Edition 87 - December 2003




 
Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook


THE STORY OF DONKEY FRED

Charlie Disbrey

Old Fred he stands with downcast eye,
He shakes his head and wonders why,
'This empty meadow for my home,
And I stand sadly here, alone'.
 
He calls to mind a summer day,
And folk who walked the bridleway,
Who stayed awhile and had a chat,
And gave old Fred a friendly pat.
 
He wonders if it's true that when,
A donkey went to Bethlehem,
That Mary on his back did ride,
With Joseph walking at her side.
 
And now the stars are shining bright,
And darkness falls, once more 'tis night.
Now all is quiet and donkey Fred,
Walks slowly to his humble shed.
 
And underneath the starlit beams,
Old Fred the donkey sleeps and dreams,
With shepherds poor and the Wise Men,
He walks the road to Bethlehem.
 
And one bright star looked down and led,
Old donkey Fred to Jesu's bed.
He lowly kneels and with a bray,
Greets Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.
 
And Mary said, 'We thank you, Fred,
For coming to our manger bed.
Tell folk who walk the bridleway,
You came to us on Christmas Day.'

Illustration by: Debbie Rigler Cook

1



Artwork: Judie Weedon
 

EDITORIAL

'Christmas comes but once a year', but doesn't it come round quickly! It is not helped by the ever-earlier appearance of Christmas decorations in the shops, which are already playing Christmas music! However, don't get complacent, by the time you are reading this, there will only be just over three weeks to finish off the present buying, ice the cake and make the pudding, ready for a further steaming on Christmas Day.

Thanks to the many recent generous donations to the funds - especially the continued support of the Parish Council - there is sufficient money to indulge again in a coloured cover, and once more, Debbie has down us proud, illustrating the two donkey poems on the insides of the front and back covers.

Thank you, as always, to all the contributors to this issue but particularly the many 'regulars' without whom the newsletter would took very thin! Items and articles for the February issue -the first in 2004 -will be needed by mid-January please as soon as possible but by Thursday, 15th January at the very latest. Thank you.

There are many events planned for the festive season, so enjoy them. Have a happy and peaceful Christmas and with ail good wishes for the coming year.

Ed.

2



 

BERRYNARBOR W.I.

At our October meeting, Kath Arscott told us about her holiday in the Falkland Islands. The vote of thanks was given by Mahon Carter, a birthday gift was given to Di Hillier and the raffle was won by Josie Bozier.

We held our Annual General Meeting on the 4th November, when Doreen Prater was re-elected Chairman, Rosemary Gaydon Treasurer and Marion Carter Secretary. The Committee was re-elected en bloc with the addition of Josie Bozier and Margaret Weller. Our Branch Scrapbook was brought to the meeting for members to peruse.

Di Hillier will be holding a Coffee Morning to raise funds for the W.l. and arrangements for our visit to Exeter and attendance at the Carol Service at Exeter Cathedral on the 9th December were finalised. Details for our Christmas Lunch at The Lodge on the 15th December were also discussed and finalised. The raffle was won by Joan Wood and the competition for a 'sparkly necklace' by Marion Carter.

At our December meeting, Linda Brown will be showing us how to make a seasonal decoration and in January, we shall be seeing some more exotic holiday slides. So ladies, come and join us!

Marion Carter

3



 

IN MEMORIAM

RAY CARTER

Ray died on the 22nd October 2003 in the Tyrel! Hospital, at the age of 79. Both he and Jean will be remembered for living at the Old Court in Birdswell Lane, from about 1988 until they moved to Hope House, opposite the Tyrell Hospital, in Ilfracombe in 1999.

Ray constructed the lovely lake-type pond, complete with island, at the bottom of the field which runs from the Old Court right down to the stream at the bottom of Pitt Hill. Jean's ceramic classes were appreciated by all who attended them.

Ray and Jean and their family are well known in North Devon, first for their llfracombe restaurant in the 1960's and '70's, where the best fish and chips in 'Combe could be purchased! Later, with a complete change of direction, they opened the Marlborough Club in about 1980.

The friendly funeral service held at Brookdale Church was a family affair, with their daughter Amanda taking part, and in her turn, Amanda's daughter, Shelley, gave a very professional and emotional rendering of 'Ave Maria' for her granddad.

Our thoughts are with Jean, Amanda and Tim and family, Derek, and Gillian and Dave and family.

Tom B of TC - November 2003

I AM NOT THERE

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
 
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
 
Do not stand at my grave and cry. 
I am not there; I did not die.

4



Artwork: Alvary Scott
 

ST PETER'S CHURCH

The Harvest Festival celebrations went with a swing. The Sunday Service and the Wednesday Evensong were joyful and truly uplifting. On both occasions the Curch Choir was joined by children from the School to sing an anthem - wonderful!

The supper was well-attended: the ladies prepared 76 dinners in all, including 12 children and there were compliments all round. Michael Bowden and John Fanner again kindly conducted the auction and soon had the table cleared of produce! Altogether, El 60 was raised [between the church collection and the auction] to be shared between Water Aid and Bibles for the School.

Thank you to so many people for making the celebrations such a success - from those who helped to decorate the church to those who cleared the hall at the end.

Remembrance Day was marked by the laying of the wreaths and silence at the War Memorial. This simple ceremony was followed by the service in church, when the lesson was read by Graham Andrews and the Choir, with soloists, very movingly sang 'Pie Jesu'.

Good food, good wine, good music and good company were all enjoyed by those who came to the Bring and Share Supper on the 12th November. There was plenty of room for more people and we shall try to give more notice another time.

Time to think of Christmas Celebrations once again! The Carol Service will be on Wednesday, 17th December at 6.30 p.m. and we shall be looking forward to the singing from the Choir and the Sunday School Nativity Play. The Christmas Eve Communion Service will begin at 9.30 p.m. [not too late for the older children], and on Christmas morning there will be a Family Communion with carols at 11.00 a.m.

The church will be decorated in time for the 24th. Please let Linda Brown [8826001 know if you have any holly, etc., or if you would like to make a donation towards the cost of the flowers.

Linda has been in overall charge of the church flowers for the past year and with the other flower arrangers and the PCC, is planning a Flower Festival to take place in 2004, from the 6th to 9th August. A preliminary meeting was held in November and another will be arranged early in the New Year for anyone interested in helping to attend.

There will be NO Friendship Lunch at The Globe in December, but we shall recommence in January: the fourth Wednesday, which will be the 28th. In the meantime, we all wish each other a Happy Christmas with good health and among friends and family.

Mary Tucker

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SUNDAY SCHOOL

Christmas seems to come earlier every year - although, of course, the month and date never change! But many shops and the media advertise their wares and decorate their windows sometimes in September. I have just returned from Australia where carols and Christmas trees in 35 0C were rather strange. Two of my daughters who live there agree that Christmas in the heat is never quite the same - perhaps it is their childhood memories of Berrynarbor Christmases, carol singing wrapped up against the cold, Midnight Mass in a chilly church [it was very cold in the church in those days], the traditional roast turkey and Christmas pud. I don't know what the temperature was in Bethlehem, but I always imagine it cold in contrast to the warm dry stable, but whatever the temperature, the wonderful story is still the same.

Sunday School numbers fluctuate, some of our older children having moved on, and we shall miss them, but thank them for their tremendous input and loyalty over many years. We welcome Jess and Luca, and hope they will enjoy their time with us. Not only do we try to have an informal hour guiding them along the ways of Christianity, but we also learn such a lot from them - their open vision, hope and optimism are so heart-lifting. Come and see them in action at the Caro! Service in Berrynarbor Church on Wednesday, 17th December. We welcome any children to join us, 11.00 a.m. every Sunday in the Penn Curzon Room, except the first Sunday in the month when we meet in the church for the Family Service.

