Edition 83 - April 2003

Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Mornings at seven;
The hill-side 's dew pearled;
The lark's on the wing
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven,
All's right with the world!

Robert Browning

If only that were true! However, as I write this, the sun's shining, the sky's clear blue and the daffodils are making a wonderful splash of colour: spring is here!

For this issue and the fifth in her dog series, Debbie's cover depicts her own, twelve week old Basenji puppy, Kani. Basenji puppies, unlike so many puppies that are round and wrinkly, are much more like miniature versions of the adult dog. Thank you, Debbie, for another great cover and for introducing Kani to us.

My continued thanks to contributors may seem rather monotonous, but it is only thanks to them that we have a newsletter and a pretty good one at that! Contributions literary, artistic and yes, financial as well are very much appreciated and will be welcome again come the middle of May! Items for the June issue need to be at the Post Office or Chicane by Wednesday, 14th May, at the latest please.

In the meantime, my best wishes for a happy Easter.




The Basenji, a domestic dog belonging to the hound group, is sometimes referred to as the African barkless dog. Although it cannot bark, when provoked it will yelp, rather like a wolf.

Long known, the breed first appeared in murals painted on the tomb walls of the ancient Egyptians. Similar dogs, discovered in the Congo basin by Victorian explorers, were used by their African owners to find game and drive it into traps.

The breed has upright ears... a wrinkled forehead and moderately long legs, standing 17" tall at the shoulder. The coat is short and fine, with lustrous hair; the tail, small in size, is tightly curled. The colour varies from black to reddish and is often mixed with white.




At our February meeting we were given a very interesting talk with slides by Mary Irwin on her visits to India with the Girl Guides. What made the talk so particularly interesting was that Mary went to parts of India that most other visitors and holiday programmes never get to see. The vote of thanks was given by Win Collins. A birthday gift was given to Beryl Brewer, the raffle was won by Josie Bozier and the competition for a floral decoration for the top of a wedding cake was won by Linda Brown.

But, ladies, where were you on the 4th March? The ladies of Berrynarbor W.l. had a wonderful afternoon when Debbie Lewis of 'Get Ahead Hats' brought along a selection of her beautiful hats and we had great fun trying them on! But what a difference it made for us having an expert, such as Debbie, with a good eye for colour and shape, so that even those who felt they were not 'hat persons', were converted. We all ended up feeling really elegant and looking stunning - look out Ascot! The vote of thanks was given by Linda Brown; birthday gifts were given to Doreen Prater and Inga Richardson, who also won the raffle. The competition for a painting was won by Joan Wood and the simnel cake by Doreen Prater.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, 1st April at 2.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall, when we shall be welcoming members from the Chichester Group and Jenny Goldsmith will be talking about her 'Life on the Wicked Stage' - sounds interesting! Our meeting on the 6th May will be discussing and voting on the resolutions which will go forward to National. So, come on ladies, come and help influence Government policy! Then, on the 3rd of June, Graham Andrews will be talking about local government.

Marion Carter





It is with sadness and joy that I write this short message to inform you of my "best friend's" death. Michael passed away on Sunday, 2nd March 2003. He was surrounded by myself and his two children. He left this world quietly and gently, much like the man he was. He is now at peace and home with the Lord. He faced his illness so bravely, but someone else wanted him 'home'. Michael was positive the entire journey. He is at peace.

"Dream as if you'lI live forever.
Live as if you'lI die tomorrow. "

James Dean

In sadness, but also in hope and joy.


Joy also writes:

    My 'best friend' is gone, but I am going to keep the memories we shared in my pocket. Time will heal the raw pain I now feel. I have been blessed with so many wonderful, caring friends.

All the village were saddened to hear of Michael's passing and our thoughts and prayers are with Joy, his son and daughter, Christian and Benna, and his grandchildren.

There will be a 'Celebration of Life' Service at St. Peter's on Saturday, 26th April at 2.00 p.m.


Ethel Mary Primrose, known to everyone as Mary, sadly passed away peacefully at Wilderbrook Nursing Home on the 11th March, at the age of 91 .

Mary came from a large family, having four sisters and a brother the youngest of the family - Jim, the late husband of Pat Reynolds of Toad Hall. During the War she joined the Wrens and was stationed in Scotland, where she met her husband and lived until his death. Mary then moved to Berrynarbor, living some twenty years at Deane on Barton Hill before she moved, three years ago, to 'Caring Hands' in Combe Martin.

Mary was a great golfer and a keen bridge player and she will be sorely missed by her two remaining sisters and her many nieces and nephews, and our thoughts are with all her family at this time of sadness.

DOREEN SPEAR [nee Dummett]

The village was saddened to learn of the death of one of its well-loved and respected former residents. Doreen, who had not been well for a couple of years, died peacefully at the North Devon District Hospital on the 12th March.

Like Mary, she too came from a large family - 7 brothers and 2 sisters all born in Berrynarbor. For very many years she lived at Croft Lee, originally with her mother and the family, and later with her husband, Fred Spear, and her mother. Doreen and Fred were married at St. Peter's in April 1940. Although they had no family of their own, when Doreen's sister Vera died, leaving a family of young children, Doreen helped her brother-in-law, Gordon Newton, to bring up her six nieces and nephews.

A keen gardener, Doreen took a real interest in the village and its activities - enjoying keeping up to date with events through the Newsletter, even when she moved to her flat in Ilfracombe, some six years ago. When she became unable to look after herself, Doreen moved to the Susan Day Residential Home, where she was looked after with care and affection.

Doreen, a gentle lady who always had a ready smile, will be much missed and our thoughts are with her family in their sad loss.


Artwork: Helen Armstead


Eastertide - Special services during April.

We are looking forward to Easter which is very late this year. Palm Sunday falls on April 13th and we shall celebrate with the distribution of Palm Crosses and a Family Eucharist. On Good Friday, 18th April, there will be a 'Quiet Hour' from 2.00 to 3.00 p.m. and later on the church will be decorated for Easter Sunday, when a Family Communion will be held at 11.00 a.m. and the Easter Candle will be lit.

Flowers for Easter should be white and yellow and donations towards the cost of Easter lilies would be much appreciated. Linda Brown [882600] has kindly taken over responsibility for the church flowers and she is the person to contact now. There is still room on the rota for any would-be arrangers, so please contact Linda if you are interested.

Church Magazine - after many years of service, Anita Cornish will be retiring from her post as Magazine Distributor at the end of March. She has done the job quietly and very efficiently and on occasions with great patience! Thank you, Anita, and family. Margaret Walls has agreed to take Anita's place and we wish her well. Contributions to the magazine are very welcome and should be handed to the Rector or Mary Tucker by the middle of the month, or there is a box at the back of the church.

The PCC are holding a Coffee Morning to boost church funds in the Manor Hall on Thursday, 1st May [Election Day], 10.00 onwards. There will be a raffle and the usual stalls. Gifts of cakes, plants, books and good 'white elephant' items will be most welcome. And please come along on the day!

Friendship Lunches at The Globe are still very popular and anyone new to the village is very welcome to come and join us. Please contact Mary Tucker [883881] in the first instance. The next ones will be on Wednesdays 23rd April and 28th May, 12.30 p.m. onwards.

An enthusiastic group met in the vestry for the Annual Meeting of the PCC on 6th March, and reports were given of all the various activities which took place in 2002.

  • Retiring Officers were - Mary Tucker - Churchwarden, Margaret Walls - Treasurer and Eileen Nottage - Deanery Synod Representative.
  • New Officers are - Shane Roach - Churchwarden, Mary Tucker - Treasurer, Doreen Prater - Deanery Synod Representative.
  • Remaining in post are - Doreen Prater - Churchwarden, Sylvia Berry - Deputy Churchwarden, Marion Carter - Secretary and Margaret Andrews - Deanery Synod Representative.

Stuart Neale was welcomed on to the PCC and the Rector thanked everyone for all their efforts on behalf of St. Peters. A complete list of Officers and Members of the PCC is to be found on the noticeboard in the church porch.

Mary Tucker




Pancake Day was very successful, raising just over £90 for Sunday School funds. Thank you so much to all my loyal helpers - it couldn't happen without you and also the cake and marmalade making ladies - home-made produce is always very popular and sells like 'hot cakes'. Thank you, too, to our Rector who gave up part of his day off to come for a pancake always so supportive of our Sunday School.

We are working towards Mothering Sunday on 30th March - the children love to give their Mums flowers and cards. Could be a slight problem this year as the clocks go forward the night before, so we shall probably all arrive either an hour too early or too late, I can never remember which way round it is!

