Edition 197 - April 2022

Artwork: Paul Swailes

Pippa's Song

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side dew-pearl'd;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!

Robert Browning


Artwork: Judie Weedon


As I write this, the sun is shining, the sky clear blue and the daffodils everywhere making a glorious splash of gold to cheer us when 'All's well with the world!' is not quite true.

Although restrictions have eased, covid has not and to the many in the village suffering - and from other ailments too - it is hoped you will be feeling better soon. Good wishes also go to newcomers to the village, good luck, health and happiness in your new homes.

News has just come through that Central Convenience in Combe Martin are shutting shop on the 31st March. Newsletters have kindly been delivered here with newspapers for many years, originally by Sue's. For those readers who have received their Newsletter this way, copies will, of course, be available at our Village Shop.

The new website is coming along a treat with 1998's editions the latest to be put on line. If you have not already done so, take a look. So much village history and interesting articles, with the illustrations and Tom's postcards looking amazing!

Another full issue and a big thank you to all the contributors, especially our Artist in Residence who has been very busy! Do try to pop in to his Exhibition - The Passage of a Storm - on the Pier in Ilfracombe, from the 16th to 22nd April. Items for June, which is due out on the 2nd, are always welcome as soon as possible please, and by Friday, 13th May at the latest. Thank you.

After that, there will just be August and October before I hang up my Editor's hat and I am still hoping that someone will step forward and take over. Perhaps that could be YOU - think on!

With best wishes for a Happy Easter.

Judie - Ed



We are delighted to say that we are opening our gates again from 1st April 2022! Come and see our award-winning Camellias [we won Best Bloom for our Harold Paige Camellia at RHS Rosemoor in March] as well as our magnificent Magnolias that are out in bloom for spring!

Catch up over coffee and home-made cake or a cream tea in the picturesque Garden Tea Room or take a bit of Marwood magic home with you from our Walled Garden Nursery and Plant Sales.

No bookings needed and dogs on leads welcome!

Please check our website for more information or call us on 01271 342528.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Welcome back to a new year of weather records. Our climate seems to be changing considerably, even day by day we are seeing wide variations. I am sure the coming year will break some of my Sterridge Valley records held since 1994.

The Bells were ringing to welcome in the New Year and the temperature was an amazing 13.7˚and by 0500hrs had risen to 14.8˚C, before dropping back to 11.6˚C by 2359hrs. The day started dry, dull, very warm, and breezy; the maximum wind speed was 21mph from the S.W.

2021 Christmas Garland,
Cotehele House

The barometer started the day at 1015.1mbars and by the end was 1009.7mbars, falling. We had no rain and no recordable sunshine.

Looking through the month, the highest temperature was 14.8˚C on the 1st [average 12.5˚C], the lowest -2.1˚C at 0600hrs [average 2.25˚C]. The maximum wind speed was 35mph on the 4th at 0700hrs from the NNE [average 41.32mph]. The lowest wind chill factor was on the 21st at 0600 hrs -2.7˚C [average -3.45˚C]. The wettest day by far was the 8th with 12.2mm and the total for the month was 52.6mm, the same as 2019 and well below the average of 144.6mm. The barometer ranged between 995.8mbars on the 8th and highest on the 1 th at 1042.2mbars. The Danish Met. Institute named storm Malik on the 28th and the U.K. Met. Office named a second storm Corrie on the 29th. These had little effect here in the southwest but caused severe problems up north. I see Brizlee Wood was mentioned again on the 29th as one of the windiest places with a gust of over 90mph. The sun was in short supply, the best day was the 14th with 2.22 hours. T otal for the month was 16 hours [average 13.81]. The humidity varied from a low on the 5th of 63% and a high of 95% on many days.

February started off with a bright dry day, half cloud cover, a moderate wind from the S.W. The temperature ranged from a low of 8.7˚C to a high of 11.3˚C. The highest wind speed was 24mph from the S.W. There was no precipitation. The barometer fell slowly during the day ending up at 1025.9mbars. The sun managed to shine for 2.26 hours.

Moving on, we had a very eventful time with three named storms arriving in rapid succession in the middle of the month, Dudley mainly affected the north of the country, but we felt it here on two days, the 15th with 14.2mm of rain, which was the wettest day of the month, and on the 16th a S.W. wind which reached 41mph. On the 18th Eunice arrived which had a greater impact here with damaging winds, again from the S.W. which reached 55mph in the Valley, at Chivenor 67mph. The rainfall was less at 4.2mm. On the 20th Franklin arrived with S.W. winds and a maximum of 48mph and 4.4mm of rain. I hope the next Met Office storm name Gladys never happens! The warmest day was the 27th with a high of 12.5˚C [average 13.09˚C] and the coolest day on the 11th at 0.4˚C [average -2.07˚C]. The wind chill lowest temperature was also on the 11th at +0.2˚C [average -4.05˚C]. The total rainfall was

97.2 mm [average 117.80mm] and the year's total so far 149.8mm. The barometer was lively with all the storms passing through. The lowest pressure caused by storm Eunice was 984.2mbars at 1600hrs. on the 18th. The highest was on the 11th at 1033.5mbars. Total sunshine hours for the month were 36.29 [average 43.00] and the best day was the 25th with 4.11 hours. Looking at my barometer graph for storm Eunice, the pressure started to fall quickly at 1700hrs on the 17th and fell 28.3mbars by 0900hrs on the 18th; it then held steady for a couple of hours before rising to 1013.6mbars by 0200hrs on the19th.

The days are now noticeably longer and I have a lovely display of daffodils coming out so it will soon be time to start tidying up the garden.

I hope this horrendous and needless war ends quickly before too many people suffer at the hands of this Russian invasion.

I wish you all a good spring and hopefully we continue to see a fall in the Covid cases.




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We were pleased to meet our new Vicar, the Revd. Mark Ruoff, at a special service held at Pip & Jim's Church on Sunday 20th February, and also delighted to meet his wife Tandy and two of the children who had all driven down from Hammersmith to spend the weekend in North Devon. As mentioned in the last newsletter, we look forward to Revd. Mark's Installation at a special Service on June 13th at Pip & Jim's Church.

We enjoyed a joint communion service at Berrynarbor on Sunday, 30th January when over 50 worshipped together, led by Rev. George Billington. The music group played and sang during the service and Stuart played the final hymn. Refreshments were shared afterwards.

A reminder for all about church services [which we reflected on previously] may be temporarily reduced to three per month whilst we await Revd. Mark's arrival here in Berrynarbor. Please read the notice boards by the lych gate and porch - as well as in the Community Shop and Post Office.

Our AGM will be held on the 21st March 2022 at 4.00 p.m. in the Vestry and look forward to seeing parishioners at this important meeting. We are particularly in need of a PCC Secretary to take the load off of my shoulders, so please come forward if you can! Please ring me on 883893 at any time.

We have some exiting new events coming up this year - one of which will involve Berrynarbor School in an ongoing project. Tom Oliver, our Treasurer, will be organising this very soon. We are also hoping to have a repeat event involving all the children from both School and Pre-School with a special Teddy Bear, and other cuddly animals, abseiling from the church tower! Remember the last time on one of the hottest days of the year! Let's hope that we have fine weather for this super fun day on June 17th, and to incorporate our Annual Gift Day which we have been unable to hold due to the Pandemic.

We are pleased that our 5 new gas fired heaters are up and running, ensuring a warm church for services on those occasional cold days.

On a sad note, we send our deepest sympathy to the relatives of Bill Huxtable who died after a short illness. Bill was a regular Bellringer here in Berrynarbor for many years and it was fitting that our regular team of Bellringers rang at his funeral on Friday 25th February.

On a happier note, we hosted a Christening Service on Sunday 6th March for baby Reuban, with Martyn Tyrell, Curate at Shirwell Church, taking the service.

