty of hymn singing.
I have just heard on the radio that nationally numbers attending church are down again. However, our core congregation has increased over the past two years. For various reasons not everyone is able to attend every Sunday and we have been fewer of late but hopefully shall revert to normal soon, and we are already being joined by visitors to the village.
There will be a special occasion at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, 23rd June when the Christians Together Service will be held in Berrynarbor. The collection will be for Christian Aid and donations from all the churches will be handed in. Do come along, this is always a lively service and there will be refreshments afterwards.
Gift Day this year will take place on Wednesday, 26th June,
[St. Peter's Day is on the 29th]. Letters and envelopes will be delivered around the village the week before and the Rector and members of the PCC will be at the lych-gate all day.
Our main fund raising event, the Summer Fayre, will be on Tuesday, 20th August. Please get in touch with Stuart and Sue Neale  if you can help on the day and please look out items and prizes for the various stalls and side-shows.
Friendship Lunches will be on Wednesdays 26th June and 24th July. Again you will be very welcome to come and join us.
. . . FROM THE RECTOR
What have Tigers, Thunderbirds and the flats of Bonneville all have in common?
Around the turn of the last century, a man called Siegfried Bettman came to this country and started selling bicycles. He was joined by an engineer called Mauritz Schulte. In 1902 they produced the company's first engine powered cycle and three years later had designed and built their own engine.
Alderman Siegfried Bettman
Mauritz Schulte 1895
This was the beginning of a great British company. Through vision, it even survived the Great Depression and in the 1930's, Edward Turner developed that vision and the Tiger motorbike was born.
Any of you remember the Thunderbirds? No, not the puppets whose strings were all too evident as they saved the world. This was the motorbike intended to capture the American market. Marlon Brando rode a Thunderbird in the film 'The Wild One' in 1952. Remember that too?
In 1962, the company took the speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Unsurprisingly, the motorcycles built in the sixties were named Bonneville.
Alas, by 1983, this great British company collapsed and died. Production facilities began to crumble. Who would have thought that by 1990 there would be a rebirth and a new vision? In this Easter season, it is not out of place to call it a resurrection. And the name of the company? Triumph!
I realise as I look out of my window that we are still a few weeks behind but as I write this, finally there is blossom on the trees and there is warmth in the sun. Despite the strange weather we have experienced, the Easter season we have now left speaks to us powerfully of rebirth and the planting of fresh hope. The light truly shines in the darkest of places.
Ever experienced that triumph and the resurgence of new life within yourself?
Why not have a discussion to explore how you can find new life.
This card shows how it all began -
A family-tree for you to keep,
With details of your three black sheep!
You may feel it's a sad event
[Tho' surely one you can't prevent!
When sixty birthdays you recall -
And days and years that made them all.
But we beg you, wipe away that tear,
For we recall, oh, Mummy dear,
How through those years, Mama was there
To wipe our noses, comb our hair,
To wash our clothes and cook our food
And cope with every childish mood;
To help with 'prep' and lend an ear
To every whine or moan or fear
That adolescence always brings -
And you were good at finding things
That we had lost or sent astray.
A hundred crises every day
You sorted out with cool aplomb -
Where did you get your patience from?
On holidays down by the sea
You built jolly cottages for me;
Fifteen years later, up in Town,
When 'boyfriend troubles' got me down
Home at week-ends I'd often come
For sympathy from poor old Mum!
When we were ill, or sad, or bad
We must have driven you nearly mad;
There must have been, too, times galore
When in the midst of dreary chore
You had to raise a sunny smile
But wondered, 'Is it all worthwhile?'
And through it all, you'd always show
The way 'twas right for us to go.
With Daddy you were hand in glove
To give us discipline and love.
And so for love, and treat [and spanks]
We render you our grateful thanks,
And now the birds have left the nest
They wish for you a well-earned rest,
With 'peace and quiet', much joy, few tears -
May these be your 'reviving' years!
This delightful tribute to a much loved mother was written for Joyce Clay, now of Lee Lodge and at 101 last November, one of our oldest residents, by her daughter Vanessa for Joyce's 60th birthday.
Some thirty years later, for Joyce's 90th birthday, another tribute by Vanessa, the final lines of which are:
On this very special birthday - I reiterate -
Congratulate yourself upon a life well spent. We venerate
Your wisdom, your tolerance - and your damn staying power
Through all the turbulent years.
You have seen, experienced, taken on board,
Learned, lived through, dealt with, kept your cool,
Your sense of humour - and your dress sense!
Long may you find clothes that suit
And look so good on you: they are [I've said]
The outward appearance of an indomitable spirit -
The spirit I've learned from during all
The sixty years I've known and loved you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall softly upon your field until we meet again.
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
Unfortunately, since the last Newsletter the village has learnt of the deaths of Kathleen Bond, Val Bowden, Bill Jones and just before going to print, Michael Patterson and our thoughts are with all their families.
Kathleen passed away peacefully at Park View Residential Home in Ilfracombe on Monday, 25th March, where she had spent just a short time having some respite care, at the age of 99. She would have celebrated her centenary in August.
Ludleigh House on Hagginton Hill had been home to Kathleen for nearly 40 years and until fairly recently she had been able to enjoy village life. Many people will remember the sales she held in the Manor Hall, the proceeds going to animal charities - she loved all animals and birds, but especially cats. Gardening too was one of her pleasures, as was choral singing, and she had enjoyed the fellowship and activities of the U3A.
Mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she will be sadly missed by all her family and friends.
Val, beloved wife of Leonard Bowden who passed away at home in March 1991, died peacefully, also at home, Ruggaton Farm, on the 30th April at the age of 93. A much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, she will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with all her family.
WILLIAM [Bill] JONES
7th September 1934 - 18th April 2013
How sad it was to learn that Bill, a much loved and loving husband, father and grandfather, had passed away peacefully with Jill and his family beside him, on the 18th April.
