Tony Beauclerk



RABBITS - THE SURVIVORS!

Living in Berrynarbor through the war years, a chance of additional food was much appreciated!

It was not long before a friend of mine and I came up with a solution.We borrowed Stan Huxtable's shot fun [a twelve bore] and made for Ruggaton Farm.


 

There were dozens of rabbits there and it was possible to shoot two at a time!

We took plenty home and the way to have them was to cut them in pieces, boil, and fry in butter.You say BUTTTER in war time!Well, we had a friend in the Air Force at Chivenor who could 'borrow' a bit of that!


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Rabbits are coming back despite myxomatosis and near Ipswich there is a colony on a roundabout.I suppose their survival is assured as it would be too dangerous to use a shot gun there.Pretty little things, aren't they?

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

27



THROUGH THE ROOF!

Widow Mary Kemp lived on her own in a semi-detached house in Marlow. Next door was Ted Hanbury, a lay about. He had not worked for some time and was living on State Benefits.

One day Mary went to her fridge to get some milk to make herself a cup of tea. "I'm sure I had more milk than this, and the piece of ham seems smaller," she thought.

As the days went by, she often noticed food was missing from the fridge and told her son, he said he would think about it. Think about it he did! Soon he had come up with the answer. He remembered that last time he was in her roof, seeing to a connection for her television, he noticed that there was no continuing wall between the two homes.

"I know," he thought, "Ted must be coming into the roof by his own roof top and coming down the trap to my mother's." "Mother," he said, "You go out and do you shopping as I have something to do." Off she went and her son got busy. He simply fixed bolts to the trap and said to himself, "that's that!"

The result? Well, no more missing food and a very sheepish looking Ted!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

12



BEN

Have you ever had one of those pictures of someone when wherever you are in a room, the eyes seem to be looking at you? Well, Bob and Jane Seymour had one.

Jane was in the garden pulling out a few weeds. Bob was in an armchair in the sitting room when he noticed Jane had left her handbag on the chair. Her handbag was open and her diary was there. "I think I'll have a look at that," he thought! [Ooops!]

He opened the diary and read, "Met Ben, he's lovely." Then he read next, "Kissed Ben and gave him a cuddle." "What's going on?" Bob thought. "Surely she is not being disloyal to me. I'll wait until she makes a mistake!"

The next day Jane said to him, "I want you to meet Ben. "My giddy aunt", thought Bob, "Whatever next?"

The next day she brought Ben home. Ben proved to be a loveable Labrador pup and as soon as he saw Bob, he jumped on his lap giving him lots of kisses on his face.

"Oh, I'm so glad I waited to know about Ben! I'm so glad I waited to find out." he thought.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 



Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

If the subject of a portrait or photograph is looking at the artist/photographer, their eyes will automatically follow that person wherever they are!

 

11



THE FIND

Fred and May were a young couple living in Brentwood in a small rented house. Whilst Fred worked as a carpenter, May stayed at home looking after the house.

One day Fred arrived home with a settee. One of his customers had given it to him as they no longer had room for it.

"I'm going to re-upholster it on Saturday afternoon," he said.

Saturday afternoon duly arrived and he got out his tools to start work. He had only just removed half of the covering when he opened his eyes in amazement, it was largely stuffed with paper money!

"Look at this!" he cried to May.

"It's extraordinary," she replied, "What are we going to do with it?"

"Well," said Fred, "I'll buy you the fur coat I always promised you."

They went to the shops the next day and bought a coat. May looked grand in it. Nevertheless, there was still quite a bit of money left over.

"I know," said May, "What about a little puppy?"

They went along to the pet shop and jokingly, Fred said,

"I'd like to buy a wasp."

"We don't sell wasps," replied the owner.

"Well you have one in the window!"

Anyway, they bought a little pup which they called Rover. He stayed with them a long time giving them both great pleasure and leaving them with many happy memories in the years to come.

They say "A dog is man's best friend!"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

21



WHAT A NICE OLD GENT!

When Mary and John were much younger it was their idea to buy a plot of land and design and have built for them, their own house. They were lucky as they thought that there seemed to be an ideal plot advertised in a Billericay paper. It measured fifty feet of frontage with a depth of one hundred and fifty feet.

They consulted the owner who was a dear old gentleman who asked for a ten per cent deposit, which they gave him and then he took them around his back garden pointing out some bulbs and cuttings which he would give them later to set up their own garden.

Mr. Sams, as he was known, showed them a plan, stamped by the local council and passed by the local planning department - later to prove false.

All was well, until they contacted their solicitor.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "Mr. Sams is at it again!"


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

"What do you mean?" they asked together.

"Well," he mused, "What he does is this. He gets young people, such as yourselves, interested and gets a deposit out of them. Then when they find that there is no such plot, he plays a difficult attitude in returning their deposit. After many tries, most give up and lose out.

"Not this time", said the solicitor, "I happen to have found out that he is an undischarged bankrupt and must not try to get credit for more than £10. I'll write to him immediately and let you know the result."

A few days later, there was a letter from him, complete with the appropriate cheque enclosed.

"How much do we owe you?" they chirped.

"Nothing at all," was the reply, "It was a pleasure doing it."

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

24



CAUGHT!

Jennie Brooks, who had a riding horse, was in her van and on her way back from a farm where she had just bought two bales of hay. Suddenly, what does she see sitting beside her on the passenger seat? Why, nothing but a huge rat!

Jennie was used to small mice showing themselves but this was a bit much. By now she was on the motorway and was unable to stop but fortunately she was able to get back to her stables.

The rat sat fast, so what to do now?

Call her sister Joan who lived with her! Her mobile 'phone was handy so she gave her a call.

"Hello" said Jennie. "Can you please bring Ginger the cat to the yard outside. Don't question, but do as I ask."

Joan grabbed the cat and went to the van. "What do you want me to do?" she asked.

"Just throw Ginger in through the van window."

Joan did as she was told and, in less time than you could say "Jack Robinson", the cat grabbed the rat and it was dead in a moment.

"I think that deserves a drink!" said Jennie.

"Agreed!" replied Joan.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

23



A DIVINE IDEA

When Betty and I lived at Billericay, we understood that there was a water main which ran through our back garden. We got in touch with the local water authority who said they would come out to look at the matter.

Their official turned up bringing with him a couple of detectors. Well, they were in fact, two pieces of coat hanger, about a foot in length with about three inches bent at a right angle!

The man started walking up and down our garden with the two pieces of wire pointing straight ahead.

Presently, the wires parted, pointing left and right.

"That's where your water main is" said the man.

Probes were put down into the wet clay soil and sure enough, the pipe was found.

If you suspect any pipes running through your garden or even the mains pipe coming into your house, then try this method. It will make a bit of fun anyway! I think it's some sort of magnetism.

By the way, I was given a boomerang by an aunt. How do I get rid of it?

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

18



THE PUNISHMENT FITS THE CRIME!

The Headmaster of a small, private school, Prime College, used to have pupils back to his house for special tuition when taking exams.

He would leave the key to his home under a stone so that if he was late to come in, the boys could let themselves in and sit and wait for him to arrive.

However, two boys, Brian and Vic, knew that on that afternoon he would be attending a fete, so they decided to go and have a look in his house.

 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

They let themselves in and saw a large punnet of ripe strawberries on the kitchen table. The temptation was too great! They scoffed the lot and left.

The next morning at assembly the Headmaster demanded that Brian and Vic attend his study.

"I have brought you here to punish you for taking my strawberries." he said.

"Sorry, Sir" the lads said together. "But how did you know it was us?"

"Well you both have strawberry juice down your shirt fronts." the Headmaster replied.

"I think six of the best for both of you." And with that he took out his cane and justice was done.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

27




THE RING

Widow Viv Niven was enjoying herself doing a bit of weeding in her back garden. When she finished, she went indoors to wash her hands. Alas, she found that her wedding ring had come off, where could it be?

She immediately went back to the bed she had been weeding to see if it was there, but there was no sign.

Bob, her son, was due home soon and perhaps he would have better luck. However, no matter how hard he looked, he could not find the ring. After a lot of searching everywhere with no luck, it looked as though ring was lost for ever.

By chance, Viv was concerned about the height of a poplar tree which had branches too close to her upstairs windows. "Something will have to be done about that," she said to herself.

The following week end she said to Bob, "Do you think you could do something about that tree, it's getting too big. I think it should come down."

By chance, Bob had a chain saw and was soon at work. The tree luckily fell on their lawn, so nothing was damaged.

"Look," said Bob to his mother, "There's a bird's nest in it. I wonder if there are any eggs?"

To his surprise there were no eggs but lo and behold, there was his mother's ring.

"It must have been a magpie or jackdaw that picked it up and dropped it in the nest. All's well that ends well," he thought as he cut up the smaller branches.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

16



THE THEATRE


 

I have always been interested in the theatre and can remember in the war years visiting the Victoria Pavilion where there was a variety of shows with all the well-known names of the time. It was a good theatre that doubled as a dance hall.


 

Across the road, above the shops, was another hall which I understand had dances, although I never actually attended them.

The Alexandra Theatre was another venue for shows, plays and dancing, although the floor was a little up and downhill!


 

Now, to get to the photograph. This is of me with Jimmy Cricket. Comedian Jimmy [James Mulgrew (1945)] has an unusual way of putting things: A lady said "Can you see me across the road?" I said, "Go over the road and I'll have a look."

Another was: A man knocked on my door and said "I'm your new neighbour." I said, "I didn't know I'd moved."

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

7



TELEVISION

Television goes back quite a long way. I can remember early demonstrations just before world War II, although it was stopped in wartime.

It was such a novelty that people who wished to view were advised to set up as follows: Children should sit cross-legged in a row at the front. Next should be a row of dining chairs and lastly people standing at the back


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

It was, of course, in black and white and on a 9-inch screen. The picture was made up of 405 lines and not very bright. Later, colour came in and now much larger screens.

My illustration shows how I projected my own TV for a bigger picture.


A TV engineer put switches on the TV which inverted and mirror-imaged the picture. This was all put right when it reached the screen. You had to sit in a darkened room.

In the early days, television require an 'H' aerial and those people who could not afford a television put one up just to boast - keeping up with the Jones's I think you would call it!

Nowadays, we have huge screens, flat screens and not forgetting 625 lines. What comes next, I wonder?

I've just turned the television on, so I'm off for a sleep!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



HEROES OF THE TIME

 

I go back to the 'forties when my school days were at Ilfracombe Grammar School.

There was a report that one of the pupils, who lived at Woolacombe, heard, late at night, a dog barking. Upon getting out of bed and getting dressed, he realised that the dog was stranded on a rock and the only way to save it was to swim out and get it. This, he bravely did and was commended by the Headmaster, Mr. Tatton, the following day.

Our next hero was - if I remember right - a Peter Lattimer who lived at Combe Martin. A boy had fallen down the Camel's Eye and Peter volunteered to do down and rescue him. A rope was lowered and Peter went down, bringing the boy, who I believe had minor injuries, to safety.

The next heroes were the fishermen of Combe Martin. They took their boat out into the Bristol Channel regardless of the danger of mines, which could break loose from their moorings, and German submarines. Despite this they would bring back a catch of rock salmon, herrings and pollock. These they sold straight from their boat for 1d or 2d each. I recently paid £8.50 for one very large cooked plaice! Still, it is some 70 years later!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tony [and Betty] Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

17



OLD TIMES!

We'll meet again - so sang Vera Lynn during World War II, the six and a half years of my life spent in North Devon, Berrynarbor to be precise.

In that time, I went to Ilfracombe Grammar School and it was there that I met Don Blake.We became great pals and spent a lot of time together.Some of this time was a bit naughty as we did a little bit of scrumping, and things like that!

However, when the war was over, all the evacuees went their own ways back home. Don returned to Wanstead and I to Upminster.I lost touch with him, but not for long.

I had joined a tennis club and one day I was talking to another member about my years in Devon.

"That's funny," he said, "We have a chap in our office who is always talking about Devon."

"What's his name?"I asked.

"Don Blake," he replied.And from that day we continued our friendship.

In 1954, Betty and I married and went to live at Gidea Park.One day, when I had to attend the doctor for some minor complaint, I saw a gentleman whom I recognised.

It was Mr. Nicholls, who was my English master at Ilfracombe Grammar School. Soon he was chatting to me about old times in a rather loud voice.

"Would you mind being quiet," the receptionist called."Your turn now," I thought!

My last tale is of Pamela or Beryl Horrell, who had moved back after the war to, I believe, Hammersmith.

One day, Betty and I were near a caravan site at Point Clear in Essex. There was a woman watching her two boys playing on swings."I know her," I thought, and sure enough it was Beryl.By now she had married and had a family.

Betty and I invited them all to lunch and we spent a very pleasant time talking over old times.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

15



THE BANK JOB

Fred Stokes worked at a bank. He was not very happy with his pay and began to think about how he might improve his lot by some devious mean.

He knew how to make bombs as he had been taught this at school. One day an idea came to him, to make a bomb with a timer which he would put in the bank's strong-room.

 
 

If timed correctly, this would blow a hole in the strong-room wall giving access from the street outside, from which he would hope to fill his pockets with the bank's money!

He went ahead, making the bomb and timer, and when it was clear and the time right, he placed it in the strong-room.

"Morning Stokes," said the Manager. "Lovely day for you today, as I have some good news. Next week I am going to retire and you are being promoted to Manager in my place. Of course, your salary will be increased accordingly."

"Thank you very much," replied Fred and then he thought, "Heck, I've got to get that bomb out of the strong-room."

At last came the day when he was able to get the bomb out of the bank and take it home.

The time for the bomb to go off had gone by, so things were not quite right! He put it in his garden shed and thought, "There must be a fault in the timer."

A week later, at about midnight, there was a huge explosion. He looked out of his bedroom window to see his garden shed ablaze.

"I wonder what has caused that?" his neighbour shouted to him.

"I just don't know," Fred lied, but of course he did!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



Illustrations: Paul Swailes

19



THE UNEXPECTED FIND!

Widow Mary Green and her two daughters, Jean and Maureen, had at last saved enough money to have a week's holiday in Weymouth. They had booked in to a cheap but cheerful bed and breakfast and spent most days down on the beach, the girls paddling and building sand castles.

One day, as Jean and Maureen were making one of their castles, and digging the moat, they came across a brooch. It was no ordinary brooch but had many colourful and shiny stones, diamonds, rubies and pearls.


 

Illustrations: Paul Swailes

"Mummy, mummy," they cried together, "Look what we've found!"

Mary took one look and said, "Wash it off in your bucket. Now children, we'll take it to the Police Station." So off they went.

The Station Sergeant took one look and immediately said, "This belongs to Lady Groves, who live in that big house on the hill. Look, you can see it from here. Take it to her now, I'm sure she will be very pleased."

They made their way to the big house and knocked on the door which was opened by a man who was the butler.

"Please sir, we have a brooch which we believe belongs to Lady Groves," said Mary.

"I'll take it to her ladyship." said the man, closing the door.

"Well, I don't know!" exclaimed Mary to the children, who were equally aghast. But the door opened again and the man, known as James, said "You had better come in."

"Hello," said a charming lady who they realised was Lady Groves.

"I understand you have found my long-lost brooch. It is worth a lot of money and of great sentimental value as it was given to me by my late husband."

The family were led into a back room and invited to sit down. It was large and had a grand piano. Looking out of the window they could see a tennis court and beyond that stables.

Lady Groves addressed them, saying "After we have had tea and cakes, I'll show you around."

After they had enjoyed the tea and cakes, Lady Groves took them into the garden, showing them first the tennis lawn and then the stables.

"Would you two girls like a ride on my ponies?! invited Lady Groves.

"Oh yes please." "Then go with James and he will fix you up," replied Lady Groves.

Off the children went with James and in no time two ponies were saddled up and the two girls were led around the field by James.

"Whilst this was happening, Lady Groves asked Mary where they were staying, and Mary told her about the boarding house.

"You must finish your holiday here," said Lady Groves at once. "I will send James to collect your things."

Mary, Jean and Maureen were later shown into a large, comfortable bedroom with one large and two single beds.

How kind Lady Groves was and even invited them to come again next year.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

A Slight Muddle:

I have SYAWLA liked ROBRANYRREB as I DEVIL there for six and a half SRAEY. It is a YLEVOL EGALLIV and I know everyone is YPPAH there. DOOG KCUL.

16



THE ROBBERS

It was night time and two burglars had just robbed a bungalow in the small village in Essex. The Police had been called and arrived just as they drove off.

The men involved were Simon and Brian Brown who had also stolen the get-away car for the occasion. But as soon as they set off, the street lights went out.

"Put the car lights on," said Simon.

"I can't," replied Brian, "They won't work!" Fortunately for them, there was a hazy moonlight, so off they went.

"Turn left here," shouted Simon, "We'll have to get as far away as possible, until the hue and cry dies down."

So they took turning after turning.

"What did you do with the bag we put the loot in?" Simon asked.

"I gave it to you," Brian replied. "Have you left it behind?"

"I put it by the boot of the car but forgot to pick it up," replied Simon.

It seemed as though they would have been better staying at home!

Anyway. it was pretty dark and they brought the car to a rest. At this moment the street lights came on again.

Where were they? Believe it or not they had arrived right alongside the Police car.

"We've been looking for you," said the Sergeant. "Thank you for giving yourselves up."

"No problem." said the lads in turn as they were handcuffed.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

17



CHRISTMAS TIME

Mr. and Mrs. Fellows lived in a little cottage on the edge of Exmoor with their two children, Jane and Fred.

Bill Fellows had been out of work for some time due to a bad back, and Jill, his wife, had a part-time job as a dinner lady at the local school.

It was Christmas Eve and they could not afford any presents, although they were a united family and happy. It would soon be Christmas Day and would things be any better?

It had started to snow and the next morning, lo and behold, there were lots of presents by the fire.

How did this happen?

Well, when they looked out there were footprints from the road to their cottage. A ladder was leaning against the chimney and there were also sledge marks and reindeer footprints in the snow.

The footprints stopped some way up the road as though who else but Father Christmas had taken to the skies.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

24



THE PHONE BOX

Len Smith was about to walk past a 'phone box when he decided to give his girlfriend a ring. He entered the box and tool out his wallet and put it on the shelf. He could never remember his girlfriend's number and would always have to look it up in his diary.

He had a chat with her and left the telephone box with his wallet and diary still on the shelf.

The next day Mrs. Mary Norris went to the 'phone box and discovered the wallet and diary.

"Someone has forgotten these", she thought, "I'll take them to the Police Station tomorrow." She tucked them in her handbag and left.

Mary was a bit forgetful and it was two days later when she remembered the wallet and diary.

Arriving at the Police Station she handed the wallet and diary to the Station Sergeant who took them saying, "I'll put them in the lost property box for now, someone is bound to call in for them later."

However, a week went by and no-one called to collect them.

"I'd better have a look and see who they belong to," the Sergeant thought and on opening the wallet he discovered it belong to a Len Smith.

In the diary was a list of roads and house numbers.

"Good gracious!" he said allowed. "These places are all those that have been burgled in the last few months."

"We can get our man," he said to a nearby constable.

Too late was the simple answer. Len Smith had left the country two days earlier. All was not lost, however, when the police read of his addresses in France.

The French Police caught up with Len and he was tried and convicted and sentenced to seven years for his offences - and he is still in jail!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

9



FRIENDS?

In my story there are two pairs of twins. The first pair, Jean and Mary, lived in a fine house, more like a castle, up on the hill. The family ran a large lending business and appeared very prosperous, with all the right expensive cars, personalised number plates, etc.

The other twins were Jane and Maureen. Now Maureen was a very ordinary girl who was not wishing for anything in particular in life. However, Jane was inclined to be a social climber and wanted to get to know Jean and Mary in the posh house.

Jane would see Jean and Mary in the street and get into conversation with them. A friendship developed and it was not long before Jane, Jean and Mary became firm friends, with Jane spending quite a lot of time at the big house.

Maureen looked on with amusement, but did not want to be involved.

The threesome friendship lasted for some time until one day Maureen said to her sister

"Have you seen the headlines in the local paper?"

"No" was the reply, "What's it all about?"

"Well, your friends have absconded with a hundred thousand pounds of their firm's money. Some friends of yours!"

"Well," said Jane, "I didn't really know them very well."

"Why are you blushing then?"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

10



THE WITCH

Down in Cornwall many years ago, there in a little village lived a woman by the name of Sally Brown. She was thought, by the local people, to be a witch.

Things happened which were blamed on her, although they were not her fault.

All the produce on one man's allotment failed. But this was due to a jealous fellow allotment holder, who didn't win prizes at the local show, putting weed killer in the man's water barrel.


 

She was thought to have cursed a field that would not grow much. The truth here was that the farmer never fertilised the field.

Sally was also said to be able to wish away warts, although they can, of course, go of their own accord.

In those times, it was not uncommon to burn witches at the stake.

The local church minister, the Reverend John Smith, felt sorry for Sally and did not want her to come to harm, so he contacted her and made this suggestion:

"If you come to live with me, I shall dress you as a monk and say you are staying with me while the monastery is being refurbished."

This she did and everyone accepted the situation.

After a while, the Reverend was transferred to another parish. They married and settled down together. Sally was no witch!


 

There was an old man of Blackheath
Who sat on his set of false teeth.
He arose with a start
And said "Lord, bless my heart,
I've bitten myself underneath."


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Berrynarbor: It is now 72 years since I lived in the village. The six and a half years spent there were very enjoyable, ones which I shall always remember. I was drawn back for holidays later and retraced my steps to those days.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



MAN'S BEST FRIEND

Although we don't have a dog now due to our ages, being unable to exercise them, we have had the enjoyment of their company for many years in the past.

Our first little dog was Mandy and we bought her for two pounds in Romford Market. She was said to be a cross between a cairn and a spaniel but was more like Heinz 57 Varieties! I trained her to walk to heel, sit at the kerb and trust me. That is to say, I would leave her just over the brow of a hill and walk away, when she could not see me until I called her. One day when we had the radio on, there was a brass band playing and Mandy decided to join in with a howl! After that we managed to train her to sing to order and friends would be amused as they could say, "Come on, Mandy, sing us a little song" - and she would. On one occasion she got too close to our pet rabbit and it bit her on the nose, leaving a scar.

Sadly, Mandy died having an operation. Two weeks later the vet rang us to say she had a Labrador bitch and four pups to put down and might we like to come and see them. When we arrived, the vet came out with a bundle of pups, some with fluffy bottoms up. Guess what? We now had a Labrador pup.

What to call her? It was a puzzle to know. So we called her Puzzle.

She is the one in the picture. Like most Labradors, she liked swimming and I would take her on long walks down to Goldhanger, near Maldon [in Essex] to the river Blackwater, where we both enjoyed a swim.


  

At a certain time of the tide, mud flats form in islands. Throwing a stick on to one of these, Puzzle would plunge in, swim across, search for the stick and bring it back - what lovely fun! Puzzle lived a long, active and good life.

Our eldest son worked off-shore and we looked after his Labrador, Bonny, every time he worked away. Eventually he gave her to us, but sadly we lost her to cancer.

Our next dog, another Labrador, was very difficult to train - we almost gave up! However, after a while we got through to her and she became a lovely dog. Her name was Bessie. She was very intelligent and I only had to say, "My feet are killing me," and she would go off and get a slipper. I would then say, "I have got two feet you know!" At that she would fetch the other one. At the sight of her comb in my hand, she would jump up on a bench outside to be groomed.

They were happy days leaving lovely memories.


 

 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

18



CINEMAS

In the early days of cinema, known as animated photography, very short films were shown at travelling fairs.These were very short but had such novelty that seeing a train rush at you would send some people rushing outside in fright!

The early cinemas were often comprised of a couple of shops knocked together into one.But soon it was realised that cinemas were to have a wealthy future.

Fine buildings were constructed allowing for dressing rooms in case live shows were required.

Before the advent of sound recorded on film, other methods of synchronisation were tried.Gramophone records hopefully played in synch was one method, until someone jogged it and it jumped a groove or two.

Of course, early films had no sound, so some of the larger cinemas had orchestras, the smaller ones had a pianist and eventually an organist.

When true sound came in, some proprietors said "It'll never last", and would not instal a sound system - they went bust.Cinemas sprang up everywhere, even in small villages.


 

Stratford had ten cinemas but probably the largest and finest was the State at Kilburn, seating over 4,000 people.

[The Gaumont State Cinema is a Grade II* listed Art Deco theatre located in Kilburn, a district in northwest London. Designed by George Coles and opened in 1937, the Gaumont State was one of the biggest auditoria in europe, with seating for 4,004 people.] 

Before the advent of television, cinemas were often packed, with people queuing outside waiting to get in to the next show.Cinemas ran continuously from about half-past one in the afternoon until about ten o'clock.Shows lasted about three hours and would comprise of a main film, a supporting film, cartoon and a news reel.

Before the show started, the screen would have beautiful changing lights which would be almost an art form.

In my time in Devon [1939-1946], there were two cinemas in Ilfracombe.One was in the main street, called The Scala [later the Clifton] and was purpose built.It had a proper balcony and was quite pleasant, though not elaborate.

The other was called The New Cinema in Northfield Road.A converted hall, it had a built-in projection box and about four steps up to the balcony!

Getting back to the Scala, this happened to me.I went there in the afternoon.However, there was a notice to say the advertised film had not arrived so they would be showing a substitute, which I sat through. Anyway, at the end of this, the proper film show arrived, so I sat through that as well - six hours, how's that!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

The sketch of the Scala and photograph of it later as the Clifton Cinema, and the photograph of the New Cinema are reproduced by kind permission of Ilfracombe Museum.


 

 

 

 

9



For younger readers and those young at heart

TO SEE HER COUSIN

Do you remember our mermaid friend Marina who swam about the beaches of Combe Martin, Sandy Cove and Broadsands? She would often spend the night in that little cave at Broadsands.

Well, Marina had a little cousin who lived at Swansea across the Bristol Channel in Wales. Her cousin was called Seagal and was a pretty little mermaid with fair hair.

Now, Marina had not seen her cousin for quite a while and so she decided to swim across the channel to see her so they could talk about old times and have some fun together.

The sun was shining and it was going to be a fine day, so off she set.

"Marina," he asked, "Where are you going and what are you doing here?"

"Well, I'm going to see my cousin at Swansea."She replied.

"Jolly good," said the whale, "Jump on my back and I'll take you the rest of the way."

"Oh, that would be lovely, you are so kind."

They soon arrived at Swansea where Seagal was waiting for her. She told Marina that she had got her usual dolphin race arranged for the next day.

The slept together on a beach until the next morning when lo and behold, their dolphin friends were just a few years out treading water as though they were standing.

The mermaid wiggled their way down the beach into the water and had soon climbed on to the dolphins' backs. The race was to be around a nearby island and back.

"One, two, three, go," called Marina and off they sped.

Marina's dolphin was the fastest and she won the race with ease.

"Well done!" said Seagal, "Now I have a lovely meal for you.

"It's so good to be with you," Marina replied.

The meal consisted of scallops, mussels, oysters, welks and winkles, dressed with a seaweed sauce.

The next morning, it was time for Marina to return to her cave at Broadsands, but it was a long way home and would make her very tired. Soon she spotted what must have been one of the few coal boats taking coal across from Swansea to Ilfracombe. Trailing behind it was a rope and Marina was able to grab hold of it. Her journey home was much quicker and as soon as she spotted the white coastguard houses, she let go of the rope and swam back to the shore.

What a lovely time she had had, and it had been so nice to see her cousin again.


 

Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler-Cook

. . . and now for a junior mini quiz:

1. What is twice the half of seven and five eights?

2. Every day a man runs once around the recreation ground. One day he gets short of breath so turns around at the halfway point. When he gets back how far has he run?

[a] Twice as far [b] half as far [c] the same

3. What is 1/6th of 60?

4. What is the Westminster clock known as?

5. In which direction if the north star?

6. What are your father's brother's children known as?

7. On which river do the Houses of Parliament stand?

8. What sound do sheep make?

9. What is the name of the mint with a hole?

10.How many wheels does a tricycle have?

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Note: The answers to Tony's mini quiz are given in Edition 171, further on.

9



LET THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME

When your children play you up, the law says you must not slap them, but there are other ways to get around this. The following have been told to me by frustrated parents.

On one occasion when his children played up, they were sent to their bedrooms. The kids thought, 'What a good idea, we can play on our computers or watch television.' Not so! Father pulled out the appropriate fuses and lo! darkness - no computer, no television!


 

Another dad related the following. His children kept slamming doors. Despite numerous requests for them not to do so, they continued.

The answer? He took the doors off their bedrooms and the bathroom and stood them in the garage for a week. Of course, out came the usual cry, "It's not fair!"

"That's your problem," said the dad, "Your mother and I have an en suite."


 

Another way is limiting pocket money or stopping taking them to school in the car. Whoops, I may have trodden on a few corns here, but the walk would do them good!

A punishment which amused me some thirty years ago was this. Some vandals in Ilfracombe took picnic seats and table from a pub. The police had watched this on their closed-circuit TV. They waited until the vandals had got as far as Hele, then intercepted them and made them carry them all the way back to the pub. The culprits didn't do that again!


 

However, punishments can go wrong. In the days when most people smoked a man kept a bottle of lighter fuel to fill his cigarette lighter. This refined petrol could also be used for cleaning grease or other marks off clothes and the man's daughter would pinch his lighter fuel for this, leaving the bottle empty. The father took his revenge by putting water in the lighter fuel bottle.

Need I say, he forgot he had done this and filled his lighter with water!


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

19



THE BERRYNARBOR BIG BAT

Way back on 10th November 1928 Berrynarbor experienced the extraordinary sight of a large bat. As soon as dusk occurred, it would fly about the village.

With a wingspan of well over 12 inches, it would dive on women, momentarily landing on their heads and biting them, who would try to brush it off and screaming rush in to the nearest house.

There seemed no way to stop it.

A meeting, at Fred Watson's house, was called for anyone to attend.

The idea of shooting was mentioned, but this was not suitable as not everyone could carry a gun. Netting, again was not practicable. Finally, it was suggested that everyone should carry a stick.

This was the best idea and so many villagers made walking sticks from hedges or small trees.

Now Ginger Harris, who was walking home up Birdswell Lane late one evening, was attacked but fortunately he was carrying a stick and knocked it to the ground. It unsuccessfully tried to fly again, but Ginger hit it again and killed it. He went home and got a spade and buried it in Birdswell Lane.