"God gave us memories that we might have roses in December"

We wish you a joyful, beautiful Christmas, with love from Berrynarbor Sunday School.

Sally B.

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Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook
 

A WARM WELCOME

A very warm welcome to all newcomers to the Village we hope you will be happy here in your new homes and look fo:ward to meeting you in the near future.

Barbara and Alan Gibson and their springer spaniel, George, have after many happy years holidaying in North Devon, decided to retire here and have moved into Berrynarbor Park. Alan, an electrician, is a keen angler who also dabbles in DIY, and Barbara, a secretary, now has more time to enjoy cooking, reading and embroidery. They have two daughters and a son, who have all now flown the nest!

The left hand side of the old Chapel is now called 'Church House' and is home to Christina and Simon Reynolds and their two year old son, Oscar.

Christine, originally from a farming family at Fifield, near Ongar, and Simon from Cambridgeshire [although with a father in the RAF he moved all over the country as a young boy], have moved here from Greenwich in South East London. Simon is an IT contractor and Christine a specialist cake maker. So, if you have any special cake requirements, please do contact her on 883945 she would be happy to hear from you. Christine is also [take note the BBC!] a keen needlewoman.

As mentioned in the October issue, Bobby Hacker has settled into Park View in llfracombe, and Longsawte is now home to Michael Bain and his collie Dodie. Michael has lived in North Devon most of his life -at Woolacombe and West Down, where he and his family ran the Foxhunters Inn.

Good luck to you all!

7



MORE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

This year my onions were ripening nicely and looking good, and I was persuaded that they might be good enough to enter in the local horticultural show. When in the Post Office the person in front of me asked for a schedule for the Show, I took one too and studied it carefully - still optimistic.

The following week, we went with friends to Port Talbot to a country show and, of course, there was a huge and giant vegetable show - 4ft carrots, 5ft leeks, absolute perfection, identical size and colour and beautiful flowers!

Back home my onions looked a bit 'homely' - not quite ripe, not all the same size. Oh well, good enough to eat. I didn't enter the Show.

On Show day, however, we did go down to the Manor Hall and were greeted warmly. There was a huge raffle, tea and biscuits and lots of people all saying that they wished they had entered 'this' and 'that'.

The presentations were made to the worthy winners and how many onlookers like me will be studying those seed catalogues and planning for next year's great event? Every one of us could be a potential winner, so don't be afraid to enter!

Please don't give up this village event but just keep reminding us all through the Newsletter to get those seeds and plants on the go, and a few tips on how to present the produce would be very welcome.

Perhaps the schedule could be more readily available and a little earlier, so that three onions on a paper plate - no tops - could become a reality in 2004!

Dorothy

8



Artwork: Paul Swailes
 

MANOR HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Illustration by:
Debbie Rigler Cook

On Saturday, 20th December, from 10.30 a.m. until noon, the Christmas Card Coffee Morning will be held in the Manor Hall. Sherry and mince pies will be on offer and asl some Christmassy things will be on sale. If anyone would like a table, please let me or any Committee Member know in advance.

Your cards for distribution within the Village may be left, with a donation [10p per card please] in the box in the village shop. This facility will be available from 13th to 20th December, or you can bring your cards along to the coffee morning, when they will be sorted and then distributed. All money raised will go towards the Manor Hall funds.

Our Hall is very well used there is hardly a time, either morning, afternoon or evening, every day of the week, when there isn't something going on. This is causing a parking problem. There is only limited space in front of the hall so, unless you are, there and then, attending a class or function in the Manor Hall, please leave your car somewhere else.

Our Committee is small in number and is likely to become even smaller soon. If anyone is willing to assist in the management of the Manor Hall, please do come forward. It is not all time-consuming, but is an essential to village life.

John Hood - Chairman

9



OF THIS AND THAT

A huge THANK YOU to all those people who contributed in so many ways to the World's Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Relief in The Globe on 26th September - to the many people from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Combe Martin and the village who gave raffle prizes, bought Christmas cards and drank coffee. We raised over E250 and 41 people called in. The funds raised will go to the North Devon District Hospital's Macmillan Fund.

Diane Lloyd and Judy Hand

North Devon Bus Times: The winter timetable came into operation on 22nd September and free copies of the timetable are available. For all timetable enquiries in the Southwest, call Traveline on 0870 6082608.

Radio Devon Chestnut Appeal: An all day Christmas Fayre [10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.] will be held at West Torridge, Limers Lane, Northam, on Wednesday, 3rd December. Handmade Christmas goodies and cards, cake stall and raffle, El entrance to include coffee or tea and biscuits.

10



BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS

You may have read in a recent Shammickite of Nick Burnell's quest for Broadband Internet access. In order to achieve this, 250 to 350 subscribers will be needed to persuade BT to convert the Combe Martin exchange. When this is done, broadband should be available to anyone within 4.5 kms of the exchange, which should include most of Berrynarbor. BT will provide all the necessary merchandise and information material once they have 100 registered interested parties. At the time of Nick's article, there were 71 , but this has since increased. If you are interested in registering, go to your internet service provider -- Virgin, Freeserve, BT, etc. -and register. Once the 100 is reached, the ball will start rolling!

Broadband will give instant access at 10 times the speed of dial-up modem and does away with all the waiting time. The costs vary but anyone paying a monthly bill of E 12 to El 5 will pay between E5 and E 10 more. A bargain! In addition, you will be able to use your phone to call out and receive calls while you are on the internet!

Go on, register NOW, but if you would like more information, please mail Nick on: nick.burnell@virgin.net.

11



 

BIKERS OF BERRYNARBOR

October and November meetings were 'Pint and a Chat' evenings with dreams of warm, sunny days to come. However, we hope to have a morning run to Bridge Motorcycles in Exeter on 6th December, leaving from Mill Park entrance at 8.30 a.m. All riders welcome. Liaise with Brian if the weather looks dodgy.

We are looking forward to our 2nd Annual Christmas Dinner to be held on 12th December, and this will conclude a very pleasant but undramatic year. Looking forward to 2004, we shall meet on 13th January at the Old Sawmill Inn for an evening of intelligent discussion!

Brian

12



Artwork: Angela Bartlett
 

RETURN JOURNEY

The story I am going to tell took place in the 1970's. Geoff Petitt, a member of our local cine club, was friendly with two other members, Charles and Margery Long, and in the course of a conversation, Charles told Geoff that he had fought in the 1914-18 War at Passchaendale in Belgium and his great friend was another senticeman, Sidney Nash.

In the battle of Passchaendale, Sidney and Charles were ordered 'up and over' the trench and sadly Sidney was shot dead at that moment, much to Charles's horror.

In ail the years after the Armistice, Charles wondered where Sidney was buried, or whether there was an inscription somewhere. Talking to Geoff about this, it was agreed that he, Margery and Geoff would go to Belgium to find how what had happened.

This research mission took them to Zeebrugge and on to Passchaendale and Ypres, where they visited several cemeteries and the War Graves Commission, but ail to no avail. They went to the Menin Gate one morning, looking at the names of hundreds of lost men engraved on the wall, but Sidney's name did not seem to be there. They agreed to go for lunch and then return for another last look in the afternoon.

