Edition 57 - December 1998

Artwork by: Debbie Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this issue and I apologise that as circulation day is the first Thursday in the month, some events in early December will have already taken place by the time you read this.Poems are prevalent in this issue and I hope you will enjoy the varied selection and beautiful illustrations by Debbie, Nigel and Paul.

Items for the February issue should be at the Post Office or Chicane by mid January, Wednesday 13th please, in the meantime, my best wishes for a happy and peaceful Christmas.



The red deer, Britain's largest native animal, is common in parks, but in the wild is found mostly in Devon, the New Forest, Cumbria and Scotland. Living normally in dense forests, the red deer has in some areas adapted to moorland and open woodland. Mainly browsing animals, they eat young shoots and leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs, but also eat nuts and fruits. The reddish brown summer coat changes to a thicker brown-grey coat in winter, with a paler underside and a buff-coloured patch around the tail. Except at the autumn rutting [or mating] time, stags live in groups separately from the females. When mature, a stag can reach a shoulder height of about 48 inches with antlers up to 28 inches, with many points, or tines. The female, or hind, bears one calf born in early summer.

Continuing her wild-life series of covers, Debbie has given the red deer frequently seen around here - a seasonal touch for our Christmas cover. Thank you, Debbie.




On 6th October, Mr. Les Tovey took members on a tour of the Scilly Isles, with the aid of wonderful slides and complete with commentary and soothing music. The time went all too quickly, and certainly made us wish that the trip could have been longer, which was expressed in the Vote of Thanks given by Rosemary Gaydon.

The Group meeting at East Down on the 21 st October was most enjoyable. Norma Huxtable, the speaker, was as humorous as ever and a joy to listen to. After excellent refreshments, we settled down to a written Quiz - how quiet the hall became as we tried to unravel the clues! All good fun with congenial company and very comfortable surroundings. Many thanks to Doreen Prater for braving the elements and taking us - a worthy winner of a raffle prize.

A well-attended Annual Meeting on the 3rd November welcomed two new members to the Committee - Margaret Andrews and Doreen Prater -joining the re-elected 1998 Committee - Edna Barnes, Ann Hinchliffe, Kath Waller, Rosemary Gaydon and yours truly. My sincere thanks to everyone for their support given over the year and we shall do our best to make 1999 even more special.

Teddies for Tragedies are still arriving at my door, so it looks as if there will soon be another 100 on their way. In the meantime, thanks to Ethel we have our very own Teddy Mascot and I feel sure that Minnie Bear will be attending most meetings! Next meeting will be 1st December when a speaker from the Landmark is booked and we shall have mince pies for tea and a wee present to take home - that is if you have brought one! Should be a good start for the Christmas season.

Our very best wishes to all readers - God Bless.

Vi Kingdon - President

Share a Thought for Christmas

Now is the time for forgetting
Yesterday's cares and its strife.
Now is the time for remembering
The joys and blessings of life.






If the village was shocked and saddened to learn of Marion's sudden death on Friday, 30th October, how much more keenly must her family have felt the loss. To Geoff and Eileen, Sarah and James; Ann and Roger and Sally and Rebecca, and her sister Irene, we send our thoughts and prayers at this very sad time.

A loving and loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, friend and neighbour, Marion's happy and friendly personality will be sadly missed.

Always 'on the go', Marion gave her support to all village activities [including helping with the Newsletter]. She was an active member of the U3A, participating in the Craft Group and especially enjoying her quilling and decoupage -- those beautiful cards she made - and convening the Discussion Group in her home. As a member of the Ilfracombe Art Society, she 'sat in' at their summer exhibitions and, of course, her tireless efforts on behalf of the Sue Ryder shop in Ilfracombe were much appreciated.

Geoff and Ann and the family would like to thank everyone - especially Keith Wyer - for their kind thoughts, messages and cards and for celebrating with them Marion's life at the beautiful service at St. Peter's when, in keeping with her outlook on life, the sun shone to see her leave the village she so loved.

A Mother's Love

Helen Steiner Rice - Gifts of Love

A mother's love is something
that no one can explain -
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain.
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring, come what may,
For nothing can destroy it
or take the love away.
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking.
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems,
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation
A many-splendored miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender, guiding hand.

Dedicated to Mum from her ever-loving daughter, and to all mothers.


Our thoughts have also been with Jill Mountain and Jo Lane and their families on the recent sad loss of their fathers.

"Life is a flame that is always burning itself out, but it catches fire again every time a child is born."

George Bernard Shaw


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


It is good to have news, through Olive Kent, of Joy Pringle and we are delighted to be able to congratulate her on the birth of her grandchild - the first to bear the name Pringle - a son, Auban Wessley Gordon, for Ian and Sheila. Our best wishes to you all.

Val and Neil have much pleasure in announcing the safe arrival of Val's second grand-daughter, Alice Mary May, who was born on the 23rd September. Weighing in at 6 lbs 1/2 oz, a daughter for Helen [nee Hannam] and Mark Payne. Congratulations and best wishes to you all.


TED HUGHES, OBE, OM, 1930-1998

Created Poet Laureate 1984

Though all the beasts
Hang their heads from horizontal backbones
And study the earth
Beneath their feet, Prometheus
Upended man into the vertical-
So to comprehend balance.
Then tipped up his chin
So to widen his outlook on heaven.

