Edition 153 - Christmas 2014
December and Christmas is nearly upon us. Following a good summer and lovely autumn, winter and Christmas has almost caught us unawares!
We extend, as always, a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village and wish those not feeling at their best to get well soon, especially our centenarian contributor, Trevor of the Twitters, who recently fell and unfortunately broke his arm. Currently at Bideford, we hope he'll be home again very soon.
The Newsletter Fun Quiz was a case of quality not quantity. But hopefully those who braved a nasty wet and windy night enjoyed themselves. Sincere thanks to Ann and Phil and all helpers and participants, whose generosity made a nice sum of £182 for the Newsletter.
Congratulations to all those involved with our Community Shop and Post Office, both past and present, for reaching 10 years - long may it go on serving us!
As always I thank everyone who has contributed to this December and Christmas issue and throughout the past year. Once again your Christmas messages, enhanced by Debbie's penguins [echoes of Monty and the John Lewis Christmas advert for WWF] will boost funds for both the Manor Hall and the Newsletter. The Christmas Cover is also Debbie's delightful work - thank you.
There are lots of festive events planned over the coming weeks, so make a note of them on your calendars and in your diaries and enjoy! After Christmas as well - Soup and Pud Evening, Line Dancing and a Pamper Day.
Items for the February issue will be needed as soon as possible and by Friday, 9th January at the latest, but in the meantime my best wishes to you all and your families for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Judie - Ed
When I am
Traditional Indian Prayer
The Native American Ishi People of the Pacific Northwest
It was sad to learn from Don's daughter, Jenny, that following a short illness Don had passed away peacefully with his family beside him on Friday, 10th October. His last days were spent at St. Austell Community Hospital where the family say his care was wonderful and they could not have wished for better.
A much loved and loving husband, father and grandfather, Don will be sadly missed by his wife June, daughters Jenny and Amanda and son Patrick, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jenny tells me that her uncle, Patrick Thirkell, Don's brother, is listed on our War Memorial. Patrick Thirkell, DFM [Distinguished Flying Medal] was killed when his Lancaster bomber was lost without trace while on an operation over Germany on Friday, 8th May, 1942 at the age of 24.
The Thirkell family lived here in the village and readers will remember that the cover of this year's April issue of the Newsletter depicted Lower Rowes Farm, a watercolour by Lilian Thirkell, Don's mother, painted about the time of the end of WWII and given to Farmer Lerwill. Like Lilian's, Don's ashes will be scattered here in the churchyard of St. Peter's in the village that he loved and which held many happy memories for him.
Our thoughts and good wishes are with June, Jenny and all the family at this very sad time.
WEATHER OR NOT
After such a chilly August, September was a complete contrast. The jet stream moved north and high pressure dominated. Temperatures were in the high teens or low twenties for most of the month with a maximum of 24.3 Deg C. Overnight temperatures also held up well until the 22nd [the first day of autumn] when for three nights the thermometer dropped to a low of 7.9 Deg C but after that the temperature picked up again until the end of the month.
The winds were mainly light with a maximum gust of 19 knots and this helped to keep the temperatures up. The total rain for the month was only 11mm which made it the driest September that we have recorded and nationally the driest since 1910.
A record 170.29 hours of sunshine was recorded, 31 hours more than any September since 2002.
October was a bit of a mixture. After the first couple of days it appeared that autumn had arrived properly, the jet stream migrated back south and started pulling the lows and temperatures dropped back a bit. On the 3rd we recorded 11mm of rain - as much as for the whole of September. The weather stayed very unsettled with rain, thunderstorms, strong to gale force winds and occasional hail. Then on Tuesday the 21st ex-hurricane Gonzalo swept across the country bringing high winds and gusty showers. We recorded 36 knots of wind, the highest in the month. Most of the month was very mild and it ended with a high of 20.5 Deg C on the 31st. The total rain for the month was only 114mm which was less than the average.
It was not only a mild month, it was also sunnier than previous Octobers with 73.82 sunshine hours in total.
At least this year we have had some decent weather to set us up for whatever the winter months bring.
Simon and Sue
THE CHURCH FOX
As many of you will have noticed, we have a newcomer to the village. Just stand in the Village Square and look up!
The original fox weather vane, which originally included directional: North, South, East, West, was made and put up by villagers 46 years ago. Made of aluminium with mirrored glass eyes, the fox stood proud for many years until time and the elements finally took their toll.
Firstly in the 1980's when he was hit by lightning and the lower part of the weather vane was removed, and more recently when the wind caused him to split in half. Our new fox is made of stainless steel and adorned with glass bead eyes which are bolted securely in place. Many thanks to Lani for these.
Autumn fundraising and the amazing generosity of this village
A huge thank you to the village for supporting us this autumn. The Rotary Mega Draw raised £1170 - a great result with all funds raised kept for the Manor Hall. We are also pleased to say there were ten prize winners within the village!
How good it was to see the back room at The Globe full for the Auction of Promises. Hard to believe but this one evening raised over £2300, again all proceeds going to the Manor Hall. Many thanks to Judith Adam for the huge effort put into organising all the offers up for auction and to Debbie Thomas. our irrepressible auctioneer. Special thanks also to those donating their time or other items for auction. For this event we tried not to ask local businesses for free offers yet again as there has been much local support in recent years. So this time the net was cast as far afield as Exeter. Nonetheless thanks must go to Middle Lee Farm, Langleigh House, Watermouth Castle, Mark Adams, The Globe, Loverings, South West Shooting School and many others - well, you know who you are.
More BIG news for the Manor Hall!
We have just been awarded £10,000, the maximum within the Awards for All category, which supports community groups. This is a big thumbs up for our plans. The money is to help pay for the necessary surveyor and community consultation work required for the next stage, which is to develop a fully designed and costed scheme, with all statutory approvals, ready to submit to funders.
In the meantime we are sorry to report that a second heater is out of action in the Hall - we don't know yet if it can be repaired. We are trying to see if we can manage with supplementary electric heaters as we don't want to commit to expensive repairs prior to eventual refurbishment which could mean wasting money. It feels like we face a race against time - whether we can get to the renovation of the Hall before the disrepair catches up with us! We are also currently looking at the cleaning of the Hall and proposals on this will be in the next newsletter.