Close to the wall was a form of pier in which there were holes, rather like portholes, but without glass. The sun was shining and as the three of them stood there looking, their eyes settled on a round patch of sunlight shining through the hole in the pier and on to the names. Right in the centre of several illuminated names, was that of Sidney Nash! it was a very emotional moment for Charles and now all three felt that their mission had been accomplished successfully.

I knew Charles quite well - for some reason he usually played the part of the vicar in our fiction films. Despite the appalling conditions he had experienced and endured in that dreadful war, he lived to the ripe old age of 95. Geoff's amateur file of all that I have written was genuine and certainly food for thought.

Tony Beauclerk

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

13



VULNERABLE POINTS POLICE

In his October article on PLUTO, Tom wrote of the VP's, or Vulnerable Points, who manned the road blocks guarding vulnerable points such as depots, dumps, wireless stations, tunnels, bridges, secret installations, etc.

That and the following information has been sent by David Huxtable of Chichester, who recollects as a boy of 12 or 13, traveling the Watermouth road frequently at that time and remembers the permanent road block where cars, buses, etc., were stopped by the VP's and the occupants had to get out. He does not remember, however, anyone actually being searched!

Having heard nothing more of 'Blue Caps', as they were known, since that time, and living opposite the Military Police Training Centre at Rousillon Barracks, Chichester, David thought he would investigate further and was given considerable help by the Curator of their Museum.

The name 'blue caps' came from the blue cover on their caps and VPs were distinguished by the blue diamond flash on the sleeves of their uniform. Formed in February 1941, these sections were made up of older men whose low medical category meant that they were unfit for service in late 1940. They carried out static guard and security duties.

Vulnerable points were defined as points where if a blow from the enemy was successful, it would considerably impair the national war effort. VP1's were posts to be held at all costs and to the last and they were manned by a section armed with a formidable array of weapons. VP2's operated at posts which, in the event of an invasion, could be dismantled and evacuated, or if need be, destroyed. They carried whistles and truncheons and were armed with automatic rifles and sten guns.

Several hundred police dogs, together with their handlers, were trained and organised into sections which were allocated to VP companies.

At the end of the War, the Vulnerable Points Wing was gradually phased out as the need for their services ceased. In the 17th Century, their forebears were known as the 'King's Safeguards' [and even wore blue caps], and in the First World War as 'God's Rejected'.

14



EDEN ROCK

Charles Causley

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock;
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.
 
My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat,
Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.
 
She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight
From an old H.P. sauce bottle, a screw
Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out
The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.
 
The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.
My mother shades her eyes and looks my way
Over the drifted stream. My father spins
A stone along the water. Leisurely,
 
They beckon to me from the other bank.
I hear them call, "See where the stream-path is!
Crossing is not as hard as you might think."
 
I had not thought that it would be like this.

A typical, old-fashioned Cornishman, Charles Causley was born on the 24th August 1917 at Launceston, where he was brought up in the shadow of a Norman Castle overlooking the Tamar. An only child, his father -a groom and gardener - died in 1924, when Charles was only just seven.

He was educated at Launceston College. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy and on his release from the service, trained as a teacher at Peterborough Training College, returning to Launceston to teach children, something he did for most of his life. His retirement, too, was spent in the town of his birth.

Charles Causley began writing in the 1930's, first plays and later poetry, becoming one of the most important British poets of his generation.

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1958 and a CBE in 1986. He had honorary degrees from Oxford and Exeter, where he was also Honorary Fellow in Poetry.

"As an only child, he was the sole witness left to his parents' lives and to their traditional goodness. He never married, and his private life remained private. He refused to write an autobiography, since he said the truth about his life was available in his poems. "

Charles Causley, some of whose works have appeared in the Newsletter, died on the 4th November 2003, at the age of 86.

15



Artwork: Paul Swailes
 

WEATHER OR NOT

This year not only have we had a really good summer, but we have also had the added bonus of an Indian summer in October to shorten the winter.

Chicane's record of hours of sunshine show an increase for September from 118.72 in 2002, to 124.53 this year - up 5.81. Despite the good weather, October's hours are slightly down on last year from 56.47 to 53.68.

We were on the Isles of Scilly for the first two weeks of September, enjoying hot sunny weather, so we have no day-to-day records for that time. Between the 29th August and 30th September, we recorded 62 mm [2 1/2"] of rain, which was similar to the previous two years though a lot drier than 2000, when we collected 198mm [8"].

The maximum temperature in September of 27.6C was slightly up on the previous three years although the minimum of 4.3C was slightly down. Wind speeds were about average with a maximum gust of 24 knots.

October's rainfall total of 95mm [33 3/4"] was well down on the previous three years 2002 - 186mm [7 3/8"], 2001 - 220mm [8 1/4"] and 2000 - 352mm [14"]. Little wonder SWWA are beginning to worry! Again, the maximum temperature of 21C was marginally up on the previous three years and the minimum of 0.6C was down. We did have a few frosty mornings between the 21st and 27th. The wind speeds were well down peaking at 25 knots compared with 51 knots in 2002.

The barometric pressure had been over 1000mbs since 1st July but started to fall on 28th October and fell to 975mb at 2000 hours on 30th October, after which it started to recover.

Nature usually compensates and many people we have spoken to feel it will be a cold winter this time and we are inclined to agree. Let's hope the drought doesn't give way to continual rain.

Sue and Simon

16



Artwork: Harry Weedon
 

BLOOMIN' BEST . . . AND EVEN BETTER!

As reported in the October issue, our entry into the CPRE Large Village competition won the award, and the village celebrated with a Devon Cream Tea at the Manor Hall on the 8th November. Presenting the award and representing CPRE were Ros Crighton and Mrs. Crowther and receiving them on behalf of the village were Emma Vanstone - a young supporter - and Graham Andrews, Chairman of our Parish Council. Thank you to everyone involved in putting on an excellent afternoon.

It was also reported that we had won the Britain in Bloom Mary Mortimer Trophy and were awaiting the outcome of the National Competition to be announced at the Awards Presentation at the Guildhall, London, on 30th September.

What a result! Representing the South West we won a Gold Award!

Does everyone realize what an incredible achievement this is? Throughout the country, only 4 Gold Awards were made over all the categories - large city, city, large town, town, small town, small country town, large village, village, urban regeneration, urban community and coastal resorts A and B. The other 3 Gold Award winners were Darley and Harrogate in Yorkshire and Nottingham. Sadly, we did not take the Overall Category Winner since Darley pipped us by 1 point, both being in the Large Viliage Category. Although Barnstaple, for instance, was hailed as an Overall Category Winner, of the four awards - Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze - their entry only took a Silver Gilt award.

So we should all be very proud but we could not have achieved this wonderful accolade without Ann and Vi and their dedicated band of supporters whose cajoling and enthusiasm spurred us all on. A very big THANK YOU to you all, but especially Ann, and her dedication to the incredible amount of paperwork that has to accompany the entry, and Vi.

Illustration by:
Debbie Rigler Cook

The Judges were impressed by:

  • The effort and enthusiasm is evident from the whole community and could well be an inspiration to all. The sheer joy and spirit of this entry is overwhelming.
  • Floral Displays - Consistent high standard of maintenance. The variety of plants together with good co/our co- ordination and design giving a most elegant display. The initial thoughts on ornamentation [flowerpot men] added immeasurably to the fun and spirit of Berrynarbor in Bloom areas.
  • Permanent Landscaping, including shrubs - The wonderful quality, variety and maintenance shown throughout the vi//age, especia//y the very steep embankments and roadside verges which were breath-taking.
  • Local Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development - Recycling huts, composting schemes at the school and communal/ water barrel.
  • Local Environmental Quality - Terrific input of local community by daily collections, even along the dangerous main road and in all weathers. Exceptional cleanliness
  • Public Awareness -Judges' 'Welcome' poster in the bus shelter. The fact that the majority of the community knew about the judges' arrival and why.