From Tales of Ovid
Whitbread Poetry Award 1997

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Alvary Scott


Harvest Festival

We had a wonderful Harvest Thanksgiving Evensong and Supper this year - many said the best ever. We were pleased to welcome the choir from Combe Martin and thank everyone who joined in to make the evening such a success again - a real team effort. Although we did not appear to have so much produce in church, the auction was lively and raised almost £100. A total of £260 has been sent off to the Flood Appeal for Bangladesh. Our thanks again to everyone who helped to decorate the church and who gave so generously.

Remembrance Sunday

Our regular congregation, members of the Parish Council and others from the village gathered once again to remember the fallen of both World Wars. The service was sensitively led by the Reverend Andrew Jones and his thought provoking words were appreciated by us all. Wreaths on behalf of the village were laid at the War Memorial by the PCC and the Parish Council. The collection of £65 will be sent to the Earl Haig Fund.


There will be no flowers in church during Advent, but the Advent wreath and Candles will again stand at the top of the altar steps. A new candle will be lit each Sunday beginning on 29th November. The church will be decorated for Christmas on Tuesday, 22nd December and anyone wishing to contribute towards the flowers, please get in touch with Betty Davis [883541]. We shall look forward to seeing you all over Christmas - the Services will be as follows:

  • Wednesday, 23rd December - Carol Service, with Sunday School, 6.30 p.m.
  • Thursday, 24th December - Holy Communion, 10.00 a.m. Midnight Mass, 11.30 p.m.
  • Christmas Day - Family Communion with Carols, 10.30 a.m.
  • Sunday, 27th December - Matins with Carols, 10.30 a.m. [no Holy Communion]

Collections from the Carol Service and Midnight Mass will be donated to the Church of England Children's Society.

For the time being, Matins will be observed on the fourth Sunday of each month, instead of Sung Eucharist. We shall continue to have a Family Service followed by a short Holy Communion, on the third Sunday: 20th December and 17th January.

Mary Tucker



Berrynarbor Great Ambassadors for the Holiday Trade

To the guest houses, hotels and The Globe, we should like to extend our thanks to all who accommodated the guests attending the Wedding of Louise Martin to Martin Lancey on the 19th September and for their hospitality. Everyone, without exception, was delighted with the reception given them - all promising to return! You all helped to make it just the most perfect Wedding Week-end. Thank you, Berrynarbor!

Val, John and Family [Swiss Cottage Cafe, Ilfracombe]

World's Biggest Coffee Morning with Nescafe

Thanks to everyone who supported the Coffee Morning which raised £112 for Macmillan Cancer Relief.


Janet Knight would like to thank everyone for items and support for the Jumble Sale [one of four on that day] that raised £130 for the new Clinic in Barnstaple. It is hoped to open a shop in Combe Martin in the new year, but this will depend on volunteer helpers being available. If you have some time to spare and would like to help, please contact Jane on 01237-474486 or Janet on 882901.

The RSPCA will be having a 'barrow' in Green Lanes on the 18th, 19th and 20th December. Items and support are again needed and if you can help or would like items collected, please contact Janet as above, or drop them in to Summerhill, Hagginton Hill. Thank you. All proceeds to the Barnstaple Clinic.

Richard and Angela Lewis and Peter and Sheila Roach would like to say a very big 'thank you' to everyone who helped them on the day of the flood. Many thanks to you all.




The poor summer weather has continued into the autumn with well above average rainfall. During September and October, we recorded 435mm [approx. 17 1/2 inches in English], whereas over the same period in 1997, we recorded only 156mm [approx. 6 1/4 inches].

The strong winds were also a feature and even here in the sheltered Valley, we recorded winds over 27 miles per hour [force 6] on 12 days during these two months, the worst of these being two days in October when we recorded wind speeds of 45 miles an hour. In September and October 1997, things were quieter with only 6 days when the wind topped 27 miles per hour.

With plenty of berries on the trees, are we looking forward to a white Christmas?

Sue and Simon
Valley View


Artwork: Paul Swailes


There has been a lot of movement since the last Newsletter!

The house that Jim built is now nearly complete and Jim and Sheila McDonald hope to move into their new home before Christmas. Alice and Simon's barn conversion is also nearly complete and they, too, hope to move in shortly.

A belated welcome to Stuart and Linda Thomas, who have moved from Bideford and are now the new residents at Long Acre, Barton Lane.

Things have been happening to the folks up the hill at Berrynarbor Park. Kate and Mole have now taken up full-time residence at Mole Hill and we wish them both a happy retirement. Kate's 'hair do's' will be missed by many. Sue and Simon will, at least for a while, continue to help Theresa and Paul Crockett, who have taken over the Park. Theresa and Paul and their family, Jack and Rosie, have moved from Alton in Hampshire, where they ran a motor cycle franchise.

Norma and Tony Holland, who for some years have had a caravan on the site, are retiring down to Berrynarbor from Bristol and hope to move into their new Park Home in the very near future, as will Margaret and Peter Kerr from Glastonbury.

Alf and Alan have moved to Corfe Cottage, next to The Globe, from Bowden Farm Cottage, which is now home to Ken and Hazel Gosham. Ken, who originates from the Isle of Wight, and Hazel from Surrey, have retired down to Devon from Ash Vale in Surrey, where they have both been Managers at two separate Garden Centres.

