Friday, 31 December 2010

What a Disappointment!

Went to the pub at 8pm to get a seat for Mrs Ferret, but all the tables were booked for diners and I didn't recognise any of the people in the pub! Why is it that, year after year on New Year's Eve, local pubs are filled with people you've never seen before? Do they do it on purpose? So we went up the Club.
Early evening in the Club

Thursday, 30 December 2010


I know quite a few people look at the blog regularly; I would appreciate some serious comments on the site. Do you enjoy it? Are there any features you would like to see? Are there things you don't like?
Serious feedback is always welcome. Just fill in the Comments box at the bottom of each Post.

Old Father Time is Approaching!

New Year is approaching, though in a grey, damp gloomy way here with depressingly awful weather that starts the bones aching! Anyway, there will be fun and frolics in the village over the next few days: tomorrow is the Saturday Shop, confusingly on a Friday this week as no-one wants to shop with a throbbing hangover!
Tomorrow night in the pub is fancy dress night and the theme is children's TV characters, so there'll be a couple of Andy Pandys, the odd Flowerpot Man, a Telly Tubby or two.  I'll be very surprised if we get Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble or Grubb!
Following the rioyous activities in the pub, we'll all be at the church at midnight to ring in the new (even if it's raining!).

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Party Time in the Village

David and Caroline held an informal party this afternoon at The Old Chapel, when many villagers attended. It was an opportunity to catch up with old friends and catch up on the latest news.

Christmas Is Nearly Over

It's Tuesday, the second day of the 'extra' holiday because of the weekend. Everything is quiet in the village. I haven't seen a car all day, the only movement I've seen was when my brother left to return to Birmingham.
The weather has improved - if you can call a damp grey overcast an improvement! At least it's warmer (slightly) and the ice has gone. That's a relief, as we're running out of logs!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Morning at the Plough

Blue skies, a crisp morning and ice on the river and villagers gather in the pub for their Christmas cup of cheer. The 'Steaming Ale' is particularly good! First drinks on Sarah and Ted - Merry Christmas everyone!
So, a couple of pints then back home to finish cooking the turkey, followed by a huge lunch then relax in front of the log fire!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve Night in the Village

It's been a quiet evening in the village, unless you were in the Club. Tonight was karaoke night, which meant loud music and questionable singing. However, a pint of Raisins, the fruity Christmas ale, was good enough to keep us there for a while before the deafening noise drove us to the relative calm of the pub.
What a contrast! Not full, by any means, but enough villagers and visitors to make it cosy - and quiet enough to hold a conversation. It all depends on what you want - noise and entertainment or a quiet chat with friends in a cosy pub.
The weather is still very cold, but no more snow is forecast. What is left, particularly on the roads, is now slippery ice.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day, with a drink in the Plough, followed by a turkey dinner. More later.....

Seasonal Singing at the Shop and Cafe

There was a festive gathering of villagers and visitors at the Shop and Cafe today, held on a Friday as tomorrow is Christmas Day. Caroline was on mulled wine duty and there were also mince pies, courtesy of the Steering Committee. Ian and Amanda's vegetable stall did a roaring trade, with many pre-orders for veggies for Christmas.
Later in the morning there was a special seasonal rendition of different Christmas songs from Rob and Lesley, Clive, Peter and Bruce, that were well received by the audience.
Thanks go to the volunteers of the RUG who manned the cafe in a very able manner.

The Elf and Safety Inspector!

The singers in full voice.

Caroline on wine duty with Daphne.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Successful Carol Singing Evening

After the initial warm-up at the Old Chapel, the merry band of singers headed up the village, singing as they went and knocking on doors. They returned to the pub an hour and a half later for a few more carols, mince pies and mulled wine. During the evening they collected over £150 for charity. Well done, everyone!

Carol Singers Gather

The annual carol singing around the village started at David and Caroline's with mulled wine and mince pies, followed by a practice carol.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Where's the Christmas Mail?

