Edition 166 - February 2017
Although we are now well into the new year, as this is the first issue of 2017, I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful year ahead. A warm welcome to all newcomers and for you and for those who have moved away, we wish you happiness in your new homes.
The winter and festive season has brought with it the usual colds and unpleasant, lingering coughs, but you have been in good company! We send get well wishes to everyone not at their best and hope you will be feeling better very soon.
Although the mornings still seem rather dark, the evenings are definitely lengthening; the bulbs are popping up everywhere, the birds are singing to welcome the spring, which IS on its way! British Summer Time begins on the 25th/26th March, so remember to put your clocks forward an hour or you might miss the Mothering Sunday Service at St. Peter's.
Many of you have expressed concern and sympathy with Nigel on his misfortune due to the fire in Exeter, but have also much appreciated his covers of the December issue.
For those with computers, don't forget that the Newsletter has its own website: www.berrynarbor-news.co.uk. Although t it does not show the full issue, the pictures, photographs, etc., can be seen with far better definition. In January it had 212 visitors including one from Beijing, another from Taipei in Taiwan and two from Carnegie in Australia. Go on, take a look!
The bumper crop of Christmas messages and the very generous donations have once again given the funds of both the Manor Hall and Newsletter a substantial boost. Thank you.
This is another full issue thanks to the contributors, especially the regulars and our Artist in Residence, Paul, whose cover of Braunton Marsh reflects the Local Walk. His illustrations help to make our Newsletter rather special. Thank you, Paul.
I'll be looking for another batch of articles for the April issue, which will come out ahead of Easter this year. It would be good to have some new support - tell us about your Christmas or holiday, your favourite poem or photograph, or that special Granny's recipe that's been passed down the family. Items will be very welcome as soon as possible, but by Wednesday, 8th March at the latest please. Thank you.
Finally, please help support the wonderful work of our North Devon Hospice by joining the Knit and Natter [even if you only natter!] on Monday, 27th February.
Judie - Ed
BERRYNARBOR NEWSLETTER NO. 166 - FEBRUARY 2017
FEBRUARY & FINANCE
F is for Finance as well as February and once again the time has come to look at the financial situation of the Newsletter and its funds.
Currently funds are looking quite good due to the generous support of the Parish Council, the Parochial Church Council, the many subscribers who receive their copies in the mail and the contributions in the collecting boxes. To this must be added the donations for Christmas messages which supported the Manor Hall as well as the Newsletter by sums of £160.00, the kind donation from Maureen and Pat for their Coffee Morning, and Gary who has donated the profits from his book to the Newsletter.
Costs have increased of late, but the subscription for postal readers for the coming year will remain the same at £6.00 [February to December, inclusive], as will the cost of advertising. Although the Newsletter is technically a 'freebie', the postal rate only covers the cost of postage and stationery, so it is very much hoped that those readers will include a donation to help keep the Newsletter coffers well stocked. Currently the cost is approximately £1.50 a copy so it is also hoped that readers who receive their copy with their paper, or collect a copy from the Shop, Globe or Sawmill Inn will heed this plea.
Some postal subscriptions have now run out and if you are someone to whom this applies, a letter is enclosed with your Newsletter.
My thanks to Central Convenience Stores of Combe Martin and our new paperboy Tyler, who deliver copies with the newspapers, and the Shop, The Globe and the Sawmill Inn for having copies available and for collecting donations.
Judie - Editor
26th October 1934 - 5th January 2017
It was so very sad to learn that after a trying period of stays in Belmont Grange and the North Devon Hospital, Jan had passed away on the morning of the 5th January.
A loving and much loved mother and grandmother, she will be very much missed not only by her family and extended family, but by her very many friends here in the village, locally and further afield.
Our thoughts are particularly with Rob and Shirley, Charlotte and Sophie, Jane and Martin and all the family at this sad time and in the difficult time ahead.
and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little, but not too long,
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
miss me but let me go.
For this journey we all must take,
and each must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan,
a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
miss me but let me go.
PETER RONALD WEST
22nd February 1931 - 6th January 2017
A keen walker and rambler, many readers will remember Peter striding out around the village, so it was very sad to learn that after a lengthy and debilitating illness, Peter had passed away on the 6th January.
A much loved family man, Peter will be sorely missed by his wife Helen and his extended family - his twin brother John, his son Mark and his grandchildren, as well as Helen's daughter Nicola and son Sean and her grandchildren.
Our thoughts are with you all at this time of sorrow.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
Following the installation of our new Vicar, Canon Michael Rogers, a service for the Licencing and Installation of Rev Bill Cole - supported by Michael Rogers - took place on Monday 5th December at St. Peter's Church, Combe Martin. This enjoyable service was led jointly by the Lord Bishop of Exeter, the Right Revd. Robert Atwell, and the Archdeacon of Barnstaple. the Ven. Dr. Mark Butchers.
A special thank you to all the ladies who provided a superb buffet in the Church Hall following the service.
We wish Bob Cole and his wife Jenny a happy stay at the Combe Martin Rectory and look forward to his involvement here in Berrynarbor and Combe Martin in supporting Michael Rogers. Bob has already taken services here in Berrynarbor over the Christmas period but his initiation, accompanied by his wife Jenny, was attending the Senior Dudes Christmas Meal in the Manor Hall, brilliantly hosted by the older school children with support from the teaching staff. How smart they all looked as they served all the food, teas and coffees, causing much merriment and laughter all round. They all deserve a huge thank you!
Remembrance Sunday was well attended in a moving service led by Rev. George Billington, and wreaths were laid by members representing Berrynarbor Parish Council, Berrynarbor PCC and Berrynarbor School.
Our Christmas Carol Service was a huge success, and both Berrynarbor and the School Choirs sang Carols and other Christmas music for the congregation to enjoy. The First Lesson was read for the very first time by four school children cleverly reading one paragraph at a time, the effect was stunning! The service concluded with the singing of O Come all ye Faithful, followed by the serving of mulled wine and mince pies! Special thanks must go to our intrepid Bellringers - who as usual were fully engaged not just over the Christmas period, but throughout the past year.
Christmas services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both well attended.