History of the Hall
Most of the works to the Hall will require Listed Buildings Consent and getting consent will involve us having a Heritage Statement for the Hall, describing the Hall's key historical and architectural features. We have, therefore, commissioned Richard Parker, an architectural archaeologist, to produce such a statement and review the history of the Hall. We await his findings with considerable interest.
To mark 100 years of the Hall we asked some of our user groups if they might like to produce an artwork that could be framed and hung in the Hall. As a result members of several local art and craft groups came together under the guidance and help of local quilt artist, teacher and speaker, Penny Armitage. They have produced a remarkable panel made up of a number of individual pieces depicting the village. Many thanks to Penny and all involved for this work. As this newsletter is published, the work is ready for framing.
Christmas Card Exchange - Saturday 20th December!
Our traditional Christmas card exchange event will be run again this year. Simply put cards addressed to others around the village in the box provided in the shop [plus a small donation] - save on stamps! These will be set out in the Hall for collection or delivery 10.00 am - 12.00 noon on Saturday, 20th December. Free tea, coffee and cakes on that morning!
Len Narborough and the Manor Hall Committee
Philippa Sidebottom and Jonathan France
Once upon a time not so very long ago, four little girls started school on the same day. During their many services in the church they all decided they would one day like to get married there, but only one of them did!
On a sunny Saturday, the 11th of October, my daughter Philippa followed in the footsteps of many of our family and walked up the cobbles to marry Jonathan France.
Following the service bride groom and their guests walked to the Manor Hall to enjoy tea and the rest of their wedding day.
Friends and family descended on Berrynarbor from all over the counry to enjoy a proper 'village' wedding, that won't be forgotten in a hurry! So all that remains for me to do is to extend our thanks to everyone who helped Philippa realise her perfect day and give the happy couple a wedding day in a million.
Our congratulations to Philippa and Jonathan and we wish them every happiness in their life together.
"A sense of humour is common sense dancing."
AND IT'S GOODBYE FROM ME . .
BUT NOT GOODBYE FROM HIM!
Can it really be 'that time of year again?!
There were always going to be problems with combining the winter festival with the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. The latter gets lost in the former even as the shop tills ring out a happy seasonal cheer.
It's not being grumpy or churlish to regret this, to feel that something important slips away. I enjoy the food and cheer as much as anyone. I won't be decorating my house much, if at all, as I am making tracks after Christmas but I hope you have known me enough over these four years to know that I am no Ebenezer Scrooge. May the turkey roast well, let the wine flow, good times roll and I hope you have a lovely time with family and friends!
You would expect me to say this so I will! Let this Christmas be a time when you give serious thought to the bigger issues of life and death which are always there in the background. People are lonely; people are sad. The grieving have their memories and the homeless or those battling with health conditions or financial strain will wish it all goes away quickly. Yet we are being entertained to death in our culture and for lack of serious thought, people go hungry in a rather different way. We are hungry inside. We are hungry for a larger purpose, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for peace deep down and most of all, for love. How we want someone to come to us and take our side, to comfort and to heal.
That is of course at the heart of what we shall be proclaiming this Christmas through word and song. Someone has come to take our part and stand in solidarity with the human situation. The evidence for this is surprisingly robust and maybe you should revisit it, especially if mental culture or life training has predisposed you to take the good news about Jesus with a very large pinch of salt!
But good news it is. I have experienced it and pray that any lasting legacy of my brief time amongst you will lead you to consider what it might mean to acknowledge God and learn to receive the Christ of Bethlehem, not now into a stable, but into whatever life setting you present to God.
Do come and join us for our village carol service on 17th December. Children from the village school will be singing that evening from 5.50 p.m. to welcome you all in to church. There will be mince pies and mulled wine to follow.
I shall depart with very fond memories of Berrynarbor and its tribes. 'Tis a great village of which to be a part. So it is goodbye from me. But, with apologies to the two Ronnies, it is not goodbye from Him!
With every good wish,
It is surprising in life how things happen. It was, for instance, through Judie, our Editor, and the Newsletter, that I was recently reacquainted with Stanley Walker who now lives in Canada and stayed with us at Berrynarbor during World War II - a really long time ago.
Similarly, Maureen Underdown - nee Peachey - who lived near us at Prospect in Birdswell Lane during the war has been in touch, again through the Newsletter. Maureen related the following story which she gave to me to use. Here goes!
I don't know if it is still there, but in the higher part of Birdswell Lane there was, cut into the side of the hill, a place to park a car. This was done by the owner of Cloverdale in Barton Lane to have a garage built there. However, the war regulations prevented this at that time.
Now, the owner of Cloverdale had a daughter who was always helpful to her parents. One day she decided to get the garden roller out and roll their lawn. The lawn was very steep and she had great difficulty in controlling the roller.
Whoops! She lost her grasp on it and it rolled away out of control. Straight down and through the hedge it went and there was an almighty bang. She froze. "What on earth has happened," she thought.
Plucking up courage she walked down the garden steps into Birdswell Lane. To her horror, the roller had smashed down through the roof of her father's car!
As to what her father said when he discovered what had happened, I don't know. Perhaps it's best not to think about it!
Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket
RURAL REFLECTIONS No. 65
The dawn of December heralds the conclusion of an annual personal period of reflection that begins in August. It is triggered by rural events surrounding me and in particular the sight of an occasional leaf endeavouring to conceal its yellow colour amongst the plethora of green shades. Its success, however, becomes futile when the tree decides to prematurely terminate the leaf's summer tenancy; and if one regards the leaf as a tenant of the tree, then the tree is merely a letting agent working on behalf of its powerful landlord, the sun. For not only does August bear witness to the embryo of autumn; it also observes the demise of the long summer evening.