Easter is not far away - another favourite time for us and I like to believe it's not just because of chocolate eggs.

The children are also taking part in Gary's show, playing woodland animals. They have been made very welcome to join in the fun in what has become a Berrynarbor tradition.

School Assembly

Rory's Prayer: Thank you God for my parents, thank you God for my Grandad and Grannie, and thank you God for not giving me nits!!

All for now.

Sally, Val, Sarah, Julia, Juliet and Children



I should like to thank the many friends and neighbours for their kindness and support over the last two months. Telephone calls, cards, lunches, dinners, bottles of wine, home-made pies and cakes all were much appreciated! Keith is now home and gaining his strength after nine weeks in hospital.


And we all wish you both well and also send our get well wishes to everyone who is in hospital or has been, and to anyone not feeling their best at present. We hope you will all be better very soon.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A very warm welcome to Sheena and Chris Norris who moved into No. 2 Lee Cottages back in January.

Chris and Sheena write:

    Both visited the area many times since the 1960's, although this was separately and before they met.

    Chris can testify to the strong sea current in Woolacombe Bay, having had difficulty in getting back to shore after a lengthy swim. Sheena and her parents came here on holidays, over the years, and her mother still visits although in her 80's this is becoming more difficult.

    Sheena is Scottish by birth but came to England to be civilised by an Englishman [ouch!]. Chris worked in London for many years, although he was brought up in the countryside; both are looking forward to meeting new friends and settling in.

    We have many hobbies and pastimes among which are: golf, tennis, walking, antiques, reading, opera, classical music, gardening, holidaying in Italy, and many others. We think this area is the best spot in the Southwest. Our sins are:

    Chris, a reformed workaholic, liable to reoffend, loves all sport - rides, shoots, fishes - and the countryside. Pet hate: litter louts.

    Sheena loves shopping, shopping and more shopping, likes a good natter, telephone conversations of two hours are normal. Must be out, indoors is for sleeping. Not keen on sports. Both are dog lovers.

Our best wishes to you both, we hope you will be very happy here in Berrynarbor.



This is just a short note to thank you for your letter and kind donation to the Tamar Otter Sanctuary, which we received today 14/2/031. I also enjoyed very much your Berrynarbor Newsletter, for which I also extend my thanks.

I am very sorry that we were not able to save poor Sterridge, she was I think just too cold and undernourished having been away from Mum too long in those very cold conditions. However, I'm sure you will agree that it was a blessing and a privilege to have been part of her very short life even though we were not able to pull her through. I would like to thank you for your part in trying to help her, with more people like you and your friends and neighbours helping and caring for our wildlife, animals like the Otter have a much brighter future.

Thanks once again for your kind donation, it is very much appreciated, and also to all those at Berrynarbor who tried so hard to help poor Sterridge. Thank you all.

Mick Sidnell [Head Waren, Tamar Otter Sanctuary]

[I hope readers will not be unhappy that a donation, from the Newsletter, was sent to the Sanctuary. Ed.]


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Annual General Meeting of the Committee will be held in the Manor Hall on Wednesday, 2nd April 2003 at 7.30 p.m. Everyone is welcome and we should appreciate any comments, ideas and even criticisms of a helpful nature. What would be really nice would be the attendance of people, or even just someone, willing to join our Committee.

Apart from the general management of the Hall, the Committee organises the Berry Revels [29th July], the Horticultural and Craft Show [6th September] and the Christmas Card Delivery. These are the sources of income which make it possible to charge such low rentals for regular users of the Hall. Any help with these events and any other ideas for raising cash would be most welcome.

If any of the above seems familiar, it is because it is an exact copy from the Berrynarbor Newsletter of April 2001. The invitation is still open.

Please come to the AGM and/or join our Committee.

John Hood - Chairman




Chairman's Annual Report to the Annual Parish Meeting at the Manor Hall, 8th April 2003 at 7.00 p.m.

Regular readers will be aware of my custom to publish in advance of the Annual Parish Meeting a brief report of the Council's activities during the past twelve months, but this year we had a well-attended special meeting in mid-year to discuss the possibility that Berrynarbor could lose the vital facility of the Post Office and last remaining general store. That special meeting ended with an appeal for those who might be able to help to come forward. The Parish Council was delighted when three people did offer their expertise and Paul Crockett, the Council's Vice Chairman, represented the Council. They have shown due diligence, consulting the District Council's Planning Officer and I joined them to hear that feed-back. They will report to this Annual Parish Meeting so that you may hear the situation first hand.

Retailing in Berrynarbor in recent times has not been a happy experience, with the Manor Stores and the Butchers both closing, and now we are aware that Miss Muffet's is on the market.

Another regret that I must share with you is that the Council goes into May's Election [on the 1st] one member short. Mike Lane felt that his domestic commitments should take first place and he resigned his seat. In thanking him for his service, freely given, I must say that he was very 'hands on' and the Council can ill-afford to lose hard working member of his calibre.

By the time of the Annual Parish Meeting we shall know if there are sufficient candidates for an election. We desperately need one. It would be the first for 12 years and it is important that the Council is picked by you, the electors, and not self-selected like the Jockey Club!

Nevertheless, the members have all been active on your behalf. They make good use of the expertise that exists in the population of our village and elsewhere. Whilst debates are occasionally heated, the underlying theme is one of compromise, seeking the best for their village and the spirit is always good. For my own part, I thank them for their support and hopefully those who attend the Parish Meeting will show their gratitude as well.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman, Berrynarbor Parish Council

Publication Scheme Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, every Parish is required to adopt and maintain a publication scheme setting out the types of information it will make available to the public, how that information can be obtained and whether a charge will be made for that information.

The purpose of this publication scheme is to be a means by which the Parish Council can make a significant amount of information available routinely.

The scheme will ensure that the Parish Council will publish more information and help it to develop a greater openness and transparency.

The Parish Council's key responsibilities are to represent the electorate of its area, to take action within the legal framework and to provide a leadership focus for the community.

The Parish Council will make the information available in one of the following ways:

  • available for inspection on request from the Parish Clerk - Mrs. S. Squire, 2 Threeways, Bratton Fleming, Barnstaple EX31 4TG Tel: 01598 710526
  • A hard copy of the information may be supplied on request from the Clerk who is responsible for maintaining the scheme

Where a copy of the information is provided, a reasonable charge may be made.




The Biker's February meeting was the largest gathering so far. Sixteen assorted persons met at The Globe, where Paul White from ROSPA [and also our local bobby] gave an informative talk on Advanced Riding.

ROSPA run courses in Barnstaple and the skills learned on such courses help to make riders safer and more aware on the road.

Now we are into lighter evenings, our rides into the countryside have resumed. We normally leave from the rear of The Globe and all riders, regardless of machine, age or gender, are welcome. The March ride on the 15th to Bude was excellent.

The April Evening Ride will be on the 9th, Globe at 1800 hours and this will be followed on the 13th April with a visit to the Hill Climb at Wadebridge times, etc., to be advised. The May ride will be on the 14th and details will follow.

Bikers are advised to check details on the poster at the Post Office.




The evening with the Elderly Brothers in January was a great success and congratulations to Jane Jones [contestant No. 2] who fought off stiff opposition to become the latest Miss Benynarbor, 2003 fashion!

Memories were stirred of previous occasions and the following photograph in a paper cutting from the North Devon Journal of 28th September 1989, was sent in by Bobbie Hacker - thanks Bobbie.

    "This line-up takes us back to September 1957, when the tiny village of Berrynarbor staged its own competition at a dance in the Manor Hall. Winner was 15-year-old llfracombe schoolgirl, Yvonne Richards of Moules Farm, Berrynarbor, surrounded here by her smiling rivals - all 12 of them. It was indeed an impressive entry."

Miss Berrynarbor, 2003

1957 - Reprinted with thanks to Graham Andrews and the North Devon Journal

Following the very enjoyable village dance in January, thanks to Gary and Neil and their supporters, I thought the following photographs would be a little tribute to those of earlier times.

From about 1950, each village organisation held a dance every Tuesday evening from mid June to the end of August. They engaged Denzil Butler and his three-piece band, whose versatility ranged through the waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, square tango, barn dance, valeta, dashing white sergeant, heel-toe polka, military two step, gay gordons, etc. - you say it, they'd play it, including the rock and roll beats of the early sixties, when Gerald [Nipper] Bray would clear the floor with his jiving routines!

The two busiest weeks of the summer were reserved for the Miss Berrynarbor and Mrs. Berrynarbor competitions. Everyone paying admittance was given a voting slip and each entrant had a number card. The decision was made by popular vote which stimulated some banter between the locals and visitors!

