Edition 149 - April 2014

Artwork: Lower Rose Farm - Lillian Thirkell - c1945

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Spring has sprung and the clocks gone forward - longer, lighter evenings. And, at last, we have been enjoying dry, warm, and sunny weather - long may it last!

My plea for financial help for Newsletter funds has had a fantastic response. Readers on the mailing list have renewed their subscriptions and included donations.

The Jumble Sale, kindly and so ably organised for me by Ann Davies raised the amazing sum of £500! My sincere thanks to Ann and all her wonderful helpers. The event was an eye-opener for me. The regular 'jumblers' from afar arrived an hour before opening and gathered like vultures outside the door, jostling for position! In they rushed and before very long the tables were looking quite bare. They were, however, good enough to not only buy refreshments and raffle tickets but to buy a cake to take home, even if they did try to bargain on the price! Then the villagers arrived, taking their time to look with dignity at the bargains on offer.

So, after a successful Activity Day, an amazing and highly profitable Jumble Sale and a kind donation from a new Sterridge Valley resident, the finances of the Newsletter are no longer critical. Thank you all, your support is very much appreciated.

Thank you, too, to all contributors to this issue - keep them coming!

Especially Pam, who has reached her half century - 50 articles about some remarkable and memorable Movers and Shakers. Thank you.

Items for the June issue will be very welcome as soon as possible but by the 7th May at the latest.

Finally. a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village, and get well wishes to those currently feeling a bit under par.

Judie - Ed





We were all very sad to learn that Malcom had passed away on the 3rd February at the age of 80.

Malcolm and Joan came from the Midlands to live in Berrynarbor, at the Park, in the early '90's. they very quickly became involved in many of the village activities, always ready with a smile to help where help was needed. In 2000 they moved to Lichfield to be near Joan's mother and after she sadly died, we were able to welcome them back in 2004, first to Corfe Cottage and later to Staddlestones on the Park. Once again they became an active part of our village and could often be seen striding out with their walking poles. It was a sad day for us when they decided, once again, to move nearer the family to Stourport-on-Severn where they have been happily settled since 2011.

Our thoughts are with Joan at this time of sorrow and she would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their cards and messages of love and condolence.



The Gardens, Tea Room and Plant Centre are now fully open, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. [last orders in the Tea Room, 4.30 p.m.]

In spite of the very wet winter, the Gardens are looking beautiful - camellias, rhododendron and the many varieties of magnolia are all in bloom, as are many other spring flowers. So why not come to see them and perhaps think about getting a season ticket so that you can visit all the year. A single ticket is £25.00 and a double, for two people living at the same address, £40.00. On Easter Sunday and Monday there will be a Children's Easter Quiz.

For more information visit the website: www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk or telephone [01271] 342528.




For all bird lovers out there, we have terrific value Bird Boxes and Bird Tables that were made locally. The bird tables come with a substantial stand and cost £60 whilst the boxes are only £8. You can also buy bird seed, bird nuts and fat balls from us, again at reasonable cost.

Our new range of Wines is proving popular following positive feedback. The Gran Status (Red) goes well with cheese. The Gran Reserva Angela (Red) complements pasta . . . and why not try our other lines such as Bolland Cellar White and Red etc. We'd love to hear what you think!

Remember our £1 Stand constantly has new products, so worth a look.

Our Plant Sale fundraiser will be held at the end of May, so please remember to grow extra seedlings that you can donate. Also any unwanted garden tools or equipment can be taken to the shop at any time as we shall be having a stall selling these.

Thank you to all those who continue to support the shop, we need you!

KN for the Shop Committee



Bonnie has been with k9Focus for over a year. A gorgeous dog, she loves play, people and cuddles and is very affectionate. Due to the length she has been there and despite lots of TLC from the girls she is losing weight and condition, she just needs a home she can call her own.

A staffy x whippet, she would not be suitable in a home with cats or other small furries.

If you can offer Bonnie a permanent or foster home, please call Lynne on 07971 461806 or Clare on 07825314475. Or please give them a ring if you would like to volunteer to assist with fostering dogs, home checking, fund raising, etc.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


2014 began with a continuation of the bad weather that ended 2013. The only good thing that can be said about January was that it was mild, the maximum temperature 12.0 Deg C with an average maximum of 9.64 Deg C. The thermometer never fell below freezing with the lowest temperature being 0.8 Deg C although there was often a cold wind giving a wind chill of -9 Deg C. 9.47 hours of sunshine were recorded which was slightly up on last year. The barometer dropped to 983mb on two occasions and reached a high of 1016mb on the 12th. The storms continued to come one after another with strong winds and plenty of rain. The wettest day of the month was the 1st with 18mm and the total rain for the month was 227mm, this was spread throughout the month with only three totally dry days. In some parts of the country it was the wettest January for one hundred years and in the south west it was the 5th wettest. We have recorded only three wetter Januarys since 1994. Here in the valley we have been sheltered from the worst of the wind so the strongest gust we recorded was 40 knots which was not unusual.

For the first couple of weeks of February the pattern of low after low continued with storms or severe storms forecast for the 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th and 14th. On the 12th hurricane winds hit Cornwall and we recorded a gust of 50 knots which was the strongest gust of the month and also the strongest gust since October 2002 when we recorded 57 knots. On the 14th the barometer fell to 970mb and hurricane force winds were recorded in the Solent. We were in Cornwall so don't know how strong the wind was here but it didn't exceed 50 knots. After that the wind did settle down a bit though there were further gales on the 23rd and on the 28th violent storm force winds were again forecast off Land's End. The total rain for the month was 180mm which was not exceptional. It was another mild month with a high of 12.2 Deg C and a low of 1.1 Deg C though the strong winds on the 12th produced a wind chill of -10 Deg C. Sunshine hours at 36.72 were again slightly up on last year. To cap it all we had the earthquake on the 20th which measured 4.1 on the Richter Scale and was the strongest felt in North Devon. We both certainly felt and heard it!

We have heard a lot about this being the wettest winter on record so we decided to look back. December, January and February are counted as the winter and we recorded 645mm in those months but in the winter of 1999/2000 we recorded 762mm in the same period and in 1994/1995 we had 840mm. Fortunately, and unusually for North Devon, we missed the worst of both the wind and the rain this winter.

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Steve Angold [Aged 10]


At last Easter is just around the corner! Special Services will be as follows:

  • Sunday, 13th April Palm Sunday
    • 11.00 a.m. Holy Communion with distribution of Palm Crosses
    • 6.30 p.m. Christians Together Service in Combe Martin Baptist Church with choir
  • 18th April, Good Friday - 2.00 p.m. Quiet Hour with hymns and prayers
  • 20th April, Easter Day - Family Communion, 11.00 a.m.

We look forward to seeing a full church for these important dates in the church calendar.

The church will be decorated after the service on Good Friday and Sue Neale will welcome gifts of flowers or donations towards the cost [Tel: 883893]. As Easter is late this year, Pentecost, Whit Sunday, will not be until the 8th June.

St. Peter's Annual Meeting will have taken place on 25th March. Since my last article circumstances have changed in that Teresa Crockett will no longer be able to carry on as Churchwarden. Stuart Neale has offered to return to the post after a break, but we still need a second one and hopefully new people will come forward prepared to serve on the PCC. A full report will appear after the meeting.

Subject to confirmation, Friendship Lunches will be held at The Globe on Wednesdays 30th April and 28th May.

Mary Tucker

Berrynarbor War Memorial

The War Memorial, just inside the lych gate, is shortly to undergo repairs. The base and edge surround have deteriorated over the years, caused in part by ground settlement and other factors such as the British weather, Following discussions with Berrynarbor Parish Council, the necessary funds to give the go ahead for the repairs have been obtained.



At a recent meeting of the PCC the centenary was discussed and how our village might commemorate this important event in our history.

I have approached every organisation within the village to see if and how we should wish to proceed. Following these meetings and with the support of the Parish Council, it has been agreed that an Exhibition commemorating the event should be held in the Manor Hall on Saturday, 2nd August, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

A small group has been formed to organise this special event and the emphasis will be on how the country reacted and prepared for the war in 1914. There will be reflections on the events spanning 1914-1918 but not to confuse it with Remembrance Sunday when we celebrate the end of the war and honour all those who gave their lives, not only in WW1 but WW2 and other conflicts.

There will be a wide range of memorabilia/artefacts to see as well as a special reminder of how food was prepared at that time with, of course, suitable refreshments throughout the day. It is hoped that the School will also be contributing to the exhibition.

