Edition 93 - December 2004

Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Would you believe that the coloured printing on the cover of the last issue would increase its weight? My digital scales are pretty accurate, but not accurate enough to save a scrupulous postal worker slapping overdue charges on many of the copies sent out by post. My sincere apologies to everyone who had to pay to receive their last Newsletter! Hopefully it was worth I and it won't happen again.

In October I thanked Nora and Alan for their support of the Newsletter and wished them well in their retirement. This time I should like to welcome Ross, the new Manager of our Community Shop, and his band of many merry helpers. More news from the Shop appears later. Alan was a great collector of news items for me and it is not so easy to do that with so many shop assistants. So, if you have any news - weddings, new babies, someone needing 'get better' wishes, or you have new neighbours - please do get in touch with me. No items appear without the consent of the people concerned.

Ten years ago I wrote 'Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Newsletter over the last twelve months - sharing the poems you write and enjoy and your interests and hobbies, letting us join with you in your moments of celebration and happiness, and giving us pleasure from your artistic talents; and thank you must also go to the printers and deliverers.' Those sentiments are the same today with the addition of my thanks to everyone who contributes regularly for each issue.

Christmas is nearly upon us [only something like 19 more shopping days!] with lots of events leading up to the festive season, details of which appear elsewhere and in the Diary. Please support and enjoy them.

Our next issue will be February and items will be needed by Wednesday, 12th January, at the latest. Will someone start the ball rolling by sending a favourite photograph or picture [old or new] and telling us of the event or the memories it provokes?

Finally, thank you Debbie for another seasonal cover and my very best wishes to all readers for a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Judie - Ed




We were pleased to welcome Patricia Stout, Curator of the Carriage Museum at Arlington Court, to our October meeting. Her talk was very interesting and informative and we hope to arrange a visit to Arlington Court next spring to see the new building housing the carriage collection. The competition for a historic family souvenir was won by Maureen Wonnacott, the raffle by Win Collins and birthday cards and plants given to Jan Gammon, Di Hillier and Edith Ozelton.

The Annual Meeting was held on 2nd November, when the Financial Statement was presented by the Treasurer and the Secretary read the Annual Report. Two new members were welcomed on to the Committee and after a ballot, I was re-elected President for another year. We were pleased to welcome our W.I. Adviser, Mrs. Elma Blackmore, to the meeting to guide us through the proceedings. The competition for gaudy earrings was won by Win Collins and the raffle by Inge Richardson.

Tom Bartlett will be presenting postcards of Old Berrynarbor at our meeting on the 7th December. This should prove to be very interesting, so please, ladies, come and join us. The competition will be an old postcard.

Our January meeting will be held on the 4th when we shall be welcoming Jill Westcott whose subject will be Complementary Medicine and the competition will be for an unusual recipe for a remedy for an ailment. The February meeting falls on the first of the month - in advance of the next Newsletter - and Roy Goodwin will be telling us of his experiences as Ilfracombe Town Crier.

Our Christmas Lunch will be at The Lodge on Monday, 13th December.

Doreen Prater - President


Artwork: David Duncan


In spite of the work going on with the re-wiring of the church, a lively and enjoyable Harvest Festival service was held on Sunday, 26th September. Rector Keith gave a talk involving the children and there was chocolate for everyone! The Choir led the singing and the children had made a collage for us all to see. We were not able to decorate the church as we would normally have done, but the outer porch looked very festive thanks to Anne Gosling and Sylvia Berry. There was a good display of produce in the Manor Hall for the auction after the Supper and this year the bell-ringers raised £75.50 for Water Aid. The Supper was beautifully prepared and laid out and enjoyed by over fifty of us. A reminder that the supper itself is a thanksgiving, not a fund raiser, which is why the cost is still only £3 but we continue to break even. Special thanks to Karl and the staff at The Globe for preparing the potatoes for us.

A creditable £190 was raised at the Autumn Bazaar on Saturday, the 23rd October. The weather couldn't have been worse - it poured all day - so thank you to everyone who braved the storm and came along nevertheless! We had a good number of helpers and a lot of effort had gone into the presentation of freshly laundered and ironed clothes. Everything that was left at the end was collected for distribution amongst the charity shops - our thanks to Ann Hinchliffe for making the arrangements and ensuring the Hall was cleared promptly. £100 has been added to Sunday School funds and the rest has gone towards routine church expenses.

About 40 of us gathered in church on Sunday afternoon, 31st October for the special service to celebrate All Saints Tide. Three well-known hymns were sung, the Rector gave a brief address and the Choir sang the Benedictus and the Nunc Dimittis, which was very beautiful and moving. During the service, everyone was invited to go up to the altar and light a candle from the Easter Candle in memory of loved ones. The candles were then handed to the Rector and placed all along the front of the altar. The afternoon was rounded off with tea and biscuits. It is hoped to hold this service annually, and perhaps more people will feel able to attend another time.