Although he had not been in the best of health for some time, his sudden and unexpected death came as a shock. Only a couple of days earlier he had spent a happy day out with family, enjoying his 'go faster' mobility scooter and plans were being formulated for future trips and possibly some fishing.
The Thanksgiving Service for his life was celebrated at Basingstoke Crematorium in its delightful setting on a beautiful sunny day, Friday,
3rd May. Conducted by our Revd. George and with the village well represented, the Service was a lovely and heart-warming tribute to Bill.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jill and all the family at this time of sorrow.
* * *
Born in Sheffield , a life-long supporter of Sheffield Wednesday, Bill was a true Yorkshireman.
Active sports, particularly cricket and football, played a major role in his younger days but his enjoyment of sports of all kinds was also life-long. even if latterly participation was from his armchair!
After a short spell in the RAF, he made a career in electronics. On retirement, he and Jill came to North Devon from Cheshire, moving into Berrynarbor and Riversdale in 1999. They soon became involved with many village activities, and Berry in Bloom very much appreciated Bill's input.
Do-it-Yourself formed a compelling pastime, the garden his pride and joy. He loved showing visitors around especially on many village Open Garden days.
A determined man, following his untimely stroke and the medical prognosis, Bill was single-minded in believing that he would walk again, and he did! Although activities in the garden were curtailed, he enjoyed pottering, enjoyed a spot of fishing, continued to play skittles for The Globe and took pleasure in the boys' outings to Taunton to watch the cricket.
Although sad to leave the village last year, he and Jill settled in well to their new home where Bill was able to enjoy, for a brief time at least, the nearby company of family and grandchildren.
* * *
Jill and family would like to thank everyone for all their kind messages and cards; it was such a great comfort to know everyone was thinking of us at this difficult time. Bill loved his years spent amongst you all in Berrynarbor and we all have wonderful memories of times spent in Devon.
Although he had not been well for some time, Michael bore his illness bravely and he never lost the smile that would light up his face.
It had been so lovely to see him at the Manor Hall recently for a coffee morning - he never could resist cakes! It was, therefore, with much sadness we learnt that he had passed away peacefully on the 7th May.
Michael came to live at Stable Cottage in April 2005 to be near his son and soon became a familiar figure around the village, enjoying the Friendship Lunches, the Quiz at The Globe and attending many of the activities in the village.
This true 'gentle'man will be missed by all his friends in the village but even more so by his family and our thoughts are with them all at this time of sadness.
WEATHER OR NOT
It has been a bit of a slow start to spring but at least it has been drier over the last three months.
March, with 73mm was the driest month since March 2012. But we were lucky here. On the 21st/22nd there was severe flooding in Cornwall and South Devon whereas we recorded only 14mm. Our wettest day was the 15th with 34mm. Unlike last March it was very cold with only six days when the temperature reached double figures and nine nights were below freezing. The maximum temperature was 14.5 Deg C with an average of 8.74 Deg C and a minimum of -2.7 Deg C. The easterly winds were bitter and at 0303 on the 12th we recorded a wind chill of -20 Deg C which was a new record for us. There was also some snow on seven days and although the amounts were very small, that was more than normal for March.
April was even drier than March with only 34mm and the strong cold wind continued for much of the month holding down the temperature. The maximum was 15.9 Deg C which although a bit higher than last year was well down on previous Aprils. The minimum of -1.1 Deg C and wind chill of -11 Deg C were not out of the ordinary.
70.28 hours of sunshine were recorded in March and 119.94 in April, both of which were fairly average amounts and probably reflected the drier conditions.
May so far has started dry and we have heard a rumour that it will be the driest May on record. If so we may hear the drought word used again!
Simon and Sue
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND POST OFFICE
We hope that you are enjoying Barton Farm's local milk. It certainly seems to be popular, is slightly cheaper and far fewer road miles.
The pretty tea towels, also locally produced, are selling well either as little gifts for local people or for visitors to take way as a souvenir of a happy stay in Berrynarbor. Jigsaw's strong plants are profuse at the moment and hopefully will be able to fill tubs, window boxes and hanging baskets out of doors, soon!
By the time you read this, we shall have had our 9th AGM. Following this, there are a few changes to the Committee.
Alex Parke, shop founder and dedicated secretary is finally archiving his Shop computer programmes and handing over to Paul Weston. We all thank Alex for his hard work at initially getting funding for the new shop, and latterly keeping us all on the right side of the law - and solvent! And we wish Paul well with his new responsibilities.
At the same time, Kath Thorndycroft and Pam Parke have also resigned. Both have been hard at work fund-raising and Pam has worked on publicity for the shop. Karen Narborough has fortunately come forward to cover both aspects and we all wish her well. Both Kath and Pam will continue with their volunteer work in the shop.
So, with a new dynamic young team - well some of them - we are set for a good year ahead!
Please keep up the good work - and shop locally!
IN DAYS OF OLD WHEN LOVE WAS BOLD!
. . . this is how courtship proceeded! It is said that spring is when a young man's heart turns to thoughts of love but it seems to be true, also, of the hearts of the fairer sex. During WWI, when all but the men too young, elderly or otherwise exempt were likely to be called up, young ladies in search of husbands had to take the initiative. Those who sent these three Valentine postcards, one at least in the Leap Year of 1916, to a Berrynarbor farmer, were stylishly, if anonymously, equal to the task.
While all demonstrate a sense of decorum lacking in later seaside cards, it is interesting to note how English proprieties of the time, familiar through the village and rural novels of Elizabeth Gaskell and Thomas Hardy, might, as ever, be both reflected and circumvented. Alas for Bathsheba Everdene, whose mischievous Valentine in Far From the Madding Crowd brought about the deaths of both her false-hearted husband, Sergeant Troy, and the respectable Farmer Boldwood!
February 14 was traditionally the day on which plants began to grow, following on from Plough Sunday in January when farmers recommenced their
work on the land After Christmas and New Year festivities ended with Twelfth Night. Not until Chaucer's 'Parlement of Foules', about the gathering of birds to
choose their mates, written in 1382 to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, was Valentine's Day associated with romance.
