SOCIAL SAILING IN NORTH DEVON
WOT A WEEK THAT WAS! Following on from a great racing day at Axbridge, on the first day of July, I arranged for 7 Seavets to come down to Braunton for a week of social sailing on the Taw-Torridge Estuary at Instow and Crow Point. Seavets are veteran windsurfers, aged over 35, though most are now 60+ and the eldest is 78! They get together at various locations throughout the country at weekends for social sailing or serious racing. The major aims of the organisation are to encourage an active lifestyle into their advancing years and to raise money and exposure for 'Research into Ageing'.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday saw them planing freely at up to 25 mph on legs of up to 1 1/4 miles, and completing capable carves in steady force 4 winds on flat water. Local Seavets joined in so that there were 9 on the water and 11 at the evening dinner at Miss Muffets Tea-room in Berrynarbor.
On Thursday the wind veered slightly and dropped to F3, so the Seavets rounded the point, avoided the two tank landing craft, which were being used for Royal Marine training on to the beaches, and then worked the swells coming in to the rivers' mouth from the open sea. It was a very different form of sailing than is normally available, and caused not a little increase in heart and breathing rates!
The week was finished off at Roadford Lake near Okehampton, in good winds and a very social atmosphere. Locals present were John Mabin and myself from Berrynarbor, Bob Mullen of Score Valley Hotel, llfracombe and Sheila and Frank Paver from West Down.
Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW BERRYNARBOR?
Answers to Part 4:
Do you recognise three of our village personalities in uniform?
Answers in Article 37.
Alan: These photos look fine on the originals, I hope they will print OK.!
SO YOU THINK YOU
This edition's puzzles are based upon Street and House names:
- Starting at Tower Cottage, where can you raise a contract if you head south after Silver Street and Turn Rounds and off Blind Lane?
- Where are we if we take the first or last letters of the house names of the
following families or people:
Richardson[f], Gosling [F], Froud [L], Leckie [L], Powell [F], Berry [F], Allen [L], Walls [F], Constantine [F]
Last edition's puzzle, using the herring bone route took you down Pitt Hill, up Hagginton, through Black's Wood, down to the Sterridge Valley, up Rectory Hill, down past Sloley. Then up Barton Lane, down to Sawmills, up Pitt Hill and you are back to The Globe!
The route clues were: Black's Wood, Trayne, Moules, Napps and The Globe.
SO YOU THINK YOU
In the 1950's to 1970's, Road Rallying was a popular sport, with British Minis, Escorts, Triumphs and Rovers ruling supreme. Many routes were set using 'herring bones' - at every junction leave one or more road[s] to left or right or both, according to how many 'bones' are at the intersection point.
Try this one out! Starting at Ye Olde Globe go downhill, using ALL the through roads AND footpaths available. For reference, see leaflet 'Footpaths and and Walks Around the Village', produced by the Parish Council and price 20p at the Post Office.
Answers next issue.
SO, YOU THINK YOU
For the second part of this mini-series, can you locate the following?
|2 Churches||2 Pubs||3 Shops [only 1 operating]|
|8 Farms||1 Bishop's House|
|1 Waterfall||3 Ponds||1 River|
|I Lake||3 Castles||1 Harbour|
|3 Hotels||1 Topiary Garden||1 Woodworking Shop|
|Several Flower Pot Men||3 On-going Self-build House Projects||5 Major Caravan Parks|
|2 Guest Houses||3 or more B and B's||1 Tuffet|
|4 Holiday Chalet Complexes||1 Playpark||1 Milkman's Gift|
Part 3 will be on the names of houses and roads, so look out for them!
Some additions to the list of occupations [with apologies]:
- 2 WRNS, I Carol Levis Discovery and 1 Newsletter Editor.
