Edition 186 - June 2020
I hope you are all keeping well. We are certainly living in strange and difficult times and as this Newsletter goes to print, there is little change in the lockdown situation. But the incredible weather we have had over the last eight weeks has been a blessing, allowing time to be spent in the gardens, both relaxing and working - gardens have never looked better!
The community spirit has, as always in this village, helped us to keep our chins up and here, in the Valley, we come out each week to clap and make a noise to thank the NHS, and on VE Day shared a celebratory tea from the distance of our gardens.
But most importantly, and speaking for everyone, we must give very grateful thanks to all those who have helped to lighten the situation: to our Shop, Staff and Committee, who have kept the village needs catered for, including having loo rolls when they disappeared off the supermarket shelves, and making up and delivering orders daily; The Globe for cooking and delivering ready-made tasty meals and to the Parish Council for collecting and delivering prescriptions; last, but not least, to the many individual helpers who have shopped, collected medicines and taken care of those in self-isolation. Thank you all!
And, of course, thank you to the contributors who have ensured that the Newsletter keeps going. Let's hope that by the time of the August issue [items for which will be welcome any time and by the 3rd July latest and which can be e-mailed to me on email@example.com] that we shall be in a position to socialise - we will meet again!
By the time you read this, things may have changed, but in the meantime, take care and keep safe and well.
Judie - Ed
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
With Berrynarbor Church closed until further notice, there is not very much to say for this issue of the Newsletter! Not even our intrepid Bellringers are allowed to practice on Thursdays or ring on Sunday mornings!
We were hoping to receive the go ahead from the Diocese of Exeter for the necessary repair work to be carried out on the roof, masonry and cast iron guttering, but as yet have not received the 'green' light. However, with builders' merchants closed and other suppliers in lockdown, we have to patiently wait for things to return to normal.
Apart from the few good people who donate using the gift aid scheme, we like other churches throughout the land do not receive any collection money and other donations due to the absence of church services during the lockdown period. However, there are many charities nationwide whose very existence rely on public donations year after year, not to mention vital support of businesses and their workers throughout the land who, at the end of the day, provide the life blood of this country's economy and existence!
We pray for our wonderful NHS and the huge difficulties that nursing staff face every day, and despite the tragic loss of some colleagues due to this awful virus, hope that they remain safe and well in the coming months ahead.
Our special prayers go to those in our community who are unwell and recovering from treatment following their time in hospital and those who are lonely and finding the lockdown difficult to manage, and hope that things return to normal and that everyone maintains all the social distancing and other measures recommended by the Government.
Our vicar, Rev. Peter Churcher, has arranged Service Videos on Sunday mornings which can be viewed on the following website: www.combetocombechurches.co.uk They start at 10.30 a.m. with a chat box for you to engage with!
Keep safe and well, God bless you all.
WEATHER OR NOT
I think this photo sums up the April weather nicely.
All things bright and beautiful.
In my last article I wrote 'On this note I wish you all a good spring, if we can find a few more hours of sunshine I am sure it would be appreciated!' I think you will agree with me that we have done much better!
March started off with a continuation of the cold, wet and windy weather we had suffered going back well into 2019. On the 19th some kind soul found the tap and turned it off, they also switched the sun on and fortunately this coincided with the covid 19 lockdown which gave us the opportunity to get out into our gardens.
The total rainfall from the 1st to the 19th inclusive was 107.4mm. The wettest day was the 15th with 17mm. The rest of the month was dry. The average rainfall for March is 86.13mm but despite the dry second half the total was well up on the average. The maximum temperature was 18.2˚C on the 24th [average 16.92˚C] and the lowest was 1.9˚C on the 26th [average 1.01˚C]. The maximum wind speed was 42mph from the SSW on the 10th [average 37.21mph]. The wind chill factor lowest temperature was 3.6˚C on the 26th [average 5.42˚C]. On the 1st the barometric pressure was 989.3mbars and not surprisingly was mainly low for the first half of the month and then remained higher for the end with the highest reading on the 29th at 1041.3mbars. Total sunshine hours amounted to 106.23, two thirds of this was after 19th March and the highest since 2012 when we enjoyed 110.88 hours [average 89.77].
The good weather continued into April with the first rain arriving on the 5th, 6th and 7th, total 2.4mm. The next rain arrived on the17th and 18th [total 5.0mm], then it was dry until 28th when a large amount, 22.4mm, fell and during the last two days there was a further 18.4mm. This was a good thing as my water butts were empty. The total for the month was 48.2mm. The average is 68.34mm. The driest April I have recorded was 2011 when we had a mere 7mm. The total for the year so far is 498.6mm. The maximum temperature was well up at 25.6˚C on the10th [average 20.54˚C] and the lowest was 0.5˚C on the 1st [average +0.68˚C]. The maximum wind speed was 32.00mph from the North on the 13th [average 33.00 mph]. The wind chill factor lowest temperature was 1.7˚C on the 1st [average 2.8˚C]. The barometer reached a high of 1029.4mbars on the 14th and fell to a low of 990.7mbars on the 30th. Total sunshine hours amounted to 158.42, the highest since 2017 when we had 164.67 [average 138.40].
I hope this nice pattern of weather continues as it certainly helps us with being isolated at home. Please take care and stay safe.
Please Note: I made an operator error when writing the last report. The average figures quoted were incorrect, here are the correct figures:
January: Rainfall 143.55mm. Highest temperature 12.54˚C. Lowest 2.27˚C. Highest wind gust 41.6mph. Wind chill 3.76˚C. Sunshine 14.12 hours.
February: Rainfall 119.0mm. Highest temperature 13.05˚C. Lowest 2.03˚C. Highest wind gust 40.33mph. Wind chill 4.30˚C. Sunshine 43.23 hours.
Please accept my apologies for these errors.
JAMES [JIM] CONSTANTINE
6.12.1942 - 4.4.2020
Having suffered from prostate cancer but able to lead a normal life until just recently, it was sad to learn that Jim had died on the 4th April. His funeral took place at the North Devon Crematorium on the 20th April.
Our thoughts are with Jean, Nick and Sue, and all the family at this time of sadness.
Together with Alex Parke and Keith Walls, Jim was instrumental in the setting up of our Village Shop and had been a stalwart on the Manor Hall Committee and a member of our Parish Council. His quiet presence is missed.
'TO BE OR NOT TO BE!'
Along with so many financial implications of this strange time, funds for the Newsletter, YOUR newsletter, are CRITICAL. Even with collecting box donations, mail subscriptions, including donations, and the Parish Council's annual grant, with each COPY costing approximately £1.50, there may not be sufficient funds to finance it beyond the August issue!
If it is to continue into its 32nd year, and hopefully you, the readers, think it should, the coffers need filling!
In that case, what needs to be done?
Thank you for donating via the collecting boxes and please continue to give generously - every little counts!
Advertising is one source of income. The policy for this has been to keep it local and for it not to dominate, but could your business advertise? If so, please ring me on  883544 for further details and charges.
Are you good at organising events? In the past I have run fund raising events - Country Collection week ends, Arts and Crafts Activity Days, a Pamper Day - and it is amazing how much a jumble sale or quiz evening can raise. Could you perhaps think of organising an event once this situation is resolved? It might be the life line that is needed!
If you would like to help by making a donation, this can be done by;
• PayPal to Berrynarbor.firstname.lastname@example.org - send to friends & family
• Internet banking to Berrynarbor Newsletter, A/C 85446060, sort code 30 98 97
• Cheques payable to Berrynarbor Newsletter and sent to me at Chicane, Berrynarbor, EX34 9TB
• or at The Village Shop and Post Office
Any financial help would be most welcome and very much appreciated. Thank you.
Chairman: Adam Stanbury 
First of all, we hope you are all staying safe and well during this difficult and uncertain time. The Parish Council is trying to provide relevant information and links to useful pages on its website www.berrynarborparishcouncil.org.uk, so if you haven't already, have a look. There are also contact numbers if you require any assistance with tasks such as shopping or collection of prescriptions.
Play Areas The Government's latest guidance is clear that parks can open, however, playgrounds and equipment must remain closed. The Manor Hall Play Area and the equipment in the Recreation Field remain closed and we would urge you to adhere to social distancing and Government guidelines when using any facilities and when undertaking your exercise. If you do observe congregations of people or mass gatherings, we would urge you to report these to the Police on the 101 non emergency number or email facility.
Public Toilets For the time being the public toilets will also remain closed whilst the risk in re opening is assessed.
Parish Council Meetings At the beginning of April, the legislation was altered to allow Parish Councils to hold virtual meetings. The Parish Council is continuing with its meeting schedule and holding virtual meetings via Zoom. Agendas for the meetings are published on our website and displayed on the notice boards in the village.