We particularly look forward to several couples getting married this year - especially since some have previously had to cancel their special day due to the covid pandemic.

We pray for all those who are sick in the village - and especially at this time for all the refugees fleeing the war zone throughout the Ukraine, and hope that families that have been separated from loved ones are reunited once again.

Sue Neale




26.6.1938 - 7.2.2022

It was with sadness the village learnt that Bill, having spent a short time in Pinehurst, had passed away on the 7th February.

A full St. Peter's Church for his funeral on the 25th February, a service similar to that for his twin brother Ivan in 1996, showed the affection in which he was held.

Father John Roles in his welcome and address, spoke of Bill as a man very much of this land and this community. Local breeds [Devon Ruby Reds and Devon Closewell sheep, with an emphasis on Devon!] and, where possible, use of traditional methods, threshing and stooking make the farm seem very much in the mood of our own time, when these things are now seen as admirable and desirable, although the brothers' purchase of a second-hand combine, was like having a Rolls-Royce as far as they were concerned.

Bill's dedication to the farm and to fair business practice, accounts were always settled promptly, were exemplay. His purchase of a retirement bungalow with a clear view of the farm, speaks much of his love of that life.

Bill's life we celebrate today is one who has kept tradition alive despite the challenges of changing times, and part of that tradition is in the muffled bells we have heard today in tribute to his commitment to ringing and the companionship of a pint afterwards.

Tribute - Words from Bett Brooks

The twins, Bill and Ivan, were born on the 26th June 1938 to their parents, Jim and Emmie Huxtable of Woolscott Farm, Berrynarbor. It was a mixed farm. From age 5 to 11 they attended Berrynarbor School and, afterwards, Ilfracombe Secondary School. Leaving school, it was working on the farm for them both. Ivan did the tractor work, Bill looked after the herd of Ruby Red Devons, they were his pride and joy.

When their mother died in 1966, Bill took over the housework, cooking good wholesome English food. Their father died in 1981 and the boys carried on until 1996 when they decided to sell everything. The farm was sold and a bungalow bought in the village. The sale of the animals was booked when Ivan had a fatal heart attack outside the farmhouse. Bill carried on in his own way, had the sale and, with his three collie dogs, moved to the bungalow where he soon settled into village life.

He never learned to drive, going shopping on the bus was new to him. Bill started ringing in 1960 and so enjoyed going with the other ringers to ring in several churches in Devon and Cornwall.

Bill did everything his own way. Offers of help were refused always with the same answer, "I'm alright; don't worry about me I can manage." But health and age caught up with him so he moved into Pinehurst where he enjoyed the food and being looked after in his final months. He loved his ringing and having a drink in The Globe, talking about farming and Ruby Red cattle.

He will be remembered in many ways but most of all for his early morning phone calls. If the phone rang between 7.00 and 7:30, you could be sure it was Bill!

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be.
A resting place along the road
To sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
But never meant to stay.

Our destination is a place
Far greater than we know.,
For some the journey's quicker
For some the journey's slow.>

And when the journey finally ends
We'll claim a great reward
And find an everlasting peace
Together with the Lord.>



My blog is going to be a bit different this time because I want to tell you about the Mr. You may know him as Nigel Robinson, Pam's husband or Kate and Jess' dad, but to me he is the Mr., my master and my best friend.

He has gone you know; went on holiday and never came back. Apparently, he was snorkelling and had a heart attack. Wish I had been there . . . reckon I might have sniffed it out and told him he might be in trouble. We were best friends you see; understood each other so well. He could be quite stern as you well know, if I was digging a hole or terrorising hedgehogs, but he loved me really.

We moved here cos of the Mr. He wanted to be near Saunton Golf Club. Then when the Mrs. saw the house, and they met Ray in the pub, she was sold on it too. They moved here in July 2019 and have never looked back. We all loved the location immediately. Well, who wouldn't this close to such amazing beaches? But more than that we loved the community; this beautiful village and all the friendly people and of course friendly dogs. [Well, most of you are friendly!]

I have heard the Mrs. say "the Mr. has never been happier." I don't think any of us have been happier. We all loved living at Riversdale in the Sterridge Valley. We had been living in Hampshire before coming here. The family lived there for over twenty years but I was only there a couple of months. The Mr. wouldn't have had time for me back then as he was Head of IT for Sony UK. He used to travel to Weybridge in Surrey every day.

He didn't live there all his life. Those of you who knew him would know he was proud of his Liverpool roots. Born there and grew up in Warrington. He met the Mrs. at Manchester University in 1983 . . . a very long time ago. They got married in 1985 and had Kate and Jess. They both live on the east coast of England but I am hoping they will come and visit often now.

The Mr. loved his life in Berrynarbor; the gardening, snooker at the Men's Institute, beer in The Globe, fun evenings with oh so many friends and of course beach walks with me. He was only 59; far too young to die. I keep listening for his car in case he might come back but I am slowly understanding he won't. The Mrs. and I both feel very sad but I will snuggle up and look after her and she is incredibly lucky to have so many great friends. This village has been amazingly kind already. Thank you so much.

I won't forget the Mr. and I hope you won't too.

RIP Nigel Robinson, RIP.

Here, in the village, we were stunned and shocked by the very sad news that Nigel had died whilst he and Pam were on holiday in Antigua on the 15th January. His funeral on the 1st March, a moving and happy Celebration of his Life, was attended by his many relatives and friends, from the village and further afield. Our thoughts continue to be with Pam, Kate and Jess, and, of course Bailey and Alfie.



Today is going to be a good day.
"Are you sure of that?" I hear you say
Well put it this way I will do my best
"I know you will, I expect nothing less."
It's not the same without you here
"I know it's different but you have nothing to fear
I am with you every day
Walking beside you every step of the way. "
I want to see you, hold your hand
"But you can on our stretch of land.
Look at the steps I struggled to make
The mossy grass I toiled to rake.
I uncovered the water trickling down the hill
I see our boy drinks from it still.
The outdoor kitchen I created especially for you.
And the roof over the hot tub I built that too.
Those rhododendrons we planted together
They will grow strong and go on forever.
The veggie plot I created with love.
I will watch you plant from up above.
Sow me sunflowers that will grow so high
Perhaps I will touch them here in the sky
It's your turn now to do what you can
Come on you're as good as any man! "
With you beside me I will do my best
"I wouldn't expect any less"
There's such a lot that I can do
And I'll do it knowing this time it's for you.

Pam Robinson



I wonder what your favourite time of the year is? For many of us it is spring with all the evidence of new life around us; the snowdrops, then daffodils and later bluebells. The leaves returning to the trees, the blossom of the hawthorn and blackthorn followed by the cherry trees. The prospect of the end of the cold weather and dark nights.

The return of the dawn chorus and the lambs in the field, not to mention the rabbits breeding like . . . rabbits, and digging holes in our gardens!

At Easter we think of eggs, chicks and bunnies - all pointing to newness of life. But the most exciting thing at Easter is the prospect of newness of life for us. God demonstrated His great love for us in sending His Son Jesus to die for us on the cross, opening up the possibility of having a relationship with Him. But that wasn't the end of the story; on the third day He rose again, defeating death and heralding in the prospect of eternal life for those who trust in Him. Yet it is not only new life for the future but fullness of life in knowing Jesus now that goes on into eternity.

As Billy Graham said, "Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God."

John Chaplin



Sometimes four or five
sometimes twentyfive
suddenly they take off together
fluttering round and up
then looping and gliding
in higher and wider circles
swirling and now gently
swinging in smaller
and smaller circle
to and fro
across the valley
settling in a tree or
onto the hillside
some staying other
wheeling back to the barn
where they sit in a row on the hill
of the triangle rooftop
Graceful white symbols of peace

Virginia Evans

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Hope Springs Eternal

Hurrah! Lighter mornings and evenings are most welcome as we move into April - the days are getting longer, the weather is getting better and the dream of long, warm sunny days to come is once more forming in our ever-optimistic minds.