Jacqui [Stavrinou] and Simon, following their marriage and Blessing at St. Peter's on the 14th November, have moved to Bulford near Salisbury, where Simon is a Sergeant in the Army. Congratulations and best wishes to you both.

It is lovely to be able to welcome Maureen and Graham Jones who have returned to the fold and will be living at Sandpiper in the Sterridge Valley. Having sold the riding stables at Dean, Samantha, Chris and baby Jonathan will be taking up temporary residence in the Valley whilst they are looking for a new home.



The following poems written by Kate, a 45-year old who suffers from autism, appeared recently in the Daily Telegraph. Margaret Andrews found they 'spoke' to her and she would like to share them with us.

The majority of Kate's poems provide an insight into her illness:

    I put out my hand
    but your hand avoids
    my hand.
    I cannot get
    to kiss you.
    I open my mouth
    to say
    I love you,
    but your mouth
    is closed;
    to me.
    Silent silence
    Between us.
    Did it end
    when I was not looking?
Kate's experience of her disability is most directly described in her poem 'I Got It':
    I got it;
    my disability;
    not never to walk from it.
    it shares my space,
    breathes the same air.
    I cannot have a day off.
    It refuses to conform.
    It's better when content;
    goes on feelings not priorities;
    keeps me up at night;
    gives stressful conditions.
    I keep in a compayable mode;
    it rewards me in coming of its own;
    it's excitable, moves faster than thought;
    gives strong, unexplained ideas
    which do working connections to other connections;
    drives me mad and to despair on occasion.
    it tests me to its limits.

One of Kate's poems was cited as the concluding summary of her mental state:

I lost the me
It got under everything
That was not poems.




Following meetings and discussions, the Millennium Committee is now in a position to give basic plans. There will be two days of celebrations - 1st January 2000, Millennium Saturday, is planned as Family Day. There will be many activities during the day but the highlight will be a Grand Dance in the Manor Hall in the evening, with a large marquee covering the car park. The 2nd January, Millennium Sunday, will be Children's Day, again with many activities and with a commemorative mug or plaque being presented to every child in the Parish - Julie Richards has kindly offered her services for this project.

As mentioned in the October Newsletter, the proposed permanent reminder of the Millennium will be a drinking fountain in the village square, adjacent to the bus shelter. The fountain has been designed by Peter Rothwell who is now working closely with Be Barten of Lydford Farm, who will create the stonework with, hopefully, some help from Debbie Cook. The Committee will be making application to the Millennium Lottery for funding.

Raising funds will be the real challenge. We did not want any event to take the 'edge off' the School or Church in their annual fund raising events, so it was decided to hold a Music Festival, with a 'Picnic in the Park' theme. Richard and Jonathan Haines have most generously allowed us to hold the event at Watermouth Castle. So, on Sunday, 20th June 1999, there will be a picnic in the park, by the lake, with music for all and including all the attractions of the Castle. Fuller details will follow. We shall, however, need a LOT of help, so if you can assist in any way - by fund raising or practical help -- please contact us, perhaps via Alan at the Post Office, who is the Treasurer, or any of the other members of the Committee - Lorna Bowden, Tom Tucker, Tom Bartlett, Gordon and Mary Hughes, Gary Songhurst and Bill Scholes. We shall be giving more information and up-dates of all plans in all future Newsletters.

Neil Morris - Chairman
Little Orchard



Following major surgery, Angela Richards has had a really rough ride, with over two weeks in intensive care, but she is now progressing well and on the road to recovery. Our thoughts have been with her and we send our best wishes and hope that by the time you read this, she will be home again.

We also send best wishes to Bob Richards, who, like Angela, has undergone major surgery, but is also recovering well.

Best wishes also go to Ivy White, following her eye op, Ben Bowden who has broken his ankle and Barbara and Lew Simmonds, late of Greenleas and now living in Combe Martin, who are going through a rough patch at present.

It is good to hear that Bill Berry, June Annear and Frank Billing are all progressing well.

To you all, Get Well Soon.




CALL CHARLIE ON: [01271] 883806




Negotiations have been held with the North Devon District Council Car Park Management. From now on, there will be no restriction on Overnight Parking in the Free Car Park at Castle Hill.

This should bring an end to night parking on our roads and by the Manor Hall, where parking is really for the use of people actually using the Hall.

Following the resignation from the Council of Brian Fryer, with no election being claimed, Richard Gingell has been co-opted to the Parish Council.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Berrynarbor Village and Post Office

In my collection, I have two cards of the same view, both produced by Francis Frith & Co. Ltd. The first, shown here, was taken in 1911 and shows from the left, 38 The Village [Forge Cottage], where the Jones's lived in 1911 and their son, Albert, is seen sitting on the wall, whilst his sister, Edie, is standing by the gate. Next door, No. 37, is where John, Vic and Anita live. Note how the centre windows are blocked in, probably from the time when there was a window tax. The last house on the left was, in fact, the Post Office and when sold at the first Watermouth Estate Sale on 17th August 1920 for £350 was described as:

LOT 48 [Coloured Green on Plan]
Dwelling House, Post Office, Shop, Outbuildings and Large Garden situate in
the Village and No. 36, in the occupation of Mr. T. Hicks as a Quarterly
Tenant. The apportioned Tithe on this Lot is 1s. 6d. There is a water-tap on this Lot.