17



A SHAGGY HARE STORY

Once there was a foolish hare
Who kissed a princess for a dare.
He knew he really didn't ought,
So it served him right when he was caught.
They brought him up before the King,
Who was as mad as anything.
He sent off for the court magician,
And when he'd told him the position,
He said, "Tomorrow afternoon,
Turn this hare into a goon!"
Before the hare was led away,
The King asked, "What have you to say?"
The hare replied, in tones of sorrow,
"Hare today and goon tomorrow!"

Jack Doughty [1957]
Sent in by Inga R.


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

18



 

PARISH COUNCIL

The December meeting Of the Parish Council will be held a week later than normal, on TUESDAY. 16TH DECEMBER, 7.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall.

TENDERS: Anyone wishing to tender for work from the Council grass cutting, repairs, hedging, maintenance, etc. - is asked to contact the Clerk, Sue Squire, as soon as possible on 01598 710526.

FROM OUR DISTRICT COUNCILLORS

. It has been a busy time for both of us over the past seven months. Yvette was elected Chairman of the North Devon District Council, so her duties have taken her all over the County, and it is acknowledged by everyone that she is excellent in her new role. We are all very proud of her.

As a newly elected District Councillor, I have set off on a very steep leaming curve, not only in the Civic Centre but also as one of the Council's M'O representatives on Exmoor National Park. The roads to Barnstaple and Dulverton are imprinted on my brain!

We have been involved in looking at the level of policing and other areas of particular interest to us are recycling [especially of trade waste which unlike recyclable household waste is going to land fill sites] and the issue of affordable housing for our young families.

Our job is to represent each of you and if there is something that concerns you, please do get in touch with us - Yvette on 882364 and myself on 883611. In the meantime we both wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Julia Clark

19



THE MEN'S INSTITUTE

The 18th October saw the Men's' Institute enjoying an excellent meal and evening at the Sandy Cove Hotel for the Annual Trophy and Prize Presentation Evening.

The Chairman, Gordon Hughes, presented the trophies to:

WinnerRunner Up
Summer League Gerry Marangone,
Maurice Draper
Winter League Keith Walls Jim Constantine and Dave Harris
Doubles Maurice Draper and Kevin Brooks Mark Adams and Vic Cornish
Scratch Singles Kevin Brooks Jim Constantine
Handicap Singles Peter Pell Runner Up: Maurice Draper
Highest Break Gerry Marangone [38]

John Huxtable

20



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook
 

WEDDINGS

The week-end of the 4th October saw another Berrynarbor. Visitors who came from all over, many whom had not been to this part of the country before, enjoyed the hospitality of the village. The reason for their visit? To witness and enjoy the marriage at St. Peter's of Hannah Grinnall and Richard Fulton.

Dorothy Grinnall has roots in the village going back probably as far as any other family, so it seemed appropriate that her granddaughter, Hannah, who spent a lot of time in Berrynarbor as a child, be married from the family cottage, Hillcrest. The bride, her father Andrew and her two bridesmaids walked down the hill to the church, but a Rolls Royce transported them up the hill to Sandy Cove for the wedding breakfast. A disco at the Manor Hall, where The Globe put on a fantastic spread and everyone danced the night away, topped off the day!

Hannah is currently studying for a B.Sc. in Psychology at Goldsmiths College and Richard works for HMV in South London.

Our congratulations to you both and our very best wishes for the future. We look forward to seeing you in the village again soon, and understand that this is a certainty since the parents of the bride, Sally and Andrew [Grinnall] hope to move to Hillcrest in the not too distant future.

The date: 11th October; Location: Sydney.

Some 40 family members and guests from the UK joined Ann and Sandy Anderson in Sydney for the marriage of their eldest son, David, to Amy Lapointe of Sydney.

The wedding took place in the crypt of Sydney Cathedral and the reception held in a marquee in front of the Opera House. On the Sunday, Ann and Sandy were hosts to the guests for a Luncheon Cruise around the Harbour.

The newlyweds enjoyed an Australian honeymoon before returning to their home in Singapore, where David is an IT Specialist and Amy is setting up a juicing business.

We send them our congratulations and wish them health and happiness in their future life together.

21



 

NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

What a busy and successful term! We came back to a newly carpeted and refurbished school in September, which was a lovely surprise for everyone. We now have a school library in the main building and an outdoor play area for Class 1. The playground area has also been improved to provide a larger grass area.

Local Events

  • At the end of September the children provided a wonderful Harvest Festival for parents in the church.
  • Class 3 spent an interesting morning looking at The Globe Inn as part of our Tudor project. Thanks to all involved.
  • The Friends of Berrynarbor organized an Autumn Party for the whole school which was very successful and we thank all of our dedicated parents for their support.

School News

  • We-now have 13 clubs run by staff and parents at the School. There are lots of new opportunities available to the children and there has been an excellent response.

Christmas Events

  • Saturday, 6th December - Christmas Bazaar [all welcome] 10.00 a.m., the Manor Hall
  • Friday, 12th December- Year 6 Meal for Berrynarbor Senior Citizens, 5.00 p.m. Please see Post Office for details
  • Friday, 19th December- End of Term
  • Tuesday, 6th January 2004 - Start of Spring Term

We have a host of seasonal celebrations on offer for our children and parents, including Christingle, Advent and Carol Services. We shall be having our traditional school Christmas Lunch, disco and Class 1 Nativity. Seasons Greetings.

Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Headteacher

The Tudor Project

Tudor Queen [watercolour] by Charlotte, Aged 7

Tudors, Rich and Poor: King Henry VIIl

[drawn with pastels] by Ellie, Aged 8

Christmas Cards

[proceeds in aid of school projects]

Village Christmas Cards [designed by Debbie Cook] will be on sale at the Bazaar on Saturday, 6th December, at the Manor Hall, and at other venues and events from that date. Please buy some cards and help the school at the same time.

22



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook
 

HATCHED

It is lovely to again be able to welcome new babies and we send them our best wishes and congratulations to their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Jane and Keith Jones are very happy to announce the arrival of their latest grandchild, their fifth. Megan Lily was born on the 22nd September, weighing 61bs Iloz, a second daughter for Ben and Lisa and sister for Molly Jane.

Jean and Jim Constantine are delighted to announce the arrival of their second grandson. James Alexander was born on the 29th October and weighed 81bs 90z. A second son for Sue and Andy, a brother for Charlie and a cousin for Hannah.

Ivy and Walter White are very happy to announce the arrival of their latest great-grandchild - No.8! Finn Charles was born on the 30th October, weighing 81bs 140z., a son for Paula [nee Yeo] and Stuart Swanson and a welcome brother for Tilly Rosina.

23



SONGBIRD & BBC CALLING!

The first meeting of the BBC [Berry Broadcasting Company] to discuss next year's Show - March 2004 - has been arranged for Sunday, 7th December.

Anyone interested in participating, either on stage, back stage, front of house or in any way, is invited to The Globe for 8.00 p.m. The more the merrier!

It is hoped that both the script and the backing music CD's will be available and rehearsals will begin in earnest early in the New Year. The BBC looks forward to seeing YOU on the 7th!