There's more going on in our gardens now as buds swell and trees burst into leaf and seed sowing has begun in earnest. In addition to its very popular compost offer, our Shop is also able to provide a range of young plants grown by our kind villagers. These are great value, excellent quality and only a fraction of the price you would pay at a garden centre.

Unfortunately, we shall not be holding the village Plant Sale this year. The dates planned for the event would clash with the village's celebrations for the Queen's Jubilee and we know our place! All being well, we shall be holding a bumper event in 2023.

What's here in April

April will be a very busy month with both Easter and St George's Day. We have eggs of all sizes and flavours - creme ones, caramel ones, mini ones and proper sized delicious Easter ones - plus we have an excellent range of Easter cards.

Easter and Lent is the time for simnel cake - these were traditionally given by live-in apprentices and domestic servants on their return home for Mothering Sunday, but were later called Easter cakes. The cake is a light fruitcake made from white flour, sugar, butter, eggs, fragrant spices, dried fruit, zest and candied peel. We have the ingredients and the recipe is below.

We shall be celebrating St George's Day [April 23rd] in style. There will be a tasting session for many of our local produce in the morning and these will be on special offer throughout the day. These special deals will be for one day only and will include Exmoor beers, Sandford ciders, Quince honey and Waterhouse Fayre jams.

At your service

We often receive requests to add items that we haven't previously stocked and wherever possible we respond positively. So, at your request, the shop now stocks Trex [at just £1], hollandaise sauce and ice cream cones [and we have a wonderful range of ice cream flavours with which to fill them - check out the freezer cabinet].

Masks please

There have been many new cases of this awful covid in the village. That's why we'll continue asking customers to wear a mask if they are able to and we'll be continuing to restrict the number of people in the shop. Please help us to keep everyone safe and the Shop open By working with us on this.

Volunteers needed

Are you new in the village and want to get to know other villagers and contribute to our wonderful community spirit? Why not come along and join our happy band of volunteers. Just half a day a week or a fortnight is all we ask and you can always come along for a few hours to start with to see how you get on. We don't normally bite and we are sure you would enjoy it. Just pop in and ask.

Easter simnel cake recipe
[Mary Berry]


For the topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Grease a 20cm/8in round, deep-sided, loose-bottomed tin with butter and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat together until well incorporated. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  3. Roll one-third of the marzipan to the same size as the base of the tin and place on top of the cake mixture.
  4. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan and level the surface. Bake for 1 3/4 -2 hours or until golden-brown on top and firm in the middle. If the cake is beginning to brown but not cooked through cover it with tin foil. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
  5. Heat the apricot jam in a pan, then brush the top of the cooled cake with a little warm jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to fit the top of the cake. Place the marzipan on the cake and use your thumb to crimp around the edges .
  6. Make 11 balls from the remaining marzipan and place these around the edge of the cake fixing them to the marzipan with a little beaten egg.
  7. Brush the marzipan with the egg and glaze under a hot grill for about 5 minutes (turning the cake round to ensure even browning). You can do this using a cook's blowtorch if you prefer.


David Beagley











































































































































































1. Wicker 2. Rascal
4. Normal 3. Praised
10. Precise 5. Team
11. Emit 6. Shellfish
12. No prospect 7. Holland
13. Area 8. Rub out
15. Poured 9. Financiers
17. Takes pictures 14. Brook's sound
19. Let it be so 16. Spanish or Portuguese
20. Word deluge 18. Older Brownie
23. Made a hole 21. Distance
24. Within 22. Torpid
25. Comprehended  
26. Accept

Solution in Article 34.




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A warmer and more spring like hello to all our friends in the community since the last newsletter. It goes without saying that COVID19 continues to hamper our plans but we are not going to dwell on that for this edition. We have lots of lovely and exciting news for you. Curriculum plans continue - please check our website for information on our planned activities in class.

See: www.westberryfederation.org.uk.

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In the last newsletter we hoped to hold a world book day event on the 3rd March and we are pleased to announce this was able to go ahead as planned. Children enjoyed a carousel of activities around the school based on an "around the world" theme. We studied stories from all over the world - here is our chosen story inspired by Chinese traditional story telling - The Magic Paintbrush. A beautiful story exploring how a little girl's integrity can withstand the corruption of power and greed.

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We all enjoyed a 'Dare to be Different' day back in February, raising some funds for our PTFA. Children and staff dressed up in whatever they liked and we celebrated those differences. Something we feel is particularly important at the current time as we watch events unfold in the Ukraine.

We should like to thank Jared Williams [Year 5] and bis brother Rhys [former pupil in Year 7] for organising a bake sale with proceeds going to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Fund. Well done to you both for putting the value of compassion into action and making a positive difference in the world.

In other news, we treated staff and children to something a little bit different - a silent disco. All classes took part and it was lovely to see everybody let off some steam and have fun.

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We all enjoyed a 'Dare to be Different' day back in February, raising some funds for our PTFA. Children and staff dressed up in whatever they liked and we celebrated those differences. Something we feel is particularly important at the current time as we watch events unfold in the Ukraine. We should like to thank Jared Williams [Year 5] and bis brother Rhys [former pupil in Year 7] for organising a bake sale with proceeds going to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Fund. Well done to you both for putting the value of compassion into action and making a positive difference in the world.

We celebrated Chinese New Year with a Chinese inspired lunch. The children enjoyed stir fry, spring rolls and fortune cookies - thankyou to Jane and Diane for arranging this - it was yummy!

We have an exciting week of science coming up with our STEM week. Children are looking forward to some exciting science experiments throughout the week. Our trips to Yenworthy Lodge in Lynton and to London draw ever closer. Plans are in place and we have all our fingers and toes crossed we can go. Yenworthy Lodge are set to provide a fun and challenging programme of outdoor events for our children in Years 3 and 4. London beckons for Years 5 and 6. It will be so exciting for the children to travel to our capital and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Our youngest group of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, will enjoy a trip to one of our local theme parks for the day and have recently had the opportunity to experience a forest school day with The Outdoors Group in Combe Martin.

Looking a little closer to home - we are really looking forward to taking part in the Queen's Jubilee Celebrations later in the year.

Storm Franklin gave the children the opportunity to complete some work on the commonwealth at home [we had a day of home learning to keep everyone safe]. Through these experiences we continue to broaden our horizons and embody our motto - Streams Yoday, Oceans Tomorrow.

We continue to give thanks to our staff, children and families who continue to support us in all we do and to all in our community, we extend our very best wishes.

Su Carey, Faye Poynter
and the whole Staff Team







We shall be sailing soon - early April. Please check our website and Facebook page for details of sailing dates and times.

We look forward to welcoming you aboard again for a tempting treat - scrumptious cakes, sandwiches and a thirst-quenching cuppa.




We have had a busy start to this year. The children have enjoyed many stories and bringing them to life in role play, small world play, pictures and in our Communication Corner Garden.

Parents have enjoyed listening to their children recall stories and point out their involvement in the Communication Corner Garden, especially with the story of the Little Blue Tractor.

We were so lucky to have had a visit from a couple of children from Berrynarbor Primary School who wanted to share their musical talent with us. Wesley who played the French horn and double base and Gracie who played the guitar.

They both did so well and the Pre-school children enjoyed listening to the different sounds their instruments made. Later the children were able to have a go on the double base and guitar. The children sang along to the tunes created and later sang some of their own songs to end the session.

Pancake day involved lots of counting, measuring, mixing and trying to flip pancakes!