The hall, tatty by modern standards, was decked with flags, bunting and flowers. The rough planked floor was doused with French chalk. The chairs were lined around the walls and tea, sandwiches, sponge cake and cut-rounds with jam and real cream were on offer during the interval.

The MC was usually young Claude Richards [Claude's Garden] or Percy Thomas, whose command and usage of the English language left me in awe!

Came 12 0'clock, the lanes of Berry rang with the cheerful laughter of 'vox' making their way home or to their lodgings.

Dedicated to my aunt, Miss Muriel Richards, village teacher for forty years and one of the band of dedicated workers who made these events possible. She had the foresight to collect and preserve so many photographs which are part of our heritage.

Lorna's Memories

This second photograph of 1957 shows the Manor Hall full of familiar faces, sadly not recognisable printed at this size, and decorated with bunting. Only 3 of the contestants were 'local': Yvonne in the centre with Lorna Richards [now Bowden] on her right, and three to her left, the late Rita Smith.

This final photograph, taken it is believed about 1956/57, shows the newly crowned Mrs. Berrynarbor, Sylvia Berry, with [from left to right], Sonia Stoddart [Duckett], Helena Graves, Mr. Ward, Elaine Crighton [now Fanner], Muriel Richards and Rita Smith.

Lorna Bowden


[Ilfracombe (Voluntary) Community Ambulance Association]

Do you need transport? To go shopping, for social activities or for appointments at the dentist, health centre or hospital?

Or do you have time to spare and would be willing to be a volunteer driver to assist with the above?

If so, please telephone [01271] 863425, and if transport is required, preferably by 3.00 p.m. the day before.

On Monday and Friday mornings, the 12-seater bus goes to Barnstaple, picking up at houses in the village en route. On Mondays the trip is usually to Tesco's and/or Brian Ford's [or even into town], and on Fridays it goes into town. It leaves the village around 9.00 a.m. and returns at approximately 1.00 p.m. The cost of the return trip is £2.50. Just ring if you would like a lift.

The bus is also available for groups to hire - telephone for a quote.

If you would like further details, please speak to or give Ann Hinchliffe a ring on 883708.



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


  • On the 21st February, I became a Grandad when my daughter, Rachel, gave birth to Ethan John, who bounced into the world at 9 lbs 14 oz. Mother, baby, father Mark and grandad are all doing well!

    Rector Keith

  • Gemma [nee Richards] and Matthew Bacon are delighted to announce the the arrival of their son, Dylan, on the 27th February, tipping the scales at 7 lbs 5 oz. Dylan is the first grandchild for proud grandparents Julie and Michael, and first grandson - having had a granddaughter, Hannah, on Boxing Day for Alan and Anne.

  • Becky [nee Delve] and Adrian Green are happy to the arrival of their baby son, Thomas, on the 3rd of March, weighing in at 8 lbs. Thomas is the first grandchild for Marian and Ron, and nephew for Auntie Rachael.

Congratulations and very best wishes to you All.



When you took your first steps
I was there in case you fell
When you said your first words
There was no-one left to tell
Photos of my baby
Have never left my side
Showing other people
Always made me glow inside
You weren't born with a handbook
I haven't always got it right
The teen years were a struggle
Almost one long fight
We persevered, and later
You came to me one night
You told me you were sorry
And had realised I was right
Twenty-one years later
I'm so proud of who you've become
Your confidence and beauty
Make me glad to be your mum
I know I can't hold onto you
You have to spread your wings
But there's so much I have to share with you
And teach so many things
So when I try to show you
The error of your ways
Don't dismiss this as interference
By sending me away
I will always try to help you
I can't always make amends
But I consider this my job
As your MOTHER and your FRIEND

From an Anonymous Reader


Brian Wright

Solution in Article 37.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate Springtime and Easter, new life is evident everywhere. This annual rebirth comes at the time when the church celebrates the new life as shown in the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb.

We all have to take very seriously the experience we call death, and some people can be transfixed by this event, and see nothing else, and in their minds keep going over and over the fear of death rather like a needle stuck in the groove of an old 78. The Bible is very clear about our coming from the dust of the earth, and 'unto dust we shall return'. Just read Genesis 2:7! do read that verse, you will also make a startling discovery, that God breathed His Life into us. God's life has made us alive, and if God's life is eternal, then an eternal 'spark' within all of us who experience this thing called 'life'. I am reminded of an old story when the gods were jealous when man was made, in case he threw them out of heaven, so one of the gods took man's eternal soul and hid it in a place where he reckoned man would never look for it - within himself.

Jesus said he came that man could have life, and have it in all its fullness. That life is the eternal life of God Himself dwelling within us. That quality of life can be experienced by us now, but not fully, until we have passed through that event we call death, and experience eternal life in a new dimension. Jesus' resurrection is the proof that God's love and life overcome even the event that most human's fear. No wonder that Easter is a time for celebration and joy, and I hope you all have a Happy and Joyful Easter and share that joy and peace with everyone else.

With all good wishes,
Your Friend and Rector

Keith Wyer



If you are reading this and were lucky enough to come to the recent Evening at Arlington Court, thank you very much for supporting the Carriage Collection. My thanks also to the six singers and Cameo and Doreen Reading, who gave so generously of their time. Not only was the evening a most enjoyable and joyous occasion, it also raised a sum of over £540!

My plan is to spend this money on something from the 'wish' list - a two-wheeled carriage or gig, which will be added to the Working Vehicles in the Collection. This would, however, be used for training carriage driving tuition students. So, come along and see what you have helped purchase.

Illustrated by: Debbie Riger Cook

Exciting news for 2003! The contractors have started work on the long-awaited new wing. Visitors to the Carriage Collection and Stables will be able to watch the progress throughout the season, with the official opening planned for spring 2004. This new wing will display a variety of vehicles, especially the State Coaches and Chariots, together with items never before on display, due to lack of space, and with good quality interpretation. The display within the existing Stable Block will also take on a new look.

General Tom Thumb's diminutive threepiece suit, purchased at auction during the winter, will go on display with his Miniature Coach.

There have also been two new live additions. Oliver and Chuzzlewit - our two new horses will be schooled to driving through this season. In the meantime, Barnaby, Bumble, Copperfield and Magnus will carry on with the visitor carriage rides and carriage driving school.

The staff and stewards look forward to seeing you this season, after the property opens on the 29th March.

Patricia Stout - Curator, Carriage Collection





Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Now fades the last long streak of snow,
Now burgeons every maze of quick
About the flowering squares, and thick
By ashen roots the violets blow.
Now rings the woodland loud and long,
The distance takes a lovelier hue,
And drowned in yonder living blue
The lark becomes a sightless song.
Now dance the lights on lawn and lea,
The flocks are whiter down the vale,
And milkier every milky sail
On winding stream or distant sea;
Where now the seamew pipes, or dives
In yonder greening gleam, and fly
The happy birds, that change their sky
To build and brood; that live their lives
From land to land; and in my breast
Spring wakens too; and my regret
Becomes an April violet,
And buds and blossoms like the rest.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Alfred Tennyson was born in August 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire. His early education was carried out by his father, a clergyman, Dr. George Clayton Tennyson. Alfred showed an interest and talent in poetic composition and by the time he was 15 had produced several blank-verse plays and an epic poem.

In 1830, with his friend Arthur Hallam, he joined a Spanish revolutionary army but participated in no military action.

Following the death of his father in 1831, Tennyson left Cambridge before completing his degree. His second volume of poems, including the Lady of Shalott, received bad criticism and after the sudden death of Hallam in 1833 and on the discovery that three of his brothers suffered mental illness, Tennyson became profoundly depressed and vowed to issue no verse for ten years. Druing this time he devoted himself to reading and meditation. At the end of this period, in 1842, he won wide acclaim with a Collection, amongst which were 'Morte d'Arthur' and 'Locksley Hall'.

In 1850 he married Emily Sarah Sellwood, whom he had been waiting to marry since 1836! He and Sarah settled first in Twickenham but later moved to Freshwater on the Isle of Wight.

In 1836 he succeeded William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate and as one of his duties of laureateship, he wrote 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' in 1854 to celebrate action in the Crimean War.

Tennyson was made a peer in 1884 and took his seat in the House of Lords as Baron Tennyson of Freshwater and Aldworth.

He died at Aldworth House, Haslemere in Surrey in October 1892.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

On Horses

It must have been about 1937-8, and as my father had died in 1936, there were some changes to be made.