Remembrance Day was commemorated on Sunday, 14th November. Wreaths were laid at the War Memorial on behalf of the Parish Council, St. Peter's Church and, for the first time, the Women's Institute. We were joined outside by the Sunday School who placed a basket of poppies in front of the cross. The Service was taken by Mike Taylor and the Lesson read by Richard Gingell. A collection of £77 was taken up for the Earl Haig Fund.

The replacement electric wiring and new halide lights have now been installed and the Archdeacon of Barnstaple, The Venerable David Gunn-Johnson, will be attending the morning service on Sunday, 5th December. The Service will be a Family Eucharist during which the Archdeacon will bless the new lighting. Rector Keith and the PCC would be pleased to welcome you to this Special Service.

Christmas will soon be upon us and details of the services at St. Peter's follow. Do come and join us as often as you can. The church will be decorated over Thursday and Friday, 23rd and 24th December. Please let Linda Brown [Tel: 882600] know if you can give flowers or would like to make a donation towards the cost.


St. Peter's Church Christmas Services

Wednesday, 22nd December

Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.

Christmas Eve

First Communion of Christmas 9.30 p.m.

Christmas Day

Village Service with Carols, 10.00 a.m.

Sunday, 26th December

Family Communion with Carols 10.00 a.m.

A warm welcome to everyone




This Term Sunday School is being very ably looked after by Sarah, Val and Rachel and I rejoined them on Remembrance Sunday when the children placed their poppies at the Memorial and observed the two minute silence.

The Nativity Play rehearsals are under way and I understand a little different this year. The children will be acting this on Wednesday, 22nd December in St. Peter's at 6.30 p.m., so do join us at the Carol Service that evening.

Val and Neil, with Mary's help, boosted our funds at the Bazaar in October and we shall be selling Christmas items in the Manor Hall on the 18th December.

We all wish you a joyful Christmas and hope, peace and happiness for 2005.

True Story

A granny, trying to get her 3-year old grandson bathed, hair washed and to bed, was meeting with great resistance - he didn't want a bath and most definitely did not want to go to bed.

In desperation, she told him: 'Alfie, don't forget Father Christmas is watching all the children to make sure they are being good.' 5-year old sister, Chloe, listening in to all this, pipes up, 'And so is God!'

With love from all at Berrynarbor Sunday School

P.S. I should like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the 'get well' cards and to thank everyone who visited me in hospital, took me there, and brought me home again, have shopped, cleaned, gardened and generally cared for me - I could not have managed without you all. I'm gradually getting more mobile and looking forward to getting out and about again.

Sally B


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Having become part of our village from her many visits and spending Christmas with her daughter Fenella, we were delighted when Ursula [Rouse] moved here permanently at the end of September.

After living 55 years in her previous home in Reigate, Surrey, Fenella and her sister Susan, who lives in Sydney, Australia, were concerned about Ursula's move. They need not have worried! She is thrilled to be here and has completely settled in to village life. A very staunch supporter of our new Community Shop, Ursula also listens to the pupils at our primary school when they read, as well as joining in village activities.

Following Vanessa and Ian's hasty return to Hertfordshire, from early October No. 3 Lee Cottages has become home to Celia Braund and her daughter Flora. Completing the household are their blue-eyed dog, Teasel, and the inherited cat, Holly. Sadly, Flora's father - from Ghana - is only allowed a Visitor's Visa.

Celia, who has spent most of her life in North Devon and was a pupil at Ilfracombe College, and Flora have moved from a National Trust cottage in Churchill. They have settled in well: Celia has in the past been a North Devon Spinner and hopes to take it up again, and Flora attends the village Parent and Toddler group. Although she is a full-time mum and is retraining as a spiritual healer [both for humans and animals], Celia finds time to follow her creative interests, art and nature, and is also a proficient horsewoman.

From December, Jill and Gerry will be living at Berry Mill House. No, they are not leaving us! Mill Park House will be reverting to its original name, by which it will be known in future.

Neighbours in the Valley were worry to see Alan and Wendy - and Meg - leave. However, they are keeping their ties with the village - keeping shop and keeping fit! We wish them luck and happiness in their new home in Mortehoe.

And still they keep coming! Yes, new residents at Berrynarbor Park, and we are now able to welcome three new households. Two have managed to slip through the net and should have been welcomed in previous issues, but now they've been caught!

Philip and Carol Mason - at No. 33 - have been here since April. Carol, a clerical assistant, and Philip, a toolmaker, retired here from Redditch in Worcestershire, having holidayed in North Devon for some 30 years, 20 of which have been spent on what was originally called Berrynarbor Caravan Park! Their hobbies are gardening, walking and reading, and Carol has recently added shop-keeping, being a very regular helper in our Community Shop.

Just next door, at No. 32, are Alex and Jean Stone and their two cats, Oliver and Cassie. They have come from Alvechurch in the Midlands - unbeknown to them all, only 4 miles away from Philip and Carol! Alex is currently looking for employment, having been an anodiser, whilst Jean is into 'hobbies', not work! They have two sons, two daughters and twelve grandchildren. Alex, who originally came from Burnham-on-Sea, always intended to return to Somerset but Jean, from Birmingham, found the Somerset Levels too flat and so began a six-year hunt which ended here in Berrynarbor.