MEMORIES

Reading of Ron's school days cutting up newspaper for the loo [Issue No. 85] reminded me that that was my job as well - not at school, but at home. Home was a little terraced house, no garden, just a yard with an outside loo and my job was cutting squares of newspaper, threading them on a string to hang in the loo - and very proud I was of my job!

I hated going out there in the dark with a candle. There were only gas mantles in two rooms, the kitchen and parlour, an oil lamp in the scullery and candles for the bedrooms.

Mother would light a fire under the copper; in the corner of the scullery to get hot water, a zinc bath being brought in from the yard on bath nights me being bathed first in front of a lovely fire, my brother after me in the same water.

For the first eight years of my life that was how we lived. Then what excitement, we were going to live in a new house with a bathroom, with hot and cold water! But imagine my disappointment the day we moved in, when turning on a tap marked 'hot', only cold water came out! I didn't realize you had to light a boiler first.

I think I've learnt a lot since then - 'The Good Old Days'. But I'm sure I wouldn't want to go back to them I've got so used to today's mod cons!

EB

I have just read the Newsletter No. 86 and once again some of the articles have stirred the 'old'grey cells'! I was ten years of age when the Second World War finished. There are a couple of incidents still very clear in my mind.

The REME, in connection with the PLUTO project, were stationed at Mill Park Farm, their nissen huts could be seen from the road. One day I was at home and could hear loud laughter and a lot of cheering [unusual in those days], so I went upstairs to my bedroom to have a look to see what was going on. There, leaning on the wall of Pitt Meadow, were seven or eight of the soldiers. It was a lovely sunny day and they were watching the young lambs racing back and forth, along the bank that divided the field. I often think back and wonder if the soldiers were having a 'little bet', hence the cheering and laughter.

Childhood was good in those days - deprived by today's standards! There was no fear of strangers, no competition with each other as to who had the latest 'designer' outfit! We had clothing coupons, ration cards, sweet rationing and of course, carried our gas masks in little brown boxes to school. We had a lot of evacuees in Berrynarbor, two lived with us.

One boy was called Peter Norris and the other Raymond Childs.

Another memory is of the American soldiers who used to come to the village on manoeuvres. On one occasion, about a dozen decided our small orchard was a good place to play war. On this particular day, mother went to collect the eggs from the hen house as usual, when she came face to face with a very large, black American solider wriggling through the grass in full combat gear. She went racing back to the house to tell father, who immediately said make them some tea and boil some eggs. So in due course this was all taken to the orchard, with me following behind, with bread and home-made butter, salt and pepper.

Imagine my surprise when the soldier in charge gave me a ten shilling note [50p] and it wasn't even my birthday! Half-crown postal orders were the norm for birthdays. The Americans were always very generous to children and would throw us chewing gum sometimes as they drove through the village. I cannot remember what I spent my ten shillings on, but do remember feeling very sick!

Rosslyn Hammett

24



GET WELL

As always, we send our very best wishes to anyone who is, or has been, not well lately. The current 'flu bug seems to have infiltrated the village, so do take care and keep warm and don't go back to work or try to do too much before you are really fit again!

Our thoughts are with Alice who is home again after a spell in hospital but it waiting to go in again to have a hip replacement. Also waiting to go in to hospital again is Ivy. We wish you both well.

News of Edith is great! She has improved so much that home visits are planned shortly and fingers crossed that she will be able to be with the family for Christmas. Keep up the good work, Edith, we are rooting for you and look forward to having you back in the village very soon.

25



MUSIC AT ST. PETER'S

The music scene is alive and well at St. Peter's, Berrynarbor, with a wonderful performance by oboist, James Marangone [grandson of June and Gerry] of the Adagio from Albinoni's Oboe Concerto in D Minor, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu, before and during our Service on Sunday, 17th August. James, who was accompanied by myself on the organ, is currently playing with the Croydon Youth Orchestra and is set on gaining a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and a place at one of the Royal Music Colleges in the near future. We hope it will not be long before he returns to Berrynarbor and delights us again with his playing.

Our Choir and members of the School have, over the last few months, been hard at work practicing John Rutter's 'Look at the World' and this was sung beautifully at our Harvest Festival services. So many in the congregation openly congratulated everyone, especially the children for such a wonderful performance. So, well done to Amy Newell, Amy Charalambous, Rachel Luckham, Becky Walls, Lydia Maloney,

Emma Vanstone, Charlie Hodgkiss and a big thank you to

Mary Jane Newell and Maggie Foster for helping them along. We must get together again - perhaps in time for Christmas to sing some of the special carols in our beautiful church in Berry!

For those of you out there who would like to come and join our Choir, please come along to the Church on Monday evenings at 7.30 p.m. and join in the singing. As I have said before, our music is wide ranging and it is not a requirement that any member be able to read music. So, whether you are young or not so young, come along for an hour and really enjoy yourself!

Stuart Neale - Organist and Choirmaster [8824771

26



CHOCOLATE MATHS!

Try this, it works and only takes a minute!

  1. First of all pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate. [Try for more than once, but less than 10]
  2. Multiply this number by 2 [just to be bold!]
  3. Add 5 [for Sunday]
  4. Multiply it by 50 - we'll wait while you get the calculator
  5. If you have already had your birthday this year, add 1753, If you have not, add 1752
  6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born

You should have a three digit number.

The first digit of this was the original number [1] that you want to have chocolate each week

The next two numbers are... YOUR AGE!

Oh yes, it is!!!] This is the only year [2003] that this will work, so spread it around while it lasts. Impressed?

27



Artwork: Helen Weedon
 

RURAL REFLECTIONS -15

As I go around the countryside, its sights sounds and aromas often bring back memories regardless of the time of year.

Take January. Renowned for its dull and gloomy days, the sight of clouds hanging low over the hills take me back to my first holiday in Scotland. I was quite young at the time and had little experience of English hills, let alone Scottish mountains. So when I saw a mountain whose peak was immersed in cloud, I was desperate to go up it. That way, or so I thought, I'd discover how thick and woolly clouds actually were!

Come late February, the fields that splatter our landscape have become soggy underfoot, the result of a winter's rainfall or the thawing of ice or snow. Deep underground, the sunken water finds its nearest way to a river or brook. In Devon, of course, such meandering waterways are in abundance. But as a child, I lived upon the chalky ground of the North Downs. Here, even in winter, streams were hard to find; though I do remember one little tributary, only reached by descending a steep gully and only flowing when rain had fallen over a long period. What a novelty, then, and what fun it was to play 'racing sticks' with my friend.

In March the winds increase, uprooting trees now too old and fragile to stand up against them. However, within days of their demise, new seedlings shoot out of the ground, nature's way of replenishing what has been lost. Whenever I see this, I recall the devastating effects of Dutch elm disease. As a child, I had to watch the wood where I had played being chain sawed to the ground. Then, I became mistakenly excited when the new shoots appeared. Then died.

April is a time to restart hill walks last undertaken in autumn when the days had cooled sufficiently but before it had become too cold to stand at the summit. Ascending these hills, I always think back to my days in the school cadets, and in particular an army camp in the Pennines. Why I ever chose to go, I will never know! I can hear the sergeant major now, "McCarthy, what are you doing, struggling at the back there? Get a move on! You'll never make a soldier if you can't reach the top of this molehill!"

May brings its blossom of the same name. And what an aroma! One scent of it and I am instantly taken back to the suburbs of Brighton where we lived. Circled by a nature trail that was awash with May trees, the area would be filled with the smell of May blossom.

