Edition 81 - December 2002

Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Is it really just a few weeks to Christmas? It will be here before we know it! So, now begins that annual rush - cakes and puddings to be made, presents to be bought and wrapped, cards to be written and sent ... good luck!

Thank you to everyone who answered my plea for jigsaws. I have received a fair number [but more would still be welcome], in a full range of pictures and from 500 to 2000 pieces. We are working our way through them, especially those from jumble sales, to make sure they are complete. A list will be available shortly but in the meantime, if anyone would like to borrow one [or even help with the checking], please give me a ring - 883544.

You will have realised by now that this issue has been circulated on a Monday and this will be the arrangement in future - the Monday nearest to the first of the month. My thanks to Sue and Richard for taking on further deliveries of newsletters with the newspapers. Don't forget that if you do not have a paper delivered, you can have your copy posted to you. Just let me have your address and a donation to cover costs and postage. Copies are also available from The Globe, The Sawmill Inn and the Post Office & Village Store.

My thanks, as always, to everyone who has contributed to this issue, especially the many 'regulars'. The first issue of 2003 will be February and articles will be needed please by Wednesday, 15th January at the latest. The grapevine does not always 'creep' as far as the Valley so do please let me know of any 'comings and goings' or any other important events, etc. In the meantime, enjoy all the Christmas celebrations planned, have a happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for the corning year.





Our October meeting commenced with a minute's silence to mark the death of Kath Waller, a former member who had served on the Committee. Then, after all the business had been dealt with, Chris Jesson spoke on weaving and her early life working in mental health and occupational therapy. The vote of thanks was given by Margaret Andrews, birthday gifts were given to Di Hillier and Nancy Vinden, Di Hillier won the raffle and the competition - for an autumn bloom - was won by Win Collins.

November brought our Annual General Meeting when Doreen Prater was elected as Chairman, Rosemary Gaydon as Treasurer and Marion Carter as Secretary. Details for the Group Carol Service to be held in St. Peter's Church on Tuesday, 3rd December, and our Christmas Lunch at The Globe on 16th December, were discussed and finalised. Margaret Andrews announced that her Accreditation Service will be held at St. Peter's on the 8th December, and all W.l. members were invited to attend. A birthday gift was given to Joyce Elliot and one will be taken to Vi Kingdon, who is in hospital. The raffle was won by Rosemary Gaydon and the competition for a 'sparkly brooch' was won by Edna Barnes.

For our January meeting we are looking forward to welcoming Tim and Jill Massey who will be talking about their visit to New Zealand. Any lady who would like to join us at our Carol Service or January meeting will be very welcome.

Marion Carter

After many years as President of our W.l., Vi Kingdon has had to stand down due to ill health. We send her our very best wishes and thank her for all that she has done for the W.l. over the years.

Until the August Newsletter, Vi had written the W.l. Report - from the very first issue, 13 years in all - and always accompanied by one of her little 'ditties'. In her first report, Vi paid tribute to the late Joan Adams, 'a member who quietly sets to work every month preparing Birthday Posies for our members, who now number over 50. With our changeable climate, no easy task, but recipients' pleasure and surprise is reward enough for this very special lady. Thank you Joan' and the accompanying ditty:

Flowers are the sentiments,
Which bind those who care,
Flowers are the sweet scented breath,
Of wishes that we share.

Thank you, Vi, another very special lady.





Ray Toms

It was with shock, disbelief and sadness that we learnt of the death of Ray on the 13th October.

Ray was a real 'Berrynarborite', a hard worker and a kind and generous son, brother, uncle, friend and neighbour, and a supporter of all 'things' village.

He will be sorely missed by many and our thoughts go out to Ron, Sheila and all the family. St. Peter's Church literally overflowing for his funeral, was evidence of the respect and affection in which everyone held him.

Raymond, or Ray as most people knew him, was a true 'Berry Boy'. Born at 16 Hagginton Hill on the 24th May 1946, he then moved as a toddler to 4 Birdswell Cottages, where he lived for most of his life with his parents, until Gladys passed away in November 2001, then with Ron until his untimely and sudden death on the 13th October.

Ray will be remembered for his love of sport, especially snooker for which he had a real talent, winning many trophies over the years. Also in his job as a carpenter and decorator - there are many homes in Berrynarbor and around where he will have used his skills.

Ray [far left] with the Triumphant Snooker Team - 1974-1975

Ray with a cousin on holiday
in Ireland September 2002

Ron, Sheila and Tony would like to thank all the people who sent messages of sympathy and attended the funeral - such a comfort to us all at this sad time. A special thanks to John Clark for his help and company to Ron over the past few weeks. A very special neighbour and friend.

Margaret Cook

It is with much sadness I report that Debbie's mother, Margaret, passed away peacefully on the 6th November, after a short illness, at the age of 71.

For three years, from 1989 to 1992, Debbie and her parents lived at Ellis Cottage, Pitt Hill, and it was during that time that Debbie, encouraged by her mother, became involved with the Newsletter. Margaret's support, especially at this year's 'Country Collection' was much appreciated.

We send our sympathy at this sad time to Debbie, her father and her brother Steven and his family.

My sincere thanks to Debbie, who even under such sad circumstances, has still given us another beautiful Christmas Cover. Our thoughts are with you.


A Day at the Cricket with Ray Toms

Ray took a keen interest in many different sports - football, golf, cricket, snooker, motor racing - but his love and enjoyment of cricket was particularly special. He was a most enthusiastic follower of Somerset, and a day out at the County Ground, Taunton, was a regular and popular event during the summer months. These trips acquired something of a typical routine.

There were usually four of us - Ray, Bill Jones, Brian Mountain and myself - and having picked up Ray by the bus shelter, we would head off over Exmoor with plenty of early morning chat about recent sports events and news.

We always arrived at Taunton in good time to park the car and choose our seats in the Botham Stand before crossing the river to nearby Safeway's for an 'all-day breakfast' and [in Rays case] the weekly provisions shopping. The day would not have been the same without a good supply of sandwiches, pork pies and a freshly roasted chicken or two!

Back to our seats for the start of play and all the action, tension, excitement and emotional highs and lows of a close knockout cup match. There would be some quiet spells, but when the Somerset players did well, we would cheer and clap with everyone else. Ray would sit glued to the cricket, chicken leg in one hand, binoculars in the other, but with radio earphones plugged in to keep us all fully up-to-date with the latest football scores or Grand Prix positions during the afternoon.

If a match built to a nail-biting, exciting finish - as many did - the crowd became noisier with singing and chanting, and spectators became more concentrated and intense on the play. And then, if Somerset won in the last over, Ray would beam and say, "We've done it! What a great game!" and there would be cheers and backslaps all round.

So pack our bags ... back to the car ... return journey over beautiful Exmoor in the setting sun ... more chat about the day's play ... news on the radio ... a bit of gossip about Berrynarbor village life ... back home after a lovely day out with good friends.

Ray loved every moment of days like these - and similar trips to other grounds and Lords' finals - and it is so very sad to say that cricket days in future will never be the same without Ray's cheerful good-nature and companionship.

Malcolm Sayer

Bill Gammon

Bill moved to Berrynarbor in the early 1950's from Muddiford, where he was born.

He first had a smallholding at Cockhill and then moved to Brookvale, where he lived until his marriage to Janet in 1983, when he moved across the road to Holmleigh.