A very special vote of thanks must go to Graham Lucas whose Monday morning school assembly stories from the Bible were cleverly told and then re-enacted by the enthusiastic pupils.
Graham's time is very precious in caring for his wife Carol, and our thoughts and good wishes from all their friends in Berrynarbor go out to both of them throughout 2017.
Church services for the moment will follow the normal pattern as follows:-
1st Sunday in the month: Village Service
2nd Sunday in the month: Holy Communion
3rd Sunday in the month: Songs of Praise
4th Sunday in the month: Holy Communion
All Berrynarbor services commence at 11.00 a.m. However, when a 5th Sunday occurs, there will be Joint Service with Combe Martin and 'Pip and Jim's' at one of the churches within the Coast & Combe Team. Posters at the Lych Gate and within the village will inform Parishioners as to these service venues and timings.
Don't forget the Mothering Sunday Service which will be on Sunday, 26th March.
The date of our Annual General Meeting - usually towards the end of March - has not yet been finalised, but will be advertised in the village nearer the time.
The Friendship Lunches will be held on the last Wednesday of the month in the Globe Pub to meet at 12.00 for 12.30pm, 22nd February and 29th March.
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP & POST OFFICE
Winner of the village shop Christmas Raffle was a delighted Bill Huxtable, seen here being congratulated by village postmistress Karen Loftus [left] and volunteer Patricia Weston. Bill, who wins a luxury hamper, has lived in the village all his life and is a regular customer in the Shop.
Shop Manager Debbie Thomas said, "We're all delighted for Bill. He supports the shop on a daily basis and without such loyal customers the shop would really struggle. A huge thank you to all those who used the shop last year and we look forward to serving you in 2017.
OUR PRICKLY FRIENDS
I write about hedgehogs because they are on the decline and I feel that we can all do something to save them.
The way they die is very sad and because of their prickles, they can't always reverse out of situations. For instance, under a shed and in a corner they cannot go backwards due to the ratchet effect of their spines.
Another hazard is garden ponds. They fall in and cannot climb out. A piece of wood from the water by the side would avoid this, and don't use slug pellets!
Then, of course, we have carnage on the roads and the risk of them perishing in a bonfire.
Well, here are a few ways we can help.
Make sure there is a good sized hole in your garden fencing. Hedgehogs can visit up to twelve gardens. Do not use pesticides as they eat worms, beetles and slugs.
Put out small, shallow bowls of water. Apart from liking pet [cat] food, the garden centres now sell special hedgehog food. They soon take to this and if you put some out at night, they will soon appear.
Never give milk to hedgehogs as they are lactose intolerant.
Usually solitary, hedgehogs only pair up to mate. When mating, they often make loud snuffling noises. The male circles the female, sometimes for hours, to persuade her to mate. They will separate thereafter and the male takes no part in rearing the family. The young are called hoglets.
The litters are from one to eleven and they stay with their mother for up to seven weeks. Predators can be male hedgehogs.
If you worry a nest, the mother may eat her young or move them elsewhere. The young are blind for thirty-two days and their spines are soft. Late comers are unlikely to survive the winter.
After four weeks, the family will emerge and soon after they will go their own separate ways.
We bought a little hedgehog house and within four hours it was being investigated. Dry leaves inside are a good idea. Take care, hedgehogs have lots of fleas!
So there we have it. Please do your best to help our prickly friends.
Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
We need your thoughts!
Community Renewable Energy
The Parish Council is considering undertaking a feasibility study for Community Renewable Energy. If any schemes are found to be viable the process would be very much community led and would require local investors who would gain a percentage return on their investment through selling renewable energy to the community. There is funding of up to £20,000 for the feasibility study; however, the Parish Council is reluctant to proceed if there is no community support. If you are interested in such a scheme, or would like further information, please contact your local Councillor or the Acting Parish Clerk.
You may all just be recovering from the festive period and think it a little early to look to the celebrations of 2017, however, the Parish Council would like to add value to the festivities that already take place in and around the parish and would like your views on how this can be achieved. Please do contact us with your thoughts and ideas for discussion.
New Look Website
The Parish Council is pleased to announce the launch of its new look website which can be found at the same address of www.berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk , please do have a browse. Council Agendas and Minutes of meetings can also be viewed on the website. If you are involved in, or know of any groups within the local community and would like the groups details on the Parish Council's website, please either go to the website and complete the form under 'Community' or contact the Acting Parish Clerk.
You will notice on the website that there are an array of lovely photographs taken throughout the parish, if you are a budding photographer or just a happy snapper and would like any of your photos included on the website please send them to the Acting Parish Clerk,
Mrs Victoria Woodhouse email@example.com . Each photograph will be attributed so please include your name.
Berrynarbor Parish has a network of beautiful footpaths which are an asset to the village for both locals and visitors. The Parish Council Footpath Wardens, Councillors Mrs Clare White and Mrs Julia Fairchild have been working hard to monitor the footpaths and keep them in good useable order. We have been successful over the last year in obtaining a small grant and having several improvements including 3 new galvanized self-closing gates and other repairs.
The Council would encourage you to use the footpaths, which are clearly marked on the local maps, if walking with a dog please be aware that there could be stock grazing in the fields and your dog should be on a
lead in these areas. Please enjoy your walk and remember to stick to the countryside code.
Unfortunately the Parish Council has received concerns about overgrown hedges in and around the Parish which can hinder the safety of road users including vehicles, walkers and riders. The nesting season is due to start in early March until the end of August making now an ideal time to think about trimming.
The Parish Council would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!
Victoria Woodhouse - Acting Parish Clerk
THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Several readers have enquired about this picture that appeared in Pam's Movers and Shakers in the December issue. The Christmas Tree was painted by Albert Chevallier Tayler in 1911. He was an English artist who specialised in portrait and genre painting. He was born in London in April 1862 and died there in December 1925.
He was educated at Bloxham School in Oxfordshire and studied at Heatherley's School of Art, Royal Academy Schools and avant-garde painters in Paris. He was involved in the plein air [open air] methods of the Newlyn School.