During June the sound of grass being cut begins to continually echo throughout our land. But where fields and garden lawns are left untouched, daisies and dandelions appear, gently swaying in warm summer breezes. Just like the playing field where I spent my breaks at 27.

infant school. A place where Claire Collis, the girl I sat next to in class would contentedly make daisy chains; and the place where I picked her a bunch of dandelions, only for her to retort: "I'm not sitting next to you anymore. Picking dandelions means you are going to wet your pants!"

By July woods are at their thickest, the final destination of narrow tracks leading off from major pathways now obscured from view. But as a child, this was the time to investigate these trails in the hope of finding a clearing that could not be seen by people walking the main path. With a little adaptation and imagination, the clearing transformed itself into a secret hideaway. Any walk I now do through woods during July brings such memories flooding back.

Throughout August our public parks come into their own. Their flowerbeds are awash with colour by courtesy of geraniums, busy lizzjes, petunias, and many more. These orderly bedding plants always take me back to teenage days walking my pet golden retriever, Sheba. To get to the main park we had to walk first through the park's garden. There, as always, we would meet the park keeper, an old man who gave the impression he'd been there longer than the ancient trees surrounding him. He always had a tal t tell and, more important, always had a treat for Sheba.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

Within our hedgerows throughout September blackberries are found in abundance. Stretching to reach that massive juicy blackberry, the one that is always just out of reach, my early childhood immediately springs to mind. Having first been brought up in a block of flats in central London, where "playing outside" meant constantly scraping my skin through falling on the concrete ground of the communal courtyard, my infant body thought it was in heaven when we moved to a house in the suburbs with a long narrow garden. Then I thought I had met an angel when our new neighbour, a dear old lady whom I came to affectionately call Auntie Ann, asked me to help her pick blackberries at the back of her garden. How proud I was when my Mum made a pie from the blackberries that I had picked.

The gusts of wind that blow throughout October carry with them swirls of fragile golden leaves. Evidence of these gusts can still be seen long after the wind's departure where leaf piles have formed. What a thrill it is to kick and trample upon the dried leaves, feeling them crackle beneath one's feet; and how it reminds me of dog walks in October through the resplendent Stanmer woods near the South Downs, kicking up leaves along the way and sending the dogs into a mad frenzy!

November: a month of nights drawing in, wildlife hibernating and the colours within our countryside fast declining. By now, bracken leaves have turned a mouldy brown colour; a sight that even today turns my stomach. It's those school cadet days again. Except this time, myself and the other four cadets in our group are completely lost somewhere within Ashdown common, and not one of us took any notice during the compass reading session. Its getting dark, I am cold, hungry and frightened and all I can see around me is ... mouldy brown bracken leaves.

Ah, December! The month when our dear robin comes into his own? The sight of his striking red breast and the sound of his sweet song cheers up the gloomiest of days. Seeing one always reminds me of the only task I would undertake in my parents' garden - the weeding. Our garden, you see, had parallel flowerbeds following the fences, which ran either side of the garden, upon which perched two robins - one on each fence. Weed on the left hand side and the robin on the left hand fence reaped the rewards. Likewise the right. But never did they dare fly across that invisible fence in the middle!

Illustration by: Debbie Rigler Cook

The robin is, of course, also associated with Christmas; and like this December article, Christmas is also a time for reflection. In doing so, we may feel both happy and sad. Happy when we recall a Christmas day full of both fun and laughter yet a memory which may also bring a tear to our eyes when we realise that some of those with whom we shared that day are no longer with us.

Nature, however, never looks back and Christmas day is no exception. Quite the opposite. When our countryside awakes on Christmas morning it notices something very subtle but still significant: it began to get light just that little earlier. News of this spreads throughout the land. And in our garden, the Christmas robin sings his song to tell us that we have turned the corner. Now the advent of Christmas is over, the advent of spring can begin.

Though nature itself may never look back, it is not necessarily a recommendation for us. Indeed, history enables us to reflect upon our past mistakes. Our memories too can bring us comfort. So maybe there's a happy medium to be struck. Whilst it is good to recall the past, particularly at this time of year, perhaps living in the past is just as unhealthy as ignoring it. So as we enter a New Year, knowing that each day will stay light a little longer, let's look forward with anticipation and excitement to the brighter days of spring. Merry Christmas. Steve McCarthy

28



LIGHT UP A LIFE

Christmas is a special time for remembering loved ones no longer with us. The North Devon Hospice & Children's Hospice South West are jointly organizing Light Up a Life that enables you to make a donation and dedicate a light in memory of someone you have loved on a special Christmas Tree of Light. Anyone can be remembered, they may not have recently passed away, but their loss is still with us. The name of your loved one is then recorded in a book of remembrance. There will be services of remembrance and support across the North Devon and Torridgeside areas, details of which can be found in our leaflet and in the Gazette and Advertiser. If you would like to support the work of the Hospice and dedicate a light, please ring the Fundraising Office at the North Devon Hospice for more information on [01271] 344248.

29



Artwork: Angela Bartlett
 

OLD BERRYNARBOR

Coast Guard Houses - View No. 86

The photographic postcard of the Coast Guard Houses would have been taken shortly after they were built on the road between llfracombe and Berrynarbor around 1930. Now, in the year 2003, only the house marked 'x' [the one on the far left] remains the property of the Coast Guard Service the others being sold off in the early 1980's.

This card was sent by Mr. Sinden, who was the Coast Guard Officer living in the house marked 'x' back in 1934. Mr. Sinden had moved into the house with his wife and family when the houses had been completed and this card, postmarked 1934 with the Berrynarbor postmark, was sent to his mother living in St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex.

It is interesting to note that their daughter, Ansley Sinden, became a childhood sweetheart of Lewis Smith [1915-1989] and that at the age of 21 years, Lewis went all the way to Glasgow to visit her. Lewis was, of course, Church Warden of St. Peter's from around 1965 up to his death in June 1989. [See the Obituary for Lewis Smith in Newsletter No. 1 August 1989.]

From the Bristol Channel these houses stand out soon after travelling north east from Ball Point or when travelling westwards from Foreland Point Lighthouse at Lynmouth and, of course, the volunteer coast guards still have a lookout point there, together with all the modern communication facilities needed these days. To the left of the picture is what can be the start, mid-way or end of a strenuous but breathtaking walk to or from Watermouth Harbour, following the coast path around Widemouth Point, Farm and House. But be sure to take your camera and good footwear.

Can I finally appeal for pictures and information to keep these articles going? Please!

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage - November 2003 e-mail: tombartlettbooks@berrynarbor.fsnet.co.uk

30



Artwork: Peter Rothwell
 

LETTER FROM THE RECTOR

The Rectory, Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

I wonder how many of us will be getting the indispensable computer for Christmas this year. Or maybe some of us will be getting a digital camera. For some of us, these marvels of modern technology are 'old hat', but for some of us trying to find our way round the handbook and the 'easy-to-use' guide book, it will be something akin to learning a new language with the marvels of JPEG's and Modems, operated by your 'mouse' or incorporated in your 'software' [not painful, I'm told!]. I often find that the 'simple logic' of the 'program' and handbook are not as simple as me! I can get lost in my files and computer pathway, not to mention the hard drive - aren't all driveways hard to carry the weight of a car?

Sometimes I get a feeling of elation when I suddenly see what is meant to happen and things work 'like what they oughter'. I think the word I am looking for is 'enlightened', like my mouse when I switch the computer on! But I have to be honest and admit that sometimes I get so frustrated that I could happily throw the lot out of the window. As I did not get all my equipment from PC World, a nice little man will not suddenly appear at my door and show me what to do. But I am grateful to friends and especially my youngest son, Michael, who in this case lives up to the meaning of his Hebrew name - one like unto God - who seems to know all about computers, and especially this one of mine! He jolly well ought to, he built the thing! Well, this is all a bit like the meaning of Christmas really.