After his retirement, Bill became very involved with Gordon Setters, both on the rescue side and showing - his great success being a Fourth place at Crufts with Bracken, who although an old lady now, still enjoys a good quality of life with Breeze, the young two year-old.

Four Generations

Bill with his son David, grandson Gareth and great-granddaughters Billie-Jo and baby Bethany - summer 2001

In Memory of Bob Richards

My father, Robert Ben 'Bob' Richards passed away peacefully on the evening of Saturday, 27th July 2002 - aged 79.

He was born, raised, worked and spent all of his life in Berrynarbor. One in a family of seven brothers and sisters, he was born at Home Barton, the family farm. When my grandfather Fred Richards - retired, my father and mother - Bob and Betty moved into and worked Home Barton. I had the pleasure and privilege of working daily with dad at the farm from my earliest memories, spanning over thirty years. I say a pleasure because it was a wonderful life, always fun working with dad and most notably Ron Toms [who was with us from before I was born] and Bernie Newton, who became really like a second brother to me. They were hard working but memorable days.

Dad always had great pleasure whenever we all sat down to a meal, knowing that everything at the table was home produced, from the meat to the cream - something he was proud of 'til his last days.

I don't think he had an enemy. He was friendly to and talked to everyone and was always enthusiastic in whatever he did - be it farming, sport, local council or time with his family. Yes, always enthusiastic, sometimes critical and if so, it always came straight from the shoulder. He would say his piece, make his point and sometimes in doing so would upset a few people, but that was his way. He never held grudges and once his view was expressed, he was still everyone's friend.

Dad was always a great support for anything my brother Clive and I took part in. A great family man, he loved having kids around him and they all adored him. He loved his life, his family, his friends and his village, and all those who knew him will probably agree that he certainly lived life to the full, despite his health problems.

I do and shall always miss him, but more than anything, I am very, very thankful that Bob was my dad. I couldn't have asked for a better one.



If I Knew

If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Iord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
 that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say, "l love you",
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.
There will always be another day
to say "l love you",
And certainly there's another chance
 to say our "Anything I can do?"
But just in case I might be wrong
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.
So, if you're waiting for tomorrow,
Why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
you were too busy to grant someone
what in fact was their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear.
Take time to say, "I'm sorry",
"Please forgive me", "thank you" or "It's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.


Artwork: David Duncan


Once again everyone came forward to lend a hand and make our HARVEST CELEBRATIONS a great success. The church was beautifully decorated, the bells rang out, both Services were well attended and the Supper was enjoyed by all - a lovely atmosphere throughout. Thanks to Michael Bowden and John Fanner, the auction was conducted brilliantly and with good humour, raising an astonishing £88.40. Altogether we have been able to send a cheque for £240 to Water Aid [Water for Life]. Many of us brought tins of food to the Sunday Service for the Rector's store. There was a good variety to help those in need through the winter. Thank you to all who gave, helped or just came along to join us.

On Sunday, 10th November, the Act of Remembrance took place at the War Memorial before the moving service in church. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Parish Council and St. Peter's. A muffled peal was rung and Ivan Clarke sounded the Last Post and Reveille. Reader Chris James led the service and the collection of just over £100 has been sent to the Earl Haig Fund.

  • Wednesday, 18th - Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.
  • Christmas Eve - First Communion of Christmas, 9.30 p.m.
  • Christmas Day - Family Communion with Carols, 11.00 a.m.
  • Sunday, 29th - Sung Eucharist with Carols, 11.00 a.m.

We welcome you all to come along and join in our celebrations. We shall again be supporting the Children's Society as our Christmas Charity and collections from the Carol Service and the Service on Christmas Eve will go to them.

The church will be decorated on Monday/Tuesday, 23rd/ 24th December and donations towards the cost of flowers will be most welcome.

Christmas Services

There will be no Friendship Lunch at The Globe during December, but we shall resume in January - earlier on the 8th and look forward to seeing everyone then.

St. Peter's Church

Charlotte Cornish [Aged 6]




A very busy month ahead, lots to do, little time, you know the feeling! So for now just a few dates for your diaries.

  • Wednesday, 18th - December Carol Service, 6.30 p.m. at St. Peter's, with NATIVITY PLAY
  • Sunday, 22nd December - Repeat of Nativity Play at St. Peter's 11.00 a.m.
  • Saturday, 4th January - Sunday School PARTY in Manor Hall

Christmas Carols

Christmas time is carol time. There are many lovely carols and we all have our favourites. I read a story about this carol many years ago: I saw Three Ships come sailing in On Christmas Day in the morning.

It makes a pretty picture, and one to kindle the imagination, for there are three ships which have real significance for us at this season.

One is WORSHIP: most definitely a Christmas ship. In writing of the first Christmas, St. Matthew mentioned it: "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his Mother, and fell down and worshipped Him." Another ship that comes sailing in at Christmas is FRIEND-SHIP: for this is a time when we think of our friends and send greetings to those near and far away. The third ship is STEWARD-SHIP: a steward is one who is trusted to serve. Serving was something that He who came at Christmas was most emphatic about.

May these three ships come sailing into your hearts and homes this Christmas, bringing their precious gifts of joy and peace.

True Stories!

At the start of the Christmas Nativity Play, five children were to come on, in order, holding cards which spelt 'HELLO',

Unfortunately, the child with the fifth letter became confused and went on first!!

The nursery school children were asked to draw pictures of Jesus birthplace. One of them drew Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger and an enormously fat man. The teacher asked the child who the large gentleman was, and was told, "Oh, that's round John Virgin"!

Happy Christmas and with love to you all from Berrynarbor Sunday School: Sally, Val, Sarah, Julia, Jessica, Juliet, Eloise, Gracie, Ella, Lucy, Ryan, Keifer, Tia, Caolin, Peter, Shanya, Harriet, Emily, Liberty, Rory, Callum and a new little boy who joined us last week, but whoso name escapes me at the time of writing this! Sorry, what'isname! No, I remember, it's Jack!



Many thanks to everyone who managed to make to our BBQ. The weather was so kind and although the head chef left something to be desired, the sausages apparently may get a mention from Egon Ronay next year!

The idea for the BBQ didn't start as a charitable event, but surely no one expected the 'free Barum beer' to come without a catch. The raffle was a late thought when guilt kicked in on all of the conspicuous consumption that was about to occur. The prizes donated made it a wonderful success.

In all we raised £240, including donations from friends who couldn't attend. This sum, plus the £100 donated from the Newsletter from funds raised at the Art Exhibition, has already been spent by our daughter, Mary, on the premature babies and small children at the hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. At the risk of creating 'donor fatigue', perhaps we could also thank the individuals who keep delivering baby clothes and blankets, all of which have arrived and been put to use for the prem. babies and children in intensive care. Mary has told us that the morale of the staff at the hospital has been immeasurably lifted by suddenly being able to provide warm and comfortable clothing for the little ones.

Once again, many thanks to all who came or helped and hopefully we can make this an annual event, in some way resurrecting the spirit of Pink Heather in the past and the memory of Jill Songhurst and her renowned waffle evenings.

June and Bernard

Photos: Babies, one wearing a bonnet and another wrapped in a blanket [in a box!] sent from Berrynarbor.




Hedges -A major part of our Parish's beauty is the magnificent hedges we have both in the countryside and in the village itself.

The rain in early summer, followed by weeks of warm weather, gave a huge growth and magnificent colours to enrich our lanes. As ever, the downside of the summer growth is that the hedges grow across the tarmaced highway. Most of these are narrow at the best of times, but with the growth seem frighteningly so to many drivers.