His largest and most masterful work - The Ceremony of the Garter - painted in 1901, depicts the scene at Eltham Palace in which the fallen garter of Joan of Kent is picked up by Edward III c1348 and led to Edward founding the Order of the Garter.
THE ORDER OF THE GARTER
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded by King Edward III in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry and the third most prestigious honour in England and the UK. It is only inferior to the Victoria and George Crosses, and is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George, England's patron saint.
It is awarded by the sovereign as a personal gift to recipients from the UK and commonwealth and is limited to the Sovereign, Prince of Wales and no more than 24 members or companions. It also includes supernumerary knights and ladies, other members of the royal family and foreign monarchs.
Henry of Grosmont, Earl of Lancaster and later Duke of Lancaster [d1361], the second recipient of the Order, wearing a blue mantle or garter robe.
Its emblem is a blue garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense - shame on him who evil thinks. Members of the order wear the robes on ceremonial occasions.
There are currently two vacancies due to the deaths of the Dukes of Wellington and Westminster. The earliest current member is Lord Carrington who was appointed in 1985 and is now 97, the latest Sir David Brewer, Lord Lt. of Greater London and former Lord Mayor of London, appointed in 2016 aged 76. The youngest today is Lord Stirrup, Marshal of the Royal Air Force who was appointed aged 63 in 2013.
The Royal Knights and Ladies Companion are the Duke of Edinburgh , the Duke of Kent , Princess Anne, the Princess Royal , the Duke of Gloucester , Princess Alexandra , the
Duke of York , the Earl of Wessex  and the Duke of Cambridge .
Extra Knights and Ladies Companion are the Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg , Queen Margrethe II of Denmark , King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden , King Juan Carlos I of Spain , Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands , Emperor Akihito of Japan  and King Harald V of Norway .
New appointments are always announced on St. George's Day, 23rd April, and the annual ceremony of the Order of the Garter is held in June.
SUSAN DAY RESIDENTIAL HOME
(Charity number: 205695)
Some readers may know the Home was first called South Lodge and was the family home of the Day family for 50 years. In 1947, Mr. T. Fairchild Day, who was a J.P., gave the house as a gift to the Ilfracombe Old People's Welfare Committee in memory of his mother Susan, whose dearest interest was the care and comfort of old people in Ilfracombe. Her portrait is hanging in the hall of the Home as a tribute to her. Over the years, the Home has developed, has become a Charity and is now called Susan Day Residential Home.
The Home's physical structure has changed as well. It became apparent that more people needed residential care, so further building work was carried out in 1997 to complete the Home as it is today. Initially 4-6 residents were accommodated and now we have 33!
Our purpose is to care for residents by providing a happy, comfortable home where they will be encouraged to live full, enjoyable and independent lives with the emphasis on personal choice in all aspects of their lives. We also encourage our residents, as much as they are able, to maintain any outside interests which they previously enjoyed and to participate in the Home's variety of activities and outings which are
specifically arranged for them. Coffee mornings are held throughout the year with themes appropriate to the season and are open to everyone. In fact, the Home welcomes visitors at all times.
To keep up to date with changes in people's lives, we are installing Wi-Fi throughout the Home which will enable our residents and their families and friends to keep in touch with each other and for those who are 'silver surfers', to continue their surfing!
Elderly residents are accommodated at the Susan Day Residential Home as well those who are mentally frail but we do not specialise in dementia care. Our waiting list has diminished with the changing times and care in the community. However, in the last 3 years the Charity Commission has agreed to extend our catchment area and we are now able to accommodate residents from Combe Martin, Berrynarbor, Georgeham, Mortehoe, Marwood and Braunton and places in between, giving priority to people living in Ilfracombe.
After 27 years of service to the Home, Mrs. Cherry Wild will be retiring at the end of March. During this time, she has been our Registered Manager and has guided the Home through many changes, both structural and legislative. She has overseen all aspects of running the Home with skill but now has come the time for her to have a well-earned retirement!
In October last year we welcomed Mrs. Simone Dunford as our new Registered Manager. Simone has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in the care industry and from the 1st November became entirely responsible for the care of our residents and running the Home, with Cherry maintaining an administrative role.
As you will see from the above, residents from a wider area are now able to come and live in our Home. Please feel free to come in to look around, have a cup of tea and meet the residents and staff, especially if you or a family member are thinking about residential care. If you would like to do so, please contact Simone on  862528.
We are always looking to augment our Board of Trustees. At the present time there are 9 of us. We hold Board Meetings 10 times a year and our responsibilities are for the oversight of the Home. Should you be interested in finding out about us, and particularly if you have specific skills in finance, knowledge of the building industry or management for example, you would be very welcome. If you would like more details about the role, please contact me on  862396.
Mary Clements - Chairman of Trustees
THE KAZAKH APPLE
Like many, I've had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people in my life, with great stories to tell. One such person is Andrew Ailes. We first met at the Old Twelfth Night celebrations at Lee in 1994. I had that night been crowned 'Lord of Misrule', a role which I rose to with great gusto! Keys to the pub until midnight, crazy party games, music and dance and plates of food, all washed down with gallons of cider punch for all.
Later Andrew and I started to talk about apples and orchards. When I mentioned I was planting an orchard of special varieties his comment was, "Then I've got an apple for you!" And he told me this story.
Andrew worked for Reuters World Press Agency as an organiser and reporter. He had lived in many countries around the world. In 1988 he was living in Russia and was invited by the Russian government as a distinguished guest, to a Soyuz space launch in Kazakhstan and to become the first westerner to rent a transponder on a Soviet satellite.
While there he was asked to help with a TV documentary on the shepherds who live high in the mountains at their summer pastures. On one location, at lunch, a shepherd offered him some apples from a tree on the sheltered side of his stone hut. Apparently, they were large, sweet and delicious. His interpreter told him the shepherd had said, "They're just wild apples and trees like that grow wild in this part of Kazakhstan."
Andrew was so impressed that a few weeks later two apple cores in an empty cigarette packet arrived back in North Devon. His old gardener muttered, "You can't grow good apples from pips." And he was right, it is almost impossible to grow modern apples from pips because they have too many ancestors and pollinators; where a natural crab and true wild apple will far more likely throw a clone of its parent tree.