Readers should bear in mind that it is against the law to kill bats these days.

 

Smile

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu,
when someone smiled at me today I started smiling too.
 
I passed around the corner, and someone saw me grin,
when he smiled I realised, I'd passed it on to him.
 
I thought about that smile, and realised its worth,
a single smile like mine, could travel round the earth.
 
So, if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected,
let's start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected.


Anon

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born.
But now I might just forget,
Because they've pulled it down.
 
I remember, I remember
The schools I went to.
Again, they've gone
Demolished for something new.
 
I remember, I remember?
It's getting rather late.
I'm 88.
But this time I've forgotten!
 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

12



THE WOULD-BE STOCKBROKER

Charles Monrile was born in the little Essex village of Stebbing. He went to a small, private school in the village and later to a local grammar school, where he was always made fun of by the other boys and often felt very downcast.

On leaving school he took a job at a stockbroker's. He marvelled at the way shares could rise and fall very rapidly. He saw clients make or lose a fortune in a day or even within a few hours.

Charles said to himself, "One day, I shall make a fortune out of shares." He worked for this firm for about three years and then decided to have a go on his own. He soon found appropriate premises in London and was gradually able to build up a fair clientele.His commissions brought in a good income and one client in particular was Ann Cross. She was beautiful and responded to his courting. They were soon going out together and he learned that she was extremely wealthy.

After a while, business became less and this worried him. What should he do?

A client deposited a large sum of money with him and asked him to purchase a huge number of shares in a certain company. When the client asked him later had he bought the shares, he lied and said "Yes". In fact he had spent it on Ann Cross by buying her two horses for her carriage as well as champagne.

He soon realised what a fool he had been and that he would never be able to put his client's money back, whom he knew would soon have the police after him!

He confided everything to Ann who, because she loved him so much, said she would help him to get out of the country for a while and later see how things would settle down. It was decided he should go to Madrid in Spain.

"Take lots of my jewellery," said Ann. "Fill your pockets as you will have no time to get the right currencies."

Charles lost no time in getting away. He bribed two men with a fishing boat to take him across the channel and once in France he boarded a train - without paying - to take him towards Spain.

After a few days, sometimes sleeping rough, he was within sight of Madrid He had been there for a week when word got round that this man always pays you in diamonds or gold jewellery.

Soon the local police got to know of this and they took him to the station to question him. They soon realised that he was the Charles Monrile wanted for embezzlement. He was arrested and put in prison to await being sent back to England.

Once back in England, he was tried at the County Court and sent to prison for eighteen months. He was also made bankrupt. Ann knew all about this and as soon as he was free, invited him to go and live with her.

She loved him so much that she would give him anything he wanted. "How about a large house?" she asked. "Oh! I should love that" he replied. Soon they were living in fine style - fine carriages, fine clothes, servants, beautiful gardens. But there was one more thing that Charles wanted. That was a family crest or coat of arms. When he found out that a real coat of arms or crest would have to be registered with the College of Arms, he said, "I'm going to have one anyway!"

He found out that you can have a kind of secondary crest, so he had one made by a jewellery firm. He later adored himself with it on his walking stick, his coach and even on his house.

He thought back to his school days;"If they could see me now!"

Charles and Ann got married. Ann died in 1922 and Charles in 1936.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

14



BERRYNARBOR

I was ten years old when we arrived at Berrynarbor in 1939. Seventy years ago.

This meant that all my friends in Upminster - my home town - were left behind and I had to start making new ones.

The house in Barton Lane was a fine, 4-bedroomed one looking across to Hagginton Hill; and to the right a good view of the Bristol Channel. Left was the North Lee area.

Well, what a wonderful place to spend the next six and a half years! Although only ten years old, I was sent to Ilfracombe Grammar School and as I have mentioned before, this was an educational disaster. However, I did make some good friends; among them was Bob Brecher, Don Blake, and John [whistle] Stevens.


 

Attending school in the early days of the war we had to carry gas masks. It was interesting to learn many years later that the filters contained asbestos!

Rationing for food and clothing began and the blackout started and you could be fined if you showed a light as this might attract the German planes that could drop their bombs. Travel in those days meant bus, bike or on foot.

The latter was always interesting with a nice walk up the Sterridge Valley to the very sharp bend at the end where you could follow the river and see otters and deer.

Then you could go down to Watermouth. In those days there were no caravan sites and perhaps only a single boat moored in the cove.


 

Here we could catch little elvers in the stream that ran out on to the beach.

Going on into Combe Martin there were, of course, the Hangman Hills and it was good to come up from Little Hangman beach to a nice small cafe where you might be refreshed with a lemonade or cup of tea, with, if you were lucky, a cake. I understand that this cafe is long since gone as is the one that used to be on Newberry beach.

Illustrations: Paul Swailes

Before I go on to the bike and cycling, I must mention perhaps one of the most beautiful views, that is from what is now Napps Caravan site. To your right you can see Combe Martin and the Hangman Hills; straight ahead, on a clear day, is Wales, and to your left Watermouth.

Getting our bikes out, a friend and I would cycle to Barnstaple and hire a boat to row up the river to a bridge and back followed perhaps by a walk around the lovely park. I also recall cycling to Woolacombe, again with a friend, and seeing that posts had been driven into the beach at regular intervals to stop the German planes from landing. A good place for a swim, but never out of your depth.

Ilfracombe was not far to ride, with its Tunnels Beach, Victoria Pavilion [now gone] and fine harbour. There were two cinemas, the Scala and the New Cinema. There was the Alexandra Hall where plays were presented and dances. I recall dancing was a little uphill and down dale as the floor sloped!

When the war was over, those who had gone to the North Devon area away from the cities left to go back to their previous homes, if they hadn't been bombed, and so tended to lose touch with wartime friends. However, I did stumble across Beryl [sometimes known as Pam Horrell] at St. Osyth. She, her husband and children came to lunch with us in later years at Colchester. I also kept in touch with Don Blake who had moved back to Wanstead.

Sadly, I have reached that age when travel is too much but memories are great and I can recall many happy times in your lovely area.

Best wishes and luck to all you who live in that wonderful village.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

26



OUR PRICKLY FRIENDS

I write about hedgehogs because they are on the decline and I feel that we can all do something to save them.

The way they die is very sad and because of their prickles, they can't always reverse out of situations. For instance, under a shed and in a corner they cannot go backwards due to the ratchet effect of their spines.

Another hazard is garden ponds. They fall in and cannot climb out. A piece of wood from the water by the side would avoid this, and don't use slug pellets!

Then, of course, we have carnage on the roads and the risk of them perishing in a bonfire.

Well, here are a few ways we can help.

Make sure there is a good sized hole in your garden fencing. Hedgehogs can visit up to twelve gardens. Do not use pesticides as they eat worms, beetles and slugs.

Put out small, shallow bowls of water. Apart from liking pet [cat] food, the garden centres now sell special hedgehog food. They soon take to this and if you put some out at night, they will soon appear.

Never give milk to hedgehogs as they are lactose intolerant.

Usually solitary, hedgehogs only pair up to mate. When mating, they often make loud snuffling noises. The male circles the female, sometimes for hours, to persuade her to mate. They will separate thereafter and the male takes no part in rearing the family. The young are called hoglets.

The litters are from one to eleven and they stay with their mother for up to seven weeks. Predators can be male hedgehogs.

If you worry a nest, the mother may eat her young or move them elsewhere. The young are blind for thirty-two days and their spines are soft. Late comers are unlikely to survive the winter.

After four weeks, the family will emerge and soon after they will go their own separate ways.

We bought a little hedgehog house and within four hours it was being investigated. Dry leaves inside are a good idea. Take care, hedgehogs have lots of fleas!

So there we have it. Please do your best to help our prickly friends.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

6



WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR CHRISTMAS?

Of course, this is the question being asked at this time of year.

Firstly I'll go back to my childhood when after my father died in 1936 when I was six, my good half-brother Gerald [30 years older than me] did his best to please us at Christmas time.

For Christmas that year he took our family to stay at Newhaven, not far from Brighton, where there were some wonderful pantomimes.

These shows somehow worked with such acts as trapeze artists, conjurors, tight rope walkers and so on. There were so many acts thrown in that you almost lost the plot - wonderful days when every theatre had a full orchestra!

These pantomimes were always clean fun and very suitable for all the family. Brighton also had a skating rink where you could hire skates and rush around like mad. Although in later life I learned to do the skaters' waltz!

In 1937 the whole family were again taken away, to Seaford. This time there was a considerable snowfall. Gerald lost no time going to the local carpenter's shop and got us a toboggan made.

Seaford Head was the place we headed for next. A very good slope with the land rising towards the cliff edge, meaning the risk of going over was limited! The snow was just right and to make the day, Father Christmas was there with his sleigh. My mother, sister, Gerald and I had a wonderful time!

So now, what about Christmas this year?

Well, as each part of my family will have their own Christmas dinner, I thought instead of a Christmas dinner get-together. We shall, for a complete change, go to a Chinese restaurant where you pay just one sum and you can eat as much as you like - no doggy bags allowed though!

Oh, just one more of my memories. After the war, I decided to have a holiday Christmas in Devon. I stayed with a friend, by the name of Bob Becker, in Combe Martin. His parents had invited lots of his family to Christmas dinner and most of them had huge appetites and later they all fell asleep in the front room trying, I think, to out snore each other.

So much for me.

I wish all you good people of Berrynarbor a lovely Christmas with happy family get-togethers. I hope you will have made your own paper chains!

My best wishes to you all for a Happy and Prosperous New Year and after all the presents and get-togethers, please don't forget the real reason why we have Christmas.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

12



THE FIND

Jean and Fred North were now retired and had just moved into a two- down three-up semi-detached house in Llandrewdrig just north of Aberystwyth in Wales.

The house was in good decorative order and did not need painting inside or out. The back garden had a nice lawn and beyond that a little vegetable plot.

However, the one thing they had always wanted was a fish pond.

"Well," said Fred, "Where do you think I should dig the hole for our fish pond and what shape?" he asked.

"How about down near the bottom of the lawn," Joan replied.

"OK, I'll start tomorrow," said Fred and the next day made an early start.

He carefully removed the turf from an area of about seven foot by four and put it on one side thinking he might use it elsewhere.

"This is a heavy soil" he thought and by lunch time had only gone down about a foot.

He resumed his dig in the afternoon and shortly his neighbour, Mr. Robinson, leant over the fence and said, "I'm your new neighbour, nice to meet you." They chatted for a while and got along well.

As he had not got his pond deep enough, Fred resumed the next day.

"Phew! It's hard work," Fred said to himself and he stopped for a rest and mopped his brow. Later, skimming his spade over the surface, he exclaimed "Hello, what's this?" as he gently scraped away it turned out to be a bone.

"Oh, my goodness," he though, "It looks like a human bone!"

He took a hand trowel and gradually he revealed a complete skeleton. What on earth was he to do? He ran indoors to tell Jean who was aghast at what he told her.

After a good strong cup of tea and a lot of pondering, they decided to tell the police. It was not long before they heard the wailing of a police car and a sergeant and constable arrived.

After seeing the hole with the bones in it, the police asked, "How long have you lived here?" Jean and Fred assured them that they had only just moved in and knew nothing of what had been found.

"Never the less, we should like your passport just to be on the safe side, though you are not suspects," the sergeant remarked.

It was only a short time before the police erected a tent around the hole and told Jean and Fred that the bones would be removed for forensic tests. In due course this was done.

A day or two later Mr. Robinson was there to have a chat over the fence and Fred explained what had happened and asked him if he had any ideas on the matter.

"Well, give me a while to think about it," he said.

Some time later the police called and suggested that they all sit down to hear what they had to say. The sergeant cleared his throat and started to explain that the skeleton had now been examined by their department dealing with such matters and in fact the bones were not those of a human but were, in fact, those of an orangutan.

"So, there won't be any charges and here are your passports back."

Fred and Jean gave sighs of relieve but were told by the police that they were still interested in how the bones got there. "We shall continue our enquiries", the constable remarked.

The next day Fred was in the garden, this time filling in the hole as he and Jean had decided in view of what had happened that they didn't want a pond any more.

Once again Mr. Robinson popped up over the fence for his usual chat. "Why not ask the oldest man in the village? His name is Mr. Clegg and he lived at No. 3 Church Street. He is very with it despite his age, so go on there's nothing to lose."

So the next day Fred made off to No. 3 and was invited in.

"Ah!" Clegg smiled, "I think I have the answer. There was a Mr. Cranham who had a zoo near here many years ago. The zoo never really took off and eventually went bust. However, Mr. Cranham was very fond of an orangutan called James and after the zoo closed, he took James back to his home, now yours, to keep in an enclosure for the rest of his days. James must have died and from what you have told me been buried in what is now your garden!

"Well I never," gasped Fred, "The police will be interested to know this." As Fred left, he could hear Clegg muttering, "And so will

Mr. Robinson, the old know it all!"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

18



A LAUGH DOES YOU GOOD!

The theatre has always held a fascination for me and particularly variety.

The music halls of yesteryear are all gone and now the only End of Pier show is at Cromer in Norfolk.

For many years there were very good shows at the Westcliff Theatre at Clacton in Essex. These were put on by three talented people, Francis Golightly [Producer], Roy Cloughton [Organ] and Andrew Robley [Singer]. We attended these shows every summer season for years. The comedians were so talented and funny we came away literally aching with laughter - no dubbed in clapping or applause. Shows in those days included singers, dancers, conjurers, mouth organists, ventriloquists, tightrope and trapeze and balancing acts. Unlike many theatres now, they had curtains. I could name three theatres which don't have curtains.

Now let's look at some of the stars of a while ago. Do you remember Norman Collier with the apparently faulty microphone? Then there was Bob Monkhouse with "They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian, huh, they're not laughing now." Max Bygraves used to hold his hands up as though begging with "I want to tell you a story."

Freddie [Parrot face Davies] was not only funny but a good singer and I liked Jimmy Crickett's sense of humour - "A lady said "Can you see me across the road?" I said, go over the road and I'll have a look!"

Bernie Clifton riding an ostrich was very clever and of course he too sang well. Many years ago George Roby was advertised on the posters just by a pair of very thick eyebrows. He was so well known!

Do you remember Don McClain and Ted Durante and Hilda? A strong man act with a girl where everything went wrong. Their act could be performed anywhere in the world as it was totally visual.

Dottie Wayne was another rather unusual performer in that her act was simply whistling, but it was to very fast classical music, and boy, could she do it. Do you remember Joan Regan? She has a very good voice.

Now to more local [Suffolk] people. The 30's and 40's film actress, Jean Kent, lived not far from here and died not long ago. Ian Lavender also lives not far away. Captain Mainwaring said to the German in Dad's Army, "Don't tell him your name Pike." Roy Hudd is also a local celebrity, seen about and always friendly.

Well, I've covered a few, but there are many more. Some had hard lives, the older ones staying in digs constantly, never really having homes of their own as they were always going from one music hall to another.

I hope I've brought back some happy memories to readers, but I must go now. Cheerio.

Some of those entertainers:
 

 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

18



A DIFFICULT TIME

I go back to 1987 when there was an enormous gale which caused havoc in many parts of our country.

Mary and Jack Robinson were a married couple who lived in a bungalow in the rural village of Stock in Essex.Jack worked on the railway, whilst Mary did a bit of cleaning for a few people to bring in some extra money for them to enjoy.

However, Mary had to give this up as she was in the very late stage of pregnancy.

They had just gone to bed when the gale started. As the night wore on it got stronger and stronger. The wind whistled loudly;the windows rattled and they could hear dustbin lids being blown around.There were worried when they heard trees being snapped off and got down under the covers with the hope that it would blow itself out by morning.

Waking around six-thirty, Jack got up and looked out of the window. Things had calmed down, but what was this?The wind had brought down power lines and there were two cables right across their front, completely preventing their way out onto their road.

It so happened that Mary being overdue was going to have a Caesarean that very day but how were they going to get to the hospital? One of the power lines was about four feet up.

"Oh, please Jack, have you any ideas? I've got to get to the hospital" pleaded Mary.

"Well wait a mo," he paused, "Yes, but I don't think you'll like it."

"Whatever it is, please tell me."

"Listen," Jack said, "Fred White along the road has a cherry picker. Would you be prepared to go in it?"

Mary, looking a little surprised, hesitated for a moment before saying quietly, Yes, I suppose so."

"I'll give him a ring," Jack replied.He looked up the number and dialled it. When he told Fred the situation, Fred agreed to come with his cherry picker.


 

Meanwhile, Mary got herself ready and before long Fred arrived just at the same time as a man from the Electricity Authority.

"Don't touch those cables!" he shouted, "They're live.Our chap won't be able to turn the current off for some time. He is too busy with other jobs. What are you doing?"

"Well," said Jack, "Our friend here is going to lift my wife over the cables with his cherry picker.She is pregnant and must get to the hospital."

The electricity man just stood there with his mouth open.

When the cherry picker was lowered over the cables, Mary got in and was easily lifted over the cables.Jack followed and soon the ambulance which they had called arrived.


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

All went well at the hospital and Mary gave birth to a little girl. The cables had been removed and Mary and the baby were able to go home.

All three, Jack, Mary and the baby were cuddled up on the settee when Jack and Mary said together, "What shall we call her?" And then again together, "What else but Cherry!"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

19



SECOND CHANCE


 

Readers may recall my Childhood Memories in issue No. 55, August 1998, I wrote: "In 1939, in preparation for what seemed likely to be World War II, the Beauclerks bought Meadow Dene for £950. They lightly furnished it to make it liveable and moved in for what they thought would be a temporary stay, thinking they would have holidays there and perhaps let it.

"However, not much later they received a Government Notice to say their house in Upminster, Essex was required for military accommodation. This being the case everything in the house had to be got out as soon as possible. Arrangements were made with farmer Jim Chugg of Mill Farm [Mill Park] to rent the mill for the storage of all our possessions. Wardrobes, chests of drawers, bookcases, everything still full was brought from Essex and stored at the mill.

"As a boy I would go down to the mill where my toys were and sometimes set up a clockwork train set or fiddle with levers on the mill in the hope of seeing the water wheel turn - it never did because the mill pond had long since gone and the only water flowing was probably draining from the road.

"One day I went there with a friend and whilst rummaging around, we found a leather cigar case, and sure enough, there was a cigar in it. Well, what do young boys do when they find a cigar? You've guessed, we smoked it! A number of years later my mother said, "I wonder what happened to the cigar Winston Churchill gave your father?" Whoops!"

Well, my second chance for a Churchill souvenir came when my Auntie Con gave me this letter, which as you can see is hand written.

Although there is no date on it, I should think it was probably written during World War II due to the size of the paper [actual size] - economy called for paper to be used sparingly!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

30



UNLUCKY THIRTEEN!

On the 13th September 2015 we had the following happen.

First take a look at the picture. Between the two gables there is a pocket. The double window is to our smallest bedroom. There is a bench in this pocket where we sometimes sit to look at the view of fields opposite.

We went to bed quite early, about 10 o'clock, and were soon fast asleep. About 1 o'clock Betty woke me to say she had heard a scraping sound. What could it be?

We have vertical blinds to the small bedroom and when we pulled one to the side, there, was a man lying on our seat!


 

Questions came to mind.

Was he a villain?

Did he have a knife?

Should I go and ask him what he was playing at?

I decided No!

We rang the Police and they said they would look into the matter. A police car soon came along with a powerful light on its side. This illuminated the whole of our front garden. They drove up our drive but the man did not move.

A policeman and policewoman got out of the car and went over to nudge him. After some efforts to wake him, they got him to his feet.

I gather this young man had got very drunk and after taking his girlfriend home in an area to which he was unfamiliar, he saw our bench and decided to sleep it off there!

The Police said he really seemed quite a nice young man and got him in their car. They may have taken him home, I don't know.

I must praise the Police for the prompt attention they gave to the matter.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

9



A DOG IS NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS

The Sands family lived in a small village in Devon. They had a nice cottage in a valley and the father, Fred, worked on a farm. His wife's name was Mary and the children were Peter and Ann.

Christmas was approaching and Fred and Mary asked their children 'What would you like for Christmas?'

'We should love to have a girl Labrador puppy,' they chirped.

'Well, that's a tall order,' their dad replied, 'But I'll see what I can do. You know dogs cost a lot of money, so we won't be able to afford other things.'

The children agreed to this and Fred set about finding a puppy. He made enquiries all around the area, but could not find a Labrador puppy.

'Mary,' he said, 'I've tried everywhere to find a puppy but there are none to be had.'

'Why don't you try a rescue centre?' Mary replied.

'What a good idea,' her husband commented. 'I'll go to Cromley, I know there's a centre there.'

The next day being Saturday, off he set.

The man at the centre greeted him with a smile and said, 'You're very lucky, I think we have just what you are looking for.' Off he went and soon came back with an adorable puppy.

'This is a little girl and her name is Peggy,' he said.

'Can I take her home now?' Fred asked.

'No, I'm sorry you can't,' the man replied, 'She has to have all the usual inoculations for which I'm afraid you'll be expected to pay. Can you come back for her on Christmas Eve?'

Fred was thrilled. Peggy, the little black Labrador was just what they all wanted. On Christmas Eve he set off for the rescue centre. The same gentleman greeted him but he was looking worried.

'Your little Peggy is very ill, I'm afraid. We have called the vet and he has given her some injections but is not sure what is wrong with her. I'm afraid we might lose her.'

'May I see her please?' Fred asked.

'Of course you can,' the man answered and they went inside to see Peggy. She was in a large pen, her eyes closed and she didn't even manage to wag her little tail.

'Oh dear! I do hope she gets better,' said Fred as the man took out his wallet and gave him a card.

'This is our 'phone number, give us a ring in a week's time.'

'Right' Fred replied almost in a whisper. He was rather taken aback. What was he to say to Mary, Peter and Ann? The only thing is the truth he decided.

After a very miserable Christmas dinner, the family said a quiet prayer for Peggy. It was one of the most sincere prayer's ever, with tears running down their cheeks.

The days went by and Fred decided he could wait no longer and picked up the 'phone and dialled the centre number. A lady answered and said, 'Peggy? Oh yes, she is past the worst, you can come and collect her in a week's time.

The longest week in their lives went by but at last following another call to the centre, they made their way in the car to fetch Peggy.

As soon as Peggy was them she danced about, jumping and kissing their faces and after making a contribution to the centre, off they drove back home.

It had been a sad Christmas for the family, but well worth the wait.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

15



FROM TONY B

Dear All

There was a young lady from Ryde
Who at green apples and died.
The apples fermented inside the lamented
And made cider inside her inside!

At my age of 86 I feel that I should try to keep an eye on my health. Although I once had a table tennis table I could not get anyone interested enough to play and for that reason I made a practice table and installed it in the back of my garage. I have a timer and put this on ten minutes. I have two or three sessions a day to try to keep the flab at bay. Then, my next door neighbour gave me a dart board. This I also installed in the garage. So, now I have two games.

Watching The Cube on television I saw another game which I copied. This was to roll a ball to a certain area where it must stop. I achieved this with an old length of gutter with a stop at one end. The area in which the ball should stop was marked with red tape about 14 inches, an inch or two away from the far end. So, this was now game number 3.

The fourth game again came from The Cube and was quite simple. All you needed was six tennis balls and a bucket. I stand the bucket about eight feet away and throw the balls to bounce once before it goes into the bucket. All good fun and bending down to pick up the balls is good for the waistline!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

 

Out in my garage I try to keep fit.
I'm retired now, so it helps me a bit.
I play table tennis all on my own,
It's good for my tummy
It gives it a tone [or should do!].
The other three games I've described in this letter
So exercise quick, you'll feel a lot better!

 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



THE MONSTER

In 1907 Geoff Gough was a farm worker who lived at Hele and was on his way to work at a farm near Watermouth.

It was winter time and as he descended the hill down the road to Watermouth he looked to his left and with no leaves on the trees, he could easily see the harbour.

The tide was out and he could hardly believe his eyes! There, right in the centre of the harbour was a huge and strange creature. It somehow reminded him of the ideas people have of Scotland's Loch Ness Monster. But whatever it was, it was huge!

The monster was quite motionless and appeared to be dead.

As he arrived at the farm he told Farmer James of what he had seen. Farmer James doubted his story but said he would go with him to have a look.

Off they went and when Farmer James saw the monster, he was just as amazed.

Soon the word spread around and people from Berrynarbor, Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and every little hamlet came to have a look. Everyone kept a safe distance, not knowing whether the creature was sleeping or dead.

The tide came in and went out, but still the monster remained there.

Soon the council were informed and sent their officials to have a look and decide what action to take, which would, of course, be the next day.

Early the next morning before it was light, crowds of people gathered along the road and headland to see what was going to happen. As the dawn began to break and lighten the scene, people strained their eyes to see the monster.

There were gasps of "Oh no!" as everyone could see that the monster had gone! It was never seen again but for years the monster was often talked about.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

8



THE POLICEMAN'S PUZZLE

Mary Brown was an old lady living on her own in the small village of Redham. One evening she was watching television when she sensed the presence of someone else in her bungalow. The door from the hall to the room where she was sitting was open and a man was standing there. In one hand were obviously some of her jewels as a pearl necklace hung from it. On the back of his other hand was a tattooed dragon.

Mary had her mobile on her lap which she quickly grabbed and took a picture of him. Realising he had been seen, he took flight out of the front door.

Mary took no time in 'phoning the Police and spoke to a Sergeant Fred Dent. Fred was due for a week's leave but was so taken with the old lady's plight that he decided to deal with the matter himself. He took her address and said he would be there in an hour's time.


 

True to his word, Sergeant Dent arrived an hour later and was delighted with her picture of the man. He also took along his fingerprint expert who got several new prints which might help.

"Right", he said, "We now have everything we need and will start looking for the culprit."

"Thank you for all you are doing," Mary replied. "Can you let yourselves out?"

About a week later Sergeant Dent called on Mary. "What news?" she asked.

"Well, we've got a man who is the image of your picture, but there are three things that don't add up. They are that the fingerprints don't match; then he has no dragon tattooed on the back of his hand, and lastly he has an alibi that he was at his snooker club all that evening. I' afraid we've had to let him go."

"Very well, but I know you will keep trying."

"Of course we shall," Sergeant Dent replied and left.

Two days later, Mary had another visit from him "What news this time," she enquired.

"Well, we can't believe it but the second man is just like the one in your picture but again has no tattoo and he was abroad at the time of your burglary. There just doesn't seem to be an answer."

Later that evening Sergeant Dent thought he would look in at this local pub, The Retreat, where his daughter served behind the bar, just to say 'Hello'. He sat down to chat with her and mentioned the problem he was trying to solve.

His daughter Jennie's face lit up. "I think I've got the answer." She smiled. "Dad, do you remember about twenty five years ago they reported in the local paper about a set of identical triplets? Well, I think that's the answer. Furthermore, the man you are looking for is probably that man sitting in the corner with his back to us."

"Well Jennie, you are wonderful. I'll soon find out." He made his way to the man and was amazed to see that he resembled the other two. He was wearing gloves and Sergeant Dent snatched off the one on his left hand. There was the tattoo!

"I am arresting you in the name; of the law. Anything you say may be taken down as evidence . . . . ."

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrations by Paul Swailes

7



TONY'S TALES!

DON THIRKELL

It was sad to learn in the December Newsletter that Don had passed away. During the Second World War I made his acquaintance, a most likeable lad of a very practical nature.

I believe he and a lad called Derek Alltree were responsible for turning an old disused Austin Seven into a form of tractor!

I think Don liked to be his own master. At one time he constructed at his home a number of small stables in which he kept British Toggenburg goats and understand that he had a small milk round for a while.

Don was very good with car engines. At the end of 1945, as a family we were preparing to return to our home in Upminster and my mother had an old Ruby Austin 7 which had been laid up throughout the war years and was reluctant to start. The cylinders had been filled with oil to prevent rusting.

Don came to help. He cranked it over by hand [cars had cranking handles in those days!] in order to lose some of the oil. Then after fiddling with the electrics, he managed to get it going. This was near his home in the Sterridge Valley and amid clouds of thick smoke he drove to our house in Barton Lane. Eventually after a while the smoke cleared and out he stepped with a very satisfied grin on his face.

He also riveted a plate of metal over a rusted hole on the wing of another car for us.

Don was always helpful and one of those people you have been glad to know.

Note from the Editor:

Before sharing Tony's piece about Don with readers, I felt I should contact his daughter, Jenny, who was delighted and said she felt proud on reading it and how, even as a boy, he left his mark helping others.

She told me that she and her mother, June, came to the village on the 10th February, which would have been Don's 86th birthday, to scatter his ashes. Arriving at lunchtime, they decided to have lunch first at the Globe, where they were made so welcome and enjoyed a delicious sandwich and a chat.

Jenny says that the sun was shining and everything so quiet as she scattered the ashes on the ground around the war memorial that she felt as if she was the only person in the place, it was so still.

Feeling upset she decided to sit in the church and was delighted to find it unlocked. The smell and stillness comforted her, and looking at the beautiful stained glass window, she felt so peaceful and able to spend some time thinking about the wonderful and loving Dad that she misses so much.

She says: "Thanks to you and your wonderful readers, Dad's memory goes on."

A while ago Don sent me the following photographs of the village.


 

This first one actually appeared in the February 1996 newsletter and was sent in by the late Terry Babbington. He wrote:

This old AEC charabanc parked by the lych gate has the registration number T6970 and judging from the solid tyres is from around the time of WW1. It has apparently been nicknamed Jumbo and the sign on the side reads: Shapcott, Combe Martin Phone 3X1. The man at the front and lady at the side appear to be locals. The passengers, all ladies, appear to be a sight-seeing group, possibly from a local W.I. or something similar. Can anyone shed any light on the charabanc or its owners?

A reply in the April issue said that Ben Richards of West Seven Ash Farm was convinced that the man is John Bowden, c1916, who moved to Kentisbury.


 

A visit to Ron and he told me that this is the school, taken in the 'big yard' around 1924. He and Noel Reeve [nee Richards] who was visiting Ron, were able to name many of the pupils.

Back Row: Reg Ley, Leslie Irwin, Lewis Smith, Ron Toms, Fred Spear and 2 along, Will Huxtable

The girls standing are Brenda Richards, behind Lily Tucker, Vera Ley, Verna Richards and Lily Huxtable, beside Brenda is Fred Richards and Vera Dummett.