Most of our farmers have already had their autumn hedgerow cut, but in the village itself, the job is only partly done. So the message to householders that have still to cut their hedge is please arrange for it to be completed as soon as possible. Thank you.

New Year's Council Tax Bill - These bills are a composite of the requirement of several different bodies, but Parish Councils have to provide their figures very early to the District Council who send out the demands.

Their decision is already made for 2003-4 and our precept - the amount that will be paid to Berrynarbor Parish Council and raised from Berrynarbor householders - will be unchanged from the present year. If only others would hold their charges too, wouldn't that be nice!

Elections - 1st May 2003 is Election Day for Parish Councils - and indeed district councils. The cost of these elections is a part of the Parish Council precept referred to above.

The money will be raised anyway, so it would be a good thing if we had a contested election in 2003. It would be the first one for 12 years.

It is important for our local democracy that the Parish voters elect their Councillors, and that your village leaders are not returned unopposed or co-opted.

Offering oneself is very simple - the job is not too demanding and any existing Councillor will explain the workload if you ask them. There is a good sense of comradeship from solving problems together.

Mike Lane - A bombshell was dropped by Mike Lane at the November meeting, when owing to a number of domestic reasons, Mike told us that he now found it necessary to resign his seat on the Council. He will be missed as his contacts around the village centre are many and he often asked the searching questions. We wish him well in the years ahead.

The Law provides that when a Council Vacancy occurs within six months of the next scheduled election, then it will not be filled. So now we are 8.

On behalf of my fellow Councillors and myself, I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Sue and Clive of Court Cottage are delighted to announce the marriage of their youngest daughter, Heather, with Alan Fordham, of llfracombe.

Heather and Alan were married in the Caribbean on the 4th November, with 15 family members and friends flying out to witness their special day. The honeymoon was also spent there, 'en famille', since others stayed on too!

On their return and on the 16th November, a Reception was held at the Saunton Sands Hotel, with many guests staying in the village, which they all agreed was 'a beautiful place'.

Heather, a computer analyst at the North Devon District Hospital and Alan, a carpenter with Sharman, live in Barnstaple.

We send them both our congratulations and very best wishes for the future.



Our meetings are held in the Manor Hall on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, from 2.00 to 4.30 p.m. We also have at least two social events each year.

Please feel free to come and have a chat you may like to join our group. We can lend you a spinning wheel for three months to enable you to have a go at this wonderful craft.

To learn more, please phone either Kathy [883278] or Mary [883306].


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The last two months have brought quite a few changes in the weather. We were in the Isle of Scilly for the first two weeks of September and it was glorious - very warm and dry apart from a couple of heavy showers. Whilst we were away, the rain gauge collected 52 mm [2"] for the period from 0800 on 29th August to 0800 on the 14th September. We recorded no further rain at all for the rest of the month, so September's rainfall total was 52 mm

This was similar to 2001 when we had 48 mm but a lot drier than 2000 which produced 198 mm [8"]. The top temperature was 23.6 Deg C with a low of 6.2 Deg C. This was slightly up on last year but down on 2000. The winds were very light - light enough in fact for a spider's web to stop the anemometer spinning. Thanks to Judie, we can now give approximate hours of sunshine as recorded by Chicane's solar panels. In September it showed 118.72 hours of sunshine, which we would think was pretty good, although we have no record with which to compare it.

October continued September's settled pattern until autumn arrived with a vengeance on Saturday 12th, when the barograph fell from 1020 mbs to 984 mbs by Tuesday 15th. In those four days we had 75 mm [3"] of rain [of which 55 mm [2 3/10"] fell in 24 hours, winds of up to 31 knots in the Valley and only 6.1 hours of sunshine. On 25th October we had a nice little shower which produced 19 mm [3/4"] rain in an hour and a half, but the next real 'nasty' arrived on Saturday/Sunday 26th/27th, when 36 mm [1 1/2"] of rain fell and the wind reached speeds of 51 knots [63 mph] in the Valley. This was only 3 knots less than the highest wind speed we have recorded since 1994. The maximum temperature for October was 19.80 C with a minimum of 1.9 Deg C. This was down on last year's maximum of 20.7 Deg V and minimum of 5.3 Deg C. The total rain for October was 186 mm [7 3/8"]. It may have seemed a wet month but it was still drier than last year when we recorded 20 mm [8 3/4"] and 2000 when the rain was nearly at 352 mm [14"].

The total sunshine hours were only 56.47, somewhat down on September but with the sun moving south the panels catch less sun anyway.

We seem now to have settled in to a pattern of one low after another, bringing wind and rain.

Sue and Simon


Brian Wright

Solution in Article 37.



George Mackay Brown

Monday I found a boot -
Rust and salt leather.
I gave it back to the sea, to dance in.
Tuesday a spar of timber worth thirty bob.
Next winter
It will be a chair, a coffin, a bed.
Wednesday a half can of Swedish spirits.
I tilted my head.
The shore was cold with mermaids and angels.
Thursday I got nothing, seaweed,
A whale bone,
Wet feet and a loud cough.
Friday I held a seaman's skull,
Sand spilling from it
The way time is told on kirkyard stones.
Saturday a barrel of sodden oranges.
A Spanish ship
Was wrecked last month at The Kame.
Sunday, for fear of the elders,
I sit on my bum.
What's heaven? A sea chest with a thousand gold coins.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



In the October issue, mention was made of two e-mails, the first from Anne Phipps [nee Renny] and her family sought information regarding their short time in Berrynarbor and the whereabouts of their father's grave in St. Peter's churchyard - which still remains elusive.

Anne's older sister, Winnie [Taylor] stayed here for a few days at the end of October and it was good to meet her and for her and Ivy Richards to spend some time reminiscing together. The picture shows Winnie and her twin brothers, Gordon and Alex, on the steps at Berri-View.

The information sent by John Belcher following his research into the names on the War Memorial, is now on display in the Church. Once again, if anyone has any further information they can supply on those who gave their lives during the two World Wars, please do contact the Editor [883544].

We received this lovely letter from Carole Hathiram of Pinner, Middlesex, and as it praises all the village, I thought it would be nice if it could be published in the Newsletter.

Fenella Boxall - Sloley Farm

"Dear Proprietor,

I am sending this letter to you to express my appreciation and that of my Indian friends who were recommended by you to stay at The Old Rectory in Berrynarbor, when we visited Devon very recently. We all found the proprietors of The Old Rectory to be very charming and our stay there was thoroughly enjoyable; all this made possible after I had telephoned you and you kindly passed on the address to me.

Berrynarbor is indeed a very beautiful village and may I say 'hats off to all the villagers' who have maintained such a high standard of cleanliness and beauty. The little flowerpot men on many of the cottages helped to make the village look so special."



'We are off to Canada - here are our tickets for the Countryside Alliance March in London on 22nd September', said AP and PP of DC to Judith M. and me. And as we usually do what we are told [!], we joined a coach at 7.00 a.m. on the 22nd at Muddiford for the journey to London.

A good-natured crowd, with a lot of amusing banter, made the four hours to the outskirts of London fly by.

Then the trouble started! We crawled, in a long line of traffic [mainly coaches like ours], through the unappetising outskirts of our capital city for over two hours. By this time, Judith and I were cursing AP and PP, as we watched people get off the various coaches, down a pint in the nearest pub, and rejoin their coach a mere 25 metres down the road!