Pam and Pete McKinnon, at No. 31, are the latest newcomers, although they have known and holidayed in the village since 1983. Pete, a long distance driver for Tesco, and Pam, a school assistant, have retired here from Milton Keynes and have brought Pete's mother with them to be at Fernbank in Ilfracombe. They have a daughter, two grand-daughters and a great-grandson. A couple of years ago, whilst walking their dog Amba on the beach at Hele, Pam slipped on the rocks and broke her ankle and had to be air lifted to Barnstaple - there are not too many of us who can claim that distinction! - where she spent eight days, but that didn't put her off moving down.

To all our newcomers we extend a very warm welcome and wish you happiness in your new homes.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


It's good to see the Hall premises enjoying increased usage in recent times as the autumn evenings closed in and regular daytime and evening activities started up again after the summer recess.

The Manor Hall Management Committee [MHMC] continues to meet regularly and has been addressing a number of administrative matters of late. 2005 sees the introduction of new Licensing Laws, so the implications for us are being unravelled. Also, Rate Reviews for non-domestic properties are now published and they, too, need our attention. The Constitution documents for the MHMC date back to 1947! They are being studied with a view to drafting an update in line with today's needs. Hall Rental Charges have been updated for 2005 and we've also put job descriptions in place!

But administration matters aside, the key is having a Hall facility that meets the ever-changing times and needs of the village community. There remain vacant slots in the diary for anyone seeking to start up new activities or groups and, at the time of writing, it seems likely that the ever-popular Youth Club will restart.

So, any ideas out there on how best to further develop and optimise Hall usage? One recent suggestion has been to trial a Table Top sale [like an indoor 'boot fair'], where we provide the venue - and the usual cuppa and fancy cake - and offer tables at say £5 for individual stall holders to flaunt their wares. Perhaps it's something to try once a month across January, February and March to gauge popularity. What do you think?

If that's an idea for development then, by contrast, a definitive event is our Christmas Coffee Morning on Saturday, 18th December. Put it in your diary. For more details about it and the Christmas Card delivery, see the posters and separate article later in this issue.

Colin Trinder - Chairman



Bollywood Dreams

Another year to remember for a variety of reasons. A 1st in Class at Combe Martin and a thoroughly good soaking. By the time we arrived bac., cold and wet, at the Globe, the supper kindly provided by Don and Edith & Co. was very much appreciated. In Ilfracombe we were placed 2nd Overall, but a very good evening. Best of all, however, was Barnstaple Carnival where Martin Lancey, on top of the elephant, shivered all the way round, but we won 1st in Class and were Overall Supreme Champions!

Thanks to all who took part: to Hele Building Supplies and Miles Tea for their sponsorship, Ken for his tractor and finally John and Fenella for the use of their barn.

Hope to see you next year with another float. More help is required and if you can spare some time, please see Jim or Bet Brooks for details.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Some years ago, when I was on safari with a friend, we used to go out at night shooting tigers. We used to see them with their eyes shining in the dark. They were easy to pot, for you just shot them between the eyes! After a while they rumbled us and started going around in pairs with one eye shut. It got dangerous too, as we always missed them and they would come after us!

Now there are some strange and inexplicable things that happen to you at one time or another. Just over three years ago, we moved into our new bungalow home. I must mention here that neither Betty nor I are smokers, having given up some 40 years ago. Furthermore, neither of our two sons nor their spouses smoke, nor do our friends. So that should establish us as a smoke-free zone.

However, sometimes at the same time and sometimes separately, we detect a faint smell of cigarette smoke. This seems to be in different rooms and at different times and our house is detached and away from other premises.

The previous owner did smoke but she would always go out to a small utility room to do so. That room has been demolished and rebuilt. So what is the explanation? I'm sure I don't know.

There are a couple of other mysteries I've come across. In the village of Coggeshall here in Essex, Betty and I happened on a furniture showroom and factory. This was located in what had at one time been a school. As we were browsing around, a lady came up to us and introduced herself as the proprietor.

"I should like to show you something that might surprise you," she said with a slight smile on her face. "If you look into that room just around the corner, you will see that there is no way out of it. What puzzles us is that there is a man who walks around this place, but never replies when you speak to him, and then he walks into that room."

"What happens next?" I asked.

"When you follow into that room, there is no one to be seen."

We made our excuses and left!

A similar experience took place at Upminster. The venue was again a building previously used as a school. A friend's wife related this story when she and her friend ran a playgroup there.