So, the group would welcome any help with memorabilia, etc., that can be put on display, or perhaps some personal reflection of one's family accompanied by photographs of the period.

Please feel free to ring me on [01271] 883893 to discuss the above or for more information. We already have several items to show - some of which are extremely valuable sentimentally and financially - and we can assure everyone that items on loan will be protected in every way possible.

There will be a small charge for viewing the exhibition, including refreshments, and all proceeds will go to one or more of the deserving organisations, such as the British Legion, the Star and Garter Homes and Help the Heroes.

The group and I look forward to hearing from villagers in the weeks ahead and a final reminder to put this important date in your diary to make this event a real success!

Stuart Neale



An oasis during the very wet and windy wintry weather, the Activity Day in the Manor Hall was enjoyed by all crafters, who took home with them the results of their hard work and fun, and those who called in for coffee, lunch or tea.

Not only was it a fun day, it meant that you have an April Newsletter! Yes, my plea to help fill the coffers has been answered! After expenses, a sum of £370 was raised.

Thank you to all who supported the event in any way - in particular those who came from Ilfracombe, Combe Martin, Kentisbury, Brayford and Exford - but special thanks to Denny, Margaret and Jill, the hard workers in the kitchen who kept everyone refreshed, and Sue, Jan, Margaret, Fran, Lani, Chris and Sarah, the crafters who kindly shared their talents.




The Knit and Natter in support of the North Devon Hospice was another happy time in the Manor Hall with plenty of nattering and colourful strips appearing from knitting needles. We were sorry not to see Ali, from the Hospice, this year but Rebekah came to join us and made herself very useful serving tea and cakes and washing up!

Rather than calling on the same people time and time again for sponsorship, it was a £5 donation and these with money from the raffle amounted to £150, which has been paid into the Living Memory Fund for Brian [Bikey] Hillier. Everyone's support was appreciated.

Thanks to knitters who keep knitting all year, over 126 feet of colourful strips [that is the length of 4 skittle alleys!] will be going to the Hospice for making up in to blankets.







Concentrating on stained glass! pebble painting a ladybird and rabbits producing felt pictures & flowers floral artists at work making a card for that special occasion decorations enhance your cakes!


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


After a hard winter, it always cheers us up to feel the sun on our faces, and its warmth nudging the natural world into life and colour. At least that is how it is today as I look out of my window!

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

You might like to know that we are starting a new venture called Messy Church. This is a craft based event for all the family and it will take place after school at the school by their kind permission, 1st April, a Tuesday, from 3.15 to 5.15 p.m. Also, we'll be having our usual 'Hymns and Pints' community singing at The Globe on the first Sunday evening of April, 6th, from 8,00 to 8.30 p.m.

At Berrynarbor, we shall be celebrating Easter through a devotional hour on Good Friday from 2.00 to 3.00 p.m. which recalls the Last Hour of the Cross. Then on Easter Sunday from 11.00 a.m. we have 'something to shout about' as we experience the joy of Easter.

As Christians, we celebrate Easter because we believe it provides the great hope of a fresh beginning for humanity. The central story of Jesus' death and return to life points us to God's great love for each one of us.

From time to time in the news, we hear about the courage of someone who has put their own life at risk - or sometimes lost it - in order to save others. I heard about a parachute instructor who guided a woman down who was strapped to him but their parachute failed to open. The instructor knew what he had to do. At the last minute, he turned his body and absorbed the unimaginable shock of falling to earth. He died and the woman lived.

The events of that first Easter really are the pivotal moment that changed the world forever. They say that about 9/11 but how much more did the cross and resurrection of Jesus have epic implications that echo throughout history. Why did he do it? What does it mean for us today? How did that man on the cross being taken down and laid in the earth result in new life on the third day?

We'd love you to join our Easter celebrations this year as we tease out answers to these questions.

You would be sure of a warm welcome.

Rev Chris


Artwork: Peter Rothwell

Consultation on the Manor Hall

February's newsletter noted the wide range of repair items we need to address at the hall, and although at the time of writing we await the structural engineer's report on the old roof [the manor house wing], we don't think it will demand more than we already assume will be needed.

So meanwhile we have begun to draft the remaining list of repairs that will need to go into a formal contract for the works. However, this raises another issue which is that although essential repairs to the building must come first, it feels quite wrong to carry out fundraising, ask the village for support, do a lot of work but leave the main hall just as it is.

A number of comments have been made in recent years about heating, comfort, lighting, etc., and that the kitchen can service little more than the making of teas and coffees. I should add that the toilets are of a poor standard and that neither the lighting nor audio system on the stage work anymore. Given the windows behind the stage will need to be replaced and the stage, for example, is going to have to come out to allow the floor replacement, wet rot and ventilation works to take place underneath, this raises questions such as do we need the stage at all? Need it be in the same position? Should we have some sort of stage box system instead? And so on. There seems to be an opportunity to consider what could be done at reasonable cost to address a number of issues.

The Management Committee therefore agreed to consult with all groups that use the hall, including the Men's Institute and Pre-School, to ask for their views and ideas. While this exercise is underway, we will have plenty of other things to get on with, such as researching funding, working on possibilities for the main hall, liaising with the Listed Buildings Officer and appointing contract managers for the eventual works contract.

But please note that actually carrying out the work is still some considerable time away, so it's business as usual for many months to come. Do not hesitate to contact in the normal way should you want to book the hall for an event. Thanks,

Len Narborough and the Manor Hall Committee




For Exmoor Jean Ingelow [1820-1897]

For Exmoor -
For Exmoor, where the red deer run, my weary heart doth cry:
She that will a rover wed, far her feet shall hie.
Narrow, narrow, shows the street, dully the narrow sky.
- Buy my cherries, whiteheart cherries, good my masters, buy!
For Exmoor -
O he left me, left alone, aye to think and sigh -
'Lambs feed down yon sunny coombe, hind and yearling shy
Mid the shrouding vapour walk now like ghosts on high.'
- Buy my cherries, blackheart cherries, lads and lasses, buy!
For Exmoor -
Dear my dear, why did nye so? Evil day have I,
Mark no more the antler'd stag, hear the curlew cry.
Milking at my father's gate while he leans anigh.
- Buy my cherries, whiteheart, blackheart, golden girls, O buy!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

What Bird So Sings

Now at heaven's gate she claps her wings,
The morn not waking till she sings.
Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat
Poor robin redbreast tunes his note!
Hark how the jolly cuckoos sing
Cuckoo! to welcome in the spring!
Cuckoo! to welcome in the spring!

What bird so sings, yet so does wail?
O 'tis the ravish'd nightingale.
Jug, jug, jug, jug, tereu! she cries,
And still her woes at midnight rise.
Brave prick-song! Who is't now we hear?
None but the lark so shrill and clear;

John Lyly

John Lyly 1553/4? - 1606 was an English poet, writer, dramatist and politician. He was born in Kent, the first of eight children, and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. He sat in parliament as member first for Hindon, then Aylesbury and later Appleby. Although he sought her patronage, he was not favoured by Elizabeth I. He died neglected and in poverty in the reign of James I. The proverb 'All is Fair in Love and War' has been attributed to John Lyly.


Lenten ys come with love to toune,
With blosmen & with briddes roune,
That al this blisse bryngeth;
Dayes eyes in this dales,
Notes suete of nyhtegales;
Uch foul song singeth.
The threstelcoc him threteth oo;
Away is huere wynter wo,
When woderove springeth.
This foules singeth ferly fele,
Ant wlyteth on huere wynter wele,
That al the wode ryngeth.

The rose rayleth hire rode;
The leves on the lyhte wode
Waxen al with wille.
The mone mandeth hire bleo;
The lilie is lossom to seo,
The fenyl & the fille.
Wowes this wilde drakes;
Miles murgeth huere makes,
Ase strem that striketh stille.
Mody meneth, so doth mo;
Ichot ycham on of tho,
For love that likes ille.

The mone mandeth hire lyht,
So doth the semly sonne bryht,
When briddes singeth breme;
Deawes donketh the dounes,
Deores with huere derne rounes
Domes forte deme;
Wormes woweth under cloude,
Wymmen waxeth wounder proude,
So wel hit wol hem seme,
Yef me shal wonte wille of on,
This wunne weole y wole forgon
Ant wyht in wode be fleme.

Anonymous: Old English c1300

Spring has come with love to town,
With blossoms and with birds' rounds,
Which all this bliss bringeth;
Daisies in these dales,
Notes sweet of nightingales;
Each fowl a song singeth.
The threstlecock he scoldeth aye;
Away is their winter woe,
When woodruff springeth.
These fowls singeth fairly much,
And look back on their winter weal,
So that all the wood ringeth.