Jesus came to life on earth not just to tell us what the maker wants, but to actually show us: his love, mercy and forgiveness and how this operates in our daily lives. The operation manual is there for us all to read, but I find it easier when someone shows me how to do it and then lets me get on to practice. Michael's advice to me on the computer was to 'play and enjoy' it. I believe that God's advice to us, when we have mastered the basics of life, is to 'play and enjoy' it. However, sometimes life is not very enjoyable, it can be very frustrating and painful, but Jesus is in the messy and hurtful things of life as well. Taking our human life on earth, meant taking us completely, 'warts and all', and God is happy to do just that. When I get frustrated and angry when my computer has

'crashed' for the third time in ten minutes, I find it a great comfort to be able to pick up the phone and speak to my knowledgeable son, and by the marvels of modern science, he can actually repair my computer over the internet. [Is there a parable here on prayer?]

God knows all about our life here on earth, because he has done it and understands. That's just part of the meaning of Christmas. [To find out more come along to www.St. Peter. Parish Church, Berrynarbor.com.]

Have a happy and joyful Christmas and New Year,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

31



LOCAL WALKS - 81

'Lo! I am come to autumn, When all the leaves are gold...'
G.K. Chesterton

All the leaves are gold? Not this year, when a combination of weather conditions, the leaves remaining longer on the trees and the sugars stored in the dying leaves has extended the spectrum of colours, adding salmon pinks, cherry red and vermillion to the more usual yellows, copper and bronze.

On a mild November day we had arrived at Swimbridge [four and a half miles south east of Barnstaple] to revisit its fine church and explore the village. The setting conforms to the ideal of how a village should be St. James church at the centre of the community, its spire very much the focal point, with cottages clustered about it and more dwellings climbing up the hills which surround and shelter the village. The name is derived from the Anglo Saxon Saewin Birige. Saewin founded a chapel there about four decades before the Norman Conquest.

A river borders the churchyard and adjacent to the churchyard are extensive vegetable allotments. We were impressed by a double row of parsley which must has been seventy feet long. Cotoneaster, dense with red berries, spread over the iow walls. A few late roses lingered.

We crossed the little medieval packhorse bridge. The twisted, lead covered spire is of a similar type to those at Barnstaple and Braunton. The Reverend John Russell, the original breeder of the Jack Russell terrier, was the rector at Swimbridge for forty-eight years from 1833, and is buried in the churchyard.

We would look inside the church later, but first we passed the quaint old schoolroom built of cob and stone, and along Church Lane, with its sixteenth century cottages, also known as Ching Chang from the Old English for muddy way. We were in pursuit of Bestridge Pond, a disused lime pit.

We found some lime kilns, cloaked with ivy and were looking about for the pond when a black cat advanced down the track, its walking-stick tail held aloft. [Yet another example of the Village Cat Phenomenon - how often standing in a strange village getting one's bearings, one will be approached by a friendly cat, appearing out of the blue!]

The human inhabitants of Swimbridge were friendly and helpful too, showing us around and pointing out things of interest. A mother and daughter explained that Bestridge Pond had always been strictly 'out of bounds' when they were children because it was ninety feet deep with hazardously steep sides.

The Roman Road was recommended as a good place from which to view the village and surrounding countryside. Now a rough track, known locally as Devil's Lane, it runs high above the village. We reached it by going up Dennington Hill to Hannaton Cross, and enjoyed the panorama spread before use, looking down at the valley and across to Exmoor. At the western end of Swimbridge is a strange pudding basin of a hill called Hoods, meaning escarpment.

Blackbirds were turning over leaves. Among them were a couple of winter visitors, continental blackbirds lacking the light circle around the eye and bright yellow bill of our native male blackbirds.

One Swimbridge resident had suggested a theory that some of the irregular features of the landscape could have been the result of spoil heaps which had eventually grassed over. The presence of limestone was unusual for North Devon.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

And now to the church which Nikolaus Pevsner described as 'of considerable interest' especially in its furnishings which are 'uncommonly lavish'. The rood screen, 'one of the most glorious' in Devon, extends forty-four feet across the entire width of the nave and aisles. It has delicate tracery and is richly carved with leaf motifs.

The font Pevsner called, 'a most extraordinary contraption'. It consists of a lead bowl inside an octagonal cupboard of early Renaissance panelling with folding doors. There is a lot of detail in the carving with suns, angels and strange faces. The wooden cover of the font is shaped ribbed and decorated with leaves and stars.

The sun came out and the church was suddenly flooded with light.

Finally, we strolled up Station Hill. Here were more neat plots of vegetables and the tradition maintained of growing dahlias and chrysanthemum alongside the rows of brassicas, leeks, parsnips and beetroot. A few pheasants were foraging among the curly kale plants.

Behind the row of cottages opposite was an old limestone quarry and there were hens in the back gardens. Across the meadows a winding line of trees marked the course of the river.

Sue H

32



 

BERRYNARBOR STORES AND POST OFFICE

Newsletter 2

It is now a little more than 12 months from the circulation of Newsletter 1. Since then the Action Group has been involved in the following:

  1. October 2002 - In addition to the 8 sites identified by the group as possible relocation for a Stores and Post Office, two further options were included. Both were existing premises used for other purposes. After consideration by their owners, both proved unavailable. The preferred option from the original 8 sites was for a new building within the existing village Car Park. The Action Group met the Planning Officer and discussed with him the sites identified for relocation of a Stores and Post Office. The Planning Officer was to contact the Group in due course with his initial planning response.
  2. November 2002 - The formal views of the Planning Officer were received. The Planning Policy for the preferred site did not preclude development possibilities for an alternative Stores and Post Office in the present village Car Park.
  3. November 2002 - January 2003 Initial development proposals were drawn up for a new building. Two options were prepared, one as a single storey lock-up shop, the other as a shop with living accommodation over. In each case the replacement Store and Post Office was of a similar size to the existing one. The costs of the proposals were based on the site being available at no cost to the parish. The land currently belongs to the District Council but the freehold of the Car Park may possibly be transferred to the Parish in the near future.
  4. February 2003 - After Mr Rowlands had discussed with an agent the marketing of his property (and/or splitting of the Stores and Post Office from the house) the Action Group met him and heard his views. Mr Rowlands' preferred option was still to close the business and for an alternative facility to be sought. It was also possible that he would consider letting the Stores and Post Office to a third party to manage in the short term.
  5. April 2003 - The Action Group reported on progress with the Stores and Post Office to the Berrynarbor Parish Council Annual General Meeting. It was agreed that a meeting should now be held with the District Council to progress transfer of the freehold of the Car Park and toilet block to the Parish. This meeting would include discussion of a possible site for the relocation of the Stores and Post Office on the car park.
  6. June 2003 - A meeting was attended at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple by representatives of the Action Group and the Parish Council and officers of the District Council representing Community Development, Legal Services and Estates. Transfer of the Car Park and toilet block was discussed together with the building of a Stores and Post Office within the boundary of the Car Park. The District Council said that it would need to consult some of its other departments on the proposal. To do this and prepare a plan of action was to take about six weeks. The Council offered the services of its staff to assist with obtaining external funding. A response was not received until the 29 September 2003 despite many reminders and prompts. The response content even then fell far short of indicating a way forward and failed to mention transfer of the freehold of the site. At the time of writing no additional information had been received despite a next day request for it and a later intervention by our District Councillor (who is also Chairman of the Council)
  7. October 2003 - Following receipt of the letter from the District Council the Action Group met with Mr Rowlands again to talk about ways to keep his business open. Mr Rowlands said that the Stores and Post Office was probably no longer a viable proposition and that it may close as early as Christmas 2003, possibly in February 2004 but certainly in February 2005.