Play Equipment The Parish Council has agreed to proceed with the section 106 funding and installation of new equipment for the Manor Hall Play Area and the Recreation Field. Unfortunately, the manufacturer is not working at the moment but we hope this may change in the near future so we can proceed with the project.
Councillors Sian Barten recently resigned as a Councillor and the Parish Council would like to express its thanks to Sian for her service and commitment to the Council. Following the resignation, the Parish Council has co opted Jenny Beer to the Council, and would like to welcome Jenny and to working with her again.
Mrs Victoria Woodhouse BA (Hons) Parish Clerk
Firstone, Yarnscombe, Barnstaple, EX31 3LW
Mobile: 07815 665215
THE ULTIMATE TEST
I hope the test in the April issue kept you pondering for a while during this strange time of lockdown. When it first appeared in 1990 as a competition, it caused much amusement and a talking point within the village. Some of the answers were ingenious and no one got 7L and 5F. I wonder if anyone has the answer this time? 7 loaves and 5 fishes was the majority answer, but there were 5 loaves and 2 fish in the feeding of the 5,000. It may be that the compiler didn't get it right!
Unfortunately, there were a few typos, for which apologies if you wasted time puzzling. 13 should read, 7S on a FPP, 14. 4Q in a G, 18 7D in a PC, AND 10 11P in a FT.
Answers: 1. 26 letters of the alphabet. 2. 7 wonders of the world. 3. 1001 Arabian Nights. 4. 12 signs of the zodiac. 5. 54 cars in a deck. 6. 9 planets in the solar system. 7. 88 piano keys. 8. 13 stripes on the American flag. 9. 32 degrees Fahrenheit at which water freezes. 10. 18 holes on a golf course 11. 90 degrees in a right angle. 12. 200 pounds for passing go in Monopoly. 13. 7 sides on a 50 pence piece 14. 4 quarts in a gallon 15. 3 blind mice [see how they run] 16. 24 hours in a day 17. 1 horn on a unicorn 18. 7 digits in a post code 19. 57 Heinz varieties 20. 11 players in a football team 21. 1 prancing horse on a Ferrari 22. 29 days in February in a leap year 23. 64 squares on a chess board 24. 40 days and nights of the great flood 25 76 trombones in the big parade 26. 147 is maximum break in snooker 27. 125 trains go inter city 28. 3 treble top is one hundred 'n' eighty 29. 21 points in a table tennis match 30. 65 the age to retire [but not any longer!] 31. 12 days of Christmas 33. 15 men on a dead man's chest 34. 0 [no] tail on a Manx cat 35. 999 is police, fire, ambulance. How did you do?
HEATHERCROFT PROPERTY LTD.
We are currently taking bookings for work which can commence once the situation changes.
work, including decorating, can still be carried out safely according to
government guidelines. Internal work on kitchens, bathrooms, installation
of shower panels will recommence once the restrictions
Internal work on kitchens, bathrooms, installation of shower panels will recommence once the restrictions
are lifted. For further details please contact
 883905 OR 07974 047682
e mail: email@example.com
NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR SHOP & POST OFFICE
There's a very old saying keep your shop and your shop will keep you. This has never been truer than it is today. The shop has proved to be a lifeline to the vulnerable of the village, to those who are self isolating and to regular and new customers alike.
Because of the lockdown restrictions and the need for self distancing, the shop has had to find new ways of operating. Of course, the health and well being of our wonderful staff comes first; for without them there is no shop. It is hard to describe how grateful the committee and the village are to Karen, Annie and Susan for their hard work, dedication and enterprise as they provide this critical service to our community during what continues to be a stressful and worrying time.
Never before has our village shop had to make so many changes to how it does things. But we are delighted to say that our customers have come with us on the journey and accepted what we have had to do with understanding and so much goodwill.
After the initial shock of the lockdown and the consequences of the madness of panic buying at supermarkets, which our shop quickly and effectively resisted, a new routine has been established and our shelves remain very well stocked. Our focus has always been on our customers and those who we know rely on us. New customers have been warmly welcomed and no one has been turned away.
Just to remind everyone, the Shop and Post Office are open in the mornings Monday to Saturday but closed on Sundays. You can phone through orders on 01271 883215. These will be made up as soon as possible in the afternoon. If you are self isolating then one of our team of volunteers will arrange to deliver your order to you. If not, you will receive a call to say when you can collect it. To date, the shop has made up over 300 customer orders!
We sincerely hope that once normality [whatever that may be!] is resumed and rules relaxed, that all those who have used the shop during these difficult times, will remember us and continue to visit as members of our faithful band of customers. We will always go the extra mile so you don't have to.
And that's not all new, new, new!
We don't rest on our laurels! We have introduced two new local ranges into our freezer cabinets. Exmoor Kitchen Heat and Eat ready meals are high quality, home cooked meals using fresh Devon and Exmoor produce. We are also now stocking the very popular and delicious Jon Thorner's pies - also made in the West
Country. Try them - you won't be disappointed!
BERRY IN BLOOM.
What a difference two months can bring! All the plans Berry in Bloom had made for this coming year have changed because of the corona virus and lockdown.
The main change is that all competitions this year have been cancelled. There will be no open gardens this year and therefore no summer fund raising. However, the plants for the tubs and containers around the village were ordered from Grow@Jigsaw in January and up until the beginning of May the team at Jigsaw were certain that they would be able to deliver the plants. Sadly, they then realised the delivery would be impossible because of social distancing. Berry in Bloom are sad for them as they had invested lots of money and effort and will end up seriously out of pocket. However, we have managed to get a last minute replacement order delivered from St. John's Barnstaple and have been able to empty and plant the tubs, either by single persons or in lockdown couples. The hanging basket are due for delivery at the end of May. We hope that all of you in our lovely village will feel heartened and have your spirits lifted in a small way.
Let us all hope that by the Autumn we shall be able to socialise again, something we are all sorely missing.
The planting of the wild flowers in the small dog walking field has been put on hold as when the plug plants arrived, we were in the middle of five weeks with no rain and the plugs were tiny. We have potted them up and are growing them on until they are big enough to withstand the weather. Likewise, the sowing of the seed that would have not germinated in the dry and would have become fancy birdseed. This is definitely a work in progress.
If you are at home looking for an easy recipe to make especially with the children why not try these.
Lemon and Raisin Bars
For the Base
85g/3oz porridge oats
50g/2oz light muscovado sugar
For the Topping
3 free range eggs
175g/60z light muscovado sugar
85g/3oz desiccated coconut
grated zest 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp juice
For the Icing
finely grated zest 1 small lemon plus 2 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the flour, oats and sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter. Tip into a shallow 26 x 18cm tin, press down with your fingers until smooth. Bake for 10 15 minutes until pale golden.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Melt the butter and leave to cool. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the remaining topping ingredients. Pour over the base, then bake for20 25 minutes, until the top is set and golden. Mark into 12, then leave to cool before cutting.
Put the icing sugar in a small bowl with the lemon zest. Stir in enough lemon juice to make a smooth icing. Drizzle diagonally over the squares.
I'm sure the children will love making these, and eating them too!
WHAT IS IT?
What's the name of the day?
Is it April, is it May?
I know it's Thursday when we clap
To our carers, I doff my cap.
All front line people show their brilliance,
We must support them with our resilience.
Three more weeks at least we'll spend
Doing jobs, make do or mend.
At least the house is clean and tidy,
But is it Sunday, Monday or Friday?
At least the sun's been out to cheer us,
Taking our thoughts away from the virus
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
Whine no more; we're alive to tell a tale!
Who would have thought, on January 1st 2020, that sharing a bottle, if you're wearing gloves, with people other than your household members, had to be at 2 metres, currently? Lock down, PPE and social distancing are now part of our weird and very quiet present. I'm sure we all hope that a more familiar life will resume during the summer, but when we are through all of this, will this year's normality look like 2019's? The Wine Circle hopes to resume chatting, sharing and tasting from Wednesday, 21st October. Drinking through a mask will prove interesting!
Meanwhile, gardening, Glorious Devon and household maintenance occupy our time! Talking of gardens, Geoff and I have tackled jobs that we've been meaning to do for a while. I'm sure we're not alone! One of them is painting on a large slate slab in the garden. No, I'm not going gaga . . . yet! Years ago, I noticed one of the large slates, in our raspberry bed, had some obvious letters on it. When I threw some water over it, I could see a date. Kneeling beside it, I saw a picture, scratched into this etched slate, too.
Most people, I should have thought, would see 1916 and think of the four dreadful years that formed WWI. I know I did. Was this when a male household member left Berrynarbor to serve for the rest of this war? Knowing popular first names and surnames for this area and era, I wondered if the 'EL' stood for maybe an Edwin Lethaby, Edward Lancey, Elijah Ley, Eric . . . Ernest . . ? I decided I had to investigate.