One day she noticed a young boy who she did not recognise as being in her care. This time there was a passage leading to the toilets and again there was no other way out. The boy took this route and my friend's wife, her mother and mother-in-law followed. By the time they reached the toilet, the boy had vanished. What they all noticed though was the way he was dressed. On looking this up in reference books it turned out that the clothes were of Edwardian style. Again, I ask you, is there an explanation? ______

Now, for the young and young at heart, a little trick to play, particularly at Christmas. You will need about six or so small pieces of paper, about six or so coins - each with a different date - and a hat or small box to put the folded pieces of paper in.

Sit your friend opposite you and give them the coins, asking them to tell you slowly the dates on each one. You repeat the dates as you write each one on a separate piece of paper, which you fold and pop in the hat or box. Then you ask your friend to pick a piece of paper out of the hat and you 'cleverly' tell them what the date is - you are always right!

The secret? Each time the friend calls out a date, you repeat it out loud but you only write down the very first date. So each piece of paper you put into the hat is the same date! It can't fail!

A Happy Christmas to Everyone.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Saturday, 30th October, was the wedding day of Katie Bridle and Adrian Beer. The service, held at St. Peter's Church, was followed by a reception at the Sandy Cove Hotel. Katie, the youngest daughter of Phil was attended by her sisters - Lola and Rosie and Sarah, Lynne's daughter - Elyse [Fanner] and Holly, a good friend from Manchester. Also in attendance were four page boys - Callum, Dylan, Connor and Callum. Adrian's Best Man was Matt Bacon and the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Thailand. Katie, a prison officer, and Adrian, a tree surgeon, live in Manchester. We send you both our congratulations and best wishes for your future happiness.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Indian Summer we mentioned in the last report lasted about a week before the unsettled weather set in yet again. The winds were quite strong for a lot of the month with a maximum gust of 29 knots on the 11th. It was also a wetter month than in the previous three years, with a total of 86mm (3 3/8") compared to 48mm (1 7/8") in 2001, 52mm (2 1/8") in 2002 and 62mm (2 1/2") in 2003.

The temperatures were about average with a maximum of 25.4 Deg C and a minimum of 7.3 Deg C but the recorded hours of sunshine were down with only 105.94 compared with 118.72 and 124.53 in the previous two years.

October was also unsettled with only six dry days in the month. The wettest day was the 4th with 55mm (2 1/4") - not quite a record for us but not far off. The total rain for the month was 212mm (8 1/2"), the wettest month of the year so far, though not as bad as October 2000 which produced 352mm (14"). The maximum temperature was down on the previous three years with a high of only 15.6 Deg C compared with 21 Deg C in 2003, 19.8 Deg C in 2002 and 20.7 Deg C in 2001. The minimum temperature, however, was slightly up.

We were very lucky with the winds here. While Cornwall was being battered by the gales and rain around the 27th, we had only fairly moderate winds up to 17 knots, our strongest gust was on the night of the 24th when we recorded 33 knots.

Again the sunshine hours were down slightly with 51.96 this year, 56.47 in 2002 and 53.68 in 2003. Although October shows a considerable drop in hours of sunshine over September, bear in mind that we are in a valley and the sun is getting lower in the sky which distorts the figures but they do provide a comparison with previous years.

The next report will be in 2005 so we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Simon and Sue




District Councillors' Shock for Parish

During our November Meeting, we were given a major shock! Our District Councillors told us that the District Council intended to close the Public Lavatory in the Castle Hill Car Park at the end of the financial year, in March 2005.

As you can imagine, fury poured from the Berrynarbor Councillors, one even called the proposal obscene.

Some years ago, the Parish Council was offered the facility with a dowry. When we asked how much was the dowry and what other expenses would come our way - water bills - non-domestic rates, and as so often with the District Council these days, no reply was received!

If the Parish Council operates the service, it will mean yet more increase in the Council Tax, which is already looking bad for 2005-2006.

Graham Andrews

Chairman - Berrynarbor Parish Council



Who remembers those dark, dangerous days before the great dawn of political correctness, social concern, inclusivity , emotional counselling and wall-to-wall lawsuits?

If you lived as a child in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, looking back it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have. As children we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was a special treat. Our cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, or handles on doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets - not to mention hitch-hiking to town as a young kid! We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horror!

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down hill only to find we'd forgotten the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day - no mobile phones. Unthinkable!

We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cuts and bruises, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. There were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue, but learned how to get over it.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank coke, but we were never overweight . . . we were always outside playing. We shared our coke with friends, from one can, and no one died from this.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo or video games at all, 99 channels on the television, video tape movies, DVD's, surround sound or personal mobile phones, personal computers, internet chat rooms . . . we had friends. We went outside and found them. We rode our bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door or rung the bell or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing - without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold, cruel world, without a guardian. How did we do it?

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen for sure, we did not put out very many eyes nor did the worms live inside us forever.

There were trials in sport and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back a year to repeat it. Horrors!

Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out of trouble was unheard of. They actually sided with the law, imagine that. This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past fifty years has brought an explosion of innovations and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility and we learned to deal with it all. And you're one of them? Congratulations - we had the luck to grow up as kids!



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


The stork has recently delighted three sets of grandparents.