A short term measure remained the appointment of a manager to run the business . Both the Action Group and Mr Rowlands would ask commercial agents what was a realistic rental for the business. Mr Rowlands agreed to provide up to date financial figures relating to his shop for the Group to include in a business plan.

Progress is awaiting action by others:

  • the financial figures from Mr Rowlands, and
  • further input by the District Council regarding transfer of the Car Park to the Parish.

Postscript.

The Action Group is disappointed and frustrated by its lack of progress in securing a continuing shop and post office service for the village.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. The existing sites that were identified as possible substitutes for the shop were found to be unsuitable, usually and understandably because their owners did not want to take on the responsibility of the enterprise.
  2. The possibilities that were considered of splitting the existing shop from the dwelling to sell it separately, reduced the space and convenience of the accommodation, and were not acceptable to the Rowlands.
  3. There has been no progress towards the sale of the post office/shop as a going enterprise. It seems that if a sale is what Mr. and Mrs. Rowlands want, a fresh and more vigorous approach to marketing it will be needed. It may be that new potential buyers are there to be found.
  4. The employment of a manager to reduce the Rowlands' day to day responsibility has been considered. Current figures are not yet available but is seems likely that there would not be enough profit to pay a manager an adequate wage.
  5. There is still the possibility of letting the shop to an individual, but it would be difficult adequately to separate the shop from the accommodation without prejudicing the latter. Nor is it certain that the available profit would fund a suitable rent for the premises .
  6. The main remaining possibility of building a new facility on or near the car park has been frustrated by planning considerations. Although it has not been ruled out by North Devon District Council, it is taking an unacceptable length of time to get positive information or even provisional planning consent towards the scheme. It is now obvious that even given immediate consent, the inevitable length of time required to finalise a scheme, to find the necessary grants and other finance, and then to build a new post office will take us far beyond the date that Mr. Rowlands is prepared to keep the present shop open.

Your Action Group will continue, through the Parish Council, to search for ways of keeping a post-office/shop in the village, but in view of the above, unless there is an unexpected change in the situation, it seems less and less likely that they will succeed in the short term. If you would like further information, please contact any of the group, who are:

  • Keith Walls: 883762
  • Alex Parke: 883758
  • Jim Constantine: 882797
  • Paul Crockett: 882631

If you would like further information, please telephone any of the group.

Editor's Note:

We are most grateful to the Action Group for all the hard work they have put and continue to put in on our behalf. If anyone has any views or comments they wish to make on this Report, please let me know so that I may pass them on to the Action Group. Judie [8835441].

33



Artwork: Angela Bartlett
 

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Christmas

It's now time to look fonward to Christmas and also think about Christmas's past.

When we were small children in the 30's, we would make our own paper chains. In our case, we made them from old wallpaper book samples which we cut into strips of the right length and stuck them together in links with paste made by mother from ordinary cooking flour and water. In those days you also stuck your wallpaper with the same mixture. But after a time you would get a fungal growth which was quite unpleasant! I think we also used Gripfix, quite popular as the time. Wrapping the parcels was quite of course, when we ran into problems mother come to the rescue.

We would have a nice Christmas tree which we would decorate with glass baubles. The glass was very thin and if they broke they were sharp and dangerous. The parcels were arranged underneath the tree which was draped tinsel and not forgetting the fairy on the top.

Then there were crackers or 'bon bon's' - as called them. The Christmas pudding had to be made, and everyone took a turn at stirring, as they did with the Christmas cake mixture. Then there were mince pies to be made - it was quite a busy time which was as well as it helped to fill in the school holiday. On Christmas Eve, when it was time for bed, we would hang up our sock, stockings and possibly a pillow case.

Generally in those days, presents were less costly and less elaborate. People would often make things for each other. Boys and girls would make things at school, such as bookmarks, raffia teapot mats, woven dog leads and their own cards. Adults would knit socks, scarves and Fair Isle jumpers or woolly hats. Fathers would knock up table lamps or turn egg cup holders on a lathe. But then you might be lucky - and get a train set or a china doll with closing eyes.

Christmas dinner was wonderful, with turkey, ham, stuffing and plenty of vegetables from the back garden.

After dinner, there would be the distributing of the presents and each one of us would wait for it to be our turn. Squeals of joy and jumping up and down was accompanied by 'Ooh's' and 'Aah's'. Then white we played with our new things, the adults, having probably overeaten, fell asleep and loud snoring would take place.

Now, not everything always goes as it should and one Christmas our main dish did go haywire!

On this occasion mother thought that for a change we might have something different than turkey. It happened that she spotted two geese in a nearby field adjoining our cottage. She stopped and knocked at the cottage door. "Excuse me," she asked, "Are your geese for sale?" 'Yes, of course" agreed the man readily. 'They look healthy and tender' mother observed.

The man nodded and gave the price of one including the dressing and making it ready for the table. Mother was so pleased that she told her friend Mary. So off Mary went to the man and made a similar deal with the second goose.

When Christmas was over, mother happened across Mary. "How was your goose," mother asked. "Tough as old boots," replied Mary, "How was yours?". "Just the same," was mother's reply! "Do you know," Mary continued, "l went down to where we bought the geese and what do you think I saw?". "I don't know," said my mother. "Two young and healthy geese like the ones we bought!" Mary replied, with a look of disgust.

"Oh well, you can't win them all!"

Christmas Illustrations by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

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CHRISTMAS COFFEE MORNING

SATURDAY, 13TH DECEMBER

Manor Hall

10.30 a.m. to 12.00 Noon

Cakes Raffle Bring and Buy Stall

We are holding a Coffee Morning to raise money for

Berrynarbor's Primrose Bank [top of Barton Lane]

The Bank is being planted in memory of

BOB RICHARDS

who gave a great deal to our Village

EVERYONE WELCOME!

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A PROUD BEARING

It was Christmas, up in Heaven
Many distant years ago,
A time of reminiscences
Of lifetimes spent below.
 
And in that special corner
Set aside for creature-kind,
A cow and sheep were chatting
Of the roles they'd been assigned.
 
'Oh, I was master's favourite,'
The cow proclaimed its worth, 
'My yield of milk was next to none
Throughout my time on Earth.'
 
'My master, too, was grateful,'
The sheep declared its case,
'My fleecy wool was valued more
Than fine Damascus lace.'
 
They turned towards a donkey,
Stood, slowly munching hay,
'And what of you? the sheep enquired,
'You've nothing much to say.'
 
'He's just a beast of burden:
The cow exuded scorn,
'His life has been a dull routine
 Of drudge since he was born!'
 
They laughed at this reflection,
Each sharing in the joke
Until, at last, the laughter died
And then the donkey spoke.
 
He said, 'You've pride in your achievements
And this i understand
But why, I wonder, must you mock
My talents, out of hand?'
 
'We have our different uses,
No two are quite the same
Yet pans of God's good purpose
Akin in all but name.'
 
'l, too, have tasted glory
Among the world of men,
It was I who carried Mary
On her way to Bethlehem.
 
You had the trust of masters
For tasks and duties done
But mine, the King of Heaven and Earth
Entrusted me his son.'

David Prowse

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Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

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