Then, on the right, we have 39 The Village [Fuchsia Cottage] the home of Michael and Joy Morrow, which in the same sale sold for £325, described thus:

LOT 46 [Coloured Brown on Plan]
A Tiled and Gabled Cottage
Containing: Sitting Room, Kitchen, Scullery & Three Bedrooms with W.C.
Wood House, Workshop, Coal House, Wash House, Potato House & Large
Garden, situate in the Village of Berrynarbor and numbered 39, in the
occupation of Mr. Brown as a Quarterly Tenant. There is a Water-tap and
WC. on this Lot.

The second Frith card was taken in 1939 and there is very little change with the exception of the conversion of the Post Office to form Langleigh Guest House with its much higher roof lines, taking in a second floor of guest bedrooms, and the disappearance of the Post Office and steps and just beyond Lee View, now the home of Alan and Linda Denzey.

Tom Bartlett,
Tower Cottage, November 1998



12.00 NOON TO 3.00 P.M. at THE MANOR HALL





Ilfracombe Pantomime Society and Studio Theatre present the first musical in the new theatre by members of the community for the community. The village is well represented with George Powell [Barton Hill] in one of the leading roles as Chief Sitting Bull, and Kirsten and Hannah Baddick being part of the strong team of dancers for the spectacular Wild West and Indian numbers.

The Show runs nightly from Wednesday, 9th December to Saturday, 12th December at 7.45 p.m., with a matinee at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday, 12th. Tickets from the theatre box office [324242], £7.00 [Concessions and matinee tickets £5.00].


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


In 1943, when I was about 14, I decided to join the Air Training Corps. I went along to the old Ilfracombe Grammar School, collected my uniform and found out when parades were to be held. These were at the school, where we learned about aircraft recognition, Morse code and marching commands, with each one of us taking a turn at shouting out the orders.

This all went very well and there were some enjoyable dances held at Southcombes. After these, we would all pile into one of the old Austin 16 taxis to get home to Combe Martin or Berrynarbor.

Some time later, it was decided to hold extra Sunday parades for our C Flight at the then Combe Martin Secondary School. These were very successful, with Pilot Officer Jimmy Herbert in charge. Jimmy was very keen and thought it would be better if we had our own building. He kindly negotiated the use of a timber building at the back of Loverings Garage, which was duly whitewashed, hung with posters and provided with tables and chairs.

Jimmy was the Landlord of the London Inn and although most lads lived at the seaside end, he would march us the 1 1/2 miles to his pub before we were dismissed! Sometimes he would treat some of the lads to a beer.

I had hoped, liked other lads in the ATC, to get the chance to fly, but my name never seemed to come up, and this is where my story takes a different turn.

During those dark years of World War II, people would offer hospitality to servicemen and our family got to know a Polish airman, Vladek Cherpak. He would come and stay with us and quite often borrow Stanley Huxtable's [North Lee Farm] twelve bore shot gun and then take me to Ruggaton [the Bowden's]. There he would pot off several rabbits, take them home, prepare them, boil the meat and then fry them with onions - a very welcome dish in those days.

One day, Vladek asked me if I would like a flight. I jumped at the chance, so a trip in his car to Chivenor was arranged. He was in his Flight Sergeant's uniform and I was wearing my ATC uniform. When we arrived at the first entrance to the aerodrome, the Guard said, "No cadets allowed in." "Never mind", said Vladek, "We'll go to the other entrance. Put on my overcoat, get down in the seat with the collar well turned up." This I did and we sailed through the other entrance without so much as a 'who goes there?' To think, I had three stripes and a crown on my arm!

He took me to the Sergeant's Mess where, he spoke to some friends in Polish and later to a shed to get a Mae West [lifejacket]. A Wellington bomber was waiting on the runway, its engines running and Vladek called "Come on Tony, in you go." In no time we were taking off and heading for the Bristol Channel. Looking down I saw a strange triangular raft with a pole in the middle. On the top of the pole was what looked like a large round basket. "You're on a smoke bombing practice" I was told and down we dived, so fast I felt my feet were leaving the floor, dropping the bombs and banking around for another go. This went on for about an hour, and need I say, I was airsick, but soon recovered! Landing safely and home in time for tea, this is my only experience of flying, although I did go parascending at Looe a couple of years ago.

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester



  • Berrynarbor Wine Circle - A reminder that the December meeting will be by ticket only and will be held a week earlier, on Wednesday, 9th December. Tickets for "The Stoke River Christmas Party" may be obtained by contacting Tom Bartlett [883408], Alec Parke [883758] or other members of the Committee.

    Congratulations to Les Bowen who, for the second year running, has won the Best Small Garden Award in the Barnstaple in Bloom competition.

  • Concert - Advance Notice - On Saturday, 6th February 1999, the South Molton Music Studio Singers and Pupils [under the direction of Monica Ley] will be singing "Songs from the Heart" at St. Peter's, 7.00 p.m. Admission [and coffee] £2.50. Proceeds to church funds.

  • BBC Village Show 1999 - Calling all thespians and anyone wishing to take part in the Show - there will be a meeting at The Sawmills on Sunday, 13th December, at 8.00 p.m. Everyone welcome.