No post since Friday! Our redoubtable postmaster Trev tells me that Health & Safety has reared its ugly head again! Posties aren't allowed to go out in icy conditions and the sorting office in Tavistock is on top of a hill, preventing vans from getting to and from.
However, a resident of Bere Alston went in his car to the sorting office on Monday and brought back post! Why can't the road to the sorting office be gritted (which I understand it isn't because it's a minor road)?
There was a rumour this morning that a Royal Mail van was seen on the Bere Ferrers road, so keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bringing in Supplies!

Graham Hodgson arrives at Bere Ferrers with supplies from Plymouth. The Big Dump of snow over Devon missed us yesterday - we had a rain shower. Photo:Sue Hodgson

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snowman Seen Loitering in Station Road

A snowman was seen loitering in Station Road outside the Mugridge house. The photo of the culprit was supplied by Sue Hodgson.

Another Cracking Acoustic Night at the Pub

The cold weather continues but despite this a bunch of hardy locals gathered tonight at the Olde Plough for a good old sing-song!
On call for a few renditions were, amongst others, Jane Musgrave, Ian Wood, some of the Bere Ukes, Mike and Lizzie, Rob and Lesley, Clive Charlton and the Tavy Tars.
Oh, and it was the Ferret's birthday and we had a meal at the pub, followed by a cake supplied by Sarah at the pub. An excellent evening.

Panto Sets Off the Christmas Season

The village pantomime, Robyn Hood and the Babes in the Wood, finished last night to rousing applause! Adapted and produced by Jane Hamlyn, this was the story of a female outlaw and her band of maids, an evil baron, bungling henchmen and the babes in the wood.
It took place in The O'Flynn Theatre in the church hall, so named because the new stage and lighting have been funded from a bequest left to the village by the late Belinda O'Flynn.
There were a few vacant seats in the hall due to the very bad icy conditions outside, but the villagers that were present had a wonderful time, joining in with hisses and boos for the villain (Trevor Grinstead at his best), cheers for the goodies and the usual 'Behind you!' and the other ripostes with the characters.
Many were impressed with David Clark's superb campfire that opened the panto.
The Maids open the show.
The maids were a merry bunch indeed, particularly Maria Tuck (Christine Fine) who had a liking for the ale!
Particular highlights were the arrival of the Sheriff of Nottingham and his horse - the biggest one anyone has seen - and the King (Ken Render), who had much difficulty in getting in and out of the doorway, much to the amusement of the audience!
All the cast were wonderful and the acting was excellent. Trev, as the villain, played his part to the utmost, as he always does.
The Sheriff's horse!
The set, designed by Bill Stables, was beautiful and Steve Rickhards was thanked for sorting out a method of hanging the flats to avoid damaging the new staging. Overall it was an excellent production, though more local references and characters would have completed it. Well done to everybody concerned!

The Babes with Nursie
Evil Baron Trev catches Billy
Gingertnut and Coppernob

The Dryads 'Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree'

The Sheriff gave us a song
Robyn and the Babes

King Ken

Saturday, 18 December 2010

More Snow Overnight

More snow fell overnight in the village. The sun is up now and there is a blue sky.



Friday, 17 December 2010

Quiet Night in the Pub

After snow showers throughout the day, it seems that folk aren't venturing out tonight. There's eight of us in the pub tonight in front of a roaring log fire, supping Sharp's Doom Bar. Some of the villagers are at the panto.
Snow is drifting past the windows, with the threat of more overnight.

Snow Back Again!

After some rain yesterday, the cold front has arrived and this morning snow is back in the village. It's not much - the road is clear, but is it covered in ice? - and is mainly at the side of the tarmac. Pathways seem to be clear and it's settled on vegetation. However, we are due a fair amount of snow tomorrow, according to the Met Office.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Carol Singing Update

The date for the village carols is now Thursday 23rd December, not the 22nd. Meet at the Old Chapel (Caroline and David's) at 6pm for mince pies, mulled wine and a couple of carols before moving off round the village.
Do join in!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Panto Time Approaches! Oh yes, it does!

It's nearly panto time - the Dress Rehearsal is on Thursday, with further performances on Friday evening, a matinee on Saturday afternoon with the final performance in the evening. The theme this year is Robyn Hood and the Babes in the Wood, with a female lead part. I understand tickets are selling well and there will be a report and pictures next weekend (if I can sneak into the Dress Rehearsal I may be able to upload something earlier!).