Pip and Tony Summers are thrilled with the arrival of their fourth grandchild, Amelia Charlotte, a daughter for Graeme and Angela [nee Summers] and sister for Alexander. Amelia, who weighed 7lbs 14oz was born at St. Michael's Maternity Hospital, Bristol, on the 29th September.

Introducing their first grandchild, Brian and Ann Bailey are overjoyed to announce the safe arrival of Louis Lee Henry, who was born on the 26th October. Louis, who is the son of Jenny [Bailey] and Lee, tipped the scales at 9lbs 5oz.

A fourth grandchild, too, for Jean and Jim Constantine who are very happy to announce the birth of Alex Daniel. Alex, born on the 11th November, a son for Alyson and Nick and a brother for Hannah, weighed in at 8lbs 1oz.

A warm welcome to the new babies and congratulations to the proud parents, grandparents and great grandparents.




There is nothing to report this time as we have not met recently. However, we shall be holding our Annual Christmas Dinner on Friday, 10th December at The Lodge Country Hotel and it is hoped to have a Breakfast Run in the New Year. Watch out for a poster in the shop giving details.


Talking of bikes, Derek and the village have for several years now hosted the Atlantic Classic Motorcycle Club's national event at Sloley Park. It was, therefore, a lovely surprise when Derek called recently with a cheque for £50 from the Club for the Newsletter. This generous gift is much appreciated. Graham Brown, the Club Chairman, has asked me to convey seasonal greetings to all readers from his Club's members.




We are proud to inform you of our recent OFSTED Inspection success, with many 'very good' comments from the Inspector.

Our numbers have increased dramatically in the past couple of years and many sessions are full. We should, therefore, like to offer a further session, possibly on a Thursday morning. We currently run on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday morning. For more details and a prospectus please call: Julia Fairchild or Charlotte Fryer. We are a charitable organisation and are currently raising money to make improvements to our garden play area. During the run-up to Christmas, we shall be carol singing around the village [you have been warned!], please give generously!




We had a very busy start to the Autumn Term, and Year 5 and Year 6 pupils had a very enjoyable Educational Residential Trip to Bude in September.

Class 3 Recount their Bude Residential Activity Week

Getting ready for the disco. I was so excited! My thumb was banged but I didn't care. I wanted to dance [even though it was throbbing like made]. I put all my make-up on and we left for the disco. I had asked Zippy [Graham] to dance and play with me and he went round saying 'I've got a date for the disco' and pointing at me. Jemma

The first activity on Wednesday morning was the Blind Trail. We had to put old clothes on and clothes we didn't mind getting dirty. We went to the Archery field and put our goggles on, they were wrapped up in black tape so we couldn't see anything. Everyone had to hold on to the rope in single file and had to crawl under bushes and slide in mud. Because I was in front I didn't know what was coming but the people behind me knew because the person in front had already done it. After crawling through freezing cold dirty water and rolling in mud, we could take our goggles off. I found myself covered in mud from head to toe. That was the most exciting thing I had ever done! Harriet

On Friday, our caravan got up at about half past seven. We all changed into our clothes and had breakfast. Fifteen minutes later we walked up the hill towards the Archery field. Amber, our group leader, taught us how to put the arrow on the bow. The bow wasn't heavy or hard. We had a competition to see who got the most points. On the last arrow of my first round I scored 4. Harry got 2 gold and a red, his score was 12. I came fourth and Harry came second. The final event, we had to see what we could eat with. Blue was for a spoon, red was for a fork and gold was for a knife. Harry and I only got a spoon, he didn't eat that night because he was sick, but I did.


I was shivering when we were going to do the blind trail. Alexis told us to put some muddy gooey goggles on. When we got there he told us to like down in the cold squishy smelly mud. I felt like an army man. On the walk he used water pistols and poured freezing cold water over me. I stopped breathing for a second. We went over some lumpy wood and down a hill. Alexis told us to lie down in the water, which came up to our knees.


We have had a whole range of events in which to take part. An Orienteering Day in Woolacombe, our own Sponsored Walk on the beach, a trip to Lynton as part of a topic on Rivers and a lovely Harvest Festival. We borrowed a whole range of musical instruments for a week to gauge interest in our pupils, lots of new after-school clubs, a disco run by the Friends of Berrynarbor School, Class 3 Dinner for their Parents, and much more!

Our Christmas Festivities: We are looking forward to welcoming local residents and friends to our Christmas Bazaar on Friday, 26th November. We should like to invite you all to our Christmas Carol Service in St. Peter's Church on Thursday, 16th December, at 2.30 p.m. Last Christmas we were able to offer a Christmas Dinner for Senior Citizens. We shall continue this tradition but it will be a biennial event, so we hope to welcome all our friends again next year.

We have a whole range of events for our pupils including a Christingle Morning with a Service, Christmas Dinner, Class 1 Christmas Play and lots of good cheer [and hard work!].