  • Super Service Awards - On the 20th November, at The Commodore, Instow, the North Devon Marketing Bureau presented their 1998 awards, of which Berrynarbor is proud to boast three worthy recipients - On-A-Hill Garage, Watermouth Castle and The Globe. Congratulations to you all.



Margaret Andrews has been appointed to represent North Devon on the Advisory Group for Older People of Devon County Council, which is part of a National Pilot Scheme.

The Better Government for Older People Programme will take place throughout the County for the next two years, with the themes of VOICE and CHOICE. Margaret needs your views please [in absolute confidence].

Having served as Chairman on NHS Devon Committees, Parish Councils and Voluntary Agencies, as well as being employed in the past by Devon County Council and the University of Plymouth, Margaret has the knowledge and skills to represent older people's views.

She has been elected by the Advisory Group to represent them on a Task Force of Devon County Senior Officers to monitor their planning and policies that could matter for the next twenty years.

Please CONTACT Margaret on [01271] 883385 or fax [01271] 883375.



The more people phone each other and contact each other by E Mail - the more they want to hop on a plane and actually MEET each other!

Professor Peter Hall



We were saddened to hear recently of the death of Marjorie Hurrey who taught at Berrynarbor Primary School between 1970 and 1973. Marjorie died on 11th August, at the age of 79, in Puhoi near Aukland, New Zealand. She was a very popular teacher who will be remembered fondly by many of her ex-pupils.

The picture shows Marjorie [on the far right] with Mrs.Cowperthwaite and Muriel Richards and the school in approximately 1972. How many faces can you recognise and can anyone put an actual date to the photograph?


Ilfracombe & District

6 Church Street

Tel: [01271] 862131
Out of hours: 863425/862020

I should like to take the opportunity, in this month's edition of your Newsletter, to wish all readers the Compliments of the Season from the Volunteers of the above centre.

During the last year we have been visiting local villages, by way of 'Roadshows' and 'Surgeries'. Volunteers have also visited Senior Citizens with special needs and who are unable to call in at the Ilfracombe Centre - going as far afield as Lynton and Bideford [the latter Age Concern office having closed down].

Well, what does Age Concern actually do? To find the answer to this query, please contact us at the above or we shall be pleased to arrange a visit to any Organisation in your area.

Nellie Muscutt [Rural Development Secretary]


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

Finished your Christmas shopping yet? The shops in Barnstaple have been offering the season's greetings since October, and Christmas items have been on sale since September in some shops. I am reminded of the wife's comment to her husband on Christmas morning: "You angel! Just what I needed to exchange for just what I wanted!"

I expect that there will be presents, good food, and plenty to drink this Christmas tide. I wonder how many homes throughout the country will remember the real reason for Christmas? I wonder how many people will discover what St. Athanasius affirmed: that Christ 'was made Man, that we might be made God'. That is the real message of Christmas, and it is staggering! If we really took the message in, it would change our lives, and the lives of those around us. It might even lead us to dedicate ourselves in his service as Lancelot Andrews wrote in 1648:

Lord Jesus,
I give you my hands to do your work,
I give you my feet to go your way,
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words,
I give you my mind that you may think in me,
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me, your Father, and all mankind.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me, so that it is you,
Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.
I hand over to your care, Lord, my soul and body, my mind and thoughts, my prayers and hopes, my health and my work, my life and my death, my parents and my family, my friends and my neighbours, my country and all men. Today and always.

A Joyful Christmas to you all,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

With the winter getting longer and the days getting shorter, I thought you might like to meditate on this Old Irish Blessing translated by B. O'Malley.

The Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight
shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows
like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may
come and warm himself at it, as well as the friend.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the windows of a house,
bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain
be upon you - the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up
and shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the great rains be on you,
that they may beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool where the blue
of heaven shines, and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth
be upon you - the great round earth;
may you ever have a kindly greeting
for people you pass as you are going along the roads.
And now may the Lord bless you,
and bless you kindly.

Cydymaith y Pererin

This blessing I give with all my heart, for you, today - The Rector

Illustration by: Paul Swailes



"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by. "
Robert Frost

Heading for Long Ponds - a childhood haunt not visited for over thirty years - we walked from Townsend and Knott Oak up Wake Hill, the tower of St. John and All Saints visible on the horizon.

Clusters of snow berries were in the hedgerow - waxy and white and appropriately dubbed 'doll's soap' by country children of my mother's generation. A short cut across a field and we emerged behind a large tythe barn, then through the churchyard, past a splendid row of ham stone cottages, down a narrow path and into open countryside, with extensive views across abroad valley and the Blackdown Hills prominent beyond.

After walking down a couple of fields, we entered Long Ponds, a three-quarter mile stretch of woodland. The 'ponds' were long dried-up and choked with weeds when I was a child, but recently one pond has been restored and a little footbridge provided. Despite these efforts to enhance the area for the public's benefit, the reaction of the birds to our approach suggested not many people venture there. The coots vanished rapidly to the edges of the pond, although we were some distance away and there was a noisy take-off as eight mallards abandoned their swim. How different from typical North Devonian mallard ducks which are more likely to gather around humans in the hope of some reward!

Long ponds remains a secret and somewhat sinister place. But then something unforeseen happened in striking contrast to the behaviour of these other creatures. Hoards of pheasants thronged the drives and clearings and wooded slopes -- croaking and nervous rustling sounds everywhere. Then one detached itself from the others and walked calmly and steadily up the little path through the undergrowth towards us.