Our house was still lit by gas and after one night when one of us kids got into the cupboard where the gas meter was and turned the lever off, plunging the house into darkness, it was decided we should go electric. The things kids do quite innocently, such as scrubbing the floor with a pocket watch and bucket of water, would you believe it! Anyway, there were other improvements to be done, such as decorating and a brick path and circular flower bed put in the middle of the lawn.

My mother, Vi, who had brought up orphan Iambs, had taken one back to the farmer and the other to Belhus Park near Averley, Essex, both to be looked after. It was there, at the mansion at Belhus Park, where they had riding stables, that my mother and Auntie Con, having kitted themselves out, went riding.

After a while, mother and my half-brother Gerald thought it would be a good idea to have a couple of horses for my sister Jean and I to ride. Although our home was an old Victorian house with stables left over from another age, it was felt that they did not want the full-time responsibility of looking after two horses. So they went for a chat with the proprietor of the riding stables at Belhus Park and soon reached an agreement that we should buy two horses, which would be kept there and let out for riding when we did not require them. This would reduce the cost of keeping the horses and we could use the riding stable horses should ours be 'let out'.

I, however, at that time was unable to ride, so was put in the charge of the stable boy. He led me around as though I was riding a donkey on the sands and was obviously fed up doing this. One day, in his frustration, he took a stick and whacked the pony on the backside. Well, it took off at speed with me hanging on for dear life! With the 'bumpety-bump' going all wrong, I developed a list and one foot came out of the stirrup and I came off, only to be dragged. Fortunately, my other foot came loose just before the pony jumped over a small log and luckily I was not hurt, just a little muddy.

My sister Jean had no problem learning to ride and after a while I got the hang of it too.

The two horses, which had been bought, were called Cinders and Peter. Cinders was a polo pony and Peter was a grey and generally quite placid. The two were quite different, Cinders being fiery and only letting females ride her. When Gerald took Peter on concrete roads, he would for some reason, do little jumps over the bituminous joints.

My sister and I spent many happy hours riding around the park. Sometimes we would stop to look at the pets' cemetery where the people at the mansion had put their dogs, cats and even horses. Each had a headstone with the name, age and perhaps other details. How they must have loved them.

One day after Jean and I had had a canter, we decided to let the horses cool in a leafy spinney. We loosened the reins to let Cinders and Peter have a munch but suddenly there was a loud buzzing - from the ground emerged an angry swarm one of the horses had trodden on the nest of either wild bees or wasps. Jean and I retreated rapidly, making for the stables with many of the enemy in hot pursuit! Jean escaped without a sting, but poor old Peter was stung several times on his face, and I had been stung twice.

The next year, when we arrived at Belhus Park for one of our riding sessions, we were surprised to find soldiers encamped and the officers had taken over the mansion. The War was brewing. The man who ran the stables greeted us with, "You'll never guess what happened last night!" "Go on, then tell us", we all said in chorus. "Apparently," the man continued, "Some soldiers who had been down to the 'local' came back a bit merry and decided to put your lamb [or sheep as it was now] in an officer's bed. They never found out who did it!"

Well, the War came and we moved to Berrynarbor. Sadly, the horses had to be sold and it was the end of an era. However, it was not long before Jean and I found that we could hire horses at Moules Farm, which we did. These were lively Exmoor ponies and were great fun. We would take them up into the hills and find small logs to jump. Sometimes we would take off their saddles and ride bareback. Later, towards the end of the War, Jean went to work for Len Bowden at Sloley Farm and her horse riding skills enabled her to round up cattle and sheep.

At the end of the War we moved back to our hold house at Upminster in Essex and thought horses had now gone out of our lives, but this was not so. A doctor, whose son wanted a horse, approached Gerald about renting one of our stables in which to keep it, but it turned out to be rather large and old! After a while, the matter of mucking out, feeding and exercising became a chore, so Jean or I would take the old fellow out for a ride. One day, when Jean was exercising him in a field, she sensed he was going to fall and with good presence of mind, she threw herself off sure enough, the horse fell. Luckily she had avoided being rolled on and injured. Well, the doctor sold his horse and time moved on.

A few years ago my son, Raymond, decided he'd like a horse. Having sounded out the neighbours who did not mind, he built a stable in his back garden. His small horse was called Houdini, and he was a real pet. From time to time, Raymond would take Houdini to a nearby farm to graze. One November he had done this but intended to take him home to avoid fireworks. Unfortunately, vandals got to the field first, unlocked the gate and Iet off fireworks. Raymond's horse, and another, bolted and ran out on to the A12, where his horse was hit by a car and killed, whilst the other was slightly injured and caught. Raymond was devastated.

Going back to happier times with Cinders and Peter, I remember sliding down Peter's neck when I had finished my ride, or him putting his head in the car window to say 'Hello'. Riding a horse is like riding a bike you never forget how to ride, nor the horses you have known.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester



As you may or may not know, Miss Muffets is on the market - we have decided it would be nice to lead a more normal life, but hope to stay in the area. That said though, we shall be opening as usual on Good Friday for the season, or until it is sold and look forward to seeing all our friends. The menu is not set to alter too much, but there will be a few changes. We shall still be serving our now famous Sunday lunches, but would remind you that it is best to book. Hope to see you soon.

Jeane and Bob



Berrynarbor Wine Circle - After Jan and Tony's evening in February and Kath Arscott's Rioja Wines in March, we continue in April with a presentation arranged by our Postmaster, Alan Rowlands. We complete our wine year in May with our AGM and a number of members presenting their favourite wine to all present.


Walk on the Wild Side! - Is there anyone who is up for the shortest but most challenging of sponsored walks? This is the most exciting and stimulating event as you walk across either Hot Coals or Broken Glass! Yep, that's right, it is perfectly safe and just imagine telling your friends what you are doing to support your local hospice. It takes place on Monday, 5th May, at Atlantic Village. It will be an amazing event and there will be crowds of spectators to applaud your amazing 'feat'. Intrigued? Well why not give the Hospice 'Hot Line' a call and find out more or just seize the moment to register now for a place on what is guaranteed not to be a splinter group. Call 01271 344248.

The Mens Institute - At a recent meeting of the Institute, the following Officers were elected: Chairman Gordon Hughes, Treasurer John Hood, Secretary John Huxtable; Committee: Kevin Brooks, Ivan Clarke, Vic Cornish, Roger Luckham, John Mabin, Noel Stokes and Tony Summers.

Trans-Send [Sustainable Energy in North Devon] - Open Meeting at The Lantern on Wednesday, 2nd April, 7.15 p.m. to hear Mr. Brian Hooper, Water Conservation Manager of South West Water speak about recent developments in water conservation. Everyone welcome.

Studio Theatre, llfracombe College - Ilfracombe's Theatre group is offering the rip-roaring comedy, 'Allo, 'allo, at the Landmark Theatre on Thursday to Saturday, 22nd to 24th May, at 8.15 p.m. Tickets £7.00 [£5.50]. Written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, the play is based on the popular BBC series by the same authors. The play follows the adventures of Rene, the hapless café owner, in wartime France, as he and his wife, Edith, struggle to keep for themselves a priceless portrait hidden in a sausage in their cellar. Add to that a wireless disguised as a cockatoo and a rumour of an unexpected visit of the Fuhrer himself, and you have a recipe for hilarious misunderstandings. [Is there something familiar about this?]

Combe Martin Open Gardens Week-end - Advance Notice 28th and 29th June, 2.00 to 6.00 p.m. Programmes, £2.50, available at outlets throughout the village and the Tourist Information Centre. Refreshments will be available at both ends of the village.


THE BBC - 2003

Serenade to a Songbird - Our Editor asked me to write an article about 'Allo, 'allo, Tis the Sound of Music - I feel totally inadequate to do so, as I know nothing about the technicalities of putting on a show.

Although I have been on both sides of the curtain - that in itself is very scary - performing is just the icing on the cake: there is lighting, music, sound, scenery, script-writing, casting, costumes, raffle, refreshments, chairs - putting out and back - so much to do, it takes a very exceptional, talented and patient man to do this.

For years we have been entertained; we have laughed, cried, sung-a-long, and encouraged, if performing, to 'give it a go'! All this comes from a quiet, modest man - you all know him, always about the village working, bell-ringing, having a pint [or 2!], always ready for a chat.

Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

My first conversation with Songbird was, as I remember, in September 1984. I had been in London for 7 months undergoing chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Back in my beloved Berrynarbor, I was finding it difficult returning to good health and normality. I was walking past the bus shelter near my home and there he was, painting the same [why is he always in a bus shelter?] - it's like the Forth Bridge, by the time he has finished the last one, it's time to start all over again. Anyway, we chatted and I quickly realised that here was a man who understood exactly how I was feeling. I've never forgotten that day - I'm sure Songbird has - but what I am trying to put over is that Songbird is unique - we see him with a pint in one hand, a 'ciggy' in the other, but behind all that is a deep, caring and thoughtful man. So what started off as a write-up regarding the Show has become a tribute to our Berrynarbor Songbird - Gary Songhurst.

Sally Barten

Dear Songbird,

In the war, son, we had concerts like the one you put on last week. The company was called ENSAW, or something like that. I remember last year when Stuart decided to put his little organ to rest, you consulted with two debonair pensioners and 'Ello, Ello' was born. I think you did us old worriers, I mean warriors, good 'cos like you ENSAW didn't have many women and you proved they are not needed. Must say that the young boy who played 'Elga had nice legs - bit hairy but nice! Where did he get his knickers from?

Noticed old Postman Pat was mopping his brow and his ice creams were melting. The nuns went down a treat, especially the 'Brummie'. Now the boys, what can I say? Without them, believe me Songbird, you are lost. Their immaculate singing of that classic 'Jimmy Brown - bong', and their rifle drill just superb, because son, that discipline won us the war! Those two drag artists singing about a winker was good, pity about the facial hair! Anyway, Songbird, first class show, totally different in many ways. Yours,

Uncle Albert

P.S. Don't turn your back on them kids, the're great too!


Artwork: Harry Weedon


Many thanks to everyone who has been helping out with clearing, digging, weeding, planting, etc. The phrase 'many hands make light work' is certainly very true and our thanks go to the intrepid gang of helpers.

Theme for Berry's entry into the National Competition is Country Gardens and we shall be aiming to plant flowers and shrubs that attract butterflies, bees and hopefully the judges!


Notes for your Diary


Sunday 13th July: 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.
Sunday 3rd August: 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.

In total, 19 'Berry Beautiful' gardens will be opening



Robin and Jenny of Middle Lee Farm have kindly offered to have a fundraising BBQ on 20th July.

Fuller details of these events will follow in the next Newsletter


Artwork: Helen Weedon


In my last article I wrote about being an imaginary bird, seeking a tree in which to nest. I compared my search to the one we ourselves do when moving home. In choosing my ideal tree-house, I found the factors I was considering were similar. Size, type and the location of the tree all had to be contemplated.

The one essential consideration I forgot, however, was the "wow" factor. Without this, even the best properties meeting all the objective checklist requirements count for nothing; and that's because the "wow" factor isn't objective. It's one based on our feeling, an inner excitement that tells us it's the right place to live, as soon as we see it. It was a feeling that when I wrote my last article I had not yet experienced, as I wandered around the countryside looking for a tree for my imaginary bird. Soon after though, I saw it.

Walking the dogs through a local wood nestled tight upon a valley's edge, my eyes were suddenly drawn upwards towards a Beech tree. Nothing special about that, you may suppose. It was, after all, amongst many other beech and hazel trees of similar height, their sky-reaching branches creating a snug-tight canopy. But this particular beech tree was in a slight, but natural clearing, bar the odd hazel saplings close by to keep it company. Being slightly apart from its fellow trees meant one of my checklist requirements could be ticked off. Being off the main path, it was also a tree that nobody else could readily see. Another tick.

So it went on, as tick by tick the tree seemed to meet my mental checklist: well established, though not of an age to be full of holes or decay. Nor was its trunk seemingly plastered in ivy. On the contrary, the bottom half of its trunk had branches proceeding off at spacious intervals, becoming more regular where the trunk split into two. Higher up, its branches stretched out further, their offshoots becoming hands and fingers that interlocked those of its neighbours.

Yes, I thought, this tree could be the one; and as I stood there examining its detail from the pathway, I experienced again that feeling when studying the estate agent's details of what seems to be the ideal property: I wanted to investigate further.

What happened next, however, cannot be explained over the course of a few written lines. So I'll leave that for next time. Suffice to say, the sky outside is fast becoming grey and threatening and I'd like to visit my tree before the rain sets in for the day ... what was that I wrote in my last article, about not being bothered about how accessible the tree was, as I would probably only take notice of it the once?

Steve McCarthy



"Any woman who wants to be like a man lacks ambition."

Mae West



Little pill here in my hand
I wonder how you understand
Just what to do or where to go
To stop the ache that hurts me so.
Within your content lies relief,
You work alone in disbelief.
You sink in regions there below
As down my throat you quickly go!
But what I wonder, little pill,
Is how you know where I am ill
And just how do you really know
Exactly where you have to go?
I have a headache, that is true,
My broken ribs need attention too!
So how can anything so small
End my aches in no time at all!
Do you work alone or hire a crew
To do the good things that you do?
I'm counting on you mighty strong
To get to there, where you belong.
Don't let me down, please do not shirk
To do your undercover work.
So down my throat, be on your way
And end my aches for another day.
Don't take a wrong turn is my plea ..
I can't take another till after three.

This poem has come via a circuitous route from Australia to one of a 'caring' reader's 'Ladies' in lfracombe!



Pick up the cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position the right-hand forefinger and thumb on either side of the cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to its cheeks whilst holding the pill in the remainder of the right hand. As the cat opens its mouth, pop the pill-in and allow the cat to close its mouth and swallow.

Retrieve the pill from the floor and the cat from behind the sofa. Cradle the cat in the left arm and repeat the process.

Retrieve the cat from the bedroom and throw the soggy pill away.

Take new pill from foil wrap. Cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth [cat's] shut for a count of ten.

Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand whilst forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

Retrieve cat from curtain rail and unwrap a fresh pill. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below arm pit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force open with pencil and blow pill down drinking straw.

Check label to ensure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink a beer to take the taste away. Apply a Band-aid to spouse's forearm remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, closing door on its neck so that the head is only showing. Force mouth open with a desert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on its hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of Scotch. Pour and drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last Tetanus jab. Apply TCP compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another Scotch. Throw T-shirt away and fetch a new one from bedroom.

Call the fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who demolished fence whilst swerving to avoid cat in road. Take last pill from foil wrap.

Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by a tin of tuna chunks [his favourite]. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour copious amount of water down throat to wash down pill and tuna.

Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to the nearest A&E unit and sit quietly whilst medic stitches fingers and forearm and removes remnants of pill from right eye. Call into furniture shop on the way home to order new table. Arrange for RSPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and see if they have any hamsters.


Wrap it in bacon!

Illustrations by: Debbie Rigler Cook




January was another month of contrasts with the temperature ranging between 12.0 Deg C on the 1st to -4 Deg C on the 8th, with a wind chill factor of -13 Deg C at about 10.50 hours on the 30th and -15Deg C at about 0252 hours on the 31st - not quite as bad as 1st January 1997 when we recorded a windchill of-18 Deg C at 1853 hours, but pretty chilly all the same! The winds were about average for the month though the strength of the northerly wind on the last three days - 35K, 32K and 33K - was a bit unusual. The total rainfall for January was 101 mm with 21 mm [7/8"] falling on the 1st. This compares with 172mm [6 7/8"] in 2002 and 11 Imm [4 3/8"] in 2001. There was a trace of snow on two days but nothing to record.

February started off with the first three days being quite wet and on the 8th we had our wettest day of the month with 23mm [7/8"]. The wet spell continued until the 13th by which time we had had 76mm of rain; the second half of the month dried up a little to give us a total of 97mm for the month.

Temperatures fluctuated throughout the month with a high of 13.1 Deg C on the 24th [12.8 Deg C in 2002], but on the morning of the 17th, we had a frost of -5.9 Deg C, which was the lowest temperature since December 1995, when the same figure was recorded. On the 18th we had a wind chill of -10 Deg C, 1 Deg C colder than in 2002. We noticed a few flakes of snow in the air on the 3rd and 4th, but it came to nothing. The maximum wind speed was 26K on the 28th which was a lot calmer than last year when we recorded 42K.

Looking through the barograph records for January and February, we have had a high of 1037mb and a low of 980mb.

As you know, the sunshine hours recorded by the Chicane roof top weather station are a new addition, so we have no records to compare, but the total hours of sunshine for January were 12.7 and for February 33.84. These figures are obviously influenced by the fact that the hills block a lot of the sun at this time of the year.

As we write this report, the daffodils are all coming out and the forecast is pretty good for the next five days - spring is on the way.

Sue and Simon



When a panel of doctors at the local hospital was asked to vote on adding a new wing, this is what happened ...