Seated 2nd is Lorna Draper and in front of her Frank Challacombe and beside him Kenneth Draper

Ron and Noel both thought that the man in front of the charabanc could be Reg Huxtable.

The final photograph of the blacksmiths has drawn a blank although it was felt that it might be from Combe Martin rather than Berrynarbor.

Can anyone help further on any of these photographs please? Ed.


 

GETTING IT RIGHT

"Come on Joan, stop arguing, you look absolutely ugly when you get like this."
"Fred, it's alright for you to talk, you started it. You are going red in the face."
"Well, you chose me in the first place so that was your fault. I thought you liked the name Joan."
"I only like the name Joan because the last two letter of your name are A and N and an reminded me of an old girlfriend. I might 'phone her up."
"Yes, Fred, that's about what you should do. Good night!"
"Well," said Jane, "I'm glad we've got our parts right, word perfect I should say."
"Yes, indeed," John replied, "I'm glad we joined the drama group. It's a good play."

FOR CHILDREN

You can't always have your own way
If you did, you'd be hated someday.
It would be a good trend
When that came to an end
And all have a new friend today.
 
So come on, I insist I must say,
It's sunny and the merry month of May.
So put on a smile
The stack's half a mile
And then we can play in the hay.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

12



UNFOUNDED FEARS

My name is Tom Banks and I'll relate to you my guilty secret which I kept from my wife for some time.

As with most secrets, you eventually confide in someone, so I told Fred Parsons, a friend of mine, about Peggy.

"You know, Fred, I've completely fallen for Peggy.," I told him. "I've been to her home three times and I'm going to see her tomorrow."

"Well," Fred replied, "If the whole thing comes to a head, you will have to tell your wife or surely she will find out sooner or later, and you will be in trouble!"

"I've confided in you and please don't tell anyone."

"OK, your problem," he muttered as he walked away.

The next day I called at Peggy's place with the idea that we could go to the park.

We wandered into the park and sat on a bench. I put my arms around her and gave her a kiss. She kissed me back and looked at me with those lovely brown eyes. What would my wife think if she knew?

It's not as if I'm unhappy at home. I love my wife. Somehow the problem has to be resolved.

"It's no good," I thought, "Peggy and my wife will have to meet." So that was it and Peggy and I started off for my house.

As I put the key in the door, Peggy stood behind me.

My wife was cleaning the porch and greeted me with, "Hello, have you been down to the pub yet again?" Obviously she suspected something.

Before I could reply, Peggy walked out from behind me, wagging her bottom and tail and bounded up to my wife.

"A Labrador!" she exclaimed as Peggy sat down for a pat and stroke on her head. "Where did you get her?"

"From the dog rescue centre," I replied.

"Well, I'm sure we three will be very happy!"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

25



CRASH, BANG!

It is surprising in life how things happen. It was, for instance, through Judie, our Editor, and the Newsletter, that I was recently reacquainted with Stanley Walker who now lives in Canada and stayed with us at Berrynarbor during World War II - a really long time ago.

Similarly, Maureen Underdown - nee Peachey - who lived near us at Prospect in Birdswell Lane during the war has been in touch, again through the Newsletter. Maureen related the following story which she gave to me to use. Here goes!

I don't know if it is still there, but in the higher part of Birdswell Lane there was, cut into the side of the hill, a place to park a car. This was done by the owner of Cloverdale in Barton Lane to have a garage built there. However, the war regulations prevented this at that time.


 

Now, the owner of Cloverdale had a daughter who was always helpful to her parents. One day she decided to get the garden roller out and roll their lawn. The lawn was very steep and she had great difficulty in controlling the roller.

Whoops! She lost her grasp on it and it rolled away out of control. Straight down and through the hedge it went and there was an almighty bang. She froze. "What on earth has happened," she thought.

Plucking up courage she walked down the garden steps into Birdswell Lane. To her horror, the roller had smashed down through the roof of her father's car!

As to what her father said when he discovered what had happened, I don't know. Perhaps it's best not to think about it!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

9



WORDS FROM WORLD WAR I

During the 1914-1918 war, my aunt Constance Gladys Anderson Naylor, was given time off to be in what was called the V.A.D. The initials VAD stand for Voluntary Aid Detachment, in other words part time nursing.

With the huge number of casualties of the war, many places - schools and even large private houses - were turned into temporary hospitals.

Amongst the things left by my aunt was an autograph book in which some of the injured soldiers she had nursed had written contributions.


 

The Voluntary Aid Detachment referred to a voluntary unit providing field nursing services, mainly in hospitals, in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire. The most important periods of operation for these units were during World War I and World War II.

The VAD system was founded in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross and Order of St. John. By the summer of 1914 there were over 2,500 Voluntary Aid Detachments in Britain. Of the 74,000 VAD members in 1914, two-thirds were women and girls.

At the outbreak of the First World War VAD members eagerly offered their service to the war effort. The British Red Cross was reluctant to allow civilian women a role in overseas hospitals: most volunteers were of the hospital discipline. Military authorities would not accept VADs at the front line.

The growing shortage of trained nurses opened the door for VADs in overseas military hospitals. Female volunteers over the age of twenty-three and with more than three months' hospital experience were accepted for overseas service.

During four years of war 38,000 VADs worked in hospitals and served as ambulance drivers and cooks, serving near the Western Front and in Mesopotamia and Gallipoli.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

11



ALL THOSE YEARS LATER

Yes, I do miss Berrynarbor! Although I only spent the six and a half years through World War II and a little beyond there - it was a very impressionable time.

Although I am very happy here in our bungalow in Suffolk with its pleasant [not flat] countryside, I still reminisce about my time spent in Devon.

The rugged shore line, pretty little coves, secluded beaches and, of course, the fine sands [7th best in the world] at Woolacombe.

In my time in your village, transport was very limited. Due to there being few private cars and petrol rationing, you were more or less restricted to bus, bicycle or shanks pony.

This meant that the extent of my travelling was about 10 to 12 miles. Cycling was pretty hard even if you were lucky enough to have a three speed gear, and you spent a long time pushing your bike up one side of a hill only to spend what seemed like minutes coming down the other side!

At one point, with my education lacking, I was sent to a tutor in Shute Lane and that is quite a push I can tell you!

We would cycle to Barnstaple or Woolacombe but never attempted the full Sterridge Valley right to the top.

Berrynarbor has drawn me back for holidays in the North Devon area several times, however, now at 85 years of age, I find I cannot face long distance travel. Mentioning my age, I should also mention that on the 12th May last, Betty and I celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary and had our card from Her Majesty the Queen.

Over the years I have seen some changes. Berrynarbor now has caravan sites, Miss Cooper's shop has long gone and now you have your own Village Shop. The Manor Hall is much the same but when I saw it last there was no stage. In Ilfracombe there were two cinemas, alas only one now.

I was very sad to see the Victoria Pavilion go although I have enjoyed shows and films at the new Landmark Theatre. The Alexandra Theatre I knew well and enjoyed dances and plays there, so I was pleased to see that after many changes, it is still in use.

Alongside the Quay in Ilfracombe were private houses, these are now all businesses.

It is now 68 years since we left Devon to return to our own house in Upminster where I lived again from the age of 16 until I got married in 1954. Two years later it was sold to actor Victor Maddern [of Cockleshell Heroes and Carrington VC fame, as well as many other parts here and in Hollywood]. Victor Maddern eventually sold together with his neighbour, the houses pulled down and flats built on the site.

The picture you see would have been taken with a plate camera about 107 years ago. The stables, provided only for the use of horses or horse drawn vehicles, were later converted into garages and a garage built on the right hand side.


 

The maintenance of a house like that was even in our time far too costly to continue with, and my mother and half-brother moved into a small bungalow at Billericay. When Betty and I married we moved into a maisonette at Gidea Park just outside Romford.

Since then we have moved to Billericay, Tiptree, 3 times in Colchester and now to Suffolk. We are not moving anymore!

 

As they say!

I was walking past our local undertaker the other day and spotted one of the funeral directors standing outside.

"Not today thank you,." I called cheerfully.

"Catch you later," he replied with a smile.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

17



PALS

Richard and Doreen Brown lived in a pleasant detached house not far from the river Blackwater, together with their son Chris and dog named Puzzle.

Chris and Puzzle were inseparable and Chris, who was only eight, often took her for walks.

One week-end Chris decided he would like to go fishing - he would fish in a dyke that ran alongside the sea wall to the river. That was where the eels might be. So, with a packed lunch box, fishing tackle and Puzzle, off they set. The dyke was close to home so all would be well.

Settling down on the bank of the dyke he cast his rod several times, but to no avail. 'Never mind.' he thought, 'I'll have a bite to eat.'

He had left his lunch box a little way up the bank and as he got up to get it, he twisted his ankle, badly. Despite his efforts to walk he could only manage to crawl along the ground. Quickly he had an idea. He still had the wrapping paper to his lunch box and fortunately a pencil.

'Help me, I'm hurt.' he wrote. Then he undid Puzzle's collar and threaded it through a hole in the paper and did it up again.

"Take this home," he told Puzzle and incredibly that's what she did. Arriving she stood at the front door on her hind legs barking to attract attention.

On opening the door, Richard was alarmed to see Puzzle on her own and upon reading the message, he quickly made off towards the dyke with Puzzle leading the way. When he arrived at the dyke, there was Chris.

"Sorry dad, but I had to get help somehow."

"Never mind," his dad replied, "Let's get you home" and he gathered up the bits and pieces and picked up Chris to carry him home. Puzzle followed.

About a week later, Richard had reason to return a book he had borrowed from a friend. He set off for the friend's home and had just put the book through the letter box when he heard a car approaching and at the same time, Puzzle who was not on a lead, spotted a cat across the road.

In a flash she was hit by the car and was lying on the road bleeding. The car carried on and Richard picked her up and carried her home. As soon as they got back, Doreen rang the vet who came straight away. Among her injuries, Puzzle had a torn ear and was spreading blood everywhere.

"We'd better put her in the outside toilet," suggested Richard, as this was tiled and could be cleaned up easily. A bed was arranged and Puzzle made comfortable.

The vet began his examination and turning to them said, "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I shall have to put her to sleep."

"No, no, please not that!" pleaded Chris, with tears running down his face, having arrived and overhead the vet, who was rather embarrassed, not knowing what to do in the presence of the young lad.

"Well, I'll give her a couple of injections but I don't hold out much hope," he said sadly.

The vet left and Puzzle, looking very down, curled up on her new bed, with a little food and a bowl of water.

That night and every night after, Chris would get up after his parents had gone to bed and go down with a torch and sit with his dog, often crying a little.

Slowly, however, Puzzle began to recover and gradually her wounds started to heal. After nine days she was allowed out in the garden, walking slowly and wagging her tail a little before returning to her bed. Chris kissed her on the nose with tears in his eyes, but this time they were tears of joy.

Puzzle miraculously made a complete recovery and she and Chris enjoyed many more happy years of each other's company.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Ex-evacuee 1939-1946 Berrynarbor


 

Illustration: Debbie Cook 1994

16



A DIFFICULT QUESTION

I was walking down our High Street the other day when I bumped into an old friend.

"Hello Charlie", I said as I greeted him. "Haven't seen you for a long time, and how's your lovely wife, Mary?"

"She's fine," he replied. "I'm glad I met you as you can give me some advice."

"Oh, what's that?" I asked.

"Well, it's her 86th birthday soon and she insists that as she feels so young at heart, she would like a present that's modern or young in its way. What would you advise?"

I scratched my head and stroked my chin and then suggested she could have her head shaved and a spider web tattooed on it.


 

Charlie smiled, "Well, she would probably like the idea but not the pain of the tattoo."

I thought again and this time suggested she have her hair coloured red, green or blue.

"Well, a lot of women have that these days," he said, "But can't you come up with something else?"

"Yes," I said, "How about these. There is Botox, pierced eyebrows, lips, nose, etc. rings."

Charlie smiled. "Carry on, you're getting warm!"

"Well then," I asked, "How about cosmetic surgery, or a skateboard? Then there is parascending, she might like that. And, of course, Disneyland. A nice pair of sunglasses to wear on top of her head or paragliding."

Charlie grinned, "Yes, you've got some good ideas but I think I'll play it safe and give her some flowers and a box of chocolates."

"Good idea," I replied, "Nice to see you again. Bye."


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



ONE STEP BACK

Do you remember Spike Milligan singing "I'm walking backwards for Christmas"? Well the true story I'm about to relate worked just that way!

At the time when my mother lived in a bungalow at Billericay, most of the area - like so much of Berrynarbor - was either cesspit or septic tank drainage.

Fortunately for the residents, the local council put in main drains in all the roads and my mother, after getting the necessary planning and building approval, proceeded to find a small building firm to dig up her drive, lay the drains and make the necessary connection.

The builder was Fred White and his two sons, Brian and Jack.

"Where would you like us to make the trench?" Fred enquired.

"Well," my mother replied, "I think it a good idea if you take up the slab path leading up the drive and around the back."

"OK, we'll get right on with it." and Mr. White instructed his sons accordingly.

The slabs up the front drive were all taken up and stacked and then they began taking up those at the back of the bungalow.

The lads had taken up quite a number when Jack suddenly shouted to Brian, "Don't step forward with that slab, just do as I say and step back." Brian did as he was told and luckily for him, he did!

The slab had been covering a well and had he stepped forward he would have stepped straight into it, probably with the slab on top of him.

On examination, the well proved to be barrel shaped and quite large. The back wall of the bungalow had been built partly over it. Mr. White and his boys filled in the well with rubble before finishing the job.

Many years later, after my mother had moved, the bungalow was pulled down and a pair of houses built on the site, probably over the well as well!

 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

18



FATHER CHRISTMAS

The Jones family lived in a small rural village in Devon. It was Christmas Eve and the children, Ron seven and Jane eight were getting very excited with the prospect of Father Christmas calling. Looking out of the window, the children could see it was just beginning to snow.

Presently there was a 'phone call. It was from their uncle to ask if it would be possible for them to go over to baby sit their two year old baby as he, their aunt and cousins had been invited to a party.

It was all agreed and Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Ron and Jane set off. It was still snowing and on their arrival they were greeted with hugs and kisses before the family left for the party.

Time went on and it was late when the family arrived home again.

"You'll never get home tonight," their aunt said, "The snow is really quite deep. But don't worry, she continued, "I'll prepare the bedrooms so you can all sleep here."

By the next morning, Christmas morning, the snow had thawed enough for the Jones's to return home. They got in the car, eager to get back to see if Father Christmas had been. Arriving home, Mr. Jones opened the front door and the children rushed in.

Up to their bedrooms they went and there, lo and behold, were their stockings and pillow cases filled with all sorts of games, a doll, train set, sweets, teddy bears. Their rooms were decorated with paper chains, lanterns. They could hardly believe their eyes!

Mr. and Mrs. Jones followed their children up the stairs and stood there amazed at the sight. They looked at each other with puzzled expressions, shrugged their shoulders and went downstairs for a cup of tea!

Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



LONG TIME AGO . . .

The six and a half years I spent in Berrynarbor ended on the 1st January 1946. Those years were at a very impressionable time of my life.

Berrynarbor has drawn me back for many enjoyable holidays but alas, I am now 84 and unable to undertake the long journey from the far side of the country. However, let me reminisce . . . here are some of the changes I have noticed over the years.

Going firstly to Berrynarbor, the village shop was then run by a Miss Cooper and Mr. Walter Osborne. As a youngster I was, of course, only interested in sweets. These were rationed and there was very little choice. The shop premises are now residential.

There was no car park in those days and, of course, very few cars. The Post Office was a few doors away from the school and at one time run by a Mr. Rudd.

I believe there was a butcher's shop which closed shortly after we came to live in the village.

Mill Farm was farmed by a Mr. Jim Chugg. The water wheel was taken out in 1946 and there were no caravans, only sheep and lambs occupying the fields. The lake had a great deal of foliage around it

There has been a fair amount of development over the years, particularly on Hagginton Hill, Barton Lane, Birdswell Lane and the Sterridge Valley. Watermouth harbour had no caravan site.

Moving on to Combe Martin, as far as I can remember the Lime Kiln car park was just wasteland and there were no museums. Apart from the estate at the very top end of the village I have not noticed a great deal of development although many of the shops, like the Kingston Hall, are now residential. I remember many dances at the Kingston Hall with the Four in Rhythm being the band.

Turning to Ilfracombe, there were three theatres. The Victoria Pavilion, The Alexandra Hall [which fell into decay but has since been restored], and the Gaiety Concert Hall.

The Gaiety Hall ran many shows with performances by The Gaietys, Flairs and Flashes, Kit Kats, etc., with artists Ronald Frankeau, Madelaine Rossiter and Tommy Blaire. Before the war, there was roller skating there in the winter.

The Gaiety Concert Hall, Ilfracombe

There were two cinemas, the Scala in the High Street, which is now residential, and the New Cinema [formerly a chapel I think] in Northfield Road. Both are now gone although today there is, of course, one in the High Street and the Landmark shows films.

The old Grammar School is now the Primary School. Many of the hotels have either gone or been turned into flats, some burned down or have been demolished.

There was a bandstand near the Victoria Pavilion. This was bought, dismantled and re-erected piece by piece on a private estate in the Midlands. It was replaced in 1992 in Runnymeade Gardens.

Do you remember a shop down by the pier called William Norman and Father? Most unusual, it's normally 'and Son'! I was at school with William, but he has sadly passed on.

Altogether, fond memories of an area which has so much to commend it. Miss you, North Devon!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

10



DRIFTWOOD

You may remember our little mermaid friend Marina who was known for her long swims and willingness to help people.

Well, our story starts when Marina was swimming off Barricane beach watching the dolphins jumping out of the water. She was fascinated at the fun they were having. Sometimes they would rapidly waggle their tails to make them look as if they were standing in the water.

Suddenly Marina felt a nudge at her side. It was a small piece of wood, not very long but with an arrow shape at one end.

At first she thought that it had just washed against her and pushed it away, but the wood came back and nudged her again and again.

"That's strange" she thought and as the wood moved away she decided to follow it. It moved faster and faster but she managed to keep up with it. She soon found that she was a long way out from Woolacombe beach and there, in an inflatable boat, was a boy who was crying. "Oh, dear," she thought, "I must get him back to the shore."

The boy looked at Marina but said nothing. She pushed and pushed and gradually the boat started to move back towards the beach.

It was a long struggle but at last she got the boat within sight of the many people who had gathered on the beach.

"There he is!" shouted a voice and several people waded out to grab the boat and the boy. His worried mother took hold of him and asked, "Where have you been? And how did you get back?"

"It was a mermaid who pushed me back," replied the boy.

"Rubbish," said someone standing nearby, "I reckon the wind must have changed direction."

Marina dived under the water and swam away happy to have saved the young boy and pleased for his family, that they were overjoyed.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Illustration by: Debbie Cook

12



SOME DIY

Do you ever think that a little bit of DIY or some little innovation might improve your home?

I bought a mahogany style five-drawer cabinet for the bedroom but unfortunately it had some rather ugly handles on it which I thought I might change for Victorian brass drop handles that would match our existing furniture.

I found a firm on the internet who promised to get them to me in two weeks. Well, two weeks went by and I gave them a call.

"Oh no," the man said, "They have to be specially made so it will be another two weeks."
They, too, passed by so I rang again.

"Sorry," the man said, "They are having trouble getting some of the parts."

I waited another two weeks and rang again.

"We are having trouble with that firm" I was told.

"Well," I replied, "Cancel the order."

The man seemed quite pleased and stated that his firm would not be dealing with them anymore.

I was then advised by a friend that there was an antique and furniture man who had a workshop in an old farm building not far away. I managed to contact him and he invited me round to see what he could do.

Straight away he got on the internet and I chose what I wanted.

"About two weeks' wait" he told me.

Two weeks went by and they sent the wrong size. He sent them back and a while later rang to say he could get the right size but slightly different handles, so I said "Go ahead."

The handles arrived and I paid for them. Were they all right? No!
The threaded parts which go through the drawer front were OK but the holes in the front plates had no thread and no way could I get them to fit. On went the thinking cap again. I knew a small engineering firm and wondered if they could help. I rang them and a man thought he could make threads in the front plates and if I left them with him for a week, all would be well.

A week went by and I called at the works to collect them.

"Any problems?" I asked.

"Well," he said, "They were a very odd thread and I had to borrow a stock and die from next door."

I took the handles home, fitted them and they look fine - it only took from March to June to get the matter sorted!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

10



BANGED UP!

Well, now we hope the better weather is here for a while. It must surely be so when this goes to print!

The bad weather took a last go at me the other day when this happened!

I went out to get something from the summer house and the wind was blowing really hard. I omitted to fasten the door back and went inside. Whilst my back was turned there was a terrific bang and the door was flung shut.

About to come out, I tried the door. It would not open. What had happened was that due to the force of wind blowing it shut, the hasp was flung into the position when you would normally put the padlock through.

Try as I would, I could not open it. I undid the bolts of the other door to try and loosen things but to no avail. The only thing to do was to keep banging on the door.

Betty was indoors sewing and could not hear me and the wind was howling so that didn't help. All I could do was to keep on banging on the door.

Later, when at last I managed to attract her attention, it turned out that she thought the noise had been that of a neighbour hammering whilst repairing his fence.

Anyway, you might not have had this little story as I might still be banging on the door or even smashing a window to get out!

Sadly we have just heard that a neighbour's cat has killed a robin and a great tit, which we had hoped would nest in one of our boxes.

 

We sit in our garden to look, watching for birds in our book.
They soon flutter down to the table.
There are sparrows and wrens, blackbirds and hens
Wagtails and birds that nest in a stable.
 
We have a bird bath, and that's quite a laugh
I fill it with water each day.
They cram in together, in all kinds of weather,
I suppose it's some kind of way.
[Save water and bath with a friend!]
 
Down come the starlings who eat all the food,
Bar that which falls to the ground.
But the small birds are there, who appear from nowhere,
Delighted at what they have found.
 
So buy a bird book and then take a look,
Be assured it will give you much pleasure
Sit there, drink your tea, it will certainly be
The sight of all birds is a treasure.
 

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

15



THE WEATHER

What a wet winter we've had! Even the so-called drier counties here in the east it has been bad. Roads flooded, fields soaked with lakes of water and rivers overflowing.

However, it has not really been that cold. My first experie4nce of ice was oddly enough when I was around eight or nine.

The family was taken over to Harringay ice rink - a huge building with skate hire, restaurant and shops and a six-piece band which played all the time. There were two kinds of session - one being for people to race around - though the more serious skaters would practice their figures of eight or do a figure three in the middle. The other session would be for dancers. There were instructors who would teach you the correct way to skate and also how to dance.

Apart from falling over and cracking your head, breaking bones, etc,, the ice itself was very safe. It was relatively thin and supported by concrete underneath in which the freezing elements were embedded.

Moving on to 1939, when we spent the War in Berrynarbor, there was a very cold winter. Standing on the ice on the Mill Farm lake, I should have liked to walk out to the island to have a look at the heron's nest but fortunately, common sense prevailed and I did not venture out!

The subject of ice skating came up and I knew of a pond which might have been frozen. Up Hagginton Hill and turning down the road on the left there was a pond in a field on the left. Off we, all the family, went with our skates and bikes and sure enough the pond was frozen and we all had a great skate without mishap.

When the War was over and we moved back to Essex there were still some very cold winters. On one occasion we went to a lake near Chingford. It was extremely cold and early in the afternoon a small part was not completely frozen over in fact there were a few ducks swimming around. By the end of the afternoon this patch was completely frozen over and people were skating over the lake - but not us!

Another venue was a lake in Weald Park near Brentwood and by the time we visited there I could cut a figure three. We took along our gramophone and just about managed the Skaters' Waltz! Later, my half-brother Gerald took a nasty fall and cracked his head badly - a horrible and frightening sound.

I remember skating at a pond in Hornchurch where there had been no snow but a real freeze and the ice was clear and when you looked down you could see the fish swimming about below.

Illustration by Paul Swailes

On to Billericay where we skated on the park lake. Nearby was a large pond and farm, here skating was going on but the farmers were playing curling. Akin to bowls but with large flat stones with handles and as the stones travel the ice, the players 'polish' in front of them with a brush to make them go further.

The last time I skated was at Essex University where a shallow flooded area had frozen. As I skated I went over backwards causing a lace cracking of the ice in the shape of a spider's web whilst the students from abroad looked on in amusement, probably thinking 'mad dogs and Englishmen' or something similar.

After all that, may I say that if you ever think of skating on natural ice, my advice is just one word, 'DON'T'!

With the current spell of bitterly cold and snowy weather, let's hope and look forward to a nice spring and a lovely summer.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

18



BITS ABOUT BIRDS

Why do we use the expression 'bird brain' when in fact they can be very clever?

Take those birds who found they could drop nuts on pedestrian crossings for the cars to crush so they could enjoy the remaining edible bits. or the wonderful sight I enjoyed whilst holidaying in Devon when a buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole [a very common sight!] took off with hardly a perceived wing movement, circled around and around gradually rising higher and higher until almost out of sight.


 
A friend of mine was decorating his back bedroom and looked out to see a magpie trying to attack his baby daughter who was in a pram. Fortunately there was a net over the pram and so the bird was unsuccessful.


Shortly, and for no apparent reason, the magpie flew up and into the room where my friend was working. He was so enraged that he grabbed the bird and killed it. Oddly enough, he later joined the RSPB.

When my mother was moving house she felt that the removal men should not be responsible for taking her pet budgerigar to its new home. She and my wife decided to take it in its cage to the new home. It was a very hot day and they had the car windows open. Stopping at some traffic lights where some workmen were repairing the road, Bobbie, the budgerigar, decided to give a series of wolf whistles much to the amusement of the workmen who wolf whistled back, much to the embarrassment of the two ladies.

On the back wall of our bungalow we have two bird boxes. The great tits have taken a liking to them but so far have not nested in them. It is, of course, rather early. However, come dusk each one flies into its box and spends the night there. As we sit in the morning drinking our tea at about 7.45 a.m., the first one flies out. Ten minutes later the other one leaves. As far as we know, neither returns during the day.

Going back to our war time stay in Berrynarbor, we kept chickens. Often they would escape theirpen and be wandering around the garden. At that time my mother had a Pomeranian called Tiny. Whether Tiny had a touch of sheep dog in her, but she could round up the chickens very well indeed and would soon have them back in their pen.

 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Here in Stowmarket we have an abundance of ducks. I gather that they are descendants of escapees from duck farms. They are often to be seen in gardens, on roofs and in the town. In the main streets you can see a mother with up to a dozen ducklings taking her time to walk down the middle of the road almost unaware and unconcerned about traffic. Fortunately, motorists respect them.

Watching birds is great - it's as good a time waster as television, the internet, or a garden pond.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

 

25



THE MISTAKE

The Brennams were a large family, a very successful family too, all living in the town of Cranley. Some had made small fortunes from computers and others from building industrial estates. All in all they had done well!

Mr. Bill Brennam and his wife Mary had a daughter, six sons and many grandchildren and they all lived nearby. They were thinking about the usual family Christmas meal and the arrangements to be made. They loved the annual get-together.


 

Their eldest son Fred and daughter Jane were usually given the task of catering arrangements for the family at a local hall. One evening in mid-December, whilst visiting their parents, the subject of the Christmas dinner came up and Fred and Jane were asked to arrange it all.

"Fine," said Fred, "We'll see to it, no worries."

Fred and Jane were very close and the thought of wandering down to their little town of Cranley occurred to Fred, Jane agreed and off they went.

As they walked along, they soon came to houses illuminated with Christmas lights of all kinds. Some had little Christmas trees in their windows with brightly lit lights. Others had huge Father Christmas's flashing, blinking and twinkling. Further along the road they came to what might be called competitive illuminations with all sorts of reindeer, stockings, snowballs, flickering lights and floodlighting - a large strain on their electricity bills, let alone health and safety with their wiring, and what if it rained?

Soon they reached the town and the local council had done their main street and square proud. Twinkling lights strung between lampposts and a huge and beautiful Christmas tree stood in the centre of the square. The Salvation Army band was playing all the well-known carols and the surrounding crowd were all happily singing along.

"What a lovely time of year this is." Fred remarked, "Shall we have a little drink before we go home?"

"Why not?" replied Jane as they entered The Crown. They sat down in front of the huge log fire and enjoyed their drinks before returning to their respective homes.

A few days later when visiting their parents the matter of the annual meal came up.

"I've arranged it all with Smith's Catering at the village hall for the 21st" said Fred.

"No, I've arranged it at the church hall for the 21st," Jane replied, looking a little puzzled.

"Well, you'll have to cancel one of them," their father Bill interrupted.

Jane and Fred got on the telephone straight away but neither firm would cancel. "It's too late", they said.

"I'll think of something," their mother Mary chirped in, "I know you both meant well."

Fred and Jane left, both feeling rather silly. Straight away their mother got on the 'phone.

"Is that Cranley Home for Waifs?" she enquired.

"Indeed, it is" a voice replied, "And this is Mr. Clancey speaking. How can I help?"

"What have you in mind for your boys and girls this Christmas?" asked Mrs. Brennam.

"Not very much I'm afraid. It's been a bad year with donations and so many charities are finding things difficult."

"Very well, please take all your children to the village hall at seven o'clock on the 21st. I am sure you will be pleased" Mrs. Brennam added.

"You are so kind and I will call to see you soon to thank you properly" Mr. Clancey replied, hardly believing his luck.

On the 21st both the Brennams and the Cranley Home for Waifs had fine Christmas dinners. All were so happy and it showed that there can be a good outcome when mistakes are made.


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

13



THINGS THAT HAPPEN!

Out of Date

It was very late in the day and George Murray had had a long day at the office. He thought he'd get his newspaper on the way home so that he could browse through it before going to bed.

His local supermarket stayed open all night so he would probably get one there. He drove into the car park and made for the newspaper section. A man was sitting behind the counter, chewing gum and reading a newspaper.