This was no ordinary pheasant. Our first impression was of a black and white striped head moving about among the foliage - a broad black stripe through a red eye; a white stripe below; the top of the head white and a black band around the nape of the neck.

When it arrived alongside us and drew to a halt for us to admire it at leisure, we saw a stunningly gold bird; the plumage on its back looking like row upon row of over-lapping bronze coins, neatly stacked, each feather edged with black. The chest was chocolate brown and the undertail coverts black.

It stood still, cooing gently all the time - two notes, 'hel-lo, hel-lo'! When we set off, it set off too, accompanying us as far as the woodmen's log cabins, now derelict. It waited awhile, then walked with dignity back up the track to the other pheasants.

Soon we came to the end of the wood. Across the road was a sign 'Bady Ant' indicating a group of dwellings in a hollow - the peculiar name being old English for 'by the stream'. Opposite, three ponies stretched their necks out over the fence to be fed handfuls of grass from the verge, clearly believers in the old adage, 'the grass is greener on the other side of the fence'!

Postscript: I looked up several books in the library before I managed to identify the exotic pheasant. Eventually I came across a book with a section on 'Introduced and Escaped birds'. It turned out not to be the Golden Pheasant but a REEVES pheasant, 'a spectacularly beautiful bird with an amazingly long tail.' [It can grow to 83 inches in length, of which 63 inches are the tail.] A native of China, the Reeves's Pheasant was introduced from the end of the 19th century onwards, 'but so far has failed to establish a viable feral population, though it must be considered likely to do so.'

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H


Buy your
and support your local

12p each from
Eunice Allen, Bali-Hai, Sterridge Valley
Call or 'phone 882491

Birthday and other cards - 25p each


Eunice would be delighted to collect old
Greetings Cards [of any kind] for Recycling



I have obtained the following newspaper cutting and should like to know more about it - the date [somewhere between 1939-1945], the farm mentioned and any other information. It is my real belief that the village is Berrynarbor.

Cottage Destroyed in South-West

Windows rattled and houses were shaken in a South-West town when, during Tuesday night, a number of bombs were dropped in a parish some miles distant. The only actual damage caused was at a farm, where a cottage was destroyed, another damaged and two ricks burned out. "I shall never forget it; there seemed to be incendiary bombs everywhere," said one eye witness, "they were in the fields, the yard, and the woodricks, and the cottages were blazing. We are thankful the farmhouse didn't catch, but it has a slate roof, otherwise the whole place would have been on fire." She added that they put out the bombs with buckets of sand and water. Miss Gwen Page said she carried water until she nearly dropped from exhaustion. Mrs. Page lost several sittings of hen, geese and ducks' eggs and her pigs. "The worst job was when they machinegunned us," said a resident, "we were standing on the roof trying to put out the blaze with buckets of water and stirrup pumps and ripping off the thatch. Then the 'plane circled round and sprayed us with machine-gun bullets and we jumped, or rather fell, off to save our lives." "It was like daylight when the incendiaries came down," said Mrs. Leaworthy, who with other village housewives, sheltered children in a space between two stone walls.

If you can help me with any information, please contact me by 'phone [883408] or call in. Thanks.

Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage



We should like to thank everyone for the donations towards providing two nebulisers -- one for Sophia and one for the village. We raised the sum of £202 in the village, and the Pack of Cards did a sponsored walk [in which my nephew and I took part] and donated the money for another nebuliser. One machine was kindly donated and so the money raised in the village has already been given to the school for books, etc. The donated nebuliser is now available for use and should you need to use it, the contact names will be displayed in the Post Office but they are: Nicola Cornish, Breezes, Barton Lane [883483] and Ann Pennington, Duckypool, Pitt Hill [883061]. The money raised by the Pack of Cards has paid for Sophia's nebuliser. Thank you again for all your help and support.

As some of you know, Simon and I were married on the 14th November. We had a beautiful service at St. Peter's and thank you, Keith and Reg. The day was perfect in every way. I should like to thank all friends who helped to organise our 'Special Day' - Mom [Ann Pennington] for putting up with us for the last six years and always being there, day and night, and everything she did to make our day extra special; Karen Hookway [sister] for being my Matron of Honour and a very good friend; Laura Hookway, my little sister and Mary-Jane for making our cake, a wonderful job she did too! It was great to see everyone at our evening reception - thank you all for coming.

Thank you, too, for helping with the packing. The speed that everything was packed made me wonder at one point if you were keen to get rid of us! Simon, Sophia and I have settled into our new home and look forward to reading the Newsletter on the Internet and finding out what you are all up to. See you when we come down to visit Mom.

Best wishes.

Jacqueline [nee Stavrinou]



Ilfracombe Volunteer Bureau is getting busier. There is an ever-increasing demand for volunteer helpers in the community, for both the Bureau's direct services and their successful 'Help at Hand' initiative for young people.

Bureau staffing and equipment levels are expanding to meet demands, and a 'Shopping list' has been compiled. The organisation urgently needs an office desk with locking drawers and a variety of tools such as hammers, saws, paint brushes, etc. in order to carry out more conservation work in the area. Finance Officer, Julie Harding, says, 'as a registered charity we aim to provide maximum support to the community at minimum cost, donations of equipment mean more funds are available to help those in need.' Currently there is a desperate shortage of volunteers to help with transport needs and to provide companionship to those living in isolation.