As I've been doing family research for a few years, I used my online access and trawled through the 1911 Census records for Berrynarbor possibles. After a fairly easy search, I found an Ernest Thomas Leworthy. He was only 7 when this Census was taken. His parents, Thomas and Catherine wouldn't have allowed Ernest, at 12, to try and join up on 'Jul 19th 1916', so was this just a schoolboy, at home, perhaps for the summer holidays, who scratched his initials, the date, a ship and anchor on to a slate slab, while playing in this garden? Had I found the right EL?
His sister, Florence, was 5; both Leworthy children were at the village school. Their 'Street' was 'The Village'. Our address here is The Village. Had the slate slab been in situ for at least a century, as a permanent part of what is now our garden? Thomas, their father, was described as '40' and a 'Gardens Labourer on Estate'.
Estate reminded me that the Penn Curzon's of Watermouth Castle owned the village; the family would have been tenants and their workers did come from this village, so deeds for village properties, including 43 The Village, or The Manor Stores, as it was, would not exist prior to the sale of the Watermouth Estate, which occurred on August 17th, 1920.
As he is a possible, I looked at what else I could discover about this little boy. Accessible records, to me, showed that he became a Butler and Valet. With his French born wife, Anna, he had worked in Mayfair, London, before they travelled aboard the Berengaria as Alien Passengers for the United States, arriving in New York, on the 22nd August 1930. He had been on a ship!
World War II records gave his Residence place as East St, Colonia, Middlesex, New Jersey. He had signed up for service on the 15th February 1942, at the age of 37 and had been employed by the Rice Baking Company of Linden, New Jersey. Susanna Leworthy was still his Next of Kin. Their offspring, and maybe grandchildren, could still be alive to tell this tale and more . . .
Judith Adam - Promotional Co ordinator & Secretary
BERRYNARBOR MANOR HALL TRUST
It goes without saying that of course the hall has been closed since lockdown and sadly will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that we have managed to secure a grant to help ensure that we can keep paying our bills such as insurance and utility standing orders.
Prior to corona virus, we had already received a grant from our Parish Council to fund the replacement of the front facia boards and guttering. Now with the slight adjustment to lockdown, the scaffolding will be going up and the works able to start. The grant will also fund the replacement of the playground end windows, which will hopefully go ahead in early July, subject to continued government guidelines.
We very much hope that you are all keeping well and that we can welcome you back into our dear hall as soon as it is safely possible.
Julia - Chairman & Bookings - and the Trustees
Whilst this is a story of sorts, it was written as a personal letter to a friend in London who was concerned 'bout how us country folks is doin'.
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
William Wordsworth was born 250 years ago on April 7th. To commemorate the Romantic Poets of that era, the Royal Mail have issued a new set of stamps which, obviously, have just dropped into my postbox. I love special postage stamps and I love poetry.
And in these quiet and peaceful days of isolation, with daffodils, primroses, bluebells and flowering wild garlic all over our garden and fields, and with only the birdsong and, now, the soft bleating of the new born lambs in the field breaking the silence, I sit on our old Victorian bench by the garden shed and reflect lots on the wonders of nature. As I sat there yesterday in the hot sun soaking up a free dose of vitamin D on grey days I take the pills the doctor prescribed I thought how easy it would have become, had I lived back in those days, to be lulled by these rural countryside wonders to write poetry of my own. There was not much else to do back then for gentlemen of means with a penchant for the pen. Fewer people to disturb you as you walk the lanes and fields. Less willing women to join you for a roll in the hay. No television or radio. No internet to pull and lock our eyes onto computer screens to read modern day tales of constant doom and gloom. More time to simply sit and ponder on the joys of a sedate and trouble free life as a privileged gentleman with time on his hands. And, now that we're in lockdown and also have far too much time on our hands, I too reflect on the strange kind of life we are having to lead and have written my own little stanza.
By sitting here all day in total kitchen isolation.
With naught much else to do but serious meditation,
I've now worked up a major bout of terrible frustration.
It's possible I'm suffering from excess Covid titillation.
One of the stamps amongst the Romantic Poets set of 10 is a line from a poem by John Clare, the son of a farm labourer, often known as the peasant poet.
It comes from his poem 'The Progress of Rhyme', but I like his specific poems about birds the most.
As nature's poesy and pastoral spells-
They are the yellowhammer's and she dwells
Most poet like where brooks and flowery weeds
As sweet as Castaly to fancy seems
And that old molehill like as Parnass' hill
On which her partner haply sits and dreams
O'er all her joys of song-so leave it still
A happy home of sunshine, flowers and streams.
I have been listening and studying the birdsongs on an audio CD that came with a great and comprehensive book published by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and kindly given to me when we first moved here by Chris and Phyllis Walden of Cherry Tree Cottage.
There were 99 different bird songs on the CD, but I only study those of the birds I know live in our garden. Then I sit by the shed and listen to the real song birds. But it's so incredibly difficult because they all sing at the same time whilst there is a disturbing background noise of wood pigeons, crows, magpies and pheasants. The added difficulty is that there are only very subtle differences between the calls of the dunnocks, blue tits, coal tits, chaffinches, goldfinches, green finches and nuthatches. However,
I have managed to pin down the sounds of the robin, the wagtail and the blackbird. It is going to take a long time before I can recognise enough to be comfortable with my avian skills. But, as they say, time is on my side. What else is there to do in these extraordinary lazy days?
A noisome weed that burthens every soil;
For snakes are known with chill and deadly coil
To watch such nests and seize the helpless young,
And like as though the plague became a guest,
Leaving a houseless home, a ruined nest-
And mournful hath the little warblers sung
When such like woes hath rent its little breast.
We've been busy trying to
chase the Canadian geese away from the garden. We had to work team handed to try and corner
them and shout whilst waving big sticks until they flew away. Margaret tried to
do it alone one morning but fell and grazed her knee. So, we have given up trying to chase the
geese away. After Margaret's little
accident, she wasn't up for another run around the lake. So, they have been allowed to drop more tons
of toxic turds around the bank and they have been nesting!
Mother Goose decided to build a big nest on the island using the wood chip we have put there to form a pathway across the water, and twigs that lie around on the grass after the storms. We watched her work and multiply through our binoculars. She first laid one egg and then she covered it up with twigs and chippings. This to hide it from the marauding crows and magpies that now fly around the nest waiting to feast on her offspring. Some days the heron also has a go. Mother Goose waited a day or two before she sat again to lay another egg. Geese normally produce 5 in total. And they are huge! About 5 times the size of chicken eggs.
We were undecided what our plan should be. Whether to naff the eggs and make a giant Spanish omelette, or let the eggs hatch and watch the sweet little goslings learn how to swim on the lake. That might be fun for a while, but if the family decide to stay, we'd have 7 constant poopers to contend with.
I went down there before lunch one day to try and take a photograph of the nest and eggs. I took my walking stick to move the twigs and uncover the nest. But as I arrived, Mr. and Mrs. Canadian Goose jumped in the water from the far side of the lake and came at me aggressively squawking loudly. So I retreated back into the kitchen. I went back again in the late afternoon carefully sneaking up on the nest and managed to get a picture of the eggs, which Mother Goose had not completely covered up with the small twigs and wood chippings, before they rushed at me with their fearsome red beaks.
We are curious now about what is going to happen when the ducklings also hatch, there are usually 8 of those, and the ducks, geese and goslings all swim around the lake together.
PS Two goslings have arrived!
Mother Goose abandoned the nest and left us with 4 big, cold eggs, two of which were in the kitchen warming up last night. If 2 more yellow devils had hatched and started running around messing on the slate floor this morning, I should have been in much trouble with Mrs. M!
NEWS FROM BERRYNARBOR PRE SCHOOL
a first taste of education
The children began the second half of the spring term learning more Maths concepts. This was supported with shop role play, with the children choosing to make a shoe shop; measuring feet, sorting shoes into pairs and using money to buy and sell. Lots of learning through play and problem solving was had. Stories were read including some of our favourites, such as Going on a Bear Hunt, The Gruffalo, The Three Bears and interactive books from the computer such as Froggie Gets Dressed.
Outside we had shape target practice with tally charts, hook a duck, hop scotch counting games and hide and seek. We celebrated Sports Relief with an obstacle adventure course, where the children had to run, hop, balance, kick, throw, climb up, slide down and crawl under a range of different items. They did so well and were presented with a certificate for their efforts. Well done to all!
We celebrated Mothering Sunday making cards and thanks to the Berry in Bloom team who kindly donated plants and compost, the children were able to plant up flowers for their mothers or someone special to them. Easter was brought forward slightly with the government asking us to close early due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The children made Easter treats and more fun games were had. We started to talk about spring and the changes in our seasons.