September and October monitor the constant invasion of darkness over daylight and the gradual dominance of a bronze countryside. By November the image of two people going for an evening walk in late summer sunshine down an English country lane has suddenly become a distant memory. Bring the same walk forward one season and one immediately thinks of Ivor Novello's song, "We'll Gather Lilacs in the Spring". Written for his musical romance "Perchance to Dream", the song became the most popular and enduring of all those in the musical. With an evocative tune, the emotive lyrics describe the yearning for parted couples to be reunited with their loved ones when they "come home once more".
Although the lyrics refer to soldiers coming home from World War Two, the song has been performed at most musical events commemorating the anniversary of the start of World War One; an anniversary that made me go into a deeper reflective mood at the start of November when I noted the annual arrival of the commemorative poppy. For me, this year's Remembrance Sunday not only highlighted the 100th anniversary of the start of the War to End all Wars, it was the first Remembrance Sunday since being kindly given my paternal great-grandfather's World War One medals by my cousin. It was also an opportunity to recall the stories my mother had told me about the harmful psychological effects that the Great War had on her father.
This year also marks another family anniversary, for it is ten years since the reunion I arranged which brought together under one roof many of my maternal cousins and their families - a subject I wrote about in my Rural Reflections article in December 2004. So many memories, so many reflections.
But come December my mood alters. Rather than hankering for green woodland canopies, I am making the most of the gold that is left as well as appreciating other trees that have returned to their raw nudity. I also start to savour once more views that have been hidden since late spring; and as for the dark evenings, by December I have adjusted. For the curtains are now drawn not only to keep out the cold of the night but to keep in the warmth of the open fire; and as the month marches on, allowing the evening to invade into late afternoon, I embrace the darkness and recognise its value in allowing twinkling and flashing Christmas lights to be at their most effective.
The Christmas and New Year season passes and within a few days there are the first whispers that daylight has stemmed the flow of darkness. For the tide has turned and the winter solstice has passed. Temperatures may not reflect this, but our countryside still notices. The wild flora and fauna of early spring begin their creation. There is much to look forward to.
I am also looking forward to a number of personal anniversaries in 2015. I shall celebrate my own half-century; my school pal and I will celebrate a sapphire friendship; my partner and I will celebrate a silver relationship; and we shall also celebrate a tin relationship with the Archers, for it is ten years since we gave up television and became AA's - Archers Addicts! For those who do not listen in, The Archers' storylines run parallel with real-life rural issues of today. One of these is currently following a family considering moving North as a result of a road being built directly through their farm. But there is a second storyline running alongside this, concerning the farmer's mother who has an extended family still living in Ambridge. Residing as she does with her son and his family, does she move North with them and leave behind the rest of her family?
As I approach fifty I have suddenly felt a need to be nearer family again. And, whilst I very much miss the beauty of the North Devon landscape, our move away, pre-empted though it was by circumstances beyond our control, has brought many positives. I am closer to family; the new home still ticks all four boxes [read Rural
Reflections 59]; and it has brought about new rural discoveries to explore in the coming year. For that is
essentially what New Year is all about: making new plans to do new things and to discover new places - places which can be right on your doorstep. Next time, I'll tell you of a rural discovery I made when we moved to Combe Martin a few years ago - and it could not have been much closer to my doorstep!
But for now, may I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
When fishes flew and forests walked
G.K. Chesterton [1874-1936]
How like a winter hath my absence been
William Shakespeare [1564-1616]
Lung disease forced him to retire in 1882, and from that point on he devoted himself to writing and literary research. However, his literary work started long before his retirement, his first collection of poems having been published in 1873. In 1884 he married Monica Waterhouse, daughter of Alfred Waterhouse R.A., and spent the rest of his life in rural seclusion, first at Yattendon in Berkshire and then at Boars Hill, Oxford, where he died.
He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1900. Appointed Poet Laureate in 1913, he is the only medical graduate to have held the office.
Illustrations: Paul Swailes
NOTES FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
Councillors co-opted Clare Sampson on to the Parish Council following her letter of application. There are now only two vacancies to fill and if anyone is interested in being co-opted, please contact the Parish Clerk, Mrs Sue Squire  710526 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reports for October and November were received from PCSO A Drury, County Councillor Mrs Andrea Davis and District Councillors Mrs Julia Clark and Mrs Yvette Gubb. Councillor Mrs Linda Thomas confirmed that following an inspection of the play area, all was in order. Councillors had been circulated with a written Report on the Clerk's attendance at a DCC Highways Conference and a Finance for Local Councils Course.
Councillor Steve Hill had produced a further draft copy of the Emergency Plan which had been sent to the Environment Agency and further details will be given in the village by way of laminated posters as to where and who to go for help and assistance. The Clerk had collected 100 sandbags from the Waste and Recycling Centre at Brynsworthy and these were taken by Councillor Hill. Arrangements were being made for two dumpy bags of sand to be positioned on the verge of the car park within a screened area.
Councillor Hill to have a site meeting at the Recreation Field with a second play equipment manufacturer and a third quotation is to be obtained so that a decision can then be made by Councillors, hopefully at the December Meeting.
Planning Applications were considered and approved: Change of land use from agricultural to parking for cars & domestic curtilage at The Farmhouse, Bodstone Barton Farm and Demolition of flat roof garage & erection of new single storey extension at Southerley, Berrynarbor.
An Approval Notice from North Devon Council had been received in respect of the retrospective application for stone track at Mill Park Touring Site, Mill Lane.
The 2015/16 Budget was set and agreed and Councillors agreed for the Precept to remain unchanged. Councillors were extremely grateful to District Councillors Julia Clark and Yvette Gubb for giving funding of £100 each towards the refurbishment of the War Memorial.
Road Closures to take place in February in Barton Lane and on the A399 were noted.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will take place at the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 9th December, at
Sue Squire - Clerk to the Council
The full Minutes of the Parish Council Meetings are displayed on the notice board in the bus shelter in The Square and can be read at the Community Shop.
LOCAL WALK - 147
Foraging: a ramble with brambles
A warm September morning in the big steeply sloping field which carries part of the footpath linking the Sterridge Valley to Slew Hill.