Having been upcountry for a couple of days, it's nice to return to a slightly warmer village than when I left. There's no sign of frost this morning, but it was damp last night and the sky is clear as I write, so it may get colder tonight. The Met Office has forecast much colder weather as the week goes on.

Carol Singing

The annual carol singing around the village will be on Wednesday 22nd December. This is always a popular event, with a large crowd of carollers singing all the well-known carols for charity. The session always ends up in the pub for mulled wine, mince pies and more singing!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Jam Sessions Christmas Holiday

Mike Grimshaw tells me: "A great night last Tuesday seemed to be the general view- thanks to those who came along. The pub is now booked for something else on 14th December, so no session then.  The next session would have been 4th January but the pub will be shut. Our next get together then will be 18th January.  If anything changes, I'll let you know. In the meantime, if we don't meet up, have a great Christmas and an excellent New Year."

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Weather Update

After a 'warm' spell (well, not so cold!) over the weekend, when we've had the odd shower or two of rain, the cold weather has returned. Freezing fog is creeping into the village, wafting in from the river. It is very cold and a layer of ice is covering everything, including the cars.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Red Herrings' Christmas Party

Fourteen members of The Red Herring Club held their annual Christmas Dinner at the Olde Plough tonight. The pub supplied a wonderful meal and much fun was had by all, including the exchange of small gifts.

Snow Gone!

That's it! All gone and it looks as if we're in for some rain tomorrow, according to the forecast.

Snow in the Village!

While some parts of the country have been enveloped in snow for a week or so, Bere Ferrers has missed it - until today! Villagers woke this morning to find a light fall had taken place during the night and more is forecast during the day. We'll see!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Watersport Hub Proposal

Part of the Parish Council meeting at the church hall last night was given over to a short presentation by Peter Key and Pete Silcock about the proposed Watersports Hub at Weir Quay.
The Weir Quay Sailing Club, established over 40 years ago, and the Tamar & Tavy Gig Club lost their previous club premises and are keen to build a new club house and storage area for boats. They also train youngsters in sailing and gig rowing, an important educational tool.
Peter told the meeting that, bearing in mind the sensitive nature of the proposals in a beautiful area, the development group had approached every organisation they could think of to make sure that the building caused the least disruption to the area. They even had a letter from West Devon Borough Council stating that this development would not start a precedent for other building work in Weir Quay. Funding has started to purchase the land from the Cleave Estate.
Pete then showed some slides on the site of the proposed building and explained how most of it would be 'buried' in the hillside.
There was some favourable reaction from the Parish Council, though some Councillors were against the plan. A local resident got the idea that the building would be a vast social club, attracting people from all over. It was pointed out that the social area of the club would be probably no bigger than the old club house. Another resident complained about the extra traffic it would bring, but was told that traffic should not increase by very much. After all, the club members are going to Weir Quay already.
It was strongly pointed out by the speakers that most of the club members live within a four to five mile radius of Weir Quay and certainly do not want to spoil it. Despite what appears to be an overwhelming 'Yes' vote from a recent survey, several NIMBYs voiced their opposition, including one person who has already had his plans for a club house turned down! He also pointed out that the AONB had tried similar plans a couple of years ago and had been defeated, not realising that this new proposal was totally different.
Personal note: I have no interest in either club, but I do appreciate that they form an important role in the leisure and educational facilities of the Peninsula. Areas must develop sympathetically or they stagnate and eventually die. So it must be at Weir Quay.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Apple Group's AGM

A group of ten members of the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group gathered on a bitter winter's evening at the Olde Plough for the Group's AGM.
Chairman Brian Lamb gave his report, followed by one from Treasurer Will Spearing, in absentia.
Elections: Chair- Brian Lamb, Vice-Chair and Treasurer - Will Spearing, Minutes Secretary - Fran Gorringe, Membership Secretary - Patrick Waterfield, PR - Bev Slaughter.
Three members were elected to the Executive: Steve Rickhards, Richard Peden and Matt Wood from Buckland Monachorum.
The Wassailing Evening will be on Saturday 8th January 2011 and proceeds will go to the Devon Air Ambulance.
The Apple Fest will be on Saturday 8th October.
In 2011 there will be more pruning and grafting courses and another visit to Cornish Orchards.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Saturday Shop Buzzing Again