We held a party on the last day of term to celebrate our learning and to wish one of our children a very happy 4th birthday as unfortunately his party had to be cancelled due to the present circumstances.
So, we now find ourselves in lockdown. At present Pre school is closed and all our pre school families are well and complying with the lockdown rules. Parents and carers have become the teachers; finding activities and different things to learn, using social media with learning links and finding new ways to communicate with each other. It has been lovely to see all the activities our children have been able to do at home; cooking, drawing, writing, counting, short nature walks, bike rides, planting seeds, P.E. with Joe Wicks, pebble painting and reading books to name a few.
We wish everyone well and to continue to keep safe. We hope we are able to see everyone soon.
From the staff at Pre school Sue, Karen, Lynne and Emma
Widow Viv Niven was enjoying herself doing a bit of weeding in her back garden. When she finished, she went indoors to wash her hands. Alas, she found that her wedding ring had come off, where could it be?
She immediately went back to the bed she had been weeding to see if it was there, but there was no sign.
Bob, her son, was due home soon and perhaps he would have better luck. However, no matter how hard he looked, he could not find the ring. After a lot of searching everywhere with no luck, it looked as though ring was lost for ever.
By chance, Viv was concerned about the height of a poplar tree which had branches too close to her upstairs windows. "Something will have to be done about that," she said to herself.
The following week end she said to Bob, "Do you think you could do something about that tree, it's getting too big. I think it should come down."
By chance, Bob had a chain saw and was soon at work. The tree luckily fell on their lawn, so nothing was damaged.
"Look," said Bob to his mother, "There's a bird's nest in it. I wonder if there are any eggs?"
To his surprise there were no eggs but lo and behold, there was his mother's ring.
"It must have been a magpie or jackdaw that picked it up and dropped it in the nest. All's well that ends well," he thought as he cut up the smaller branches.
Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
BERRYNARBOR IN LOCKDOWN
last few weeks have challenged, communities far and wide
Causing folk to come together, put differences aside.
Our own community has been no different from all of the rest.
This COVID 19 pandemic has put us to the test.
How has Berrynarbor managed throughout these troubled times?
Let me try and sum it up by reporting it in rhyme.
Once we'd overcome the need to query who was staying where?
Concentrated on love and kindness; showing that we care.
Neighbours helping neighbours; collecting prescriptions too.
Baking cakes, showing kindness, doing whatever we needed to do.
Our pub jumped into action, providing a new service straight away.
Meals on wheels delivered to our door; roasts on each Sunday.
Our local shop has been amazing, delivering groceries to our door.
A beacon in the community, standing at the core.
A team of special people have kept things going throughout.
Their hard work and resilience was never in any doubt.
Whilst Tesco's shelves were empty, our shop had all we need.
From loo paper and flour, to fresh veg and meat to feed.
On Thursday nights we'd come together, cheering, banging pans.
Celebrating front line workers; the NHS's biggest fans.
All across the village we'd stand and make a noise.
Families on the door step; husbands and wives, girls and boys.
People standing together shouting really loud.
Showing our appreciation and making the workers feel quite proud.
Our little village has certainly shown it has a great big heart.
A community coming together, with residents playing their part.
Hopefully we will come through this: our efforts not in vain.
Survivors moving forward, but will life ever be quite the same?
When this is all over let's not forget the joy of walking the extra mile
Or the friendly greetings we offer with each and every smile.
Let's continue to buy local; appreciate our shop and pub
Visit the church and community hall; enjoy the village hub.
Try not to become too busy, rushing about in labour.
Enjoy time together. Continue to love your neighbour.
Let's have fun together again, meeting face to face
and realise, Berrynarbor, our village, is a truly special place.
THOUGHTS OF AN ARTIST IN LOCKDOWN
On 23rd March, a beautiful spring day, the lockdown began. To try and make sense of it all I decided to write a little every few days until such times as normality returns to our lives.
It all began on a day when the skies were clear and it just seemed so surreal that somewhere out there was the virus. Chris and I were both well and doing all we could to stay that way. We know just how lucky we are: we don't have to go out to work, we have somewhere nice to be in, we have hobbies we love and can continue. Above all. we have the love and support of our families. We have never seen so much of our children and grandchildren. Modern technology certainly has come into its own in that respect.
I have taken to following some advice from Stephen Fry. He said with regards to our mental wellbeing, there are things we can all do to stay healthy and resilient. Firstly, don't worry about things you can't control. Secondly, don't listen to too much news and social media. Thirdly, understand that when scientists speak, they generally begin by saying "we think" or "it seems that" and other such non assertive openings. Take heart from this that no one knows for certain what will happen, so be positive and believe the bottle is half full. His final piece of advice I have taken on board in a daily practical way. He said allow time to take on a different dimension slow down, rejoice in the little things. This I do, making time to message, to read, to talk, to paint and to cook so slowly. My studio has never been clearer nor my sock drawer tidier.
We have both made lists of things we want to do over the next few weeks. Much of it is concerns the house. Sorting out, tidying and decorating figure highly but also there are more personal things. In my case painting and organising my stamp collection. We are trying to put structure into our lives so we don't wake up each day and think what shall I do today? So, although not set in stone, we do have a plan. We try to divide our time between the chores and the things we personally want to do.
There is no doubt about it, I am missing being able to go to the gym. I had really got back into it after Christmas and felt I was making progress. My aim is always to cover more than twenty km a week in 5km chunks. I was pleased my 5km times were coming down and the thought of doing a 10km race again was not out of the question. Then the virus hit. I stopped going to the gym before it closed as I felt it was a risky environment. I should have gone out and bought an exercise bike there and then which would have made daily exercise easy. I didn't and hindsight is a wonderful thing. You would struggle to get one now.
I saw on television a story about a man who had run the London Marathon in his back garden by doing 835 laps. That got me thinking. Our house has got 54 steps from the bottom to top floor. Each step is 15cm high so that is a height gain of 8.1m. I decided to do 50 reps of that which I reckoned would be about 5km and not an insignificant amount of climbing. So, I put on my trainers, turned up my go faster music and off I went much to Chris's astonishment. Fifty five minutes later I had done it. What a great workout. Being the sort of person who relishes a challenge, I decided to try to climb the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest in less than ten days. Well to be exact, I mean to climb the equivalent of going from Base Camp at 5270m to the summit at 8850m that is a height gain of 3580m. It means a total of 447 assents of the stairs or 45 per day. I am pleased to say I finished the challenge with a flourish. On the last day I climbed the stairs 110 times, one set of 70 and one of 40. In total I took seven days to reach the summit. I climbed the stairs 450 times taking 62,100 steps gaining 3600m in height. This meant covering a distance of 31.5 miles. I think for the sake of the carpet I will not be undertaking any further climbs in the near future.
Our food supplies are holding out. We have eaten really well since this started. One highlight of the week has been the Gusto box with four meals in it which we get every Monday. It is fairly idiot proof and introduces us to new things which we would not have tried. It is also great for portion control but then you can't have everything! We have not panic shopped but with the boxes and what we have in the freezers and cupboards we are fine for a good few weeks yet.
Chris has been making bunting today to put in the FortyThree shop window. It is to say thank you to all the key workers. It is difficult to know what we can do to help in a practical way at the moment but I think we both feel we need to do something. We have both volunteered but still feel acutely aware of just how lucky we are.
Today, being Monday, it is another Gusto day. Our latest box has arrived and we have four new meals to look forward to. We take it in turns to be in charge of food for the day. I am head chef today so I shall lock myself in the kitchen with a glass of Merlot and see which of the four recipes looks the easiest to make whilst looking the most impressive!
I had a great run around an empty Ilfracombe: At just before 8.00 in the morning the streets were quiet and the sun was low in the sky glinting on the mirror flat water of the harbour. With pumping music in my ears and the stunning view as I came round Windy Corner, it was a spiritually uplifting moment. It is hard to take in that we are living in these unprecedented and uncertain times.
I was really taken by the communal clapping this week in recognition of the NHS and other front line workers. In these days of social isolation, it feels especially good and even necessary to be part of something bigger. Starting with someone on the Terrace banging a saucepan and growing as more and more people came out, the noise got louder. As the clock on the church struck eight a ripple of applause went round our end of town and you could visualise it being the same all over our country. I hope once normality returns to our lives, we'll remember this feeling of gratitude to others. The last few weeks have certainly made it evident that we all depend upon, always have done and always will do, each other and key workers. It would be great if our appreciation continued and manifested itself in a more equal, caring and sharing society. I am pleased to see that enthusiasm has not declined, which is vital as we are engaged in a long term campaign to defeat the virus. I think the announcement that the lockdown will continue for at least another three weeks was both right and inevitable. With the daily death toll still so high I can't see what else could be seen as tenable. I think it is becoming increasingly clear that normal life is a long way off yet for everybody and especially those who are at greater risk. For anyone who falls into the at risk category either due to age or underlying health issues I suspect it will only be the roll out of a vaccine which will end social isolation whether that is compulsory or voluntarily imposed.