The rose puts on her red;
The leaves on the trembling trees
Grow forth with eagerness.
The moon sends forth her brightness;
The lily is lovely to see,
The fennel and chervil.
Woo these wild drakes;
Beasts entertain their mates,
As streams which ever flow.
Sad ones moan, so do many more;
I know I am one of those,
Who are ill-pleased with love.

The moon sends forth her light,
So doth the pleasing sun bright,
When birds sing lustily;
Dews drench the hills,
Lovers with their secret songs
Their own laws to make;
Worms woo underground,
Women grow wondrously proud,
Which seems so becoming to them;
If I shall lack the goodwill of one,
This wondrous wealth I will forgo
And this wight in the woods be banished.

Spring is Coming

The spring, the spring is coming,
'Tis goodbye to all the snow.
Spring is coming, for the swallows
Have come back to tell me so.
Spring is coming, for the swallows
Have come back to tell me so.
In a corner of my window,
They have built a tiny nest;
Where the rosy sun can see it
As she sinks each night to rest
As the rosy sun can see it
As she sinks each night to rest.


[I don't know who the poet is, or if I can remember it correctly. Can anyone help?]


Looking this up on the internet I found many others asking the same question, and in fact Trevor has remembered more than anyone else. It would seem to be one of those ditties, probably sung and at mothers' knees, that has been passed down over the years.





'I drink when I have occasion, and sometimes when I have no occasion'
Miguel de Cervantes

Sensibly, Majestic sends their managers out to wine-producing areas to taste and learn. In January 2013, Paul Firman, Barnstaple's Manager, flew out, with others, to Chile.

It made sense to include him in this season's programme, so we could gain from this education. Paul showed us, enthusiastically, just what South America could offer. Vines and grapes benefit from temperature variety. Chile's geological features include the Andes and the Atacama Desert, which means that its grapes benefit from ideal climate conditions: hot summers, cooling coastal breezes from the South Pacific and moderate rainfall. His six examples were single-grape only; four Chilean and two Argentinean. Our first wine was a white Chilean, with a grape usually associated with Germany: a Gewurztraminer.

The Yali Reserva 2013 was produced in the Colchagua Valley. It was night-harvested, so that cool grapes are pressed without air contact and fermented at cold temperatures. This maximises its primary fruit character and it did and had a nice balance of texture and acidity. An unexpected but delicious find; many members asked Paul for its price: £9.99 currently, but will have an April offer price. Majestic recommends that it is accompanied by lightly spiced satay, grilled tiger prawns or oriental noodle salad. I'm sure it would be great on its own too or with a salad. Two other whites a Chilean Torrentes and an Argentinean Chardonnay followed before the reds: Chilean Merlot, a Carmenere and finally the dearest red: an Argentinean Malbec; however, the dearest wine of the evening was the Chardonnay at £23.00 per bottle.

Wine is personal preference, but I wasn't the only one who thought the Malbec was another delicious sample. This Italian, family-owned vineyard, in Vistalba, has been producing wine since 1901. They produced the Luigi Bosca 2011. It was deeply fruity with a dark colour . . . and had well-judged acidity. It was new to Majestic stocks and was £15.99, but £12.99 if two purchased.

Bringing Burgundy To You is a company set up by ex-pats, Lynne and David Hammond, in 2003, who live and work in the heart of this world-renowned region, near Beune. They take everyday Burgundy to great Grands Crus to tasting events for companies, clubs, societies and private parties. They are the region's 'Ambassadors'.

We learned a lot from this husband and wife team with an expert, passionate and confident delivery. I didn't know that a proper 'Kir Royale' should be made with Cremant de Bourgogne, a lightly-fizzy white wine, not Champagne, and Cassis. I learned that young Burgundies should be opened and left for up to 1/2 hour, old ones should be opened and drunk; Grand Cru vines face east and have a low yield; growers are not permitted to exceed yield. Fancy the French obeying rules!

Bourgogne wines use four grape types: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Algote and Chardonnay. Our seven wines were single grape only apart from our first: a sparking with a mix of grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Algote. Our other three whites were Chardonnay. The last was £25.95, but it wasn't a 'Wow' for me! Our reds were Pinot Noir 2011 and 2012 and included the cheapest of the night at £10.66.

As it is Ladies Night next month, 16th April, I sought the opinion of some on Bourgogne wines. Four and surrounding friends gave feedback: more expensive was obvious, little bouquet, lacking in flavours. The general consensus was that they weren't particularly taken.

It was an interesting evening. If wines are disliked by some, we all appreciate that our Circle gives us the opportunity to enjoy a sociable evening and the opportunity to taste, learn and be educated...

Tony Summers presents our final gathering of the year, 16th May, which begins with our historically brief AGM. His topic: Tony's Mystery Tour. We reconvene on 15th October, after what we hope will have been another wonderful summer!

Judith Adam - Secretary and Promotional Co-ordinator



The Scheme is URGENTLY seeking drivers to help keep our passengers on the road.

What are the benefits of being a volunteer car driver?

Becoming a volunteer driver is a wonderful thing to do; you help people in need, people who are not able to get to health appointments, to the shops or to leisure activities. You help make their life richer, more varied and healthier. You enable them to no longer feel stuck in their home, often isolated and perhaps lonely.

What some of our drivers have said?

  • "The mileage expenses help keep my car on the road. I have recently been unemployed, I now have several part time jobs, and need to keep my car but find it difficult to afford all the costs: volunteer driving helps." Kelly (49).
  • "I worked as a carer and after redundancy needed to keep up my skills and my CV", "The reference I got helped me get another job. Result." Brian (45)

What do you need to be a volunteer driver?

  • A current driving licence
  • Your own car, in good condition, fully insured, taxed and with a current MOT
  • A willingness to complete a Disclosure and Barring check (DBS)
  • Time
  • You can always say no if you are unable to do a journey when asked

What will you get in return?

You will be paid expenses for fuel and the costs of running your car. Under most schemes this is 45p per mile, for example - a journey from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple you will receive £10:80 in drivers expenses. In almost all circumstances this will not affect your tax or benefits position. Please talk through your circumstances with your local scheme co-ordinator.

So - what is in it for you? It can help you to:

  • get out of the house
  • keep your car on the road
  • get back into paid work
  • provide companionship on the journey
  • feel good about what you are doing.
  • help your local community

Become a volunteer car driver today!

If you feel that you can help your local community, please contact North Devon Car Scheme on 01271 855951 or email evie@ndcarscheme.org.uk



"So here's to you my rambling boy
May all your rambles bring you joy."

by Tom Paxton

... and sung and made famous by the legendary Pete Seeger 1919-2014 who died earlier this year.

At great expense and after weeks of traffic delays, heavy plant manoeuvres and hard labour in all weathers, we have a new footpath. No longer will we be dependent on the tides for determining the route between Watermouth and Widmouth Head.

On the first of March, a rare dry day, we decided to try out the new path. The condition of the existing fenced in path, alongside the road opposite Watermouth Castle, has been poor for some years so it is advisable to walk along the road to the harbour and emerge on to the main road via the gate between the sailing club and the harbour master's office.

This brings you directly to the pristine new tarmac path running beside the road for a short distance before a new flight of steps leads down to the original coast path. A little further on the previous entrance to the path has been cordoned off and a notice states that further improvements are planned.

The path was quite muddy and had been churned up by cyclists. Not a suitable route for bicycles. There are pleasant views of the harbour through the trees; of The Warren and Sexton's Burrow. Owners were working on their boats. Men were fishing from the cliff below the Martello tower.

On a tree trunk lying along the edge of the path, I found a colony of scarlet elf-cups [Peziza Sarcoscyphs coccinea] - a very attractive fungus. The inner surface of the round cups is bright red with a smooth, shiny texture. The outer surface is whitish with a chalky texture. The cups can be between two and six centimetres in diameter and appear from January until April.

Arranged in clusters, there were more than I have ever seen in one place. My field guide says they are 'widespread though seldom numerous' and are thought to be declining. They are most frequent in the west of England.

They grow on fallen and decaying wood, attached by a very short stem. They can appear to be growing from the ground but investigation will show that they are actually on a branch or twig which has become partially buried.

There were banks of dog's mercury. Although the green flowers are small and insignificant I am always pleased to see it because it coincides with the beginning of spring.



Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

The lambs in the field below Widmouth Farm looked strong and sturdy. Nearby, the path became a sticky quagmire beside the stile, above where the coast path crosses the track leading to the private beach in its own tiny cove.

There were plenty of ivy berries but no blackbirds feasting on them - in fact an absence of birds altogether. In January 2010 when there was widespread snow in North Devon, except on the coastal fringe, we had walked out to Watermouth and found the camping fields full of redwings. This last winter I have looked out for the winter thrushes but have not seen a single redwing or fieldfare.

On the way back I glanced wistfully at the 'forbidden land' on the outer edge of The Warren where we are not allowed to roam and remembered the abundance of wild flowers on the cliffs there in springtime. The decision favouring the landowner following the public enquiry four years ago was a surprise and disappointment.

Perhaps we villagers should have descended en masse, in an act of civil disobedience, like the ramblers walking in protest on Kinder Scout in the Pennines before the war.

I'm sure Pete Seeger would have approved!

Sue H


A Beaford Arts production
Saturday, 17th May

Mystery is afoot and there will be comedy in the Manor Hall on Saturday 17th May with Sophie Willan's one woman show 'The Novice Detective'. Brought to Berrynarbor by Beaford Arts this piece sits between theatre, storytelling, comedy and cabaret.  As with all Beaford's productions it will be an intriguing and totally different piece so come along armed with refreshments and settle down to an exhilarating night right on your doorstep!

  Inspired by their love of afternoon detective shows, Sophie and her slightly psychic gran are picking up the clues:  a crumpled photo, a mysterious phone call and a 90's pop album with encrypted lyrics.  Could these lead to her missing father? 

  Come along and help solve the case.  Tickets will be on sale in the village shop for £7.50 with proceeds going to village organisations. Doors open at 7.00 p.m. with the performance starting around 7.30 p.m. Afterwards, stroll over to the pub for puddings and a post play chat over a pint.  See you there.



Water, water everywhere - except in the Ilfracombe Swimming Pool!

There I was all psyched up for the big swim on my 72nd birthday, having trained for a couple of months ready to attempt swimming 72 lengths (72x33mtr,= 1.5 miles) in aid of our Musical Memories singing group for people living with dementia and other memory problems. I had checked with the pool staff the day before to confirm that there would be a lane available for me at 8.00 a.m. and they confirmed that everything would be OK. However, shock horror, when I arrived I was met by the manager who told me that the pool was closed due to a leak. My reaction was that this was a 'wind up', as they had probably seen me parking the car. I suggested coming back after breakfast, giving them chance to throw a few buckets of water in to top it back up! The manager was not amused and confirmed that the pool would be closed indefinitely. On looking through the window I realised that I could actually walk 72 lengths as there was not a drop of water to be seen. The catastrophic leak (probably due to lack of maintenance) apparently occurred overnight and the pool remains empty some 2 months later and is not likely to be opened for some time yet.

I had been promised sponsorship of over £500 so I was determined to achieve the swim as soon as possible. So a few days later I went to the Barnstaple pool which is only 25metres long and therefore I had to swim at least 96 lengths to complete the same 1.5 miles distance. I did manage the 96 and felt good enough to make it the 100 lengths. However, I was too (kna) tired to haul myself out and guess what, the steps were at the far end so I had to do 101 lengths in total!

I should like to thank you good people of Berrynarbor for your generous support and especially for the donations made via the Community Shop which came to over £155 - many thanks Debbie, Karen and all volunteers for your help.

I should also like to thank the village carollers for the donation of £87 from the collection at the Christmas Carols around the tree, thank you Phil, Tony, Wendy and Karen.

The amount donated for the swim has reached £660 plus the £87 will cover the rent and insurance for the hall for this year. Thank you all.



Artwork: Harry Weedon


Hooray Spring has sprung! This last winter has been so long and wet but at last there is some sunshine.

We had our A.G.M. on 25th February and it was decided to enter the Best Kept Village competition again this year. So from May onwards we hope that the whole village will be aware that the judges will be walking around and maybe chatting with villagers. They are looking for absence of litter, well-kept public areas, tidy gardens and general house maintenance. But more than that, they are looking for that something extra. We think that Berrynarbor has that something extra so let's prove it to the judges!

This year we are planning to have the gardens open again and the dates decided are Sunday 8th June for the Sterridge Valley gardens and Sunday 7th September for the village gardens. We hope that many of the gardens that have opened before will join in again but it would be nice to have some new ones too, so please let me know if you can participate.

There is still time to bring your hanging baskets to be re-filled by Streamways Nursery. They do a wonderful job and the charge is very reasonable. Bring your empty and labelled baskets to Bessemer Thatch and we will take them over all together. They will be delivered back to the village during the 3rd week of May. Please telephone me if you want to join the hanging basket scheme or if you can open your garden on the above dates Tel 01271 883170.

The first litter pick of 2014 saw a really good group of volunteers turn out for the dirty job of picking up other people's litter! Spurred on by the promise of a hot cup of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake, almost the whole of the village and outlying roads were covered. Some of the items collected were quite interesting - a bed frame, a rucksack, a green rugby top, a number plate and a patio umbrella pole, being among them. Sadly though the vast majority of items were obviously thrown from cars with McDonald's containers, drink cans and crisp packets being the most numerous. Also there was quite a lot of plastic wrapping caught in the hedges and the dreaded poo bags festooned on the bushes beside the path. Why do people do that? Many thanks go to all the good folk who turned out on a Sunday afternoon for the love of their village.

P.S. Berry in Bloom has been persuaded to enter a new competition run by the RHS called the Pennant Award. The judging for this will be in July and encourages group involvement in looking after villages. So, wish us luck and do join in.

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Easter Simnel Cherry Tart

This teatime treat is a cross between a fruity Simnel cake and a Bakewell tart. You can make it ahead and freeze it ready to bring out and serve at Easter.

Did you know The tradition of decorating a Simnel cake with 11 marzipan balls [to symbolise the Apostles, minus Judas] developed in the late Victorian era. Before that, cakes were often decorated with flowers.

375g pack sweet short crust pastry [Sainsbury's do an excellent fresh dessert short crust pastry] or make your own using your favourite recipe.

  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp good cherry jam
  • 350g/12oz marzipan, 1/2 cut in to small cubes,
  • 1/2 rolled into 11 balls to represent the apostles
  • 50g/2oz icing sugar
  • 25g/1oz flaked almonds
  • 75g/21/2oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 140g/5oz butter, softened
  • 140g/5oz golden caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 75g/21/2 oz ground almonds
  • 175g/6oz mixed dried fruit
  • 50g/2oz glace cherries halved
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange

On a floured work surface roll out the pastry and line a loose-bottomed square or round tart tin - I use a 9 inch round tin - crimp round the edge but make sure not to trim too closely as the pastry will shrink when baked, then chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to200 Deg C/180 Deg C fan/gas 6. After 30 minutes chilling, line the pastry case with parchment and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove beans and parchment and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Reduce the oven to 170 Deg C/150 Deg Cfan/gas 3. In a bowl cream the sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time with a spoon of the flour to stop curdling. Stir in the rest of the flour and the ground almonds, then the dried fruit, cherries, 1/2 the orange zest and the spices. Spread the jam over the base of the pastry tart and dot with the cubed marzipan. Pour over the cake mixture. Smooth with a spatula and bake for 35 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool in the tin.

If you want to brown the marzipan balls, place them on a baking tray and grill under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes.

Mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a thick smooth icing and drizzle over the tart. Finish by scattering the flaked almonds and remaining orange zest over and then place the marzipan balls evenly over the top.

Happy Easter

Wendy Applegate



Many of you will, I am sure, have visited Arlington Court, the home of the late Miss Rosalie Chichester. If you have done so during the last two years, you will know that the Music Room has been set out to cover the two world tours that she, and her companion Chrissie Peters, made in the 1920's. This is where as a volunteer, I have spent much time, enjoying talking to visitors as well as cajoling them into buying raffle tickets! In quieter moments there, I have read through the excerpts taken from her journals of the tours which are extremely interesting - and now I know where and when some of the shells for her vast collection were found.

Their travels began on the 28th July 1920 when they boarded the Empress of France [by courtesy of Thomas Cook] at Liverpool bound for Canada.

    "As the English coast faded in the mist doubts occurred as to the wisdom of our venture. Was it wise for two women quite unaccompanied to travel and ignorant of all that it implies, to set forth on a voyage around the world?"