The pips were planted and over the next few years two trees grew and survived, one being much more vigorous started to fruit in 1996. According to Andrew the apples were the same as the ones he had seen and tasted in Kazakhstan. He contacted DEFRA, but it was expensive to register an apple unless it was for commercial use. They suggested some help could be found at the RHS National Fruit Centre in Kent. This is where I got involved and on their advice we sent some apples, leaves and a small twiggy bough for examination, which was undertaken by
Dr Alison Lean and Dr Joan Morgan, author of The Book Of Apples.
Dr Lean said the apples were much sweeter than most domestic apples and came from the original wild apple Malus Sieversii a rarity found in countries east of the Caspian Sea.
In October 2009 and as a member of Devon Orchards Live, I took some apples to RHS Rosemoor on Apple Day. They certainly caused a stir! Experts seemed to come from every corner of the marquee, all tasting the sliced-up apples, making comments, searching through the reference books, but nothing could be found on this rare seedling apple. I was then approached by Kevin Croucher of Thornhayes Nurseries in Cullompton, probably one of the top nurserymen and authorities on fruit trees here in the West Country. who was very interested in the apple and offered to add it to his catalogue of fruit trees.
A quick flurry of e-mails followed as Andrew was working in Canada and was then off to India for a few weeks, before returning home in the spring.
Early in February 2010 I offered to deliver the first bundle of Grandpa Ailes or Kazakh Beauty scions (graft cuttings) to Thornehays Nurseries for grafting on to root stocks in April. From 2011 the apple trees were on sale from Thornehays and RHS Rosemoor and still are to the best of my knowledge.
My own tree which I grafted onto a Bramley pip seedling in 2009, is now almost fifteen feet high and expected to reach twenty feet in the coming years. It is now bearing good crops of this sweet, large, semi red conical wild apple.
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
New Year greetings to you all from everyone at the Village School. The new term is well under way now, but here are some reflections on happenings before the Christmas break.
Year 6 Friendship Day
Year 6 children had a great time at Ilfracombe Academy on Friendship Day thinking about relationships and transitioning from Primary to Secondary School.
Sports Hall Activities
We trained in the Manor Hall for competitions with James O'Sullivan from Ilfracombe Academy. We tested our running, jumping and throwing abilities. We hope we can do it again next year.
On Wednesday 7th December we did our Christingle with Reverend Bill. We enjoyed the service and got to eat the food afterwards! After Reverend Bill's explanation on why we do Christingle we made them ourselves. Then we lit the candles on them and sang Away in a Manger. It looked very pretty in the candle light. Altogether it was great and we hope we get the chance to do it again next year. Isabel
Following the service was the PTFA Christmas Fair in the Manor Hall. There was a variety of activities, stalls and, of course, refreshments. A favourite with the children, and their grown-ups, was the dress up photography set up on the stage. As you can see, the staff enjoyed this, too. Thank you to everyone who supported this event and helped raise just over £400.00 towards updating the fitness tail.
Eily and her Grandmother
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Our trip to see the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Exeter University was a long ride, but when we got there it was fabulous watching and listening to them. We had to do some interactive things like body percussion and we got to listen to some well- known music. Vincent
Elderberry Class Senior Dudes Christmas Meal
This was held in the Manor Hall on 30th November. We really enjoyed this event as we cooked, served and sang for the Seniors. We have received a lot of thank you letters to say that they really enjoyed it, too. Amber & Lily
Strawberry and Cranberry Nativity
The performance by Strawberry and Cranberry Classes was one to remember! We'd like to say a big well done to all of the children for their super singing and clear speaking voices. Superb dancing too! Thank you to all the teachers, staff and parents who helped to make it such a great success!
Christmas Carol Concert
What better way to end the term and prepare for the holidays than a Christmas Carol Concert in Berrynarbor Church!
On Wednesday 14th December Berrynarbor School held an outstanding carol service for their parents. It was a great turn out led by Canon Michael. The children sang their hearts out until they could sing no more and made everyone proud. Thank you to everyone who came along. We hope you enjoyed it. Finley & Amelia.
So, moving on into the New Year, the children are continuing with swimming lessons at Ilfracombe pool, and the after-school football club with Rosie Smith has resumed. We have World Book Day coming up on
1st February with the theme Myths and Legends. It hardly seems possible that a year has gone by since last year's Book Day when we had the Space Odyssey Planetarium set up in the Manor Hall.
The children in classes 1 and 2 have a Geography based topic this term centred around the location, landmarks, food and culture of China. Class 3 have the Romans as their topic and class 4 the Anglo Saxons.
Sue Carey - Head Teacher
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
A bottle of good wine, like a good act, shines ever in the retrospect Robert Louis Stephenson
December is synonymous with drinking and eating, and, therefore, I suspect that none of us felt guilty imbibing and consuming our Committee's Choice for wines and Members' Choice for a superb banquet. We do it every time!
Two wines presented at Members' Choice in November to 10 of us were SO successful that these were served to the masses. Bray Valley and our wonderful village shop supplied the goods on both occasions.
Sauvignon Blanc seems to be extremely popular with white wine drinkers; many expect it to come from Marlborough, New Zealand. Bray Valley produced a real find and a delicious alternative to expectations: a Pinot Gris from The Crossings Vineyard in Marlborough. It's a shame it's a bit dearer than 'Sav Blanc', but it's worth it. If it's in stock, you'll pay £9.99.
The second was the South African Running Duck Pinotage, from the shop's shelves; it's £7.98. As its name is unusual, it appears to be memorable because its fame has spread beyond our Circle! A shopper, not a Circle member, was overheard asking for a red wine: ". . something about a duck . . . I've read about it in the Newsletter." Who needs to drive anywhere when you can trot to the shop for a liquid Duck - red or white!
Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
St Thomas Aquinas
Wine Circle members know that January means Call My Wine Bluff: it's a fun evening. None of us are wine buffs, but we all try to use what knowledge we have to work our way through the True and False
descriptions. Tony quoted Eric Morecambe's famous lines of 'All the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order'; Eric applied these musically but it works on Wine Bluff nights too!