The date keeps changing for the start of the work on our new build. This has nothing to do with the school and we pray for a start before Christmas! Please take care when driving past the school during the school day.

Karen Crutchfield - Head Teacher

Bude Action and Adventure Week

I have been asked to give an account of this brilliant week, where in just five days so much was learnt and both children and adults had so much fun.

We were taught and participated in orienteering, kite making, fencing and parachute games. Here are my accounts of some of the more memorable activities.

The Mud Trail - This involved all the children, Mrs. Lucas and Mr. Newell returning completely covered in mud after having to crawl on their stomachs under fences and bushes, etc. Having arrived after they had all started, I was very disappointed at not being able to take part - not really!

Canoeing - It was a very cold day and we all had extra warm clothes on, including a life jacket. We were divided into five canoes and I was with four boys and an instructor. We had a great time racing along the Bude canal to the lock gates and back. As we were winning, the boys were told they could stand up while we continued rowing. This was a mistake! The boat tipped over and the six of us ended up in the water. I grabbed Sean and floating on my back holding on to him, while the others were pulled back on board. I was towed to the side and told to climb out. I have never laughed so much in my life! The children thought it was great fun as they tried to rescue my hat and gloves, whilst taking great delight in telling me I still had my glasses on!

Surfing - Having had enough of getting wet for one day, I decided to be a spectator for this one and sat it out. The children thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but found it very cold.

I had a great time with the kids, but no one told me I should be doing this when I was asked to become a school governor!

Sue Sussex.




Well attended meetings were held in October and November and we are now all looking forward to our Christmas Presentation on Wednesday, 15th December by Barney Dunstan of Laithwaites Wine Club. As this meeting includes wine and food, it is by ticket only and these can be obtained from our Treasurer, Jill McCrae [882121], price £6.00 per person, and need to be obtained prior to the meeting.

Our next meeting on 19th January is Members' Favourite Wines, where each member or couple is asked to bring a bottle of their favourite wine and asked to say a few words about their choice. This is always a very popular evening. The price for this meeting is only £1.50 per person and new members are encouraged to come along when they will be made very welcome. Our meetings are held in the Manor Hall at 8.00 p.m., normally on the third Wednesday in the month. Further information can be obtained from: Alex Parke, Chairman - 883758, Tony Summers, Secretary - 883600, Jill McCrae, Treasurer - 882121 or Tom Bartlett, Publicity - 883408.

Tom Bartlett





The October Newsletter came out on the last day Alan and Nora were in business. By the time you read this, we shall have been operating as a community shop for just two months, but what a lot has happened!

We were very pleased to welcome, on our first day of opening, Ross Kite as Manager. He is already training to take over as Postmaster from Don Ozelton. Ross was a pupil at our village primary school and has returned to fulfil a long-standing desire to run a village shop. There has been an enormous learning curve, but he takes everything calmly in his [long!] stride and puts in extra hours [uncomplainingly] as needed. He is introducing new products, and the milk [standard and organic] is selling well. The shop is now well stocked, but please do let him know if there is anything else that you would like to see. He welcomes other constructive suggestions as well.

So many people have helped get the shop underway, and we are very grateful. Without them we would have lost it. Many were thanked in the last newsletter. Additional thanks go to Nick Arthur of Slee Blackwell, who tied up the rental agreement for the shop and Pat Perry who has helped us through the minefield of health and safety regulations and produced the necessary policy and the hygiene guide, now distributed to all volunteers. Both generously gave their services free of charge

We welcome and thank Brian Shillaker from the Valley who has agreed to join the Committee. Mike Lane took the 2-day Licensee course at the North Devon College and is set to become our official licensee and Pam Parke did the Basic Hygiene Course, required by law, also at the College.

Financial news: Thanks to incredible support for shares, 94 people have raised £9,545. In addition, North Devon District Council has provided a grant of £3,000 and Co-operative [UK] waived our registration fee of £350. Support in buying goods from the shop has increased almost every week. Please continue the good work!

Things have happened behind the counter! A ventilated loo and washbasin were installed in record time; volunteers have kept up their enthusiasm - many thanks to all - and Brian's frown is relaxing as we all come to better terms with the till! The first stock take is behind us - thanks to 6 volunteers giving up a Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Committee is beavering away behind the scenes - an order form for self-catering visitors is in the process of being updated and a village postcard is underway.

The children at the Primary School used great imagination and produced nearly 70 delightful pictures of our Shop at Christmas, and these are all on display in the shop. It was hard to pick winners but eventually they were: 1st Kyle [9], 2nd Charlotte [7], 3rd Simon [9]. Because of the high standard, we awarded a 4th prize to Fay [10] and special prizes for Isobel [6] and William [5].

The children also wanted to do research into favourite chocolate bars and comics. We await the results with bated breath - and no doubt an extra visit to the wholesalers!

On 12th November our MP, Nick Harvey, paid a visit to the shop and offered encouragement. He was joined by Yvette Gubb, Chairman of NDDC, and Julia Clarke our local NDDC Councillor. It was good to see them all taking an interest. They even made purchases!