The Patron Saint of love was Anthony, whose day falls on 13th June, in warmer midsummer. So there is hope yet for those who missed out in this year's belated spring!
No. A1142 printed in Holland
No. E.24. By B.B. London Printed in Germany
"SPURGIN" Series No. 921 Printed in England
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE
You may have seen us beginning to tidy up the flower beds and tubs around the village. We should soon be starting to plant out for summer but as the weather has been so cold we may have to wait before the tender bedding goes in. We have been given a grant of £250.00 and plan to use it around the Manor Hall where work has already started to repair the small wall around the flowerbed.
We had a fun fundraising car treasure hunt in April and raised just over £100.00. Some of the clues were quite fiendish but team G.B. (Colin, Jan, Gilly and Fenella) were the winners with Charlotte, Mickey, Morgan and Roker the winners of the family treasure hunt. Tea, cakes and something a little stronger were on offer at the Globe for both winners and runners up and a special prize went to Alan and Rosemary for completing the route on a motorbike.
By the time you are reading this, we should have held our next litter pick on Sunday, 12th May. Don't forget, we are entering the Best Kept Village competition and the judging is on-going through May, June, July and August, so we appreciate any help we can get.
Crunchy Lemon Topped Courgette Cake
Don't be afraid of the courgettes in this recipe, just think how lovely and moist carrots make carrot cake and give this easy recipe a go.
This quantity makes two 8-x 4-x 5inch loaf tin cakes. I always make two and freeze the spare one. Of course you could halve the quantity and make just one.
240g/81/2oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
350g/12oz golden caster sugar
225ml/8fluid oz olive oil (extra virgin or light)
3 large free-range eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g/101/2 oz grated courgette (2 medium/3 small)
For the glaze
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp granulated sugar
125g/41/2 icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 Deg C/350 Def F/gas mark 4. Grease and line the bottom of 2, 8 x 4 x 5inch (20 x 10 x 13cm) loaf tins with parchment paper.
Pour the almonds onto a baking tray and toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes then set aside to cool.
In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in the cooled almonds.
Using a hand held or standing mixer, whip the sugar and oil until light in colour, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition and then add the almond (if using) and vanilla extracts.
Add the dry ingredients all at once. Give the batter a thorough mix and then fold in the courgettes by hand.
Transfer to the tins and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Run a knife around the tins and turn out on to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the glaze by combining the lemon juice with the sugars in a small bowl. While the cakes are still warm use a pastry brush or spoon to coat the top. Sprinkle a little extra granulated sugar on top if you like it really crunchy.
The way courgettes grow in the summer may mean that you will be making this cake over and over, lovely.
IVY - TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE?
So! At long last the ivy invasion is beginning to be recognised. Recent correspondence in several newspapers highlights the threat that Ivy has become, both to trees and buildings.
Dunollie Castle, Nr. Oban
It would appear that although ivy doesn't theoretically attack the trees which support it, the competition below the surface at root level is always won by the Ivy roots and the weakening of the tree causes disease with its inevitable result of the tree eventually dying. Similarly the growth on the tree itself, although not attacking it directly, does by blocking out the sun's rays disable the photo-synthesis process which enables plants and trees to survive.
In years past, the linesman, as well as keeping the drains and hedges in good order around the village, also kept the trees and hedges clear of ivy. It is very noticeable, having lived in the village for 40 plus years, how the many stone walls which surround properties and fields are also covered in the dreaded green creeping menace.
A walk from the village down to the main road highlights how the majority of trees are covered in the green 'wonder' and I find it very disturbing that the beautiful outline of many trees is now lost and they are heading for premature death.
Recently a study has suggested that gardeners should be urged to allow ivy growth as its flowers provide pollen for honey bees which are in decline. Obviously anything that can help the bees to survive and increase is vital, but I can't help feeling that the ivy increase over the last 50 years is far and away in excess of that required by the bees which have only been in decline for the last 2 or 3 years.
For those who wish to assist in reducing the invasion, the recommended method is to cut the growth around the tree trunk a couple of feet up. Then work around the base of the trunk and try to remove all ivy ROOTS. This should be redone every few months to ensure success. It's not necessary to attempt to unravel the growth above the cut as the plant, having been disconnected from its roots, will die. After a year or so the dead ivy will rot and be blown off the tree by winter winds and the beauty of the tree's trunk and branches will be revealed. Unfortunately the many trees already heavily populated by ivy are in many cases already doomed, as close inspection during the summer months shows no tree leaves, just decaying timber where the green is prolific ivy coverage.
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Well, what a busy half term we are having!
We are pleased to announce that Elderberry Class are now back in their classroom, work almost completed! They are working hard towards their SATS exams that will take place the second week in May. The class will then enjoy a well-deserved fun week away when they all go on a residential to Plymouth in June.
Blueberry Class will be enjoying three days of activities at Beam House near Torrington for their residential in July.
Strawberry Class have just started their swimming lessons and will continue to be learning to swim like little fishes for the next six weeks. We would like to thank our parent helpers that come each week, it is much appreciated.
Work in our sensory garden is progressing well and hopefully this will be in full use later this term.
I'm sure you have all heard about Beaford Arts visiting us again this summer. It is set to be a big village event! Blueberry Class have designed leaflets that have been delivered throughout the village inviting members of the community to produce poems for the event. The PTA is working hard to help organise the event and the school Summer Fete will be held in the playing field on the 29th June alongside this event.
In the coming weeks we shall be holding a 'Pride in our School' day. If there are any members of the community that have a skill, any unwanted cans of paint, or time they might like to give, please contact the school, we should be extremely grateful. There will be refreshments throughout the day!
We'll be holding our Sports Day on Tuesday 11th June, 1.00 p.m. in the playing field. Should we have typical English summer weather that day, we move to the 12th or 13th June!