Three whites, three reds were tasted, from France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Italy. The High Street supplied in the forms of Lidl's and Marks & Spencer. Tasting, prior to the evening, had not happened, so we were all sampling these for the first time, including our presenter trio.
One wine created a resounding and unanimous response, with disapproving grimaces all round. I have tasted acceptable wine from Lidl's; however, I wouldn't say it is a renowned stockist, and I'm afraid I was totally convinced that Tony had bought the Vino Nuevo de Tinaja sold as Fresquito from LIdl's. I was wrong! It was from M & S! What possessed their buyer to include this?
Tony's script said that it was a 'most unusual white wine' because it is made 'from Pedro Ximenez grapes.' These are usually associated with a deep, chocolaty, ultra-sweet sherry, often called the Christmas Pudding wine, which is absolutely delicious, particularly poured over ice-cream - fantastic stuff, but not this one!
Thirty-six members uttered a loud, "No," when he asked if we liked it. On her first smell, one lady said it smelled of old carpets! Another thought we had said 'armpits', which triggered another negative of, "Yes, that too!" Never tasted a wine like it . . . hope I don't again, but, as another saying goes, you live and learn!
Judith Adam - Secretary and Programme Co-ordinator
Important Notice - Incidents at the Hall
We have been unwilling to speak out openly about a number of incidents that have occurred at the Hall since early last summer, as it has been hard to believe that someone in the local area has been prepared to act maliciously against the Hall, and indeed act criminally. However, we now feel compelled to publish what has been going on even if it barely seems credible. Last summer we had an unexplained flood to the corridor at the rear of Pre-school, found first thing in the morning. Then we had an incident where someone had deliberately blocked all four toilets in the Pre-school part of the building by stuffing bundles of white paper hand towels round the U-bend of each toilet. Again, this was discovered first thing in the morning and it took a while to clear all the blockages. It is very hard to think who would do such a thing or why.
Wads of paper used to block toilets in Pre-school
Later last year there was a further incident involving a piece of equipment going missing and one night in January someone has gone into the boiler cupboard at the rear of the building and vandalised the electric supply plug to the boiler, meaning it wouldn't work the next morning.
Earlier, in December, we also found that most of the cutlery in the main hall kitchen had disappeared but we have been unable to link its disappearance to a precise event or time. It is hard to believe that anyone would want to steal second hand cutlery and we have tried to think of alternative explanations. However, we can't rule out theft, or that someone seems to have some sort of vendetta against the Hall.
We have reported the most recent incident to the Police.
We therefore ask that if anyone knows anything about any of this, or has seen anyone going in or out of the Hall at odd times of the night or very early in the morning, to please contact any of the Manor Hall committee members.
Not surprisingly, we are now working out what to do with building security, and will have to improve key security. This may not be straightforward and may affect the way occasional users access the building.
Work underway at the Hall
You may have seen scaffolding up at the manor house wing of the Hall. This is the long-awaited roof repair work as specified by our structural engineer some time ago. We have mentioned in the past that the ceiling above the Men's Institute has been deemed unsafe to walk around on, so this needs to be remedied for maintenance purposes. There are also a number of long term issues to do with structural movement and the much earlier removal of a few original rafters which also need to be remedied. Most of the work is taking place inside the roof space. Outside, the corner pieces of the wall plates (the timbers on top of the walls on which the rafters rest) are also being replaced with oak, as the original timbers are rotten at the ends. As this roof is medieval and of rather rare construction in Devon, it isn't surprising that it needs some attention. As part of the planning and listed building consents obtained, we have had to agree an archaeological 'written scheme of investigation' for the roof which has required us to commission a historic buildings expert to survey and produce scale drawings of the roof structure.
In a sense, we have been reluctant to carry out this repair work, as the roof defects don't immediately affect use of the Hall whereas, of course, the main hall has more obvious and perhaps more urgent needs. However, someone at some time will have to tackle the roof problems, so we have decided to have the work done and then switch our attention back to the main hall. The problem is that, as we have said before, in terms of money and priorities, we have a village hall with a modest income but also have to maintain a 600-year old annex, and it is a difficult balancing act. However, we do also feel a duty to maintain the whole of this historic building.
Conversion to a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Unfortunately, our conversion into a new charity is taking longer than we thought, although at least we are now ready for the registration of title to the Hall and Parish Room which is a legal requirement of this process. We will explain all this fully when the switchover actually occurs.
New Charges for 2017
We are increasing our charges from April - the changes most relevant to the village are the regular user session rate, currently £12 and going up
to £13, and the occasional village user rate for not-for-profit events, which is going up from £30 to £35. Please note that our charges are a lot lower than other village halls in the area, and that the hall's running costs (even before any repairs or maintenance) are around £6,000 per year.
We are also replacing our missing cutlery, and have finally thrown out the old gazebos which had seen better days. To replace the old ones, we now have one small gazebo and one new 4.5m x 3m pop-up gazebo, with at least one more to follow.
Manor Hall Management Committee
The GREAT BERRYNARBOR PLANT SALE will
be held this year on Sunday, 28th May at
the Manor Hall.
Please all Gardeners, take a few extra cuttings and sow a few extra seeds!
NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR PRE-SCHOOL
We should like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and welcome our families back to preschools for the Spring term.
Last term the children celebrated Christmas with a performance of Santa and His Work Shop. The children enjoyed singing Christmas songs and some even sang solo. They all did so well, singing beautifully and for some, this was their very first performance, so well done to all our children for their brilliant performance.
The children also enjoyed making many Christmas crafts that they could share with their families. We had a raffle fundraising event which raised just over £250.00. Thank you to the community and our families for their kind support and hope those who won enjoyed their prizes.
The Pre-school also shared their Christmas party with the Toddler Group, with lots of fun games, dancing and we had a surprise visit from Father Christmas.
Our other fundraising event was Bags2School, recycling old or unwanted clothes. This raised £100.00 and again this could not have been achieved without the community support. We hope to have another collection in late spring. Date to be confirmed, so lookout for our posters nearer the time.
This term the children will be focusing on Maths; counting, sorting, recognising numbers and measuring, and we have added Understanding the World to the topic. Using the children's interests of transport, rockets, transformers, space stations, planets and aliens, along with Buzz Lightyear, we shall introduce new stories, games and find information about our planet and our solar system.