"Excuse me, is that the Inform You Daily paper?" he asked the man.
"Yes, it is" said the man, not bothering to look up.
"Well, I'd like to buy it," George replied.
"You can, when I've finished it", the man whispered, again not looking up.
George began to get annoyed. "Look here, I want to get home and have a read before I settle down and go to bed."
"And so you shall", said the man, "When I've finished."
George's temper was beginning to get the better of him. "Look here, if you don't stop mucking about I'll call the manager."
"I am the manager", the man grunted.
"I'll tell you what", said George raising his voice, "I'll give you half the normal price of that paper right now!"
"What do you mean?" the man replied, looking up.
George was now getting impatient. "Well it's second-hand now, it even looks fainter now you've rubbed half the print off it."
"A couple more minutes and my shift will be up and you can have it then", the man grunted.
Reluctantly, George agreed to wait.
The minutes ticked by and at twelve o'clock midnight the man said, "You can have it now."
"I don't want it now", George replied.
"Why's that?" the man asked.
"Well, it's gone midnight and that paper is now yesterday's. Goodbye." George stormed out.


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


The Telephone Trick

In January 1946 we moved back from Berrynarbor to Upminster. The war being over we had to re-settle and resume our lives in our old home.

Soon we applied to have the telephone laid on and this took about two months - things were very slow and material in short supply. Eventually a man from the GPO [as it was then] came and installed our new 'phone and I watched with interest as he finally tested it.

I noticed its bell ring was almost identical to our front door bell and thought, "I can have some fun with this!"


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

All I had to do was to nip outside and ring the front door bell. Hurriedly coming back in I would listen to hear other members of the family answer the 'phone! As they could see there was no-one at the front door, they fell for the telephone trick. It was all taken in good fun and we all laughed about it.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

14



THE DUMB WAITER
A Short Story

Actor Alan Shorer had been very successful in films, plays and on television. He had won awards for the parts he played both here and in Hollywood.


 
Oddly, having been at the top of his profession for some time, he decided to have a change of career and joined the Police force.

Soon he was promoted and worked his way up to become a Detective. He was stationed in Stoke Newingham where there had been a number of robberies of banks and post offices.

Information gathered so far was that the suspects, Brian and Fred Short, would frequent their local pub, The Sun. A plan formed in Alan's mind and this is what followed.

Alan decided to frequent The Sun himself and took on the character of an impoverished deaf mute. At the bar he would not talk to the barman but would give his order written on a small paper pad.

It was not long before the crooks were asking the barman, "What's wrong with him then?"

"Oh, he can't hear or speak and I don't think he sees very well either," the barman replied

Each night, Alan would try to position himself as close as possible to the other two men. Gradually their talk became careless and they started on about their next 'job', they were not worried by this deaf and silent man.


 
"We could get 'Keys' Macmillan to open the front and strong room door," Brian remarked.

"Yeah, I'm sure he could do it," Fred replied.

Over the following evenings their talk started to go into more detail. They had decided to raid Joslin's Bank in the High Street at 8 o'clock the next Monday evening. Alan kept a low profile but reported back to his superiors.

A hasty meeting was called with the Bank Manager who gladly gave his co-operation.

At a quarter to eight on Monday, Brian and Fred, together with 'Keys', arrived in their get-away car and parked it just around the corner from the bank. There was nobody about so they easily let themselves in, closing the door behind them.

"Now for the strong room," Brian muttered.

"And all that cash!" Keys butted in, and getting out his lock-picking tools, "Here we go. I think I've done it", he whispered.

Slowly they opened the door.

"Put the light on inside", Brian said.

"Where's the switch, oh hang on here it is. Wow! This is it", Keys burst out.

"It certainly is", said one of the six policemen standing there.

"How the . . .?" gasped the three crooks together.

"Simple", said the Chief, "This is the man who helped us", and

Alan Shorer stepped out from behind the other policemen.

"But he can't hear or speak!" shouted Brian.

"Not any more", came the reply. "Come along you lot, we've a car waiting outside."


 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland

28



CHANGES . . . I SHOULD SAY SO!

Once I left school my adult life began and there were going to be many changes over the next 67 years. I shall, no doubt, get my chronology wrong, but here are just a few of the changes in those years:

  • Money was in pounds, shillings, pence, halfpence and farthings. Now pounds with a hundred [new] pence instead of 240d.
  • Measurements have also changed.
  • Chinese takeaways and Indian food are normal.
  • Men's haircuts - no short back and sides, its "Which number sir?" I feel like saying, "No. 3 with chips and special fried rice!"!
  • My first job was for £2.10.0 a week [£2.50].
  • The Empire has been reduced and the names of countries changed.
  • Prices? I remember paying 50p for two gallons of petrol and what is it now? About £1.50 per litre
  • We now have supermarkets, DIY shops, garden centre and very few 'corner shops'.
  • The demise of large cinemas has been replaced by multi-screens, and the 9" black and white television has been replaced by huge colour screens with 3D.
  • Now common place are roads marked with yellow lines, parking meters and multi-storey car parks, when at one time you could park anywhere...
  • If you rode a bicycle you were lucky to have three gears. Now you have many gears although I doubt if they can cope with Hagginton Hill!
  • We've seen the introduction of the NHS, the EU and 'health and safety' applied to everything!
  • Cars need to be MOT'd.
  • We have nylon, electronic calculators, plastic, electric cars, smaller gardens, insulation, synthetic fibres for clothes and carpets, varifocal lenses for glasses, life lengthening operations and drugs, computers, immigration, washing machines, dishwashers, mobile phones, double glazing

the list is endless!

Even the way we speak has changed. If you ask how someone is keeping, you get the reply, "I'm good." What about "Would you like a cup of tea?" "Oh, go on then." Not yes please or no thank you!

Then there is "Catch you later" or if you tell someone something, they say, "I know."

Even the crops farmers grow have changed and did I mention economy bulbs, emulsion and lead-free paint? People now eat with just a fork in their right hand and man has flown to the moon! We have central heating and very few coal fires.

You can, no doubt, think of lots of things I haven't mentioned - give it a try.


 

 

I wonder if 'Beam me up Scotty' will ever happen. Don't be too sure it won't!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

17



WIND

I have just looked up the word kite in the dictionary and it says:a toy consisting of a light frame covered with a light thin material, usually in the form of an isosceles triangle.

This may have been the only idea of a kite at one time, but how things have changed. They dont even have to be in the air. On a minesweeper there was a device attached to a sweep-wire submerging it to the requisite depth when it is towed over a minefield.

My first recollection of kite flying was as a child.I would make my own.If they nose-dived, then a larger piece of rag on the tail would usually put things right.

Our family devised a kite in the size and shape of a domestic door.People said, Thatll never fly", but it did! With a heavier string and an enormous pull, it broke lose one day and we spent an hour or so hunting to find where it had landed.

But kites can be very dangerous too.In their modern form they have enormous lifting power.At Brightlingsea a man was lifted across the river and landed unhurt on the other side.

A man at Stowmarket was not as fortunate when he was lifted up and dropped.He lost his life.

Today, looking out at sea young people can be seen kite surfing.

My own experience of being lifted by a form of kite was parachuting at Looe in Cornwall.I was strapped to a form of parachute on the deck of a boat.As the boat gathered speed, the line was let out as you rose in the air.I was told, Not to worry if the line breaks, you will just float down into the water."They failed to mention the sharks and conger eels lurking down below!

Of course the wind has been used in other ways.Take, for example, windmills.Some years ago the Abraham Brothers had a nice arrangement in that one owned and operated the local windmill for grinding the grain, whilst the other ran a bakery in those days bread was oven baked.What were often mistaken for windmills on the Norfolk Broads were in fact water pumps.

image023
 

Coming down your way whilst on holiday, I observed a man floating high up at Woolacombe.It was a banana-shaped craft and he was circling around for most of the afternoon.Similarly a man flew up and down near the cliffs at Cromer in Norfolk.I met him later on the pier and asked him if had to learn to fly a hang-glider or have a certificate or something.His reply was, Oh, I dont know about that, I just did it!"

Nowadays in a full circle, the windmill has returned in the form of huge wind turbines.Two hundred feet and more in height, hundreds of them can be seen on and off our shores. I dont know what the neighbours would say if I put one in my front garden!

image024
 

Illustrations by Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

26



THE GOLDEN LIMPET

Another Story for the Young and Young at Heart

You may remember our mermaid Marina who with her friend Peter, the Devon Pixie, rescued a locket from the waters of Combe Martin and returned it to an old lady on her birthday.

Well, Marina was sitting at the water's edge at Broadsands when up popped her friend Mary, another mermaid.

"Hello Mary, I haven't seen you for a long time, where have you been?" chirped Marina.

"Well, I've relatives at Swansea so I've been spending a lot of time over there," replied Mary. "Anyway, I've something to tell you. I called in at King Neptune's Castle - you know, near Lundy Island. He still looks the same, with his long white beard and that long coat made of seaweed and feathers. He was a bit upset and asked if you would go and see him as he felt you might be able to help him."

"I wonder what?" questioned Marina.

The next day she began her long swim to King Neptune's castle. She knew it was a long swim and wondered if she would ever get there. There was no need for her to worry, King Neptune had arranged for seals and dolphins to give her a ride on their backs at intervals along the journey.

In no time at all Marina arrived at the castle, was invited in and was soon talking to the King.


 

"It was those wretched jelly fish, they stole the golden limpet from the top of my throne." he told Marina, "I would like you please to try to get it back. I am asking you because I know you can swim very deep down."

Marina looked puzzled. "Tell me more," she said.

"The jelly fish swam a long way until they accidently dropped the limpet into a deep and large hole in the sea bed just off Heddon's Mouth.

It is said that submarines used to lurk there at times, but I don't know if that is true. Do you think you can help me?"

"If I can have the help of the seals and dolphins again please,"

"Of course you can and good luck!" The king smiled.

The next day Marina started her long swim. Taking rides on the backs of the seals and dolphins, and avoiding the nasty sharks, she eventually arrived at Heddon's Mouth and knew that this would be the deepest dive of her life.

Down, down she went. The water was getting darker and it was harder to breathe.

"But there," she thought, "is a tiny glimmer." She swam towards it and the glimmer got stronger. "That's it!" she said to herself and grabbed the golden limpet in her right hand. Up to the surface she went as quickly as possible.

Two seals were waiting to help her return to the King's castle. At first they kept quite near the shore, passing Hangman's beach, Combe Martin, Broadsands, Watermouth, Hele and heading out towards Lundy Island once they were near Ilfracombe.

Soon she was back at the castle and greeted by the King.

"You are a wonderful mermaid!" he exclaimed, holding the golden limpet in his hand. "It will be put back in its rightful place on the top of the throne as soon as possible. Now my dear, you must get some sleep and I will send you back to Broadsands tomorrow."

The next morning the King told Marina that she would not need the seals or dolphins as there was a special coach waiting for her. eHe h

He led her down the steps of the castle and there it was. A beautiful coach studded with pearls and with ten sea horses to pull it. What a wonderful way to go home and soon she was on her way.

But what a surprise when she arrived back. There was Mary and lots of their mermaid friends, together with Peter the Pixie and some of his friends.

And there on a large flat rock was a banquet for them - oysters, scallops, mussels , winkles, whelks and a seaweed which was Marina's favourite - what a welcome back!

A happier scene it would be hard to imagine.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


 

Illustrations by: Debbie Cook

13



FARMER FENBURY

Back in 1922, on the road to Berry Down, there was a farm called Fenbury. Built of timber, as were the outbuildings, it was occupied by

Ivor Fenbury. He bought the land to the farm, including a large wood, which he let out on the basis that he could have as much time as he needed to build his farm outbuildings.

Once established, he stocked up with a large number of cattle, sheep, chickens, turkey and pigs. It was said that he stole some of his stock from neighbouring farmers and in the case of sheep would shear off any identifying marks.

Ivor Fenbury was also known for upsetting other farmers and would put it around that land of certain farmers had a spell on it so that it would not produce crops, etc. He cunningly did this when there was a drought which caused his victim to lose heart. He would then buy the land by appointing his farm labourer to do so, and at a very low price. It would then be conveyed to him.

In those days people were much more superstitious and inclined to believe stories of ghosts, spells and apparitions.

Fenbury was the only farmer in the area to own a bull. It was called Angus, was very large and completely unmanageable. Despite his lack of goodwill to his neighbouring farmers, they would take their cows up to Fenbury Farm hoping to get one or even two calves in due course. This was usually fruitful.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

One very wet Wednesday afternoon, farmer Jack Bowes drove his two cows up to the farm - it was the custom to drive two as it makes life easier.

Angus did his duty and Jack started off back with his two cows.

He had paid the fee and hoped that would be the last of seeing Fenbury for some time. He was about a hundred yards down the road when he could vaguely hear someone screaming and shouting, but ignored it and went on his way.

The next day when Jack met the postman he was told that Fenbury had been gored to death by Angus.

"I'm not surprised, but what will happen to all his stock?" remarked Jack. The postman shrugged his shoulders and walked on.

Fenbury was buried in his home town of Barnstaple and two weeks later his farm and all the outbuildings were burnt to the ground.

No deed could be found to the farm and so other farmers gradually encroached, having a 'reasonable' portion each. The animals were shared likewise.

Today there is no trace of Fenbury and no longer do people believe that their land can have a spell on it - just as well!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

25



TRAPPED

Recently, I boarded a train to get to a town a few miles away. Sitting opposite was a woman, one of those who immediately want to get into conversation with you - and she did!

"Hello love," she said, "My name is Ruth and I'm on my way to see my sister Mary. I've not been well lately, what with my back playing up and the arthritis. My teeth are troubling me and I'm still getting over the 'flu."

"Have you seen the doctor?" I asked.

"Oh no!" she replied, "I'm too ill to see the doctor."

"When I had the operation for my gall bladder," she continued, "I said to the surgeon, do you know this is my first operation? He replied to me, "Now there's a coincidence." The doctors and dentists wear them masks you know. I think it's so if things go wrong you won't be able to recognise them, but they don't fool me."

I nodded.

"And another thing", she started, "I hate aeroplanes with all that noise. If people want to go in aeroplanes then the noise should be shut in with them, not annoying people on the ground. I read somewhere in the paper that they are going to have traffic lights for aeroplanes - I don't know how that's going to work."


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

I tried not to drop off and put on a slight smile.

She started again. "What rotten weather we've been having. My kitchen got flooded with all that rain. No one would help, I had to do it all on my own. My neighbour is a nasty type, always gossiping and moaning - not like me at all. She won two thousand on the lottery and spent it all on herself. I could have done with a bit of that for my gin cupboard. I only have a half bottle a day, so I don't drink much."

I looked at my watch, not long to go now!

Off she went again, "These trains are so slow, reminds me of the LNER, you know, Late and Never Early Railway. Isn't this country in a state. I hate politics so I vote for the Raving Loony Party, I think they are the most sensible."

"My brother is in prison, you know. He did a bank job. I don't think it was very bad though as he didn't know what to spend the money on, so gave it back to them. I'd 've given it to charity, she is my best friend you know!"

What do you think about all this inflation? When I started work I only got 50p a week. Now they get huge amounts and spend it on all the wrong things. Things are not what they used to be."

"Well", I said, "Here is my station, I must leave you now. Keep smiling." I told her.

Looking as miserable as anyone could, she replied, "I always do, I'm not one to complain."

I alighted from the train and made for the station cafe. Pity they didn't serve anything stronger than a cup of tea - but I made do with that and plenty of sugar!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

5



NINA AND BENJI


 

In March 1920 the gigantic Bronson Circus visited Ilfracombe. The advance party had already erected the big top at Brimlands and the parade made their way through the town. There were elephants, horses, giraffes, dogs, lions, tigers, black panthers, clowns and trapeze artists, all accompanied by a large band, Crowds had gathered along the main street as this was a circus of such size and reputation never before seen in the town.


Performances were arranged for the afternoon and evening and bookings were 'House Full'. On the afternoon of the 14th March, the show was progressing nicely - there had been tight rope walkers and hypnotised crocodiles who would walk to the edge of the ring and stop with their front feet on the ring edge, controlled by their trainer. Trapeze artists flying through the air and being caught in the most frightening manner had followed, as well as a fine display by twelve horses with their bare back riders astride two horses as they galloped around the ring. Dogs did their bit, jumping through flaming hoops and dancing on their hind legs.




 

Whilst bars around the ring were erected in preparation for the lion taming act, the clowns did their bit with the usual throwing buckets of water over each other or losing their trousers only to show the gaudiest of underpants. Now the caged ring was ready and the lions wereput through their paces - jumping through hoops, sitting up on their stands, laying in a row and all rolling over together. At the end, the trainer sat astride a lion much to the delight of the audience who cheered loudly, before they made their way back through the barred tunnel to their cages.


"Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys," shouted the Ringmaster, Mr. Gerry Bronson himself, dressed in a bright outfit complete with tail coat and top hat. "I have for you our latest act of Nina and Benji, two handsome black panthers. And here they are now."


The two panthers entered. Nina was rather fat but Benji was sleek. "Our trainer for these animals is Mr. Harry Black, Mr. Black will you please show yourself."


Walking over to the door to the caged ring, Mr. Black opened the door and stood with his back to the ring whilst acknowledging the applause from the crowd.


Quick as a flash, both animals raced across the ring, leaping on to Mr. Black's back and making their way straight out through the public entrance.


Women and children screamed whilst the Ringmaster and Mr. Black stood aghast, rooted to the spot. Nothing like this had ever happened before and the circus was due to move to its new venue the next day.


The panthers act was the last item on the programme and so the frightened audience made their way, as quickly as they could, to their homes. Mr. Bronson told the Police to ask any local farmers to shoot the panthers on sight, they were very dangerous and likely to attack. The word was soon put round.


Various brief sightings were made and it was thought that the panthers had made their way out in the Hillsborough or Hele direction.


Now we come to several days later when Mr. Frederick Loworthy made his way along the headland at Watermouth Harbour, known as the Warren. He had a powerful shot gun and was looking for rabbits. As he approached a large clump of blackberry bushes, he was suddenly confronted by a huge, black panther. Trembling, he pulled the trigger, but missed and the animal ran off. "I'll get you next time," he muttered to himself. Gingerly, he made his way further along when he spotted it again, down by the water. Creeping closer he took careful aim.


"Bang!" went the gun and the panther, in fright, jumped into the water and started to swim in the direction of Widmouth. Quickly,Mr. Loworthy took aim and this time his shot found its target and killed the animal, its body sinking in the water, later to be washed up on the shore. Upon examination, the body was found to be that of Benji and it was duly buried.


But what happened to Nina has never been known, and it was thought that she was pregnant at the time of her escape. Could she have lived on, giving birth to her young and did they survive?



 

There are alleged reports of large, black beasts being seen in the West Country. Are they connected? Who knows?


Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland



 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


8



THE CINEMA MAN

I came across this advert the other day which read: 'Home Cinema System, blog sonic XYZ + Home Theatre System, complete with 6 speakers including subwoofer £100, etc.', and it brought to mind my time when I lived at Tiptree.

It was not long before I met a Mr. Chick Bright who, on coming out of the services after World War II, was determined to have his own cinema.

Although he ran a temporary cinema at a hall in Tiptree, it was not long before he acquired a bungalow with land at the side suitable for a cinema and enough land at the back for a car park.

Once the plans were passed and the villagers heard about the new project, they were interested enough to want to help with things like digging the footings and even trundling loads of bricks from the station on hand pushed trolleys.

Soon the cinema was near completion. Materials were in short supply and a problem arose regarding how to put a ceiling in. Mrs. Bright came up with a great idea! She went to the local butcher and asked for all the carcass muslin covers which were generally disposed of. She then washed them and sewed them all together, making one huge piece which was suspended over the auditorium and it is still there to this day!

The cinema was called 'The Astoria' and was run by Mr. Bright and his family - mother would be on the ticket kiosk, father would do the projection and the daughters would act as usherettes. Mr. Bright had an Adana printing machine and would do his own posters to display around the village. He also produced

a monthly 16mm version of 'Tiptree News'. On one occasion he climbed the jam factory chimney to show views of what Tiptree looked like 'from the air'.


 

Illustration by: : Paul Swailes

All went well for a while but attendances began to drop due to television becoming available. After a while, Mr. Bright decided that a change had to be made. "I'll turn it into a dance hall", he said. But this was more easily said than done because the floor was raked and would have to be levelled, and the radiators were all at different heights.

However, when this was sorted there were dances on Saturday nights. But sadly, after each dance there was trouble outside, which became a major problem, and so "I'm going to try it as a cinema again," said Mr. Bright.

But of course by now the floor had been levelled and the only thing to do was to raise the screen, at the same time change the format from 4 x 3 to widescreen [cinemascope], achieved by ropes from the projection box. On one occasion a rope dropped down and knocked off a patron's hat!

It was interesting to go into the projection box whilst a show was on. The clatter of the machines was like the noise of a factory, reels were changed every ten minutes and there was a huge, glowing valve kept in a metal box so that if it exploded it would do no harm.

Interval music was provided by a quite ordinary record player and focus was checked by a small pair of binoculars used through one of the projection ports.

Once again attendances dwindled and Mr. Bright had to think again. Fortunately, the cinema had been built with a shop at the front and so Mr. Bright opened it for selling electrical goods. The seats were all cleared from the cinema and it was let for functions and dancing classes.

One day when I was chatting to Mr. Bright, he told me that the BBC were broadcasting 'Workers' Playtime' from there and that he had, for some reason, a direct line to the BBC. He told me when it would be and that I was invited.

Well, I completely forgot all about it until one day when we had the radio on and the announcer said: "This week, Workers' Playtime comes from Tiptree." Without hesitation I rushed around to the cinema where I was welcomed with a "Quick, come in." The stars of the show were the singer Ann Shelton and Cyril Fletcher.

Sadly, Mr. Bright passed on and the cinema sold and the auditorium is now a large white goods and electrical shop. However, if you go in and go to the far end and turn and look back, you can still see the old projection ports.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket.

8



THE CRYSTAL SET

In the '40's and living in Barton Lane when I was about 15, I used to take a magazine called Practical Mechanics. It was an interesting one, telling you how to make things, both mechanical and electrical. It also had some eye-catching adverts!

One of these was for a Crystal [Radio] Set. It claimed: 'No mains, No batteries and we can also supply the necessary headphones. Important! It must have a very good aerial.'

Not being able to resist for long, I decided to send for one.

I was on my way to the Post Office to get the necessary postal order to cover the cost when who should be passing our gate but Captain Adams from On-a-Hill garage. Now, as he had done some radio repairs for the family in the past, I asked him if he had any advice on the subject.

"Well," he said "All I can say is get the best possible aerial. Bell wire would probably do as it is cheap. Try a shop- called Friends by the bus stop in Ilfracombe."

I thanked him and continued on my way to the Post Office. I knew it would be a few days before the crystal set arrived so I took the bus to Ilfracombe the next day. I lost no time in calling in at FRIENDS and they were very helpful.

"Oh, go on, you can have it for nothing", the lady in the shop said as she handed me the remains of a roll of bell wire.

As I sat on the bus travelling back to Berrynarbor, I was trying to think where I should string the aerial. It was just as I was about to open our front gate that a good [as I thought] idea formed in my mind.


 

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

I could get out of my bedroom window on to the lean-to roof. From there I could climb onto the mezzanine roof to the bathroom and from there walk up on to the main roof. I could then walk along the ridge and string the aerial wire around the chimney at each end.

The next day was dry so I carried out the rigging of the bell wire quite regardless of the danger of falling, and how stupid was that.

Within a few days there was a nice little package in the post from London. My crystal set and headphones had arrived and I soon rigged it up in my bedroom. With a little bit of tinkering of the spring loaded crystal on to another crystal, I soon managed to get the BBC Home programme. It was only just audible but by putting the phones in an enamel washing up bowl, the reception was amplified slightly and it was not too bad.

I soon found out what the next dangerous thing was! That was going to sleep with the headphones on only to wake up and find the wire twisted around my neck. Do I need to say, "Don't do these things at home!"

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

22



THE MUSIC MAN

As life has progressed, I have always been interested in what other people have done and achieved. Recently I have been in touch with Ted Manley, who I have known for the past 70 years.

I first remembered Ted's music when he was in a school concert. He sat on the stage at the Grammar School in his short trousers and wearing wire rimmed glasses playing the accordion. He could not have been more than 11 or 12. His music was already exceptional.

While still at school, Ted would play his accordion for the American soldiers. Down near the pier, if they wrote 'In the Mood' on the back of a ten shilling note [50p] and handed it to him, Ted would oblige! His takings were very good and his mother would pay them into the bank for him.

When Ted left school he formed a dance band which played at first at a hall on the pier and later at the Victoria Pavilion. His cousin, Pat Annett, played the piano and also in the band were 'Dixie' Dale, Vic Knock and Max Farman. With two pianos, the band was similar to that of Victor Silvester. It soon occurred to Ted that after the dances people would need transport home, there were no buses running at that time of night. 'I've got it,' he thought, and so he followed up his playing with a taxi service! For him a very long evening but he was never afraid of hard work.

When not involved with his music, Ted loved boats and kept them at Watermouth Harbour. He was a keen fisherman and knew how to enjoy his leisure.

He broadcast twice - once at Plymouth with Eddie Purkiss and his band and later at the Holiday Inn.

Ted plays six instruments - and even more when he worked for a while in a shop in Barnstaple. He was also a demonstrator for Hammond Organs. Although taught for a while by a Miss Smith, his music is basically self-taught.


 

Ted and his wife, Jean, were married at St. Philip and St. James Church Ilfracombe in 1951 and the photograph shows the archway of musical instruments as they left the church. Ted and Jean have two children, Julie and Spencer and several grandchildren.

Ted, and his band played all over Devon and I remember at the Lee Bay Hotel that he also did the 'calling', instructing the dancers on the steps they should be making - very helpful.

Retired now for three years, Ted and Jean are living at Ross-on-Wye.

On behalf of all those people to whom you have given so much pleasure, may I say 'a big thank you, Ted, you have done a fine job.'

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

8



WHAT A PUSH!

It Was a Saturday morning and our evacuees, Dave Brook and Tom Clark were at Dave's cottage up Hagginton Hill, meeting as usual to decide what to do over the week-end.

"Have you heard about the silver mine at Combe Martin? Dave suggested.

"No, what about it? Where is it then?"

Dave appeared to have done a little homework on the silver mine which he had gained from the school library.

"We could go there tomorrow" the boys chirped in unison. So that was decided upon.

Next morning, as arranged, they met up with their bikes at Berrynarbor Corner.

"Right," said Dave, "It's off to Combe Martin!"

"Well, that's OK because it's down hill all the way," Tom replied.

"You may think so, but you might be in for a surprise!" Dave smiled.

Once down in Combe Martin, they pedalled half way up the main street and came to Shute Lane.

"This is where we turn off," Dave said, and they both dismounted and began the long push. Tom shook his head and remarked,

"Do you remember at school during Assembly the headmaster - possibly due to a near mishap - warned pupils not to cycle down Oxford Grove? Whereupon some wag at the back of the hall quipped 'They ought not to cycle up it either.' Well, this hill reminds me of Oxford Grove."

At last the lane levelled off and they turned right towards the site of the silver mine.

"Look!" said Dave, "That's the old smelting works, or what's left of it."

Coming closer to the building they spotted a large heap of spoil. Tom was very impressed and looking to see if anyone was about, they started sorting through the ore.

"I've found a bit with silver in it!" Dave shouted.

"So have I!" Tom replied.

The lads found several bits with what appeared to be silver and then remounted their bikes for the long journey home.

That evening both told their surprised mothers of their treasured finds found at the old silver mine.

Perhaps some day an entrepreneur will explore the possibility of opening a part of the mine for people to see. However, it is said that the tunnels which run under Combe Martin are flooded, so maybe that will not happen.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

Tony is obviously unaware of the Combe Martin Silver Mines Research and Preservation group, and I hope that one of the group will submit a short article about their work for the December issue of the Newsletter.

Ed.

12



MUST GET SOME WHEELS!

Most young people when they reach their late teens want to get mobile. In my case, due to financial restrictions, I was not able to afford an old banger, like my contemporaries, so I had to look elsewhere. Electric bicycles were not invented but there came on the market what were called 'clip ons'. These 'clip ons' were engines that were fitted to ordinary bicycles.

If I remember correctly, the first was the mini motor. This was a complete motor with a built in petrol tank that fitted over the rear wheel. It had a cable to the handle bars where there was a grip which when pulled into place clicked so as to hold the engine with its roller down on the back tyre. In wet weather, the roller was inclined to slip and it was hard wearing on the tyre.

Other versions were the Cyclemaster which had the engine built into the back wheel, thus avoiding wear and tear on the tyre. Then there was the Velocette or Velo Solo which fitted on the front. I think this had the roller type drive. So far, they were all two-stroke engines requiring a mixture of petrol and oil. Speeds were roughly up to about 30 miles per hour - you had to have a speedometer! The Cucciolo was made by the Italian firm Ducati - I believe cucciolo is Italian for 'little pup'. The Lohan was diesel and fitted like the Cucciolo.

I soon exchanged my mini motor for the Cucciolo. This was a superby 4-stroke machine which fitted below where the pedals usually were. It had its own free wheel built in and two pre-elected gears. The engine was cast in aluminium and had an oil sump which took about a pint of oil. I was very pleased with this but was soon wanting more speed! The answer came to me if I had a fixed wheel sprocket on the back wheel, then I could have a 3-speed Sturmey Archer on it. with gears 1 and 2 on the engine and the three gears on the back, it made all the

difference. So 6 gears in all and I could climb any hill or alternatively go up to 40 miles per hour! With no special springing and only bicycle brakes, I was playing with danger. Eventually, due I think to shock inertia, the cycle frame broke, although it was repaired with a slide on piece of tube welded in place.

I must mention that to use any of the 'clip ons' you had to take a motor cycle test and had to display 'L' plates until you passed. The licence was about 17 shillings [85p] and insurance about £2.

On having a word with a collector of these 'clip ons', I learned that they are now worth up to £3,000 depending on the make and condition, etc.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland


 
 

10



MARK MY WORDS . . . A GRUESOME TALE!

Gary Foster was a likeable chap who lived in the town of Chestham. Of neat appearance and of a public spirited nature, his hair was always in place and he always wore a sports jacket, flannel trousers and collar and tie. Gary was of an age when his parents had passed on and the only remaining relative was a very elderly aunt called Gladys, who had outlived other members of her family. Gary had taken it upon himself to visit her in the residential home, Eventide, which was not far away also in Chestham.

He would take Gladys a bunch of flowers, chocolates or some other little treat to try to brighten up her life. Although usually clear headed about what was going on, Gladys would some times make remarks which could not possibly be true.

On one of Gary's visits she told him that Fred had called and they had had a very pleasant chat. Gary knew this was not possible, Uncle Fred had died two years previously.