I was impressed with the statement made by Boris after being discharged from hospital. He spoke with the dignity and gravitas of one who had had a near death experience. We can only hope the epiphany translates into policies in the months ahead.
I spoke to my sister yesterday. She is well although having to be very careful. She is a Dominican nun and lives in a small community in Cambridge with six other nuns from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Since one is in her late seventies and others have underlying health conditions, none of them can really go out for fear of bringing the virus into their house. She works as a Chaplain at the University dealing with the Catholic students' pastoral needs. She has been forced to do all her work on line which at this difficult time she finds limiting. Nevertheless, she is in good spirits but I think has quite a lot to cope with as some of the other nuns are finding things very difficult to deal with. Chris is part of a group of people in the town making face masks. They are all following the same strict pattern and guidance so that the masks will meet the required standards. Whereas others are using white sheeting donated by local hotels, Chris is using some rather fetching fabric with patterns of beach huts and cupcakes! It just goes to show that once a quilter always a quilter! The first batch of 80 have now been sent to a local nursing home and they will be supplying more social care facilities and local taxi drivers in the next few days.
Our eldest granddaughter continues to be home educated and since her school has given nursery rhymes as the theme for the term, I have produced illustrations for her to colour in. Her mother has uploaded them to the Fremington School website for others to use. I am really pleased and hope others will find them useful.
When we first retired from teaching, some five and a half years ago, it was obviously to a very different way of life. we had been fully engulfed in the world of work. We were, however, still young and active. We did not fall into the pipe and slippers bracket and in that sense, retirement was not so much an end but a beginning. We substituted teaching with other activities which filled our days. Like many others we soon found it difficult to understand how we had ever had the time to go to work. For me it was painting and physical exercise, for Chris it was quilting, and for both of us it was our travels in the van and seeing grandchildren. Our lives were full and to a certain extent our hobbies became like jobs. Lockdown has been different. We now have slowed down. We get up a bit later, drink coffee at eleven in the morning, watch Bargain Hunt over lunch and try to make tasks that once we would have rushed, last until tea time. Is this enforced style of retirement one step closer to the pipe and slippers and will it be reversible once we are released from lockdown? I have always believed that being active is a vital part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally and therefore I can see that the lockdown may well be a significant factor in reducing life expectancy.
We had to take the campervan over to Braunton for its MOT this week. It was the first time we had been out of Ilfracombe in six weeks! It seemed strange driving along in the van and we were certainly very self conscious of being out on the roads in what many would see as a recreational vehicle. That said it was as though the last six weeks had not happened and that we were just doing a normal and mundane thing.
We have been trying to get out for walks whenever we can. We see a few people and everyone seems intent on keeping their distance so there is much crossing of roads to avoid each other.
Our latest walk took us over Hillsborough and down towards Hele. The weather was great, as it has been for quite a while, and it was just a joy walking amongst a plethora of wild flowers. All the way round we could hear bird song, much of which was that of the blackbird and the robin. It was a lovely walk made even nicer by what is becoming the new normal, as politicians are calling our current situation. This is a truly hopeful time of year and you can't help looking forward to the summer. I have been so taken by the colours that I have painted three new pictures based on our walks. It has been a while since I wanted to paint but once I got started, I really enjoyed it.
So days come and days go. This will pass and we try our best to remain positive. All any of us can do is try to stay safe and think of others as well as ourselves.
hope that you are keeping well at this time, and know the blessings of God through
all your circumstances. Hopefully by
now you know what is happening at St. Peter's Berrynarbor and the other linked
churches. Unless things have change
drastically since writing this, we are still unable to meet in person, and so I
wanted to share what we are doing as a benefice to keep us all connected, and
to help everyone in their walk with Jesus.
The best place to go for up to date information, or for links to online
services and Zoom links for meetings, is our benefice website which is where I
place most information:
If this isn't an option for you then you can
always ring one of the me and I will happily talk you through what is going on.
The best place to go for up to date information, or for links to online services and Zoom links for meetings, is our benefice website which is where I place most information:
If this isn't an option for you then you can always ring one of the me and I will happily talk you through what is going on.
It is extremely important that although we are socially distant, that we are also distant socialising. i.e. We must stay physically apart for the health of ourselves and our communities, but also that we stay connected with each other so that no one is truly isolated.
Thank you for everyone that is making an effort of keep in contact with others via phone calls, post cards and other means. We got off to a good start but let's keep this going. [One word of warning though: please don't put things through people's doors by hand as this is an infection risk since Covid19 can live on paper for up to 24 hrs.] If you are feeling isolated please reach out to someone in the church - you never know; they may love a call too!
Until we are able to meet again, we shall be continuing to:
• put Service Videos on Sunday mornings on our website [see above]. They premiere at 10:30 a.m. with a
chat box for you to engage with, but you can watch at any time.
• have Virtual Coffee Mornings via Zoom on Mondays, from 10.00 to 11.00 a.m.[details online]
• have Virtual Home Group via zoom on Wednesdays, 7.30 - 9.00 p.m. [details online]
We have also introduced a new service, since our last letter:
• Telephone Compline. Sunday, 7.25 for a 7.30 p.m. start, for about 15 minutes.
Simply call 0333 011 0616 on any phone. You'll then enter the access code: 998 3503, and say your name [if you want to] followed by #. [Local rate call charges may apply] Everyone is welcome to join, but if you'd like to join in the responses in this service, you will need the service sheet. You can find this on our website, or by contacting me.
We have also produced a service sheet for Sunday worship. This is intended to be used for those who are unable to join in the video services each Sunday with people in their household or alone, so that, although we might not be together physically, we are one in Christ Jesus. Also available are the bible readings [lectionary] from each Sunday until the end of July so you can read the same passages that we shall be using on the videos.
It might be that you are reading this as someone who doesn't go to a church, or perhaps hasn't been for a while. This is a great opportunity to see what we do, and perhaps try joining in, as you can do so anonymously from the comfort of your own home. Of course, if you want to make yourself known we'd love to greet you as well - it's up to you.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank those who are going above and beyond to ensure our community is cared for. I'd particularly like to name and fame 3 groups: 1. The school staff, who have continued their care, to educate and love the children despite the difficulties 2. The Village Shop and all who volunteer there, ensuring that no one goes without, and 3. Ye Olde Globe Inn, who despite their own difficulties at this time, have served their community valiantly. Although you may not put it this way, I should like to thank you for living out some of the values of God's Kingdom in our little community.
I for one look forward to being back in the village and being with you all as soon as it is safe and possible.
Yours in Christ,
firstname.lastname@example.org / 07803253286
RURAL REFLECTIONS 94
Our primitive ancestors had little time to relax and appreciate their rural surroundings. Had mindfulness been around back then it would not have had many followers, the concept of living in the present moment being low on their list of priorities. For they had more pressing matters to deal with, including where they would source their next meal or firewood and whether predators or enemy tribes were lurking on the horizon. It was also vital that they stored in their primeval memory banks, previous hunts, especially unsuccessful attempts so as not to re enact them, as well as reflecting on fruitful outcomes in order to plan future successful quests. Much as this was to our ancestors' benefit, our unique DNA system has unfortunately ensured that our brains, now three times in size, have inherited that same mode of thinking in a modern world where we no longer require it to do so. As a result, we have a tendency to replay past negative experiences, each recollection making the event seem a little worse than it actually was. Likewise, our brains are also programmed to think ahead, often simulating adverse situations that may never happen. Put simply, negative thinking sticks to our hippocampus [the memory part of our brain] like Velcro, which is why it takes ten positive thoughts to outweigh each negative!
It is for this reason I feel it is so important that in the current climate we restrict the amount of negative news that we watch, hear and read regarding COVID19. Instead we must absorb the positive media reports, for example how people are pulling together and stepping up to support those in need. With this in mind I am, by coincidence, compiling this article on the 100th birthday of Captain [now Honorary Colonel] Tom Moore. Having originally set out with the intention of raising £1,000 for NHS frontline staff battling the Coronavirus by walking 100 laps of his garden, he had by the evening of his birthday raised nearly £32 million. What an inspiration to us all! Along the way he also co released a charity single, You'll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball that went straight to the top of the charts; an achievement which at the age of 99 made him the oldest male vocalist to have a number one hit since Tom Jones did a remake of Islands in the Stream for Comic Relief in 2009 at the comparatively youthful age of 69. Before him, the record holder had been 66 year old Louis Armstrong with his hit What a Wonderful World, which topped the charts in 1968.
The following year saw the release of the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This had We Have All the Time in the World as its featured song, the line taken from Bond's final words spoken after the death of his wife. Although too ill to play his trumpet, composer John Barry particularly wanted Armstrong as the vocalist feeling that his voice could deliver the title line with irony.