Our Pre-school is well attended at present but we do have some days/sessions free.
If you would like to book a place for your child/children then please visit us or call us on our NEW telephone No 07932 851052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our opening times are 8.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Friday.
We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs
8.30am or 9.00am - 12.00pm
12.00pm - 3.00pm or 3.30pm or 4.00pm
8.30am or 9.00am -3.00pm or 3.30pm or 4.00pm
We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2gether scheme and Early Years Entitlement. We provide care and education for young children between ages of 2 and 5.
From all the Staff at Pre-school - Sue, Karen, Charlotte and Lynne
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT VILLAGE
Because of the mild weather in December and over the New Year, the spring bulbs and bedding are quite forward and the nights are drawing out so we are looking forward to getting back out and enjoying a beautiful Devon spring.
Our thanks to Graham Sanders for donating the Christmas tree in the village square and Ben and Phil Bowden for putting it up, and not to forget Dave and Eve Walker for the electricity. What a team! Also, it was lovely to read all the Christmas thoughts and wishes that the children from the school had written on their paper Christmas baubles. Thank you, kids. The evening of carol singing in the square on the 18th December [luckily without rain this year] led, once again, by Phil and Tony, with mince pies donated by Karen and family from The Globe, went really well and thanks bottles given by all the good folks of Berrynarbor, the mulled wine was certainly plentiful! A collection raised £210.00 which has been shared shared between the Devon Air Ambulance and Freewheelers, a charity that delivers organs for transplant by motorbike.
We shall be holding our annual meeting at The Globe on Tuesday, 21st February at 7.00 p.m. If you are interested in our group do please do come along.
Don't forget the Berry in Bloom Fun Quiz and Supper on Friday, 3rd March in the Manor Hall. Bring your teams of up to 8 or join in with others for a fiendish [only joking] brain teaser and a yummy cottage pie supper. This event is one of our main fundraisers so do come and join in.
To contact me phone  883170 or 07436811657.
Golden Syrup Cake
This is a lovely cake for the winter months. It can be served warm with ice-cream with just a dusting of icing sugar as desert, OR topped with icing and frosted almonds as a lovely afternoon cake.
100g golden caster sugar
170g golden syrup
75ml boiling water
1 whole free range egg plus 1 extra yolk
310g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Icing
180g softened unsalted butter
180g soft light brown sugar
For the Frosted Almonds
200g whole blanched almonds lightly toasted, either roast for 8 minutes in a hot oven or toast in a dry frying pan
250g golden caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 106c/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 23cm spring form cake tin with butter and line the base and sides with non-stick baking parchment.
Using a freestanding mixer fitted with the beater attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat the caster sugar and butter together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup and beat again. Mix in the boiling water, then add the egg and the egg yolk and beat until smooth.
Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, the baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon together in a separate bowl then add it to the egg mixture a little at a time making sure that each time the mix is fully incorporated but try not to over mix.
Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until well risen, lightly golden and a skewer inserted in to the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove from the tin, remove the paper and cool on a wire rack.
The cake can be served war dusted with icing sugar as a desert at this point.
To make the frosted almonds, warm the caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts and just starts to colour. Add the toasted almonds and stir until the sugar starts to crystallise and covers the nuts. Tip on to baking parchment and cool. Coarsely chop half the nuts but save a few whole for decoration.
To make the icing using a mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light, fluffy and smooth.
Place the cake on a plate or cake stand and cover with the icing using a palette knife to swirl the icing to give a textured finish. Top with the frosted almonds and finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
On a rainy or frosty day this is pure comfort. Mmm!
"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.
"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.
"We've got Father and Mother, and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.
So begins the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, Little Women. Published in 1868, it remains today as one of the most read and re-read novels enjoyed by young girls of 9 to 90! It follows the lives of the four sisters through to adulthood, dealing with the strains of growing up and finding themselves in different situations.
Written by Louisa May Alcott, it is loosely based on her life and that of her three sisters, Abigail, Anna and Elizabeth, and her parents Abigail and Amos Alcott. The family suffered from financial difficulties and Louisa worked to help support the family from an early age, but also found an outlet in writing for which she received critical success and sometimes writing under the pen name of A.M. Barnard, writing novels for young adults.
Born in Philadelphia in 1832, she was an abolitionist and a feminist and unlike the characters in her books, never married, She died in Boston at the early age of 55 in 1888.
Little Women was followed in 1871 by Good Wives, Little Men, and in 1886 by Jo's Boys, none of the books receiving quite the same acclaim.
The book has been adapted six times for film; four television series have been made, as well as a musical version and even an opera version in America in 1998.
LOCAL WALK -160
"If you go down to the marsh , , , "
. . . you may have a big surprise. Braunton Marsh is one of North Devon's greatest assets for walkers and nature watchers and last October the Gazette ran the headline, 'Rare pelican is spotted on marsh.' An exotic creature indeed. The word 'spotted' in this context may have been the headline writer's witty pun for it was a Dalmatian pelican, more usually found between Greece and Mongolia but now reported in the vicinity of the White House. So, we headed for Horsey Island. En route .. had they seen the pelican? No, but it had been spied by the fishermen's huts, near where the River Caen meets the Taw. A passing jogger wondered, "Did the Dalmatian pelican have spots like the dog?" No! But with its eleven-foot wing span and distinctive bill, the big white bird would be difficult to miss.
It was a lovely, balmy day to be on the marsh, more like summer than mid-autumn. Some wintering waders and ducks had arrived - we counted forty lapwings - but a few painted ladies and dragonflies were also still on the wing.
The dyke known as Boundary Drain and the adjacent pond had joined forces forming a more extensive lake with clumps of rushes. We watched a kingfisher diving repeatedly from a twiggy bush; another landed on a post. Two little grebe bobbed up in their winter plumage.
Further off among more than a dozen little egrets we were surprised to see a tall slender bird, with a long
downward curved bill, stalking slowly through the shallow water, between the rushes, sweeping its bill from side to side. It was dark with a purplish bronze sheen. It was a glossy ibis. Its official Devon status - 'very rate vagrant'.