Eventually we reached the 'drop off' point and left the coach with refugee-type labels tied around our necks. These gave the coach number, driver's mobile number, pick-up point - in fact everything but the colour of his eyes! At this point I really wondered if we would ever see our Filers coach again as it crawled off into the distance, and we were lost in a mass of people!

We walked for an hour to the start of the March, four hours on the March and then a further hour back to the coach. But it was wonderful!

The atmosphere, the noise of whistles, people cheering, the banners, the crowds, were an experience I shall never forget. My main memories: The people lining the pavements and bridges, clapping and cheering as we passed along. The car drivers hooting, with thumbs up.

The boos and police presence as we passed the DEFRA offices in Whitehall - how starkly their stern, straight grey edifices contrasted with the colour and exuberance of the crowds! The silence, and doffed hats as we passed the Cenotaph - a reminder of all the countryside folk commemorated on that memorial who would have been with us, and I felt sure were in spirit.

We passed under the 'counter' at 402,000 [and we were all sure there were more than 8,000 behind us]. We finished under Big Ben, which gleamed in the early evening sunlight. Nick Harvey greeted us on Westminster Bridge and we then made the long trek by the riverside back to the coaches.

The journey back was a reversal of our entrance - a long, slow crawl through the suburbs and then freedom from traffic to return to Devon. We left the coach at 2.00 a.m. on the Monday morning exhausted for a good few days - but thankful to AP and PP for insisting we took their tickets!

This March never felt a pro or anti-hunting event. It never felt a town v countryside event, it just felt an opportunity to show everyone that all that we do, in villages like Berrynarbor, are so important to the lifeblood of the country.

Artwork by: Peter Rothwell

Yvonne Davey


Host A Roast, October 26th 2002

It was a gratifying sight: eight friends seated in the dining room, chatting between mouthfuls; laughter coming from a further nine 'happy eaters' in the sitting room, briefly converted to a second dining room. The four places in the conservatory remained empty, but the 'staff' were soon to occupy these! And all this because I picked up a message from the Countryside Alliance website which said, 'It's not too late to organise a Host A Roast a fun way of raising funds for the Countryside Alliance and is designed to bring people together for an enjoyable meal celebrating British food.' 'Why not do my bit? I thought.

To my relief and joy, Alex and friends agreed with the idea. [Since then, Alex is saying he'll get me inoculated against mad ideas if only he knew what vaccine to use! Secretly, I think he quite enjoyed it]

Several friends volunteered to help. Little did they know that their homes as well as their time would be plundered? I had to close the books when I realised we couldn't possibly seat more than 21.

Ilfracombe High Street turned up trumps. Mike Turton gave us delicious turkey legs, boned and stuffed with Lincolnshire sausage, and a huge joint of rolled and boned local pork shoulder [the memory of the crackling lingers yet!]. Pam Norman offered mushrooms for the soup, huge potatoes for baking, parsley, carrots, Savoy cabbage [and lemons for the accompanying sauce], and plums to be added to the apples provided by another friend for the traditional British crumble. Chris and Carole, at The Healthy Way, kindly donated West Country cheeses, for which we charged extra and Yvonne's chucks laid enough rich eggs for the creme caramels.

Thanks to Judith, Yvonne, Pip and Marilyn, we managed to gather sufficient cutlery, glasses, china, chairs and tables. Pip arranged the flowers and she and Judith prettied up the tables. My feet were glued to the kitchen floor! I had serious qualms about underdone meat, hard baked potatoes, burnt soup, etc., but thanks to excellent basic foods and good luck, everything turned out OK.

Guests were invited to bring along paperbacks and buy others of course. As a result, a tidy sum was added to the 'kitty' and the charity bookshop benefited from the 'remainders'.

Alex dispensed glasses of wine on arrival and then retired to the kitchen where he performed handsomely with the carving knife. Yvonne and Judith distributed the plates with great aplomb and Pip did a fine job with the custard! We ate leisurely [of necessity, as helpers decided that they, too, wanted to enjoy the meal], starting at 7.30 p.m. and finishing with coffee over 3 hours later.

What was particularly pleasing was an impromptu vote of thanks from Tony, who ended by saying that best of all was having an opportunity of supporting a cause in which we all believed.

Thanks are due to the Countryside Alliance for suggesting the idea, the sponsors for supporting it, friends for helping out and the diners without whom we'd have had no cash - and a lot of food left over! As a result, we have been able to send a cheque to the Countryside Alliance for £264, which made the evening both fun and well worthwhile.


For further information on the Countryside Alliance go to www.countryside-alliance.org or 'phone Alison Hawes on 01548 831489




With the dark evenings, our rides into the countryside have been curtailed. But it doesn't stop us talking!! A group met in The Globe in October and the meeting on the 13th November was at a different venue. Steve arranged for some motorcycling videos to be played on the big screen at Cook Island, so a good time was had by all.

On 13th December we are having our first Christmas Dinner at The Globe. We are all bringing our 'other halves', so we anticipate that there will be 12 of us sitting down together. Regrettably, 4 others will not be able to make it on this occasion.

We now look forward to 2003 and hope that some more new riders will come to join us and that the sun will shine on dry roads! Our first meeting of the New Year will be on 8th January when we shall meet at The Globe at 7.30 p.m.




A very big thank you to all my friends in Berrynarbor for the very generous gifts you donated towards my leaving the Post Office. Nora and Alan converted them into Garden Gift tokens which I have already spent on tools and bulbs.

I am settling in at Ilton, near Ilminster - it's not as pretty as Berrynarbor, but the people very friendly and welcoming.

I've joined a new golf club - Taunton Vale - which is very pleasant no sea views, but water hazards aplenty! [So, Graham, if you want a Mixed Open next year, please get in touch.]

We went to the Harvest Festival Service on Sunday - the hymns were recorded on CD. [In your spare time, Stuart, Ilton needs a good organist! By the way, did you find the book of music I left at your back door?]

Once again many thanks for my present, I shall think of you all often as I dig through the very heavy clay soil in the garden.

Love and best wishes,

Sue Wright

Thank you to everyone who attended, and those who generously contributed to the Macmillan Cancer Relief Coffee Morning my sister and I hosted at Mill Park on the 27th September. 63 people attended [this was recorded as the event was aiming to go in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's biggest coffee morning, being hosted all over the country that day. £252.07 was banked and requested to be allocated to North Devon District Hospital's fund for Macmillan Nurses.

Many people from the village, local traders from llfracombe and Barnstaple gave raffle prizes totalling 32 in all. One person gave £50 cash specifically as the 1st Prize in the raffle to attract sales. It was much appreciated. £176 was additionally raised for the Children's Hospice South West and North Devon Hospice as well as Macmillan Cancer Relief from the sale of Christmas cards.

We hope to run another event next year and thank Brian and Mary Malin for offering us the venue.

Diane Lloyd

I should like to express my grateful thanks to everyone who has shown me so much kindness and support, not only during my stay in hospital, but always at other times too.

Doreen Siviter

I should like to say thank you to everyone who has sent me cards, flowers and fruit during my stay at the Tyrrell, where I am now convalescing following a few days down in Plymouth.

I have been delighted to see so many visitors - thank you for coming - everyone has been so kind.

Vi Kingdom


Artwork: Harry Weedon


Once again we must thank Ann and Vi and their hard working Committee for arranging a lovely 'Get Together' in the Manor Hall on the 9th November. The hall looked good and we were served delicious refreshments - lovely cheese and good wine!