The whole school will enjoy a trip to the Landmark Theatre in July to see 'The Essex Dance'. The children love watching this performance, all performed by children too!
At the beginning of July the children will be enjoying a 'Federation Day' with West Down School. This is a great and fun opportunity for the children from both schools to mix and get to know one another.
We hope everyone has a lovely summer and the weather is kind to us, we all deserve it!
Sue Carey - Headteacher
TREV'S TWITTERS - SONGS OF THE SEA
The Wandering Sailor
The wand'ring sailor ploughs the main
A competence in life to gain;
Undaunted braves the stormy seas
To find at last content and ease;
In hopes, when toil an danger's o'er
To anchor on his native shore.
When winds blow hard and mountains roll,
And thunders shake from pole to pole;
Tho' dreadful waves surrounding foam,
Still flattering fancy wafts him home;
In hopes, when toil and danger's o'er
To anchor on his native shore.
When round the bowl the jovial crew
The early scenes of youth renew,
Tho' each his favourite fair will boast,
This is the universal toast:
May we when toil and danger's o'er,
Cast anchor on our native shore!
Blow High, Blow Low
Blow high, blow low! let tempest tear
The mainmast by the board!
My heart [with thoughts of thee, my dear!
And love well stored]
Shall brave all danger, scorn all fear.
The roaring wind, the raging sea,
In hopes, on shore, to be once more
Safe moored with thee.
Aloft, while mountains high we go,
The whistling winds that scud along,
And the surge roaring from below,
Shall my signal be, to think on thee.
And this shall be my song,
Blow high, blow low! let tempest tear
The mainmast by the board!
My heart [with thoughts of thee, my dear!
And love well stored]
And on that night [when all the crew
The memory of their former lives,
O'er flowing cans of flip renew,
And drink their sweethearts and their wives],
I'll heave a sigh, and think of thee.
And, as the ship rolls through the sea,
The burden of my song shall be.
Blow high, blow low! let tempest tear
The mainmast by the board!
My heart [with thoughts of thee, my dear!
And love well stored]
Come, Come my Jolly Lads
Brisk gales our sails shall crowd;
Then bustle, bustle, boys, haul the boat,
The boatswain pipes aloud.
All hands on board, our ship's unmoored,
The rising gale fills ev'ry sail,
Our ship's well manned and stored.
Then sling the flowing bowl, then sling the flowing bowl,
Fond hopes arise, the girls we prize, shall bless each jovial soul;
Then the can, boys, bring, we'll drink and sing,
While the foaming billows roll.
Now to the Spanish coast we're bound to steer,
To see our rights maintained;
Then bear a hand, be steady boys,
Soon we shall see
Old England once again.
From shore to shore loud cannons roar,
Our tars shall show the haughty foe
Britannia rules the main.
Then sling the flowing bowl, then sling the flowing bowl,
Fond hopes arise, the girls we prize, shall bless each jovial soul;
Then the can, boys, bring, we'll drink and sing,
While the foaming billows roll.
This broadside was a favourite with sailors. It is said to have been written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan [1751-1816]. An English dramatist and politician, Sheridan is better known for his works 'The Rivals' and 'School for Scandal'.
A broadside ballad is a descriptive or narrative verse or song usually in a simple ballad form and on a popular theme. Sung or recited in public places it was also printed on broadsides for sale in the streets. They were one of the most common forms of printed material between the 16th and 19th centuries, particularly in Britain, Ireland and North America.
Davy Jones's Locker
Weigh'd anchor and cast out for sea;
For he never refuse'd for his country and King
To fight, or no lubber was he;
To hand, reef and steer, and house everything light,
Full well did he know every inch;
Tho' the top lifts of sailors the tempest should smite,
Jack never was known for to flinch.
Aloft from the masthead one day be espied
seven sail which appear'd to his view.
Clear the decks, sponge the guns was instantly cried,
And each to his station then flew;
They fought until many of their fellows were slain
And silenc'd was every gun;
Twos then that old English valour was vain,
For by numbers, alas! they're undone.
Yet think not bold Jack, though by conquest dismayed
Could tamely submit to his fate;
When his country he found he no longer could serve,
Looking round, he address'd thus each mate:
What's life d'ye see when our liberty's gone,
Much nobler it were for to die,
So now for old Davy - then plunged in the main
E'en the cherub above heav'd a sigh.
These four songs are selected as typical of the period - early 19th century - from the Gentleman's Song Book, which contains almost as many sea songs as hunting ones. What I find rather strange is that none of them mention a captain or other officer apart from brief references to a bo'sun. They must have had some!
llustrations by Paul Swailes
RURAL REFLECTIONS 58
When does a wildflower become a weed? Once it appears in a garden would seem the obvious answer.
However the Oxford English Dictionary 7th Edition defines a weed as 'a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with a cultivated plant'. This suggests that the question is subjective and that the definition of a weed is a personal one and solely dependent upon the person tending the cultivated land.
Some people of course choose to leave their entire garden uncultivated, a decision that can lead to neighbourhood disputes - particularly if a gardener is refusing to grow any plant that may be found in a wildflower reference book.
Both parties are arguably at fault. Whilst the neighbour with the untended garden insists that by leaving it untouched for years they are making their garden as rural as possible and therefore helping nature, one can argue that it will allow certain species to dominate; species that will inhibit daylight and consequently discourage wildflowers. Likewise whilst one can feel sympathy for the gardener having to uproot nettles and brambles that continually creep across from next door's wilderness, compassion can be limited if they are cultivating a garden purely for its cosmetic appearance, with no concern at all for wild flora and fauna.
At this point I should stress that gardening is not my forte. But that does not prevent me from appreciating gardeners who show empathy with wildflowers, whether by sectioning off a specific area or by allowing them to mingle within the lawn, amongst the flowerbeds or even in pots.