Our quest to find the pelican was unsuccessful but unexpectedly coming across the ibis was a great delight.
Three weeks later we returned and found that part of the path around Horsey Island had been closed due to a landslip. A man wielding a telescope told us the pelican was still around and had been seen the previous day.
It was a quiet day; not many people or birds about. As we walked along the causeway we noticed a small brown bird jabbing the grass with its bill, searching for ants. We had a wonderful view of it as it seemed quite unconcerned about our presence even flying a little closer to where we stood. With its grey and brown mottled pattern, streaked with black; fawn v-shaped markings and dark eye stripe, it resembled a piece of bark. A clever camouflage.
It was a wryneck, an uncommon passage migrant. Our field guide says it is an elusive bird more often heard than seen, so we considered ourselves very fortunate to have chanced upon it. It has a rather attractive Latin name - Jynx torquilla. Yet again we did not find the pelican and in November when four cranes appeared on the Braunton Great Field near Marstage Farm [opposite Velator Quay], we failed to see those too! But what a fine sight those elegant, grey, four feet tall visitors must have been.
Illustrations by: Paul Swailes
BLACK BINS - GREEN BINS
I wrote an article in the Berrynarbor Newsletter in April 2016 which to remind those good people who did or
didn't read it, went something like this. One would have thought that most people in this village would fully understand the difference between what rubbish goes into a black wheelie bin and what rubbish goes into a green wheelie bin! NOT SO!
Hello" I hear you say, "What's this all about?'
To cut a long story short, Sue and I still have to transfer plastic and/or cellophane wrapping from dead flowers, plastic flowers, plastic flower pots, [no plastic gnomes as yet?] on a weekly basis from the GREEN BIN, adjacent to the water tank and tap, to the BLACK BIN, adjacent to the lych gate.
As everyone knows [everyone?], Green Bins are for garden waste in the shape of flowers, shrubs, weeds, foliage and the like. Black Bins are for general rubbish - and this bin absolutely adores items that are made from plastic!
SO! Once again, please, please, please place any plastic related items in the Black Bin by the lych gate - the short walk from the Green Bin
will do you so much good and will save Sue and me such a lot of aggravation!
We do realise that the culprit/s may of course be visitors to the churchyard and not from this beautiful village - but do we really need to consider having CCTV cameras installed to catch the culprits in the act or just put up with it?
Please read the notice on the bins - it tells you what to do!
Stuart & Sue Neale
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 67
DR ELISABETH DOREEN SVENDSEN MBE
Founder of The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
23rd January 1930 -11th May 2011
Last year, the Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth was voted by the Daily Telegraph as one of the best ten family days out in Devon. Here you can see, fondle or cuddle up to some of up to 500 of these lovely animals, all who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Worldwide there are 6,500 donkeys being cared for in linked sanctuaries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
A donkey hospital with emergency room was founded in Ethiopia where the lifespan of a donkey is just nine years compared with 25 in Britain, and clinics have been opened in Mexico, Kenya and India.
All this has happened because of the life of one woman:
Elisabeth Svendsen, who during her lifetime cared for more than 14,500 donkeys. But it wasn't only donkeys she helped. She also founded the Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys in Ivybridge during the 1970's [now called the Donkey Assisted Therapy work], a charity giving children with disabilities the chance to meet and ride donkeys. Add to this, writing over 40 books including two autobiographies and a series of children's stories, and bringing up 4 children - Clive, Lise, Sarah and Paul, one can see that she didn't have much spare time!
Elisabeth Doreen Knowles was born in Elland, West Yorkshire on the 23rd January 1930, the daughter of a businessman. She fell in love with donkeys when she was eight, on a drive with her father through the Calder Valley. Here she spotted two of them and every weekend on trips to Lancashire, her father had to drive 'Little Betty' eight extra miles so that she could, in her words
" . . . climb up on the post and rail fencing and shout
'Donkeys!' They would always come right across to
me . . . they had such soft warm muzzles, such beautiful
trusting eyes, and they seemed to look at me as if
perhaps they knew what was going to happen in
Her early career was as a primary school teacher and then company secretary to her father's pipeworks company. In March 1954, her car caught fire and she met Niels Svendsen who put out the fire with an extinguisher. they married later that year. Together they achieved many business accolades, including inventing a dryer for children's nappies. They sold the latter to a manufacturer and with the proceeds, in 1966, bought the Salston Hotel in Ottery St Mary, a large old run-down country house with 8 acres of grounds - ideal for keeping donkeys as well as guests! The first donkey purchased was called Naughty Face. At this time, Elisabeth was area representative for the Donkey Breed Society and on a visit to Exeter market saw seven donkeys cramped in a lice-infested pen. Having unsuccessfully failed to buy the worst of them, she resolved, in 1969, to help donkeys.
She started to collect neglected donkeys but by 1973 when she had 38, the cost of their upkeep as well as running the hotel was overwhelming. The next year, after a late evening celebration, she and her husband returned home to her son waiting up for her saying that she must 'phone Barclays Bank immediately as it was very urgent. When she got through, the voice said that she'd been left a legacy. Dreaming of cash, she asked, "How much?"
"Two hundred and four donkeys and you're to take as many as you can and those you're unable to take will be shot" replied the voice.
This was a bequest from a small donkey sanctuary near Reading. So Elisabeth and her husband decided to sell the hotel and go into donkey protection full-time.
Since that day, the Donkey Sanctuary has taken in over 15,500 needy donkeys and mules, in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. The Sanctuary employs more than 500 people around the world [60 of them in Britain] investigating complaints of abuse and checking on the 1,000 donkeys hired out at holiday beaches. Injured donkeys are treated in the modern veterinary hospital and once back to full fitness each one is given its own jacket.
In 1976, the same year that she launched her Trust for Children and Donkeys, Elisabeth Svendsen launched the International Donkey Trust to take care of the millions of donkeys and mules worldwide and by last year it had rescued more than 400,000 donkeys in 29 countries.
Over the years she attained many awards. She was appointed MBE in 1980.