From Canada they travelled to Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand. They left New Zealand, bound for Australia, on the 12th November, and left Adelaide on the 12th January 1921 bound for South Africa aboard the 'Nestor'.

    "We spent some happy weeks on board the 'Nestor' and shall always look back with affection to the boat which carried us so safely from Australia to Africa. She had many agreeable people on board, who helped to make our stay in her a pleasant time. The cheery Captain who had always a pleasant word for one and all, the Scotch doctor with his never failing fund of anecdotes, and who kept the games going and started the entertainment, Mr. F. and his charming Australian wife, Mr. and Mrs. S [of Australia] and little Joan, the pet of the ship, a fair haired child who spent her second birthday on board and will never now spend another birthday in this world. [Sadly, Joan died on board before they reached South Africa.] Mr. and Mrs. C. travelling from America and many others. Among the passengers must be included Mr. C's 'Baby', a lion which he takes about with him to assist in the entertainments he gives.

    "Jan. 17th 'Ants Quiz' In the evening a competition was held in the Lounge, printed papers with questions were given to each; the answers had to be a word ending in ant such as 'a musical ant', the answer Chant. The winner answered correctly 13 questions out of 28. [Chant was actually incorrect, can you get it right?]

    "Jan 30th - arrived in Durban. Hiring a rickshaw, a two-wheeled carriage drawn by a native, we drove in this not very comfortable conveyance, our luggage following later, to the Hotel Edward, a delightful hotel on Ocean Beach, the ocean suburb of Durban.

    "After leaving the rickshaws we walked up hill to the hotel, where we had tea, and afterwards walked in the grounds where six or seven wild monkeys came out of the bushes to take bananas and nuts. Sometimes, so we were told, quite forty can be seen. The babies were delightful little creatures and kept running up the branches of the trees, but an old gentleman had by no means a pleasing expression.

    "Feb 8th - Train ride to Pietermaritzburg

    "Feb 10th - Train ride to Ladysmith - visited Devon Regt. Boer War Cemetery. Here is an obelisk to the Devons, the point of which has been damaged by lightning, but no doubt will shortly be repaired, as there is a society in South Africa for care of war graves and monuments. Relatives in England may feel satisfied that everything is done to preserve these memorials to the dead. Nearby is another war memorial, and a stone marking the spot where Lord Ava fell.



    "Feb 16th Pretoria - visited the zoo.

    "18th Visited Johannesburg zoo.

    Mar 18th - Boarded RMS Briton

    Miss Peter and Miss Chichester
    in New Zealand

    "Feb 22nd Kimberley Diamond Mine - A kaffir showed us his diggings, here all the work is done by hand, the gravel dug, sifted, mixed with water and then examined to see if any diamonds are there. For days perhaps none are found, yet the workmen have each to be paid £1 a week. Sometimes holiday parties come and camp there instead of spending their time at the seaside, or in some other way. One party, we heard, after paying expenses were able to take home £50. It is mere chance if a diamond is found, and when found if it is sufficiently large to be of value.

    "Mar 11th Gordon's Bay - Collected shells and saw giant jellyfish. Lunched at the Gordonia, for such is its name, and climbed about the rocks, when to our great delight in a cavity between the rocks we found such a number of turbo shells as well including Omars and some reddish mussels, but after the turbos they seemed of little interest.

    April 4th - Sighted England - At noon the shores of England were sighted. The coast of Devon from Start Point to Torbay and beyond, but too far off to distinguish details without glasses. The land soon faded away in the distance and was not seen again until 4 p.m. when the Bill of Portland became visible, and after that we kept close to the coast, passing a few other steamers as well as sailing boats. It was with a sense of disappointment we looked at the chalk cliffs of Dorset, they had not the beauty we had anticipated, and even the Isle of Wight, with the Needles much worn away since I last saw them, was disappointing. We missed the grandeur of the Canadian coast, the hills of New Zealand and Tasmania and the rocky shores of South Africa.

    Apr 6th - Train back to Devon

    "Not until we were in the train could we realise that 'It is good to be in England. Now that April's here'. Then we saw the incomparable beauty of the green fields and the primrose covered banks, and the young leaves just sprouting from the trees, and the picturesque cottages and farmsteads which make the Homeland dear to all its sons and daughters."



  1. A brave ant
  2. A cringing ant
  3. A pachyderm ant
  4. A begging ant
  5. A very short ant
  6. A cheerful ant
  7. a fluttering ant
  8. A lowly ant
  9. A lively ant
  10. A fruitful ant
  1. A suspended ant
  2. A musical ant
  3. A ship's ant
  4. A military ant
  5. A legal ant
  6. A healthy ant
  7. A hopeful ant
  8. A wicked ant
  9. An uneducated ant
  1. A helpful ant
  2. A sharp ant
  3. A sparkling ant
  4. A schoolboy ant
  5. The only ant left
  6. A commercial ant
  7. A menial ant
  8. A garden ant!
  9. An occupier ant

Can you do better than the 13 correct on board the Nestor? If so, put your answers in an envelope giving your name and address, and leave it either at the Shop or Chicane by the 7th May - the best entry will win a prize! Answers in the June Newsletter



It is not flashy, imposing or valuable, but the engagement ring my late mother-in-law gave me shortly before she died, is always on my hand.

It is now exactly 100 years old as my in-laws were married in late 1914. In the wedding photograph taken on that day, Peter Davey was in uniform and one can assume home on leave from the Front.

He survived the Battle of the Somme and the horrors of the trenches to return to settle on an Estate at North Tamerton in North Cornwall, far away from the memories of Flanders fields. He became chauffeur to the Lord of the Manor [very Downton Abbey!] and lived there peacefully until 1934 when the family returned to Hertford to be near relatives.

From 1918 to 1922, three children were born to the couple - two daughters and then a son, my husband. The daughters never married. Too many young men had died in the trenches for all the young girls in Britain, but both went on to have successful careers and became doting aunts to George and my children. George went on to serve as a Bomb Disposal Officer in the Second World War and then continued into the RAF, where we met and married.

The diamonds in my ring are minute but set in a lovely gold setting. I learnt recently that the import of diamonds was banned during the First World War and rings contained small chips of existing diamonds.

On studying the death certificate of George's father and that of my own grandfather, who also served in the trenches, I found they had both died in September 1939. I often wonder whether their thoughts were, 'Oh no! Here we go again!'

So many of our families must have mementoes of that War - the War to end all wars - and the sacrifices that were made.

So that is why the ring is so precious.




Our vision is something many of us take for granted and never give a second thought to. It is, however, all too easy not to notice that our sight has begun to deteriorate as it can be a slow process. This might be due to age, medical conditions, injury or even temporarily due to tiredness. There are also many who refuse or forget to wear spectacles when they are at the wheel. Whatever the reason, there comes a time in the lives of most of us when we would benefit from an optician's test.

As a former traffic police officer I can recall dealing with a number of people who had been found driving with uncorrected defective vision [the technical term]. I can recall speaking to one elderly gent who had been seen driving erratically in Barnstaple. With no reasonable explanation being offered, I conducted a roadside eyesight test. I asked him to walk forward towards the back of my motorcycle and to read out my registration when he was able. To my utter amazement he continued walking and finally read it correctly when he was only 2.7 metres away! He was in fact waiting for cataract operations and had refused to stop driving. Needless to say the matter was taken further.

The police regularly give eyesight tests on the roadside - after a collision for example, where there is a suspicion that a driver may have defective vision.

The law states that as a driver you must be able to read a standard registration plate in good daylight from a distance of 20.5 metres [67ft] or about 5 car lengths. It is very simple to give yourself a basic eyesight test by pacing out this distance and reading a registration plate. [Reading your own is cheating by the way!] If you do have problems then I suggest it may well be time for a more formal test.

It is all too easy to miss other road users especially in the sort of weather we have experienced since New Year so please, just take a few minutes to check out your own sight and don't go making a spectacle of yourself!

For more information on safer motorcycling courses please email Paul@revolutionbiketraining.co.uk or ring 0843 289 3529.


Could this be what you see when driving?

Paul White


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


I was walking down our High Street the other day when I bumped into an old friend.

"Hello Charlie", I said as I greeted him. "Haven't seen you for a long time, and how's your lovely wife, Mary?"

"She's fine," he replied. "I'm glad I met you as you can give me some advice."

"Oh, what's that?" I asked.

"Well, it's her 86th birthday soon and she insists that as she feels so young at heart, she would like a present that's modern or young in its way. What would you advise?"

I scratched my head and stroked my chin and then suggested she could have her head shaved and a spider web tattooed on it.