Finally, a reminder that shares are still available. We need less than £500 to reach £10,000. Can we make it? The £1 share can be bought in blocks of £5. If you are interested and would like to purchase shares, please get in touch with Jim Constantine [882797] or Alex Parke [883758].



The North Devon Volunteering Development Agency [NDVDA]

Many congratulations are due to the Community Shop, which has attracted more than 40 villagers who take turns to work at the counter, voluntarily, each week or month or more.

I'm sure those volunteers have found many hidden advantages from their work, such as making new friends, learning the intricacies of working the till and many other skills to do with the art of shop-keeping.

I'm also sure those volunteers are well aware of the organisational work going on in the background - responsibility for stock and finance, staffing, health and safety implications and the paperwork involved in these activities - they must all be considered. Not all these activities can be voluntary - and it is right that this is so.

It reminds me of the work of the North Devon Volunteering Development Agency, which is based in Ilfracombe but covers the whole area. The Agency has paid members of staff who deal with the management, accountancy and organisation of the Centre, plus the placing of volunteers with organisations needing volunteers, and supporting them in their work. However, the Agency could not exist without volunteers.

Examples of this are:

Desk Volunteers: These volunteers greet people entering the Centre, take phone messages, inform the staff of volunteers and volunteering opportunities and many other secretarial tasks. They also get the chance, if they wish, to improve their computer skills. Our major problem is that many of them gain in confidence and skills and we lose them to paid work elsewhere - so new volunteers are always welcome!

The Wheelchair Project: In Ilfracombe we have 12 manual wheelchairs, a Scootacar and 2 electric wheelchairs to loan, just for a donation. [We also have other aids.] In the summer, these wheelchairs are out all the time. In winter, more of them are available to 'locals' who may need one for a short term injury or for relatives visiting - say for Christmas - who find mobility difficult.

Car Service: We run a successful service for people needing a car journey to hospital, the doctor, dentist and many other occasions. For parents with young children we run the scheme for SureStart. We always need volunteer drivers. As well as organising the scheme, we pay our drivers 35p a mile. Again, only a donation is required from 'users'.

Volunteering Database: We have a V [Volunteering] Computer base and from it can advise anyone on volunteering opportunities locally, nationally or worldwide. A very useful service for those at a 'loose end' or for those who have finished education and are looking for other opportunities before starting paid employment.

Direct Services Volunteering: Other activities include shopping, dog walking, befriending, wheelchair escorting and gardening. The list is endless . . . wherever others need help.

We are all aware that much of this is done in Berrynarbor, on a natural basis of friendship, but sometimes something is too difficult for neighbours and friends - and then the Agency can help.

If you are in Ilfracombe, do pop in to the Centre [next to Mike Turton's]. You will always receive a warm welcome, a cup of tea or coffee and maybe you will increase even more the strong volunteering base which exists in Berrynarbor.

Yvonne Davey - Chairman, N.D.V.D.A.



or A Poultry Tale

Zebediah was in the fertilised egg business. He had several hundred young layers, called pullets, and eight or ten roosters, whose jobs were to fertilise the eggs.

Zeb kept records and any rooster or pullet that didn't perform well, went into the pot and was replaced. This took a lot of time, so Zeb got a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Now he could sit by the kitchen door and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

Zeb's favourite rooster was old Brewster. A very fine specimen he was too, only his bell had not rung all morning! Zeb went to investigate. Several roosters were chasing pullets, bells a-ringing! But Brewster had his bell in his beak so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

Zeb was so proud of Brewster that he entered him in the county show. Brewster was an overnight sensation! The judges not only awarded him the No Bell Piece Prize, but also the . . .

[Are you sure you're ready for this, absolutely sure? Well OK]

Pullet Surprise!



Following the success of last year's event, a second similar morning is planned. It will be held in the Manor Hall on the morning of Shrove Tuesday, 8th February.

Once again, on behalf of the Sunday School, Sally and her helpers will be cooking up pancakes and serving coffee; Kath Arscott and the North Devon Spinners have kindly agreed to share the Hall - some of whom will be knitting rather than spinning; and anyone else who is willing and able to wield a pair of No. 8 knitting needles and some double-knitting wool, is asked to join in. The North Devon Knit In is a sponsored event on behalf of the North Devon Hospice, and knitters are asked to knit strips of wool for a maximum of two hours. The strips are sent to the Hospice where they are sewn into blankets. Last year we raised over £400 in sponsorship and sent in some 36 feet of knitting!

Sponsor forms and posters advertising the event will be available during January, but in the meantime please make a note of and keep the date free - let's see if we can make it £500 this time!


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Talking of raising £500, Margaret Walls deserves congratulations for raising that amount of money from plants this summer sold in aid of the Children's Hospice South West. The many hours she has spent potting up plants and cuttings has been more than rewarded.

This is the third year Margaret has sold her plants and both previous years have raised £400, but this year, with a last push from selling apples, she has topped the £500 mark!