Hazel bushes at the top of the field. Around its lower border, a tangle of brambles. This year there was an abundance of berries and nuts so I had chosen to walk there with the dual purpose of gathering hazel nuts and blackberries while enjoying this open, airy viewpoint.
There were sufficient low branches to make the nuts easy to reach and not too many stinging nettles.
The clusters of shiny ovoid nuts looked attractive encased in their light green deeply lobed husks.
Also called cobnuts, filberts [22nd August is St. Philibert's Day], hales or baskets, they are available from late August until October. When pale green and soft they are edible but with less flavour than when ripe with brown shells and if not eaten soon after picking, they can wither in picking, they can wither in their shells.
Richard Mabey of 'Food for Free' fame recommends late September for picking hazel nuts. That's if the squirrels and jays have left any by then.
There had been plenty of sunshine to draw out the full flavour of the blackberries. Their sweetness had also attracted red admirals, a comma butterfly and speckled woods.
A straggle of walkers on footpath above waved a greeting. A jay screeched. Its harsh cry has been likened to the sound of a piece of silk being torn apart. I heard a light tapping coming from the little spinney beside the stream and witnessed a nuthatch wedging an acorn into a crevice in the bark of a tree.
In his poem 'Blackberry Picking' Seamus Heaney describes how as children they had picked large quantities of blackberries, hoarding the fruit in a bath in the barn and the disappointment when returning to find 'a fur, a rat-grey fungus glutting on our cache.' He felt like crying at the sight of the rotten, fermented fruit. The poem ends: 'Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.' Food for free but too good to waste.
This year I had noticed more people than usual out blackberrying. Richard Mabey thinks the attraction is that blackberry picking 'carries with it a sense of season and abundance and just enough discomfort to quicken the senses.' I just think the appeal lies in anticipating the jam or bramble jelly and the rich variety of puddings and desserts.
Finally, homeward bound with a supply of nuts and berries; purple stained fingers peppered with prickles, pausing to buy tasty, home grown tomatoes, sold in aid of the hospice, from the roadside stall at Higher Rows.
Illustrations: Paul Swailes
The Society continues to meet at The Globe each month,
although with all that is happening in December, the next get together will be on Wednesday, 14th January, 8.00 p.m. in the Family Room.
Although there has been a comprehensive research into the graves in the churchyard, one of the projects in mind is to make additional research on particular headstones in the churchyard, many of which are becoming difficult to read due to weathering. They are visible reminders of ancestors, most of whom were village residents once upon a time. If anyone wishes to become involved in this particular project, we'd love another pair of helping hands!
We are a friendly group of people interested in learning about this parish. If you feel the same, do come and join us.
We are pleased to announce that at the Annual General Meeting on the 13th October a new Committee was formed, with the vacant positions of Chairman and Treasurer being filled. The Pre-school Room [Penn Curzon Room] has now been redecorated and looks clean and fresh. This was one of the projects for which we have been fund raising.
There are still a few spaces in our Breakfast Club, for children aged 2-11 years, Monday to Friday, from 8.00 a.m. We also have limited spaces available for our pre-school sessions until September 2015. If you are interested, please 'phone Emma on 07807093644 for further details.
The children will be giving a
Christmas Performance on Tuesday, 16th December at 2.00 p.m. All welcome.
The children will be giving a Christmas Performance on Tuesday, 16th December at 2.00 p.m. All welcome.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
from everyone at Berrynarbor Pre-School
Jane and Keith
However you plan to spend Christmas, we trust it will be a very special time for you all
Chris and Jen, Berrynarbor Park
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP & POST OFFICE
Berrynarbor Bake House Cakes We are very pleased to be running a new range of cakes and cookies from The Bake House which has our own personalised labels, making then not only a good buy but also a great gift. The Bake House is a family run business in the South West which has been running for over 10 years focussing their sales on local village shops and post offices.
The cakes are proving to be very popular, the favourites being Lemon Fudge, Golden Madeira and Carrot Fudge. Come and see the range. How about trying Clotted Cream Shortcake or any of the other many delicious cookies. If you prefer savouries try our Butterfly Cheese Wings, lovely!
"Ecover have learned from nature; our products are designed to provide a cleaner clean inspired by nature's genius. That's why Ecover, unlike traditional cleaning products, provides great cleaning in a way that's much kinder to the planet"
In the Community Shop we have a wide range of Ecover goods for all your laundry and cleaning needs, Come and try some of the range.
Don't forget the last recommended posting dates for Christmas mail. All surface mail dates have now passed. Last dates for International Standard [previously airmail] for all overseas post are between the 3rd and 13th December. Second Class mail - 18th December, First Class mail - 20th December.
A Very Happy Christmas and New Year
to our customers from all at
The Berrynarbor Community Shop
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE
What a lovely September we have just had and October was mainly fine and certainly warmer than usual. This meant that we had to remove the summer bedding when it was still going strong but we had to make way for the planting of the bulbs for spring. This has now been completed and a big thanks to everyone who helped. Ken has turned off the watering systems for the winter and the hanging baskets are about to come down. This is a sad time for gardeners but we can all look forward to 2015 and hopefully a fine spring.
Next year we hope that you will be able to join us to help keep the village clean, tidy and full of flowers. Thank you to everyone who helped in 2014.
Bacon, Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Rolls
These more-ish, savoury rolls make a change from sausage rolls at Christmas. Make them a week or two before Christmas, freeze before baking, then bake when you want them.
1 free range egg beaten
plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the filling
streaky bacon rashers, finely chopped
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Grate in the frozen butter. Using a kitchen knife, mix until all the pieces of butter are coated in the flour. Stir in 150ml cold water to form a soft dough, then bring together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas6.
Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
On a lightly floured surface roll out half the pastry to a long rectangle about 9cm x 45cm. Scatter half the filling ingredients along the pastry, towards one edge. Brush the other edge with egg and fold it over the filling, pressing the pastry edges to seal into a long sausage roll. Brush the top with more egg, then cut into 3cm rolls. Use scissors to snip little 'V' shapes in the top of each roll.
Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
Arrange the rolls on baking parchment lined baking trays. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Freeze on the baking trays and when frozen pack in a plastic box in layers separated by greaseproof paper and keep in the freezer until needed.
Of course you could cheat and use a good quality ready-made pastry but trust me this pastry is easy to make and tastes lovely and buttery.
Are you aware that Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed in your garden could cost you thousands of pounds in fines?
New Home Office rules and guidance class these plants as serious problems and householders failing to control them in their gardens or on their land, can now be fined for anti-social behaviour.
This is the first time that ignoring these plants has been specifically named as anti-social behaviour and in residential areas effectively allows neighbours to inform on neighbours.
Japanese Knotweed is the most invasive non-native plant, capable of damaging hard surfaces, such as asphalt, underground pipes, buildings and boundary walls. Even a small fragment is capable of regenerating itself and extensive roots make it hard to destroy. Eradication is essential but also, unfortunately, expensive - so the sooner tackled the better. Clearing the weed from the London Olympic site cost more than £70 million.
These three plants threaten our native bio-diversity by crowding out native species and establishing river banks as well as causing damage to forestry, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.
Check and act now!
NO IDEAS GEORGE
by Robert Jordan
George was really puzzled. He had no ideas at all for his 500 Words entry. He really wanted to enter but could not come up with a single idea. He thought, and thought, and thought some more - but still nothing.
He decided to go for a walk to get some inspiration. It was a cold but bright day and the sky was clear blue. As George reached the park he heard the trees rustling in the breeze. Or was that the breeze? Maybe there was something in the bushes. George bent down to look but he couldn't see anything. George got up and carried on his walk, not noticing the tiger that tip-toed out of the bushes behind him.
George reached the chip shop and realised he was hungry, so he popped in. There was already an old lady being served. She was very overdressed to be in a chip shop, George thought - she was even wearing a crown! And she'd brought her dogs with her, little yappy dogs that sniffed around George's ankles. It was very odd. The old lady was taking ages and, strangely, the woman serving her seemed to be bowing. George got fed up of waiting and decided to go somewhere else, not noticing the two bodyguards outside the chip shop door.
Actually, when George checked his pockets he realised he was a bit low on cash, so he went to the bank. There was a big queue, although no-one seemed to be actually doing anything, just standing around with their hands up. There were two guys in black in the corner, with masks and pretend guns. "Must be 'Dress as a Robber Day' for Sport Relief", thought George, and decided to leave.
As George only had 50p, he thought he'd go to the corner shop and buy some sweets. He looked around the shop at the delicious chocolate bars, chews and lollies. He finally chose a chocolate bar, paid the miserable-looking shopkeeper, and left the shop. He sat on a wall outside the shop and unwrapped his chocolate. As he did, a piece of shiny, golden paper fell out from underneath the normal wrapping. "That's weird", thought George, and shoved the paper in his pocket, thinking he would use it for craft at home.
By now, George had had enough. He'd walked all over town and still had no ideas. How was he supposed to come up with an imaginative story when he lived in a boring place where nothing ever happened? It was useless. George trudged home, still without any ideas, munching sadly on his chocolate bar. He noticed a police car outside the bank as he passed. "They'll have a long wait when it's so busy", George thought.
He got home and got out his computer to type his story. He'd have to do something, even if it was boring. So he wrote a story about a sunflower called Jeffrey. It was dull but what else could he possibly have written about?!
Hopefully this short story brought a smile to your face! It was written by Robert Jordan, who at the time was 8 3/4. He was the winner of the Silver Award in the 9 and Under Class of the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition in 2014.
Illustrated by Debbie Rigler-Cook
BERRYNARBOR SCHOOL NEWS
I cannot believe we are already on the countdown to Christmas, where has the year gone?
At this time of year the children enjoy 10 weeks' of swimming lessons but this year has been set back a few weeks due to the repairs and refurbishment at Ilfracombe pool. Swimming is an essential part of the PE Curriculum and particularly important in the area in which we live.
We have been very lucky to have had a visit from a GB Athlete - David Hill a Paralympic Swimmer. The children took part in a sponsored event and had the privilege of hearing about David's career.
We should like to wish everyone a
Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Sue Carey - Headteacher
THE TOWER & BELLS OF ST. PETER'S CHURCH
The tower was built around 1480 and is one of North Devon's very best. Berrynarbor folk, of course, have always insisted that it is the best and it is quite right they do! There are precious few grand towers in this area where good building stone is hard to come by and, therefore, expensive. It may be assumed that Berrynarbor church at that time had wealthy patrons and that the village itself was important and relatively wealthy.
In 1553, at the succession of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary, following the recent 16 year old Protestant King Edward VI, the church in England was suffering a great upheaval. Someone was told to make 'an Inventory of Church Goods' throughout the land. Quite a task, but it is from this document that we have today a note of the number of bells in most churches at that time. Berrynarbor is recorded as having 4 bells, the norm for important towns and villages. Unfortunately, there is no record of the founders or donors of these bells unless the churchwarden's accounts are available for the period prior to this.
Again no sight has been made of the warden's accounts for the period between 1553 and 1722 and it is not known if they survive. Perhaps a local historian could help here? It is likely that the bells were recast as a result of becoming cracked. In any case, the obviously still wealthy parish decided in 1721 to have a new peal of 6 bells cast, with which to grace their fine tower. At that time, few Devon village churches sported a peal of 6 bells, 4 or 5 being the most usual number.
The Wardens and Incumbent of the parish then had to choose a bell founder to provide the new bells. The Pennington family were the principal founders in Devon and Cornwall for over 220 years from around 1600. They had, however, closed their foundry in Exeter and were operating from Stoke Climsland on the western banks of the River Tamar. The Wroth family were working from Wellington but the parish can be thankful that they were not chosen to do the work as their bells were generally very poor in tone.
Perhaps the choice of a Welshman might seem strange at first, but Evan Evans had already been working in North Devon and had set up a small foundry by the church at Braunton in 1713. Following his work for that parish, he went on to cast bells for seven other churches in the area and was, in 1721, casting a set of 5 for Cruwys Morchard. The Evans family bells were generally good in tone and their reputation ensured that many others were provided for Devon churches until 1756, including 4 notable bells for the immense peal at Exeter Cathedral.