On another occasion, Gladys related to him that late at night, when she looked out, two men were on the back lawn, there was a shot and one man seemed to be dragging the other in the direction of the summer house. But it was so dark she couldn't really be sure.

On a visit about a week later, Gary was greeted at the front door of the home by Mrs. Weeks, the Matron.

"Could I have a word please, Matron?" Gary asked.

"Of course," she replied, "In what way can I help?"

"Well, Aunt Gladys told me a strange story about two men and a gun out in the back garden, which seems highly improbable."

Matron smiled, "Oh, that one!" she said, "She has also told that story to her doctor and the best thing to do is to say, 'yes, yes, yes' and go along with it."

"Right ho, I'll do just that."

The matter was not mentioned again.

Two years later, the betting shop next door-but-one to Eventide had been shut up for over a week without even a notice on the door giving the reason why. The proprietor, Frank Gale, was a man known for his bad temper and heart problems.

Several people called at Chestham police station complaining about the closure, so Inspector Channing decided they would have to investigate. The front door was broken down and the police went in and through to the back room. There, sitting in a chair, was Frank Gale and it was obvious he had been dead for some time.

"Whilst we're here, I think we'll have a good look round," remarked Inspector Channing.


 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

On opening a drawer in a desk a revolver and a number of diaries going back over several years were found. Flicking through the diaries, the Inspector came across an entry for a couple of years back which read:

'Dealt with Fred Bell.' He showed it to one of his constables, saying "We'd better make some local enquiries."

Gradually things began to fit together and upon visiting the home, Aunt Gladys's story, retold by the Matron, the Doctor and Gary tied up. It seemed that Fred Bell had owed the betting shop a lot of money.

On examining the summer house at the home, the remains of Fred bell were found underneath together with the bullet that corresponded with the revolver.

Problem solved - what a pity they didn't believe Aunty Gladys!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland

20



WEIGHT

I have to get rid of this weight!
But I do like lots on my plate!
I'm sure that its all the fattening things
That round my middle a tyre brings!
What shall I do to drop it?
I love sweet things, I can't stop it!
I've seen the stars try to get thin
And get fat again - oh, what a sin.
Lots of people have good advice
They think they are being nice. [Huh!]
I'll think while I gobble this bun
Just how to tackle the problem, head on.
But eating gives so much pleasure,
The more, the better the measure.
I really must give this some thought
Yes, I must, I really ought!
Some say, 'T'is will power, you know.'
So, I think I had better give it a go.
For breakfast it's down to one slice,
And eat it real slow.
For dinner, don't eat like a horse,
Try having just one course.
For tea, a sandwich lace thin,
Will begin to help me win.
Now the fat's dropping off,
And I am losing that nasty cough,
And no more a great double chin.
Now the weight's off I feel so good,
I'm even resisting that very last pud!
For a shadow I stand in the same place twice,
And quite enjoy that small bowl of rice! [I wish!]

 

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland

31



A SAFE PLACE

You will remember our evacuee friends Dave and Tom. It was a Saturday morning and Tom had got up early to spend the day with his friend Dave. His mother didn't know what time he'd be back but she knew it would probably be late and was bound to come home when he was hungry.

Sitting in Dave's cottage's front room, the boys chatted about what to do for the day.

"We could go up to the Vicarage and get some rooks' eggs," said Tom.

"Yeah, but the Vicar is always about and might see us up those tall trees," came the reply.

"What about the beach? Oh no, the tide will be out, so that's off."

At that moment there was a knock on the door and in came Mr. Braund who lived two doors away.

"Hello boys, what are you doing today/"

"We haven't decided" said the boys in chorus.

"Well, I've got a business trip to Exeter and there are two empty seats if you would like to come with me. You could have a good look around Exeter and we could meet later, say 3 o'clock at the cafe in Station Road, to come home."

To ride in a car in war time was a luxury, the general ways of transport were to walk, cycle or go by bus, so the boys jumped at the chance. Mr. Braund told them he'd be back in quarter of an hour to collect them.

In those days there were no motorways and many of the roads were narrow and winding, or both. It was a fine sunny morning as the three set off towards Barnstaple.

"I must tell you this," Mr. Braund said, "There were fourteen bombs dropped in fields near Mortehoe and fortunately no one was hurt. Did you know that a German pilot mistook Chivenor for Holland and landed there? Realising his mistake, he tried to return to his plane but was caught. The R.A.F. had a complete German aircraft."

After Barnstaple, Chumleigh, Lapford and Crediton and the boys were surprised when they got to Exeter how quickly the journey had passed.

"I'll leave you here and see you later at the cafe as arranged," said Mr. Braund as he stopped the car. "Off you go!"

Getting out of the car, the boys stood there with their mouths wide open. They were right in the centre of Exeter. There were spaces where shops had been; there were buildings where the side walls had been taken out, leaving the rooms in full view, still with furniture in them. The bombing of the city had been very severe. As they walked around, Tom and Dave found enormous devastation almost everywhere.

Presently a policeman came their way, and stopping said, "Hello boys, what are you looking at?"

"Well," replied Tom, "We live in Berrynarbor near Combe Martin and we've never seen anything like this."

"You're a couple of lucky lads then," said the policeman as he walked on.

As arranged the lads met up with Mr. Braund in the cafe, where he had parked the car outside. Before starting their journey home, they all had a cup of tea and a biscuit.

"We haven't really seen anything much about the war until today," remarked Dave to Mr. Braund on the way back. "Although there were incendiary bombs and a couple of high explosive bombs dropped on the Hangman Hills. There may have been a couple of cows killed, I think."

When they got back to Berrynarbor, Mr. Braund dropped them off at Dave's home saying, "I think you have learnt something today."

"We certainly have," the boys agreed.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

With the kind help of Ray Easterbrook

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

18



THE BEST PRESENT

Jack and May Bryant were living in Berrynarbor in 1936 and had a five-year-old daughter, June. A pretty little girl and popular with the other children in the village, she attended the school and was liked by the teachers who were always pleased with her response to their lessons.

June had always wanted a kitten and one day her father came home cuddling a pretty little bundle of fluff.

"What are we going to call her?" June's mother asked.

"Let's just call her Fluff", chirped June.

"What a good idea," her father agreed. So they were all happy.

Over the months, Fluff became a lovely Persian fully grown cat and every night would sleep at the foot of June's bed. Sadly, on the night of Christmas Eve, Fluff didn't come in.

June began to cry, "Where, of where is my darling Fluff?" she sobbed. Her parents were equally upset, not only for the missing pet but to see June crying so. They all went to bed with tears in their eyes.

At about two o'clock on Christmas morning, Jack was awakened by a curious clinking sound. It was a moonlit night and as he looked out he could just make out a cat limping up the front garden path. "It's got to be Fluff" he thought to himself as he opened the door.

Sure enough it was Fluff! The clinking noise was due to a wire snare used for catching rabbits which was attached to Fluff's left back leg. Somehow she had managed to pull the peg out of the ground and get home.

"You poor thing", Jack whispered, as he picked her up and put her on the kitchen table, loosening the snare which he then cut with pliers.

Fortunately, the snare had only caused a cut and Fluff's leg was not broken. He bandaged the leg and carried her up to June's room, laying her on the bed.

Jack and May were awakened early by a very excited June. "She's back, she's back, isn't it wonderful?"

June cried. More tears, but this time tears of joy. That night as June said her prayers, she gave thanks for the

best Christmas she ever had - it was for her parents too!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowupland

13



THE REWARD

Our two evacuee friends, Dave Brooks from Goosewell and Tom Clark from Barton Lane, had decided that at the week-end, on Saturday afternoon, they would cycle to Ilfracombe.

"We could have a look at the Tunnels Beaches," suggested Tom.

"What a good idea," Dave replied.

They met at the bottom of Hagginton Hill just after 2 o'clock to start their journey. Chatting, they passed Watermouth Caves and Castle.

"Where shall we leave our bikes?" enquired Dave.

"How about down at the Police Station at the bottom of Northfield Road," was the reply.

They were soon at Ilfracombe and enquired of the duty sergeant if it would be all right to leave their bike. "Yes, of course you can," replied the rather portly, red-faced and smiling policeman. That settled, off they went towards the Tunnels Beaches.

"It's rather amazing that Welsh miners cut these tunnels, and look you can see the pick axe marks," said Dave, "It must have taken them ages too."

Coming to a suitable beach, they decided to sit down. It was a warm afternoon and there were families sunning themselves and enjoying a paddle or swim in the pools created with the retaining walls.

"Do you know that mixed bathing was not allowed here many years ago? What's more, a man was employed to blow a bugle should he see any hanky panky going on, such as a man ogling at the women," Dave told Tom.

"You seem to know everything!" replied Tom.

"Well, I'm a teenager, aren't I?" came the reply.

The two boys were soon paddling to cool their feet when Tom spotted something at the water's edge.

"Look, it's a brooch. It's bit like one of my mum's, it's a cameo," said Tom as he picked it up. He put it in his pocket and they carried on paddling.

Dave suddenly turned to Tom and suggested that when they went back for their bikes, they could hand it in at the Police Station.

The afternoon began to turn cooler and before long it was time to make their way back to collect the bikes. The same sergeant was still on duty and quite delighted when the boys showed him what they had found.

"That brooch belongs to Lady Felbrigg up at St. Brannocks Grange. Do you know where that is?"

"Yes, we do," said both boys together.

"Then you shall take it back to her." The sergeant beamed.

Off they went not knowing quite what reception they would receive from her ladyship. They rang the door bell, which was soon answered by the maid. "Wait here please while I tell my Lady," she said, looking rather puzzled at what the boys told her.

"My brooch, my lost brooch, come on in," called Lady Felbrigg. "Do sit down, you must try some of my elderberry wine."

Neither of the boys knew of any such thing, but as it sounded rather good they thought they would give it a try.

Soon, each had consumed rather a large glass, and as they left thanking Lady Felbrigg for her hospitality, they both felt decidedly squiffy. They rode back and were on their way to the coastguard cottages when they spied a haystack.

"My head's swimming," Tom groaned.

"So's mine and I feel awful sleepy," was the slurred reply. So it was agreed that they rest under the haystack and before too long, they were fast asleep.

Waking up first, Dave groaned, "Heck, I don't think I'll try that again."

"We'd better get back," moaned Tom.

When they got home, both boys told their mothers that they didn't feel well and were going straight to bed.

"I know you won't tell me, but I bet you've been up to no good," said Tom's mum, whilst Dave's mum said his breath smelt and she hoped he would not be so silly as to try anything strong at his age.

"Me? Hic, of course not, hic."

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

20



IF I WERE A TREE . . .

There would be an up side and a down side to being a tree.

Firstly, the up side. How lovely to grow beautiful branches spreading out towards the sky. Foliage which people could admire; even blossom and a place where birds could nest and bring up their young. Picture it now with those little beaks opening as soon as the parents arrive with food. A tree could be part of an avenue or like a huge oak in park lands. Trees are usually beautiful and loved by most people.

Now secondly, let us think about the down side and please don't mention dogs! It is what is going on below ground.

Those uncontrollable roots, growing and travelling where no eye can see. Forward across boundaries, into drains, disrupting water mains, rucking up footpaths and deeper down, damaging house footings. And, when discovered, along come the men with their chain saws and shredders. You could end up as a lorry load of chips and a few logs - even the latter are split, what a nasty end!


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

No, fortunately, I am a dandelion standing here in a crevice in a garden path. I am upright with my yellow hair, just minding my own business. What's this, someone is coming? What have they got in their hand? I can see on the spray can, 'kills all weeds and roots', what shall I do? Oh, oh, oh . . .

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

29



ANOTHER ADVENTURE

Our wartime evacuee friends, Dave from Goosewell and Tom from Barton Lane, spent a lot of the school holidays mucking around together. One day, as they sat chatting on the seat in the village, they hit on the idea of building a raft.

"All we'd need are a couple of five-gallon drums," Dave pondered, "And a couple of long pieces of wood."

"You strap the drums each end and have a few bits of wood to sit on in the middle," Tom added, scratching his head and stroking his chin, while wondering where they could get the drums. "I know!" he started, "Napps Wood dump, on the old coast road."

"Come on, let's go now!" Dave replied, and off they went.

They soon arrived at the dump where they were able to find two suitable oil drums, complete with stoppers. They then took them up to the lime kiln, hid them by covering them up with leaves, ready for collecting later.

Losing no time, they soon found some drift wood on the beach and knocked up what they thought to be their one-person craft to paddle about on.

When next the boys communicated with semaphore across the Valley, they arranged to carry the raft up to the kiln, collect the drums and take it all down to Broadsands.

After precariously carrying their raft down the many steps to the beach, they found the tide to be high, but going out.

"You go first." Dave said to Tom.

"OK, I'll give it a try", was the reply, and they placed the raft at the water's edge, but Tom suddenly noticed that he had no paddle. "That bit of wood over there will do," he thought, and picked it up. Soon he was sitting on the raft and pointing out to sea.

"It doesn't seem very stable," he muttered to himself. "Whoops!" he cried as it capsized and threw him into the water, up to his middle.

Illustratations by: Paul Swailes

Wading ashore he called to Dave that it wasn't going to work. "Hey, it's drifting out, we'll lose it if we're not careful!"

Tom looked a bit glum, "Then we'll have to lose it, 'cos I'm wet enough already."

As the raft drifted out to sea, they decided to abandon ship.

"Got any money?" enquired Tom.

"Yeh, a bit," was the reply.

"Then let's go to Combe Martin and get some fish and chips."

"Good idea."

As they walked to Combe Martin Tom's clothes began to dry out and they agreed that their raft project had been both stupid and dangerous and they wouldn't try it again.

As they approached the shop, a lovely smell of fish and chips wafted towards them. Two pieces of rock eel were ordered, together with a penny worth of chips.

Thoroughly enjoying eating their food from the newspaper wrapping, they made their way back to a seat in the car park.

"We've just about enough money to get home by bus," said Tom.

"Well, to Berrynarbor Corner, anyway," chipped in Dave.

They got the bus and parted at the Corner to make their own ways back. As each arrived home, and almost in synchronisation, they enquired, "What's to eat?"

"I'm more interested in why you've a piece of seaweed sticking out of your pocket?" was Tom's mother's comment.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

10



TO PARK, OR NOT TO PARK, THAT IS THE QUESTION!

Talk of car parking charges going up , yet again, reminded me of the following story. Many years ago when parking cost 6d [21/2p], I saw a sign outside a car park which said "Pay as you Enter". I duly put my sixpence in the box and entered. Alas, on driving around the car park there was not one free space. Being rather annoyed, I drove my car some distance away and parked very inconveniently behind a friend's shop. As I walked back into town I thought, "Why should they get away with it? I'll call at the Town Hall." This I did and spoke to the man behind the counter. "Can I help you?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "I have just put sixpence in the box at your car park and there were no spaces available. This is a breach of contract and I should like my money back."

I could read his mind which said: "We've got a right one here!"

Anyway, he reached into his pocket and took out a sixpence which he handed to me. I thought: "Heck, now the council's employees have to pay for the mistakes of others."

About two weeks later I had reason to go to the same car park. Cautiously I parked first intending to go back and feed their meter. Reaching in to my pocket, I found that I had no small change. "Better go to the nearest shop and get some," I thought. Which is what I did, but upon my return to the car, I saw a nasty ticket under the wiper. I read the note and decided to go to the Town Hall right away. Yes, you've guessed it! It was Mr. "What can I do for you", the very same man.

I explained what had happened to which re smiled and said, "Well, we'll overlook it this time."

I shook him by the hand and thanked him for being so considerate.

When I got home, I told my wife about the event before asking "By the way, what's for tea?" "How about a large slice of humble pie," was her reply.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

25



THE EVACUEES - DAVE AND TOM

Crime Stoppers

Keith Meldrew was a bit of a loner. People in the village thought he might be to blame for when things 'went missing', but never had any proof. However, in December 1942 there was a certain amount of stealing going on. It was on a small scale - things like vegetables, mud-scrapers from outside people's front doors, and even children's toys left outside in error. Something had to be done! And it was, in a roundabout and amusing way.

You may remember that for his prize for the best boat, Dave gave Tom one of his slowworms, but Tom was ticked off by his mother and told to get rid of it 'straight away'! However, Dave still collected a few at times and would take them to school to sell - a little bit of extra pocket money.

One evening, Dave and his mother were sitting in front of their coal fire at their cottage at Goosewell. Dave had managed to collect three slowworms, which he had put in a tin on the windowsill.

"I'll take them to school tomorrow", he said. But the next morning, when he was about to leave for school and he went to pick them up, the tin had gone!

The strange thing was that in the middle of the night, both Dave and his mother thought they had heard a loud yell and footsteps disappearing into the night.

"I didn't fasten the window last night, and someone must have taken it," said his mum.

On his way down Hagginton Hill, Dave met another lad from school.

"I had my slowworms pinched last night," he told him, "Did you hear or see anything?"

"Yes, I did," replied his friend, "there was someone shouting 'adder, adder, adder!'" Just then, Dave saw something shining, "Look, there is my tin and there is the lid," he said as he picked them up. There was no sign of the slowworms and the two boys continued on their way to school.

A week later and across the valley, Tom and his mother sat warming themselves by their coal fire. They hadn't bothered to put the lights on, nor pull the curtains, because of the 'black out'. The window to the left of the fireplace had a stay which often jammed and for this reason it was mostly left slightly ajar. As they sat there in the dim light, a hand came through the gap and was trying to unlatch the stay.

Tom's mother, who had been dressmaking, had left her very sharp scissors on the little table beside her. Silently she picked up the scissors and carefully took hold of the sleeve on the arm protruding through the window. Gently, she cut off about an inch from the sleeve to about half-way round. With the last snip of her scissors, the hand was suddenly withdrawn. She sat down again, with the piece of cloth in her hand. "That will teach whoever it is not to do that again!" she said to herself.

Meeting a few days later in the village shop, the two mothers were talking about how the mini crime wave had stopped. "What would you do", said Dave's mother, "If you caught the villain? I'd give him a cuff or at least a bit of a cuff!" was the reply. "And what would you do? I wouldn't adder a thing to what you say." The two mothers laughed and went on their way.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

16



THE BLINK

Combe Martin of many years ago was very different to how we know it today. In the earlier part of the last century, it had a number of fishing boats of the sailing type; there was the exporting of strawberries; many roads were unmade and Seaside Hill was narrower as the project of widening the footpath overhanging the beach had not been carried out.

One morning in November 1918, two brothers, Harry and Brian, set off from their home opposite the Church, walking the length of the High Street and stopping on Seaside Hill for a rest.

The area was shrouded in mist and cloud and when they cast their eyes over to Lester Point, it was one of those days when you can see the top and bottom of Little Hangman, but not the bit in between.

The other people about all witnessed what happened next.

Suddenly there was a slight tremor, a rumbling and a roar started to build up and everyone's attention was drawn to the Camel's Head. Because of the mist, it was only just visible.

"Look at that!" people called out in unison. "The camel seemed to blink its eye." "It couldn't have done," said another.

Following this event, a Mrs. Gladys Jones of Combe Martin wrote to her sister in Barnstaple.

'Dear Jane', it read, 'You won't believe this although a lot of people will tell you the same thing. The other day it definitely looked as if the Camel blinked.' The letter went on to talk about other, domestic matters.

The letter was held for many years by the late Colonel Brian Chambers of Barnstaple, a long time museum curator.

What was curious was that the 'blink' happened at 11 o'clock on the eleventh day of November 1918 - the end of World War I.

Now we move on to 1945.

Two sisters, Elizabeth and Joan, were ambling their way up Seaside Hill. Again it was one of those days of mist and cloud. They stopped for the customary taking in of the general scene, as were other people.

Just as there had been all those years earlier, there was this sudden tremor, roar and rumble - a difficult thing to describe. All eyes turned in the direction of Camel's Head, and together they witnessed what seemed to be a blink of the Camel's eye. A strange and almost frightening experience!

Everyone began exchanging views on what they believed they had seen and of course some exaggerated the matter as they related it in the local pubs, probably getting a free pint for their trouble.

As the two sisters made their way home, they passed a house where the window was open and the radio was on and could be heard quite clearly. The news was on and a voice told the nation that 'Today at 3.00 p.m. on the 8th of May 1945, the war with Germany has ended. A speech will follow by the Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill.'

"That must have been about the time we thought we saw the Camel blink," said Elizabeth to Joan.

What do you think? There was no particular rubble found below the Camel's Head, by way of falling rocks which might have caused the 'roar.

There was a small insertion in the national press at the time. Theories have been put forward but no real nor satisfactory answer has been found. What do you think?

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

29



THE EVACUEES - DAVE & TOM

Part IV - Boats & Semaphore

It was one late summer week-end in 1943 that our evacuee friends were chatting at the cottage at Goosewell.

"Got any ideas about what we should do over the week-end?" said Tom to Dave.

Dave's eyes lit up, "Yes," he said, "Come down the road to where `there is a field gate on your left, I want to show you something. It's before you get to East Hagginton Farm." So, they got up and off they went.

Once down the road, they opened the gate and Dave said, "Look to your left."

"I can't see what you mean," replied Tom, looking puzzled.

"Well, if you look carefully, it looks as though there has been an old, shallow quarry there at one time. Although there is short grass on it, because the sheep have munched it that way, it would scrape clear and when it rains we could have quite a nice, safe, shallow pond."

Tom still looked puzzled. "Yes, but why do we need a pond?" he muttered a little impatiently.

"For our boat competition." Dave smiled and went on to explain the idea. "Each of us should make a little wooden boat, say six inches long, and the one which sailed the best would be the winner!" Dave was definitely the best at wood carving and felt confident that he would win.

"I can probably cadge a spade, fork and rake from our next door neighbour. That should be all we need, and I don't suppose the farmer will mind what we do, as his sheep will be able to drink from the pond."

They borrowed the tools and went back to start clearing the grass away to make ready for the expected rain to fill it. They broke a prong off the rake - about which the owner was not very happy!

The following week-end Dave found some bits of wood and started carving perfect little hulls for his boats.

The sails were just one piece of stout paper, pierced with a mast made from a butcher's skewer. All he needed for the rudder was a thin shaped piece of aluminium, cut with his mother's scissors, and fastened to the bottom of the boat with a long pin.

Tom, on the other hand, searched and searched to find some suitable wood to make his couple of boats. Eventually he hit on the idea of using some wooden plant tags which he found in the garden shed. Hardly cutting the plant tags to any real boat shape, he finished the rest in much the same way as Dave.

As predicted, a couple of weeks later it rained and the area they had cleared flooded to a nice depth of about six to eight inches. Dave had a look and being satisfied, called round to tell Tom.

"Got your boats made?" he enquired. Tom said he had and off they set to try them.

They both launched their boats at the same time, and what happened?

Well, Dave's, though perfect in appearance went anywhere but straight across. Tom's, on the other hand, rickety and badly made, sailed right to the other side without a problem.

"You've won," conceded Dave.

"Well, where's the prize?!" joked Tom, pleased with his own efforts.

Thinking for a moment, Dave generously declared, "I'll give you one of my slowworms."

So off went Tom proudly with his prize in a jam jar.

"You can get rid of that straight away!" exclaimed his mother.

Our two evacuee friends had now become good wartime friends but communication between their two homes was difficult, with one of them in the cottage at Goosewell and the other in Barton Lane.

One day they were talking about things in general when Dave suddenly announced, "I think I've got a good idea. Have you ever heard of semaphore?"

"What the heck's that?" came the reply.

Dave explained. "People wave two flags at each other in such a way that they can communicate. It's a bit like Morse code and I think there's a book at home which explains it."

"Well " said Dave, "If you find out about it and we learn it, you could signal me across the valley from the stone stile up Hagginton, and I could reply from our terrace. If we made quite large flags, we ought to be able to see each other more easily." The book was found and both boys duly learned their semaphore code.

A day and time was arranged for them to take up their respective positions. It worked! On the first 'chat', it was arranged that Tom should call at Dave's cottage that afternoon to go scrumping. A bit naughty true, but then what's what young lads did in those days.

By half-two, Tom was at Dave's.

"What are you two up to today?" enquired Dave's mum.

"Oh, we'll just wander around and muck about" they told her.

"Well, off you go then" she said in a doubtful tone, knowing that there was probably mischief in the air.

They made their way down to a nearby farm where Dave knew there was an orchard with some choice fruit. "Look at this", he called to Tom. "They've got a fig tree." The figs were plump and tasty and both boys ate far too many, as well as a quantity of juicy apples.

Being rather greedy, they wanted more. So, tucking their trousers into their socks, they filled their trousers with apples.

"Listen, I think someone's coming", whispered Tom. "We'd better get out of here." By pulling their trousers out of their socks they released the apples, and ran.

That evening, surprise, surprise, both boys complained of tummy ache. Mum's are not that daft and the lads didn't get much sympathy!

 

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

12



THE EVACUEES - DAVE & TOM

Part III

Continuing the adventures of our two evacuee friends during World War II.

Up at the cottage at Goosewell, Mary, Dave's mother, shook the covers on his bed. "Come on, Dave, I want you to go to Miss Cooper's."

"Who's Miss Cooper?" muttered Dave sleepily, opening his eyes slowly.

"It's the Berrynarbor village shop, you chump," his mother replied. "Take the ration books and get me some sugar and butter please."

Dave dressed and had his breakfast and got his bike out of the shed. He was just about to cycle off when, "Hold on a minute," his mum called, "You'll need your raincoat."

"Can't remember where I left it," replied Dave, it was his standard answer. He threw down his bike and went indoors to look. It took a while before he uncovered it under the usual pile of clothes in his bedroom. Meanwhile, although it had been raining hard, it had now eased up. He made his way along the road to the top of Hagginton Hill, gathering speed as he reached the steepest part near the bottom. As he did so, he pulled on his brakes, turning the bend to see a broken down tractor and trailer completely blocking the road.

He tried his brakes again, but to no avail. He was finding it hard to balance by now, as his wheels slid sideways on some loose stones. Harder and harder he pulled and at last the brakes began to bite. Suddenly, he managed to veer to the left and pulled up at the bottom of Pitt Hill.

"Phew, that was a close one!" he whispered to himself as he mopped his brow. Taking a deep breath, he began to push his bike up the hill to Miss Cooper's shop, where he leant it against the wall.

"Sorry, we are out of butter and sugar until the next delivery", the lady in the shop told him. As he left, who should he bump into but his friend Tom.

"What are you doing today?" enquired Tom.

"Well, nothing now. They haven't got what I came for. What about going down to Broadsands", replied Dave. So that was settled and off they went.

Climbing down to the beach was not too hard until they got to the last few feet of shale. The tide was in and the sun was shining and the water looked very inviting. They sat down and began, as boys do, to throw stones.

"Bet I can bounce a stone further than you!" said Tom.

"You're on!" was the reply and the contest began. Each of them bounced stones up to seven times, but

that seemed to be the limit. "You know what, the water is lovely and warm," Dave remarked as he dipped his hand in. "Wouldn't mind a swim but we haven't got our trunks." "Why not our underpants?" suggested Tom and so that was decided upon and into the water they dashed.

As they walked up the beach after their swim, Tom suddenly yelled as a rowing boat appeared between the island and the beach, "Watch out, Ian Cropper's coming in his boat!" Cropper was known for

his bad temper and getting into scraps in Combe Martin.

"I'll get you lot!", he shouted as he quickly landed his boat. At that, Tom and Dave grabbed their

clothes, putting them on over their wet underpants and running to the bottom of the cliff, as for no apparent reason, other than his bad temper, Cropper started throwing stones at them.

The boys discovered new energies as they scrambled up the cliff. Cropper was now enjoying their discomfort, each one getting a gash as they were struck. Once out of range and with bravado they jeered back. It was not long before they were back up on the old coast road and each lad making his way home.

"Did you get my sugar and butter?" Dave's mother asked him when he got back. "Sorry, they hadn't got any," said Dave as he handed back the ration book. "Got any elastoplast?"

"What's that gash on your leg?" enquired Tom's mother as he arrived home. "I think I caught it on a stone", was the reply.

"Oh boys!" she muttered quietly, as she went to the kitchen to get him something to eat.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

11



REYNARD

I know I run the risk of criticism as soon as I mention foxes. I understand that people either love them or loathe them. The rural fox has been blamed for the killing of lambs and chickens. I can understand this, for a fox raided my mother's chickens at Upminster where we lived at the time. It killed ten hens and three ducks and not only were there carcasses in our back garden, but some were strewn around next door.

Now, the fox has realised that it can have an easier life by moving into suburbia and living out of dustbin bags, food put out for birds or food put out by sympathisers. Good note for gardeners, they also eat slugs and snails.

Being a canine, the fox is very dog-like in its ways. It sits exactly like any other dog and its ways of moving into areas or even premises are fairly dog-like as I can reveal.

At Mortehoe, a friend of mine who lived on a farm was in the habit of leaving the back door open. One day, upon returning home, he found to his surprise, a fox curled up in his armchair. I don't know if it left any little friends behind as it was shooed outside!

Some time ago, whilst walking the dog, I spotted a fox some yards away. At one point it would run on ahead and then stop. Then it would repeat the actions until it disappeared down someone's sideway.

One winter in daylight, upon looking out into our back garden I saw a fox sitting there looking at me. Presently it was off, over the six foot fence quicker and easier than any cat! I could still see it in the neighbour's garden for a while before it disappeared completely.

Here, at our bungalow, we are visited by three foxes. We know there are three as one has one ear up and the other down; number two is smaller and probably a vixen; the last is larger and probably a dog.

Now this is where we are a bit naughty! In the evening we put food scraps in a bowl and put it immediately outside the French doors of our sitting room. Despite the curtains being wide open, the lights on and the TV going, our foxes visit us for a feed. We watch them from a distance of about eight feet.

They suddenly appear as if from nowhere and stand looking at us, first right and then left, then they get on with their food. They are very nervous and easily frightened by car noises, gusts of wind, fireworks, etc.

To study these creatures at such close range is, to us, quite fascinating and a sight many people would like to see.

Now comes the daft bit! One day I looked out to see two foxes on a shallow pitch roof of a neighbour's garden shed. They were moving about and letting out the most blood curdling howls. Not wishing any animal to suffer pain and not knowing if they were injured or had been hit by a car, I rang the RSPCA.