When spring finally arrived it soon became apparent that mingling wildflowers with cultivated plants had been the preferred gardening method of the previous owner of the property into which we have recently moved. For example a few wild primroses lined the hedge at the back of the garden. The lawn was at times a yellow spray of lesser celandine. A semi-circle of dog violets appeared in the rose bed, in the shade of a conifer tree. Native bluebells had been left to flourish in other shady areas. Patches of germander speedwell bloomed amongst the daffodils and within the grass and in the flowerbed beneath the lilac tree was a lone wood anemone. One wonders how many other wildflowers will appear as summer progresses.
Some gardeners may regard any of these wildflowers as either 'nuisance plants' or flowers in the wrong part of the garden. To any of you who do feel this way I send a message, courtesy of an inscription on a small watering can ornament I unpacked when we moved: May all your weeds be wildflowers'.
Well, now we hope the better weather is here for a while. It must surely be so when this goes to print!
The bad weather took a last go at me the other day when this happened!
I went out to get something from the summer house and the wind was blowing really hard. I omitted to fasten the door back and went inside. Whilst my back was turned there was a terrific bang and the door was flung shut.
About to come out, I tried the door. It would not open. What had happened was that due to the force of wind blowing it shut, the hasp was flung into the position when you would normally put the padlock through.
Try as I would, I could not open it. I undid the bolts of the other door to try and loosen things but to no avail. The only thing to do was to keep banging on the door.
Betty was indoors sewing and could not hear me and the wind was howling so that didn't help. All I could do was to keep on banging on the door.
Later, when at last I managed to attract her attention, it turned out that she thought the noise had been that of a neighbour hammering whilst repairing his fence.
Anyway, you might not have had this little story as I might still be banging on the door or even smashing a window to get out!
Sadly we have just heard that a neighbour's cat has killed a robin and a great tit, which we had hoped would nest in one of our boxes.
They soon flutter down to the table.
There are sparrows and wrens, blackbirds and hens
Wagtails and birds that nest in a stable.
We have a bird bath, and that's quite a laugh
I fill it with water each day.
They cram in together, in all kinds of weather,
I suppose it's some kind of way.
[Save water and bath with a friend!]
Down come the starlings who eat all the food,
Bar that which falls to the ground.
But the small birds are there, who appear from nowhere,
Delighted at what they have found.
So buy a bird book and then take a look,
Be assured it will give you much pleasure
Sit there, drink your tea, it will certainly be
The sight of all birds is a treasure.
Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
LOCAL WALK - 138
Herner and Hall
Herner and Hall. It sounds like a double act and in a way it is.
The Ordnance Survey map showed a large house on a hill with woodland around it and nearby a weir and a church close to water meadows beside the River Taw. It looked like an interesting place to explore.
The mansion is simply called Hall and the church is at Herner, barely a hamlet, two and a half miles south east of Bishop's Tawton. But we decided to start our walk at Chapelton railway station which faces Herner church from the opposite side of the Taw.
Leaving the little station car park we crossed the railway line and soon reached a foot bridge over the Taw. The river is quite wide at this point and the bridge is imposing, borne on a series of broad stone piers. There is a lozenge-shaped island where a pair of grey wagtails bobbed about the gravelly shore. A fisherman stood in the middle of the river casting his line.
The right of way over the fields takes
the form of a firm and level track and after about half a mile it brought us to
the lane leading to Herner where
a disused chapel still retains a large bell above its roof bearing the date
Opposite, a barn of cob with circular pillars to the front, has its earlier thatch roof still showing beneath the corrugated iron and just around the corner is the church with its fifteenth century tower embattled with crocketed pinnacles. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in 1888.
The church is set above the road in a little garden, rather than the usual churchyard. We climbed the slate steps and walked past hedges mahonia japonica and shrubs bursting with white and pink cameliasl.
A bicycle was propped against the porch. This church is classified as a 'chapel of ease' and appropriately an elderly cyclist had sought sanctuary in the porch to enjoy a cigarette, his newspaper and flask. As I tried the door, I said, "I suppose it's locked." He confirmed it was and added, "You haven't missed much!
One of the guide books I'd consulted beforehand agreed with him stating, 'The church has little to offer the visitor' and other guides had ignored it altogether. However, if we'd been able to enter we should have found wagon-roofs throughout and a carved Jacobean pulpit. Worth a visit I should have thought.
Another disappointed would-be visitor had posted on the wall of the porch a notice of complaint about being excluded from unwelcoming locked churches. In response, the key holder had put beside it an indignant riposte accusing the author of 'boorishness'. Oh dear!
On leaving, harmony was restored by the variety and quantity of wild flowers along the roadside. Among wood sorrel and stitchwort, archangel and alkanet, a single early purpose orchid.
Now the mansion could be seen up on its hill, with sheep and lambs grazing before it. We passed a high curved wall with a gothic arched doorway set in it but the public right of way to Hall is past Herner Bridge with its little weir, via a steep driveway through a bluebell wood where peacock butterflies flitted.
We rounded a bend and found ourselves at the side of the mansion and a walled garden. Of the original building only a large barn with buttresses survives. The present house was rebuilt circa 1850 in the Neo-Tudor style with a baronial hall at right angles designed by
Philip Hardwick in collaboration with Gould of Barnstaple. Along the front are bell-shaped gables and wide mullion windows. It is Grade 2 Listed.
The site has been occupied by the same family - descendants of the Chichesters - for the past seven hundred years. On a gate post is a figure of a heron - symbol of the Chichesters - like those at Arlington Court.
The route continues through a fascinating collection of barns and outbuildings in a mixture of cob, stone and brick, some with gothic windows and carved doors or sporting a fox weather vane or ornamental cupola.
In the middle of the yard is a quaint old granary, raised off the ground by cylindrical supports, Some pretty red-legged partridges appeared in a field behind the barns. A hare raised its head above a dip in the field and a green woodpecker landed close by; the only sign of human activity, a post van rumbling down the stony drive.
Chapelton to Hall via Herner is a walk I should recommend highly to anyone who enjoys old buildings, wild flowers and quiet, gentle landscape.
FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
On Tuesday April 9th 2013, the Annual Parish Meeting was held prior to the regular monthly meeting of the Parish Council. There were some members of the public present who were welcomed by the Chairman,
Cllr. Adam Stanbury. Reports were received from the Chairman, Police, Footpath and Snow Warden, the Manor Hall, Berrynarbor Pre-school and a report on Claude's Garden. District Councillors Mrs. Julie Clarke and Mrs. Yvette Gubb gave their reports on the year 2012/2013, and County Councillor Mrs. Andrea Davis was pleased to report the improvements now made to the Parish Rooms for the children.
Funding is now in place to improve the South West Coastal Footpath running alongside Watermouth Harbour, with work commencing on September 9th for approximately 12 weeks. Traffic limitations will be in place between 7.00 p.m. and 7.00 a.m.
The provision of a super-fast broadband connection for residents of Devon and Somerset is being rolled out which aims to connect 90% of premises by the end of 2016.
Funding of £2.5million has been secured towards the cost of temporary repair and clean up following last year's floods. Comments were welcomed from members of the public.
Len Narborough pointed out that there was a change of name from the Manor Hall Management Committee which would now be known as the Manor Hall Trust.
Wendy Applegate and her committee for Best Kept Village have been awarded £250.00 towards their admirable team efforts who do so much to make this village such a lovely place to live and visit. And we look forward to the results of the Best Kept Village competition this year.
Plans were made to call a public meeting on Wednesday May 8th to invite parishioners to give their views and ideas for a Parish Plan to take Berrynarbor forward in the next 20 years. Our thanks go out to all those who attended and to
Mr. Narborough and the Manor Hall Trust for allowing us to combine the meeting with their AGM and share their hospitality with some delicious cheese, wine, and good company.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Tuesday, 11th June, 7.00 p.m. in the Penn Curzon Room of the Manor Hall. LT
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
A most entertaining and provocative evening was had at our April meeting when the speaker was the Wine Circle secretary, Judith Adam who came up with a novel theme which she billed as "Judith's Mystery Tour". We have had blind tastings before which are always great entertainment, particularly when you hear suggestions of what the wine is that are wildly out. Judith produced a novel twist to this as she took the Antiques Wine Show idea of basic, better, best and applied it to wine.
The wines were supplied in foil wrapped bottles hiding all trace of what they were and although poured separately, we were encouraged to keep an amount of each in three separate glasses so that they could be compared. We had to decide based on our estimate of price, which was basic, which better and which was the best of the three.
The wines were all from the Cotes de Rhone/Languedoc area and sourced from Majestic wines in Barnstaple. The first group of three wines were all pale rose, sometimes called 'blusher' wines and it was quickly apparent that we found ourselves out of our comfort zone in trying to grade them. We had to agree on a consensus from the table of 12 but we had such a variety of opinions that in the end we had a show of hands for each one to decide on our result - and it was wrong! I think this was indicative of how little we tended to drink rose wines resulting in little experience to base our marking on.
We then moved onto three reds to be judged on the same basis. Here it was clear that red wine has become the first choice for most people at the Circle as nearly everyone got it 100% correct. The better and best of the red wines were really excellent. These were a Rasteau, Cotes de Rhone and a very good Chateauneuf du Pape that Judith had spotted months ago at a really bargain price, £9.99 instead of £17.99! No wonder we liked it. The Rasteau was strong, fruity and full bodied, particularly well-suited to accompany food such as red meat dishes and strong cheese. The Chateauneuf du Pape was similar although more complex, as one would expect from a wine that may have up to 13 grape varieties in the blend and with a smooth, mellowness to it that you only get from a top quality, well matured wine.
Well done Judith, a novel idea, well presented and very much enjoyed by all.
Our last meeting of the season is on the 15th May. Following our short AGM, we'll be delighted to see and hear Jonathan Coulthard again with his home-grown produce.
END TO END ON A SHOPPING BIKE
On moving to North Devon and being a keen cyclist, I quickly realised I was in the wrong place in the Sterridge Valley! The hill up to the top was daunting to say the least. I have, however, managed to get on the bike when out with the campervan and we have taken the bikes to flatter routes by car.
On our year away with the van, I was lent a very moving book written by Jane Tomlinson. It had been written by her when she was in the terminal stages of cancer. She raised millions of pounds for children's and cancer charities whilst undergoing extensive chemo and radiotherapy. She describes how sick she felt whilst taking the 'end to end' route. We were in Scotland at the time and it triggered a thought in my mind that, as a reasonably fit sixty two year old, there was nothing to stop me doing it myself.
When back at home I bought a copy of the Sustrans maps for North Devon and, in particular, route 27 from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. My dear friend Chris Taylor was roped in and we did a day ride of thirty five hard miles in poor weather as a 'try out'. The following morning I could hardly walk and we seriously discussed the trip to Plymouth and thought, perhaps, we were taking on too much. She, however, was still keen for the adventure and the following week we tackled route 27 taking three days, all in beautiful weather and thoroughly enjoying the experience.
It was then that I pencilled in my diary a month from the end of March, taking in the advent of British Summer Time and the longer hours of daylight. Peter did all he could to point out the pitfalls and persuade me that if I was going to attempt it, I should do it with a group. A great many people thought I was mad but, as I have always liked my own company, I wanted the whole event to test my resolve and to just be responsible for myself. Not many women have the opportunity to put themselves first for once.
On-line exploration revealed the existence of a very good book The End to End Cycle Route by Nick Mitchell. A copy was purchased and, to my horror, it was based on doing the whole thing in two weeks! [I have subsequently been told the record is quoted in hours!] Having regard to my ability I decided on a timescale that was a little less strenuous.
Peter took me to Land's End in the campervan. Up until that night the weather had been quite fine but an easterly gale blew up accompanied by driving rain. What a way to start! The rain stopped but the wind, which turned north easterly, did not, and stayed with me, or should I say against me, nearly all the way. The End to End is normally ridden south to north because of the generally prevailing south west wind! I should have gone to John O'Groats to start!