Charlie smiled, "Well, she would probably like the idea but not the pain of the tattoo."

I thought again and this time suggested she have her hair coloured red, green or blue.

"Well, a lot of women have that these days," he said, "But can't you come up with something else?"

"Yes," I said, "How about these. There is Botox, pierced eyebrows, lips, nose, etc. rings."

Charlie smiled. "Carry on, you're getting warm!"

"Well then," I asked, "How about cosmetic surgery, or a skateboard? Then there is parascending, she might like that. And, of course, Disneyland. A nice pair of sunglasses to wear on top of her head or paragliding."

Charlie grinned, "Yes, you've got some good ideas but I think I'll play it safe and give her some flowers and a box of chocolates."

"Good idea," I replied, "Nice to see you again. Bye."

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



When I was seven years old and outside playing with my brother Clifford in the rear garden of our home at No. 5 Croft Lea, my mother called us to the front to have a look at something.

It was a summer afternoon and I can clearly remember seeing something that at that time I had no idea what it was. It was a Zeppelin German airship flying quite low and close to Ilfracombe out over the Bristol Channel. It was massive and had a large swastika on its tail. I had never seen anything like it before or indeed since.

In October 2005 it was confirmed that what I had seen was the famous German Zeppelin Airship, Hindenburg. I know this as a Bideford man put an article in the Journal, which included pictures.

I quote from that article:

    "A chance encounter during a cruise on the Norwegian Fjords reawakened haunting memories of a Nazi airship coming off the North Devon Coast. Retired Bideford businessman Peter Adams found himself sitting next to Brian Hussey, a Zeppelin airship enthusiast during a cruise dinner one evening. Conversation soon turned to a striking image which had stuck with Mr. Adams for about 70 years. He said, "I told him that I remember as a very small boy seeing from Westward Ho! a Zeppelin over Lundy Island, it was huge with a great big swastika on the tail and he said he would look into it for me."

    "Zeppelins, which are rigid body German airships made with aluminium frames were designed by Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. Mr. Adams knew they had flown near Britain in the 1930's but had no idea his memory could be specifically pinned down to a date and time.


    "Soon after returning home Mr. Hussey posted his detailed detective work to Mr. Adams. He explained that only 3 zeppelins ever had swastikas painted on their tail fins and only one, The Hindenburg, ever flew near Lundy. Mr. Hussey checked the logs of all the Hindenburg's flights and found that in 1936 it made 10 return flights from Frankfurt to New York. He said "The Germans had permission to fly over this country only in exceptional circumstances such as bad weather because it was feared that they might be spying on military and naval installations. The zeppelins did not usually fly over Lundy but on the 4th American flight that year flight records said the Hindenburg went over Lundy Island on the 5th of July 1936 at 16.52 GMT.

    "It turned out that Mr. Adams and many others who lined up to watch that day in summer 1936 had indeed seen the famous Hindenburg Zeppelin returning from a trip to New York.

    "At 803.8 feet in length, the Hindenburg was the largest and most famous of the zeppelins which provided the first ever trans-Atlantic air service for hundreds of passengers.

    "It was destroyed in May 1937 when the hydrogen which filled the cigar shaped craft ignited."

After reading this article in the North Devon Journal and being close to approaching 85 years of age, I am finally able to positively identify what it was that I recall seeing all those years ago as a small Berrynarbor boy stood in the garden with my little brother Clifford.

Maurice Draper



February and March 2014

Reports were received from County Councillor Andrea Davis, District Councillor Yvette Gubb, the Police and the Parish Clerk, Sue Squire.

Plans to commemorate the centenary of WW1 were discussed and it was agreed to give a donation of £250.

Councillors were informed of the work required on the Manor Hall and agreed to give financial support once the total cost was known. It was also agreed that a Commuted Fund at North Devon Council go to the Manor Hall and an annual donation of £1,000 be made.

Planning applications for Fuchsia Cottage and Rookery Nook were considered.

Bus shelters: the shelter at Sandy Cove to be dismantled and the location of the shelter on the A399 at the top of Barton Lane to be reviewed.

The Public Toilets - it is expected that the North Devon Council will award the full amount following an application for a grant.

The necessary repairs to the War Memorial will be carried out by Bobby Bowden and the Council has written to the Vicar offering to replace the fox weather vane on the church tower, damaged in the recent gales.

Councillor Steve Hill continues to work hard on the Emergency Plan and it is hoped that a representative of the Environment Agency will contact Steve in the near future.

It was reported at the March meeting that Councillor Charlotte Fryer had found it necessary to resign. She will be missed not only for her sound opinions but in practical ways as well. It is not known if a co-option will be necessary to replace her, but a co-option is currently necessary to replace Councillor Gary Marshall, and posters are in the village giving details. Please speak to a Councillor or the Parish Clerk [01598 710526] if you would like more information.

The next meeting on Tuesday, 8th April, in the Manor Hall at 7.00 p.m. will be the Annual Parish Meeting when Councillor

Andrea Davis has arranged for Ben Pyle of SW Highways to address the meeting. Members of the public will be very welcome and we expect him to be asked a lot of questions. An Annual Parish Meeting is just that - a meeting of the parish on an annual basis. It is not a Parish Council Meeting even though the Parish Council convenes it, the Chairman chairs it and the Clerk clerks it. This meeting will then be followed by the April Parish Council Meeting. The meeting to be held on the 13th May is the Annual Meeting [or AGM] of the Parish Council

Sue Squire - Clerk to the Parish Council



Artwork: Helen Weedon


Hope Springs Eternal - and I am eternally hoping for a decent spring, something that was hard to envisage just a few weeks ago. Yet as I sit to write this article the outside thermometer is reading 88 Deg F and the forecast is for a settled period of dry weather. The sky is cloudless and, almost overnight it seems, the rural landscape has awoken from the sodden days of January and February. Signs of spring are in the garden too. Bees are industrious upon the winter heather, celandine is dotting the lawn, the camellia bush is flowering and a small tortoiseshell butterfly, the first butterfly to be observed this year, is basking in the warm sunshine. And this is just the start of spring bursting forth.


But my mind is not in forward-thinking mode. Instead it is in reflective mood, the result of a recent visit from a relative. She brought with her three medals that had been in her brother's possession for over ten years. Locked away in his safe, he had initially assumed they were associated with a relative on his mother's side of the family. It was only when a friend asked to see them that a name was pointed out to him, one that was inscribed on the outer rim of one medal and on the back of another [the backs were difficult to see as the medals were mounted]. It was the name of both his father's and my father's paternal grandfather, Charles William McCarthy. More significantly, my cousin had expressed a wish that I should have them. I was overcome with emotion and could not thank him enough. For I was now the honourable keeper of my great grandfather's World War One medals. Viewing them for the first time in my life was made more poignant by the fact that I was doing so one hundred years since the start of the "war to end all wars". Moreover the sight and touch of his 1914-15 Star, his British War Medal and his Victory Medal made the Great War real to me.

As is often the case with genealogy, discoveries merely lead to even more questions and whilst further research would solve some mysteries, one question would forever remain unanswered. How did he feel when he received his medals? It is a question perhaps only those who have been in active service for the defence of their country can possibly answer. I can only speculate.

The effect upon the receiver of any tactile award will vary. In the case of my great grandfather, perhaps it gave a sense of justice to his actions or maybe even helped him with a sense of loss. For others, such as an Olympian competitor, a silver or bronze medal may help with the disappointment of not winning, whilst a certificated award for exam success makes the hard work put in by a student worthwhile. A certificate for vocational achievement on the other hand will instil self-confidence and self-belief in the worker. Then there is the medal awarded for actively taking part regardless of where the competitor comes but which still leaves the participant with a feeling of self-worth.

Some people, however, receive materialistic accolades merely to fulfil their egos. Such recognition is often for good deeds and whilst the recipient of the good deeds benefits, the good-doer makes sure that everyone else knows about it.

There is, however, a recipient of an award who is the complete opposite to this. It is a person who goes about their daily business doing good deeds for people along the way and as a matter of due course, deeds that in turn bring pleasure to the people with whom they are interacting. Such a person does not expect reward, merely gratitude; and when given praise or an award will feel humble that they are being recognised for something they regard as a natural instinct or a vocation.

Mother Nature is such a person. And over the next two months she will strive to bless our countryside with an abundance of colour that cannot be attained at any other time of the year. She will expect no medals for the victory she has fought over the bleakness of winter, no certificate of achievement for all her hard labours. In her modest and humble way she will give pleasure to any observer who chooses to take notice.