  • The allergists voted to scratch it.
  • The dermatologists preferred no rash moves
  • The gastroenterologists had a gut feeling about it.
  • The neurologists thought the administration had a lot of nerve.
  • The obstetricians stated they were labouring under a misconception.
  • The opthalmologists considered the idea short-sighted.
  • The pathologists yelled, 'Over my dead body!'
  • The pediatricians said, 'Grow up'.
  • The proctologists said, 'We are in arrears'.
  • The psychiatrists thought it was madness.
  • The surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.
  • The radiologists could see right through it.
  • The internists though it was a hard pill to swallow.
  • The plastic surgeons said, 'This puts a whole new face on the matter.'
  • The podiatrists thought it was a big step forward.
  • The urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water.
  • The anaesthetists thought the whole idea was a gas.
  • And the cardiologists didn't have the heart to say 'No'

Sent by Sheila and Bruce Roberts - Great Bookham


to the Village of Berrynarbor & It's Friends

As many of the villagers know I have been working in Malawi for the past year and a half. Many of you have sent donations of money, cuddly-toys, baby-clothes and blankets which I have had a lot of fun directly distributing. I hope this article will show you how your generosity has really made a difference to some of the Malawians that I have met.

First a bit of background...

Malawi comprises a narrow strip of land about 119,000 sq Km in area wedged between Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. It has a population of approximately 10 million. It was recently ranked 169th out of 179 countries in a World Health Organisation health standards survey. Two out of five children do not survive to their fifth birthday and the average life expectancy, which is falling sharply, is between 35 and 40 years. Health problems are largely related to poverty and malnutrition, immunocompromise (HIV/AIDS), and infectious diseases (Malaria, TB, and diarrhoeal illnesses.) Trauma and complications of childbirth also contribute to the workload in all hospitals. Countrywide shortages of qualified staff, basic equipment and drugs hamper health service delivery. Insufficient and delayed investment in infrastructure further exacerbates this problem. The country has an annual income of approximately $705 million, of which $260 million comes from international donors. To put this in perspective, its annual income is about a third of the amount spent by a large pharmaceutical company on drug research and development each year. Malawi spends approximately $763 million a year of which $40 million goes on health. Most of this $40 million is spent on drugs. There is a lot of corruption and it is claimed that 60% of the medicines purchased 'disappeared' from government hospitals last year. Health care is provided by village health centres and dispensaries, together with community and district hospitals, and the central hospitals in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Around 30% of rural health care is provided by church charitable organisations.

Villagers often have no income and survive only on what they can grow. As you will have read in the press, recent weather conditions in Malawi have resulted in a dramatic fall in the yield of the staple food Maize. The government has not made up the shortfall (its reserves were sold for cash to other countries last year) and so millions of Malawians face malnutrition and starvation. In small towns and villages across Malawi there are queues of people lucky enough to have some money and hopeful of buying maize.

Mr. Lingo, a Malawian doctor, trained by Mary,
with an American volunteer midwife

There are other queues at feeding centres where international aid agencies have moved in to distribute food. The international effort is impressive but it can't reach everyone, the vulnerable slip through the net. Orphans, elderly folk struggling to care for their orphaned grandchildren and the sick simply can't make it from their remote villages to take advantage of the rations.

Now, imagine you are a Malawian living in a remote village where the crop has failed. When you become sick you would first consult the village 'African Doctor'. Some of their remedies are very powerful, and some of their patients do recover. If your illness gets worse, however, your family will probably take you to the nearest community health centre for 'injections' (Western medicine). Unfortunately these health centres have almost no facilities or medicines but they are close enough to home that your family can visit you, bring you food and nurse you under the watchful eye of a medical attendant.

If you are still getting worse and your condition is obviously serious, your family are faced with a very difficult decision. Should they leave the village (and all their many dependants) and try to take you (at immense expense on the back of a truck, or roof of a lorry) to a bigger hospital in the hope of a cure, or, should they simply accept that you will die and concentrate on looking after their other relatives. It's a tough one. If they think you have a chance and you survive the journey, you will arrive at the central hospital probably already at death's door, proper treatment may have been delayed too long, you'll have travelled hundreds of miles in the heat without food or water, you'll be weak and will now be completely abandoned by your family who can not afford to stay. They have no money, no source of food in the city and a distant family to look after. They have to go home. On a good day you'll be seen and treated quickly by a clinical officer or doctor, on a bad day you'll be one of 250 admissions and won't get seen, or the drugs you are prescribed will turn out to be 'out of stock'. You'll get a bed on the ward or maybe just a space on the floor between the beds. There will be 100 patients crammed into the ward with 60 beds and just one nurse. She can't possibly nurse everyone and since you have no relatives with you, you won't get food or drugs. If you need an urgent operation you'll join a queue outside the operating theatres lying on the floor or on a hard metal trolley. If you need a blood transfusion you won't get one because you have no relatives around to donate blood. After the operation you'll be taken back to the ward with little chance of getting any painkillers. If you are lucky you'll get antibiotics and a drip, but only if the hospital hasn't run out. This situation is the same even if you are a baby or a small child. It's the same if you are a pregnant woman in obstructed labour or bleeding after a miscarriage. Amazingly, many patients survive the ordeal and return to their villages, but it's a grim lottery and explains why many Malawians see western medicine as a last resort.

Due to lack of space, two babies - not twins - in one cot!

I am an anaesthetist (a 'gas-man'!). I worked at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), the largest hospital in Malawi. For six months I ran the intensive care unit and for another year I ran the anaesthetic service in the maternity theatres. It was very busy; emergencies were being rushed in 24 hours a day. I had to do the job and train students from other hospitals all over Malawi to become anaesthetists. It was stressful, often very frustrating, but also very rewarding. As I settled in I realised there were some simple things that could be done to give the patients a better deal.

When my mum phoned one evening and said that people in Berrynarbor were asking if there was anything they could do, I didn't realise how much help was coming our way.

The first things to start arriving from Berrynarbor were baby clothes. It might seem a bit odd worrying about hypothermia in Africa but it's a big problem for newborn babies, especially the premature and sick ones. You sent us hundreds of bonnets and baby-grows and by recycling them we were able to clothe every baby born by caesarean section in the operating theatres. We let especially needy mothers take their baby clothes home. They were a bit surprised and some couldn't quite believe their luck. You also sent loads of baby blankets for wrapping up the babies as they waited for their mothers to recover from anaesthesia. I sent some of the blankets to the special care baby unit. Next several consignments of cuddly toys arrived. I sent some to the intensive care unit to cheer up the kids recovering from operations, and some to the children's wards and nutrition stations. We kept some in theatres for distracting little ones while we were trying to give them injections and anaesthesia. Along with the small baby things came some clothes for Older babies. I took those down to a local orphanage that cares for infant Orphans. It's called 'Open Arms' and is run by a British couple called Rosemary and Neville. They have their hands full with about 35 babies many of whom have contracted HIV from their deceased mothers. Rosemary and Neville were very grateful to receive such good quality nearly new baby-grows.

Money started arriving, some of it from personal donations and some from fund-raising events in Berrynarbor, and beyond. I bought 40 baby mattresses for the special care baby unit and around 20 bigger mattresses; enough to make sure that every patient recovering from anaesthesia and surgery could do so in comfort. I bought 20 thick blankets to cover patients after operations. Anaesthesia blocks the body's normal ability to stay warm so the blankets give the new mothers a lot of comfort. We had an epidemic of Cholera and suddenly had hundreds of children and babies coming to the hospital with severe dehydration. The hospital quickly ran out of drips for the small children but I was able to buy enough to see us through. Later in the year the Malaria season brought us over a hundred new children a day, all needing drips. Again, I was able to buy the equipment needed. Our hospital only provides a few basic antibiotics, and many of the infections we treat are resistant to them.

Mary holding a very new-born baby that was crying with no one to look after it, whilst instructing a student doctor, Mr Kunje, on how to give a spinal anaesthesia for an imminent caeserian.

A more modern antibiotic called Ceftriaxone is available in Malawi but is too expensive for the hospital to buy. Many children die every week because they don't get this treatment for meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia. I was able to buy a huge supply of ceftriaxone for the children's department to use over the next year. One of the student anaesthetists who we had been training for 6 months started to lag behind the class. We realised that after a recent bout of meningitis he had become very deaf and was finding it impossible to work safely. His base hospital was depending on him returning after his training to be the only anaesthetist in that area. Without him there would be no emergency caesarean sections and women and their babies would die in childbirth. With money you sent I was able to buy him a second hand hearing aid and he should graduate to serve his community in April this year. In his career as an anaesthetist he will save hundreds, maybe thousands of lives by getting patients safely through operations. A good investment I think!