Anyone wishing to donate equipment or find out about voluntary work vacancies are invited to contact the Bureau at 149 High Street, Ilfracombe, or call [01271] 866300, Monday to Friday, 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.



1stW.I. Meeting: Speaker from the Landmark Theatre. Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
3rdNO Whist Drive. Primary School Plays, Manor Hall. Christmas Post Box open at the Post Office
8thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall.
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
9thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. [by ticket only]
10thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
12thPre-School Play Group Bazaar, Manor Hall, 12.00 noon to 3.00 p.m.
13thVillage Show '99 Meeting, Sawmills, 8.00 p.m.
15thIlfracombe College: Annual Carol Celebration, Parish Church, Ilfracombe, 7.30 p.m. Everyone welcome.
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
17thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
18thCollege and Primary School: End of Autumn Term
19thChristmas Post Box at Post Office closes.
Management Committee Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m.
20thSt. Peter's Church: Family Service and short Holy Communion, 10.30 a.m.
Christians Together Carol Service, St. Peter ad Vincula, 6.30 p.m.
21stW.I. Christmas Lunch at The Globe, 12.30 for 1.00 p.m.
22ndSt. Peter's Church: Church decorated for Christmas. Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
23rdMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
St. Peter's Church: Carol Service with Sunday School, 6.30 p.m.
24thSt. Peter's Church: Holy Communion, 10.00 a.m.
Midnight Mass, 11.35 p.m.
NO Whist Drive. Carols at The Globe.
St. Peter's Church: Family Communion with Carols, 10.30 a.m.
Methodist Church and Baptist Church: Morning Worship , 10.30 a.m.
27thSt. Peter's Church: Matins with Carols [no Holy Communion] 10.30 a.m.
3rdChristians Together: Carols by Candlelight, St. Peter ad Vincula, 6.30 p.m.
5thCollege and Primary School: Start of Spring Term
W.I. Meeting: Speaker - Mr. Andy Cooper, the North Devon Journal
Yoga, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
6thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
7thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
10thChristians Together: Methodist Church, Combe Martin, 6.30 p.m.
12thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall.
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
14thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
17thChristians Together: St. Peter ad Vincula, 6.30 p.m.
19thYoga, 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
20thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. Members' Favourite Wines
21stWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
24thChristians Together: Baptist Church, Combe Martin, 6.30 p.m.
26thYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
28thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
31stChristians Together: St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Combe Martin, 6.30 p.m.
2ndW.I. Meeting : Travel with Kath Arscott.
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
3rdMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
4thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m.
6thConcert at St. Peter's, 7.00 p.m.



Eric Finney

It went pretty well, our Nativity play,
In front of our mums in the hall.
Though it wasn't quite perfect, our teacher Miss May
Said the slip-ups weren't noticed at all.
It's a pity the innkeeper's wife was away
With pains in her head and her tum;
Sally Ann took her part and forgot what to say -
She stood there just sucking her thumb.
Still, it wasn't too bad our Nativity Show:
Our mums seemed to like it a lot
When a King dropped his casket on Joseph's big toe,
And he called him a clumsy great clot!
All the angels were great; in the whitest attire
They came on in a great ghostly group,
But Sandra's right wing fluttered clean off its wire
And her other wing started to droop.
The boss of the shepherds was Christopher Powell:
His costume was tight 'cos he's fat,
So he cut a great slit in his mum's stripy towel -
I bet he'll get walloped for that.
All the audience clapped our Nativity play;
I don't know what that kid in the choir meant
When he said that he thought that our teacher Miss May
Ought to think about early retirement.
Well, there were a few slip-ups perhaps on the day,
But they just didn't matter at all
When Mary sang Jesus to sleep in the hay
And we all gathered round in the stall.

Illustrations by: Debbie Cook



Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

December is here, another year nearly over and already diaries are filling up with appointments for the New Year. All our thoughts are now turning towards Christmas. The commercial bonanza is something we almost inevitably get caught up in as the day approaches. Amidst it all we would be well advised to stop and ponder what the season is all about. In our homes, parcels will be sent and received, the tinsel will glitter, the fairy-lights will illuminate the tree, and the contents of the well-stocked larder will be consumed, etc., etc.

But is not the central fact of Christmas the birth of Jesus Christ? Yes, indeed! The shepherds came, the Wise Men began their journey, the stable housed not only animals, the angel choir sang, the star was in the sky - but why? Because Jesus Christ, the Saviour was born.

This is what Christmas is all about - the reason for the season! And, because of it, we can rejoice this Christmas. The coming of Jesus not only divided AD from BC, but divided society. Some accepted Him, recognising that He was indeed the Messiah - the Saviour - but others rejected Him. Today the division still stands. For many, this Christmas will be Christless. Let not this be your experience! Rather, let Christmas be not just a season, a date on a calendar, but let it be a time to discover that the real joy of Christmas is to be found in a living faith in Christ.

There was no room in the inn two thousand years ago for Jesus Christ, but let it be that the words of the carol can truthfully be sung this year, "There is room in my heart for Thee".

A blessed Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!

J. Alan Edwards
Baptist Minister


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Committee are delighted to announce that the Village Christmas Card delivery service will be operating again this year.