We took advantage of a bright and dry Friday in February, taking a walk around the village. Quite a few local people saw us on our walk and it was lovely to visit Robin and Biscuit, the two Shetland ponies at Middle Lee Farm.

To celebrate World Book Day, we got out our dressing up box, locked away for nearly 2 years. The children brought in their favourite books, dressed up and performed different scenarios from them such as The Tiger who came to Tea.

With money raised through our fundraising events, we are making improvement to the garden area and hope to have this done by the start of the summer term.

Outside Display

Inside Display

From all at Berrynarbor Pre-school




'All for one and one for all'. Shakespeare and Dumas

Nigel Pound, in the wine trade for 30 years, is now the face of The Wine Fairy; he used to own Totnes Wines. He's knowledgeable and passionate about this subject and spends many weeks abroad visiting vineyards. He selects the best from each location, and supplies the vineyard straight to your door: to the trade, and the sleeping public; hence 'the Fairy has been'! We knew we should be sampling some excellent wines for our budget and did.

Initially, it was Something a Little Different for our February meeting.

  • Domaine Villargeau Giennois. Giennois is a new comune near Sancerre, in the Loire; a good Sancerre begins about £17 a bottle, but this 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, was £13.
  • La Bascula Garnacha Blanca/Viognier, is a 2018 vintage and was £11. It was a Catalunya organic and classified as a White Grenache.
  • His third was Lebanese. Most winemakers here are French; Ksara is the oldest vineyard in Lebanon. We tried a 2018 Ksara Sunset Rose, £12, which was a 60/40 Cabernet Franc-Syrah mix. Nigel believes any good rose makes a great aperitif, superb with seafood, yum, yum!
  • Marselan Villa Blanche. Marselan grapes are a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It was a 2020 IGP d'Oc wine, Indication Georgraphique Protegee, meaning a quality wine, from the Pays d'Oc region, namely the Languedoc-Roussillon area: between Andorra and Marseille. It was £11.50.

Sampling seven wines is unusual for us, but his Three Musketeers' selection were all from Gascony, as were the 17th century men made famous by Alexandre Dumas' novel.

Statue of the four Musketeers in the centre of Condom...

The statues in the town of Condom, Gascony

  • Chateau Laurou Tradition, from Fronton; the vineyard area lies around this town. This 2019, was, for me, a sharp dry red, £13; Nigel said it would be superb with a cassoulet.
  • Chateau Nozieres, from Cahors: the original home of Malbec. Our sample had spent 12 months ageing in a barrel. These Cahors wines are tagged the 'black wine of Cahors'. It was dark, well worth drinking, 2018 and £14.
  • Domain Laougue, from Madiran, which is a southern French commune. Its grapes were 90% Tannat and 10% Cabernet Franc. This was also £14, but 2019.

Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art.
Robert Mondavi: a US winemaker.

Our March Hare collection was a tasty mix of English, Italian and Australian wines. They were thought-provoking and it was great to be able to have this convivial experience once again, in our Manor Hall.

We began with a 2020 Botter Prosecco Rose. Prosecco Rose has only been a category since May 2020, so this is new to the drinks' trade. After Italy, which is where Prosecco began, the UK has the biggest consumption of this fizz! It had a slight strawberry taste to it and it didn't seem quite as gassy as some Proseccos. It was definitely an easy drinking wine, 11% and £8.99 from our friend Charlie Cotton of Bray Valley Wines, South Molton.

Our next was an Irmana Sicilian Grillo, a Sicilian D.O.C. This was 12.5% and £9.95. In the making of this vino, the Italian producers add a splash of Chardonnay to the Grillo grapes. We felt this 2020 wine had a hint of butteryness with a touch of salinity. It was straw-coloured, £9.95 and it too had come via Bray Valley.

One of our non-committee members, lived near Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire. His true story of a dear friend, who converted his farmland to an award-winning vineyard through necessity, sounded like an endurance test! The Self family had endured major losses due to the axing of the Milk Marketing Board, Mad Cow Disease then road closures due to their proximity to a nearby property bought by a senior Royal!

Whitehall Vineyard overlooks the Avon Valley and was only established in 2016, but the family have won awards already. We tried their Bacchus 2019; it was delicious and we could see why it had won a Gold Medal in the 2020 Independent English Wine Awards [IEWA]. This was 11.5% and £14.99. Sadly, English wines are always pricey, mainly because our oenologists cannot make the quantities that are achieved in countries such as France and Italy; we don't have their land expanse or climate.

His next Whitehall sample was our first red. This Pinot Noir, 2018 was £18.99 per bottle! It looked thin and was a pale maroon colour; however, it was packed with flavour. This Burgundy grape grew in the village of Vosne-Romanee, famed for producing top Burgundy wines. Aged in French Oak, it was medium-bodied, smooth-textured and had a long finish even though it was only 11.5%.

We returned to Bray Valley and Italy. Charlie's selection included this punchy Limited Edition Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, Gran Sasso, 2019, 13.5% and another D.O.C. Montepulciano is a hilltop town in southern Tuscany, but it's also the name of an indigenous grape variety. We liked this too and it was £9.80.

Our last red was Ozzie! Often their reds feel heavy in the mouth, but this Kilikanoon - Killerman's Run was a delightful combination of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro grapes. It hails from Clare Valley, in South Australia. Dark ruby in colour, it was described as having complex aromas, including dark cherries, mocha chocolate and liquorice. Tasted like wine to me . . . and one that we'd buy again! This was 14.5%, could be drunk immediately or laid to rest for up to 10 years. Bray Valley supply this for £13.00, but you can pay around £17 from other outlets if you wish!

Judith Adam - Promotional Co-ordinator



A comprehensive range of internal and external
maintenance and refurbishment.
Shower Rooms with Shower Wall
Floor and Wall Tiling Kitchen Installation
uPVC Fascia & Guttering Replacement
Internal & External Decoration
[01271] 883905 or 07974 047682
e-mail: r.pickering12@btinternet.com


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Thankfully this winter has proved to be mostly kind to the Hall with only a few really frosty days and the storms that we have had luckily did not do too much damage.

But, the entire roof both on the Manor House wing, including the Pre-school extension and the main hall roof, are starting to show their age. For many years, if the wind is in a certain direction combined with heavy rain, there has been a puddle in the hall which is now starting to develop into more of a lake when this happens.

The other large and looming fact is that the heating costs are soaring and with such a large space to heat it is difficult to believe that we shall be able to afford to keep the Hall warm for small groups next winter. The Trustees will continue to do everything in their power to keep the Hall going and our fundraising events are more than ever before essential to help pay for running costs. With this in mind, please try and support our events where you can.

Our next fundraiser is on Saturday 30th April and is an 80's [with a touch of the 70's] Disco with a professional DJ and a cheese and pate supper included in the ticket. The last time we held this event it proved very popular, fancy dress is optional but it definitely adds to the fun! Reasonably priced alcohol will be on sale. Tickets are available from Sharon on 07823881455 or from the village Shop.

We should like to thank Emma and her family for generously donating money to the Hall from her late mother's funeral collection.

With the Queen's Platinum Jubilee being celebrated this year, we have decided not to have a fete in the summer but to have an Autumn Ball on Saturday 1st October with posh frocks [tiaras optional!] We hope to make this a special event with a live band booked, a hot supper and the Hall decorated fit for a Queen! More details will follow in the next Newsletter but please put the date in your diary. We should really love to make this an evening to remember as the Queen's Jjubilee year comes to a close.

We wish you all a very Happy Easter.