One of our student anaesthetists sadly died of HIV/AIDS. Some of our department went to his funeral, which was at his home village at the very southern tip of Malawi on the Mozambique border. It was a difficult journey, the road finished long before we reached the area. We found villages there that had been devastated by floods in recent years and were now suffering crop failure due to poor rains. People were starving and we discovered that our student had been one of the only wage earners in his whole village. He had been sending almost all his wages home. The village chief and his family were distraught at the loss of their son and their only hope. With some of the money you sent I was able to load up a vehicle with essential food supplies and go back to the area. We gave some of the food to his immediate family and another larger supply to the village chief to distribute amongst the village people. I met with the chief; and was invited to sit with him on a small stool under a huge tree in the middle of the village. After many traditional greetings and introductions he said I should take a message back to my home. He asked me to thank the donors who had never met his people but had given them so much.

On behalf of all the Malawians who have enjoyed your generosity I would like to thank everybody in and around Berrynarbor who has contributed in any way. I hope this article has shown you how much comfort and hope your gifts have given. More than that, you have simply saved hundreds of lives.

Note. The babies in all the photos are clad in clothes and blankets from Berrynarbor,

Thank you.

Dr Mary O'Regan - Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi



'Seal Point'

It was a sunny day in March, with a pleasant breeze and a lively sea as we headed for the cliffs above Whiting Cove at Mortehoe.

A couple of years ago, an extensive area of gorse became burnt leaving the sort of sinister, monochrome landscape which could have been the scene of a science fiction fantasy. Now we found that the charcoal black remains of the gorse, stark against the pale and jagged rocks, had been transformed by a coating of velvety and almost luminous, lime green moss. The overall effect was so strange that a holiday maker was filming it.

A pair of ravens landed on top of the highest outcrop of rock, announcing their arrival with a 'kronk! Kronk!' As we stopped to scan the sea we noticed a round shape bobbing above the waves. As the grey seal turned its head we saw its face, the spotted markings on its neck and white below its chin. A man walking his dogs told us there had been a family of four seals a little further along the coast. His elderly mother had been taken by National Trust tractor to watch them.

A hiking couple waited minutes for the seal to resurface and were so delighted when it did, because although they had walked that route many times before, this was the first time they had ever seen a seal. We continued in the direction of the lighthouse. A shag stood on an island of rock. We descended the grassy slope for a better view of the bird with its greenish black plumage and jaunty crest.

Skylarks rose up from the springy turf. A peregrine shot past suddenly; low, fast and direct. Kittiwakes were wheeling above Bennett's Mouth.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

We came across a few wild daffodils in a sheltered niche near the top of the cliff. There were many more growing under the hazel and ash trees, beside the stream.

Lent had begun and we were reminded that an old name for the wild daffodil was Lent Lily. It is small and delicate with pale yellow petals pointing forwards around the deeper yellow trumpet.

When we returned to the village later in the afternoon, as the weather was still so good, we decided to walk out to Morte Point. We were glad we did! A seal was swimming towards the shore with a massive fish and exciting the hectoring attention of herring gulls.

The seal was engulfed by huge waves at frequent intervals. Then it hurled the conger around its head like a great scarf and there was a loud 'thwack' as the eel hit the surface of the water. The seal began to rip off strips of flesh from the fish, as it swam.

The gulls started to lose interest but we did not. It was a fascinating spectacle and a dramatic finale to our walk.

Sue H


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Globe - Quiz Nights will stop before Easter - the last one will be on 6th April - to resume in October.

Saturday, 5th April A Day at the Races' - Watch the Grand National in The Globe garden [we are looking into the betting part of it]. Prize for the best hat, Buffet. Tickets for the Buffet £2.50 must be bought in advance. [lf the weather is bad, the event will be held indoors.]

From 1st June The Globe will be open from 6.00 p.m. daily, and from 6th April, the dining room will no longer be table service at week-ends.

Sawmill - 'All you can Eat' theme nights will be back after the season. Carvery will continue every Sunday lunchtime, £6.25. We shall be open 'All Day' [from 12.00 noon] over Easter weekend and Bank Holiday weekends. Saturday mornings and Bank Holiday Mondays we shall also be open for breakfast between 9.00 and 10.30 a.m. served from the carvery.

Both pubs will celebrate St. George's Day [23rd April] by having a selection of English Ales - hopefully up to 7 different ones will be available.





A 10 week course on Upholstery [Steve Hinchliffe] starts on Monday, 12th May, 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall [£80.00]

Other courses taking place at the Combe Martin Community Centre are:

  • All Round Body Workout [Valerie May], 10 weeks, Wednesday 7th May, 10.30-11.30 a.m., or Thursday, 8th May, 7.30-8.30 p.m. [£25.00]
  • 5-week Digital Camera [Sue Carder], Monday 2nd June, 10.00-12.00 noon [£20.00]
  • NICAS 10-week Word Processing [Intermediate] starting June: Contact llfracombe College to book a place.

For further details and/or to book a place on any of these courses, telephone llfracombe College on 864171.




The Spring Term is a busy time for Primary Schools and it's no different for us here at Berrynarbor School. Years 2 and 6 are preparing for the statutory SATs Tests in May. Year 6 pupils are having a Booster Class after school on Thursdays to give them as much help as possible.

On 6th March we joined in the national celebrations for World Book Day. Children and staff came to school dressed as characters from their favourite books, and all work during the day was based on books. The children each received a £1 token towards the cost of a new book. Activities like this help to raise the profile of reading with children and to keep their interest alive.

Football and Netball Clubs have started again after school now the weather has improved. I am sure the children and parents appreciate all the extra work put in by staff outside normal school hours. The clubs are certainly popular and well attended.

Comic Relief was well supported by the school. Children paid 50p to take part in a non-uniform day, and parents and friends produced a wonderful selection of cakes and biscuits to sell. The theme of bad hair was enthusiastically adopted by the children and staff! A total of £92.75 was raised by the school during the course of the day, and a good time was had by all.

Red Nose Day

Wear big red noses and messy hair
You may look scary so be aware
Comic Relief is here today
So make some money to give away.

Do something funny
To raise extra money
If you are rich and posh
You'd better give some dosh.

Listen to this next bit of verse
Cos we're telling you dig in your purse
Every little helps so give, give, give,
If you want others to live, live, live.

Lydia Maloney and Charlie Hodgekiss [10]

The Governing Body has been successful in its efforts to find a new, Permanent Headteacher. When the Summer Term begins on Monday, 28th April, Mrs. Karen Crutchfield will be here to look after the school and continue the good work currently being carried out by staff and governors.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank the whole school community for the help and friendship they have given me during my six months at Berrynarbor. I will take away many happy memories and will remember the school with great affection.

With best wishes,

Linda Simmonds - Interim Hcadteacher, November 2002-ApriI 2003

The children in class 4 have been raising money for an orphanage in Uganda. Last term we raised money to provide them with beds to keep them off the dirty floor. The children cooked a meal and made sweets.

Charlotte Ross


Although it is almost impossible to see the children in this photograph, their message is dear!


I'm a little hail stone
Going weeeeeee as I fall

I'm a little animal
And I'll soon be very tall.

I'm a little child
Playing in the sea.

I'm a Little seed
And I'm going to be a tree.

I'm a little sun
Shining in the sky.

I'm a little child
Saying why? why?

Alfie Browne [6]

I'm a cold raindrop
coming down

I'm a seed
coming up from
the ground

I'm a Easter egg
nice and sweet.

I'm a small Easter bunny
And I'm a little treat.

Joe Barnes [6]

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

I'm a little hedgehog waking from my sleep.
I'm a lamb from a sheep.
I'm a chicken laying some eggs
I'm a child feeling flowers around my legs.

Henry Dallyn [7]

I'm a pretty daisy
Coming up from the ground.

I'm a little rabbit
Hopping all around.

I'm a little butterfly
Coming out of my cocoon.

I'm a little bumble bee
Coming from the moon.

Ella Fairchild [7]

I'm a daisy pretty
and white.
I'm a lamb
from the light
I'm a kite flying
in the Sky
I'm a ball thrown
up high.

Joe Barnes [6]


invite everyone in the village
[families and children especially welcome]
to a Barn Dance in the Manor Hall on Saturday, 31st May, 7.30 p.m. onwards to celebrate
the Marriage of their daughter Isobel to Capt. Paul Tyler

Refreshments will be provided please bring your own drink and a glass, and please do come!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Bowden's South Lee Farm, Berrynarbor 2

This photographic postcard of South Lee Farm was published by E. Osbome & Company of llfracombe around 1912-13. The message on the back roads: 'Dear Gus, Had tea in this out of the way spot just now. Hope you are in the pink Best wishes RWI.'. It was sent to Cardiff in 1913 and one can imagine that the writer had come across from Cardiff on one of the paddle steamers to llfracombe and was staying in one of the many popular hotels or guest houses there.