So, the peal of 6 bells was made for Berrynarbor and almost certainly made at Braunton. The largest of these [the tenor] is 40 inches [1019mm]ds across the mouth and weighs approximately 11 hundredweights [550kg]. The smallest [the treble] is 27 inches [695mm] across the mouth. In 1893 it became necessary to recast the third bell and this work was entrusted to John Taylor of Loughborough, a company still making bells today.
Inscribed around the top or crown of the treble are the names of Evan Evans and his son William, and the date 1722. The second bell has inscribed the names of two gentlemen, taken to be the donors, John Tucker and Thomas Clark. The third bell had the inscription 'Edw. W. Richards: Wm. Morris Ch. Wardens'. The current third bell has the names for the two churchwardens of 1893, Thomas Perrin and John Jewell.
The fourth bell has the names of two more local worthies, again assumed to be donors: Thomas Lymbear and Thomas Witheridge. The fifth was apparently donated by a wealthy widow, 'Dorothy Francis, daughter of ye late Thomas Berry Esqr.' The tenor bell displays the names 'Joseph Davy Esqr. Lord of the Mannor [sic] and Richard Coffin Esqr. Edward Chichester Rectr [sic]. Presumably these were the two big landowners in the parish and the incumbent.
There is no record of the craftsmen who made the original frame and fittings for these bells, nor if there was any subsequent renewal until the current structure was provided in 1928 by Harry Stokes of Woodbury near Exeter who had been a bellhanger since about l877 and had built up a fine and deserved reputation for quality bell frames. This job was one of the last he completed. His earlier frames were of good oak timbers well framed up, but always open to the latest developments, for his last frames he provided cast iron. That this frame is still in good order is testimony to the quality of his work.
The elm headstocks to which each bell is fixed and from which they swing were also replaced in 1928, along with the bearings, clappers and pulleys. The bearings were replaced with self-aligning ball races at some time during the last 50+ years and the all-important pulleys more recently than that.
On Thursday [bell ringing practice night] the 23rd October 2008 at 8.30 p.m. the stub axle on which the tenor bell swings broke whilst the bell was being rung. Luckily there was no damage to either the bell or the ringer. This was mended by Matthew Higby of Bath, once again with the generosity of the parishioners, and rung again in February of the following year.
Researched and written by James M. Clarke who says that he has rung at many towers around the country but nowhere at a tower with a longer length of rope!
AND SO, TO THE RINGERS . . .
Some 54 years ago, Jim Brooks, Ivan and Bill Huxtable and myself decided 'to learn the ropes' and began bellringing. We had very good teachers - Percy Thorn, Reg Ley, Long Jack Draper, Frank Melhuish, George Diamond and Jack Dummett.
Besides carrying on a centuries old skill and tradition, it gave us the opportunity to ring at many church towers in villages all over North Cornwall, North Devon and North Somerset. In doing so, we met like-minded people, many of whom have remained good friends. We also rang in competitions further afield, using the traditional method of Devon Call Changes.
No two peals of bells are the same. Some are very light, some are very heavy. Then there's the range in between. The draught of rope from the bell to the sally can make all the difference to the ease of ringing. Our peal has one of the longest draughts in the country and is one of the most difficult to ring.
The weather can also affect the ropes. On rainy, damp days, the ropes stiffen and shrink, sometimes rising the sally by a foot, making it necessary for ringers to stand on boxes. When the weather is warm and dry, ropes become very floppy and tend to dance about when being rung. The use of nylon in the modern ropes has alleviated a lot of these problems.
The art of call change ringing is to keep the bells cartwheeling at a constant rhythm and pitch. The ringer should listen to and count each bell. When a change is called, the ringer has to cut, or lie off, so the bell changes place in the sequence without altering the pitch or rhythm of the cartwheel - that's the aim!
Perhaps the most memorable day for me was ringing out the last thousand years and ringing in the next. A thousand years ago there was a little Saxon church in the village and I daresay the folks then were celebrating like us and perhaps the priest was ringing a little hand bell!
remembering good ringing friends, the late Jim Brooks, Ivan [Aggie] Huxtable, Derek Jewell and Walter White.
Michael has been Captain of our bell ringers for about 50 years and he and Ronnie Phillips, who do not like the modern way of 'method ringing', have trained many would-be ringers over the years. They use the call change method which has come down the ages from medieval times. Hopefully this method of ringing will be handed down to future generations.
Finding this article about the bells and ringers fascinating, I thought I really should see if I could take a photograph of the bells. My sincere thanks to Kevin - whose official title is Tower Keeper, and who, with Richard Barrett, was muffling the bells for Remembrance Sunday - for taking me up the tower, in spite of my dislike of both heights and confined spaces! What a privilege.
The photos show
 the tower
 the tenor bell and its new stub axle
 the tenor bell and to its right the treble and No. 2 bell
 the new green, white and black sallys
 the Nos. 4 and 5 bells
 the clock striking equipment on the No. 4 bell, which is struck to mark the hours
 the positions of the six bells
I understand that the No. 5 bell, the tenor bell, treble bell and No. 2 bell swing from north to south, and the Nos. 3 and 4 bells from east to west.
Today, under their Captain Michael Bowden, our team of ringers are: Kevin Brooks, Richard and Geoff Barrett, Michael Johns, Ron Phillips, John and Kay Webber, Bill Huxtable, Elaine Filer, Gerald Walters and Norman Sanders. With their 'L' plates on and learning the ropes are Pat Weston and Debbie Thomas.
Thank you all for keeping our bells ringing - a wonderful sound.
HORTICULTURAL & CRAFT SHOW 2015
To get your creative juices flowing, the Floral Art, Art and Photography details are given below. The overall theme will be Cities, Towns and Villages.