The titles of both of Armstrong's songs seem to resonate, somewhat with irony, with our current situation; for when one comes to consider our four seasons, spring is arguably the one that, from a rural perspective, proves beyond doubt that we do indeed live in a wonderful world. No other time of year sees as many comings and goings as late winter merges into spring and then fulfils its potential before blending into early summer. There is the blackthorn, hawthorn and cherry blossoms; the snowdrops, the daffodils, the primroses, the buttercups, the bluebells and the cow parsley. Unfortunately, restricted as we have all been to either remain housebound or at best be restricted to one outing per day within a reasonable distance of our homes, we have been unable to fully appreciate spring's transformation.
Whether you have been confined to your home on government advice, furloughed from work or are an essential worker restricted to your outdoor activities, one thing is certain: we currently seem to have all the time in the world. Filling that time productively for such a long period has, quite understandably, proved quite a challenge for some people. Personally, I decided that the best way to tackle the issue was to bring the countryside to me by sitting in my back garden and living in the present moment through observing the natural events taking place around me; and in so doing found that, unlike our primitive ancestors, I no longer dwelt on the negative news bulletins or concerned myself with possible outcomes.
With the sky now devoid of airliners' vapour trails, it was the surrounding birdlife to which I found myself being drawn. Ever present was a male blackbird perched on the roofs of either our bungalow or our neighbours', or on the telegraph pole, on our garage roof or in our mahonia tree. From dawn until dusk he sung his lyrical tune which had that characteristic gap before singing a collection of new notes. A female blackbird had been previously present, her current absence a sign she was now perhaps sitting upon eggs. It had been lovely watching them have their morning dip never together, it must be emphasised, the male always perching on the edge of the birdbath to allow his mate to splash and preen herself without interruption. On the day of writing she reappeared, her clutch having possibly successfully fledged. Before lockdown we had also watched a pair of doves successfully build a nest in the mahonia, defying storm force winds which interweaved the branches but failed to upset the nest. It was fascinating observing the pair's meticulousness for choosing the correct length and girth of stick on the ground for the next addition to the nest. In time, two chicks hatched which we had the pleasure of watching grow until they could barely fit in the nest. Then early one morning they fledged.
Their hatching as chicks encouraged crows from nearby conifers to our garden, no doubt considering them a possible food source for themselves. We also used to see them before our neighbour had his leylandii trees felled pre nesting season I must add. For this was where a pair of wood pigeons would annually raise offspring, attacks from crows and magpies having been successfully overcome. Unfortunately, the male and female had mated ahead of felling and for two weeks perched on our fence waiting for the trees to miraculously reappear. Eventually the female vacated the scene, the male continuing to arrive daily to either eat seed on the lawn, having first landed on the feeder and forcibly swung on it to cause seeds to fall out, or to take a late morning splash which subsequently required a complete replenishment of water in the bird bath.
One morning as I stepped outside to take my seat, I was frozen to the spot by surprise. What occurred took place in an instant. From nowhere, so it seemed, a sparrowhawk soared low across our neighbours' gardens before sweeping diagonally up and away and out of sight. At the very same time, the wood pigeon, previously perched at ease upon our garage roof, fluttered fast into the air across to the safe protection of the high conifers. Presumably a female sparrowhawk, the male leaves her to take out larger prey, I can only guess that my sudden appearance on the scene distracted her from her attack. It is the first time I have witnessed an attempt on such a species since living here, for they usually prey upon our nearby neighbour's racing pigeons when they are let out once a day to display their acrobatic flying formations. Periodically a solitary pigeon may veer off course and it is then, with dynamic speed, that the sparrowhawk appears overhead and takes the pigeon out.
One other nest builder has been a female blue tit. Having initially spent time checking out the nest box attached to our garage, both the male and female disappeared, only to return a fortnight later. Soon the female began the construction of her nest whilst the male kept a watchful eye on possible contenders; and a good job he did, a great tit soon wading in and attempting to gazump the homemakers. A fierce battle took place within the mahonia tree, the male blue tit claiming victory. Meanwhile the female continued her creation using both moss and dog fur, the latter having been attached to the pole of the birdfeeder after our three Labradors had been brushed! Before long just the male was observed, making vigilant visits the to the box throughout the day to feed his partner. Come the last day of April chicks could be heard calling each time a parent entered the nest box with food.
Other visitors to the garden have included a lone dunnock eating seeds surrounding the cotoneaster at the bottom of the feeders and a pair of gold finches either enjoying the Nyjer seeds or taking a drink at the birdbath. Their markings deserve appreciation; that distinctive red face, white patch behind the eye and their black crown and nape, along with their distinguishing yellow wing patches, that black tail and long pointed bill. Unusual sightings have included a solitary buzzard circling on the thermals overhead, a rook perusing the lawn and a house sparrow that paid a single visit to the feeders.
I should like to round off my article by returning to Captain Tom Moore. On his 100th birthday he received a card from the Queen with a personalised message; and deservedly so. He also received a special message from fellow centenarian Dame Vera Lynn who said, "Like the rest of the country, I was so inspired by his achievement over the past few weeks." All three share a common empathy; for they are old enough to remember only too well the last time our world experienced such a global cataclysm: World War Two. It seemed, therefore, only fitting and, moreover, reassuring when Her Majesty concluded her recent address to the Commonwealth regarding the Coronavirus with the words that are supremely associated with Dame Vera: "We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again." And, if I may take the liberty to add, we will someday soon be able to reconnect with our beautiful countryside once again.
Mike and Jo Lane would like to thank the many people who have helped them in these difficult times. The Parish Council have set up a great scheme for collecting and delivering prescriptions for older villagers - they deserve a great deal of credit.
A LOCAL WALK - 180
A Cliff Hanger: Now It Can be Told
Many years ago - in the mid 1980's - a summer Sunday afternoon when we decided to go for a leisurely stroll along the shore below Lester Point.
An uneventful afternoon. The only perceived hazard, the possibility of slipping on a bit of bladderwrack or getting our feet wet in a rock pool.
All was calm and still; the air pleasantly warm, not too hot, when suddenly we witnessed a man hurtling through the air from the high cliff above.
It was one of those situations when time appears to slow up unnaturally. His landing on the hard rocks below was inevitable and, in the meantime, we were completely helpless to do anything to prevent it.
We just stood and waited with a sense of dread. Eventually, the large man came to rest on the rocky platform at the base of the cliff. There was some moaning but he was conscious and not in obvious pain. We suggested he stay put in case anything was broken. One of us would go to seek help.
A young woman appeared. She said she was a doctor and had seen him earlier on the coast path. She told him he must not attempt to move in case any injuries were made worse.
She continued on her way and my companion left to alert the emergency service.
The fallen man was very red faced and sweating profusely. He was irritable because his sunglasses and camera were missing.
I searched around and finally retrieved both but the fallen man was exasperated because a bit of the camera was missing. I was sent off again to find the small component.
But I failed and meanwhile the tide was fast coming in and if we didn't move away, we should become cut off.
I propped him up as we made our way awkwardly to the sea front where, as we arrived, a helicopter was about to land and a little crowd of holiday makers had gathered to watch the spectacle.
A wag pointed up to the helicopter and then the fallen man asking, "Is this for you?!"
A tearful, anxious woman pressed forward greeting him with relief. He seemed reluctant to acknowledge her. We discreetly left.
But a mystery remained. Did he fall or did he jump . . . was he pushed? We'll never know.
MARWOOD HILL GARDENS Following Government advice, the Gardens are still CLOSED. We have now set up an on line mail order
system for you to buy plants. For
further details and a virtual tour of the Gardens, please look at our
MARWOOD HILL GARDENS
Following Government advice, the Gardens are still CLOSED. We have now set up an on line mail order system for you to buy plants. For further details and a virtual tour of the Gardens, please look at our Website wwww.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk
A DANGEROUS DAYLIGHT ROBBERY
He was told that there would only be one man, probably a retired policeman, guarding the outside of the building. They also told him that the security guard would not be armed.
But after he had parked the car and walked confidently towards the entrance, he saw six men. And none of them were old. In fact, they all looked like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV over 6 foot tall, broad shoulders, and with tight white shirts stretched over toned muscle, and on each man's face a killer smirk
as they stood upright, rock still with their legs apart and big hands clasped low in front. One of them most definitely had a gun in a fat leather holster strapped around his waist. Fierce, heavy set men dressed in their clean blue uniforms, so obviously fit and powerful.
Their fearsome appearance was, in itself, enough to make ordinary, sensible men think twice about trying to enter the store to steal any of the precious goods inside.
But he wasn't about to turn and walk away. He had a job to do. He had no choice.