When asked by the Queen, "And what is your work, my dear?" she replied, "Donkeys Your Majesty".
'A look of amazement crossed her face and then I explained I also worked with donkeys and handicapped children, at which she smiled and said, "Well done." '
In 1992 she received an honorary doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from Glasgow University; in 2001 an award from the RSPCA for her contribution to donkey rescue and in 2009 an award from Edinburgh University, again for her pioneering work with donkeys, but also for founding one of the most successful charities in the world.
Elisabeth and her husband were divorced in 1982 and she died peacefully on 11th May 2011, at the age of 81, after a stroke, with her family by her bedside. Despite having retired in 2007, she stayed involved with her charity right up to her death.
For some people, the charity has been too successful. 200,000 visitors a year arrive at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, which is open 365 days a year and there is no charge for entry or car parking but donations are welcome. As far back as 2009 it had an income of £22 million, and regularly receives more donations than Age Concern, Mencap and The Samaritans. It is sometimes cited by the Charities Aid Foundation as 'the eccentric nature of British Philanthropy.'
Dr. Svendsen admitted, "We have many critics, those who feel the money we spend on donkeys could be better spent on old people, young people, battered babies, the list is endless. All worthy causes, but my love is the donkey and it is to them I wish my efforts to go".
To a neglected donkey at least, what a mover and shaker! And in the words of the Donkey Sanctuary website, " Dr. Svendsen's impact on the lives of thousands of children assisted by riding therapy, as well as millions of donkeys and the communities that rely on them for their own survival, cannot be measured."
PP of DC
When Helen, our daughter, was born in 1965, I invested in a wooden dryer to help dry nappies - yes, we used terry toweling and muslin nappies in those days!
Some 50 years later, this dryer, always known as the Nippy Nappy Dryer, is still doing its duty, not for nappies but for drying other items of washing when the weather dictates a lack of washing line use.
Looking up Nippy Nappy Dryer on the internet, I was surprised and delighted to find that this was one and the same dryer, mentioned in PP of DC's article, invented by Elizabeth and Niels Svendsen!
OLD BERRYNARBOR - VIEW NO. 165
This view of Watermouth Castle was taken and published by the Bristol photographer, William Garratt. It would have been taken c1909 and shows the castle and battlements completely covered in ivy. The main road between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin can be seen in the middle of the picture and is bordered by walls and hedges. Whilst in the foreground cows can be seen munching away at the grass.
Note just how wooded the entire background to the Castle and how undeveloped this part of Watermouth Cove was at this time.
Berrynarbor, Watermouth and much of the surrounding area comprising of almost 50 farms had been purchased in 1712 by Joseph Davie Bassett. It was not until 1825 that the building of the present Castle was commenced for Joseph Davie Bassett and completed many years later.
Joseph married Harriet Sarah Crowforth at Dulverton in 1828. They returned to Watermouth and set up home with a staff of approximately 40 domestics, 7 gardeners, 2 grooms and many workers and craftsmen employed on the estate. The estate included quarries, saw and flour mills, etc.
Mrs. Penn-Curzon was the last of the Bassett family to live at Watermouth. During the First World War the castle was used as a convalescent home for army officers.
Tower Cottage, January 2017
Lonely lantern bearer, in the darkest hour,
Bold witness, to the bitter icy blast
Trembling in defiance, you remain steadfast,
Bravely breaching the frozen crystal crust,
The truth to tell, propels your thrust,
A pendulous pearl, on cold winters ear,
Whispering in prophecies, of change and cheer,
A pious sister, head bowed in prayer,
Renewing your vows, each start of year,
Slender, in habit green and wimple white,
Your mission, to bring forth hope and light,
In sorry orchards, now denuded and forlorn,
Amongst tilted tombstones, all weather worn,
From clustered cells, you spread the word,
To the winter weary, and those despaired,
The intemperate tyrant is in retreat,
Stretching days, will, long night defeat,
Your faith a spur, to the flagging heart,
As trust appears, dark doubts depart,
The sun scales higher, the leaden sky,
The smothered earth, once more does sigh,
Your three petalled bell, the changes ring,
Beyond the bleak horizon, comes jutting spring.
A special tribute to the Snowdrop written by Chelsea poet John Armstrong for the Chelsea Physic Garden
WEATHER OR NOTThe first of November was the warmest day of the month at 15.8 Deg C and the last day of the month was the coldest at -3.4 Deg C which was the coldest November day since 2010 when we recorded -4.4 DegC. It was also the coldest day that we recorded in 2016. The first couple of weeks of the month were fairly mild and dry then the rain arrived on the 15th followed by winter on the 18th when there was sleet, hail and snow on high ground at Tavistock. On the 19th we had a very close thunderstorm which knocked out our internet, then on the 19th/20th the first named storm of the season, Angus, brought torrential rain and strong winds and the barometer fell to 978mb. Between Tuesday the 15th and Tuesday the 22nd, we recorded 109.2mm which was over two thirds of the total month's rainfall of 147.2mm. The winds calmed after a couple of days but it remained cold until the end of the month. 33.08 hours of sunshine were recorded which was more than in previous Novembers.
The first five days of December were cold with frosts, the coldest day was the 4th with -1.6 Deg C which was not out of the ordinary for December. Temperatures started to pick up and the 7th was like a spring day with the thermometer rising to our highest temperature for the month at 15.1 Deg C. This was also our warmest December day since we started keeping records. The weather remained fairly benign until the 23rd when storm Barbara arrived which mainly affected the north of the country; here it passed through fairly quickly. Storm Connor on Christmas Day brought strong winds with a maximum gust of 36mph. Overall December was a dry month with a total of 57.6mm of rain of which 21.4mm fell on the 10th. This was the second lowest on our records, only beaten by 2010 when we had 32mm. The sunshine hours for the month were 13.41 which was fairly high for a December. It was a dry year with a total rainfall of only 1070mm which was exactly the same as 2013 and only slightly more than our driest year which was 2006 when we recorded 1054mm. Apart from a few flakes in February, March and November we had no snow in 2016.
As we write this the snowdrops are starting to bud and the daffodils are coming up. Spring is around the corner although there is still time for some bad weather.
Simon and Sue