But we were there, not for the beer, but to thank them on their success in winning the Mary Mortimer Trophy, awarded to our village for the wonderful floral displays that so impressed the judge. We were also there to congratulate the Carnival Committee and all those who took part in producing the prize-winning [at all the Carnivals] float, 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. Well done! Finally, Gordon Hughes, as Chairman of the Men's Institute, presented Hedy with the plaque for Josef's bench. A lovely afternoon.




Coventry Patmore

The crocus, while the days are dark,
Unfolds its saffron sheen;
At April's touch the crudest bark
Discovers gems of green.
Then sleep the seasons, full of might;
While slowly swells the pod
And rounds the peach, and in the night
The mushroom bursts the sod.
The winter falls; the frozen rut
Is bound with silver bars;
The snowdrift heaps against the hut,
And night is pierced with stars.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes



With Christmas coming - when those once-a-year tree lights and other electrical decorations come down from the loft - and the Firemen possibly on strike, it might be prudent to take note of the following advice given by Devon Fire and Rescue Service. 'Taking the time to read this article may just save your life'.

Home Escape Plan: Make sure that everyone in your home knows the way to get out, especially in the dark if the power has failed. Smoking: Always ensure smoking materials are properly extinguished and ashtrays emptied. ALWAYS keep matches and lighters well out of reach of children.

Candles: NEVER leave burning candles unattended, in draughts or close to combustible materials. Make sure candles are in proper holders, especially tealight candles.

Chip Pans: Avoid using chip pans if possible. Never fill a pan more that 1/3rd full of fat or oil; never leave a chip pan unattended when the heat is on and if the oil begins to give off smoke, DO NOT add food. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Open and Portable Fires: Always use a fireguard, but never rest clothes or flammable items on the guard. Do not sit too close to a portable heater or put it near furniture.

Electrical Appliances: Always follow manufacturers instructions on use and maintenance and ensure the correct fuse is used. Switch off and unplug when not in use. Do not overload sockets - one plug to one socket is safest. Electric blankets should be regularly serviced and checked for faulty leads, plugs.

What should I do if a fire starts?

If possible, close the door [and windows] of the room where the fire is and close all doors behind you as you leave. Get everyone out as quickly as possible. Don't pick up valuables or possessions - the delay could be fatal if something explodes.

Call 999 and alert the emergency services.

Smoke Alarms

A smoke alarm can give you those precious few minutes of warning. A smoke alarm can help you and your family get out safely. Smoke alarms are widely available from DIY stores, supermarkets, hardware and electrical shops,

Smoke Alarms Save Lives Fit One Today

Once fitted, test your alarm once a month, on a Saturday morning! Replace the battery every year, when you alter your clock! Vacuum and dust your smoke alarm casing at least once every year. Never remove the battery!


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

Finished your Christmas shopping yet? I certainly haven't! But now is the right time to think about what Christmas really means. Here is a thought for us all.

During the reign of George III, a widow was working hard in a harvest field near Weymouth. She was all alone, surrounded by reaping instruments abandoned on the floor, when a very finely dressed man approached her and bowed and said:

    "Excuse me, madam, but is something amiss? For I see all the tools have been left here in the field, and you alone are working."
    "Well sir," she replied, "they have all gone off to town, because the king is visiting today."
    "Wouldn't you like to go and see him?'
    "Oh yes, sire, but I am all alone with three children to feed and I can't afford to have the time off."
    "Ah, yes, now I understand." he said.

With that, he took out a gold coin and put it into her hand. The woman looked at him in amazement. As he turned to go, he said:

    "Oh, by the way, you can tell your friends that as you couldn't go to see the king, the king came to see you."

Christmas reminds us that the King did come to see us, and the gift he has for us is not a gold coin, but the gift of eternal life.

May the Blessing of the great King, who took our human nature upon him so that we might share in his kingdom, be with you, and all whom you love, this Christmastide and for ever more. Amen.

Have a Happy and Joyful Christmas,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer


Artwork: Helen Weedon


It had been of those mornings when I wished I'd stayed in bed. First the toaster fell in love with the two slices of bread I'd placed in it; so much so, it wouldn't give me them back. Well, not until it had scorched them and set the smoke alarm off which in turn sent the dogs into a frenzy.

Deciding to comfort my empty stomach with a nice, hot cuppa, I then realised I'd run out of tea. Still grappling with the taste of coffee in my mouth first thing in the morning, I took the dogs out only to discover that my walking boots had also started a love affair, theirs being with any cold water that chose to seep inside.

Retail therapy was obviously needed though with the iron having literally run out of steam the day before, my shopping list looked more like items chosen off the conveyor belt of the Generation Game. My trip into town, however, was to be far from therapeutic, particularly when my swipe card was declined. Back home and what seemed like a hundred telephone calls later, I discovered that my wages hadn't been paid into the bank.

Now, I was angry and in serious need of some sort of therapy to relieve my stress. A look out of my lounge window didn't help as a dull, wintry day just looked back at me. "So what?" I suddenly thought, "Let's get in the car and see where we land up." With that, I headed out of town.

Reaching Mullacott Cross, I turned left so I could head along the road that runs the high ridge of llfracombe. Along the way the peaks of the Hangman Hills came into view, their outline a most wonderful foreground to the Bristol Channel and Welsh coastline beyond.

Then, driving over the peak of a slight gradient, the unforeseen venue of my drive out came clearly into view - Exmoor. It appeared chilling and haunting, its sky above grey and overwhelming. Yet dark though the rnoorland was, its landscape was intensely detailed. Hedgerows stood out boldly, as though black lines had been imprinted across the scene by an artist's pen.

The dramatic image was all the more enhanced by the threatening clouds, which in places shrouded the hilltops with thick mist. The only brightness to be made out in the scene was beyond the troughs between hills, where the distant cloud seemed lighter.

In many ways the moor looked dark and uninviting. Its dramatic scenery, however, seemed to have a magnetic pull over me. It was as if it was enticing me closer and closer.

By the time I turned off the "A" road onto some country lane near Brayford, I felt as though the cloud base was just above me.

Certainly the top of what I presumed was Castle Common had disappeared, so I knew I was going to have to be careful where I drove. And the day had definitely darkened, though for someone who had been brought up in the town and had a fear of the dark and being alone for too long, I felt amazingly secure. Exmoor, it seemed, would keep me safe and would be all the company I needed.

So without a care in the world, I began turning left here and right there, seeking out the brightest parts in the sky. [Not quite like the 'twister chasers' who seek the tornadoes in the American deserts, but similar, I suppose]. In places, the hedgerows stood taller than my vehicle and l, allowing bracken leaves to reach out and wave at me in the wind.

Soon, the roads were undulating through lightly packed valleys where sweet little streams were never too far away. At the base of each miniature valley, an old stone bridge would greet me, allowing clear fresh waters to scamper through.

Crossing one such bridge I noticed a 'Public Footpath' sign. Curiosity getting the better of me, I luckily found close by a passing place, both deep and long enough for me to park up, knowing there was still enough space if any other vehicles met head on.

The path, running alongside the stream a short distance, soon turned away from it and headed steeply upwards. Walking up it, I became acutely aware of how the dull day was allowing the varying shades of the limited colours available to stand out. The hedgerows, though now devoid of spring and summer wild flowers, still had plenty to offer: the greens of the bracken and ferns, the yellows of leaves still turning and the golden browns of leaves that had completed their autumnal transformation. Each stood out luminous. Even the pale colour of withered grasses took on an unprecedented appearance.