The two guards with strangely flat heads and cold as ice eyes, stopped scanning left and right for possible intruders and locked onto him as he moved towards them across the car park. He knew then that this would be more difficult than he first thought. But orders were orders.
He fell in behind a smart middle aged woman in an expensive pink cashmere coat and yellow silk scarf wrapped around her mouth and neck. He walked slowly just a couple of yards away from her, but in perfect step, as they approached the wide automatic glass doors. He hoped the guards would think they were an innocent couple arriving for legitimate business, and let them both pass through together without questions.
It nearly worked. But as the heavy doors noisily scraped open, a strong arm shot out and blocked him from following the woman inside. He turned to look at the officer, as surprised and offended as he possibly could, but stared into a face with callous and determined aggression.
"Do you have a permit to be here?"
"Of course," he replied reaching into his pocket and handing the guard his carefully forged papers.
The guard studied the documents longer than normally necessary for the hoped for immediate approval, and then looked up and said, "Wait here!"
He stood waiting and watching the woman inside standing next to the very prize he had risked everything to come here for. She turned her head to stare at him with an anxious expression. She knew that he knew they were after the same thing.
No one else was looking, so she grabbed the goods and ran back out towards the far side of the car park where her partner in crime was sitting in a white van, side door open and engine running.
The six security guards were still grouped at the corner of the building discussing his fake permit. Suddenly one of them noticed the woman running with the stolen goods towards the white van and shouted, "Stop!" She didn't stop. She was only 20 yards away from success. The guards ran after her.
He knew this was his chance. Quick as a flash he was in the store, taking the remaining goods from the shelf, and then back out and heading in the opposite direction to the white van and active guards to his own car. Safe in the car and with the goods on the back seat, he drove calmly out of the carpark.
In his rear view mirror, he saw a taser being drawn and fired at the unfortunate woman. He'd been lucky. He smiled to himself at the fortunate turn of events.
Back home his wife and daughter greeted him with loving open arms and screams of delight. He had managed to bring them the two packs of 24 ultra soft 3 ply rolls they needed. Enough to last another month in forced isolation.
I have thought long and hard about my blog this month. [That's not always a good thing!] But I am aware that you, villagers will be looking for entertainment after being stuck indoors for so long. That is the issue though; do we talk about the unmentionable or don't we? "Lock down", "Social Isolation", call it what you will, it's given me a great chance to observe you humans and I have come to the conclusion you are not as different from us canines as you may like to think. In fact, on so many levels you are the same.
Take the fact that I could sit for hours watching the world go by. The last few weeks the Mr. and Mrs. have been doing the same; sitting looking longingly out of the window. They have even made a seating area at the top of the garden, [that's my territory!] and sit there surveying the Sterridge Valley. Then there's the excitement of passers by. When the Mrs. spots someone walking past, she is out there like a shot. Whilst she can't quite jump up as excitedly as me and she hasn't quite mastered the bottom wiggle and the tail wag, she is undoubtedly as excited as ever I am, at seeing people. Then there's this Thursday night thing. Lots of clapping hands, banging pans and cheering. The Mrs. loves it. She runs from the front door to the top of the garden, getting very, very excited. Why is it though when I make lots of noise barking and get excited, racing around the garden I get into trouble?
It's evident that you humans also appreciate the benefits of walks. I have never seen so many people walking past the house before. My walks have definitely got longer and we have been exploring some amazing parts of this beautiful village. I think both the Mr. and Mrs. have realised that whilst the dog exercise area has its merits, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as a good walk along the coast path, sniffing the wild garlic plants and letting one's hair blow in the wind. Funnily enough they haven't hosed each other down on their return to the house yet. You already know my thoughts on the merits of that, maybe they have realised it's really not pleasant or necessary!
Nevertheless, like me, they always come back thirsty, gasping for a drink and a treat of course. That's the other thing, since this lock down thingy they have been devouring treats throughout the day. The Mrs. clearly thinks about food as much as me. Each time she opens the cupboard she sniffs out a treat. I have to say I am liking this new trait as she clearly feels guilty and so I usually get something too!
Talking about this guilt thing reminds me of something else. The other night they had 'date night'; not normally something I experience. Usually when date night is mentioned it's an evening when I am put to bed early and they go out for a night out to the cinema, pub or restaurant. They come back very happy but feeling guilty for leaving me so I get lots of fuss for staying in my room. This date night though was very different. No fuss for me whatsoever and of course they didn't leave the house. Instead the lounge lights were dimmed and candles lit, [a fire hazard in my opinion. It's far too easy to singe one's tail accidently.] The Mrs. cooked steak, [a favourite of mine given half a chance] and the Mr. opened what he called 'a particularly good wine'. Soft music was put on in the background; romantic stuff not like my favourite Who let the dogs out? That's got great lyrics. They clearly enjoyed the meal, as lots of appreciative noises were made and the plates were practically licked clean, well maybe not as well as I could clean them. Admittedly they didn't clean their plates as quickly as I clean my bowl either. Then, and here's the thing, they snuggled up on the settee and I am sure the Mr. was hoping to have his tummy tickled. See, no different from me at all!
A final thought, they say dogs look like their owners or is it the owners look like their dogs? Anyway, have you seen the Mrs. since she's not visited the hairdressers? I rest my case!
Proprietors Jenny and David Williams
31a Portland Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 9NL 01271 866332
24 hour Independent Family Funeral Service
"We drove to Berrynarbor in the morning of 5th, and we first passed the picturesque village of Hele with its pretty harbour; here papa stopped to take a photography. We walked up the hill and had a good view. We passed Samsons Caves and reached Watermouth Castle. It was the residence of Mr. Bassett, who had a large estate here. He was rather queer, they say he did not live at the Castle but at a little house further on. His horse ran away with him and broke his neck at the corner of a field further on.
"We returned inland, the road returning beside a beautiful little trout stream. this little valley is the prettiest place about here. Berrynarbor Church stands well on the top of a hill. It is a quaint straggling old village consisting chiefly of one steep street.
"We stopped at the shop of the churchwarden, who was the leading draper. He was a tall thin man with a red nose. We went up five or six steps through an old gateway into the churchyard, in which stood some fine elms and a very old yew tree. The warden said it was eight hundred, it was still full of vigour. In a railed space were the graves of the Bassett family. There were some beautiful lilies on the late Mr. Bassett's.
"The church is rather a large one with a very fine old tower. Inside were two fine old monuments to the Berry family, from which the place took its name. The first dated 1642 6 represented the Lord and Lady kneeling dressed in ruffs, with the sons beneath him and a daughter beneath her. The second was larger, and represented a lady of the same house kneeling, in ruff. The inscription was made on bad stone and had flaked away.
"There was an old chapel with a Norman arch. An old house, perhaps once the vicarage, was said to be built at the time of Edward IV. Some carved stones in the wall bore the arms of the Plantagenets, but they were taken to the Castle by Mr. Bassett.
"The village children came out of school while papa was photographing the churchyard. They came in at the front gate - the warden turned them out, whereupon they immediately came in at the side one, but were again expelled. Mr. Poole was exceedingly angry."
So wrote Beatrix Potter in her diary of 1882.
Helen Beatrix Potter was born on the 14th March 1872 at 2 Bolton Gardens, West Brompton, London, her home until she married in 1913.
Born into an upper middle class family of the day, Beatrix was educated by three able governesses, the last Annie Moore [nee Carter], just three years her senior, who also acted as a lady's companion. They remained friends throughout their lives and Annie's eight children, especially the eldest, Noel, were the recipients of many of Beatrix's picture letters and it was Annie's suggestion that these letters could make good books for children.
Beatrix and her younger brother, Bertram, had few friends but numerous pets, which they both observed closely and drew endlessly, including mice, rabbits and a hedgehog.
The family spent long summer holidays, many in Scotland, but in 1882, whilst staying in the Lake District, she met who was to be a lifetime friend, Hardwicke Rawnsley, Vicar of Wray, later the founding secretary of the National Trust, whose interest in country life and the countryside inspired the same in Beatrix. She was also interested in natural science and botany and by the 1890's mycology became a passion, drawn to fungi because of their colours and evanescence, delighting in painting them but also resulting in her extensive and important research of them. Later, she gave her mycological and scientific drawings to the Armitt Museum and Library in Ambleside, where mycologist still refer to them to identify species. In 1967, the mycologist W.P.K. Findlay included many of her detailed and accurate drawings in his book Wayside and Woodland Fungi, fulfilling her wish to one day have her fungus drawings in print.
In her teenage years, Beatrix regularly visited the London art galleries, enjoying, as a critic, the exhibitions at the Royal Academy. Sir John Everett Millais, a friend of her father, recognised her talent of observation and although she was aware of art and artistic trends, her drawing and prose style were uniquely her own.