The man on the other end of the 'phone said, "Not to worry, they always make these noises at mating time. It frightens quite a lot of people." I did feel a chump!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Illustration by Paul Swailes

11



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Adelaide College, Marlborough Road

My schooling in North Devon from 1939 to 1945 was firstly at the old Ilfracombe Grammar School, then to a tutor, then back to the Grammar School and finally to Adelaide College.

Adelaide College was, I think, in Highfield Road and was really two schools. The one on the right-hand side was a converted mansion which housed the girls' school and accommodation for the boarders.

On the left-hand side was a large building [still there], which was the boys' school. As you entered there were the toilets and place to hang coats and a very large room where all ages and classes were taught, with a staircase to a smaller room, which was used occasionally for exams, etc.

Heating was provided in both rooms by means of coke stoves. Everywhere had bare boards. The Principal was Miss Warrell Bowring, and her sister, Miss Ella, who looked after the domestic side - cooking the lunches and cleaning, etc. Miss Keeble taught Geography and Maths and Mr. A.H. Stevenson was the Headmaster.

Lunch was eaten around a very large table over the road at the main house and Miss Warrell Bowring would sit at the head. There was no speaking unless she spoke to you first. After lunch we returned to the room across the road. Until we started lessons and our 'lookout' saw Mr. Stevenson pushing his bicycle up the hill, it was bedlam! Paper darts flew everywhere and we played football - I managed to break a window which cost me ten shillings [50p]. Once the lookout saw Mr. Stevenson was getting near, whoever was wearing his gown put it back and a silence fell over the room. By the time he arrived we were sitting at our desks as good as gold! If caught doing anything untoward, several strokes of the cane in front of everyone was the punishment.

The coke stove was fascinating in that we would overload it, making the lid red hot and on one occasion someone put a bullet in it, which on exploding made the circular lid jump up. The stove in the upstairs room was often knocked from its mountings [but replaced], when those inside would barricade themselves in and those outside would force the door open.

One winter, the wooden gymnasium in the grounds collapsed due to a heavy fall of snow but we did have the use of a nice tennis court. Miss Warrell Bowring would take singing lessons and there were exercises to music.

So that the boys and girls could get to know one another, a dance was held in the big house. The music was provided by an even-then very old gramophone complete with horn, which was loud enough for us all to enjoy.

Despite all I have written, concentration was on the three 'R's' and as far as I know, everyone who attended the College left with sufficient education to make a good job of their lives.

Sadly, the old school was sold off and houses now occupy the site, but in my memory it was a fine old mansion with flowing lawns and beautiful gardens.

My last memory of Miss Warrell Bowring was when I visited her after the War and she treated me to some of her home-made stinging nettle beer - not to be recommended!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

8



THE NEWSLETTER

It's time to get your pens out.
Write your tales, young or old.
Get it down on paper,
Come on, just be bold!

We all have a story, glad or sad.
Some with glory, some that are bad.
So set it down now, 'cause folks want to hear
Perhaps from The Globe over a beer.

You'll see your bit, set down in print,
I'm telling you now, it's not just a hint.
Your Berry family is wanting to hear
So tell us all, we're waiting to cheer!

Don't just talk about, Do it!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

21



ON A THOUSAND A YEAR . . .

In this issue, I write about my father, Sidney Beauclerk, who was born in 1864. He married twice, once in about 1890 to Alice Matilda and later in 1925 to my mother, Vi. Sidney and Alice, or rather Alice, was a builder. She would have been called a 'field ranger' and built many roads of houses at East Ham, Manor Park and Forest Gate.

As you will see from the pictures, they lived in a fine house called 'The Towers' at Snaresbrook. They had servants, including maid, coachman and gardener. A maid in those days would have earned about 50p a week and her keep and uniform. The final picture shows my half-brother, Gerald, as a baby on the lawn with his nursemaid by the stables.

My father gave up his horse-drawn carriage for a modern car, as shown, but probably due to building slowing down, he and Alice moved on.

During World War II, a flying bomb landed on The Towers, which blew out a lot of the back of the house. However, upon our return to Upminster, I asked Gerald if we could go and see it. He agreed and took me there where we found the stairs still intact and were able to see quite a lot. I look in wonderment - such splendour on a thousand pounds a year!

The Towers was to be rebuilt by the War Damage Commission and for some odd reason they offered our family £6,000. My family declined and it was not rebuilt and the site was later turned into two plots with two houses. The lives of the Beauclerk family became more ordinary over the years as the cost of living and inflation took its toll.

I hope you enjoy this little insight into history and the photographs, which would have been taken on a plate camera about 100 years ago.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Telephone: [01271] 8833785.

11



THE LOCKET

A Further Story for the Young and Young at Heart

Our story, about happenings at Combe Martin, goes back a long way. As you may recall [Newsletter No. 88 February 2004], our mermaid who was playing in the sea and on the beaches is called Marina.

Now Marina is friendly with a pixie named Peter, who is a lovely little chap - a real Devon Pixie. Dressed in a pretty brown coat, with trousers to match, and a little brown cap with a bell on the top. For some reason, Peter has no shoes and always goes barefoot.

One day, Marina and Peter were sitting on a rock near the Camel's Head, chatting about old times. Marina looked at Peter and asked, "Do you remember when they put the drainage pipe in for the village?"

Peter nodded, "Yes, I do."

"And," Marina continued, "all the workmen had pick axes and shovels and they cut a hole through the base of Camel's Head to the beach beyond? People walked through that hole until the workmen cemented the pipe in."

She smiled at Peter and reminded him, "I haven't forgotten when you jumped on their wet cement and had to wash your feet in the rock pool beside the walkway. The cement made the water all cloudy and I put a little spell on it so that it would always look cloudy. People today often wonder why that is so."

Debbie Cook

Mary Trebble was standing by the railings at Seaside one day, feeding the seagulls with bread. They swooped and dived and flew around squawking, catching the pieces of bread as she threw them in to the air. People stopped to watch and admire the beautiful birds.

Suddenly, Mary cried out loud, "My locket, oh my locket's come undone and fallen into the river." The river Umber was flowing fast into the sea and it quickly carried her locket, with its gold chain, away and out of sight.

By chance, Marina and Peter were sitting on a rock right under the place where Mary had been feeding the gulls and had seen the locket fall into the water. Quickly, Marina dived into the water and swam in the direction the locket was last seen. Sadly, it had completely disappeared. She swam back to where Peter was still sitting. "I think we'll have to wait for low tide and then have a good look, it can't have gone far."

The mermaid and the pixie were both awake early next morning. The tide was fairly low and just lapping at the breakwater. They searched and searched all over the Combe Martin and Newberry beaches. They were just about to give up when suddenly Peter, who had been hopping from rock to rock on the breakwater, cried out, "I think I've found it!"

Sure enough, there was the locket down between the rocks, a little too far for our pixie friend to reach. Luckily, our two little friends found a strong piece of driftwood and were able to lever the rock sufficiently to pluck the locket out. Marina's face lit up, "Now we can return it to Mary."

"I know where she lives," piped up Peter.

Next morning, although it was her birthday, Mary was unhappy, she was missing her locket. She went to the front door and began to pick up her cards that the postman had delivered and as she picked up the last envelope, there was her locket!

"How on earth did that get there?" she cried.

Well we know, don't we!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

8



LOOKING BACK

From 1939 to the end of 1945, my life went through an enormous change. In 1939 I was just a ten year old, but by the end of 1945 I was a young adult.

I had left my young friends in Upminster to live in Berrynarbor for the next six and a half years and when I returned after the War, most of them had gone their ways and I had lost touch with them. Just one or two were still about.

As I started school in Ilfracombe I made new friends and before long I was accepted by the locals. After a while, things got better and we all got along fine, I even picked up the local lingo, though I don't think this fooled local people!

Life was quite quiet in Berrynarbor and the school holidays were great. Cycling to Woolacombe, Barnstaple, Ilfracombe or Combe Martin was the norm. Buses didn't always come though the village but took the coast road and because of this we walked either from Sandy Cove or Sawmills - when Sawmills were really just that.

If I was dropped off at Sandy Cove, I would walk home in almost total darkness. A sheep might bleat in the field the other side of the hedge and you would jump out of your skin. Very dim torches were allowed if you could remember them and could get the batteries. Cars and buses were only allowed slit fittings in their headlamps. If you took a bus journey you would have to try and see where you were at each stop, sometimes having to 'count down' to your own stop or risk getting off at the wrong place. Some 'clippies' would call out the stops and that was a great help.

Then there were the school concerts. Ted Manley would be up there on the stage playing his accordion; Freddie Somerville would play his clarinet; Mr. Evans, the woodwork master, would always sing 'Little Sir Echo' and Mr. Trickett on the piano would accompany a lad who played the saw. I was never involved and went through the period when your voice is breaking and you speak high and low.

As the War wore on, quite a few relatives and friends stayed with us, but most were committed to jobs or families in the London area, and soon went home. My family gave servicemen a 'home from home' and they were always grateful. Sometimes they would 'borrow' a bit of camp or station butter to help out with cooking [rabbit friend with onions, etc.]. Other times we would cycle to Beaumont's in Combe Martin, bringing back a large punnet of strawberries [at 121/2p] to have with our home-made clotted cream.

Food was always a priority and the odd rabbit helped out as did herrings sold, at a penny or tuppence, straight from the boat on the beach at Combe Martin.

Having a sweet tooth, I found that visits to Miss Cooper's village shop for sweets were often disappointing. You only had a small ration and you had to have what she had or you went without, there was no choice.

Life for me for most of those years in North Devon was pretty good, but there were, of course, sad times.

Combe Martin's Barbara Berry's brother, known as Dick, was on The Repulse when it was sunk. Luckily, he was picked up by a destroyer, but Barbara had another brother who was a prisoner of war.

On a personal note, I had two cousins - Kenneth and Peter Jefferies. Kenneth, shown in the photograph, was a rear gunner in a Mark 3 Wellington twin-engine bomber. On a very large bombing raid on the Krupp Steelworks, Kenneth was unfortunately shot down and killed.

 

Peter, however, survived the war, but only just! He was a 'desert rat' in the Alamein Campaign, a crew member on a Matilda Mark II tank when it was hit and caught fire. Although badly burned, he managed to get out of the tank but was badly effected for some time.

So then in 1945 the War came to an end. What jubilation in Ilfracombe and everywhere! Contemporaries who had come and gone as evacuees came down for holidays from their different parts of the country that summer and it was so good to meet them again.

My thanks to Margaret and Laurie Piper and Ron Hawkins for their help.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

12



WELL, WELL!

Ding dong bell,

Pussy's in the well!

We must have all learnt this nursery rhyme when young, and with the economy of water in mind, here are a few jottings you may find interesting.

The construction of old wells was done on a metal circular template, with a small amount of brickwork being done on it. This was dug down and around and lowered until the next brickwork was added and so on until the required depth was reached. Modern wells use concrete pipes which are sunk in a similar way.

If you ever think of burying old batteries, paint pots or things like that, then don't because water courses can travel up to tens of miles and pollute wells or even reservoirs.

There is a village well at Goldhanger still used by the villagers for wine making, as they claim this water is better than tap water. It is said to be 120 feet deep, starting 20 feet above sea level and its source is said to be the other side of the salt water and tidal river Blackwater. But it does not taste salty!

Now we come to what happens when old wells are left and even forgotten.

A builder friend of mine, Dave, had a small depression in his back garden where he decided to plant a new tree. About 6 feet high, the tree was planted in the hole and given a good watering with the garden hose, but inadvertently, Dave left the hose running overnight and when he went to look at his tree the next day, the top of it was level with the ground! It had sunk into an old well where the filling had not completely consolidated.

At Gidea Park, the back wheel of a lorry crossing a building site dropped into a hole which turned out to be an old well.

At Billericay, the Council had laid out drains and people who had cess pits or septic tanks decided to get connected. At our bungalow, a slabbed path ran from the front gate around to the back door. The builder, who was to do the connection, decided to follow that path for the new trench. "Start taking the slabs up there," he told his man, Fred. Fred prised a slab loose and managed to pick it up. Fortunately he stepped backwards, for had he stepped forwards, he would have gone straight down into a barrel-shaped well with the slab probably on top of him!

My brother-in-law, Brian, at one time worked near Colchester Docks. One day when he was sitting outside with his friends, taking their tea break, they thought they could hear a faint whimpering. For two days they

could not make out where the sound was coming from and Brian was unhappy about it. Deciding to investigate further, he rummaged around

and lying on the ground was a rusty piece of tin in which there was a hole, about a foot across. He lifted the tin and exclaimed, "Oh! I see." "What do you see?" called his friends.

"All will be revealed in due course", he replied asking, "Have we got a good pair of stout gauntlets indoors?"

A pair was duly found, Brian put them on and returned to the piece of tin which he carefully lifted. There, crouching in the bottom of Quite a deep hole - probably an old, partly filled in well, was a fox cub. He reached down to grab it but it grabbed him first by his gloved hand! He held it up to show his friends.

Nearby was a low, chain-link fence and there on the other side was the vixen mother, anxiously watching, half hidden in the grass. Brian went over to the fence and lowered the little cub to the ground. Mother and cub ran off and all was well. [No pun intended!]

There are at least three wells in Barton Lane alone, and no doubt in many other parts of Berrynarbor, so please take care.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

 

Ding Dong Bell

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

The origins of this nursery rhyme, a poem with a moral theme, date back to the 16th Century and the time of Shakespeare, who used the phrase in The Tempest:

'Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell:
ark! Now I hear them - Ding, dong, bell.'

and The Merchant of Venice:

'Let us all ring fancy's bell;
I'll begin it - Ding, dong, bell.'

The original actually drowned the cat, but the words were changed to encourage children to realise that it was cruel and not acceptable to harm any animal. The words are also onomatopoeic, 'ding dong' when spoken convey the actual sound of the bell.

There are quite a few versions of this nursery rhyme and it is interesting to find that the name of the villain of the piece varies from Little Tommy Thin, Little Johnny Flynn to Little Johnny Green, but the hero is always Little Tommy Stout!

. . . and poor pussycat? She never did any harm but killed all the mice in either his father's or the farmer's barn.

11



SEEING IS BELIEVING

Edward Reardon was a likeable lad who lived in a house on the right-hand side of Hele Hill as you approach Ilfracombe. He was a fine looking chap, tall with dark curly hair and brown eyes. He attended the best school of its time up on the hill in Ilfracombe and was very scholarly. He passed his matriculation and his aim was to become a doctor like his father, who had died when he was quite small.

Sadly, just before his 18th birthday, he awoke to a world of darkness. His sight had just gone. Dr. Ganik, to whom he was taken, told him that at present nothing could be done.

His girlfriend, Joan Kelly, who lived nearby, stood by him and after a while she qualified as a midwife and they were married. As his mother had also died, Edward and Joan continued to live in the home on Hele Hill.

As a midwife, Joan was ideal for the job. Kind hearted, tolerant and pretty, she was liked by everyone and was the breadwinner, and as they had moderate tastes, they made the best of life and loved one another.

When Joan was out attending to the new arrivals, Edward would mostly while away the time 'tapping' his way around the area with his white stick. Sometimes he would stumble over a child's bicycle left outside a shop or a pedal car left out in the street. At other times he would go to Bicclescombe Park where there was a garden of aromatic flowers and plants for the enjoyment of those unable to see. Edward would know his whereabouts often by sounds - the sound of the church clock near the harbour where he remembered the words "Time to Seek the Lord". He would love the smell of the seaweed down at the harbour and the popular music being played at the bandstand.

At other times he would go to the Tunnels Beaches to hear the lap of the sea, children's laughter and the enjoyment of families on holiday. Edward made the best of life, despite his inability to see things like others.

One day he received a letter and Joan opened it and read it to him.

"It's from Dr. Ganik, listen to this.

Dear Mr. Reardon, It is some time since you were struck blind and medical science has advanced quite considerably. In conversation recently, I understand from the Consultant, Mr. Forbes, that there is an operation which might possibly restore your sight. If you will make an appointment with me, and if you are agreeable, then I shall arrange for you to see Mr. Forbes."

They immediately arranged to see Dr. Ganik and the appointment was made with Mr. Forbes, who, after a very thorough examination, told Edward, "There is a very good chance that we can restore your sight and if you wish, I'll arrange a date for your operation."

Edward and Joan were bewildered! What if the operation was not a success? But then again, there was nothing to lose. "We'll go for it," said Joan, almost in disbelief.

The weeks passed and along came the appointment card. Edward went into hospital, underwent the operation and lay there until the day arrived for the bandages to be removed. Joan waited patiently for news.

With two nurses in attendance, Mr. Forbes gradually began to remove the bandages and quietly whispered, "Now, Mr. Reardon, I want you to slowly open your eyes." "My tears are blinding me," choked Edward. The consultant gently asked the nurse to dry Edward's eyes and slowly he opened them.

At first everything was blurred but the operation had been a success and gradually his focus returned. After just a few days he was out of hospital.

Life was very different now for Edward. He could see Joan and she was more beautiful than ever. He could still shed tears and often did when he saw so many of the things which he had only been able to hear

before. For a while he re-traced his old walks - now he was able to see the people at the Tunnels Beaches; he was seeing the musicians and the bandstand; on visiting Bicclescombe Park he could see the colour of the flowers, the fine water arrangements and the parents with their children enjoying themselves. He could see Joan smiling at him and he smiled back.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

One day he was walking towards the pier when he again heard the old familiar sound of the church clock striking. He looked up and there was the writing - 'Time to seek the Lord'. What could he do? "I have to say a prayer," he said quietly to himself. As he entered the church, the organist was playing Bach and with emotion he said his prayer of gratitude before making his way back to Hele.

Edward and Joan lived on for many loving years and feeling that he would like to repay those who had helped him, Edward trained and became a nurse at the Tyrell Hospital.

If you have been touched by this story , the next time you see a collecting box for the blind, please remember Edward and put something in. Thanks.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester.

13



THE CONJURER

Jonathon Smith lived at Pilton, just outside Barnstable. It was 1934 and the music halls were, despite the 'talkies' coming in 1929, still providing a certain amount of employment. Even at school, Jonathon was quite good at doing tricks which mystified his friends.

His ambition was to be a professional conjurer and to his surprise and pleasure he managed to get a few bookings. He carried two suitcases - one with his stage clothes and one with his tricks.

He would travel the narrow gauge Lynton to Barnstaple line, stopping off to give performances, even in the village pubs along the way. He appeared at the John Gay theatre in Barnstaple, the Victoria Pavilion, the Concert Hall opposite and the Alexandra Palace.

The odd thing about him was that he quite often 'messed up' his tricks and sometimes, though he could do them, he didn't quite know how they worked! He wanted to broaden his act and would send off to London to the Magician's Company for more elaborate illusions.

Jonathon could do most of the rope tricks, those with cards, those that 'vanished' and so on. He had tried some of the guillotine tricks with helpers from the audience, but gave up after a few accidents, one of which had to be hospitalised. His worst nightmare was when he hammered someone's Rolex watch and failed to restore it!

One evening, after a performance, a pretty, blue-eyed, blonde girl of nineteen, called Daisy, burst into his dressing room. "I've been a conjurer's assistant," she said without hesitation, "But I've split up with him and I need work. Can I join your act?"

Jonathon's mouth dropped open for a full minute. He immediately fell in love and they were soon married.

Jonathon and Daisy got along famously and ventured into further illusions, including the box that Daisy got in and into which Jonathon stuck swords. However, they gave this up when Daisy was just a little too slow in getting into the compartment beneath and suffered some scratches.

"Have a look at this catalogue," said Jonathon to Daisy one day, having called her to sit beside him on the settee. "It's got the saw a lady in half trick. I've just got to have it!"

Daisy smiled, "Why not. You send for it."


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

A few days later, Willis the carrier arrived with his van and knocked on their door. "Looks as though I've got something special for you," he said, groaning under the weight of a huge box.

Little known to Jonathon, Daisy had been a tight rope walker in a circus and was also a contortionist and singer.

"We'll try out the trick tonight," smiled Jonathon, "We'll do it in the kitchen in case anyone calls."

At about seven on that winter evening, the long box on castors was set up. Daisy opened the two top doors and climbed in, Jonathon got out the instructions. "Ah, here we go," he said, looking very seriously looking at the instructions. He read allowed: "Place the assistant long ways in the box and after inserting the two leaves, place the saw in the middle slot. Proceed to saw. There may be some sawdust, but no blood."

"Well, that seems quite straight forward," and he started sawing. He had only done about three strokes when the light went out.

"Oh heck, it's a power cut," screamed Daisy. "Go and get a candle, they're in the drawer."

Jonathon found the candle and some matches. "That's better, everything will be OK now." He struck a match and lit the candle. Holding the candle rather too close to the instructions, they suddenly caught fire.

"Only you could do that," shouted Daisy, "For goodness sake, stamp it out."

Too late, the instructions had gone and what were they to do now? Both were in a panic. At that moment there was a knock on the door. Jonathon answered it. It was his friend, Bob, the policeman.

"Hello," he said, "I just called to remind Daisy that it's her night to do the teas at the W.I. Daisy usually answers the door, is she alright?"

Thinking quickly and not wanting Bob to come in, Jonathon replied, "Well we've had a bit of a domestic and she is a bit cut up at the moment."

Bob didn't like to hear of any problems of this kind but bid Jonathon farewell, saying he hoped they would be back together soon. So did Jonathon!

It was still dark and Daisy called out, "You'd better get me out of here."

Assuming an authoritative attitude, Jonathon tried to open the cabinet doors. "They're jammed!" he cried, "What are we going to do?"

"Phone the Magic Circle," shouted Daisy, "They're bound to know."

It was too late, there was no answer from the Magic Circle, they had either all gone home or maybe disappeared!

By now the power had come back on. "I'll make us a nice cup of tea" said Jonathon as he stood at the sink filling the kettle. He turned round and there stood Daisy. "How the heck did you get out?" he gasped.

"By pressing the safety lever on the inside of the box. I might also tell you that I had my legs drawn up, so there was no danger."

They talked into the night about Daisy's early days and how she had been a contortionist and agreed that their new trick would probably not fool anyone.

After a while they gave up the theatre work and both went to work at a small, local cinema - he as a projectionist and she as an usherette. They both also worked at Barnstable in the same jobs.

Sadly, Jonathon has now passed on but if you meet Daisy in your local, she will tell you their story and make the pint you buy her disappear quite quickly!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

22



WHEN WE WERE YOUNG

When we were young we were at school trying to learn things that were meant to make us more clever. However, in the meantime we got up to things that were somewhat less than clever! If you say you honestly didn't, then I would say you are probably unique. Some times clever, some times stupid, but on looking back, usually amusing.

I have two boys - well not exactly boys, one is forty-two and the other forty-eight!

One day when they were teenagers, my wife Betty and I went out to do a couple of hours' shopping. While we were gone, the younger, Chris, decided he would like to do some painting upstairs. He fetched a tin of paint and a brush and started off upstairs. Unfortunately, he stumbled and dropped the tin, the lid came off and the paint splashed over the stairs and on to the wallpaper.

He called out to his brother, "I've dropped the paint down the stairs, Mum and Dad are going to be livid, they've only just decorated the hall and landing."

Being quite resourceful, his brother, Ray, went quiet for a moment before saying, "There is still some of that wallpaper up in the loft. You go and get some paraffin and try to clean the stair carpet while I go in the loft and have a look." After a short while, he descended the ladder with a big smile on his face. "I've found two rolls and there is some paste in the garden shed. I'll go and get it and the scrapers."

Meanwhile, Chris had made a fair job of cleaning the paint off the stair carpet, "I've tried to wipe if off the wallpaper but it's soaked in", he said with rather tearful eyes.

"Well, it's luckily only two sections," Ray replied. "If we are careful, we can scrape away on each side, remove each section and replace them."

They removed the two lengths, cleaned up that part of the wall, fetched the papering table, mixed up the paste and replaced the two lengths of paper with the pattern matching perfectly!

Nevertheless, Betty's intuition rumbled them but we thought our boys had been very resourceful.

We had a garden shed which Ray used for making his model aeroplanes and his other hobbies. One day he asked if he could run a cable from the house to enable him to have lighting and power in the shed.

We saw no objection and told him to carry on. He put a plug on one end of the cable, which he had threaded through a convenient airbrick.

"I'll run it under the roof and into the shed", he explained. "I'll have to loosen the roof screws so that I can push the cable up and under, then I won't have any joins." Very sensible, we thought, water getting in won't cause any shorts.

The job was done and almost forgotten. However, one very windy day, Chris had reason to go to the shed. He opened the door and stepped inside. The wind was blowing hard and suddenly the roof took off, landing in our next door neighbour's garden. Chris stood there aghast in the now 'topless' shed! Although the roof landed next door, no damage was done either to our neighbour's garden or the roof, which was retrieved, reinstated and SCREWED DOWN this time!

If you are thinking this winter is cold, have a look at this igloo built in the back garden some forty-six years ago.

Tony Beauclerk -Colchester

18



A VISIT TO THE VET

This time of year, our Labrador Bessie has her annual injection against those infections that dogs get. The surgery is just along the road from us, and so we often see other owners trying to get their dogs in for treatment. At this point, many dogs have temporary trouble with their eyes. That is to say they will walk past the doorway instead of going through it. The larger dogs shake with fear, not knowing that the immediate future holds for them.

Today it was Bessie's turn and she gave no trouble going in the door and into the waiting room. The waiting room has just been refurbished and is very posh! In fact some people have thought it was a doctor's waiting room and sat there until the receptionist enlightened them. Why they should think people take their pets to the Doctor I don't know!

All was quiet for a while and then a little boy spoke to all the pets' owners. "We are going on holiday with our cat," he said. A rather serious man with an equally serious-looking bloodhound spoke to him saying, "And where are you going?" The little boy brightened, his little face lit up as he cheekily replied, "Well, our cat wants to go to the Canaries." Everyone laughed and the little boy beamed. "Got you there, didn't I?"

The waiting room was quite large and there were people with cats, rabbits, hamsters, mice and exotic pets [sometimes they get corn snakes, lizards, pythons and giant tortoises, etc.]. The dogs wanted to eat the cats, while the cats wanted to eat the mice - you could tell from the way they eyed each other!

"Mrs. Smith and Rover", the receptionist called out. Mrs. Smith stood up but Rover deliberately heard nothing. "Come along," she coaxed as she started tugging him towards the surgery. His claws were in the extended position, trying to plough furrows in the very hard floor. The noise was like a higher pitched version of a car skidding.

Most dogs were by now having a good sniff at the floor and some were whimpering; cats meowed and rabbits kept a low profile.

Presently, the front door opened and in came a very fat lady with a little Jack Russell - well, it could have been a Jill Russell. Whichever it was, it was a small, yapping hound! It's funny the way one dog can set all the others off - it would not stop barking and soon had all the others joining in!

"Are there any things that worry you about people's pets?" I asked the receptionist.

"Well, we do have a few laughs," she said. "Pigeons carry nasty little things under their wings, which tend to jump onto humans if they get the chance." She went on, "We had a young couple bring a 'Labrador' in for treatment. They were a little 'green' as it turned out to be a terrier cross!

Another time we accidentally shut a patient in our food cupboard. He ate himself silly! One owner collected their pet after an operation but before she could get to her car it jumped out of her arms and fled. Fortunately it survived and was found and reunited with its owner two weeks later."

A gentleman came in and sat down beside me. "I have to keep my dog in a cage in the car," he said. "Why is that?" I asked. "Well," he replied, "It's 'cos he ate most of the inside of my last car."

I got into conversation with the owner of a spaniel with a cone-shaped thing around its neck. It looked a bit like a megaphone so I asked him if it was to make his dog bark louder! "Don't be so daft," he scoffed, "It's just had an operation and that stops him licking the wound"!

A dear old lady came in carrying an open wooden box. She put it down gently and there, laying in it, was a little Vietnamese pot bellied pig! The lady was wearing a rather long string of pearls and as she bent down to kiss it and reassure her darling - and probably delicious! - pet not to be frightened, it raised its head catching its chin in the pearls. As the lady straightened up, "ping!", the pearls snapped and rolled on the floor in all directions. The dogs thought this great fun as they each tried to get one.

"Oh, there is one more thing I must tell you," the receptionist continued. "It was a long time ago but we had a customer who kept a lion and of course the vets had to attend to it at times and it could be very difficult. The way to give it injections was to put several rods through the bars of the cage until it was immobilised and then give the jab! When the lion died of old age, its owners had it stuffed and displayed it in a glass cage in their front garden. It was there for several years."

My name and Bessie's was called and we went in to the consulting room. Bessie had her jab without a yelp.

"The German shepherds don't like injections," the vet commented.

"No," I said, "I don't suppose their dogs do either."

"Pay as you go out," she said icily, opening the door.

We left and that is what I'm going to do now. Bye.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

Illustrated by: Debbie Cook

10



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES - HOLIDAYS

The first holiday I can remember was probably when I was about three years old. We were staying at Clacton and spending a lot of time on the beach. There was a man who organised any children around into doing exercises and marching. This was all right until I stepped out of line and in trying to get me back into place, he pushed me over. Well, kids of three don't like being pushed over, even if the sand makes a good landing and being three, I didn't have far to fall. Anyway, a good cry to mum seemed to clear the matter up.

Other holidays seemed to follow the 'beach for half the day' pattern almost regardless of the weather. I recall swimming on overcast days when the water was cold and the sea quite rough. I think it must have been the time when the British kept a stiff upper lip.

When 1939 came we were on holiday at Slade. Then the war came and we continued in Berrynarbor until January 1946. Although I was at school, it was nevertheless a bit like one long holiday - village life, the scenery and a chance to roam about getting into mischief and scrumping!

Moving back to Upminster after the war, we developed an interest in caravanning. This was mainly at Cromer in Norfolk. A lovely spot, but the winds can be cold up there! For several years we went back and never missed the pier pavilion shows, and of course visited Sheringham Wells and Blakney Point where there were a lot of seals.

In 1976 we went to Broughty Ferry near Dundee in Scotland. It was a heat wave and real shirt sleeve weather. Not a drop of rain fell for the whole holiday. Our accommodation was the house of friends whilst they took their caravan away. There are certainly some hills there! I remember going up Cairn o'Mount. We went up and up and up and eventually came to a signpost pointing to the summit, it was another 1200 feet! Another year we went to Betws-y-Coed in Wales and being of a sweet tooth, my memory here is of candy floss and rock! Now, what's the name of that Welsh place that goes on and on? Heck, if only they made local rock there it would be as thick as a rolling pin!