However, I found I enjoyed the whole experience, riding anywhere between thirty and sixty miles a day and staying in Youth Hostels, which were usually very good; a castle in Monmouth, St. Brevilles, which I highly recommend; a converted watermill in Clun and a former coaching Inn at Slaidburn. Many groups and families use the hostels nowadays. On other days I enjoyed the comforts of a bed and breakfast, the best of which was Bank House at Fort Augustus.
My route took me right over Dartmoor and this is described as the hardest part of the whole trip. The Somerset levels follow with a restful couple of days before crossing the old Severn Bridge into Wales. On along the Welsh border and, after Chester, a grind through the industrialised parts of Greater Manchester. The Lake District was beautiful but busy as it coincided with the bank holiday and half term week.
Although I had booked a few stopovers before setting off I found that I could make more progress on some days and was also getting fitter! Peter, at home, acted as Mission Control and when I contacted him he would study Google Earth and find something suitable ahead of my journey and book it up for me, sometimes telling me I had to knock off another ten miles or so to save ten quid!
Peter and I enjoy Scotland and once over the border the landscape each day seemed to surpass the previous day. The cycle path ran through Glasgow along the Clyde and past Loch Lomond, downhill through Glencoe, following the Caledonian Canal and along the banks of Loch Ness to Inverness. The area through Sutherland and The Crask Inn are an absolute must for all End to Enders. It is very remote and the start of the last leg, although I made a stop at Thurso so I could make the final assault a short one, giving me time to catch a bus back from John O'Groats to Thurso and train back to Inverness in one day.
Good job I did as up until then I had only punctured once, fairly early on near Hereford. I remembered what Peter had shown me and repaired it with no trouble. This time, however, big bang! The rear tyre had not only punctured but split open. My efforts at repair lasted only a mile or so and I had to ride the last six out of over a thousand miles on the rim of the rear wheel! What a noise it made and I was near to tears when the end came into view.
I can recommend the whole experience to those of a reasonable fitness and my only advice would be to get yourself and your bike into good condition, invest in padded cycling shorts, apply surgical spirit to your bum regularly for at least a week before setting off, lots of stretching exercises and remember that you are actually the machine that is doing the work. So look after it and feed it well with nutritious food at least every two hours!
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 45
ANNE VOSS BARK MBE
October 7 1928 - November 28 2012
Former actress, hotelier, fly fishing expert and conservationist campaigner
Are you a fly-fishing expert? If so, you will have heard of Anne Voss Bark. Do you enjoy spoiling yourself in a 200 year-old coaching inn famous for its comfort and fine food reputation? Then you might well have heard of her.
Mrs Voss Bark was the proprietor for nearly fifty years of one of Britain's best-known fishing hotels: The Arundell Arms in Lifton, West Devon, less than 55 miles from Berrynarbor.
Starting her career as an actress, Ann Voss Bark then became an advertising account executive in London where she met her first husband, Gerald Fox-Edwards. Because of ill health, he was advised that the countryside would be better for him, so in 1961 they bought the Arundell Arms, a run-down fishing inn with 17 bedrooms [only one with a private bathroom] and a coke boiler that filled the dining room with smoke. Gerald loved fly-fishing so he took charge of that. Ann knew nothing of fishing and not much more of running a hotel, but ran it on a shoestring together with bringing up two small children and working as a Marriage Guidance Counsellor.
Sadly Gerald died in 1973. Now with fishing an extra responsibility, she decided she needed to know more about it. She took a few lessons from her river keeper and soon work became a hindrance. All she wanted to do was fish!
Her particular interest was night fishing for sea trout. "There's a magic about it", she remarked during an interview. "All is quiet, you cast, suddenly a fish comes up, takes your fly and then all hell breaks loose." Enthusiastic words from someone not born a fisherwoman.
Her father was a barrister, Sir Wilfred Bennett, 2nd Baronet, who just before the start of WWII moved the family to an estate in Lincolnshire. This was requisitioned by the RAF in 1940 and Anne and her brother Ronnie went to school in London and Wimborne St Giles. Sir Wilfred joined his regiment in Palestine and wasn't home again until after the war ended. Although Anne was offered a place at London University, she had set her heart on the stage. After training with 'an elderly actress of the emotive school', she was taken on by Donald Wolfit, actor and impresario, and toured Shakespeare in England and America. When she returned to Britain, it was difficult to get parts. When her father died in 1952 leaving the family short of money, Anne decided to get a more permanent and reliable job. Working for Crawford's, the advertising agency, she became interested in Commercial TV, rose to an account executive and met Gerald Fox-Edwards.
Her second husband, Conrad Voss Bark, former parliamentary correspondent for BBC television, met Anne during a visit to the Arundell Arms to write a book on fly fishing - his real interest. They married in 1975 and were together for 25 years until his death in 2000.
Conrad gave witty lectures on fishing at the hotel, but Anne, with her charm and efficiency gave the hotel its increasingly good reputation. She was once described as 'svelte and dynamic' - a description she loved.
She became an expert on fly-fishing and was the first woman to give a talk to the Fishflyers Club of New York. Her book of essays by experts such as Ted Hughes and of course Conrad Voss Bark, West Country Fly Fishing, has become a classic. In 2001 she received a Lifetime Achievement award for services to angling. She also championed river conservation and co-founded the West Country Rivers Trust that was concerned about farm fertilisers leaching into rivers. This foundation has become a model for similar bodies in Britain and overseas. And she was heavily involved in discussions on the construction of Roadford Reservoir.
Yet her role as hotelier did not get overlooked. In 1994 she received an MBE for services to tourism and in 2006 she was awarded the prestigious accolade of Sporting Hotel of the Year by the Good Hotel Guide.