The feeling of being at one with Exmoor's countryside was soothing. For a moment, however, I thought the roaring sound of a fighter jet would ruin my peace of mind. The nearer I got to the brow of the hill, so the louder the noise became. It was only as I reached the summit I realised that the roar was in fact that of the wind soaring through the naked branches of a large Maple tree, standing solitary in the field beside me. Though, as I studied its branches, there appeared no movement. The wind was being heard, but not seen.

From my panoramic viewpoint, I could again appreciate how the dull day really was enabling me to see in detail all that was on show. On the hillside ahead of me, a mass of gorse bushes clung to the steep sides, the deep green of their leaves making an impact on the view. The bushes could only boast a scattering of yellow flowers, yet I could easily pick each one out.

Within the hill to one side of me an old farmer's cottage nestled, painted a rather bland cream colour. Today it's outer walls stood out like a blot on the landscape. Where the field beside me sloped steeply away, a lone sheep stopped momentarily to look at me before carrying on her grazing. Even she stood out, her outline acting as a bright silhouette against the valley beyond.

Above her, a crow hovered, not through choice but as a result of its fight to fly in to the ever-increasing wind. Indeed, only the wind seemed to be making any noise at all, the setting being devoid of birdsong.

Maybe sound would have spoilt the setting. For once, it was not needed. The view alone, indeed all that I had seen as I drove across the moor, had been enough. So what if I hadn't done any retail therapy? And so what if I had no money? Exmoor, on a grey, gloomy day was the therapy I'd needed. And the sights it had to offer were priceless.

Illustrated by: Peter Rothwell

Steve McCarthy



In the 1940's through to the early 1950's

Farmer Fred Rice, of Bodstone Barton, would drive his flock of sheep [perhaps 100 or more] down through Berrynarbor, passing North Lee and then going up Hagginton Hill and on to Ilfracombe Golf Course for the grazing. This seemed to happen after shearing and they would make the return journey in late summer or early autumn.

There was always a stockman at the head of the flock. Farmer Fred would be on horseback, dressed in breeches and a black coat and sporting a black bowler hat, which he would raise to anyone standing at the roadside.

The sheepdog was always at the rear, with perhaps another stockman. It was a truly lovely sight it could never happen now!

I hope this will stir up some more memories.

Rosslyn Hammett


Mobile Catering Services


Jenny and John have, over the last few weeks, been coming to the village with Fish and Chips - even on Bonfire Night.

Sadly, this will be stopping now but it is hoped to resume this service in the new year. Details of when and where will be available at the Post Office or through the Newsletter.
As they say, 'WATCH THIS SPACE".




This is a sponsored event for the North Devon Hospice, and it really is easy to join in. Anyone can get sponsored to knit strips of wool for a maximum of two hours, on or around 26th February 2003. It happens all across the North Devon community, in church and village halls, pubs, canteens and even in shop windows! There is no limit to the numbers who can take part or where it can take place. Let us know where you will be. All the strips get sent to the hospice and are sewn into blankets and distributed locally and abroad where there is a crisis, so everyone benefits. It really is easy to take part, so please join us. Please call the 'Chief Knits' at the fundraising office [01271] 344248 for more information or a registration pack. Thank you.



Combe Martin Branch
December is Children's Cancer Care
Awareness Month


Village Hall, Combe Martin


Cakes * Crafts Bric-a-Brac * Raffle
Children's Lucky Dip and Face Painting

Father Christmas will be there and tea/coffee and mince pies will be available




Hello Everyone,

I am glad to have this opportunity to introduce myself to you all.

The whole school community was sad to say goodbye to Simon Bell when he left in October. I have come to look after the school while the Governors work hard to find the right permanent Headteacher. I have been made very welcome by children, staff and parents - many thanks to you all.

The school is busy as always. Years 5 and 6 are involved in a project about Shakespeare and enjoyed a visit to the theatre in Barnstaple. Thanks to the generous efforts of the PTA, Key Stage 2 children have been treated to a cinema trip to see the new Harry Potter film and Key Stage 1 to a Pantomime visit.

On December 12th and 13th, the school will be performing its annual pantomime in the Manor Hall in the evening. Not to be missed ... December 16th will see a Carol Concert at 2.00 p.m. in the Church followed by the Christmas Fair in the Manor Hall. Christmas Dinner in school will be on the 18th December and term ends on Friday, 20th December.

The hard-working staff continue to deliver the full National Curriculum requirements throughout, and even manage to run extra curricular activities in their own time. The children can choose from a variety of clubs, including recorder, drama, football, netball and choir. A homework club has recently been started after school on Fridays, so children can complete their tasks with a teacher on hand to help.

The Governors, who work in a voluntary capacity, meet regularly and manage to handle a heavy workload with enthusiasm and diligence. The School really appreciates the support given by the Governing Body and welcomes visitors and helpers. If you would like to come and see us, do let us know.

The School Community would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a healthy, peaceful New Year.

Linda Simmonds - Headteacher

Observational drawings of St. Peter's Church by pupils from Class 1: A picture by Charlotte Cornish [Aged 6] illustrates the Church Article and this picture is by Shannon Lethaby .

Artwork by: Shannon Lethaby [Aged 5]



Further News

Dear Mums,

At last I have found time to write to you both. Since my last letter, life has been a little potty, or should I say a real social whirl. My last letter mentioned my role in the window display at Harrods and much as this was useful employment at the time, all that posing was little beneath me, as you know how shy I am. But it did introduce me to a world of affluence and I had invitations to so many events.

My new year started on the ski slopes of Aspen where I looked rather fetching in a fuchsia-coloured all-in-one ski suit. My wonderful psychedelic pink wellingtons fitted beautifully in the skis, but I admit to a few tumbles. I moved from there to the hot beaches of Bermuda, windsurfing, water skiing and sunbathing on a yacht just off the coast with my new, wealthy friends, who were entranced by my stories of life on the wall of the cottage in the village.

Tennis at Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show were next on my agenda, and I was invited by my dear friend Alan Titchmarsh to sit among the fuchsias in his garden. I had my photo taken by every passer-by - it was just like being in the village again, so the role came naturally to me. One of the main talking points was my wonderful cream gown and my beautiful pink wellingtons - everyone wanted to know just where I got them and I was chatted up and invited to pose in all the top gardens in the land.

I actually won a unique prize of 'Best Overall Exhibit' at the show, but declined the award as I don't like to draw attention to myself. In fact, Charlie Dimmock was a little jealous of me taking all Alan's attention as it was, so I had to reassure her that I would not accept the offer of a place on Ground Force, nor have a wax work of me made for Madam -Tussauds, as offered, and now we are the best of friends.

However, the most wonderful thing happened just as I was telling my dear friend Alan that I was thinking of visiting you both for the summer holidays. The Queen came along and was so intrigued by me that she invited me to have tea with her at Buckingham Palace. It was brilliant and 'Queenie' and me, as I call her now, hit it off right away. I played a major role in her Jubilee Celebrations, sitting in the coach on the way to the Abbey, a front row seat for the Pop Concert and Firework Display. She has also had such a sad year that I am pleased I was there for her.

I was thrilled and delighted to be offered the honour of an MBE and have spent the rest of the summer and early autumn pottering between Balmoral, Windsor and the Palace.

Now I am thinking of returning to the village next year as I hear that in my absence you have won the 'In Bloom' award.