Julia Fairchild - Chairman [882783]
Alan Hamilton
- Treasurer [07905445072]
- yvonnefrancis10@gmail.com



Artwork: Harry Weedon


We had a great start to 2022 with a village spring clean and litter pick on Saturday 5th March. Many of the regular bloomers turned out along with some new village helpers and in just a couple of hours almost all the litter pick areas were covered and some areas, such as the car park and back of the shop, had a good spring clean.

The wildflower area in the dog walking field was strimmed and more wildflower seeds have been scattered.

Then, most importantly, we all enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of cake outside in the lovely spring sunshine. Thank you to everyone involved, hopefully we shall be holding another village clean up on 30th April.

The village is planning a big celebration for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, 3rd, 4rh and 5th of June. As a fundraiser for this weekend, there will be a Soup, Pud and Quiz Evening at the Manor Hall on Saturday, 9th April. Doors will open at 6.45 for a 7.30 p.m. start. Tickets £10.00 available from the Shop.

Any offers of donations of a soup or a pud would be gratefully accepted.

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Helen Weedon


I am sat at my writing desk considering the composition of this article. As I do so, I rest back in my carver chair, gaze out of the window across the valley and look for any seasonal changes in the steep woodland on the far hillside. Tiny raindrops are falling, barely visible to the naked eye yet frequent enough to dampen the ground. Although my outlook is northerly, I can sense a low sun in the southwest sending rays too weak to cast shadows but strong enough to create an arched spectrum within the valley. In turn, I find myself singing, "There's a rainbow 'round my shoulder; And a sky of blue above; Oh the sun shines bright, the world's alright; 'Cos I'm in love"; lyrics from a song by Al Jolson, featured in the 1928 film, The Singing Fool. Seven years previous to this film, Jolson had first sung another weather-related song, one with lyrics very appropriate for the timing of this issue: "Though April showers may come your way; They bring the flowers that bloom in May."

Of course, it not just our flowers that interact with rainfall, for water is the lifeline for all of our natural world. The lives of humans, too, have been dictated by the presence of rain over thousands of years. For example, geologists describe the solvent action of rainwater upon limestone areas as 'the birth of preferential pathways'. Put simply, as water droplets are sent across the surface of limestone, so they begin to etch out the course they take. These minuscule corridors then create shallow channels, which in turn attract the flow of subsequent water. As each season passes, so it provides its own unique quantity of cloudbursts, each ensuring that these infant fluid passageways become more scored into the rock. Eventually a hairline crack emerges which over time develops into runnel, equivalent to a small stream or brook. This finally causes the ground to fracture and, as it widens, so a clearly defined escarpment, a hollow with sloping land on either side, emerges.

In global areas such as the West Bank, where limestone is a major surface formation, these large scale fissures, long narrow openings caused by the splitting of rock or earth, often play a major role in the development of footpaths. Guided by these pre-configured habits upon their terrain, early humans and their animals became dependent upon these clearly defined routes - routes which had evolved over time from the simple fall of water droplets.

In a similar vein many of our own soft-stoned counties are webbed with holloways, a word derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'hol weg', referring to a sunken path that has been grooved into the earth over centuries, first by the weather and then the passage of feet and cartwheels. With many now over twenty feet deep and hidden beneath brambles and nettles, the author Robert McFarlane decided to seek out the holloways around the village of Chideock in Dorset with a close friend. Recalling these adventures in his book The Old Ways, McFarlane tells how they discovered fascinating stories associated with many of the passageways; tales of sixteenth century recusants taking refuge from persecution, of priests holding Masses in the seventeenth century and of fugitive aristocrats seeking shelter from twentieth century pursuers. McFarlane describes how the holloways felt active and co-existent, 'bringing discontinuous moments into contact' with them.

Two years later, his friend died young and unexpectedly. Four years on, McFarlane returned to the area and found himself unintentionally venturing along the same holloways, walking where they had cut sticks from holly bushes and camped out at night in adjacent fields. As he did so, he experienced startlingly clear glimpses of his friend, regularly seeing him at the turn of a corner or ahead of him on the path.

In the book, McFarlane later makes reference to W.H Hudson's A Foot in England, in which Hudson describes an experience whilst walking along the coastline of the Norfolk Broads during an exceptional low tide. Watching herring gulls whilst far out on the beach, he observed the beginnings of a 'soft bluish silvery haze' which caused the sky, sea and land to 'blend and interfuse' so that it produced what he called a 'new country', which was 'neither land nor sea.' Hudson interprets his experience as mystical - 'a metaphysical hallucination brought about by material illusions'. To him, the gulls temporarily appeared as ghost gulls; spirit birds that merely 'lived in or were passing through our world'; rather like McFarlane's encounter when seeing his close friend who had died four years earlier.

McFarlane refers to Hudson's 'new country' as somewhere we feel and think significantly different and imagine such transitions, which he has experienced himself when walking, as 'border crossings'. He adds that they do not, however, necessarily correspond to a change in the weather, climate, terrain, boundary or surrounding landscape.

I can relate to McFarlane's connection within invisible border crossings as it is something I have also encountered whilst traversing the countryside. For example, rambles upon the Cairn would often provoke a halt in my steps as I chanced upon a sudden change in atmosphere - despite there being no immediate alteration to my wooded surroundings. From recall, all these experiences aroused a warm, comforting sense of security at a mental, physical and spiritual level.

Yet other rural vicinities have induced cold and unwelcoming emotions, even a sense of morbidity. I can still vividly bring to mind one such area which was close to where I lived at the time. The area's terrain was flat and comprised a network of lush green fields, all bordered by low hedges with some dotted by sheep. A farmhouse, its accompanying barns and two bungalows were accessed by the minor road that dissected the land along with two footpaths - neither of which I felt inclined to trek; just driving across the landscape brought a shiver to my spine, such was my desperation to vacate a zone that felt bleak and sombre, no matter what time of year.

A little over twelve months after moving to the area, I was chatting with a neighbour who I discovered was a local historian. Having first regaled tales of the hamlet in which we lived, he then broadened his knowledge to the surrounding locations - including a notorious bloody battle that had taken place during the English Civil War upon the precise land where the fields, buildings and country road were now located. It is no wonder I experienced such negative vibes.

Yet not all ground connected with death need provoke an unwelcome reaction, especially when the bodies decaying beneath lay within hallowed earth; for solace can indeed be sought in many a graveyard, particularly at this time of year when their coniferous trees are blossoming or coming into leaf and their spring flowers are in full bloom. This sense of retreat and safety was perhaps best portrayed by the clergyman and author Richard Warner who wrote a number of topographical books, including A Walk Through Some of the Western Counties of England. Whilst traversing Exmoor, he came across Culbone Church and its accompanying churchyard, the latter to which he found himself being more drawn. After consideration, he concluded that the churchyard provided an 'indulgence of meditative faculty' to the extent of leading one's 'mind to thought' and soothing 'their brow to tranquility'.

Living, as we do, in these troubled times, I feel we all need a special place, be it inside or outside, where we can seek such inner peace and contentment. Happy Easter.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Steve McCarthy



Culbone Church, lying 400 feet above sea-level off the north Somerset coast, is reckoned to be the smallest complete church in England.

It is mentioned not only in the Domesday Book but in the Guinness Book of Records! The church is still used for Sunday worship.

The chancel is 13'6" x 10', the nave 21'6" x 12'4", aa total length of 35'. It seats about 33 in great discomfort! Parts of the church are probably Saxon, pre 1066 AD.

It is accessible only on foot, about an hour's uphill walk from Porlock Weir, walking through the deer woods where once there were charcoal burners and a leper colony.



Maureen and Pat would be delighted if
you would join them for coffee and cake on


between 11.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.
Entry will be £3 and all proceeds to Berry in Bloom
and the Berrynarbor Jubilee Party.
Come and join us for a warm welcome, good natter, scrumptious cakes and a warming cuppa!



Talk about talking to trees! I was not aware, until a few days ago, that the Great Spotted Woodpecker is a close cousin of the very talkative African Parrot, Psittacus Erithacus.

As I was standing outside in the courtyard next to our Peruvian pepper tree, busy filling our

bird baskets with a variety of the bird feed that had arrived the day before, when I heard someone say "Fatball". I looked around thinking that my wife was shouting an instruction to me. But she was nowhere to be seen. Maybe it was a passing neighbour out walking a dog. I turned back to the pepper tree and continued putting peanuts in one of the baskets.

"Fatball", the cry came again. louder this time, scaring me a little. Puzzled, I put down the small plastic cup I was using to scoop out the peanuts from the box and went around the other side of the tree and looked behind the wall of the garage. There, sitting on a branch of the holly bush, was a big male woodpecker staring intensely at me.

Woodpeckers are normally very shy and fly away quickly when they see humans. This one didn't. He just kept looking straight into my eyes and then opened his long, pointed beak and cried "Fatball". At least I thought it was the woodpecker speaking the word because the sound synchronised with his black beak opening and closing.

"How amazing," I said to myself, "A talking woodpecker." Now I don't know much about British bird life, so I was unaware that woodpeckers could talk. Perhaps it wasn't a woodpecker after all. It could have been a black and white parrot with a red belly and a red spot on the top of his head pretending to be a woodpecker.

"Fatball." he said again, quieter this time, almost a whisper.

"You want fatballs instead of peanuts Woody?" I asked.

"Thankyou." said the woodpecker. I reached into my box, found the fatballs and threw one down to the bottom of the holly bush. Woody immediately flew down from his branch on the bush and pecked away at the fatball for a couple minutes, then he chirped another "thankyou" and flew away.

I was fascinated. Nobody is going to believe that I've had a conversation with a woodpecker. However, I was sure that this strange incident was real. Although I suppose it is possible that I could have been day-dreaming, or having an acoustic hallucination. Or maybe I had been talking to an African parrot which looked like a woodpecker. With my wildlife good deed done for the day, I went back indoors to make myself an espresso.

Our kitchen has big windows and my wife and I love watching the many different birds that come to feed from our hanging baskets,

especially the flock of long-tailed tits that descend on the pepper tree early every morning for their frantic breakfast feast.

"I just talked to Woody," I told Margaret, my wife, as we sat by the kitchen table having lunch. "He wanted a fatball."

"Don't be so silly Mike," she replied. "Woodpeckers can't talk. You're daft as a brush, you are." There you go. I knew no one would believe me. I am always being accused of having too vivid an imagination.

The next day was warm and sunny. I went out into the garden and sat on our wooden bench, with a couple soft cushions, reading the latest Murakami novel I'd bought, First Person Singular. There is a short story in this book about Murakami's long conversation with a monkey. Talk about talking to trees! Ah ha! I'm not so crazy after all I thought. If monkeys can talk to people, then so can woodpeckers. Trees like to chat too. Prince Charles talks to trees. Could trees be classified as wildlife? Nevertheless, my conversation under the pepper tree might well have been with Psittacus Erithacus and not woody woodpecker. Then again, what would an African parrot be doing in North Devon? And why would it ask me for a fatball? Parrots only eat fruits and berries, don't they? Although the big and bad colourful speaking parrot Bill Ridd had - he might possibly have been my grandfather - did eat fried fish, shortbread biscuits and Brussel sprouts. And swore like a trooper.

I finished reading the Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey story and was starting on Charlie Parker Plays Bossanova, when the woodpecker came back and sat on the armrest of my bench.

"Back again then," I smiled at him. "Back for another fatball?"

"No thanks," said the woodpecker. "I'm going home to Africa. Sorry about the optical illusion. I'm really a parrot. Only came here to spend Christmas with my cousin, old Great Spotty. But it's too cold in Britain. He didn't save me any Brussel sprouts this year so I had to try your fatball. Thanks for that. Bye. Maybe see you next year."

Mike Miles

Illustrations: Paul Swailes



Chicken Kiev
[or, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, CHICKEN KYIV]

19th century dish - and still popular

This month I wanted to write about a Devon man who in 1919 hauled coal from the station to the local wool factory with a horse and cart. Nine months later the horse died and was replaced by a Model T motor lorry. This was the start of a company that now operates 1000 vehicles and 1900 trailers with over 2,000 employees at 30 sites throughout the UK. He sounded a good Mover and Shaker, but sadly, that's all I know about the founder and in spite of telephone messages and e-mails, I've had no response from the company. This left me in a quandary, with no time left to do research on other folk.

Then this wretched invasion of Ukraine started, and a frenzy of anti-Russian outpouring has led most supermarkets to remove Russian vodka and other goods from their shelves, and to rename one of our popular chicken dishes Chicken Kyiv - the Ukrainian version of the Russian Kiev [the pronunciation now widely known thanks to brave UK reporters on the frontline]. And that gave me an idea. Instead of a person, a dish could be a Mover and Shaker. This one has managed to be one for over two centuries!

So, is the dish from Kyiv? There are so many stories: the Russians claimed that it was theirs from the Muscovy region, but refined by a Ukrainian chef in the 19th century who was from Kiev. They even renamed it according to a 2019 report in the Economist as Chicken Crimea! Other stories are that it comes from a 19th century hotel in Moscow whose restaurant was named Kiev, and another suggestion is that it was developed in the Continental Hotel in Kiev.

Wherever you think it comes from, I was introduced to it a few years before M&S produced it in 1979 as one of their first ready meals.

It was mid '70's and we were living in Ireland. I'd been lecturing at a College of Food and was now unemployed. So I decided to run a cookery course in my kitchen. One local 'Grande Dame' phoned me and said, "I'll come if you show me how to make Chicken Kiev". What on earth was that? I rushed to the hotel opposite our cottage, one of the best in Ireland, and put the question to the owner. "God knows!" was his reply as he reached for an ancient cookery tome. There we found the recipe and the lady was satisfied. Incidentally, the course was so popular that I had to duplicate each session next day!

In case there is a rare person who doesn't know of it, a chicken breast is sliced horizontally, given a bit of bashing and then filled with a 'sausage' of chilled butter generously laced with garlic and parsley. The chicken is then coated in egg wash and breadcrumbs and either roasted or fried. Delicious!

So you see, I now knew all about it and a few months later I was working in Belfast and staying in a hotel with a very superior Maitre d', an Alfred Hitchcock look-alike, who obviously thought that women on their own were up to no good! He tried to seat me at a table in the dining room facing a blank wall. When I protested, he said it was "The only one available, Madam". I walked out saying that if I waited, I was sure a more suitable one would come up. It did, but by then we weren't on the best of terms. On the menu was Chicken Kiev. Now I could find out how true chefs made it. When it came, it was a chicken shoulder portion dressed with a greyish sauce. 'Alfred' steamed back. "Is everything all right, Madam?"

I replied, "It's delicious but it's not Chicken Kiev". I feared he might upend the dish over my head as he thundered, "Madam, I watched chef put the vodka in the sauce myself!" I do hope that later he bought a M&S ready meal of the dish - and remembered me. That d....d woman was right!

But back to my choice of Mover and Shaker for this newsletter. Today, Ukraine needs us for support. It is really its people, and particularly their leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, who need to be substituted for a chicken dish. They have moved and shaken the world with their bravery and loyalty to their country. One hopes that they will eventually win this aggression without too many more losing their lives. As for their favourite national dish, may it soon be known by its Ukrainian name: Chicken Kyiv.

PP of DC




Planning in and around the village has been a concern for many residents of late.  At the February Parish Council Meeting, we were lucky enough to receive a presentation followed by discussion from the Service Manager [Development Management], Strategic Development & Planning Place Services, North Devon Council.  The Parish Council was informed that the Planning Department had been under-resourced; there has been a 30%-40% increase in applications since the pandemic which has resulted in a backlog, However, there is a new structure now in place and an aspiration to increase staff.  The website is out of date and the Service Manger has asked for it to be updated and clearer on the information and guidance it provides.  The Service Manager explained that, although enforcement is not a mandatory function of the Council, enforcement staff has increased and there are two apprentices.  The Parish Council was informed that when commenting on planning applications, the comments should relate to 'material considerations' to be valuable comments.  There was a real desire from the Service Manager to improve the planning department at NDC.

The Parish Council has recently approved a request to hire the Recreation Field for a fundraising event in July 2022 with proceeds going to K9 Focus and the North Devon Animal Ambulance. 

This year marks the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. The Parish Council has purchased a Mazzard Cherry Tree and Jubilee plaque to be planted in Claude's Garden to mark the occasion as part of the Queen's Green Canopy.  The Parish Council is also pleased to support the Jubilee celebrations for the village by way of a donation towards the organisation and costs of the events.

The Parish Council has agreed to submit an expression of interest to trial a 20mph speed limit in the Village and the Devon County Councillor is supportive of expressions of interest. However, the Council is also aware that several applications are being submitted and only 5 will be chosen for the trials. If not successful this time, the Council can try again if the program is a success.

Finally, the Parish Council will be undertaking some maintenance in the near future on the play equipment within the Manor Hall Play Area and Recreation Field to preserve the life of the equipment, and is also reviewing the signage on the dog exercise area.  

Parish Clerk - Berrynarbor Parish Council 

Parish Council Meetings: Tuesdays 12th April and 10th May, at the Manor Hall at 7.00 p.m. Villagers are welcome to attend.




Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

On taking my car for a major service, I was informed by the garage that my spare tyre had been slashed. Who had done this? I don't know, but what a thing to do! Had I been trying to get someone to hospital and had a puncture, I should not have been able.

The other strange happening was that I was lying in bed late one day with a glass of water on the bedside table.

Our sheepdog was down in the yard below barking, at a cat or something. All of a sudden, the glass exploded into fragments. all of which were square. It must have been the tensions within the glass!

All for now.

Love to Berrynarbor

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



The Badminton Club meets weekly
at the Manor Hall:
From 7.00 - 8.30 p.m. Juniors [school children], and From 8.30-10.00 p.m. Adults
New Members welcome! For more information, please contact Charlotte Fryer on [01271] 882564.




1. Osier. 4. Usual 10. Exact 11. Radiate 12. Hopeless 13. Zone 15. Rained 17. Camera 19. Amen 20. Outburst 23. Drilled 24. Inner 25. Known 26. Agree


2. Scamp 3. Extolled 5. Side 6. Abalone 7. Netherlands 8. Erase 9. Benefactors 14. Babbling 16. Iberian 18. Guide 21. Range 22. Slow

See Article 12.



Dates and Free Events for your Diary

Saturday, 4th June

Victoria Sponge and Cup Cake/Biscuit Competition
Judging: Manor Hall 11.30 a.m.

Family Pet Show [domestic pets only]
Manor Hall Children's Play Area,
12.00 noon onwards.

Fun and Games/Beaford Arts Workshops
Manor Hall outside area[s]
12.00 noon onwards

Afternoon Cream Tea
Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m. onwards

Barn Dance
South Lee Farm Barn, 7.00 p.m. onwards
Pig Roast plus 2 BBQ's [l vegan] BYO Drink
Music, Bonfire, Fireworks

Sunday, 5th June

Bring and Share Street Lunch
[BYO drinks too!]
Outside Manor Hall/back of Globe area [if wet, Manor Hall]
12.30 p.m. onwards.

It is hoped to be able to start the Celebrations on Friday, 3rd June, so please look out for posters or look on Berrynarbor Happenings for any updates.





8" cake


3 Eggs
180g Flour
180g Sugar
180g Spread

Please bring your sponges to the Manor Hall no later than 11.30 a.m. on Saturday 4th June.

Please message Kelly on 07777614653 to get your entry number.


Classic Victoria sandwich recipe | BBC Good Food

Judging will be on Appearance, Taste, Adherence to Rules and Density. Judges' decision is Final.


QS invited to discuss Commonwealth Education - QS

Judging will be on Decoration only. Judges' decision is Final.



4 Cupcakes/Biscuits per entry

The decoration must be based on
the Commonwealth.

Cakes and Biscuits can be prebought.

Please bring your entry to the Manor Hall no later than 11 a.m. on Saturday, 4th June.

Please message Kelly on 07777614653 to get your entry letter.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett



It is said that if you watch enough horror movies, sooner or later you'll hear the phrase 'Every legend has a basis in fact.'

Surely most have encountered at some time the chilling legend/story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, which dates back to the Middle Ages and is possibly based on fact, when the town of Hamelin was overrun by a plague of rats. A stranger, wearing multi-coloured, or pied, clothing offered to rid the town of rats in exchange for a payment. The stranger then played a tune on his pipe at which the rats followed him out through the gates of the town and drowned in the river. Seeing how easily they had been cleared of the rats, the townsfolk reneged on the deal. Seeking revenge, the piper returned and again played his pipe, this time the children danced and followed him, all except one lame, little boy, unable to keep up as the children disappeared never to be seen again.

The tale has been told and retold including by Johanne Wolfgan von Goethe, who incorporated the story into his famous play Faust and it has even appeared in sequels of Shrek! But possibly the most well-known and quoted above, was by the English poet and playwright Robert Browning.

Robert Browning was born in Walworth, near Camberley, Surrey, on the 7th May 1812, the only son of Sarah and Robert Browning, a well to do Bank of England Clerk. His parental grandfather was a slave owner in St. Kitts, West Indies, but his father was an abolitionist. His mother was the daughter of a German shipowner who had settled in Dundee with his Scottish wife.

Robert, and his younger sister Sarinnia, grew up in a household with significant literary resources, their father having amazed a library of about 6,000 books, many of them rare. Their mother, to whom Robert was close, was a devout non-conformist and a talented musician.

By the time he was 12, Robert had written a book of poetry, but unable to find a publisher, he destroyed it. His education was unusual. Having shown ab abhorrence to school life at two private schools, he was educated at home by a tutor. His father's library a valuable resource, by 14 he was fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Latin. He admired the Romantic poets, especially Shelley, whom he followed in becoming an atheist and a vegetarian.

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The River Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

At 16 he studied Greek at University College London, leaving after his first year. Due to his parents' evangelical faith, he was barred from studying at Oxford or Cambridge, which at that time were only open to members of the Church of England. He had inherited good musical ability from his mother and composed arrangements of various songs.

He refused a formal career, ignoring his parents by concentrating on his poetry, and staying at home until was 34, financially dependent upon his parents, his father sponsoring the publication of his poems, until his marriage.

Elizabeth and Robert [Pen]

In 1845 Browning met the poet Elizabeth Barrett, six years his senior, a semi-invalid who lived with her father in Wimpole Street. Corresponding regularly, a romance developed and they married, in secret - her domineering father disapproved of marriage for any of his 12 children - on the 12th September 1846, and journeyed to Italy to help Elizabeth's health. Elizabeth was herself an eminent Victorian poet and, on the death of William Wordsworth, was a serious contender for the post of Poet Laureate, the position eventually going to Tennyson.

Throughout their married life, the Brownings remained in Italy, first in Pisa and then Florence. Their only child, following many miscarriages, a son also called Robert, but nicknamed Pen, was born in 1849.

As Elizabeth had inherited money of her own, they were comfortably well off and happy. But Browning's work was critically dismissed, particularly by Charles Kingsley and others for his desertion of England for foreign lands.

Browning identified as a Liberal, supported the emancipation of women and opposed slavery. He later championed the rights of animals and was a stalwart opponent of anti-Semitism, leading to speculation that he was in fact Jewish.

Elizabeth's poor health plagued her throughout her life and she died in Florence, in her husband's arms, on the 29th June 1861, and is buried in the English Cemetery of Florence.

In his remaining life, Browning travelled extensively. In 1878 he revisited Italy for the first time since Elizabeth's death, returning there on several occasions. During this time, his sister Sarianna, became his companion. He died in Venice on the 12th December 1889 and is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, now immediately adjacent to the grave of Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Home Thoughts from Abroad

O, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning 1845

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Judie Weedon


Tim Davis

Those of you who enjoy watching birds in your garden will very likely be familiar with the most common of the three species of woodpecker that occur in Britain: the great spotted woodpecker. Over the last two decades this characterful member of the British avifauna has increased its range considerably, an expansion documented from the 1970s onwards. Bird Atlas 2007-11 (the published results of the third national survey of its kind since the first covering the years 1968-72) revealed that 'great spots' now breed as far north as the north coast of Scotland, though in much lower densities than further south.

Factors that have potentially contributed to the species' success include: a national decline in starling numbers and consequent reduced competition for nest sites; increases in availability of dead and dying wood, which are important for both feeding and nesting; and the growth in supplementary food provided by the five million or more householders across Britain who hang peanut, seed and suet feeders in their gardens. Over the past autumn and winter months in our Sterridge Valley garden, at least three great spots (two females and a male) were coming to feed on the suet squares at our bird feeders.

Great spots are instantly recognisable. About the size of a blackbird, they have basically black and white plumage, the most striking feature being the large, white oval 'shoulder' patches at the base of each wing. In flight the black wings show four 'dashed' white bars. Separating males from females is easy: the small red square on the back of the male's head is lacking in females. Juvenile birds resemble paler adults but have a distinct all-red crown, which gradually disappears in autumn as the young birds mature into full adult plumage.

The two other woodpecker species native to Britain are the much larger green woodpecker (roughly jackdaw size) and the increasingly scarce lesser spotted woodpecker, the smallest of all woodpeckers, about the size of a house sparrow.

In recent years the number of green woodpeckers in South West England has been declining, in contrast to central and eastern England where numbers have increased. The reasons for this are not understood but may be linked to reduced availability of ants which are the species' principal food. Green woodpeckers can still be encountered in the Sterridge Valley, usually first noticed by its loud, laughing call - from which its colloquial name, 'yaffle', is derived.

Sadly, numbers of 'lesser spots' have been in decline since the early 1980s. There were just four confirmed breeding records in Devon during the 2007-11 Atlas survey, only one of these in North Devon and there have been few if any more recent sightings. They occur almost exclusively in mature broadleaf woodlands and old orchards, and the loss of the latter, along with other factors such as limited food availability (they feed mainly on insects), may have played a role in the species' decline.


Left-right: great spotted woodpecker (Ron Champion), green woodpecker (Dave Scott) and lesser spotted woodpecker (Brian Gibbs)

For a wealth of information about woodpeckers, visit www.bto.org and enter 'woodpecker' in the search box.






For this much-loved and long-standing village event to carry on, we need a new committee of at least 4. The event is usually held late August/early September each year, on a Friday evening and morning and afternoon on the Saturday.

You may be worried about what is involved, so here is a brief rundown:

  • Put together and print a Programme
  • Ask individual experts to judge [there is a list]
  • Posters to advertise the Show
  • Get people to enter - usually no problem!
  • Write out entry cards the week before
  • Buy vouchers from Shop for winners
  • On the Friday evening, set up the hall and accept entries
  • On the day of the Show:
    • accept and help display entries, meet the judges
    • write out certificates, drinks and biscuits for afternoon
    • arrange raffle and, finally, sell unwanted produce

See, it's not too scary and there is enough money to run the event so no fundraising is required. And, of course, you would have help from the old committee and villagers who are always willing to help.

If you would be willing to volunteer, please do come and see me in the Shop, or just come and have a chat.

Karen Loftus




The 14th March saw nearly 30 ladies nattering whilst knitting strips for the North Devon Hospice. Thanks to them, another successful afternoon raised £166. Lizzie, from the Hospice Fund Raising team, joined in soing a grand job helping with the tea making and washing up.

Don't forget, the Craft group meets every Monday afternoon from 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall. All knitters [and other crafts] and natterers are very welcome. Just £2.00 a session including refresshments. Come and join us!





3rd Yoga Brunch, Manor Hall, from 9.30 a.m.
5th Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
8th Academy & Primary School: End of Spring Term
9th Berry in Bloom, Soup, Pud & Quiz Evening, Manor Hall. 6.45 for 7.30 p.m.
12th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
16th to 22nd April: Paul Swailes, The Passage of a Storm Exhibition, Ilfracombe Pier, 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
20th Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
22nd Fuchsia Cottage Coffee Morning, 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
25th Academy & Primary School: Start of Summer Term
30th Berry in Bloom, Litter Pick, 2.00 p.m.
Manor Hall 80's [touch of 70's] Disco
2nd Bank Holiday
3rd Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
10th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
14th Flower Arranging Demonstration, Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m.
18th Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
30th to 6th June: Academy & Primary School - Half Term
31st Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
2nd Bank Holiday
3rd Bank Holiday
4th and 5th: Village Jubilee Celebrations

Manor Hall Diary
MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group, 1.45 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays1st and 3rd: Craft Art Group, 9.30 a.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
U3A Art 11.00 a.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [10 week terms]
Fridays9.30-10.30 Yoga
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily - Term time only
Morning Session: 8.30/9.00 - 12.00 p.m.
Afternoon Session: 12.00 to 3.00/3.30 or 4.00 p.m.
All Day: 8.30/9.00 a.m. to 3.00/3.30/4.00 p.m.
Mobile Library
Village Shop: 11.55-12.20 p.m. Sterridge Valley: 12.35-13.00 p.m.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Easter Wishes

This year for Easter I have chosen four early postcards from my collection.

The first, Happy Easter, was printed in Germany exclusively for Post Card & Variety Stores Ltd., London, N7, Series 825 in around 1910. It shows a young girl dropping the four coloured eggs she is holding on a tray, and two little chicks that have just hatched.

The second card, Good Wishes for Easter, Great Egg-pectations, was printed and published by J. Salmon of Sevenoaks, Kent, England. It was sent from Petworth in Sussex to Southsea, Hampshire, and is dated April 11th 1926. It shows a small chick on a very large egg!

J. Salmon Ltd., founded in 1880, was a UK-based printing and publishing firm, the oldest established postcard and calendar publisher in Britain. It ceased trading in 2017.

This third card, A Holy Easter, which shows an angel surrounded by snowdrops, was published by Misch & Company in their Easter Praises Series No. 1711. It is postmarked 5.15 p.m. April 15th, 1911. It was sent to Master Alex Hinchy, Main Street, Birr, and reads: Wishing Sandy a very happy Easter. Don't take too many eggs.

Birr is a town in County Offaly, Ireland. Between 1620 and 1899 it was called Parsonstown, after the Parsons family who were local landowners and hereditary Earls of Rosse. Birr is a designated Irish Heritage Town with a carefully preserved Georgian heritage.

This last card, printed in Germany, shows two little girls sitting on a large egg on a barrow. One little girl is clutching a broken egg which is filled with flowers. Sent to Master Conrad Young in Walpole St. Andrew, Near Wisbech, Norfolk, in June 1918, it reads: My Dear Conrad, I am wondering what has happened that you have not written. Please write soon. In haste, Love to all from Jessie.

I wonder what had happened!

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 2022
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com