1. Country Garden 16" x 16" x 18" high
2. A Floating Centrepiece 16" x 16" x 18" high
3. Famous Landmarks 18" x 18" x 24"
4. Picture this - miniature 6" x 6" x 6"
1. Famous Landmarks
2. Painting based on an old photograph of the theme [photo to be displayed with artwork]
3. Abstract Art
4. Painted item on any surface other than paper, card or canvas, e.g. glass, pottery, stone, wood, slate
Maximum size for all classes must not exceed A3 [297mm x 420mm]
1. Famous Landmarks 5. Summer Holidays
2. A Village Scene 6. Invertebrates
3. A City, Town or Village Event 7. Anything Goes [Landmark]
4. Memories of 2014 may be enhanced in any way
Photographs must be maximum 5 x 8" to be affixed to white card or paper size A5 for display purposes. Entries limited to 2 photographs per class.
Linda and the Committee
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 54
Linen Draper 1600's - 1700's
Inventor of the doyley, or dish paper
"A change is as good as a rest" it is said, so here goes, with a name and very little information, yet someone who over the last 4 centuries has been a worthy mover and shaker! And just in case you may use a doyley over the Christmas period, it might be interesting to know something of its history.
Firstly, its name as an 'ornamental mat', typically made of fabric or paper, can also be spelt doily, doiley, doilie or doyly, depending on which researcher you come across. But its origin can be traced back to Mr. Doyley.
Mr Doyley [sorry, even his Christian name isn't known] was a linen draper and member of the trade guild founded in medieval times and still flourishing. He 'kept a Linnen Drapers Shoppe in the Strand, a little West of Catherine Street' in London. He was obviously inventive. In the late 17th century Doyley founded his business on producing and selling cheaper alternatives to the fine silks and laces of that era. It is recorded in The Spectator No. 238 of 1712, [The Times of its day] that 'the famous Doily raised a fortune by finding materials for such stuffs as might be at once cheap and genteel'. This referred to 'a woollen stuff' that he introduced for use during the summer months.
So for the first time, the word doily came into use as 'doily stuff' or 'doily suits'.
Later, he added to his range 'a small ornamental napkin used at dessert' which was known as a doily-napkin. It soon became an essential part of fashionable dinner table settings, particularly when serving desserts. In Jonathan Swift's journals of 1711, he refers to 'coarse Doily napkins, fringed at one end upon the table to drink with after dinner'.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the fashion had spread throughout Europe. By this time, the Industrial Revolution was underway, and those great engineering inventors produced ingenious machines to convert the simplest material - paper - into the delicate lacy patterns of today. Australia's doyley heyday was between the 1890's and 1914, by which time there were many different uses; elongated sandwich doyleys, scone cloths that folded over at each corner to keep scones warm, doyleys for tea, milk and sugar and even large rectangular ones called antimacassars for placing on the back of chairs so that the men's macassar hair oil wouldn't stain the furniture!
I still use a selection of doyleys, but thought that there weren't many of us about, confirmed by Wikipedia who say: 'Disposable paper doilies "were designed as a cheaper but respectable alternative to crocheted linen doilies" and are commonly used to decorate plates, placed under food for ornamentation. In the UK "sales rocketed in the 1950's as a reaction to post-war austerity and the doyley quickly became a symbol of upward social mobility." However the UK is currently experiencing a decline prompting a "Save our Doilies" campaign. Once a "symbol of suburban gentility" they are now perceived as outdated.'
So that's that! Or is it? I remember using them as a stencil and sieving icing sugar on top of a chocolate sponge as a quick decoration, but they are undergoing a new lease of life according to the internet. One video shows using them as a theme for weddings: decorating the cake boards, making place names, forming into necklaces - I think these must be linen ones! - even for candle holders. Another wedding site shows how to dye them to match the colour scheme, for envelopes
for special guests or to use them as cupcake wrappers. There must be more to life than this!
Still, it only goes to show what Mr Doyley achieved. His inspiration has certainly come down through the ages - and looks likely not to disappear too soon.
Oh, and if you come across any D'Oyleys, either Sir Robley, a follower of William the Conqueror, or Richard D'Oyly Carte, don't be fooled. They are just pretenders!
So as you use your doyley at Christmas, think of that fine linen draper - and have a Happy Time.
PP of DC
Watermouth Castle - View No. 152
This multi view of Watermouth Castle was published by Frances Frith & Company Limited c1960. The five views show the castle, the bay, tropical gardens, dining room and finally the castle, ground and Hangman Hills.
Around this time Friths published a small booklet as A Guide for Visitors from which I now quote:
"The beautiful scenery of the rugged coastline between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin attracts many thousands of tourists every year. Along this stretch of the road there are many vantage points of extensive views. From Rillage Point there is the magnificent coastline that extends past Ilfracombe to Bull Point and on clear days to Lundy Island, and at the other end of the road there opens up the grandeur of the Hangman Hills which stand sentinel over the little harbour at Combe Martin. Between these extremes lies the pretty, almost completely land-locked natural harbour known as Watermouth. It is this feature of the coast which has given its name to the Castle built on the woody slopes on the opposite side of the road.
"It is difficult to establish exactly when the Bassets first came to reside at Watermouth but throughout the years they appeared to be Royalists and loyal servants of the community. In earlier years the Bassets were seated at Heanton Court, between Barnstaple and Braunton, and Colonel Arthur Basset, born there in 1597, was one of the leading Royalists of Devon and was Governor of St. Michael's Mount.
The last of the representatives of the Basset family to live at Watermouth Castle were Major Charles Penn-Curzon and his wife Edith, who as a daughter of the Bassets and inherited the estate.
"After the death of Major and Mrs. Penn-Curzon, the property was inherited by their son, Charles Ernest, who sold it. Their daughter, Lorna, the late Countess Howe, also left the district.
"A TOUR of the CASTLE
Considerable interest is taken in the Castle by tourists and every year thousands wander around its grounds and make a tour of inspection of the parts which have been allowed to remain as a 'show-piece'.
The great hall which was at one time used as a magistrate's court by Squire Basset, who was Justice of the Peace, is lined with decorative and exquisitely carved linen-fold panelling and the fine screen which carries the minstrel gallery leading to other floors of the Castle is well worth inspection.