Despite the very cold weather, the Saturday Shop was buzzing this week. With a table for the cafe in the main hall and others in the foyer (and not all jammed into the Hazel Room) there was much more atmosphere yesterday.
After a slow start (probably due to the weather, though it hasn't snowed yet!) the pace picked up around 11. The teams on cafe duty every week always work frantically for a couple of hours, but this week's team (including the Ferret) thought they were in for a quiet one at the beginning. How wrong they were!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The weather is turning colder and it's forecast to become even colder by the end of the week. We've had a couple of frosts already, with much scraping of car windscreens! At the moment the sky is cloudy and I think we've had a shower of rain.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Work Party in the Recreation Field

Cutting the willow
On a sunny but chilly afternoon, four volunteers from the Villagers' Group, Diana Mitchell, Stewart Walker, Roger White and Bev Slaughter, started their regular tidy-up of the area around the marsh, the cycle track and the willow hide. Stewart nobly cleared most of the track, Diana strimmed in and around the marsh, while Roger and Bev reduced the willow shoots and branches that were reaching skywards.
It is good exercise, but there is a lot to do and volunteers from the village are always welcome.

Scilly Buoys Wow the Village

Those Scilly Buoys from the very far west of Cornwall, Bone Idol, brought the house down last night at the Social Club! There hasn't been a crowd like it there for many a month and it was a fantastic evening!
Bone Idol are a close harmony group singing shanties and other similar songs, from the upbeat 'Donkey Riding' to the haunting softness of 'Farewell', interspersed with a lot of humour - mainly concerning the sale of their CD!
The boys started the evening with a session, then were followed by a couple of items from Ferrers Reel, the Irish music trio of Tim and Becca Hamlyn and Rob Smith. They were followed by the full version of the Tavy Tars, who gave several rousing renditions of seafaring songs.
Bone Idol returned to the floor to finish off the evening, to tumultuous applause.
They will be appearing tonight at the Acoustic Evening at the Plough: 'same songs, in the same order!'
Bone Idol

Ferrers Reel

Tavy Tars

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Gig Launch videos

New Gig Launched

Under cloudy skies and with a chill wind blowing, the Tamar & Tavy Gig Club launched their new gig this afternoon. The glassfibre practise gig was built with funds given by the Belinda O'Flynn Trust, set up to remember a well-loved and much missed villager and fittingly the gig was named 'Belinda O'Flynn'.
Club Chairman Rob Smith welcomed nearly 100 people to the Quay at Bere Ferrers and introduced Angela Hooper, Lesley Smith and Ann Jeffries, three of the trustees. The Rev. Nick Law then blessed the boat and a close friend of Belinda's, Sarah Mugridge, with her daughters Kate and Niamh, christened it with champagne.
As the Tavy Tars sang, the gig was taken down to the water and launched to much applause. The first crew of youngsters took their positions and gently rowed the gig into the river.
After the gig returned, most people retired to the pub for tea and a sandwich.
Rob Smith and the trustees

Some of the well-wishers

Rev Nick prepares to bless the gig

Kate, Sarah and Niamh

To the water!

The launch

Off she goes!

Returning home

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pudsey Bear 'Visits' Bere Ferrers

The 10.46 Tamar Valley service from Plymouth to Gunnislake arrived at Bere Ferrers station this morning and on board was a very special person - non other than Pudsey Bear, accompanied by Rebecca Cattrall of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.
Pudsey was travelling as part of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union’s support for BBC Children in Need from Plymouth to Gunnislake and back.  Members of the University’s Big Band were playing on the train and students were selling homemade gingerbread Pudseys to raise cash.
Chris Grove from the Tamar Bell was on hand to whistle Pudsey onwards to Gunnislake.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pudsey Bear at Bere Ferrers

Pudsey Bear is visiting the Tamar Valley Line tomorrow (Thursday) as part of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union’s support for BBC Children in Need.  He will be travelling on the 10.46 from Plymouth to Gunnislake and back.  Members of the University’s Big Band will be playing on the train and students will be selling homemade gingerbread Pudseys to raise cash.