Other holidays followed in places as far apart as Skegness, Hastings and the south coast, Bournemouth, Lands End and Looe in Cornwall. We had a trip up the river at Looe and it was heavenly, sighting such things as kingfishers and clusters of heron's nests and their occupants - a magical experience of nature's peace and tranquillity.

Now we always seem to leave the arrangements for a holiday to the last minute and this year was no exception. Shall we stay at home and let our minds wander, or shall we go away?

Every fortnight in the national press, a certain hotel not far from Berrynarbor advertises with a picture of the Hangman Hills as a view from the hotel. This, of course, always catches my eye - I think it must have a

magnetic effect. Just by chance, our youngest son and his wife, having missed a holiday in Spain, suggested that we holiday together, which we thought was a good idea and told him to go ahead and make the arrangements. He located a little place called Eastleigh not far from Bideford. The accommodation was a nicely furnished home which backed on to fields. It was a lovely holiday and of course it enabled Betty and me to come back to Berrynarbor with its church, manor hall and many, many happy memories.

Bless you Berrynarbor.


 
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

 

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

11



GERALD BEAUCLERK

Older residents may remember him in the Second World War working at North Lee Farm for Stanley Huxtable.

Gerald Vaughan Beauclerk was born in Leytonstone on 12th January 1899. His mother died in 1922 and his father remarried in 1925. His father's second wife was my mother, Violet.

When our father died in 1936, Gerald, who had never married, took it upon himself to bring up my sister Jean and me and to look after my mother. Although he was a good business man, Gerald had a great interest in music. Starting in Upminster Methodist Choir in the company

of Joan Cross, who became a famous operatic singer, his favourite was Gilbert and Sullivan. He was well qualified and thrilled to learn that one of his students became Secretary of the London College of Music.

During the War, he sang at Concerts for Mrs. Knill at the Victoria Pavilion, Combe Martin, Berrynarbor and Lynmouth.

After all these years, people remember him well with remarks like 'He was good company', 'He was always fair' and 'kind, gentle Gerald'.

I was very lucky to have had him as a half-brother.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

17



ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

'All things bright and beautiful' - what a delightful hymn. Although we live on the outskirts of Colchester in what you might call 'suburbia', we nevertheless get a lot of wild life here.

We have outside lights that come on at night and we sometimes see a big dog fox rummaging around on the green in front of our bungalow. Badgers and muntjak deers are not far away. There are squirrels who take the bird food and bury hazel nuts in our lawn.

Hedgehogs are lovely little creatures too. Our gentle Labrador, Bernie, sniffs them and walks away. But then, perhaps, she pricks her nose. Frogs get the same treatment.

I am writing this in early April and as I do so, I can look into our back garden and see that the three blue tit boxes are being investigated prior to moving in.

We never see the babies fly! This, it seems, is because they never leave the nest until they are absolutely ready to do so. No special flying lessons here!

Looking up at a tree adjoining us, we recently saw a woodpecker at work. Surely they must get headaches! Then it came down on to the lawn to dibble for ants, or was it cranefly? What lovely colours. Jays, with their colourful plumage occasionally visit, or are they really just crows in their Sunday suits?

Isn't it nice to do a bit of digging accompanied by the robins. They are so tame and pretty, with their little red breasts. We have families of them nearby and they always come and join in with the gardening.

Two years ago, we had our twenty foot Portuguese laurel hedge cut almost bare and to a height of about eight feet. It has now re-grown its foliage and is ideal for our blackbird and thrush friends. We do, of course, put plenty of food out for all of them and are rewarded by their visits.

Magpies are in abundance here, in fact almost in colonies. There is one particular bird which has only one leg - I wonder if another bird got the better of him? The finches are amongst my favourites. The goldfinches were among those birds trapped for the cage trade in the 1800's. Their groups are aptly known as 'charms'.

Then there are the two ducks who visit our green - a drake and his missus. They waddle about as though they own the place, sometimes standing on door steps hoping, no doubt, for some hospitality.

Every summer, and on most days, we have a bumble bee fly along our back windows. At about every foot or so he hits the glass really hard and we have named it 'head banger'. Sadly, birds too will fly into the glass - sometimes killing themselves but sometimes they are stunned for a while.

Before the leaves come on the trees, we see across a road to where friends have an ornamental fish pond. Living nearby, on an island in the lake in a small park, are a couple of herons, which are often seen flying about. One day I saw one of them flying slowly in the area of the pond. Just like a bird of prey, it dropped quite suddenly behind the house and out of view. Moments later, it ascended with one of the prize gold fish in its beak. A common practice, I believe.

Our bird bath and table are just outside on the patio. The scallop shaped bath has to be topped up most days as the birds love it and can be seen dunking or drinking. We have a very large pigeon which alights on the edge and slowly paddles in before crouching down in the water. For some reason, it then turns on its side and stretches one wing in the air, staying in that position for a while. Nature's entertainment!

There are steps up from our lawn leading to the patio and as we were sitting, looking out, a small creature began to climb the steps. It was in no hurry, in fact merely crawling. Once up on the patio, it slowly made its way to the bird table, where it tried to climb up, but fell off three times. Eventually it managed to reach the lower tray where there was food.

Looking more carefully, we couldn't decide whether it was some sort of vole or mouse. It was unconcerned about us looking at it, so I got my camera and went outside. As I took the photo, about eighteen inches away, it looked up at me and went on munching! 'Poor little thing', I thought, 'it must be ill or something.' However, suddenly, and I mean suddenly, a blackbird alighted on the bird table, which taking the scale of things, must have been like the arrival of a Boeing. Did the little creature move? I'll say! It was down the post and off in a flash.

Pretty is my garden
With music of the birds,
So pretty is my garden
I'm almost lost for words.
Pretty is my garden,
The colours and the song.
The pleasure that it gives me
Last the whole day long.
Pretty is my garden,
And I give thanks to Him,
Pretty is my garden
I'll sing another hymn.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

12



THE TUNNEL

When I was about fourteen and living in Berrynarbor for the duration of the War, I would roam all over the place - indeed, walking the woods, fields, beaches, etc., was how we spent a lot of our time.

I remember the bridge up Hagginton Hill. It must be pretty old because there are a kind of stalactite hanging from underneath. I don't know if it is still there now, but if you climbed up on the left-hand side and crossed the cart track and looked back, you could see what had been a bricked tunnel. Only a few feet in, the roof had collapsed and we often considered the possibility of taking up spades and digging through to find out where it went. However, we never did.

Now I will offer my explanation as to why it was there.

To start we have to go back to some time around 1816 or after, but before the present Watermouth Castle was built, when there were only the ruins of the old castle left. It was a time of smuggling on the north coast and cognac was the name of the game - a high quality grape brandy distilled near Cognac in south west France.

The family involved in this case were the Devlins. They lived in a wooden cottage not far from where today's coastguard houses are. There was Ernie, Keith, Frank and Ann - three brothers and a sister. During the day the brothers ran a log delivering business, taking fuel to the homes around the area, whilst Ann kept the house clean, washed their clothes and provided their meals.

However, it was their nocturnal, roughly monthly activities that were the most profitable!

The Devlins had a good arrangement with their counterparts in France, who would sail over to Watermouth Harbour each month with a cargo of twenty or thirty casks of their finest Cognac.

By day their sailing ship could be seen by the Devlins from their cottage, which looked out over the Bristol Channel. They could always identify the ship by its unusual sails. Looking like a fishing boat, it would drop anchor and wait for the pre-arranged time and tide, when they would sail, at night, into Watermouth Harbour.

Once anchored, the next step was to throw a large bag, made of fishing net edged with floats, overboard and when this was in place and tied to the boat, the Devlins came into action!

After wheeling hand carts down to the harbour and wading in the sea, they would gather all the floats together, closing in and trapping the casks the crew of the boat had thrown in. Money exchange hands and the Devlins would bid farewell to their accomplices from the Continent until their next visit.

Making their way back across the road in the darkness of night and with their heavy prize, was not easy. Once over, they would make their way back past the old castle ruins and on to the track which led up to the bridge on Hagginton Hill and to the tunnel mentioned earlier. The entrance was well hidden by foliage grown across it and whilst two of the Devlins held back the branches, the other two wheeled the cart into what was a large cave.


 
The Devlins got away with these illicit night meetings for a long time! Unfortunately for them, people began to talk and although many of them enjoyed their tipple at the local hostelries, word got back to one Fred Harding. Harding's job was to catch smugglers. He was based at Barnstaple, with twenty men under his command. A former Army Sergeant, he was of a cruel and vicious disposition. He hadd gathered quite a lot of information from 'hear say' and began to plan the capture of the Devlin family, if only he could catch them 'in the act'.

One night, Harding and his men positioned themselves in what they thought would be a good place to catch their prey. Ernie, Keith, Ann and Frank were almost through with their normal procedure, and just getting near the tunnel. Suddenly the clouds cleared and a bright moon shone on them. Harding shout to his men to give chase, which they did, but the Devlins just disappeared.

Harding and his men eventually found the entrance to the cave and stood there shouting for the Devlins to come out.

"Want to say in there, do you?" Still there was silence.

"Right ho, stay in there you shall!"

Then taking a large explosive, Harding placed it about six feet into the cave, lighting the fuse as he and his men moved well back.

There was a huge explosion and when the smoke cleared and the debris settled, Harding and his men went to investigate. The roof had caved in.

"Well, that's the end of them" declared Haring, much to the disgust of some of his men, and they began to make their way back to Barnstaple.

However, it was not quite like that. Frightened as they were, the Devlins had reckoned upon this happening and had always made sure there was another way out. Moving a large piece of slate, there was a rush of cold night air and the moon was still shining.

Over the next few weeks they distributed the casks, from which by then they had made a vast sum of money, but before doing so and to prevent evidence being found, they had burnt their cottage down.


 
  Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Many years later, people walking their dogs over what had been the site of their cottage, found odd bits of jewellery - the odd ring or necklace. It was believed that the Devlins had bought such things as a saving, later to be turned into cash.

It is understood that some of the jewellery was exhibited at a museum for a while.

Frank, An, Keith & Ernie D evlin were a remarkable family! Can you see what I mean?

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

19



NOT REALLY!

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

8



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

My only experience of the flying bomb was just after World War II. Gerald, my half-brother, had lived in a house at Snaresbrook until he was seven and he and I went up to Essex from Berrynarbor just after the War. He had heard that the old house had been hit by a flying bomb and suggested we might visit the site. Which we did. A fairly large part of the bomb was still lying in the back garden, although a large part of the house had been blown out. Nevertheless, the staircase was still intact and we ventured upstairs where Gerald was able to see his old bedroom. What a shame, the lovely old house was ruined. We wandered around other parts which were intact, but it was in a dangerous state and I'm sure Gerald's feeling must have been very sad.

Now I'll tell you about The Doodle Bug Kid!

Ernie was a lad of about 15 who had no wartime fears. Indeed, when he came out of a cinema in the next town, there was an air raid on. Calmly, he walked the mile and half home, with bombs falling, shrapnel flying and anti-aircraft guns blazing. It was he who asked me to change the names in this true story, so as to protect the guilty!

On one occasion, Ernie and his friend Henry found a live incendiary bomb and quarrelled over who found it first. In the end it was agreed that Ernie keep it and hide it away in the garden shed. Henry, however, had premonitions of danger and decided to tell the Police, who soon called at Ernie's home and took it away.

Ernie lived in a little cottage in Upminster and was busy one afternoon mending a puncture on his bike. Just as he got everything back together again, there was an enormous 'bang', far louder than he had ever heard before. It seemed to come from the nearby hamlet of Cranham.

Boys at that time loved to collect wartime souvenirs, such as bits of planes, bombs, mines, etc., and Ernie was no exception. Keen to learn what the bang was, he jumped on his bike and pedalled furiously for Cranham. Knowing the area well, he soon found and walked into the huge crater which was still smoking, realising that this had been no ordinary bomb, but a Doodle Bug or flying bomb.

Now Ernie was well versed in wartime weaponry and knew that doodle bugs carried two very collectible devices - they were called something like magnetic gyro compasses. The one up-front kept the bomb on course and the other, near the rear, caused it to dive or climb at the appropriate time.

Ernie searched frantically, for if he could find these, they would be a prize indeed! They had a lot of gears, beautifully engineered in Germany.

At the time, the authorities were anxious to find these parts because it was thought the information from them could assist in finding out where they came from. However, this later proved incorrect.

Tucking the parts under his coat, Ernie got on his bike and pedalled as fast as he could for home. On the way he passed both an ARP [Air Raid Precautions] Warden pedalling in the opposite direction and an RAF vehicle.

As usual, Ernie hid the parts in the garden shed.

Three years on, when Ernie was just eighteen, he married Helen. Being so young, everyone said 'That won't last!', but it did, and they are still together after more than 50 years.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

It was at the christening of their first child, Emma, when Ernie and his father-in-law, Artie, were chatting about the war, that strangely the

matter of gyro compasses came up. "I was an ARP warden when the doodle bug came down at Cranham," said Artie, "And do you know, the Home Guard and RAF searched until dark, but never found those bits." "Would you like to see them?" asked Ernie. Looking a little surprised Artie replied, "Little chance of that now!" But that chance was there for the next day Ernie produced the parts and they both had a good laugh!

Tony Beauclerk Colchester

22



MEMORIES - OUR PETS

In 1954, Betty and I were married [50 years now!] and were browsing around at the nearby market. It wasn't long before Betty spotted the pet stall. There, in a rather small cage, were three fluffy bundles. "Oh, wouldn't it be nice to have e pup?" she said, with a look of delight in her eyes. We agreed on a little bitch, but we had further shopping to do. "I'll tell you what" the proprietor smiled, "You give me your address and I'll drop her off on my way home, you can pay me the £2 then."

Well, we finished our shopping and went home to our evening meal. The evening drew on, but no sign of the man. I know what, Betty," I said, realising that we were both feeling rather down. "We have his address and we'll go and see what has happened."

Off we went, found his house and he was most apologetic. We paid him the £2 and took our bundle of fluff home. We called her Mandy and she was a cross between a cairn and a golden spaniel.

Mandy grew into a nice little dog, though being a terrier type was inclined to snap. At about 10.30 each night, when the roads were quiet, I would take her out to train - to follow to heel, sit and stay, and generally be obedient.

We took her everywhere in the car and always thought she could be trusted to leave the shopping alone. One day, however, she tore open a packet of acid hypo - a poisonous chemical used in fixing photograph prints. She ate the lot, but apparently with no harm!

One day we had the radio on and there was a brass band playing. Suddenly Mandy gave a long, low howl and was wagging her tan. We were able to develop this and she would 'sing' to order, not just for us but for anyone.

We had Mandy for about ten years but she became ill and had to be spayed, but sadly her heart would not stand the strain and she died.

Two weeks later we had a call from the vet who had operated, who said, "I've got a litter of cross-bred Labrador pups which will have to be put down if they can't be found homes." We told her we didn't want another dog, but she said to come and have a look anyway - she knew what she was doing! She came out to us holding a large bundle of fur on one arm. Two pups were upside down and one the right way up! We chose a bitch and took her home, but it was a puzzle to know what to call her - so that is what we called her, Puzzle!

Puzzle was a 'no trouble' dog, falling in with everything we did. She would lay outside our holiday caravan and not worry anyone; she loved to swim and would be in and out of the sea whilst we were at the beach. She would also accompany me to the post box without being on the lead but there was one incident in the early days when she wandered into the middle of a busy road. With traffic going by on both sides, she stood there bewildered. Fortunately she stayed where shw was and with a break in the traffic I grabbed her. I told her off for being so silly and she never did it again! I was really the silly one, though, for not having her on a lead.

In those days I used to do a lot of swimming down at the Colchester open air pool. On talking to the manager about my dog, he said, "Well look, if you bring her on the last day of the season, nobody else comes, she can have a swim on her own." On the day, the weather was fine and off we went. Puzzle was obviously excited and couldn't wait to jump in and after a while I thought I'd better get her out. I grabbed her and lifted her out, intending to have a little rest myself. She wasn tt having any and jumped straight in again. I decided to go off the spring board, she just followed and jumped in after me. What a delight she was!

At the times of both Mandy and Puzzle, we had a white rabbit, Snowball, who bit Mandy on the nose and would chase Puzzle around the back garden, much to her distaste, The picture [by courtesy of Essex County Standard] shows Snowball, Puzzle and our second son, Christopher. Sadly, Puzzle died of old age in 1979.

Then came Bonnie. Bonnie was, in fact, our eldest son's dog and because he is a Remote Observation Vehicle Pilot [small submarines used for oil rig, etc., purposes], this meant he spent a lot of time offshore. Yes, every time he was away, we looked after Bonnie. This went on for some time until, because he was spending so much time away, he gave her to us. She was quiet, lovable and all you could wish for in a dog. Sadly, Bonnie became ill and eventually had to be put to sleep. Once again we were without a dog.

Not for too long - Ray called in to see us with a present - a little bitch puppy and we named her Bessie. But Bessie was a 'chewer'! She first attacked the best quality vinyl flooring in the utility room - her room. Then she went for the control panel on the washing machine; next the paint on the radiator, architrave and even the furniture. However, once you get them past the chewing stage, they are OK. [l wonder how many other dog owners have suffered from this problem?!] Or are they? Given half a chance they will take over your best arm chair - no doubt thinking they are keeping it warm for you! Bessie is also a 'puller', which has meant treatment for me, but now I have found a lead called a 'Haltee' which Bessie hates and runs away when I try to put it on. She is now in her eleventh year and still loves her walks and life in general. If there is nothing to bark at, she is not worried, and as we watch television she sleeps. Her nose and mouth move about with all sorts of twitchings, accompanied by faint little noises and grunts. Her feet are also 'on the go'!

We hope to have Bessie for some time yet, but I know my heart will be broken once again one day.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

20



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Luck to be Alive

It was 1934 and I was five years old and starting school. Fortunately there was a little school not far from our house and one day my mother took me there so that I could meet Miss Currie, who was not only the Headmistress but the proprietor. It was a corrugated iron building, boarded inside and probably a former billet for soldiers in the 1914-18 war.

My mother told me I would start the next day and to make a good impression I was to get there early. I had to wear shorts, collar and tie, school blazer and cap.

The next day I arrived very early! I knocked on the door and Miss Currie told me to come in. She was just in the process of lighting one of the Valor paraffin heaters, which proved to be the only form of heating the school had. I was told to sit on a small stick-back chair and wait for the other boys and girls. Soon they arrived and we all sat on these small chairs around a table, waiting for our teacher Miss Ansell to arrive. The girls were dressed in pinafore dresses, white blouses and black stockings. My new friends were Gordon, Colin and Roger.

In the road outside the school were narrow gauge railway lines which disappeared into bushes and foliage on the other side. We decided to scramble along where the rails ran and for some distance people's back gardens backed on to it. The rails stopped where the gardens met so our little railway came to an end. It was many years later that I found out that our mystery railway had been about three miles long and ran from a brickworks to Upminster station. Our little railway really fascinated us!

Colin, Gordon, Roger and I soon found a piece of waste land and after school we would go there to play cricket or catch newts in a nearby pond, usually getting our feet wet in the process. One of our games was to loosen our shoes and then kick forward, our shoes flying nicely through the air - it was great fun!, Until .. the back door of a passing van was hit with quite a bang. The driver stopped and got out, looked at his back door, which fortunately had not been dented, shouted at us for being so stupid and told us he'd give us a good hiding if we ever did it again. We all slunk off with our tails between our legs.

Our school only had three teachers - Miss Currie, Miss Ansell and Miss Smith who was a very good pianist. Miss Currie must have thought that plenty of publicity was good for the school and was very keen on school concerts. These involved a lot of rehearsals, which we didn't mind as it meant we got off lessons.

The girls performed various dances in their tutus, ballet and tap shoes whilst we boys were only allowed to exercise to music, recite poems, and act short plays. In our grey shorts, white shirts and grey pullovers, we were allowed to join in with the piano, playing triangles and cymbals.

After all the preparation and rehearsals, the concerts were held in various church halls, no doubt boosting the pupil numbers at the school! One Christmas we were giving a concert at a church hall which had been decorated with paper chains, etc. The photographer arrived to take a picture of us on the stage. Thinking back, his equipment must have been antiquated for it was an old mahogany and brass camera on a stand. He had a small amount of magnesium powder on a metal plate. After removing the camera lens cap, he lit the magnesium which flared into the very bright light required [equal to today's 'flash'] but unfortunately he set the decorations alight! Someone jumped up and pulled them to the floor, stamping out the flames.

Once a year the tailor visited the school to supply us with caps, badges, ties, hats for the girls and, of course, blazers. These we always had too big so we would l grow into them'.

Now you may ask, "Why the lucky to be alive bit?" Well it was this:

Next to the playing field, with only a simple fence between, was the District line to London, with750 volt electrified rails. Having finished our lunch and whilst the teachers were finishing theirs, we boys would go out for a game Of cricket. The ball would get hit over the fence and on to the railway line. One of us would climb over and gingerly step between the rails to collect the ball. This happened several times before a teacher came out and caught us."Don't you ever do that again!", she shouted. And we didn't.

In July 1939 the school holiday started and in August we went on holiday to Ilfracombe and bought a house at Berrynarbor and there until January 1946, when we returned to our house at Upminster.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

27



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

On the Road

Sixty years ago or more, things were very different from today. Once you got off the main roads there was very little traffic. One fine summer's day, when I was about seven, my mother took me for a country ride in her little Ruby Austin Seven. We hadn't been going for very long when she was flagged down by a rather tawdrily dressed woman. Recognising her as Romany, my mother stopped and asked, "What can I do for you?" The woman's face lit up with a smile and she said that she was pregnant and wanting to get back to the camp. My mother told her to get in and give directions for the way back to the camp. During the course of conversation, my mother enquired, "Is this your first baby, and when is it due?" "Oh, no," the Romany replied, "This is my third and it is due very soon." Mother increased her speed; she did not fancy being a midwife!

Soon she was asked mother to slow next gateway. We turned into the field, as directed, and found ourselves in the middle of several Romany caravans The occupants gathered round and our passenger explained how my mother had picked her up. They were all so pleased and offered us some of their hand-made clothes pegs. We drove off with a group of smiling people happily waving us goodbye.

 

One day, mother and Gerald had just returned from shopping and parked the car in the drive. Our front garden had a number of large shrubs and bushes, and as my mother glanced down, she saw two boots sticking out from just under one of the bushes! "l wonder who left them there?" she said to Gerald, who peered more closely and exclaimed, "Hang on, there's a pair of legs as well!" They both stood with their mouths hanging open, not knowing quite what to do. Then mother whispered to Gerald, "l think perhaps we should call the Police."

In a short while a car drew up and a policeman got out. "Well", said my mother, "Look for yourself." The policeman bent down and grabbed both boots. As he pulled, an Irish voice groaned, "De Valera ruined Ireland." It was a tramp who had had too much to drink and crawled under our bushes to sober up. The policeman managed to get him into his car, saying he would keep him at the station until he had sobered up.

"Do you think you could give him something to eat?" enquired my mother. "We are not Lyons Corner House, madam", came the reply, and off they went.

These tramps were harmless, just people who had lost their way in life. At Christmas, the same one would call on us at lunchtime and mother would set up a card table in the porch and give him the same full meal as ourselves. There was no alcohol, however, as this was never kept in the house.

In 1939, due to the War, we moved from Essex to Berrynarbor. It was not long before we met Roy S. Head, he was another wanderer. Sadly, Roy had suffered shell shock in the 1914-18 War and could not live within the confines of four walls. He was a very intelligent and well-educated man, thought to have been a doctor. it was also thought that his father, too, may have been a doctor and sometimes Roy was referred to as Dr. Head. He would wander all over the countryside, sleeping in fields, barns or under bushes. Sometimes he would go to his sister's cottage in Berrynarbor no doubt for a clean up and a good meal or two. The off he would go again to sleep in the old places and even in a pig shelter. Sadly, one day Roy was found at the side of the road, where he had passed away.

Talking with Roslyn Hammett the other day she told me that during her father Stan's seven year courtship of Bessie, he would walk to llfracombe to see her. On one occasion Stan turned up to meet Bessie with a rather dishevelled man, who had accompanied him for most of the way. When she exclaimed, "Why have you brought that tramp with you?" Stan, looking rather embarrassed, scratched his head, thought for a moment and then came up with, "He's not a tramp, he's a milestone inspector!"

Older residents of Berrynarbor must remember Jock Morrison. Jock lived for a while in a tent in the woods at the bottom of the Old Coast Road, probably called Napps Woods. As boys, we would, in our bravado, stop at his tent, pull aside the fly and call, "Morning, Jock!" Jock, startled, would raise his head, rub his eyes and grunt, "Mornin', boys." Then we would leave him so that he could go back to sleep. Jock could be seen washing his clothes at various streams around the village and if the weather permitted, his clothes would go back on still wet! Although his 'home' was the tent, he would sleep at other places, one of which was a shelter at Hillsborough. Unfortunately, once when he turned up at the shelter it was already occupied by a courting couple, too busy kissing and cuddling to worry about a man who paced up and down, waiting to go to bed, but eventually they left and Jock moved in. He would catch rabbits, not knowing they were infected with myxomatosis - they would just be sitting there, probably blind and easy to catch. Eating them didn't seem to do him harm!

Mrs. Emma Richards of Barton Farm was kind to Jock and he quite often enjoyed a Sunday lunch there. He would be given his food and eat it in the cow shed. His luck changed when Farmer Fred Richards had a cottage vacated at Combe Martin opposite the Pack of Cards, where I believe Jock was allowed to live, doing a bit of gardening to help make ends meet. How his life ended I do not know. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

15



MARINA

A story for the Young and Young at Heart

Little Jenny Berricombe lived on Hagginton Hill with her mother, Mary, and her father, John.

Her mother was a good cook, making wedding and Christmas cakes and sometimes cooking at the nearby Castle, when the 'posh' people had their friends and relations to stay. Her father had, many years ago, worked at the Saw Mills and also on various farms.

They were a happy family, but very poor. The people of Berrynarbor liked them as they were all often involved with anything at the Manor Hall, and making Berrynarbor look very pretty for the Best Kept Village competition and things like that.

Jenny often went for walks on her own as she loved all things to do with the countryside or the sea. It was on one of these walks that she found herself sitting on a rock below the cliffs where there had once been an old hotel swimming pool. Most of the old swimming pool had gone, either having been pulled down or broken up by the rough winter seas. The owners had now built a new pool for the visitors. However, there was still a shallow pool left and as Jenny stared at it, there was a sudden splash!

"Hello", a piping little voice cried.

"Hello", replied an absolutely amazed and startled Jenny.

It was a little mermaid, about the height of a chair seat. She had long, fair hair and a very nice face, like the prettiest doll you've ever seen. In no time at all the two were talking like old friends. Jenny told her new friend, whose name was Marina, how she lived in Berrynarbor and went to the village school, where she had lots of friends.

"Oh", said Marina, "Please don't tell your friends we've met, it is to be our secret."

Jenny said she would keep their secret, and they kept talking, agreeing to meet again at the same time and place the following week.

That evening, over supper, Jenny told her parents where she had been, not mentioning the mermaid. Her father looked up from his meal and said, "Oh! I know that place. A chap called Ginger from Combe Martin and I built the wall around that swimming pool. It wasn't half a job, because we had to do everything at low tide. It was a good pool in its day, with a slide down into it that had water running down and posts with chains on one side, so you didn't fall off the edge of the wall. There were changing huts there too and they called it 'Marina' after a princess."

Jenny was startled, but hid her surprise. She could hardly wait to see her new-found friend again. What did worry her though was that her father was often not well and although he had tried many cures, he did not seem to get any better.

Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

The next time Jenny visited the pool, there, sure enough, was her little mermaid friend. The time she noticed that Marina was wearing a little ring on her finger. It wasn't gold or silver, but transparent like glass.

"Please tell me about your ring", said Jenny, "I've never seen one like that before."

Marina smiled and replied, "Well, it is a very special ring and has a job to do. And when that job is done, it will fade away completely." "How old are you?" enquired Jenny.

"l don't know" replied Marina, "I've always been here and never seem to get any older."

Jenny asked Marina if she would tell her more about herself, which she did.

"Well, being a mermaid, swimming is the thing I just love to do. When I swam to Combe Martin, I found Newberry beach lovely, but they had their Earl of Rone stoning on the main beach, so I quickly left. I love Broadsands, it's so quiet there and sometimes I spend the night in that little shallow cave. Way back at Watermouth, I remember people bringing coal over from Wales, and stranding their boats after the tide had gone down so that lorries could go on the beach and unload. I also remember the sailing barges that would leave llfracombe in very rough weather - it's a wonder they didn't tip over!"

"Oh! Do go on, please", said Jenny. "l bet you've never seen Berrynarbor though."

"Well, it might surprise you, but as a matter of fact I have." replied Marina. "I'll tell you how it happened."

"Firstly, it had been very wet and all the rivers and streams had risen higher because of the rain, and the Sterridge was no exception. l, of course, entered the river at Watermouth, passed the elvers you often see there and then, as I got near the caves, I saw a mother duck with her ducklings. I swam on past the lake near Mill Farm, where at one time there were two herons with a nest on the island. And then I swam under Pitt Hill bridge. Do you know that the mill pond to Mill Farm was there at one time? I went on past all the Lee farms until I had to stop where the Sterridge had a wide part, something like a pond. 'What a lovely, peaceful place to stop', I thought. But no, suddenly there were three big splashes in the water and it was those naughty otters! Round and round they chased each other, weaving in and out, ducking and diving, wanting me to join in. But they were too fast for me, and off they went down the river. 'Peace at last', I thought, as I lay back in the water. Then there was a rustle in the bushes beside the water and presently a nose poked through. It was a young deer that had come to have a drink. Through the afternoon, other animals came for drinks - a fox, a badger, a hedgehog and a little vole, who popped into the water. Then the birds came to see me, even a kingfisher, but he was soon gone in a flash of blue. The robin stopped for quite a while. By now it was getting late in the afternoon, so I made my way back downstream and out to Watermouth again. What a lovely day I'd had!"

"What about you?" She asked then. "Where do you go and what do you do when you are not at school?"