In 2008 Anne handed over the running of the Arundell Arms to her son, Adam Fox- Edwards. Five years earlier, he had suggested to his mother that she 'slowed down'. She responded by trading in her Porsche 928 for a three-litre Jaguar!
So what is Anne Voss Bark's legacy at the hotel?
Well it is now a leading fishing hotel in the country with 20 miles of private fly fishing on the River Tamar, its tributaries and the lake.
It employs two outstanding fishermen, who have taught men and women, boys and girls, the joys of fishing. Today, women often outnumber men and former students bring their children. Sometimes there are three generations staying in the hotel.
As a true country sporting hotel, it also offers shooting and stalking, hunting and riding - all for the experienced or for anyone wanting to try out something new.
Then there is the delicious food served in two dining rooms, supplied under the guidance of Master Chef of Great Britain Steve Pidgeon with his enthusiastic young team. I can vouch for the quality having stayed overnight on a couple of occasions and had lunch when in the area. Food in season and local produce are very much in evidence and the presentation is superb. The Restaurants have received many awards including AA2 rosettes.
The hotel has been continually updated. All rooms are of course en suite and very comfortable. If you want a massage or various therapies, they are on offer.
It is a beautiful wedding venue, set in lovely landscaped gardens, with staff intent on giving everyone a very special day. There are two self-catering cottages: Church Cottage [3 bedrooms] and Fisherman's Cottage [2 bedrooms] for those who prefer a little more privacy. And it has been voted the Best Conference Venue in Devon, winning gold and silver awards in the last two years.
This is not a bad legacy from someone who declared that she knew 'nothing about fishing and not a lot more about hotels'!
Why not spoil yourself and give it a try? Web address: www.arundellarms.com.
OLD BERRYNARBOR VIEW NO. 143
This photographic postcard was taken and published by the Ilfracombe photographer G.K. Bolam around 1911. Bera Farm as it was then known lies between Hele Bay and Berrynarbor, just off what is known locally as the Old Road to Berrynarbor.
Beara, along with West Hagginton and Little Town, probably belonged to the Saxon Manor of West Hagginton. In 1408, Beara was probably occupied by Michael atte Beare. The origin of the place name is Old English bearu meaning a grove, very common in Devon with over 100 examples found in early documents. Many smaller settlements have a descriptive name with Saxon origin, such as Hele, Bowden, Trayne, Hole and Slew. In the Tithe Map of 1839, the owner was John Huxtable, held by John Read, part in hand to John Gammon.
My sincere thanks to the present owners Andrew and Katie Bailey who showed me all over their very old and interesting farmhouse and outbuildings forming Beara. They bought Beara in 2008 and with their six children have been working hard to preserve the seven upstairs rooms and nine rooms with large linking corridors at ground level. Andrew informed me that a group of historians from English Heritage spent nearly three days documenting Beara a few years ago and he proudly showed me the two preserved and remarkable coats of arms above fireplaces on both floors.
Early in the 16th Century, John Harper and his two sons - Nicholas and Edward, were living in Berrynarbor. Nicholas, Rector of Combe Martin [1553-1568] never married. Edward married Agnes, daughter of James Oliver of Barnstaple, and they had three sons and a daughter - Nicholas, Humphrey, John and Anne. Nicholas married Anne Strabridge of Brishford in Somerset and was granted this coat of arms:
A similar coat of arms but without the crest can be seen at Chambercombe Manor.
In his Survey of Devon written in the reign of James I [1603-1625], Thomas Westcote quotes the following epitaph on one Nicholas Harper who lies buried in Berrynarbor Church:
So sweet, so free from jar or strife,
To cromne thy skill hath raysed thee highr
And place thee in angel's quier,
For though that death hath throwen thee down,
In Heaven thou hast thy harpe and crowne.
Facing east, Beara Farm is a magnificent example of a 16th century, or earlier, farm/manor house. Built of local stone, the property stands at one end of a courtyard of cobbled stone surrounded by its own farm buildings. Behind is a stream-fed pond providing the now tested water supply. Bera, like Hele, Hagginton and Ilfracombe are mentioned in the Domesday Book as formerly held by ULF, were held by Robert for Baldwin de Brioncis, who came to England with William I.
Andrew kindly allowed me to take photographs and this one is the second coat of arms, that of Edward, second son of Nicholas and Anne Harper. Edward was baptised in 1591.
Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, May 2013 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW
Firstly, we should like to thank everyone for supporting the Coffee Morning which has raised valuable funds for the Show and Berry in Bloom. The cake stall was a huge success and although numbers were down on last year, we raised approximately the same amount. Thank you once again to everyone who helped and all the donations from the stalls.
Schedules for the Show will be available from the Shop, Sue's of Combe Martin and The Globe and Sawmill Inn from the beginning of July, so make a point of looking out for them and organising your entries.
To get your creative juices flowing, the Floral Art, Art and Photography details are given here.
Berrynarbor Horticultural & Craft Show
24th August 2013
Overall Theme: Wonders of the World
The Exotic East: 16"x16"x16"
The Beauty of the English Garden: 16"x16"x16"
Rustic Charm: 16"x16"x16"
An Alpine Scene: [miniature] 6"x6"x6"
Accessories may be used in all four classes
Exhibits should not exceed A3 [297mm x 420mm]
Statues and/or Monuments
A Wonder of the World [to be painted on any surface but paper/card/canvas, e.g. glass, pottery, stone, wood, slate, etc.]
Photography Photographs must NOT exceed 8" x 5" and MAY NOT be computer or digitally enhanced
Christmas in Berrynarbor
A Wonder of the World
What a Surprise !
A Statue and/or Monument [this may be digitally/computer enhanced, so let your imagination run wild!]
We look forward to seeing you all at the Show on the 24th August.
Linda and the Committee
THEN AND NOW . . .
Hangman Hills from Watermouth
'Combe Martin is a decayed market town, in one long irregular street, With a deep and picturesque valley, about a mile from a fine cover of the north coast of Devon, and 4 miles E. of Ilfracombe.' White's 1850 Devon