I miss you and all my flowerpot friends and send all my love and best wishes to everyone for a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Love from
Lady Fuchsia




Sadly, I missed the first meeting in October, but understand that Andy Cloutman of Quay West Wines gave an excellent presentation which was well attended. The Wine Circle was fortunate in November that Barney Dunstan and two of his colleagues came up from Plymouth and gave a superb presentation on 'Premium Wines' from Laithwaites Wines. The entrance fee had been increased for this evening, and I believe all members felt that this was more than warranted and look forward to a return visit hopefully next year. The wines they chose were some of the best from New Zealand and France and ranged from Chablis Premier Cru at £13 a bottle, to 'Te Kairanga' Pinot Noir 2000 from Martinborough in New Zealand at £12 per bottle, and a sparkling wine from Cloudy Bay, New Zealand at £15 a bottle and made in the traditional 'champagne' manner from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We are now looking forward to our Christmas Special [by ticket only] being presented jointly by the Chairman, Alex Parke [and Pam] and Ted Paynter. This will be followed in January with our ever-popular Members Favourites, being again masterminded by Tony Summers.

Tom B.


OF THIS and THAT ...

Woof, Woof! - Well done, dogs, give your owners a pat, your 'dumping' has improved! However, just one more little plea, ask them to take home the little 'parcels' and not leave them by the wayside. Thanks!

Was it Walden or a Stag? - The end of October has brought strange noises to the Sterridge Valley. Chris tells me that the bellicose sounds are stags rutting. Certainly, from delightful sightings of up to twenty-one deer, including at least one big stag opposite Cherry Tree and Hillside cottages, who am I to argue? However, Chris has been known to imitate owls regularly as a greeting call, so if it turns out to be him, apologies to the stag. Some say that the stag has tried to incorporate the flowerpot men into his herd and maybe this explains the damage lor abuse] inflicted on some of our terracotta friends in the past. Food for thought.


Tinkle - On leaving the smallest room in the house there was a faint chink or tinkle on porcelain. I took little notice until I suddenly realised that everything was blurred and reaching up to rub my glasses my finger went straight through the hole on the left side. "Oh heck, it must have gone down the U-know-wot! "

An examination of the drains followed - lifting the lid on the first manhole and holding a broom over the 'out' pipe, the IJ-K.W was flushed! No luck - nor was there any luck from manholes two and three. At the end of the road, or drains, the optician was the only option.

The next morning, what fell out of my pyjama pocket? You're right, the missing lens. It must have been the screw and not the lens at all that made that tinkling sound! Hastening back to the optician with the lens to be fitted, we all had a good laugh.




3rdW.I. Carol Service, St. Peter's Church
Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
llfracombe Access Group Awareness Day: The Landmark, 2.00 to 5.00 p.m.
10thNorth Devon Spinners, Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m. Parish Council Meeting : Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
11thWine Circle: Christmas Food & Drink - Ted Paynter and Alex Parke, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall [by ticket only]
12thPrimary School Christmas Pantomime, Manor Hall 6.30 p.m.
13thPrimary School Christmas Pantomime, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m. Bikers of Berrynarbor: Annual Christmas Dinner at The Globe
14thChristmas Card Box open at Village Shop
16thW.l. Christmas Lunch at The Globe
18thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
St. Peter's: Carol Service, 6.30 p.m. with Sunday School Nativity Play
20thCollege and Primary School: End of Autumn Term
21stChristmas Card Coffee Morning , Manor Hall, 10.30 - 12.00 noon
22ndSt. Peter's Church: Family Service with Sunday School Nativity Play , 11.00 a.m.
24thNo Spinners Meeting
St. Peter's Church: Christmas Eve - First Communion of Christmas, 9.30 p.m.
St. Peter's Church: Family Communion with Carols, 11.00 a.m.
29thSt. Peter's Church: Sung Eucharist with Carols, 11.00 a.m.
1stNew Year's Day Bank Holiday
4thSunday School Party, Manor Hall
6thCollege and Primary School: Start of Spring Term
7thW.l. Meeting: 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Jill and Tim Massey - New Zealand
8thFriendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.30 p.m. Bikers of Berrynarbor, The Globe, 7.30 p.m.
14thNorth Devon Spinners, Manor Hall, 2.00p.m.
Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7:30pm.
15thWine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m: Member's Favourite Wines, Co-ordinated by Tony Summers
28thNorth Devon Spinners, Manor Hall, 2.00p.m.
4thW.l. Meeting: 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall.

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m.
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m.

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.30 - 11.45 a.m.Sandy Cove
11.50 - 12.05 p.m.Barton Lane
1.15 - 1.40 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Those Teenage Years

It was 1946 and World War II was over. After six and a half years we moved back to our home town of Upminster in Essex. Time was moving on and I had to get myself a job. I had joined a youth club, named Sandringham, at Upney, which is near Barking. At this club I met a girl called Polly Pinner. We soon got talking about past years and it turned out that she was at the Dagenham County High when it was evacuated and superimposed on llfracombe Grammar School. Oddly enough, she was a friend of Betty Kelly who lived in llfracombe and was in my class during the war. Polly and I became good chums and we would travel on the same train together to go to the youth club.

In the course of a chat with her, I asked where she worked and she said that she worked for an Estate Agent in Upminster and they wanted an office boy. What a bit of luck! I got the job and £2 a week too!

One Saturday there was to be a dance at Sandringham and Polly and I arranged to meet at the station to travel there. As was always the case, Polly would stick with her friends and I with mine during the evening, but we would travel back together. On this occasion I had rather foolishly put on a new pair of shoes and all evening my feet were killing me! When we arrived at Upminster station, Polly asked me if I would walk her home as she was a bit afraid to go alone as it was so late. I agreed, but by now my feet were really hurting and by the time we got to her house I could not walk any further!

Polly's reaction was, "We always keep a bed made up for visitors, so why don't you stay the night?" I was so whacked, I thanked her and was shown the room.

Now when we were young we must have caused our mothers a lot of worry and I was certainly no exception. Next morning, at about 9.30, it occurred to me that perhaps I should ring and let mother know my whereabouts. She answered the 'phone, telling me that she had been worried out of her mind and had the Police out looking for me. "Not very successful are they?" I rudely retorted. I don't think I'd better tell you what she eventually said when I finally got home, I think it began with, "You rotten little...

Looking back at the late nights when we were young, so much seems daft! We had a grandfather clock in our hall, the back of which was exposed at the level of a turn in the stairs. Also exposed was the hammer and striking bell. One night I arrived home very late and did not dare put any lights on in case the sound of the switch was heard by my mother. Fortunately, the curtains had not been pulled and light was corning in from the street lights. I took off my shoes to prepare for the silent ascent to my bedroom, but then made out that the clock was just about to strike two. Taking a penny out of my pocket, I crept up to the level at the back of the clock and waited. Sure enough, the clock struck two, or was it? With my penny I struck another ten - a much more respectable time to arrive home!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester



The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor.
Milk bottles burst
Outside the door.
The river is
A frozen space
Held still beneath
The tree of lace.
The sky is low,
The wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.
John Updike

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Christmas Card Coffee Morning will be held again this year in the Manor Hall, from 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon on Saturday, 21st December. Sherry and mince pies will be provided, as well as the usual tea and coffee, and there will also be suitable Christmassy items being offered for sale. If anyone would like to rent a table, then please let me or a member of the Management Committee know. There might even be a raffle and music!