Alan Rowlands has again kindly agreed to place a box in his shop. Just drop the cards in, together with 1Op per card. The Box will be in the Post Office from Thursday, 3rd December to Saturday, 19th December in the morning. On that morning, you are invited to a Coffee Morning, from 10.00 a.m., when the cards will be sorted and distributed.

Happy Christmas to everyone.

Graham Andrews - Management Committee Chairman




Christmas is fast approaching and the shop is now stocked with a good selection of Christmas items - from food to stocking fillers, cards and wrapping paper. Don't forget to place your orders for cream, bread, vegetables, etc., and don't forget to post your parcels in good time!

Over the Christmas period, we shall be;

  • CLOSED from 1.00 p.m. on Christmas Eve [Thursday]
  • CLOSED [no papers] on Christmas Day [Friday] and on Boxing Day [Saturday]
  • OPEN from 9.00 to 11.00 a.m. on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
  • OPEN from 8.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on New Year's Day

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year and thank you for your support and custom.

Nora and Alan



As December is the month of Christmas, most of the lore relates to that time, although much precedes Christmas Day itself.

Although mummers' plays have virtually disappeared [there are still occasional performances by local Morris dance teams] and the last play by the Exmoor Mummers was in Stogursey in the early 1900's, nativity plays are regularly staged in the larger churches. Similarly, all the other traditional Christmas icons are as prevalent in this area as any other, with one exception only found locally. That exception is the ashen faggot.

The ashen faggot custom is still observed in some households and inns [such as Dunster] . The faggot is made up of a bundle of ash sticks, bound with ash, and burned in the open hearth on Christmas Eve. In the days when fireplaces were more cavernous, the faggot would often be six or seven feet long, and three feet in diameter. The number of binds varied, but would often be high as it was the usual custom to toast each bind! In Barbrook, for example, they had as many binds as possible, and indeed drank to each one. Curiously, in the Barbrook custom, the wood had to be stolen.

Boxing Day is traditionally devoted to the country sports, and the Devon and Somerset Staghounds still meet in Lynmouth at this time.

New Year's Eve customs have now all but died out [apart from the obvious one involving fancy dress and copious amounts of alcohol!]. A visiting custom known as 'niggering' is still remembered, however, in Wootton Courtnenay. Children, with their faces blacked, went from house to house, singing and receiving a tip. This custom is related to 'first footing' in northern Britain, signifying that luck comes to any house where a dark stranger is the first to cross the threshold in the New Year.

When the Editor asked me to write a Christmas article, she requested that I kept it light- last year's was very ghoulish. I have tried to do this, but as usual I can't resist for too long, so I will end with an Exmoor farmers' saying for December:

"A green winter makes a fat churchyard"

Merry Christmas!

Mark Norman

Mark, the Librarian at Ilfracombe College, will be leaving at the end of term to take up a new post as Senior Media Technician at the Newton Abbot campus of Plymouth University. I should like to take this opportunity to thank him for his folklore articles [which we hope may continue] and to congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well in the future.



Artwork: David Duncan


Apologies about the pumpkins - we could only find three in the village! Has anybody got the answer on how to kill slugs? However, money raised from the sale of plants has been sent to the Children's Hospice.

The Courage quiz nights have been well attended and at this time the leaders are a team led by Roger Luckham and Deryck Brookes and their wives, with the Sam 'n' Ella team from Bessemer and Miss Muffets close behind. Good luck to whoever wins and goes forward to the regional finals.

Christmas at the Globe

  • Christmas Eve - 7.00-11.30 p.m. Carols round the tree. Draw 9.00 p.m.
  • Christmas Day - 11.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.
  • Boxing Day - 7.00 - 11.30 p.m. - Quiz Night, 7.30 p.m.
  • New Year's Eve - 7.00 - 00.30 p.m. - Fancy Dress Party - Hollywood Stars

Stop Press:

Following the final round of the Courage quiz nights on the 15th November, the winners were Roger and Debbie Luckham and Deryck and Susan Brookes, who will now represent the Globe in the next round - the Regional Finals. Well done, and good luck.

Phil and Lyn send everyone their very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



In the winter time we go
Walking in the fields of snow;
Where there is no grass at all;
Where the top of every wall,
Every fence and every tree
Is as white as white can be.
Pointing out the way we came -
Every one of them the same -
All across the fields there be
Prints in silver filigree;
And our mothers always know
By the footprints in the snow,
Where it is the children go.

James Stephens


And one shepherd, full of himself,
Did not go.
He remained in the field,
Feeling the black winter
[As bitter and cold as his thoughts;
While the other shepherds
Were humbled by the warmth,
Like sunlight,
Surrounding the world's child.

Peter Thabit-Jones


The sheep get up and make their many tracks
And bear a load of snow upon their backs,
And gnaw the frozen turnip to the ground
With sharp quick bite, and then go nosing round
The boy that pecks the turnips all the day
And knocks his hands to keep the cold away
And laps his legs in straw to keep them warm
And hides behind the hedges from the storm.
The sheep, as tame as dogs, go where he goes
And try to shake their fleeces. from the snows,
Then leave their frozen meal and wander round
The stubble stack that stands beside the ground
And lie all night and face the drizzling storm
And shun the hovel where they might be warm.

John Clare

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason


Blessed child of Holy Mother,
Honoured guest of all on earth,
Parallelled by never another,
Now we celebrate thy birth.


Wishing all readers