For the first time, Margaret took the money to the Hospice and was very impressed by all she saw - the gardens, the building and the comfortable and caring atmosphere that was so obvious. It made her 'gardening' all worth while and she would like to thank villagers who have supported her efforts in so many ways - providing plants and cuttings, compost, pots and then, with the visitors, stopping to buy.

Well done, Margaret!


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory,
Combe Martin
Dear Friends,

The other day I came across this delightful tale by John Williams: The Russians have for centuries told a legend about a young medieval prince, Alexis, who lived (as Russian princes commonly did) in a sumptuous palace, while all around, in filthy hovels, lived hundreds of poor peasants. The Prince was moved with compassion for these poor folk and determined to better their lives. So he began to visit them. But as he moved from one hovel to another, he found that he'd got absolutely no
point of contact with them. They treated him with enormous respect, almost worship; but he was never able to win their confidences, still less their affection, and then he returned to the palace a defeated and disappointed young man.

Then one day a very different man came among the people. He was a rough-and-ready young doctor who also wanted to devote his life to serving the poor. He started renting a filthy shack in one of the back streets. He made no pretence of being superior - his clothes, like theirs, were old and tattered and he lived simply on the plainest food, often without knowing where the next meal was coming from. He made no money, because he didn't charge for his services, and more often than not he gave away his medicines free of charge. Before long this young doctor had won the respect and hearts of all those people as Prince Alexis had never done. He was one of them. And little by little he transformed the whole spirit of the place, even settling quarrels, reconciling enemies, helping people to live good lives.

No one ever guessed that this young doctor was in fact the Prince himself, who had abandoned his palace and gone down among his people to be one of them.

That's just what God did on that first Christmas Day. He came right down along side us to show us and help us become the kind of beings he intends us to be. Ever since that first Christmas Day, the Holy Spirit which so filled Jesus' life, has been present in the world to help us discover the true meaning of Christmas.

A very Happy and Joyful Christmas to you all,
Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer



In 1984, inspired by the famine in Ethiopia, Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote and recorded, together with a host of the then stars of music, the Band Aid record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', which raised £140 million.

Today, twenty years on, it is to be re-recorded. The following piece, written by a 15-year old in 1984, is as pertinent today as it was then.

Nothing changes!


David Jackson

He sits alone in his hut, belly swollen, crying out for help. Arms like bamboo sticks, a covered skeleton, naked, no clothes, no help, no food.

I should feel sorry for him, but I don't. He dies of hunger every three seconds, but I am unmoved.

The sight of him fills me with nausea, and I don't remember him as I eat.

Part of me cries out to help him, I plead for money and organise help, but my heart is not there, and he dies every three seconds.

It's no business of mine, and I laugh and I eat, none at all, and I talk and drink. What good would my contribution be anyway? What's he to me, yes, what's he to me? He dies every three seconds but what's that to me?




A reminder that Valerie runs this course for us at the Manor Hall, 11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The Spring Term for the course, which is what it says it is - an all round body workout [not aerobics or keep fit], begins on Wednesday, 5th January. Why not give it a try? Feel fitter after the pounds put on at Christmas!




The next meeting of the Combe Martin Historical Society, to be held on Thursday, 9th December, will be the annual Social Evening and Tom Bartlett will be giving a slide presentation on Combe Martin and Berrynarbor. The January meeting will be held on Thursday, 20th, when Trevor Dunkerly will give Updates on Village Archaeology.

Come and join us at Combe Martin Parish Church Hall [please note new venue for 2004-5]. Membership £4.00 Visitors £1.50.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Sterrage Valley, Nr. Ilfracombe - View No. 92

This view of the Sterrage Valley was taken around 1911 and shows how at that time the very steep and narrow Smythen Hill is almost clear of trees. The sharp and steep escarpments to the right of the first bend of the road are almost certainly from where stone was quarried and blasted. Harpers Mill is just in sight at the bottom of the zigzag bends and following the road beside the forest on the left, can be seen two outbuildings. Orchard Park can be seen in the centre, on the minor road leading to both Bowden and Ruggaton Farms, whilst cottages on Hagginton Hill can just be seen on the old road leading to Hele and, of course, the alternative road via 'Iron Letters Cross' to Barnstaple and Woolacombe.


The second picture taken by William Garratt, and postmarked 1907, shows the roof of one of the outbuildings and has been taken looking south up the Sterrage Valley. Note how the road was just scraped stone.


The final picture, taken by Frith also in 1911, shows clearly the entire zigzag bends but neither Harpers Mill nor Orchard Park, but the roof of the outbuilding can just be seen on the final bend in the centre of the picture. It should be noted that many cottages and outbuildings were built from the stone obtained from the quarries near Harpers Mill, as well as 'dressed stone' used for the roads and lanes.

Tom Bartlett - Tower Cottage

e-mail: tombartlettbooks@berrynarbor.fsnet.co.uk


Wishing All Readers


and a