Another similar card sent on 2nd August 1913 to Thornton Hill, Exeter, reads: 'We are having lovely weather so far & a nice time. We went for a trip this afternoon & had tea at this place in the garden. Couldn't you come down for a day just to see this place. Next Wed. would be a good day, come by the early train, the one about 8.40 I think, you can look it up. Love from both Louie'.

Like the Toms at Middle Lee Farm, Devon cream teas were provided for visitors arriving, initially by horse-drawn carriages and later by charabancs running out from llfracombe. In this picture we can see three of the Bowden's children, two girls and a small boy, as well as two lady visitors. Note how five of the six simply laid tables have flowers on and all are covered with linen table cloths. Note, too, that the grass, far from being cut, is almost up to the height of the bench seats provided. The large field seen behind the roof of South Lee belonged to Middle Lee Farm and how straight those plough furrows are! Undoubtedly ploughed by a team of horses and single plough.

In the Watermouth Estate Sale held at Bridge Hall, Barnstaple on Tuesday, 17th August, commencing at 11.00 a.m., offered for sale by John Smale, F.A.I., South Lee went up in £50/£25 increments to reach its selling price of £400. Listed as Lot 23:

'South Lee'
Comprising: A Superior Slated Private Dwelling House, Outbuildings, and about 3a. 3r. 27p

Of Garden, Meadow and Arable Lands, as now in the occupation of Mr.W.Bowden

Ordnance No.DescriptionAcreage
905House, Buildings, Garden, Orchard and Plot1119

The Apportioned Tithe on this Lot is £1.2s.9d.

The Lot is subject to a Lease dated 16th June, 1875, whereby the Premises were demised for a term of 99 years, determinable on the death of Richard Forest Lewis, now aged 72 years, subject to the payment of the Yearly Rent of 2s.6d. and to the Covenants and Conditions therein contained.

William Bowden was recorded as the tenant farmer from 1906 [Kellys], then as the owner farmer after 1921 up to and including 1939 [Kellys].

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 2003
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



1stW.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Jenny Goldsmith 'Life on the Wicked Stage'
2nd Manor Hall Management Committee, AGM, 7.30 p.m.
8th Annual Parish Meeting, 7.00 p.m., Manor Hall, followed by Parish Council Meeting
9th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Bikers of Berrynarbor: Evening Ride, The Globe 1800 hrs
11thPrimary School and College: End of Spring Term
13thSt. Peter's Church: Palm Sunday - Family Eucharist and Distribution of Crosses.
Bikers of Berrynarbor: Hill Climb at Wadebridge
16thWine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Alan Rowlands' 'Beauties'
18thGOOD FRIDAY St. Peter's Church: Quiet Hour, 2.00-3.00 p.m.
20thEASTER SUNDAY St. Peter's Church: Family Communion 11 a.m.
21st Bank Holiday Monday
23th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.30 p.m
28th Primary School College: Start of Summer Term
1st District and Parish Council Elections. PCC Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. onwards
5th May Day Bank Holiday
6th W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: National Resolutions
7th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 p.m.
13thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
14thBikers of Berrynarbor: Evening Ride details TBA
21stMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle, 8 p.m., Manor Hall: AGM followed by 'Members and their Chosen Wines'. Last meeting of 2002-3 Programme
22ndto Saturday 24th: 'Allo, 'allo - Studio Theatre at the Landmark,8.15 p.m.
26thSpring Bank Holiday Primary School College: to Friday, 30th May, Half Term
28thFriendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.30 p.m.
3rd W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Graham Andrews - Local Government
4th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners, 2.00 - 4.30 p.m.
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

Jigsaw Library - Don't forget, if you would like to borrow a jigsaw, please ring Judie on 883544 or call at Chicane. 25p per puzzle for Newsletter funds. List of titles as circulated with February issue or available on request.



Charity No. 289872

Following its survival last year due to one-year funding received from Devon County Council, Lloyds TSB and a Home Office Rescue Package, llfracombe District Volunteer Bureau has been able to secure three year core funding from the Community Fund. Hopefully, this will encourage other funders and a link has been forged with Sure Start.

The National Association of Volunteer Bureaux has been renamed Volunteer Development England and as a consequence, the Bureau too - a new name and will in future be known as The North Devon Volunteering Development Agency. It will continue to operate in the same way from the Volunteer Centre in llfracombe High Street.

The Agency exists to promote, support and develop volunteering for the benefit of those in need within the local communities of Ilfracombe and the surrounding coastal areas as well as the inland areas of North Devon. It supports other organisations and community projects and is an open service available to everyone.

Support for the work of the Agency is of vital importance and the Management Committee invites you to help by becoming a Member. Membership is open to individuals over the age of 18, as well as organisations. The subscription for the year 1st April 2003 to 31st March 2004 is only £1.00 and new members are welcome to join at any time of the year.

If you would like to support the Agency in this way, please ask at the Volunteer Centre for a Membership Form or speak to the Administrator, Erica Castle, who would be happy to give you further details of the Agency's activities. We look forward to hearing from you and invite you to attend the Annual General Meeting which will take place in the Volunteer Centre on Thursday, 22nd May 2003, at 8.00 p.m.

Yvonne Davey - Chairman of the Management Committee

The Volunteer Centre, 1 48/149 High Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 9EZ.
Tel: [01271] 866300



From the prospect of 'No Carnival' this year to a planned fun-packed week of revelry that's what has been achieved in twelve weeks of planning.

Sue Sussex, the Carnival Vice Chairman, says, "From nothing in the bank we have now got a strong financial base, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and organisations."

A Carnival Club has been formed and held its first 'get together' at The George and Dragon in Combe Martin last week. The evening was well attended and much support was offered.

On the itinerary this year are: Barbeques, Disco's, Talent Contest, Live Bands, Karaoke, Fireworks, Wheelbarrow Race, Raft Race, Tug-of-War and much more. Oh, not to forget the main Carnival Parade! Of course a Carnival is not complete without a Carnival Queen and Attendants and nominations are being sought for these posts and anyone interested in entering the competition should obtain a Nomination Form from businesses in Combe Maltin or by contacting Sue Sussex on [01271] 882196. All nominations should be in by mid-April.

The Committee would like to offer any organisation in Berrynarbor the use of the barbeque on the beach for one night as a fundraiser for themselves as a 'thank you' to the people of Berrynarbor for their support. Any request should be made to the Secretary, Keith Burley, Spurway, Victoria Street, Combe Martin, EX34 OJT.


Affiliated to the AMCA Ltd.

Graham Brown
2 Tennacott Heights
Tel: [012371 470267

20th March 2003


It has been quite some time since I have put an article in your Newsletter - it's not that I forgot, just that I kept missing the deadline date! We ran two classic motorcycle scramble at Sloley Park last year. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't kind to us on either occasion. This kept the number of spectators down, compared to previous years. However, we did make a small profit, which we passed on in the form of donations to Berrynarbor Primary School and the local branch of St. John Ambulance Brigade.

This year we are once again organising two scrambles. The first one is due to be run on Monday, 5th May. This is the first bank holiday in May and the entries are already flooding in from competitors - we should have a full field.

The second event is going to be something special! During the winter, our club was asked if we would run a round of the European Championship. We accepted the invitation and have been awarded the Fifth and Final Round of the Championship. This means our Scramble will feature the very best Classic Scramble Riders from all over Europe. So, it should be good news for all the tourism businesses in the area. The date for this event is Saturday and Sunday, 19th and 20th August.

I do hope that this event doesn't cause too much congestion on the local roads, but I am sure that local businesses will benefit from the influx of visitors and, of course, local charities will benefit from the bumper number of spectatorrs we hope to attract. Let's hope the weather is kind to us. I hope to see you all at our events.

Graham Brown - Chairman




PHIL & LYNNE - We are pleased to announce the Re-opening, after several years, of the Restaurant at The Lodge at the beginning of April.

The Restaurant will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and on Sunday for a 2-course Lunch. The evening meals will consist of 4 courses and cost £15.00. There will be a new daily menu so that all food is totally fresh and home-made and cooked to your requirements. Ring in advance for the menu and to order. For further details please contact Phil and Lynne on 883426.



Artwork by: Peter Rothwell