SO, YOU THINK YOU
Berrynarbor is a remarkable village! With our sheltered microclimate [fry explaining that to the folks in Barton Lane], some would say we have everything; but do you know the depth of it? For example, as the first part of mini series, do you know any other village of less than 800 people that has:
|1 Customs Officer||1 Midwife||2 Nurses|
|1 Pharmacist||1 Chiropodist||2 Vets|
|1 Optician||1 Dentist||2 Piscators|
|1 Tarantula Spider Breeder||1 Ph.D. Chemist||1 Lady Helicopter Pilot Instructor|
|1 Court Usher||1 Car Racing Driver||1 Paramedic|
|1 Graphic Designer||1 BBC Producer||1 Semi-professional Italian Tenor|
|1 Go-Cart Driver||1 Land Army Girl||2 Detectives|
|1 Retired Army Major|
[who oversaw a Japanese surrender]
|1 Railway Modeller||1 Battle of Britain Pilot|
|3 Policemen||1 Piano Teacher||1 Butcher|
|1 Prof Goalkeeper||1 Jewellery Maker||2+ Sculptors/Potters|
|2+ Artists||1 Reflexologist||1 Prof. Brass Rubber|
|1 Round England Yachtsman||6 Linguists||1 Baker|
|6 Skilled Musicians||1 Mobile Castle Owner||I Qualified Aircraft Designer|
|1 Windsurfing Instructor||1 Yoga Teacher||1 Vehicle Refurbishing Expen|
|1 Wool Spinner||1 Woodturner||1 Tax Inspector|
|1 Cine Film Maker||1 Stocktaker||1 Harley Motorcyclist|
|1 Writer & Publisher||1 Goosebreeder||2 Solicitors|
|1 Clinker Boat Builder||Multiple Campanologists||Multiple Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines|
|1 Nosey Parker!|
P.S. Many apologies if YOU have been left off this impressive list. Please let us know your claim to fame.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
During the autumn of '98 we had a visitor to the village, one David Austin. Now Nora buys her roses from David Austin Roses and she put two and two together and made five, and took the gentleman to be the very same. However, he denied being famous and claimed only to be a poor artist. Over Christmas we saw 'The Year in Cartoons' on TV and jumped at the name of the Guardian Cartoonist - David Austin! We wrote and challenged him to deny his fame once more. Here is his reply:
Alan and Nora
A LIGHT-HEARTED LOOK AT GARDENING!
Old gardeners never die, they just go to seed
Gardeners are 'potty people, always pottering in the potting shed with pots.
If you wish to brighten up your garden, plant some coloured light bulbs.
A dig in the garden is better than a dig in the ribs.
Best thing about sewing seeds, you don't need a needle and thread.
Garden hose will not replace a laddered stocking.
A budding artist could be a gardener.
A wild pansy could be related to a chimpanzee.
A nosy parker without a nose could be a potato 'all eyes'
there is no room at the guest house, a gardener can offer a bed.
Johnny says that his grandpa is about to become a "scented geranium"
WINDSURFING AS A SPORT
There are two sets of questions I'm always being asked about windsurfing - an activity which I took up some 12 years ago and in which I progressed to become an advanced instructor and enthusiastic racing competitor. The first set is along the lines of "Why do you do it?" ''What's the excitement?" "How much does it cost?" , and others which reflect the obvious envy of anyone remotely active, on seeing young bloods, driven by the wind, skimming across the water at incredible speeds, leaving a tail of white spray behind and perhaps jumping up and over waves, only to crash down, apparently effortlessly water start, speed off again and then, just before beaching, scream round by reversing the sale and speeding off again on the return journey. My answers confirm the questioner's impressions - yet, it is exciting!!
With the wind in your face, lumpy water under the board, often on the edge of catastrophe - it's fun, fun, fun all the way, and it does take a while to become good.
Even so, I didn't start until I was forty plus and have friends who are still active in their late 60's. A 3 day course will get you able to sail safely out onto flat water and back to shore again; one year's regular outings will bring you up to leaning back hard against the pull of the sail and putting your feet into the footstraps; while two years should see you jumping off your first wave in a rough sea. Youth, athleticism, guts and a willingness to get wet will speed your progress, but you can stick at cruising around on sunny days and still find windsurfing to be the next best thing after sex!
Illustration by: Paul Swailes
The next set of questions reflect the difficulties which seemingly abound and which the media delight in showing: falling off, exhaustion, cold, crashes and total inability to cope due to weakness, waves, lack of etc., etc. There is some truth in all of this, but often the problem is exaggerated by incorrect training equipment and trying "to run before learning to walk". Small sails on large stable boards, flat and shallow water, and a knowledgeable instructor will ease all the difficulties. Do you remember learning to ride a bicycle? Well, it's just the same except falling off is wet and soft, not dry and hard. Similarly, you wouldn't start to learn on a 21" frame racing bike, or 20-speed mountain bike! Learning on a windsurfing holiday in Greece is wonderful, but there are good places in the U.K. too. Regrettably, there aren't too many in North Devon, though Wistlandpound Reservoir is a possibility.