Weather Update

Well, what a change in half an hour! From gales and lashing rain to calm air and the promise of the sun poking itself round a cloud fairly soon! It could be a nice day!

Mobile Library Changes

We are very fortunate in the village in that every fortnight the mobile library run by Devon County Council visits us. In these times of dire economic cuts we were expecting the service to be withdrawn - but it hasn't! However, DCC has changed the day it comes to the village. Originally they wanted the library van to come on Saturday mornings at the Social Club; normally this would have been excellent, but with the very popular Community Shop and Cafe running on Saturday mornings and the attendant parking problems, this was a no-goer!
So some rearranging was requested by Cllr Christine Grills, one of our Borough Councillors. And it worked!
The schedule for the mobile library changes with effect from this January. The library will now visit the village on alternate Tuesdays, not Wednesdays, firstly at the War Memorial from 1.30pm to 2pm, then at the Social Club from 2.05pm until 4pm (Two hours? Don't ask!).
The new timings start on Tuesday 11th January.

The library will not be operating in December, while the van is serviced and the books updated, so any Christmas reading must be obtained at the next and final visit this year on Wednesday 24th November.

Ann Street Says 'Thank You'

As many of you will know, Ann Street has, for many years, run the bric-a-brac table and the second-hand book shelf in the Church Hall. Now the proceeds from these has reached a magnificent figure.
Ann says: 'I would like to say "Thank You" to everyone who supports the "Sale" tables in the Church Hall.  Together, the income from the Bric-a-Brac table (whose proceeds go to St Andrew's Churc) and the second-hand book stall (where the income benefits the Church Hall) has reached the magnificent total of £3000!  The ongoing generosity of local people both in donating goods and purchasing goods is amazing and long may it continue.  Both sale tables are open for business whenever the Hall is open.  Please come and view regularly as the stock changes frequently.  Thank you everyone.'
If you have any article lying around doing nothing (No, not the Old Man!!), perhaps it might raise some money for a good cause!

Stormy Night

As I write, gale-force winds are lashing rain against the window and it's been like this for most of the night. This should rip the remaining leaves from the trees! There are a couple of roads closed because of flooding in Cornwall and it is likely that the lane down the hill into the village near Parsonage Farm will be awash with run-off water from the fields.
Unfortunately thie rain does make the ground very muddy underfoot and this will make it a bit messy for me when I try to get my allotment tidied up and ready for winter.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Like Gold Dust!

The Panto's coming! Tickets will be like gold dust because of the seating restrictions in the Church Hall, so look out for them soon. They will be on sale at Margaret's Hairdressing from 1st December, but I'm sure Margaret won't mind a few advance orders!
Robyn Hood and the Babes in the Wood is a bit different from the 'normal ' panto of this name.  Robyn is not only played by a woman but IS a woman and her 'Merry Men' are 'Merry Maids'.  Jane Hamlyn has adapted the panto from a script by K.O.Samuels, who wrote the last Bere Ferrers panto, Little Red Riding Hood. It has the usual cast of goodies and baddies, two Babes, little Dryads, a King, disguised Prince and a rather strange Sheriff with an even stranger horse!
Dress Rehearsal tickets are a little cheaper because it is a rehearsal and may stop for minor adjustments. Children who are 13 or under are half price.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

New Gig to be Launched

Villagers are invited to attend the blessing and launch of the Tamar & Tavy Gig Club's new fibreglass gig at 3pm on Saturday 20th November at Bere Ferrers Quay. The Rector, the Rev. Nick Law, will bless the gig before it is launched in the prescence of the club trustees.
The celebrations will continue in the evening at the Social Club with the appearance of 'Bone Idol', a close harmony group from the Isles of Scilly (see earlier post on this blog).

Village Remembers the Fallen

In pouring rain, over 35 villagers joined members of the Bere Alston Royal British Legion and some Councillors from the Parish Council to remember those who fell in two World Wars and in conflicts since.
Stan Sherrell read the Roll of Honour of those local people who were killed in the World Wars before wreaths were laid. After prayers from the Rector, the Rev. Nick Law, many of the people at the memorial went to St Andrew's for the service.