The hall fireplace of a pinkish tined 'Devon Marble' is the original one and a fine piece of local workmanship. The finely wrought fire basket, with its shield of the Basset crest, has a spacious capacity for burning logs, which must have been very much needed as it was the only means of heating the hall. Five shields, with linking ribbons decorate the mantelpiece, but whether these have any special significance is hard to say. One of the doorways on the seaward side of the building leads into what was once a magnificently oak-panelled library, but all that remains of its former beauty is the oval wreath of oak leaves on the ceiling. It must have been an enormous task to carve upwards of five hundred leaves with such painstaking accuracy.
Everywhere, there is the evidence of skilful workmanship in wood and plaster. The thick walls and unusually deep spaces between floor levels all indicate carefully planned construction, possible to insulate the rooms from the severity of the weather and to reduce noise.
The drawing room stands next to the library and sets us a mystery in that a false window appears outside the Castle, whilst inside we see only a fireplace.
The dining room opposite has recently been redecorated as the lovely oak panelling which surrounded it had at some time been painted over and only the doors could be restored to their original beauty.
The Castle stands on sturdy foundations and the walls which intersect the ground level and the area cut out of the hillside form a labyrinth of cellars. There is little doubt that these were at one time connected with the smuggling which took place at one time. Only sixteen acres of the once huge estate now remain as property belonging to the Castle. A little brook runs through the grounds and keeps the lake supplied with water.
In the woods there is a pets' cemetery and further away in the woods are marked the graves of favourite hunters and race-horses.
These woods form a beautiful 'back-cloth' to the Castle scene and in this lovely setting it is hoped to recapture and retain something of the peace and grandeur of the 'old world' whilst providing holidays for pleasures for present and future generations. Long may Watermouth Castle remain an interesting example of 'the stately homes England'"
We can be thankful that after neglect during the early 1970's, Richard and the entire Haines family purchased the Castle and groundsfor the sum of £50,000 in 1977. Since then the Castle and ground have been lovingly restored creating a seasonal 'Million Pound Plus Extravaganza'. Finally, our thanks to Richard, Christine, Jonathan, Tony, Rachel and the entire Haines family for the incredible enjoyment they have given to so many, both children and adults, locals and visitors, over so many years.
Tower Cottage, November 2014
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
Wine is sunlight, held together by water.
Turnout for our first Circle meeting of the season, October, was unexpectedly high at 54. Great turnouts are lovely to see, but I think it made our Debs even more nervous! It was good to see the superb support for Debbie and Karen. Their presentation of some of our shop's stock was pure theatre! The six tastings were varied, great value and included some surprises . . .
Their double act was one-sided, initially, as Karen led the way with descriptions of five wines: four of which were from Boland Cellar, a South African-based producer. Surprisingly, the white favourite appeared to be Flutterby - a Sauvignon Blanc. As it was in a plastic bottle, many admitted that they would have picked it up and put it back; however, it was a fruity white, and, of course, safe to take on picnics and only £6.99.
Debbie managed to overcome her nerves and presented the final red: a Bordeaux Claret, regarded as delicious by me and those around me. This was imported by Bottle Green Limited: a Leeds-based company who believe they 'bring you the very best of France'. It had body, great colour, taste and price, just £7.99: a very pleasant revelation.
We may be a small North Devon parish, but our village shop provides a great service, walking distance for many. You wouldn't need to drive to Ilfracombe to shop in a well-known store for your wine; it's on Castle Hill!
November's topic, 19th, is a first for the Circle, as all wines are Romanian. I do hope we'll see you there. Fifty-four is a good number, but our Manor Hall can take more!
Our December meeting is always on the second Wednesday, the 10th this year. It follows a tried-and-tested pattern: Committee's Choice with members' food. January's meeting, 21st, sees a change of plan: we have Ladies' Night, 6 wines with 6 ladies.
Judith Adam: Secretary and Promotional Co-ordinator
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
On Saturday, 27th September, Berrynarbor Choir gave a Concert in the Church. They were joined by our illustrious Bell Ringers, resplendent in white shirts and red bow ties, who performed brilliantly!
The Choir were in good voice and sang a wide range of songs to suit all tastes. However, the audience of around 85 in number didn't escape for they were invited to join in with a potted selection of WWI songs to close the evening. Cheese and wine refreshments rounded off a very successful concert enjoyed by all.
Thanks to all who attended and bought raffle tickets which allowed us to donate £150 to the Motor Neurone Organisation and £100 to the Devon Freewheelers, a voluntary organisation of specially trained motor cyclists who deliver vital body organs to hospitals for patients requiring transplants. We retained a sum of £45 to cover the heating and lighting costs of the church.
The Harvest Service and Supper were again well attended and the lovely spread in the Manor Hall and the sing-a-long of WW1 songs which rounded off the evening were enjoyed by all. Special thanks to everyone involved in making the Supper such a happy event.
A special Service for Loved Ones was held in the afternoon of Sunday, 2nd November when beautiful candles were lit by parishioners in remembrance of their loved ones.
Our annual Remembrance Service was held on Sunday, 9th November when wreaths were laid by the War Memorial followed by the traditional two minute silence, broken only by the sound of thunder. It was especially poignant this year being the centenary of the start of World War I. The Choir sang a special tribute during the service, and Berrynarbor School had prepared some beautiful letters for all to read.
We look forward to another joyful Christmas Carol Service on Wednesday, 17th December at 6.30 p.m. Because of the vagaries of weather, the really young children from Berrynarbor School will have their special service commencing 40 minutes earlier at 5.50 p.m.in the Church, so we look forward to welcoming all parents at this special event and hope that many parents and their children will stay for the later service when the older school children's choir will again be singing with the Berrynarbor Choir. This wonderful service will be followed by mince pies and mulled wine [for the adults!] and everyone is welcome - so please come early!
Wednesday, 24th December Christmas Eve Service, 9.30 p.m.
Thursday, 25th December Christmas Day Service, 11.00 a.m..
No Friendship Lunch in December and look out for details of the January Lunch.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year!