I usually sail at Crow Point, off the Burrows downstream of Braunton. On a high tide, the conditions there are excellent, with a good expanse of blue water, clean wind and a sandy shore. Sailors there use all manner of craft, ranging from a 370 cm race board and a 7.5 sq.metre sail, down to 265 cm wave boards and 3.5 sq.metre sails. On summer week-ends, the girls often outnumber the boys and sailing across to Instow or Appledore is a variation, or just blasting to and fro for the hell of it!
If my little expose has been of interest, then find a quiet time in the shop and I should be happy to brief you further. If you would like holiday advice, then this, too, I should happily provide.
Congratulations to Alan on his recent sponsored surf when he raised £216 for the McMillan Appeal, sailing from Crow Point to Instow - where he picked up a cream tea from the Commodore! - and then back to Crow Point for another cream tea on the beach! All that cream - it's naughty but its nice!
COLLECTIONS - TRAINS AND THINGS
When I was a child I spake as a child, but now I'm a man I've put away childish things - all that is except my model train set, which is the second of my Collections which I promised [threatened] to tell you about. Stored in a back room I have a large model railway layout representing Barry Junction and the station for the great holiday resort of Barry Island. I began building this some 12 years ago and it is interesting to me now that the through-route out of Barry Island led to Barry Dock, the Bristol Channel Ferries and Ilfracombe!
I model in 00 scale [developed particularly by Horny Dublo before World War II]. This is a strange mixture of 4mm to 1 ft for the locomotives and rolling stock, but 3.5mm for the track. The rest of the world uses 3.5mm for both and calls it HO scale. Other popular scales are 3 1/2 gauge, 'O' N and Z. Naturally, being a British layout, my locomotives and carriages are also British, but I haven't limited myself to any particular time in railway history, nor to any special operating area. Indeed, the benefit of having a layout of a seaside station is that holiday specials can arrive from almost anywhere in the U.K., so that London and North Eastern trains can arrive and cool down alongside Great Western tank engines, or, if considered to be historical steam specials' they can operate satisfactorily alongside their modern diesel counterparts.
My interest extends to building and repainting the locomotives and coaches, etc. In 00 scale they are large enough for carving and cutting up with a craft knife, and I improve the detail. I like my locomotives to be "as new" and pristine clean, a far from realistic situation, but then my memories include a large slice of Crewe Junction and Chester, where, as a boy, I enjoyed seeing reconditioned and repainted locomotives coming out of "Crewe Works", absolutely gleaming in red, blue, green or shiny black. I therefore often repaint items I've bought secondhand and have a great backlog of items to work on, but this seldom stops me from acquiring more at jumble sales, swap meets or even by private purchase.
I'm well aware that any such reworking can destroy the value of a rare classic, and that everyone sheltering a childhood train set in their attic has a wholly incorrect expectation, fanned up by the Antiques Road Show, that such items are worth a fortune. In practice, anything that has been played with by children is almost certainly well spoiled and a good repaint will enhance the value. High values depend on rarity and tender loving care, careful protection in a display cabinet and the accompaniment of a pristine box with manual and packing. I'd be more than happy to look over any cherished items from attics up and down the village, and advise or even buy.
Personally, I prefer to use my childhood things and believe in risking wear and tear, derailments and even head-on crashes! I find that watching the trains go by, even if they only go round and round to pass by again far too frequently for realism, is somehow calming and enthralling and the basis of a fascinating hobby, which is far too difficult and exasperating for children.
Some day soon I hope to have my layout operating again or even have thoughts of expanding It into the garden for longer trains with greater operating potential In the meantime, my display cabinet will have to suffice.
THE EXMOOR PONY
Native to Exmoor, it is believed that the Exmoor pony is the only breed to be descended more or less unchanged from its primitive ancestor, the Celtic pony. It is mentioned as a distinct breed in the Domesday Book of 1065.
Although Exmoors can be brown, bay or mouse dun in colour, they have distinctive light or mealy muzzles and under-bellies, and tails with thick fan-like growth at the top. Their winter coat has a unique texture - short, thick and spongy and virtually waterproof.
The definition of a pony is an equine below 14.2 hands high. The Exmoor mare never exceeds 12.2 hands high and the stallion, 12.3. They are strong and hardy and, like the Dartmoor, make excellent riding ponies. The Riding Pony, a fairly recent breed, has evolved by crossing Welsh, Dartmoor and sometimes Exmoor mares with small Thoroughbred or Arab stallions. Exmoors are, however on the decrease with only 200 breeding mares left in the world.