The Management Committee will organise the distribution of your cards within the village, for a donation of 10p per card, all monies to the Village Hall Fund. There will be a box for your cards in the village shop from Saturday, 14th December, or bring them along on the 21st.

What a lovely way to start off the holiday. I hope to see you there, but if not, on behalf of the Management Committee may I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

John Hood - Chairman



"Listen to the ocean,

Echoes of a million sea shells..."

Standing on the edge of Northam Burrows and looking out to sea where a flock of birds trail behind a fishing boat, like a plume of smoke. Here is a three hundred and sixty degree viewpoint stretching from Hartland to Baggy Point; with the meeting of the Taw and Torridge; Westward Ho!, Saunton and Appledore.

Overlooking the Burrows, the tall tower of Northam Church was used as a landmark for shipping.

In his novel, Westward Ho!, Charles Kingsley described the scene: ... look around at the wide bay to the westward, with its southern wall of purple cliffs; then at the dim Isle of Lundy far away at sea; then at the downs of Morte and Braunton ... at the vast yellow sheet of rolling sandhill and green alluvial plain dotted with red cattle ... through which the silver estuary winds onwards towards the sea.'

Northam Burrows Country Park comprises six hundred and fifty acres of common land where ponies graze. The area of salt marsh, sand dunes and pasture is protected from being swamped by the sea by the Pebble Ridge, a barrier of smooth grey boulders more than a rnile and a half long, up to sixty feet wide and over twenty feet high in places.

Although traditionally the local "potwallopers" [who have exercised the right to graze their stock on the Burrows since feudal times] have repaired and maintained the Pebble Ridge, it is a natural formation.

Pieces of rock are torn from the cliffs at Hartland Point by the action of the waves and are rounded and smoothed as they are rolled and swept along the coast, eventually reaching the Pebble Ridge. It differs from other spits in the west of England, being composed of cobbles instead of shingle or sand. The Reverend Sabine Baring Gould wrote, "The glory of the Northam Burrows is the Pebble Ridge on the north west front that protects the land from the fury of the sea."

At the Skern, a large square area of mud stretching between Northam Burrows and Appledore, Brent geese had gathered to feed. This is a popular place for wintering wild fowl and waders.

On the nearby dunes there were a lot of tiny, pinkish-mauve storksbill flowers, a compact plant with short stems and small leaflets divided into narrow segments. Also growing out of the sand were rubbery stems and leaves of sea spurge and the handsome sea holly; its bluish grey-green prickly leaves having white edges and veins. Such seaside plants have their special defences for dealing with the harsh conditions and salt spray. They may be fleshy or spiny or covered with fine hairs.

A particularly savage plant growing in dense tussocks on the Burrows is the aptly named sharp rush; each stem tipped with a tough and dangerous point - the sharpest leafed plant in Britain.

Although it was mid-October, there were still wheatears about. We found a clump of large rough grey-green leaves and big bright yellow flowers emerging from the shingle. This was the yellow horned poppy. It flowers for five months, from June to October, and its curved seedpods, which can be up to twelve inches, are the longest of any European plant.

It had been a day of intense colour and bright light with a sparkling sea, but now the sky turned the colour of galvanised metal and it was time to head inland.

Artwork by: Paul Swailes






The shop and Post Office will continue operating into 2003.

However, the transfers of Income Tax Credits and Child Benefit payments into bank accounts have preceded the emergence of the Post Office Bank Card Account, so we'll have to play 'catch up' in the new payments areas rather than run alongside.

All benefit recipients are asked please, please, please to discuss your options for receiving payments with the shop staff before opting for any easy bank method. 'We can only be here for you, if you're here for us'.

We shall be closed for business from Tuesday, 24th December at 1.00 p.m., and all day Christmas Day and Boxing Day. There will be NO fresh bread until Monday, 30th December, so please order for your freezer.

Nora and I and 'the girls' would like to offer all our customers our best wishes for a Joyous Christmas Season and hopes for a Happy and Successful New Year.

Alan Rowlands


Artwork: Peter Rothwell

What's On at


The Globe

The Dining Room is now open as a 'Table Service Restaurant' every Friday and Saturday, with a separate menu and 'specials' too. Booking advised.

Don't forget Quiz Night every other Sunday.

  • Sunday, 22nd December - Children's Christmas Party. Places are limited so please put names down now at The Globe or Sawmills. Under 8's only.
  • Christmas Eve - Grand Christmas Draw, come along and join the Carol Singing
  • Boxing Day - Quiz Night, 8.00/8.30 p.m.
  • Although the flyer states no food on Boxing Night, we shall be serving food as normal from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m.
  • New Year's Eve - Party Night!
  • Fancy Dress, of course [open theme]. There will be karaoke in the function room, music in the bar and a free buffet. Bar open 'til late.

The Sawmills

  • Monday, 23rd December - Grand Christmas Draw
  • Look out for details of the new Carvery due to open soon. We shall also be doing 'All You Can Eat' and '2 for 1' offers through January and February - details will be available shortly.

Both The Globe and The Sawmills will be serving the Christmas Menu from 1st to 24th December, priced at £10.95 per head. Booking is required.

We look forward to seeing you and wish everyone a Merry Christrnas and a Happy New Year.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Sterrage Valley, 2. Near llfracombe

This beautiful photographic postcard taken by A.J. Vince of llfracombe circa 1908, or even earlier and numbered V48, is one of two views of the Sterrage Valley. It shows the orchard opposite Pink Heather and Higher Rows Farm, whilst Lower Rowes Farm can just be seen where the road dips round to the south. Behind the large apple tree in the centre, you are just able to see Woodlands Cottage, where Olive Kent lived for the past fifty years. Further still to the left is what appears to be a very modern Woodlands House - a large detached house standing in its own grounds and approached by the small lane off the road beside Cedars. Today the house is only just visible when coming down the Valley from the main road. On the 1921 map, Lower Rowes was known a 'Low Rows', and Woodlands Cottage as 'Lower Cockhill'.

The following folklore appears in a Victorian booklet, 'Signs and Superstitions', selling at 1d!

December: "December was the 10th month of the early Roman year and got its name from Decem, the Latin for ten. Among the Saxons it was originally Winter Monat, but after their conversion to Christianity, it was Heligh Monat or holy month, in honour of the birth of Christ. 'December frost and January flood Never boded the husbandman good'. 'December cold, with snow, good for rye'. Frost on the shortest day [22nd] indicates a severe winter.

Christmas Eve: the Latin Church called Christmas the Feast of Lights, because Christ, the true light, had come into the world, hence the Christmas candle and the yule log. In the western parts of Devonshire, a superstition prevails that at 12 o'clock on Christmas Eve, the oxen in stalls are found on their knees, as an attitude of devotion. Mince pies were intended to represent the offerings of the wise men, as many of the ingredients come from the East, the connection is plain. Holy Innocents' Day, December 28th, was formerly reckoned as the most unlucky day throughout the year, and few had the temerity to begin any work or start any new undertaking then. The superstitious recalled the fact when the first Tay Bridge was blown down on the 28th December 1879.

January: January is so called either from the Latin Janua - a door - probably because the name suggests the opening of the year, or from the two-faced god, Janus, who looks backwards and forwards. An ancient superstition maintains that the weather of the first twelve days of the year is symbolic of the kind of weather which will characterise the months of the year, which, in pre-Christian times, dated from April, but which later, under the influence of the Christian Church, counted from Christmas, and this belief is encountered in the whole of European lore."

Tom Bartlett,
Tower Cottage, November 2002




Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook