Edition 198 - June 2022

Artwork: Paul Swailes

Artwork: Judie Weedon


'June ... and it's just a couple of days now until we'll be celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee here in the village. Let's all enjoy the events, free, that have been organised for us and keep our fingers crossed that the weather is kind!'

So I wrote in June 2012 and now ten years later those sentiments are repeated as we look forward to celebrating a truly momentous occasion, the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and give sincere thanks to everyone involved in making these events happen for our pleasure and enjoyment.

Another bumper one, this issue contains some varied and interesting articles and I thank everyone who has contributed in any way - writers and our artist.

I must also thank the Parish Council for their continued financial support and also the anonymous and generous donator who kindly boosted the funds at the end of April, that was really appreciated.

We send our best wishes and happiness in your new homes to all those who have left the village or come to join us, and get-well messages go to all not feeling their best just now.

With only two more editions, August and October, before my time as editor comes to an end, is there no one interested and willing to see that this important village asset continues? Please do give it some serious thought. Berrynarbor Happenings and Memories are wonderful ways to keep in touch, but a hand-held publication gives pleasure to many, especially those not using the internet.

So, for the first of those two issues, August, items are welcome as soon as possible and by the deadline which is Friday, 15th July please. Thank you.

Judie - Ed



As we celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, it is interesting to look back at her Coronation. More TVs were bought in the 2 months before it than at any other 2 months since. 27 million people watched it [more than half the population] and a further 11 million listened on the radio. Every aspect of the service demonstrated she was vowing to serve her people as a servant of God. In the ceremony she was given the Royal Sceptre that has what is believed to be the world's largest diamond, the Star of Africa, with an estimated value [in 2016] of £400 million, yet the Moderator of the Church of Scotland at the Coronation, presented the Queen with 'the most valuable thing that this world affords' - the Bible.

There is one part of the Coronation that was not televised, as it was considered too sacred - it was when the Queen, dressed in a simple white dress, is anointed with oil. It is like a wedding, with a ring but no groom - it was as if she was giving herself before God to her people. This has been her testimony through all the years of her reign, that she has given herself fully to the service of her people, looking to God for guidance and strength.

In 2016, in the preface of the book, The Servant Queen, she writes, 'In my first Christmas broadcast in 1952, I asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire to pray for me as I prepared to dedicate myself to their service at my Coronation. I have been - and remain - very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love. I have indeed seen His faithfulness.'

Though she has worked with 14 British Prime Ministers, met every US president since Harry S. Truman, [except Lyndon B. Johnson and Joe Biden], travelled to over 110 countries making her the most travelled as well as the longest reigning monarch, she sees one person as unique and His work as the most important.

In her Christmas address 2011 she said "Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general [important though they are] - but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families; it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love."

John Chaplin




I heard your voice in the wind today and I turned to see your face;
The warm of the wind caressed me as I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today as its warmth filled the sky;
I closed my eyes for your embrace and my spirit soared high.

I saw your eyes in the window pane as I watched the falling rain;
It seemed as each raindrop fell it quietly said your name.

I heldyou close in my heart today it made me feel complete;
You may have died, you are not gone you will always be a part of me.

As longas the sun shines, the wind blows, the rain falls,
You will live on inside me forever for that is all my heart knows.



How sad it was to learn that Margaret had passed away peacefully in her sleep on the 8th April, just 18 months since the death of her husband, her funeral taking place on the 10th May.

Our thoughts at this time of sorrow are with Peter and all the family, who would like to thank everyone for their kind help and support.


We were all sorry to learn that after a long spell of ill health but never complaining and always with a smile, Margaret had passed away during the afternoon of 9th May.

Our thoughts at this very sad time are with Roger, their two children Kim and Mark and all her family and many friends.





Acts of kindness can be so under-rated.
They are words or deeds that are never weighted
in a desire to be thanked or even praised.
They simply come from the heart and never cease to amaze.
They can be simple things you say
that can make another's special day.
Kind words uttered with genuine thought
to offer reassurance or kind support.
A greeting to a stranger when she's feeling low.
Encouragement after a fatal blow.
An odd word here and an odd word there,
generally, show how much you care.
Don't underestimate the impact of the things you say or do,
It says so much about what makes you, you.
Kindness comes from the heart
A quality we are blessed with right from the start.
A gift we can deliver whenever we choose
Go on try it you have nothing to lose.
Make kindness your mantra from this day on.
Each gift will be remembered after you're gone.
Reach out to someone, be kind today.
That kind word or gesture can never be taken away.

Pam Robinson


Illustration by: Paul Swailes



Val and Neil Morris thank all friends and neighbours for their kind messages during Neil's recent [long] spell in hospital. Hopefully, he's on the mend.


Artwork: David Duncan


We look forward to the installation of our new vicar Rev. Mark Ruoff on Monday 13th June, to be held at Pip & Jim's Church, Ilfracombe. This special service will commence at 7.00pm.

Following his settling in, we in Berrynarbor look forward to welcoming Mark and his wife Tandy and family at St. Peter's during June and hope that Church Services will return to a more regular basis in the months and years ahead. Mark will of course be responsible for both Combe Martin and Pip & Jim's churches as well - and we all hope that a long period of stability will come to fruition.

Rev. Mark is keen to involve himself with Berrynarbor School and to build on the important relationship with the Church and new activities.

To that end, our Treasurer, Tom Oliver has organised a Vegetables to Grow for Harvest Festival event which involves all the children in growing onions, runner beans and marrows during the year in their gardens at home and also at school. Both Tom and his partner Ebe, together with myself, visited the School when they returned from their Easter break to explain the event; and using Tom's expertise as Manager of St. John's Garden Centre on how to go about growing the vegetables, the seeds of which were kindly donated by St. John's and presented to all the children in special small nets. Also included in each pack was a pot and small bag of compost.

A question-and-answer session was held and the children were encouraged to take photographs of their plants in progress and bring them to our special Church Gift Day on Friday the 17th June commencing at 9.30 a.m.

This special day will include the popular Zip Wiring of Teddy Bears from the top of the Church tower - an event which was held a few years ago on one of the hottest days of the year! The children have been asked to bring their teddy bears, monkeys, lions, tigers and other cuddly toys to have a real fun day for all!! The Pre-School will also be invited to bring their favourite toys to join in all the fun, and where possible mums, dads and all others will be most welcome to attend and make this day really special for all!

Our Easter Service was very well attended - 32 adults and 2 children. Donations from the congregation amounted to £345 which will be sent to the Ukrainian Appeal Fund.

We all hope and pray that this dreadful conflict will come to an end soon and that the brave people of Ukraine will finally be at peace once and for all! The Ukrainian flag is currently flying from the Church Tower in support of all Ukrainians.

We pray for all those in Berrynarbor who are unwell at this time whether they are in hospital or at home recuperating.

We have just received news that Margaret Sowerby has sadly died. Margaret who had been a member of Berrynarbor Choir for many years and Treasurer of our PCC will be greatly missed by all those who knew her. We send our deepest sympathy to her husband Roger and family at this difficult time.

We urge residents to read the Church notice board by the lych gate and Village Shop for information about forthcoming services. It is regretted that sometimes there will be some Sundays when a service is just not possible - but on a positive note, we look forward to the arrival of our new Vicar when the service structure will become more settled.

Last but not least, we thank all the Bellringers for their valuable contribution on Sunday mornings and also for several weddings which they will be ringing for throughout the year.

Sue Neale






March and April 2022

Time to look back at what happened weatherwise in March and April. A saying about March which is little used these days, "In like a Lion out Like a Lamb" or vice versa, did not really apply this year as the weather had no extremes.

The 1st of March started off with an overnight low of 4.1˚C. at 0500hrs. and climbed to a high of 7.5˚C by 1400hrs. The wind was mainly from the N. E. and the lowest wind chill factor was 4.1˚C at 0700hrs. The maximum wind speed of 21mph at 1000hrs was from the North. Total rain fall was 4.00mm, which fell later in the day. The barometer started the day at 1025.2mbars, rising to 1026.4mbars before falling to 1020.4mbars by the end of the day. There was total cloud cover all day hence zero hours of sunshine.

Picking the bones out of the rest of March, the top temperature of 18.9˚C [average 17.13˚C] was on the 23rd with a lowest on the 7th at 0.4˚C [average -1.08˚C]. The maximum wind gust was 27mph from the NNE on the 31st [average 37.49mph]. On the same day at 0800hrs the lowest wind chill was -0.7˚C [average -5.00˚C]. The wettest day was the 11th with 12.8mm and the total for March was 41.8mm [average 77.89mm]. The barometer ranged between a low of 995.00mbars at 1100hrs on the 11th and a high of 1041.1mbars. also at 1100hrs on the 18th. The sunniest day was the 27th with 6.02 hours and the total for the month was 92.39 hours [average 89.62hrs]. The humidity ranged from a low on the 19th of 39% to a high on the 28th of 94%. My only comment on the month is again lower rainfall.

I was away on holiday for the early part of April [I will mention this later] so I have no observed details, only the automatic recorded information. On the 1st the lowest temperature was 3.1˚C at 0800 and a high of 9.8˚C at 1600hrs. The highest wind gust was 24mph from the NNE at 1900hrs. The wind chill at 07/0800hrs was 0.2˚C. The rain gauge did not record any precipitation. The barometric pressure started the month at 1018.2mbars, rising to 1022.9mbars steady by the end of the day. The total sunshine was 5.09 hours.

Wensleydale, 31st March

A rare blue sky during my visit

Looking at the rest of the month and starting with the lowest temperature of -1.4˚C at 0600hrs. on the 3rd [average 0.63˚C] to a high of 22.1˚C on the 16th [average 20.58˚C]. The highest wind gust of 41mph from the SW was on the 6th at 2359hrs [average 32.32mph] and the lowest wind chill factor was -2.7˚C at 0500hrs. on the 3rd [average -1.88˚C]. The wettest day was the 6th with 7.6mm in the gauge. The total rain for the month was 26.4mm [average 66.11mm] and the total so far this year 218.00mm. This makes the second lowest rainfall for the first 4 months of the year since my records started in 1994. The next nearest was in 2006 with 217mm and the highest I have recorded was in 1994 with 855mm. The barometer ranged from a low on the 7th of 988.0mbars. to a high on the 28th of 1031.9mbars. The sunniest day was the 16th with 7.87 hours and a total for April of 144.25 hours [average139.82]. The humidity varied from a high of 94% on the 14th and 16th, to a low of 51% on the 26th.

I mentioned in this year's first Newsletter that I thought records would be broken with our changing weather pattern. Looking at this report I see the highest temperatures were up in both months on the averages which follows the general trend.

I left home in lovely warm weather on March 25th for a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales; the weather continued with warm and sunny days until the 28th when things went rapidly downhill! Starting with rain and then snow, hail, sleet, and cold winds up to gale force, which did not make ideal walking conditions, and continued for most of my visit.

What a change here in Berry for the second half of April. I am praying for rain as the garden is dry and the pot plants are wilting. Today, the 1st May, my prayer has been answered with 8.8mm of much needed rain. I hope this is not the start of a wet summer?

I wish you all the best whatever you have planned for the next couple of months.




On Easter Sunday, Pam Robinson, from Riversdale Cottage, Sterridge Valley, and her family and friends, proudly presented SW Blood Bikes with a brand, new motorbike at Hele Bay.

Huge thanks to all who contributed to Nigel's memorial fund and to the Berry Blue Boobs' New Year's Day sponsored swim. You made this possible.

Check out their website to learn more about the amazing work SW Blood Bikes do.





It's steep this garden steeply stepped and slopey
straggling along the hillside brambles and nettles and other creepers wild flowers peeping through lots of wildlife ticks abound
get everything together gloves bucket secateurs little fork anything forgotten means a climb uphill again loppers are too heavy need another journey toget them
standing on the slopes is slippery sliding sometimes ending up sitting
finally here's a place to stand or crouch encourage slow growers discourage takeovers
clip the brambles reach to pull the nettles legs straining hips complaining time to change position nettles prickle through these expensive gloves [I spent solong choosing] ...
the secateurs slide away down the slope into the roughundergrowth must follow now or lose them forever scratched messed and bedraggled find them and wearily scrabble up again
With care it's an outdoor gym!
There are other gentler times when you can wander out to potter along the paths tool-less list-less soaking up colours and scents and listening to birdsong

Virginia Evans

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes




At Berrynarbor Preschool, we provide a first taste of education and care following the curriculum set out in the Early Year Foundation Stage for young children between the ages of 2 and 5.

We are located in the centre of the village next to the Manor Hall, opposite the children's play park. We are now taking bookings for the next academic year starting September 2022.

If you would like to view our setting and book a place for your child/children then please call on 07932 851052 or email preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for an appointment and information.

Our opening times are 8.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

Over the summer term the children learnt about Life Cycles of plants [beans], frogs and butterflies. They discovered what an important part minibeasts play within our garden and the environment. We took delivery of some painted lady caterpillars and the children observed the changes that took place when caterpillars move onto the next stages in their life cycle.

We have read lots of books including: Jack and the Beanstalk which supported counting, measuring and size. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which covered changes over time, memorising different items and wellbeing. What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson promoted good listening and following instructions.

In Mathematics we supported key skills in number recognition, number sequencing, number pattern matching as well as measuring, size and position language. We revisited 2-D shapes and extended knowledge and understanding of the properties of shapes.

In Literacy, we all enjoyed reading books written by the wonderful Julia Donaldson. She is an inspirational author and provides multiple opportunities for us to plan engaging activities and fantastic learning for our children. You may have some Julia Donaldson books at home or if not, we highly recommend going to your local library. We reinforced rhyme and alliteration that are prevalent in her books. We supported children's retelling of stories using storyboards to describe the beginning, middle and end of a story. Stories covered include What the Ladybird Heard, Sharing a Shell and The Singing Mermaid. Mark making and letter formations were encouraged and children made their own books.

Wherever possible our topic links to all areas of the Early Years curriculum. Our role-play area became veterinary surgery where the children were able to look after a wide variety of animals, not to mention fix a range of injuries and ailments! The children thought about animals that make good pets and used their own knowledge and understanding from their own pets or a family pet.

Outside, the children have toughly enjoyed our new play area, equipment and resources benefiting from physical challenges, balance, movement and play. We have extended children's learning by taking more resources outside as well stories under the tree and having our snack times outside.

Our Bug Hotels with its five-star accommodation, is now relocated into the Children's Communication Corner Garden, where we have kept an eye on it to see who moves in. This area continues to celebrate the children's learning and interest, using crafts and language to reinforce learning such as the frog life cycle, planting bean seeds, measuring growth, colours and counting flowers that appear on plants and picking blueberries from the shrubs.

From all at Berrynarbor Pre-school

Corner Garden - Before...

... and after

Activities outside ...

... Frog Life Cycle



It has been over a year now since we set up the North Devon branch of the Hygiene Bank and our latest stock check in our warehouse [kindly donated to us by Banbury's Department Store, Storage and Removals] shows that we have collected just over 9 tons of products and we have given out to our community partners over 7 tons.  

We couldn't achieve this without the support of communities like Berrynarbor who have regularly donated into their collection bins really good, high-quality products.  The need for this has never been higher. As soon as we empty the bins it goes straight to our warehouse where we weigh the product and put it away into the correct product boxes. Almost immediately the product then gets bagged and sent out to families and people living in hygiene poverty.

You may have spotted our collection bins in local libraries, Barnstaple High Street Boots and other places. All these bins play an important role in helping us gather products. We constantly run out of toothbrushes, toothpaste and men's and women's deodorant, and for households we can't keep up with clothes washing machine tablets/powder/gel.

Recently, one of our community partners let us know what a difference it makes to the people she helps:  

    "When I arrive with a bottle of bubble bath included in the personal hygiene bag, the children go wild with excitement - it is like it is Christmas Day - they run around the house dancing with the bottle. Seeing her children so happy breaks down barriers with their mother and helps me to talk to her about other issues and how we can help - thank you for helping create this".

Please keep donating - if you would prefer to donate via just giving the page is: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thbnorthdevon

Thank you so very much - your kindness makes such a massive difference to people's lives.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Hall has lots of exciting bookings this summer and autumn with the Jubilee Celebrations, weddings, afternoon teas and a dinner and dance all to look forward to.

Thank you to everyone who joined Pam and Jan at the first of their afternoon tea sessions. It was a beautiful sunny day and the hall had a wonderful happy atmosphere, raising £266 which is brilliant! Thank you everyone who helped and donated cakes.

With the [let's hope temporary] closure of the pub, Karen [as if she isn't busy enough!] came up with an excellent suggestion of bringing the Sunday Night Pub Quiz to the hall and donating the money raised to the hall. It was a great success with over 40 people attending - thank you Karen(s) for running the show and Paul as stand-in quiz master ably assisted by Ted. A very respectable £186 was raised and we hope to continue these Sunday quiz evenings on a fortnightly basis until further notice.

Our next meeting is our AGM to be held in the hall on Wednesday, 15th June at 7.00 p.m. - everyone is welcome and we should be delighted to see some new faces!

We very much hope that the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend is a warm and sunny one, but whatever the weather our wonderful village hall will be here to warmly welcome everyone to celebrate this momentous occasion. See you there!

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





As you will be aware, this year marks the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the Parish Council was pleased to be able to support the Jubilee Committee and its organisation of the celebrations in the village. 

In addition, with funding from Devon County Councillor Andrea Davis, they have planted a Mazzard tree as part of the Queen's Green Canopy.  Cllr. Adam Stanbury, Chairman of the Parish Council, was joined by 4 children from Berrynarbor School and Kate Stephenson representing Berry in Bloom to plant the tree in Claude's Garden.

The Parish Council has recently held its Annual Parish Council Meeting where Councillor Adam Stanbury was re-elected as Chairman for the forthcoming year and Councillor Adrian Coppin as Vice-Chairman.  Many of the roles have remained the same with Councillor Gemma Bacon continuing as Footpaths' Officer, responsible for Play Area checks and checking planning applications, and Councillor Adrian Coppin remaining as the Highways Liaison Officer & Tree Warden and Emergency Plan Officer along with Councillor Adam Stanbury.  Full details of the roles appointed can be found in the Minutes of the May 2022 meeting on the Parish Council's website.

The Parish Council has recently replaced the rotten bench in the Manor Hall Play Area with a brand-new bench purchased with funding from North Devon Councillor Joe Tucker. The Council and has several ongoing projects - it is still pursuing a lease on the car park and transfer of the freehold of the toilets but is clarifying its liability and insurance cover for any additional risks which could arise.  The Parish Council has agreed to submit an expression of interest to hopefully secure Section 106 funding to deliver the Bouledrome and is currently in discussions with Devon Communities Together about undertaking a survey on the future of the Recreation Field.

The Parish Council would like to express its thanks once again to Cllrs. Davis and Tucker for their continued support and funding.

Parish Clerk, Berrynarbor Parish Council




We must start this update by saying how proud we are of our Y6 children. They have recently completed their SATS - the first cohort to sit these national tests since 2019. The children rose to the challenge beautifully. They performed with maturity during the week and headed down to the recreation field for a picnic as soon as the last exam was over. Y6 then enjoyed a friendship morning at Ilfracombe Academy with other primary schools in the area. Thanks to Mrs. Orr, Mrs. Higgins and Mrs. Poynter for preparing the children so well for their SATS - we know they tried their best and that is all we can ask.

It is also worth remembering that there are other statutory assessments taking place/planned across the school. Year 2 are currently working their way through Reading and Maths test papers to assess their progress at the end of Key Stage 1. Year1 will have their phonics screening administered when we return after the half term and Year 4 will be the first cohort to undertake the multiplication tables check during June. Thank you to our Staff for supporting children in the classroom and families for supporting them at home. It feels a little strange to be taking part in these external tests after more than 2 years since the last set.

In April we were very lucky to receive a visit from Sue Neale on behalf of the church. They very kindly donated some seeds for the children to take home and grow. We hope the children will enjoy growing onions, marrows and runner beans - we are also planting some of the seeds at school. It is hoped that the crop of vegetables will be used at harvest festival. Fingers crossed we have some green fingered children amongst us! Thank you very much for organising this lovely activity for the children.

In the classroom we have been very busy constructing cardboard police cars and learning how to programme their lights to flash in different colours using Crumble - a programming tool used with their Chrome books. Look at all these police cars ready to go out on patrol with their lights flashing!


Y3 and Y4 had a wonderful trip to Yenworthy Lodge near Lynton. For many of them it was their first trip away from the family home and it was a great success. The children tried the zip wire, orienteering, rock climbing, rock pooling and so much more. They spent time with their friends - learning to be a little more independent and resilient. They had a chance to meet with their friends from Y3 and Y4 at West Down and join together for some activities mid-week. The children certainly returned to school walking a little taller, with confidence following their trip. Thank you to the staff at Yenworthy for making the trip so memorable for the children.

Our PTFA are now able to plan events with some certainty they will go ahead. KS1 took part in a bake-off a few weeks ago. Well done to Dotty and Monty for making the winning entry - a delicious chocolate cake decorated with smarties. Funds were raised from the cake sale to improve our outdoor equipment. We are looking forward to some outdoor theatre over in West Down - the Berrynarbor PTFA team will be there to provide refreshments to raise a few more funds on 7th July at 5 o'clock in the community field at West Down. Tickets are available below if you are interested in joining us. Information below.

With our very best wishes

Su Carey, Faye Poynter and the whole Staff Team

Expect larger than life characters, puppets, live music, dancing and lashings of absurdity.

Gather your friends and family, pack a picnic, bring a blanket or chair to sit on and join us down the rabbit hole. Don't be late, it's a very important date! Tickets available here:




Life is different without the Mr. I still miss him a lot and you will still see me looking out of the window just in case, but the Mrs. and I are finding our 'new normal'. This consists of lots of hugs and snuggles [even on the bed!], dog walks [with and without a whole batch of friends], and extra doggy days at Devon's Dashing Dogs, [fun with Bramble!].

Some things never change. For example, my unbelievable skill in getting dirty and making a mess. It's a natural talent I have, but I do work hard at perfecting it. Take the effort I made digging last week. Paula and Alison, walking past our garden thought I looked adorable -little brown paws and drooling brown beard! Judie was less impressed when I left my mark on her stripey top though. Oops!

The Mrs. has had Lee and Alex from Woodpark Landscaping in the garden to lay some paths. I have been admiring their digging skills, but I have to tell you, as amazing as they are, they don't dig down as far as me. I can go twice as deep as them, and in half the time without the use of any fancy spade gadgets! Apparently according to the Mrs. they are making the garden safer to navigate whilst I am guilty of adding obstacles or hurdles in the way of unsuspecting caverns that the Mrs. is at risk of falling in. It all adds to the excitement in my opinion. Who needs safe? I still think she should get a zip wire to zoom from the top of the garden to the bottom. It's the only way she will get down from the top as fast as me to greet the delivery men and postmen. I do so love seeing them!

Going back to the dirt though, the Mrs. has no right to complain really. I have frequently tried to clean myself off to save her the trouble. I always look for pools of water to dip my feet into. It's not my fault that they are usually full of mud! I have realised too that adding dirt to water doesn't for some reason make the water clean. Oh, and on a recent trip to Woolacombe, I even climbed into the bath myself. You know the one; all set up, above the sand dunes. Not entirely sure why it's there but it seemed a good idea at the time. How was I to know it was full of smelly green water? It tasted awful.

That was definitely a bit of a mistake that I hold my paws 🐾 up to! The car smelt funny for a while after that particular trip! A mix of my upset tummy after drinking the green water, and green, smelly slime. Yuck! The water snake, indoor shower and a trip to Dashing Dogs grooming parlour were all needed after that!

Anyway, a bit of dirt never hurt anyone and what's the phrase you humans use? "Play in the dirt because life is too short to always have clean fingernails." And don't we know that . . .

So, my advice to you all in this blog is to go, live life to the full, roll in the mud and have lots of fun!


Clothes Recycling

We have booked another Bag2School collection. Please bring your filled bag to Pre-school by Friday 24thJune 2022.

They will take any unwanted clothes, handbags, paired shoes, belts, bed sheets and soft toys. Please place items into a school bag or black sack and bring it into Pre-school at the Manor Hall near the collection date. Unfortunately, they will not take school uniform, pillows or duvet.

Please start sorting out your wardrobes and drawers for any unwanted clothes and help raise some money for Pre-school.

Thank you.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


More Open!

It's been a torrid couple of years as the pandemic has blown its icy blast across the country including its visits to our village where many locals were not able to escape its clutches. Thank goodness for the vaccination programme which meant that the majority of us suffered only mild flu-like symptoms. Fortunately, the actions taken to protect our staff have been effective and the Shop has remained open throughput.

When the Government first announced the relaxation of restrictions we feared the worst as visitors started to arrive for Easter and half-term breaks. Initially, cases in the UK and our region soared with 1 in 17 becoming infected. However, the very latest figures [mid-May] show that this has now decreased significantly to 1 in 33. So, we are pleased to announce that the Shop will be returning to its normal, pre-pandemic opening hours effective from Wednesday, 1st June. By normal we mean from 08.30 - 13.00 and 1400 - 17.30 Monday to Saturday. The Post Office will be open until 16.30 on each of these days. We shall continue to be vigilant and politely ask that people wear masks when in the shop and respect social distancing rules.

New In

Great news - we have added some exciting new grocery items. The first of these is from the very popular range of Jon Thorner's pies and pastries. Newly available is their smoked bacon and leek quiche. Delicious hot or cold they have a lovely in-depth flavour of British smoked bacon, leeks, cheddar cheese, free range eggs and their famous short crust pastry. If you would like us to order any Jon Thorner produce for you, please let us know by the end of the week for a Wednesday delivery.

By popular demand we are also now stocking Shipton Mills' Three Malts & Sunflower Organic Flour. This makes the most delicious, nutritious speckled brown bread and works well in breadmakers. We also now have Fairtrade light muscovado sugar. This is a soft, pure cane sugar with a high molasses content ideal for fudge, muffins and sponge cakes. And last but not least we are stocking Vignola arborio rice - it's a great classic for the Italian cuisine being ideal for risottos, timbales and other Italian dishes.

Your Shop Needs You Now

We have all read in the papers or heard on the news that food prices are under pressure. Indeed they are, and Karen and her team have been working really hard to keep any price rises to an absolute minimum. Our regulars know that they have been very successful in this difficult challenge.

There has been quite a lot of house selling and buying activity in Berrynarbor since the turn of the year. It's always interesting to note that the agents' description of Berrynarbor talks about the village having a community shop because they know this is a key selling point and adds to the value of our houses. So please come to see us. If everyone in the village would spend just £5 a week in our wonderful shop, it's future would be guaranteed as would the value of your house.

The shop will always deliver a welcome pack to village newcomers to tell them more about the village and encourage them to pay our shop a visit. But if you have new neighbours, or see them in the village, please tell them about us!



"If you hold dogmatic beliefs too strongly it makes you cruel."
Richard Holloway
[former Bishop of Edinburgh]

Born in Glasgow in 1933, Richard Hookway FRSE is a Scottish writer, broadcaster and cleric.

He was Bishop of Edinburgh from 1986 to 2000 and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church from 1992 to 2000.

Recently, a Spanish man believed to have been the oldest man in the world died aged 113 years. Asked about his longevity he'd said:

"A quiet life and not hurting anyone."





Wine is life. Petronius

If South American wines are mentioned, Argentina and Chile spring to mind, not Brazil. The South American Wine Guide.com states that Brazil produces just 13%, whereas Argentina makes 45% and Chile 36%. Grapes need climates between 30° and 50° latitude, which includes Argentina, most of Chile and Uruguay, but excludes most of Brazil and above, as the map indicates.

Based in Ipswich, Suffolk, importers Go Brazil Wines was established in 2010. We began with a Don Guerino 2021 Sinais Italico Riesling. Don Guerino arrived in Brazil from Italy in 1880, but his family business was only started in 2000. We followed it with their Sinais Sauvignon Blanc 2021.

Preferences and opinions were divided, to be expected, particularly when it comes to the palate. I like dry, but I found the Riesling too dry. Many thought that the Sauvignon Blanc didn't follow the expected taste of this wine, but many of us enjoyed it.

Wine Regions of the World between 30-50 degrees of latitude | Wine region,  Wine map, Region

Guaspari wines are a recent addition to Go Brazil; they are remarkable as they originate within the tropics at a latitude of 23°.

This too is a young winery, less than 20 years old, but our Vale da Pedra Branco 2017, was a Bronze 2019 Decanter award winner. It was a mix of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; many thought it had more body than our previous two whites. Its list price is £23 per bottle, whereas the others were both £12. It was definitely a winner!

Our first red was another Don Guerino, then two Pizzato wines. I enjoy a Malbec and I wasn't disappointed with Don G's Vintage Malbec 2019. It was 100% Malbec, smooth and had body; its list price was £15. Delicious on its own or served with stews, pasta or cheeses.

Pizzato Fausto Merlot 2016 had a good colour, but not as much as the Malbec. It was pure Merlot, but didn't have as much body as the Malbec; it was smoky too. This was also £15.00.

Nervi Reserva Tannat, 2015 was a fabulous deep ruby red. Pizzato's production of this purely Tannat grape liquid is only 4,300 bottles, part of the reason, probably, that it's £19.00 a bottle. It's produced on 25+ year-old vines; it needed decanting but drinking was strongly recommended! This and the Merlot would be perfect with hearty stews, red meats or cheeses.

It isn't every day that we in the UK have the opportunity to taste these far-flung importations; however, it was mainly an unexpected pleasure!

Judith Adam - Promotional Co-ordinator

As the May meeting is always our last get together of the tasting season [October to May], we precede this with the AGM which takes up the first ten minutes or so of the evening. The record time is about 6.5 minutes! At this time the Committee all resign and new members sought, but usually find themselves re-elected en bloc. This time was slightly different as Chris and Phil Brown are moving to be nearer their family so new members were needed and a new treasurer, for which volunteers for both were received!

Once the first wine was poured, we all stood and toasted absent friends', in particular a long-time member and good friend, Jan Tonkin from Goodleigh, who sadly died of cancer last month.

Our presenter was Toby Mc Kinnel who owns a 10-acre vineyard at Winkleigh and it was a rare opportunity for us to in have someone who could speak as both wine grower, maker and seller. He was excellent, giving us a very detailed but interesting insight into the problems and benefits of all three.

We tasted the usual 6 wines, of which all the whites, including sparkling wine, were from his vineyard, together with two red wines from another Devon vineyard run by a friend. The whites in particular were excellent, but it seemed the price of the reds did not really match the quality.

Tony Summers - Chairman



Home visits - nail cutting, corn & callus removal, fungal nail, verruca, diabetic foot care etc.

Louise Lancey, mcfhp mafhp
Foot Health Practitioner
Shortacombe Lodge, East Down, EX31 4NY

Mobile: 07875 461577




07849 763281 or 07584 075197

Local Lad Local Rates
I Mow Down The Competition
You Make The Call - I Do The Rest
Keep Calm - And Let Me Carry on Gardening!
Strimming, Grass Cutting, Hedge Trimming, Planting, Clearance


Artwork: Harry Weedon


This year because of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Berry in Bloom team decided that entering the Britain in Bloom competition would be just too difficult.

However, the tubs will still be planted and the hanging baskets will be in place and hopefully helping to make the village look just a little bit more lovely when we turn out to celebrate Her Majesty's amazing achievement.

A big thank you to Sal and Dan and Oli for growing and planting all the hanging baskets, not only for us but for other villagers too.

Last year when the judge was walking around the village, he suggested that we try to plant a few more sustainable perennial plants in the tubs, so over the autumn and winter, Gill of The Cedars in the Sterridge Valley, has been taking cuttings and growing seeds for us to plant. Essentially, this is a bit of an experiment and we shall see how it turns out this year. If it's a success we'll repeat it.

Thank you Gill for your hard work. She is growing plants from her home and selling them to raise funds for Berry in Bloom, so why not take a stroll up the Valley and see what she has on offer?

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Wendy Applegate


Silver-washed Fritillary
Tim Davis and Tim Jones

One of the great joys of the North Devon countryside in high summer, particularly in well-wooded areas like the valleys around Berrynarbor, is the sight of Britain's largest butterfly, the Silver-washed Fritillary.

These truly spectacular insects are on the wing from mid-June to early September (peaking in our region from mid-July to early August). With the larger females having a wingspan not much shy of a smaller human hand, the sight of one floating gracefully through the garden on a warm sunny day is likely to draw a little gasp of appreciation.

Every year we look out for the distinctive courtship flight of a male continually 'looping-the-loop' around a female as she flies in a straight line through the garden enticing him with her alluring pheromones. After mating, the female will lay her eggs, singly, in semi-shaded woodland around the base of trees, in crevices of bark or in moss, usually one to two metres above the ground. The larvae hatch within a few weeks and go into hibernation. In spite of their impressive dimensions as adult butterflies, they overwinter as tiny black caterpillars hidden away in the leaf litter, emerging on warm days in spring to bask on dead bracken and other such surfaces that warm up more quickly than the surrounding vegetation.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of common dog-violets and, if the weather remains favourable, grow rapidly before pupating in early summer and emerging in their adult attire of orange-brown upper wings, delicately marked with black cross lines and bold spots, contrasting with the stunningly silvered-green underwings.

A freshly emerged Silver-washed Fritillary

A mating pair, showing the silvery-green underwing

The adults like to drink nectar from buddleia, sedums, single daisy-like flowers including asters, as well as wild bramble and hemp-agrimony, so finding room for any of these in your garden will increase your chances of seeing them.

The decline of traditional deciduous woodland management, such as coppicing and pollarding, has been problematic for silver-washed and other British fritillary species because the periodic flushes of violets that used to thrive in the regular rotation of sunny clearings and rides no longer occur as they once did.

The similarly-sized high brown fritillary clings on in the Heddon Valley thanks to conservation management by the National Trust, and the delightful but much smaller pearl-bordered fritillary is now only found in a handful of Devon localities, having once been common and widespread.

Photos by: Tim Jones





David Beagley













































































































































































1. Large sea 2. Seat
4. In front 3. Annoy
10. Metallic noise 5. Leather
11. Emit 6. School
12. First 7. Speed pedal
13. Netting 8. Ground ice
15. Grow 9. Way of doing it
17. Gamed 14. Given
19. Insects 16. Porridge
20. Wing 18. Tidy
23. Lay on top 21. US President
25. Shines 22. Retarded
26. Perfect  

Solution in Article 44.





Manor Hall:
Cake & Biscuit Competition, Ceramic Leaf Painting,
Family Pet Show, Afternoon Tea.

Evening Barn Dance at Gubb's Farm, South Lee
Pig Roast and Fireworks


Manor Hall: Bring and Share Lunch, Toast to the Queen,






Watermouth Harbour

We are sailing 7 days a week
9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. with Full Menu.
Monday - 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Cakes and Pasties only.
Sunday - Plated Breakfasts until 2.00 p.m.

We look forward to welcoming you all on board.
Laura and the Crew


18th - 24th May 2022

There's no easy way to say this, but on Friday 1st April John, my partner, attempted suicide.

He took off from Swindon in his 1968 VW camper van at lunchtime and was found by the police at teatime in Burton Bradstock. He had taken 60 paracetamols. His friends had raised the alarm. He had posted a suicide note on Facebook and sent a brief video to a small group of close friends.

First things first. He is safe and well and making good progress. I have his full permission to tell our story.

We've not known each other long, just a few months. Circumstances meant that he moved in quite quickly. It was all fine - my dog liked him, my son was OK with it, it made sense. He told me he had experienced mental health challenges in the past including self-harm and depression. He described it as having a breakdown. I knew he wasn't taking his meds properly and hadn't for a while. He is very aware of mental health and has trained as a mental health advisor. I, too, have considerable lived experience of mental health. Principally as carer for my 24-year-old son who has a complex psychotic disorder But . . . I didn't see this coming!

That's one of the biggest challenges with depression; we just don't talk about it enough. Not really, not properly, not with our loved ones. It doesn't matter if we have close friends, family, children, pets. It's not about loving or knowing we are loved. When the black dog is sitting on top of your head minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, ending it all can seem like the only escape.

After two days in bed, feeling utterly wretched with covid, he had devised his plan. He now had a purpose and felt in control. I was surprised to see him up and dressed on Friday morning. I commented that "Someone must be feeling better!" He didn't deny it and went outside to do some fiddling with the van. That's good, I thought, he's busy, so I carried on trying to do some work, also feeling lousy with covid.

After lunch he announced he was going out for a spin. I was a bit annoyed as I had just had a difficult psychotic conversation with my son. I should have liked to get out too, but I needed a shower. He sensed my mood and, ever the empath, asked if I was OK. I told him I would chat to him when he came back and swallowed my tears.

My next conversation with him was several hours later. I received a call from the police on my mobile. He had said they could call me. At first he didn't want to talk to me but gradually after gentle coaxing from us both, he did. I let out my breath, suddenly realising that I had been holding it for the last hour whilst I waited to hear if he was dead or alive. He was taken to Dorset County Hospital where he stayed for the next 36 hours in isolation, on a drip, being monitored by amazing NHS staff. He was going to be OK. He was glad to be alive. He wanted to come home and be with me. He agreed to accept all help. I was astounded by the outpouring of love and support from his friends and family. I knew I wouldn't be alone in supporting him and that he is a good man.

After a psychiatrist assessment he was released to my care at 11.00 p.m. the next night. On the long drive home to Swindon, I asked him if he knew about the idea of the black dog to describe depression. He didn't. I asked him to watch the World Health Organisation film. "Yes", he said "That's it." I breathed out again knowing that we now had a shared language, a place to start and a way to talk about his depression.

That was 3 weeks ago. Since then he has reached out to his GP, his family and friends and his own Employee Assistance Programme. His medication has been changed, he has started coming to yoga with me, he is eating healthier and has lost weight.

The journey isn't over, it's just beginning. We both know that but once you've been to the bottom there really is only one way to go. We are working hard on the garden and later in the summer we are going to have a party to say thank you to everyone that helped and to celebrate being alive.

Helen Weedon



The first regular Manor Hall Coffee Afternoon was a great success.

The delicious selection of cakes, teas and coffees drew the villagers in. It is hoped that with ongoing support this can become a regular event throughout the summer months. Put the dates in your diary.

  • June 29th 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.
  • July 27th 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.
  • August 24th 2.00 - 4.00 p.m. [This is one week early]
  • September 28th 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.

Remember all money goes to the upkeep of our Manor Hall.




Residents of Ilfracombe and Berrynarbor had a sad surprise in late May 1945 to learn of the deaths of their well-respected neighbours, William Edward Bolton and his wife Hilda, by drowning at Mortehoe.

While long-time residents, the Boltons were not natives of Devon. Mr. Bolton had been born in Denbighshire Wales in 1873, his father listed in the baptism record as an 'Annuitant'. Hilda Rose Bolton was born in Dublin in 1869. Her father, Henry Rose, a Surgeon General in the Army, had roots in County Limerick, and the family of her mother [Amelia Allen Pope 1843-1924] had been shipbuilders in Plymouth, Devon for generations. Mrs. Bolton was the fourth of nine children who had been born all over the Empire, from Dublin to South Africa and India. Mr. Bolton had been orphaned by the age of nine, and had just one surviving sister, Margaret Sophia, who was a year younger. The couple had married in London in 1895, and records next show them in 1908 residing at The White House, St. Paul's Walden, [Whitwell], Hertfordshire. Mr. Bolton was never shown as having an occupation, but always 'Annuitant' or 'Private Means'. They did not have children, and evidently lived a quiet, genteel life. Mr. Bolton's care for his sister is seen as she resided with them throughout her life. She passed away in 1929, leaving her small estate to Hilda. By the late 1930s the family had moved even further west to Ilfracombe, where they resided at Steepways [Grattons, Hagginton Hill], Berrynarbor, a handsome 3-bedroom home with a view over the hills. They were there in 1939 when the England & Wales Register showed both serving with the St. John's Ambulance Brigade, but Mr. Bolton still had 'private means'.

The circumstances that took them from a comfortable life in a spacious home to drowning at Woolacombe are murky, but some can be pieced together from surviving records, newspapers, and the thorough Inquest undertaken by the Devon Coroner's Office. Testimony indicated that they sold their home during the War, about 1943. Thereafter taking furnished lodgings in Berrynarbor, finally to two rooms - a sitting room and bedroom - at Rockton Cottage with landlady Miss Bessie Bowden, in February 1945. For these they paid £1.5.0 a week, in advance. Some of their furniture was stored, and some had been sold over the months to local people. The reduction in their lifestyle was evident, but apparently borne with dignity.

Barricane Beach

Miss Bowden spoke of them most respectfully, saying they were a very happy couple who always went about together.

The Devon Journal wrote specifically that the Boltons 'were great workers for the Church and seldom missed a service. Mr. Bolton on occasion read the lessons in the church. They had a high standard of culture, and were accomplished linguists and musicians.'

The issue of probable financial worries had to be raised, and Miss Bowden only said that they never mentioned any financial or other difficulties to her. Investigation by the authorities included enquiries at local banks, but no useful information was found there.

However, one person did testify more specifically. Miss Barbara Hebbert of Rosemanley, High Street, Combe Martin, said that she had known the Boltons for 15 to 20 years, but since the War they had 'gotten poorer and poorer' and that she had given them around £60 in recent years. She had arranged for Mr. Bolton to work in her garden to repay the loans. She said that he had 'last asked for money about a month ago, but I refused to give him any, on account of his extravagant ways of living (?), although I did offer to give him more work, for which I would have paid him.' Miss Hebbert knew that the Boltons had been selling some of their furniture but said 'They would not, however, sell anything to me.'

This may be our closest possible glimpse into the Boltons' frame of mind about their finances.

The couple's last day, 23 May 1945, was studied as closely as possible.

Bessie Bowden said that they had left her house at about 10 a.m. not saying where they were going, but she was not concerned as they often went out.

Officers learned that before leaving Ilfracombe on the 2:59 pm bus, Mr. Bolton 'endeavoured to deposit a black deed box at the National Bus Co office, High St., but was not permitted to do so and he took it with him to Woolacombe.' This box was sizeable, about 18"x6"x6", and surely unwieldy to carry about. Constable Bickford reported that as of the date of the Inquest, the box had not been found.

While this was under way, another call came at 9:30 am from Hon. Margaret Colville, whose home overlooked Barricane Beach, to report a second body in the water at the beach, and of course this was Mrs. Hilda Bolton.

A little later in the day Mrs. Widdicombe returned to the beach, where she found the wicker basket she had seen with the Boltons, in a crevice between some rocks. With it were a walking stick and a trilby hat.

The bus ride to Woolacombe can be imagined. The Boltons were next seen that evening by a visitor from London, Mrs. Margaret Widdicombe. Seated on a bench overlooking Barricane Beach, she saw an elderly couple on the beach, who were sitting and reading. [As she states that this was at 9:40 pm, it would seem to possibly have been rather dark for reading, but this was not questioned.] She thought she had seen the same pair having lunch 'at our table' in Ilfracombe earlier that day. She described the lady as wearing a reddish-brown cape, and the gentleman with a grey trilby hat. After a bit, both walked toward the water and then onto a path going up toward the area above the beach. The man was carrying a shopping bag and brown wicker basket. She did not see them further.

It is a little puzzling to learn from the same report that 'return tickets from Ilfracombe to Woolacombe' issued on the 2:59 pm bus were found on the bodies. This is unclear, whether they did purchase return tickets homeward, or just one-way tickets, Ilfracombe to Woolacombe, as stated.

Nothing more was reported until the following morning at about 6:30 am. Ernest James Baker of Sea View, Mortehoe, was cycling on the road overlooking Barricane Beach, when he saw a body floating near the water's edge. He went down, saw that it was a fully dressed man, and pulled it from the water, then going directly to the home of Constable Bickford to report it. Dr. Basil S. Sanders of Woolacombe was called, and official procedures began to determine the man's identity and confirm the cause of death.

There being no identification per se on either body, some keen sleuthing was needed. Constable Bickford noted that the man's blue shirt carried a label from Charles N. Pedlar, Outfitter, Ilfracombe, and that among the items with the body was a serviette embroidered 'M.S. Bolton' and the figure '12'. Enquiry to the shop provided the name of Mr. Bolton, and by 4 pm. the landlady Miss Bowden was being interviewed.

Miss Bowden said that after the couple had not returned home for dinner, tea or supper, she had waited up for them the whole night. Early in the morning she turned for advice to her neighbour, Constable Connibeer, and they presumed the couple had walked too far and found lodgings somewhere.

Mortehoe Cemetery

She went to the mortuary at Mortehoe with Constable Bickford and sadly identified the bodies.

Mr. Bolton was carrying little on his person: 4d in coppers, a chromium plated cigarette case, cigarette papers, an empty match box, a small pencil and two handkerchiefs. Their shopping bag, found by Mrs. Widdicombe, carried £2.6.9d in cash, some food, and three full bottles of 25 aspirins.

A formal Inquest was promptly held on 25th May including reports of all interviews and findings. The simple conclusion was "Death due to drowning" at an unknown hour, but approximately 4 to 5 hours before the bodies were found. The suggestion of financial difficulties was mentioned, but not pursued further.

Carrying their responsibilities to the next level, the officers searched the couple's residence, which was left 'very tidy' but no note had been left. In one bag there was 'much correspondence' relating to The Nursing Association, but no addresses were found for survivors to contact. [This is especially sad, as in fact Hilda Bolton had five siblings living, most of whom were in a position to have helped her.]

It was learned that some furniture was still stored in two lock-up garages, but the rent therefor was past due. None of the items inside were felt to be of much value.

The report did add that three friends in Berrynarbor had agreed to be responsible for the burial of the couple. These were the Rev. Horace Mylchreest of St. Peter's Church, William Peachey of the Berrynarbor Home Guard, and Fred J. Richards of Home Barton.

The unmarked grave of the Boltons

This expense was somewhat defrayed as the Boltons had previously purchased burial sites for themselves at Mortehoe Cemetery, at the same site where Mr. Bolton's sister Margaret Sophie had been buried.

Devon papers treated this sad story briefly, and relying on data from the Inquest. Oddly, the Daily Mirror in London put a reporter on the matter, resulting in five subjective paragraphs, based on no sources seen anywhere else. This piece quoted 'tramps', describing

Mrs. Bolton as 'the kind lady who never turns us away', and stated that Mr. Bolton's money was 'tied up on the Continent.' The headline was 'Together in life, worry and death.'

Some questions remain un-knowable. Did the Boltons in fact take their own lives, or could they have got into the water by some accident? Why did such responsible people not leave any note? What was in the deed box, and where has it been these many years? If the deaths were intentional, was one of the couple more positive about it than the other, who was talked into it? In studying family history, we try to truly understand earlier lives, but sometimes the answers cannot be known.

We can, though, remember their small, sad story.

The Boltons and their story were discovered as a side-bar to a detailed study that I had done on Hilda Bolton's oldest sister Kathleen Rose. Kathleen was an actress and celebrity, principally in New York, whose stage name was Nina Farrington. [A quick Google search will find many of her delightful publicity photos from the 1890s and later.] Research on Kathleen took many months, and resulted in an article for a genealogy magazine in London.

To present a Family Tree to the magazine I wanted to have complete bios of her family. Sister Hilda's was nearly complete except for her date of death. Ancestry and other sources having failed, I went to British Newspaper Archive and looked for any reference to Hilda Bolton from 1939 (her last sighting) onward. A long survey finally found the headline "Drowned at Sea", and that story mentioned that the Devon Coroner had done an inquest. The Coroner's office very kindly did pull up that 76-year-old document, which would be central. Looking into Ilfracombe sent me to this Newsletter and your editor, Judie, provided some important facts, and shared Tony Beauclerk's early piece about the fictionalized "Biltons". The rest "is history".

Nancy B. Wilson



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


"Never say 'No' to adventures. Always say 'Yes', otherwise you'll lead a very dull life."

This is the advice of Grandpa Potts whose son Caractucus, is a down-on-his-luck inventor who is persuaded by his two children Jeremy and Jermimer, to buy a car, used for racing in the European Grand Prix until it crashed in 1909. He names it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the unusual noise of its engine. So, together with the beautiful Truly Scrumptious, their adventures begin.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a children's book, 1968 musical fantasy film and a stage show, familiar to many families, but did you realise it was written by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame?

Ian Lancaster Fleming [1908-1964] a British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer, was born in Mayfair, London, on the 28th May, 1908, the son of Evelyn [Rose] and Valentine Fleming.

His father was the Member of Parliament for Henley and rising to the rank of Major with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in the First World War. He was killed in action on the Western Front in May 1917.

Fleming had three brothers: Peter [1907-1971], the eldest, was a travel writer who married the actress Celia Johnson [Brief Encounter] in 1935; Richard [1911-1977] was a highly successful travel writer, later turning his hand to thrillers, and Michael [1913-1940] who died of wounds whilst serving with the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in World War II. He also had a younger half-sister, Amaryllis [1920-1999] whose father was the artist Augustus John, who had a long-term affair with his mother following the death of his father.

Fleming's education was somewhat chequered, Not enjoying his early school days, suffering physical hardship and bullying, he went to Eton College in 1921, where he failed to achieve academically but excelled at athletics, leaving under a cloud due to his wayward life style. Following this he attended a private school in Austria and studied briefly at the universities of Munich and Geneva.

His service in the Second World War was far more commendable. He served in Britain's Intelligence Division, involved in the planning of Operation Goldeneye and in planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.

After the war he became the foreign manager in the Kemsley newspaper group, which at the time owned the Sunday Times. His role oversaw the paper's worldwide network of correspondents. His contract allowed him to take three months holiday every winter, which he spent in Jamaica. He continued to work for them until the end of 1959, keeping in touch until 1964.

Fleming's love-life was as chequered as his education! A long-term affair with Ann Charteris ended when he decided he would remain a bachelor and she then married her second husband, Viscount Rothermere. However, the affair with Fleming continued and in 1951 her husband divorced her on grounds of adultery. In 1952, in Jamaica, Fleming and Ann married, their son Caspar was born later that year. Throughout their marriage, both indulged in extra-marital affairs.

Goldeneye, Fleming's home in Jamaica

The family grave at Sevenhampton

The first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was written in 1952, thirteen more were to follow up to Fleming's death. The first to be filmed was Dr. No in 1962.

Fleming was a bird-watcher and having read the book The Birds of the West Indies written by ornithologist James Bond, he borrowed the name because it was the 'dullest' name he could think of! Goldeneye, the name of his home and estate in Jamaica, is also a birding reference as well as the operation in which he was involved during the war.

Fleming's health had never been good, not helped by his lifestyle. At 38, complaining of chest pains, he informed a startled doctor that he consumed a bottle of gin and 70 cigarettes a day! In 1961 he suffered a massive heart attack from which he never really recovered. On the eve of Caspar's 12th birthday, after dining out lunch and dinner with friends, he suffered another heart attack, dying the following morning in the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on the 12th August 1964. His estate was valued at £302,147 - equivalent in 2020 to £6,259,844.

Fleming is buried at Sevenhampton, near Swindon, together with Caspar who died of an overdose in 1981 and Ann who died in July 1981.

Judie Weedon




07754 918399



[April 13th 1819 - March 18th 1890]

Champagne Businesswoman

In the platinum reign of Queen Elizabeth, and the very month that we shall all be celebrating, there will no doubt be a lot of corks popping and fizzy drinking. This might be Italian prosecco, Spanish cava or our own British sparkling wine including one from Cornwall's Camel Valley.

Prices are going to vary of course from around £10 per bottle to [depending on the size of your pocket!] nearly £6,000! Mind you, for that you get a large 6 litre bottle instead of the usual 750 cl!

So where does Madame Pommery fit in? Well, she was the first person to recognise that the English preferred drier wines. Before 1874 champagne was very sweet [up to 300gms of sugar per litre - favoured by the Russian market - compared with now up to 12 gms per litre]. She instructed her Cellar man "What we need is a wine that is dry as possible but is not harsh . . . has to be mellow, velvety and well blended. Make sure that it is subtle more than anything else." This was very bold, but the first brut champagne, the Pommery Nature became available in 1874, and was launched by a businesswoman! In France as in most other countries, a woman couldn't run a business unless she was a widow - so how dare she?

Let's start at the beginning. Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Melin was born on April 13th 1819 in Annelles in the Ardenne. She married Alexandre Pommery in 1839. By 1856, in fragile health and with their only child, Louis, a late teenager, M. Pommery decided to retire and enjoy the fortune he'd made in the wool trade. But 'sod's law' stepped in! Seventeen years after the birth of Louis, at the age of 38,

Mme Pommery became pregnant again. This changed the situation and M. Pommery decided to resume work to ensure that his family were financially secure. Just two years later, and before Louise's first birthday, he died, leaving behind a young widow with a son and baby girl, and a business to run.

As the wool trade was in decline, Mme Pommery decided to drop it and concentrate on making champagne. She bought 120 limestone and chalk pits [crayeres], that had been carved under12 miles [19km] of the city of Reims by Roman soldiers during their occupation of Gaul. A well-known sculptor was commissioned to carve a 13ft [4 metres] long bas relief of Bacchus celebrating wine, and busts were added for further decoration. In these cellars she could store thousands of bottles in a controlled temperature of 10°C. This idea was later copied by many other Champagne houses. Above the cellars, and as a tribute to her most loyal British customers, were offices and other buildings built in the style of English country houses, including a Tudor manor house.

For comparison, the Pommery estate measures around 136 acres [55 hectares] in total, which is equivalent to the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Garden and the Place de la Concorde combined!

During her 'reign' she became one of the famous Veuves [widows] who were not only risk takers, but leaders who excelled in their trade. She was a compassionate woman who looked after her workers, setting up the first ever pension fund and social security for them. In Reims she started the orphanage and nursery fund and supported local artists, inventing what became corporate sponsorship.

It is commonly thought that her Cuvee Louise champagne [the Pommery cuvee de Prestige, priced between £92.32 for 2004 up to £500.27 for 1988] was named after herself, but it is most probably named after her little daughter, Louise, who after Mme. Pommery's death in 1890, took over the Estate with her husband Prince Guy de Polignac. This family continued to run the business until 1979, when it was taken over by a Belgian entrepreneur, Paul-Francois Vranken.

The cellars now hold more than 20 million bottles, and over 120,000 people from all over the world visit the Estate annually [except during pandemics!]. The brand still continues the Pommery ethos and continues its support for artists.

Incidentally, Mme Pommery died in Chigny, near Reims. She was the first woman to receive a French state funeral with 20,000 people lining the streets of Reims to honour her great contribution to the city and Champagne industry. Shortly afterwards, the President issued a decree changing the name of Chigny to Chigny-les-Roses as a tribute to her love of roses.

Mme Pommery was a true Mover and Shaker. She described her champagne in two words: 'Joyful and Lightness'. Isn't this something to celebrate?

And on that note, whilst visiting Majestic wines in Barnstaple recently, I tentatively asked if they had any Pommery champagne. "Oh yes," said the manager, "And it is on offer until the end of May." It was reduced from a hefty £39.99 to a still well-priced £27.99 [mixed case]. But we fell for a bottle and to honour Her Majesty on THE day, we shall celebrate by opening the aptly named Pommery Brut Royal.


PP of DC




This delightful picture of North Lee Farm in 2003 by Nigel Mason was to have been the cover of the August Newsletter. Sadly, due to circumstances, it was not to be but now, perhaps, it is the time to share it.

Although we have not benefited from Nigel's work much recently, he was one of the first artists for the Newsletter. His work is well shown in the Galleries section of the new website.

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason

His move to Devon in the '80's was a big influence on his painting and in 2000 he graduated with a degree in Fine Art, followed by time lecturing in Fine Art at Petroc. Now, with painting as a professional career, he is represented by Washington Green Fine Art Publishing, his paintings and drawings shown in Castle Galleries and independent galleries throughout Britain and in Europe.

This postcard from the Tom Bartlett collection was Old Berrynarbor View No. 77, June 2002 and again this can be viewed in high resolution on the website, as can Tom's article on the Farm.






1. Ocean 4. Ahead 10. Clang 11. Radiate 12. Earliest 13. Mesh 15. Evolve 17. Played 19. Ants 20. Aerofoil 23. Overlap 24. Twang 25. Glows 26. Ideal


2. Chair 3. Aggrieve 5. Hide 6. Academy 7. Accelerator 8. Frost 9. Methodology 14. Allotted 16. Oatmeal 18. Neat 21. Obama 22. Slow




30th to 3rd June: Primary School & Academy: Half Term
31st Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
2nd Spring Bank Holiday
3rd Queen's Jubilee Holiday
3/4th Village Celebrations: Please see posters for full details
13th Installation of Rev. Mark Ruoff, Pip & Jim's, Ilfracombe, 7.00 p.m.
14th Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
15th Manor Hall Trust AGM, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
17th St. Peter's Church Gift Day & Teddy Bear Zip Wiring
24th Bag2School Clothes Recycling Collection Day
28th Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
29th Coffee Afternoon, 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. Manor Hall
4th Ilfracombe Academy: Non-Pupil Day
7th Alice in Wonderland, Comm. Field, West Down, 5.00pm
9th Watermouth Harbour Regatta proceeds to RNLI
12th Parish Council Meeting, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
17th Charity Family Fun Day & Dog Show, 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Recreation Field
22nd The Ilfracombe Academy: End of Summer Term
26th Primary School: End of Summer Term.
Mobile Library in village from 11.55 a.m.
27th Coffee Afternoon, 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. Manor Hall.

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



For this the June issue I have chosen two postcards of our Parish Church, St. Peter's. Both pictures have been taken by William Garratt around 1907.

The first card, No. 47, shows the church and tower and includes part of our garden and church wall at Tower Cottage. The structure on the bottom left is the wall of our garage which lies adjacent to The Globe public house. On the right can be seen a young girl wearing black or dark stockings.

The second card shows the church, lychgate and steps leading up to it from the village centre and is numbered 49. The slate inscription set into the roof gable above the lychgate states:

March 13th
Ano Dm. 1671

The Rev. George Westcott was the Rector of St. Peter's from 1630 until 1674 and he, like most North Devon clergy, was a true Loyalist. However, his second wife, Grace Wychalse, was the sister of John Wychalse, the Parliamentary Commissioner given the task of ejecting Loyalist clergy!

Note: A ychgate is a wooden structure with a roof and open sides place at the entrance to churchyards to provide space for the reception of a coffin. The word lych is Saxon meaning a corpse.

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