Stephen McCarthy


Illustrations by: Paul Swailes



[July 29 1884 - April 26 1978]

British Nurse and Ambulance Driver in World War I

[later Baroness de T'Serclaes]

You may have seen items recently by Justin Leigh on BBC Spotlight about the part played by the West Country during the First World War. One of these was about Elsie Knocker, who won, amongst others, the Military Medal for her bravery and self-sacrifice, and on this basis deserves recognition in this 100th year of the outbreak of the war. I wanted to know more . . .

Born in Exeter, the youngest of the five children of Dr Thomas Lewis Shapter and his wife Charlotte, she was orphaned at an early age. Her mother died when she was four and father died from tuberculosis only two years later. She picked up the nickname Elsie as a small child, which lasted for life. Elsie was adopted by a teacher from Marlborough College who gave her a good education at St Nicholas's Folkestone and then at an exclusive school in Switzerland. Before her marriage to Leslie Knocker in 1906, she trained as a nurse at a children's hospital.

The marriage didn't last very long, and soon after her divorce she further trained as a midwife. Edwardian England frowned upon divorce, so she made up the story that her husband had died in Java. Her passion at this time was motor cycles and when riding she wore a leather skirt and a long leather coat buttoned all the way down 'to keep it all together'.

At 31 years of age, married, divorced and with a 6-year old son, war broke out, so she and her 18-year old friend, Mairi Chisholm - feisty, upper-class and a good mechanic - became volunteers with the Women's Emergency Corps as dispatch riders. They caused 'shock horror' with their garb of masculine breeches and leather boots!

They then joined the Flying Ambulance Corps and were sent to Belgium to help the hard-pressed Belgian soldiers. Here, frustrated by the number of men dying in the back of their ambulance, they resigned and set up their own First Aid post and soup kitchen, just a few hundred yards from the front line in a town called Pervyse, north of Ypres. Under a ruined house they found a vacant cellar, with a ceiling under 6' high [shown by Justin Leigh] and with donations had it reinforced with concrete and a steel door fitted, supplied by Harrods.

Here they made soup for the troops and nursed the wounded.

Mairi picked up some nursing experience, but was mainly the ambulance driver, taking the severely wounded to a hospital 15 miles away, and often under fire. Elsie tended the sick. They worked here for 3 1/2 years until being almost killed by arsenic gas in March 1918. Over that time, and not being attached to any medical organisation, when there was a lull in fighting, they would return to England on motorbike and sidecar to raise their own funds.

Their work became known and they were dubbed by the press as 'The Madonnas of Pervyse'. Although some events were gruesome and they witnessed many massacres, life wasn't all bad. They had good friendships with the troops, love affairs and in 1916, Elsie married a dashing aristocratic Belgian pilot, Baron de T'Serclaes. The new Baroness wrote: "It was pleasant to imagine all would turn out well, and after 15 months risking my life at the Front, marriage seemed a comparatively small risk to take . . . after a lightning honeymoon we hardly saw one another again. I was too busy at Pervyse, and my husband had to return to his squadron. In 1919, the Baron and Catholic Church discovered the truth about her previous marriage and thus this marriage came to an abrupt end. Mairi hadn't known the truth either and this also ended their friendship. They barely spoke again. As part of the marriage settlement, Elsie was allowed to keep the title of Baroness - in name only.

During World War II, she once again saw service, this time as a WAAF senior officer, working with RAF Fighter Command. Sadly, on the 3rd July 1942, her son Kenneth, by now a Wing Commander, was killed when his 'plane was shot down. Baroness T'Serclaes moved into an Earl Haig home in 1927 and remained there until her death in 1978. Life must have seemed very tame: she bred Chihuahuas and became concerned about animal welfare and could often be seen walking 3 or 4 of her dogs on the nearby common, noticeably flamboyantly dressed with large earrings and a voluminous cloak.

But her work in Belgium during World War I wouldn't be forgotten by the troops she helped save and their many families.

If you'd like to know more about this amazing woman, get a copy of Elsie and Mairi go to war: Two extraordinary Women on the Western Front by Diane Atkinson. My copy should arrive any day!

PP of DC


I wonder if anyone notices when some of the 50 Movers and Shakers, chewed over since February 2006, starting with WH Smith, make the news?

  • On 24th February this year, the obituary appeared in the Telegraph of Maria von Trapp at the age of 99, one of the original Von Trapp singers. In the film of The Sound of Music she was called Louisa. I wrote of her sister Agathe in Feb 2011.
  • Recently on BBC 5 TV the part played by William Addis [June 2012] in bringing tooth brushes to the world was featured.
  • Octavia Hill, [April 2011] Co-founder of the National Trust, featured last year in the press.
  • Watching a back programme of QI the other evening, Rev Samuel Henshaw, [October 2009] the designer of Corkscrews, was up for grabs!
  • I've heard Henry Beck's name [June 2009] several times in connection with the London Underground maps.
  • The sometimes dubious life of Sir William Hillary [February 2009] founder of RNLI was shown last year, and as for Isaac Singer's past [April 2007] . . . let's forget it!

But to all 50 Movers and Shakers I owe a large amount of fun, interest and fact-finding - and I've met and talked to some very interesting people on the way. I hope you've enjoyed reading about them too.


Artwork: David Duncan


The Globe is now OPEN ALL DAY, so whether you fancy a morning coffee and a piece of cake whilst you read the paper, or a hearty breakfast and a chance to natter as the kids play in the soft play area, or maybe a late lunch with friends . . . we are here to serve you from 9.00 a.m. daily [alcohol available from 10.00 a.m. Monday to Saturday, 11.00 a.m. on Sundays. Food will be available every day from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.

Our Take Away Menu has taken off very well. Call in and collect a menu or view it on our website or facebook page. Telephone orders welcomed.

Easter Week-end at The Globe: Live music on Saturday 19th April from 9.00 p.m. and Quiz on Sunday, 20th from 9.00 p.m.

The Sawmill Duck Race will take place on Sunday, 4th May with live music and stalls in the Beer Garden before and after the race. Look out for posters.

More Live Music on the evening of 4th May at The Globe, in the bar from 9.00 p.m.

If you fancy coming to our next Murder Mystery Night at The Globe, put your names down soon as spaces are limited. Friday, 9th May, £5 per person to include light buffet.

There will also be Live Music and a Quiz in the bar at The Globe on the 24th and 25th May respectively. ... and pop the dates in your diary for the Sawmill Beerfestival on Friday and Saturday, 13th and 14th June, with special guest Peppa Pig making appearances throughout the Saturday afternoon.




After what seemed months of endless rain the children are finally able to enjoy the sun and play outside!

This term's topic for Strawberry and Cranberry Class is 'What a Lot of Rubbish'! The children have been really busy learning the three R's of waste management: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! They have visited Brynsworthy Recycling Centre where they found out what happens to the recycling waste that is collected - the children were fascinated by the amount of waste and what happens to it. They were shown some of the many items made from recycled materials including a fleece made from recycled plastic bottles!

Both classes also met the friendly and helpful crew who collect our recycling in the village and have entered a competition organised by Devon County Council to REDUCE waste in packed lunches. They have been gaining a real sense of responsibility and explained to the whole school in an assembly about using REUSABLE containers and wrote letters to parents.

All the children are motivated and consider themselves Superhero's on a quest to save the planet! Make sure you don't drop any litter in the village!

Elderberry Class enjoyed a trip to Exeter to visit Places of Worship. The children visited a Mosque, Synagogue and the Cathedral. It was a fascinating experience for them.

The Berrynarbor Restaurant has once again been open for this year's Parents' Meal. The children worked hard all day to prepare the food, which tasted delicious! The waiting staff looked very smart and were very polite. Well done class 4, and Mrs Lucas.

The topic for Blueberry Class this term was 'Urban versus Rural' and this saw them on a trip down to Exeter so they could see the difference between a city and a village. Blueberry Class will also be performing their Easter play, 'The Selfish Giant, on Friday 4th April in the Church at 2.00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

We hope everyone has an enjoyable Easter break and look forward to the start of our summer term on Tuesday 22nd April.

Sue Carey - Headteacher



Have you secretly harboured a desire to discover your inner performer skill or to be a judge on Britain's Got Talent? Well, now's your chance!

The School PTFA is organising Berrynarbor's Got Talent on Saturday, 12th July 2014 and are looking for those with performing skills to enter, and those with other skills, like a knack for turning an ordinary stage into a shimmering spotlight for people to perform, or are a technology nut who enjoys running sounds systems, to contact us. Well, we need you all.