Jenny thought for a moment, "Well, I sometimes help with the milk deliveries to people on Hagginton Hill, or go to Miss Cooper's shop in the village, or up the Valley to buy tomatoes. Sometimes I help with the harvest and I like leading the horse when they are getting the hay in. I walk a lot and one time when Auntie Con came to stay, she said we'd go on a very long walk and we did, all the way to Heddon's Mouth! My legs ached for days after that."

Marina smiled, "I've been there too. What a lot of large rocks there are."

Jenny and Marina met quite often down at the swimming pool and one day Marina asked her how her father was. Jenny said he seemed to be feeling a lot better, but then she noticed that the glass ring on Marina's finger was now hardly visible.

"Ah," said Marina, "l can see you are looking at my ring, and it has nearly gone. Soon it will fade to nothing and the magic of it will be over, but your father will be strong and fit again, I promise you. Soon it will be time for us to say goodbye, as I can tell you will grow into a fine young lady and our meetings will just seem like a dream."

The next time they met, it was very sad for it would be the last time. Marina's ring had completely disappeared and she told Jenny there were others things she had to do and they would not be near the old swimming pool. Jenny and Marina both had tears in their eyes as Marina swam slowly out to sea, turning to wave now and then.

Jenny sat by the pool for a while, 'Had this been real or had she been day dreaming?' Who knows?

When Marina and Jenny met at the pool

To each it was just like finding a jewel/.

Their friendship grew and lasted a while,

They parted with tears, but then came a smile.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

16



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

34



RETURN JOURNEY

The story I am going to tell took place in the 1 970'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



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

TUT TUT BUB ER GUG

At about the time I was eleven and my sister Jean thirteen, like most kids we had 'secrets' which we didn't want the adults to know and it was for this reason that Jean invented our new 'language'. She gave it the name shown above and after some practice we became quite fast at speaking it.

In fact we got good enough to confuse mother, much to her annoyance! Mostly what you do is to put a 'U' after almost any letter of the alphabet and then the letter again. There are, of course, exceptions which had to be invented, but rather than point them out separately, I'll give all the letters and how we said them.

A is A, B is BUB, C is CUC, D is DUD, E is E, F is FUF, G is GUG, H is HUSH, I is l, J is JUG, K is KUK, L is LUK, M is MUM, N is NUN, O is O, P is PUP; Q is qwuck, R is RUN, S is SUS, T is TUT, U is U, V is vtJ\/, X is X, Y is Y' and Z is ZUZ.

This 'language' was taught in fun to my children so we have a bit of fun even now speaking it to each other. I even taught it to a student from Essex University, so who knows what future it may have!

I hope that mums and dads and boys and girls of Berrynarbor will 'have a go' so that when I next come to the village, we'll ail be able to have a chat.

TUTONUNYI

Now There's a Funny Thing!

A few statistics . . . [probably wrong!]

Oh, well, all for now!

Tony Beauclerk Colchester

26



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

People and their Pets

I'm sure most people have found much amusement from looking at the way we behave towards our pets and, of course, the way our pets behave towards us!

At the back of a house where I lived there was a yard. At that time your groceries were delivered in a wooden box. Now one of the boxes was standing on end in the yard and our cat, Tiddy Wee, was sitting in it. Jumbo, our old Devon sheepdog sauntered past, not even noticing the cat sitting there. Quick as a flash, Tiddy Wee popped out, clawed Jumbo in the bottom and nipped back in. Jumbo turned around but, of course, could see nothing to have caused the attack. Tiddy Wee's revenge for having been chased up the trees so many times.

Then there was the Labrador we called Puzzle - this name was given because it was a puzzle to know what to call her. She went everywhere with us and we always took her on holiday in the caravan. When staying at Cromer, we were down on the pier talking to the local show box office manager and told him we should like to see the show, but as we had a dog, this would not be possible. "Well, you can bring her if she behaves, but if she doesn't, you'll have to take her out." "Right," we told him, "We'll be along tonight. "

During the show there was 'A-hunting we will go' song and when they reached the 'Tan tivvy' bit, old Puzzle joined in, much to the amusement of the audience. Rather than being thrown out, she was applauded.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

My mother, who would not be separated from her pomeranian, would even smuggle her, in a carrier bag, into the cinema. Whether the dog enjoyed the films, I don't know!

One day at a car park we met a man whose Labrador was in a cage in his car. On asking him why, he replied that it had eaten most of the interior of his previous car and he didn't want it to happen again!

How do animals get names? Well, when we lived in Berrynarbor we knew the Peacheys who lived at 'Prospect' in Birdswell Lane. Now they had a cat which decided to have its litter on a pair of plus fours laying in a cupboard and belonging to Bill Peachey. Answer? Call the kitten they gave us 'Plus'.

Then there was Ziggy, so named because my son Ray went into a pub to buy sonne cigarettes, saw a litter of springer spaniels, bought one and called it Ziggy after the Zigarettes.

By the way, our present dog Bessie was a naughty puppy, chewing most things including the paint off the radiator, skirting board, architrave; ripping up the vinyl and eating most of the washing machine control panel. She was an expensive young lady!

When I was in my teens it was customary to invite friends back for a coffee after going to a dance. On one occasion, Rex and I had gone back to our house, had our coffee and then Rex went home. The next day Tiddy Wee was nowhere to be seen. He had hopped through an open window in Rex's car and gone to sleep. The next day when Rex went to get his car out, old Tiddy Wee jumped out and ran into his back garden and then on to some waste land. Now Rex's house was some yards from a then electrified railway line - had Tiddy tried to find his own way home he would probably have met his end. I made a like several saucers of milk and he was enticed back to safety!

Lastly, there's the story of Danny who lived across the road. He had all sorts of animals, including a huge cart horse, a small horse, budgies, chickens, dogs and cats - you name it and he had it. Danny got fed up with his cats going after his pigeons, so he decided to build a loft to beat all others. He managed to get hold of an old telegraph pole, built a lovely loft which he attached to the top, and sank it firmly into the ground. He was very proud of this! So proud that he invited me over to have a look. My eyes slowly followed the pole to the top and you've guessed it. There crouching and proudly looking out was one of his cats!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

24



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

On Horses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

19



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Ode to Berrynarbor

I lived in Devon once you see,
And Berrynarbor is dear to me.
Remembering places like the Manor Hall
Gatherings for dances, drama and all.
There's Broadsands, Sandy Cove, Sandy Bay,
The summer months - one long holiday.
Sawmills, Berry Corner, Watermouth Harbour,
Lots of places close to Berrynarbor.
When I was a lad it was all the rave
To collect stalactites and see bats in Napps Cave.
At nearby Combe Martin there are Hangman Hills,
A walk up these gets rid of your ills!
Newberry Beach, a beautiful sky,
Camel's Head and Camel's Eye.
Birdswell Lane, Sterridge too,
The Globe, the Church for me and you.
Many farms I can name,
North and South Lee are not the same.
There's Moules, Ruggaton and others
Often run by relations or brothers.
From time to time I return to see
Berrynarbor that is dear to me,

 

Illustrated by: Peter Rothewell

Tony Beauclerk - Evacuee, 1939-1945

20



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Those Teenage Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

32



THE CARAVAN

Towing for 125 miles

It was about 1957 and I had only been married a few years. Like most young couple, Betty and I were glad of any chance of extra money. This chance came up in the following extraordinary form.

My mother owned and let a caravan on the cliffs at East Runton, near Cromer in Norfolk. However, the caravan had to be taken off site for the winter as the land was 'half year' land and had, by law, to revert to common land during the winter. Her caravan 'wintered' at a garage block in Sheringham.

In November there was a 'phone call from Mr. Ginby who had an Estate Agents in llford. He was selling a house in llford to a client who was not happy about the decorations and his client fancied a caravan holiday whilst the work was carried out, and as mother had a caravan, could we help? He put his client directly in touch with us to see what could be arranged.

I told Mr. Short, the gentleman in question, that our family car was all right for short towing distances, but not for long journeys.

"No problem," said the Mr. Short, "I'll lend you my Armstrong Siddeley, it's got six cylinders. So, if you would like to collect your mother's caravan, I'll arrange to hire a site at Hulbridge for a couple of weeks and I'll pay you £10 and, of course, your mother for two weeks' hire:

Mr. Short had a tow bar fitted to the Armstrong Siddeley and told me that he had provided a gallon can of oil, 'just in case we needed it'!

On the Saturday morning, Betty and I set off and things seemed to be going well until we got to Long Melford. The car had a preselected gear lever on the steering column that is you selected the gear, then depressed the clutch and released it, and hopefully you were in the required gear [i.e. if you were approaching a hill].

Well, I pushed the clutch down and let it up again, and up it came, about six inches out of the floor! Leaving Betty in the car I walked to the nearest garage, where the man didn't seem to be interested in my problem, but sent me on to another garage further down the road.

"Bung yer foot down 'ard on it, mate", the man said, "It'll go back inter place." This I did on my return, and all seemed OK. However, J thought it wise to check oil whilst we were stopped only to find the dipstick showed half the amount it should. Thank goodness we had that can with us!

Since the AS was on its last legs, we arrived at the Sheringham garage just as it got dark, so we decided that the best thing was to sleep in the caravan in the garage.

In the morning I tried to start the car, but the battery was flat. I said to Betty, "If we push it down the road and I jump in, hopefully I can put it in gear and it will start." This we did, and fortunately the engine fired just before I ran out of road and went over the cliff! Now, I noticed, the petrol gauge showed almost empty! We hitched on the caravan and just made it to Mr. Crow's garage and filled up.

Now, the oil was up and the petrol was up, all should be well. But no! Every hill had to be climbed in first gear, that is until we came to Halstead Hill. This time everything ground to a halt. Whilst I held the handbrake on with both hands and my foot hard on the brake, Betty got out and walked to the garage, the sign of which we could just see on the road ahead. She soon arrived back in a van, driven by the garage owner. He hitched on to the AS and between us we managed to haul the caravan up to the top of the hill.

By this time it was raining hard and to add to our troubles, we had a puncture! There was no spare, so I lay in the fast-flowing gutter and jacked up the caravan with a bottle jack. Putting the tyre in the car, I detached and left Betty in the caravan, whilst I went to get the tyre repaired.

Luckily this did not take long and we were soon on our way again.

There were no lights on the caravan - in those days they were not required by law if you were only towing in daytime. However, the daylight was fading fast and so we pulled into a pub with a large car park. "Yes, you can pull in for the night," said the landlord's wife. She lit a fire for us to dry out by and the next morning sent us on our way after a really good breakfast.

So we were on our way again, but the darned car was so slow we couldn't see us getting to our destination at Hullbridge that day, so headed for my mother's at Billericay, where we stayed the night.

The next morning dawned and it was still raining! But, we had a job to do and set off once again.

To get to the caravan site, we had to go down a narrow road, called Watery Lane. It was well named! It was more like a river with only the sides visible, but fortunately it wasn't very deep as you could not turn back. Eventually we arrived and were directed to where the caravan was to be left. The ground was saturated and as we stopped, the caravan sank with a noise rather like when you finish a drink with a straw!

We had been accompanied on the last leg by my mother and half-brother, Gerald. So off we set to return to Billericay for a nice cup of tea!

I returned Mr: Short's car to him and believe you me, was I glad to see the back of that Armstrong Siddeley!

Some days later, I rang Mr. Ginby to ask how Mr. Short and his wife were enjoying their holiday. "Oh," said Mr. Ginby, "Short's wife got the 'flu and they went home after two days"!

The caravan was later collected and taken back to Sheringham by a man with a Land Rover, but I think you will agree that Betty and I earned our £10!

Tony Beauclerk, Colchester

31



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Seals

I think the most seals I have ever seen were at Tentsmuir in Scotland. Tentsmuir is not far from St. Andrews and has beautiful sands. Off these sands are sandbanks and on one of these were dozens of seals, all basking away. With binoculars, my wife Betty and I were able to see this wonderful sight, but there was another treat in store. There on the shore was a baby seal, still with its umbilical cord attached. We were able to go right up to it, but I knew we should not touch. If you do touch them, the mother can pick up the scent and it may upset their relationship.

Further down the country, in fact at Combe Martin, and during World War Il, I was walking down Seaside looking across to the beach when I saw something large lying there. On getting closer, I discovered it was a dead male seal, about seven-foot long. It had large whiskers and tusks. On enquiring, I learned that it had been found washed up at Sandy Bay by some fishermen who put a rope round it and towed it in. It was later taken back to sea and dumped.

There are many interesting stories about seals. At Blakeney in Norfolk, the fishermen at one time shot seals for damaging their nets. Now the picture has changed and boat trips for visitors are arranged to see the seals.

Recently there were reports of a dog being swept away in the river Tees near Middlesborough. The dog was saved by a seal which nudged it to the riverbank and as a result it survived its ordeal.

Swimmers in difficulty have been nudged to the surface by seals and have thus avoided drowning.

It was when we lived in Berrynarbor during World War I l that my half-brother, Gerald, and I belonged to a drama group. Each week we were taken to Lee Bay by the producer to rehearse for a musical play called 'Fat King Melon', Gerald was the musical director.

One particular week the weather was really warm, so I decided to take my swimming togs and have a swim after the rehearsal.

made my way down to the water and left Gerald leaning over the wall to watch. The water was warm and I did my usual breaststroke and swimming under water and generally splashed around.

When I came out and up the beach, Gerald called out, "Did you all enjoy your swim?" I grabbed my towel and replied, "What do you mean, all? I was on my own."

"Well," he said, "there were several seals swimming quite close to you."laughed and said, "You must be joking!" He assured me that what he had said was true.


Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

25



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Boys will be Boys

Prior to 1939, I went to an independent school where fighting was frowned upon, indeed not allowed. When I changed schools, my first experience of being provoked was on the school bus, when others sitting behind me would persist in flipping my ears. I would turn round and ask them to stop, only to be giggled at and told, "It wasn't me." As time went on, the provocation would become more and eventually end up with, "Fight, fight, fight!" Fists would be put up, which I simply grabbed and held. I was quite strong in the arm and after a while things would calm down. [By the way, this can also work with grandchildren!]

How do fights begin? Nobody seems to remember what they were about! One fight I had at school was with Paul Vellacott. Paul hit me on the jaw and a tooth came lose. I took it out with my handkerchief and the fight stopped. Paul and I became good friends after that and the strange thing was that although the tooth was a second one, it grew again!

Of course, boys fighting are a part of growing up, but I took a lot of stick before I would fly. When I did, the other lad would get the worst of it, but being asthmatic, I would always end up out of puff!

One summer Saturday afternoon, my pal Don and I were out walking near the top of Hagginton Hill and looking through a field gateway saw two lads walking towards us. Without any provocation, one called across to Don, "Want a fight?" Don shouted back, "Yes!", and they were soon at it like a couple of terriers.

The other lad and I did not fight but out of nowhere, or so it seemed, appeared two more boys, both with airguns. They stood there with their guns with the obvious intention of letting the fight run its course. Now fisticuffs are one thing, but airgun dangerous. By now the larger lad was getting better of Don, but you can hardly intervene when you've got airguns pointing at you!

Soon the larger lad had knocked Don to thy ground and was kneeling astride him, putting mud in his mouth. Fortunately, at that moment a voice called out, "Stop that at once, or I'll call the police." It was Don's mum who had heard the commotion and luckily had just the right intonation to stop things in their tracks. All four boys ran off in the direction of llfracombe, leaving Don, his mother and me aghast.

At school on Monday, Don's face was still swollen and he told me he had had to feed through a straw over the week-end. His mother didn't report the matter to the police, although Don told me he'd had several more fights with the lad, eventually getting the better of him.

Don never gave up!

Sadly, Don, who was always interested in wildlife and so knowledgeable, died last year after sixty years of friendship.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

36



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

It must have been 1940 or 1941 when we were sitting in class at the then llfracombe Grammar School. As usual, I was looking out of the window instead of concentrating on the lesson. Gradually it became more and more overcast, so much so that Miss Chadder had to put the light on. I just continued to look out of the window and, what was that? A feather, I thought. No, there's another and another. Soon the snow was failing fast. Miss Chadder looked worried and soon there was a white layer covering the ground. Shortly, Mr. Tatten, the Headmaster, called in at every class to say we could all go home early.

There would have been other similar stories to this as the boys and girls came from different areas such as Woolacombe, Mortehoe, Braunton, Combe Martin, and so on.

However, Don [who lived at Goosewell] and I set off, firstly to Hele and then to Goosewell. l, of course, had to get to Berrynarbor. Well, by the time I got to ascending Pitt Hill, it was about a foot deep. My feet and clothes were soaked and I was glad to get home to our house in Barton Lane to dry out.

Being off school meant having some fun - snow ball fights in the village and tobogganing. If you look across from the car park at Castle Hill, you will see a field with a slight cart track cut into the side of it. When tobogganing down the field, you would hit it causing the toboggan to 'jump' - great fun! Even the dogs joined in to help pull the toboggans up the hill for your next ride.

At Pitt Hill I remember a double-decker bus stuck and abandoned. It had slid against the wall and looked very precarious. However, it wasn't long before the courting couples found it a very convenient place to meet! Rosslyn Hammett [nee Huxtable] told me that there was a similar marooned bus in the same place in 1947. So there you are youngsters, wait for the next good snowfall!

There was also ice skating, although not often. I did once stand on Mill Farm lake, though I resisted walking out to the island - I should not recommend such folly as it is very dangerous and could be fatal.

Then, at other times, there was the rain! Each winter we rode upstairs on the bus and would look out over the field adjoining Mill Farm, which would be flooded [but not very deep]. The only way Jim Chugg and his family could come and go from his back door was wearing wellies. It has improved there now as the Sterridge has been deepened and possibly re-routed.

Continuing our journey past Sawmills and looking left high on the field, we always watched for the coloured rabbits. That is tame, escaped ones that bred with the wild ones white, black and white and so on. I wonder if their descendants still live there or if they were wiped out by myxomatosis? Further on down the road towards Watermouth Caves, there would be more field flooding.

Come summer the Sterridge would be back to its old, pretty self, with the trout in the main stream, ducks with their young and right down at Watermouth Harbour, the little elvers [eels] that we used to catch.

Weatherwise, how things seem to have changed. North Devon is now described as virtually 'frost free', but then I am talking about 50 years ago!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

32



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Celluloid

Some time around 1937-8, our family bought a Path& cine camera. The film, which was only 9.5mm wide, nevertheless gave good results. I remember scenes of tobogganing down Seaford Head one Christmas, walking along Seaford beach and sailing our boats on a pond at Brentwood, But one scene that stays vivid was in our back garden. I had filled a tin bath with water and set our wind up motor boat going around. Then I had a good idea to give my pet white mouse a boat ride. I fetched Mickey [for what other name would a mouse have?], wound up the boat and sat him aboard. He seemed to enjoy it, with his tail trailing in the water. Meanwhile, Bill our black spaniel sat looking on and drooling!

Due to the war, the camera was put away in a sock drawer and not used again for many a year. My interest in film continued, with Saturday morning cinema showing Edgar Kennedy, Flash Gordon and American sing-a-long bouncing ball films. There was not much singing though as most of the songs were not known to us!

Moving to Berrynarbor in 1939, my interest continued with the Scala Cinema in Ilfracombe High Street and the new cinema in Northfield Road. The film showing that summer at the Scala was I The Mikado' fascinating as had played the executioner's sword carrier in an amateur production.

At the Scala you knew when the programme was about to begin as a man would walk down the aisle to behind a low curtain and start winding the stage curtains open. They never did get rid of that stain down the screen though - probably caused by rain coming in!

When I was about 14, was sitting at the end of a row in the balcony when an usherette who was quite old - about 16! started chatting to me. "Move over one," she said and sat down next to me. We continued to talk and then a lad appeared [he was about 17]. "Move over one again," she said, and he sat down. Her attention turned from me and before long they were kissing and cuddling. It turned out that he was not only her boyfriend, but the projectionist. But he had to disappear before long as the film reels only lasted for 10 minutes and he had to switch over and reload! I often had chats with the girl, but she left to work as a cashier in the butcher's shop.

The New Cinema in Northfield Road was a conversion rather than a purpose-built one - I believe it had been a church or Masonic hall. It was smaller with only a 'few steps up' balcony. The projector box had been built at the back and when the projectionist opened the door to come out for a smoke, you would hear the loud clatter of the projector [no doubt a Kalee].

At that time, I was at school with a lad called Parry whose father ran the cinema and once when I was at his house in Hele, his mother offered us sweets, off ration! Apparently they were intended for sale at the cinema but due to poor storing, had deteriorated. They might not have been fit for the public but there were certainly OK by us!

Both cinemas closed some years ago, with residential buildings on the Scala site but the New Cinema remained empty.

There was some film production work to be learned when Gabriel Pascal filmed some of 'Caesar and Cleopatra' in the 1940's, with a motor boat built up with struts and painted canvas to look like a Roman galleon. Things were scaled down with model soldiers, about 2 feet tall, standing on the deck. What intrigued me was the way the oars worked - they were not only pivoted at the usual rowlock position, but at the handles to a long pole. A man stood at each end, holding the pole and moving it up and down and all the oars would move in unison. A model of Alexandria was mounted on a stand and smoke cartridges gave the impression of the city being on fire. From time to time the stars of the film could be seen and I believe, but don't know if they took up the offer, the Home Guard were approached to be Roman soldier 'extras' at Saunton Sands.

Then there were the other film shows. Down at Seaside in Combe Martin, Mr. Knight had a mobile cinema showing Ministry of Information films. The translucent screen was at the back of the vehicle, which itself was a converted Rolls Royce! Since there was little traffic, you could stand in the road to watch.

Finally I must mention 'Pettits Popular Pictures'. The posters would advertise the films to be shown at the Manor Hall and a 9.5mm sound Projector would be set up amongst the audience at the stage end of the Manor Hall and the screen at the other not good presentation to me. The lights were turned off and the old gentleman would start the projector. Films were interrupted by frequent breakdowns, but the George Formby Comedies went down well. I think the man running these shows lived in the van in which he carried his equipment, and he probably travelled around a lot Of villages in the West Country.

Tony Beauclerk Colchester

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

38



SWEET AND SOUR

As some of you may know, I now live in the Colchester area, close to the Essex-Suffolk border. At one time, lived about ten miles from here, in a village near another village. Now it was rather strange, because if I ever asked anyone, "Excuse me, please, but could you tell me the way to Tudwick?" they would nearly always reply, "Oh, you mean Tudwick Treacle Mine." Then they would walk on. r thought at first they were having me on, but since so many people said the same thing, I though it would be interesting to explore the matter.

I began to delve into books, old records, documents and even had the full co-operation of Gelderstein University, who were most helpful. Gradually, I pieced together a picture of what had gone on many years ago in the early 1800' s.

Samuel Truneon was a much respected man in the Tudwick area and was a quite substantial landowner. He had large grounds to his fine house, of which he was very proud. In a very wet winter, between showers, he would take a stroll around his garden to admire the fine shrubs, trees, rockeries and so on. It was on one of these days, when he was about half way on his usual walk, that he was startled at finding a huge subsidence. An area about 30 feet across, more or less circular, had dropped some 15 feet, showing a 'cliff of sandstone'. Mr. Truneon called his gardener, who was bending weeding and totally unaware of things.

"Go and get a long ladder Olley, " Mr. Truneon ordered, and before long Olley had returned with the longest ladder he could find. "Will this do, sir?" he enquired. "It certainly will! Now put it down there and go and have a look." Olley duly obeyed. "While you are down there, have a look at that line across the sandstone and tell me what it is."

Olley scrambled across and examined the line. Thinking of oil, Truneon told Olley to put his finger on the line and to taste it. Olley did. but it was sweet - and this was the beginning of the treacle mine!

Samuel Truneon, being very astute, and after much testing of the substance, formed a company to go into production. Due to the nature of the very soft sandstone. only small tunnels were driven and only shortish people could be employed. His advertisement for staff even reached Zurich, and several people [under 5 feet tall] came over to work. The pay was good and they sent a lot of money home where their relatives opened banks.

Production survived for quite a number of years, upsetting the local bee keepers, who found the competition difficult. But, thirty years on, the treacle was beginning to diminish. People were made redundant and the works became run down. Luckily, in 1847, a new black treacle seam was discovered and production and prosperity bucked up. But nothing seems to go on for ever, and gradually this, too, dried up. Employment shrank to nothing and the mine was closed. In later years it became a rubbish tip, then it was filled in and grassed over. Today, sadly there is no sign of the old mine, people walk their dogs over the site and only have any knowledge of it, because I made the whole thing up!

I should, however, like to mention that the method of collecting the treacle was similar to collecting the latex from rubber trees - using little copper buckets pegged under dips in the seams with six inch nails.

"Mazed as a brish, I be." Cheers!


 
Illustration by: Nigel Mason

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

29



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Food, Glorious Food

It is not long since the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of World War Il [3rd September 1939]. Rationing became the order of the day to make the scarcity fair for everyone. Books of coupons were issued to everybody, not just for food, but for clothes and even furniture - for those couples getting Married. Sweets became very scarce and you only had them if you were lucky and they were available. A visit to Miss Cooper at the village shop was sometimes in vain. Fortunately, living in Berrynarbor had some advantages. You could go down to the fish and chip shop at Combe Martin with half-a-crown [2/6d. or 12 1/4p] and get fish and chips for four people. I was often asked to get on my bike to do this, and as there was a little loose change left over - and I was not asked for it - then I would forget too! They would fry the potato pieces in batter and loosely call them escallops. Mostly the fish was rock eel.

Sometimes you could go down to the beach just as a fishing boat had landed and buy herrings for about a penny or tuppence each. There were rabbits available and they were very nice boiled first and then fried with onions.

I remember well fishing from rocks at Broad Sands, using limpets which we kicked off the rocks and used for bait. No rod, just a line swung round and round and let go! Fishing was not bad there, and we had several nice meals of whiting.

There is a story of a man at Combe Martin who, looking over the rails at Seaside, spotted a large fish below, more or less stationary. As he lived in a house just across the road, he ran in and got his shotgun. Back to the rails where he leaned over and shot the fish! I don't know, though, how he retrieved it. Anything for a bit of grub!

At this time you could go into a cafe or restaurant for a meal [mostly fry ups] but you were not allowed another meal at the same seat at the same table - you had to move to another table! OK, I suppose, if you had money to spare.

Like most people, we kept chickens, and despite clipping one wing [so if they flew at all it would be in circles!], they often escaped from the pen. My mother's Pomeranian fancied herself as some sort of sheepdog and quite got the hang of rounding them up.

Meat being in short supply once caused my mother great concern. At the time we owned two sheepdogs. As there was very little traffic they were allowed to roam more or less where they liked. One day Jumbo came home with quite a nice joint in his mouth - it was still partly wrapped and was he pleased with himself!. It was later discovered that he had pinched it from the shopping basket left hanging on the handlebars of a neighbour's bike, propped up in Birdswell Lane. How my mother sorted it out with the neighbour I don't know, but I'm sure she was very embarrassed!

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester

32



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Camping

I was about 14 at the time and it was the start of the summer school holidays. Bob Becker, of Woodlands, Combe Martin, had become a good friend, and wc talked about what we could do for a change from swimming and meandering around or doing a bit of cycling.

"I know, let's go camping," I said, but Bob replied that his bike was out of order and anyway he didn't have a tent.

"My family have a tent, though its about thirty years old, and we've got a tandem."

"So that's it," enthused Bob, "We could go to my relatives at Friendship Farm at Challacombe." I thought, 'heck that's a bit of a push up there', but then when you're young, anything is possible. We asked our mums about food and they were willing to let us have some baked beans, Spam, porridge and bread [and, of course, anything else we could sneak!].

The venture was arranged for the following Saturday. Bob arrived at our house with a rucksack, two large woven bags, a heavy coat and pockets stuffed with all sorts of things. I had my share, including a wooden and canvas camp bed, which although only for one, we could alternate from sleeping on the ground sheet. It took a while to strap or fix everything on to the tandem with the camp bed tied onto one of the crossbars. Setting off, the whole thing looked like a small travelling shop!

It was a difficult ride - mostly pushing uphill - although we did have a 3speed [quite an advantage in those days]. We at last arrived at Friendship Farm and after a brief chat with Bob's uncle, were directed to a nearby field. We pitched the green canvas tent and despite its age, it seemed in good condition.

Bob's uncle gave us some old newspapers and told us to help ourselves to any firewood we could find. We found some wood and stored it in the tent to keep it dry, organised the sleeping arrangements, and made a drink and sandwiches before turning in for an early night.

Naturally, we lay awake talking and presently there was a strange snuffling noise coming from outside. I shone a torch and there was Ben, the farm sheepdog, trying to get his nose through the flysheet.

"I'd better let him in," I said, to which Bob replied that he was no doubt cold. So Ben was let in and soon settled down. When morning came, he was off again back to the farm, but I think he left a few of his little friends as we both seemed a bit 'itchy'! To top this, a large slug had made its way on to my pillow!

"Heck!" said Bob as he opened the fly flap, "The sky's gone pink!"

"Come off it", I replied, "Pink and red are the opposite of green and it's you being in the tent that's caused it."

"OK, clever clogs" was all Bob said.

Well, the rain set in and we spent a lot of time cramped up in that little tent. In the evening, being young and daring, we talked about going for a drink at the local pub, and for two 14 year olds the idea was, at least, a bit cheeky! When we got there, the publican, who must have been a little short-sighted, didn't hesitate in serving us a half-pint of scrumpy, to be consumed between us. Bob took one gulp and said, without conviction, "Smashing." I tried a sip but put it straight back on the table commenting, "It looks like disinfectant and tastes like varnish." "Never mind," quipped Bob, "If you drink enough you'll have a fine finish!"

The next morning the weather was a little better and after breakfasting on porridge cooked on our wood fire, we decided that as everything in the tent was rather damp, an airing would be in order. Amongst other things, the camp bed with Bob's eiderdown was put by the still-glowing embers. Just then a gust of wind caught the eiderdown, blowing it onto the fire. Quick as lightning, we rushed over to stop it burning but too late, although we stamped on it there was a large hole! Feathers staffed to fly just as Bob's uncle appeared asking, "You haven't been after my chickens have you? Oh no, I see you've had an accident. "

At that point it started to rain again and it went on all day. We argued about going home in the morning. I was fed up and wanted out, but Bob, always being optimistic, said it was bound to brighten up soon. I won, however, and we returned to our respective homes the next day. I think secretly that Bob was glad to get home - it rained continuously for the next Week!


Illustration by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk, Colchester

20