In 1893 whilst on holiday, she ran out of things to tell Noel in a letter, so she told him a story about 'four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. It became one of the most famous letters ever written and the start of her career as a writer artist storyteller. She reused the tale of the four rabbits in 1900, but unable to find a publisher, printed it for family and friends at her own expense. Rawnsley, having faith in the tale, took it to the London publishing firms. Rejected previously by Frederick Warne & Co., they reconsidered and accepted the 'bunny book' as they called it. On 2nd October 1902, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, with coloured illustrations, was published and was an immediate success. Other tales quickly followed.
A canny business woman, in 1902 she made and patented a Peter Rabbit doll, followed by painting books, board games, wall paper, figurines, baby blankets and china tea sets.
All were licensed by Frederick Warne & Co., earning her an independent income and vast profits for her publisher.
In 1905, she and Norman Warne became unofficially engaged. Her parents didn't approve, as Warne was 'in trade', but the engagement only lasted a month, Warne dying of pernicious anaemia at the age of 37. That same year, Beatrix was able, with some of her income, to buy Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, near Windermere - she had always wanted to own the farm and live in 'that charming village'.
Here she learnt the techniques of fell farming, continuing to write and illustrate her books, she became a prize winning breeder of Hardwick sheep. To protect her land and development and to purchase nearby Castle Farm, Beatrix sought advice from W.H. Heelis & Son, with William Heelis acting on her behalf.
By the summer of 1912, Heelis had proposed marriage and Beatrix accepted and they were married on the 15th October 1913 at St. Mary Abbots in Kensington, then living at Castle Cottage, the renovated farmhouse on Castle Farm.
At last her own woman, Beatrix settled to the partnerships that shaped the rest of her life - her country solicitor husband and his large family, her farms, the Sawrey community, the rounds of country life and her illustrated stories. She and William had a happy marriage of thirty years, continuing their farming and preservation efforts throughout the hard days of two World Wars.
Beatrix died from pneumonia and heart disease on the 22nd December, 1943 at Castle Cottage. She left nearly all her property to the National Trust, including over 4,000 acres of land, sixteen farms, cottages and herds of cattle and Herdwick sheep, the largest gift at that time to the Trust. The central office of the Trust in Swindon was named Heelis in 2005 in her memory.
William Heelis continued his stewardship of their properties and of her literary and artistic works for the twenty months he survived her. When he died in August 1945, he left the remainder also to the National Trust, who in 1946 opened Hill Top Farm to the public, where her artwork was displayed until 1985 when it was moved to William Heelis's former law offices in Hawkshead, also owned by the Trust as the Beatrix Potter Gallery.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit is owned by Frederick Warne & Co., The Tailor of Gloucester by the Tate Gallery and The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by the British Museum.
Her books continue to sell and be read throughout the world in many languages with her stories being retold in songs, films, ballet and animations and her life depicted in a feature film and television film.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS NO. 87
PETER and CAROL DUNCAN
Partners, Stapleton Yogurts and Ice Cream
Many years ago, I had a yogurt making machine. It consisted of a smallish round insulated pot with lid. The yogurt tasted all right but was a bit fiddly to make and always had a rim of clear liquid on top. Nowadays, thanks to Peter and Carol Duncan, we enjoy delicious yogurt on our breakfast muesli every day. Usually it's the low fat version, but sometimes the Greek one takes over, and occasionally we enjoy one of the many delicious varieties of fruit yogurts.
The Duncan's making of yogurts goes back to 1975, although Peter's interest in processing milk was when he was just seven years old. He comes from a dairy farming family originating in the Midlands and in the 1950's he remembers that porridge started the family's day, topped with a good dollop of cream. This cream was made by his mother in the method of that time: leaving a bowl of milk in the larder overnight for the cream to rise to the top. His father happened to mention that there was a machine called a cream separator that extracted cream instantly. What an inspiration for a young boy. You didn't have to wait 12 hours for your porridge cream! Still, he was 25 before he got his first cream separator and by then he had progressed to learning about fermenting milk into other products. That was the start of Stapleton Yogurts.
Peter was born in Stafford on 25th March 1950. His parents, Keith and Margaret Duncan, were dairy farmers in Staffordshire. In 1966, they left their farm and sought pastures new in North Devon, bringing with them their 100 Jersey cows. Here, they figured, was a wet and warm climate which would produce quality grass for their animals and in turn produce even better milk.
Carol was also born in 1950 on 1st February, but in Ilfracombe.
Her parents, Frank and Doris Lewis, used to own a hotel in the town. The family history, tracing back to the Armada [if not before!], shows needy visitors to Ilfracombe being offered Devon's best food and drink from various inns and hotels. The Lewis's also grew fruit, vegetables and flowers, including providing ocean going liners such as the Queen Mary with carnations. As a small child, Carol remembers walking through the greenhouse with her father who remarked that "something" was eating all the peas but leaving the pods on the plants. That "something" was Carol!
The Duncan's have now been married for 46 years. They have two daughters: Beth who joined them in their business in 2013, and Lucy who keeps up family tradition by offering 'Devon's Best Food' at the Cream Tea Cafe in Church Walk, Barnstaple, which she runs with her husband.
Coming back to Beth, it was thanks to her initiative that when two of their major outlets, pubs and restaurants, were closed due to the ongoing pandemic, she reasoned that some of their lost trade could be offset by offering home deliveries. She quickly set up a system on their website giving clear instructions for ordering Doorstep Deliveries of Yogurt, Ice Cream and Milk for Devonians, or Mix 'n Match Yogurt Boxes for most of the UK. You can also order yogurt by post
Both Peter's and Carol's upbringings taught them a respect for food. They started their business using the best products and a determination that only good basic or natural ingredients would be used in their fruit compotes and purees. These are still made by hand in the dairy kitchen, using raw materials whenever possible. For instance, if they are making gooseberry yogurt, the gooseberries used will have been harvested and immediately frozen to retain the flavour. They are then poached lightly with raw sugar and no extra flavourings or colourings are added. No wonder they all taste so good! It makes them very different from many other producers, who buy their fruit already processed.
All Stapleton products are approved by the Vegetarian Society and are also kosher approved.
When they started in 1975, they wanted to use milk from the family's Jersey herd and were determined to use authentic production methods. They no longer keep cows, but their lush Devon Jersey milk comes from local farms that maintain the highest level of animal welfare. At Stapleton, only Jersey milk is used because they feel that with its high levels of protein and calcium it makes the finest products. There are just 12 employees and only small batches of yogurts and ice cream are made at a time which avoids the need for artificial stabilisers.
Peter in the Dairy
Ice cream was added to the range in 2000, but only sold to Sainsbury's for their Taste the Difference range. This lasted until recently after 20 years production. In 2018 ice cream was made under the Stapleton name and is now well established.
Stapleton products are sold through some supermarkets and to small shops such as our own one in Berrynarbor. They are also available in many farm shops including Orchard Farm shops at both St Johns Garden Centre sites. Or you can have it delivered by contacting the company on www.stapletonfarm.co.uk .
Even with their busy lifestyle, Peter and Carol find time to help others. For many years they have been involved with Clic Sargent, the charity helping children and their parents with cancer. They give talks to community groups such as the WI and any contributions made are donated to the charity.
For a company with such high standards of ingredients and
methods, Peter and Carol deserve their success, and with Beth, who has been
learning about the business since she was tiny, devoting her energies for the
challenges ahead, it looks in safe hands. We wish them continuing success.
PP of DC
PP of DC
OLD BERRYNARBOR - NO. 185
Thistledew, Birdswell Laane
For this issue I have chosen two views, taken about 1950, of Thistledew, Birdswell Lane.
The first view shows the entrance off the lane, and the second shows the house from the south, with Mrs. Dorothy Hubbad in the foreground with her arms full of flowers she has just picked.
My thanks to the present owners, David and Madeline Hubbard [who in fact are no relation to the previous Hubbard's], for the following information.
In 1925, William and Roseline Bray sold the plot of land to a Miss Doris Rowe, who only used the land as a market garden. The house was built some time later.
In June 1957, the then owner, Mrs. Robins, sold Thistledew to Mr. F.J. and Mrs. Dorothy Hubbard, and his mother Mrs. Violet Hubbard. Dorothy Hubbard LRAM [Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music], was an accomplished pianist who taught music and the piano to many of the local children.
In July 1985, Mr. C. Denton Powell and Mrs. M.A. Bannister bought Thistledew, marrying in 1990. They sold the home for £100,000 in 1994 to Mr. R.E. and Mrs. E.C. Lloyd, who, just two years later, in 1996, sold the property and land to Mr. and Mrs. William and Sylvia Baker. On Valentine's Day in February 2002, Thistledew became home to its current owners.
This view, taken at the same time, is from the back and the sea can still be seen from the property today.
Tower Cottage, May 2020
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