The event is open to everybody, yes everybody - any age, any talent - and entry forms are now available from the Shop. There will be 3 auditions in front of a panel of judges, to be held in the Family Room at The Globe from 3.00 to 5.00 p.m. on:

Sunday, 27th April
Sunday, 18th May
Sunday, 22nd June
and the Final on Saturday, 12th July
[when it is even rumoured that Will.i.am will be a judge!]

If you wish to take part please collect your entry form now, and if you would like to help as part of the organising team or would like more information, please contact:

Jenny Beer 07917562216 jen.beer@btinternet.com
Gemma Bacon 07773278199 gemma_bacon@hotmail.com
or Beccky Baillie 07866557808 ju51beck@gmail.com



Following a questionnaire seeking comments from users and cuts in the Mobile Library Service, that service to the village has changed.

Sadly we have lost our long-serving Librarian, Jacqui MacKenzie, who will either be taking redundancy or retiring. We must thank her for all her help - incredibly she could tell you what you had read in the past and point you to books she knew would be to your liking - and wish her well whichever route she takes in the future. Thank you Jacqui.

Our mobile library will now be coming out of Tiverton and the day and times have changed. Make a note of the new service which will be:

arriving at the Shop at 11.40 a.m., leaving at 12.10 p.m.
arriving in the Sterridge Valley at 12.25 p.m. and leaving at 12.55 p.m.




Spring greetings to all our friends and families! We are celebrating the season with a trip to a local farm to see the lambs and maybe even some new lambs being born! We are also holding a Spring Fair and Preschool open day on the 29th of March at the Manor Hall from 11.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. 

Preschool are starting to collect used ink cartridges for the 'Empties Please' company. This could be a great fundraiser for the preschool as we will receive £1 for every used ink cartridge we collect. If you have any that you would like to recycle then please put them in the recycling bins in preschool. We also continue to collect textiles for the 'Rag Bag' recycling scheme. 

Finally, we are taking enrolments for the new term. If you would like to come and visit the preschool or enrol your child please contact Emma on 07807093644 or email preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com

Catherine Orr


Monday, 26th May
Lee Memorial Hall

All the fun of a traditional village fayre with stalls, raffle, games and much more. The Fayre is from 2.00 to 4.30 p.m. with refreshments. Car parking is available. An enjoyable afternoon for all ages, whatever the weather, all in the idyllic setting of Lee Village and Fuchsia Valley. An event not to be missed - we look forward to seeing you there!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Old Farm, Sterridge Valley

This photographic postcard of Lower Rowes Farm was published by Twiss Bros. of The Arcade, Ilfracombe, around 1907 or earlier. It was printed in Saxony by Stengel & Co. and on the address side states: 'Inland half pence Stamp Foreign 1d.'

In Kelly's Director of l883, John Delbridge was the farmer and he remains so in all the Kelly's directories up to 1897. In 1902 John Bowden is shown as the farmer for both Rowes Farms [Higher and Lower] and remains such in the 1910 Kelly's Directory. After the Great War [World War I] the Directory shows William Lerwill as the farmer.

Lower Rows Farm, 115 Sterrage Valley, was sold as Lot 17 in the Watermouth Estate Auction Sale held on 17th August 1920. The listing read:

    Lower Rows Farm, a Good Dairy Farm comprising: A good Slated Dwelling House, Slated Outbuildings and about 48a [Acres] or [Roods] 21 [Perches] of Meadow, Pasture and Arable Lands, in the occupation of Mr. W. Lerwill as a Yearly Lady-day Tennant. The Apportioned Tithe on this Lot is £7.4s.0d.'

The farm sold for £1,000 presumably to Mr. Lerwill who continued farming there up to and possibly beyond 1939.

The small roof with two chimneys showing on the top of the roof on the left is that of No. 74 High Sterrage Valley or Pink Heather as it is today. The white house showing in the distance is No. 72 Higher Sterrage Valley now known as Cherry Tree Cottage.

Twiss Brothers of Ilfracombe published the same postcard in colour tint and William Garratt published a similar photographic card numbered 58 c1907, which was the subject of my article No. 88 in April 2004.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 2014
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com.

This photograph shows the farm from the west side, but can anyone put a date to it?

Over the years, Lower Rowes has changed and those who have walked up the Sterridge Valley recently will be aware that it is currently undergoing a change once again!

In his article, Tom mentions that in 1902 it was farmed by John Bowden. He was followed by Joseph Bowden, his son, and then his grandson, Samuel Bowden. All grandfathers with varying 'greats' to Michael Bowden. Samuel went on to farm Ruggaton.

Willliam Lerwill, who was born in 1890 and his wife, Mary [nee Tucker] born in 1885, had been tenants at the farm and purchased it at the time of the Watermouth Estate Sale in 1920, continuing farming, mainly livestock - cattle and sheep - there for many years.

Sadly, they lost their only child at birth. Mary herself died in 1956 and for the next 20 years, Farmer Will, or Scat as he was known locally, lived a lonely existence at the farm, never again going upstairs to sleep, spending the night in his armchair.

In his article in June 2004, Michael Bowden wrote:

    "Most people who remember Farmer Will have an image of an old man, short in stature with twinkling blue eyes, sat on a 'tetty' sack astride his pony, plodding up to the village and home again, with 'dug' in tow.

    "He would tether the pony and make his way to the Globe for his Guinness. He would collect his pony and walk it down to the footpath from which he could launch himself on to the pony's back with the instruction 'Homewards'. By the time he reached Two Rocks, his eyes were closed and his chin on his chest - to all appearances, fast asleep!

"Most evenings would find him sat on the corner bench in The Globe, discussing, and sometimes arguing, with his friends about the pros and cons of the farming world, all in a broad Devon dialect which sadly is rarely heard any more and would certainly not be understood by most of the patrons of The Globe today!"

One of the village's real characters, full of fun, Will Lerwill died in the summer of 1976 and is buried in Combe Martin. Still remembered with affection.

The cover showing Lower Rowes Farm was painted and given to Farmer Lerwill by Lilian Thirkell probably about the time of the end of World War II.

The Thirkell family lived here in the village and Lilian's son, Don, is a mail reader of our Newsletter. He says; "My mother did a lot of painting of the locality and satisfied the tourist trade at the end of the War. She invented the painting of limpet shells with views of Combe Martin and dad would write in them and glue them together and sell them to Alexander Begrie, the Jeweller of King Street, Combe Martin. The method was copied after a while by Alice Orrin, who died in 1956 and is buried at St.Peter's."

My thanks to Gary and John Pearce for their help with this article.

Judie Weedon



4 Primary School: The Selfish Giant, St. Peter's, 2.00 p.m.
College & Primary School: End of Spring Term
6 Hymns and Pints, The Globe, 8.00 p.m.
8 Annual Parish Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
13 St., Peter's: Palm Sunday, Holy Communion, 11.00 a.m.
Christians Together, Combe Martin Baptist Church, 6.30 p.m.
15 Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
18 Good Friday St. Peter's: Quiet Hour from 2.00 p.m.
20 Easter Sunday St. Peter's: Family Communion, 11.00 a.m.
22 College and Primary School: Start of Summer Term
26 Spring Fayre, Lee Memorial Hall, 2.00 p.m.
27 Berrynarbor's Got Talent: Auditions, The Globe, from 3.00 p.m.
30 Friendship Lunch, The Globe, from 12.00 noon onwards
5 Bank Holiday
6 College: Non-Pupil Day
7 Deadline for Newsletter Items for June/July issue
13 Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
Parish Council Meeting [AGM], 7.00 p.m.
17 The Novice Detective, Beaford Arts, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
18 Berrynarbor's Got Talent: Auditions, The Globe, from 3.00 p.m.
25 Great Berrynarbor Plant Sale
26 to Friday, 30th May: College and Primary School: Half Term
28 Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
8 Open Gardens, Sterridge Valley

Manor Hall Diary
MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group 1.45 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
TuesdaysN.D. Spinners [2nd & 4th]
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [in 10 week term]
FridaysToddlers Soft Play and Activi a.m.
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Mon/Tues 9.00 am - 3.00 pm
Wed/Thur/Fri 8.30 am - 3.00m pm
Mobile Library - Assistant: Jacqui Mackenzie
Village Shop : 11.44-12.10 a.m. Sterridge Valley : 12.25-12.55 p.m.

School, Pre-School and Toddler Group - Term Time only



"For every complex problem there is a simple solution - and it's wrong!"