Monday, 30 January 2012

Tavy Tars Sing For RNLI

Rob Smith sends this report:

The Tavy Tars bounded away from Bere Ferrers last Friday night, 27th January and set course for the Maritime Inn on the Barbican in Plymouth to sing in support of the RNLI SOS fund raising weekend.
The Tars performed a packed programme of songs to a welcoming and appreciative audience, with some fine acapella singing, tuneful musical accompaniment, deep harmonies and rousing, interpretations of traditional shanties. There were songs about various sailors, some more famous than others, named Nelson, Paddy and Johnnie and a tale about a lad named Willie and his sweetheart Nancy. There were also songs about ladies named Sally, Dinah, Irish Kate and Madam Gashee and  some unnamed ladies from Spain.
There were songs in praise of worthy ships named Alabama, James Craig, Kathleen and May, a Carribean sloop and the sad tale of the wreck of the Ellan Vannin and of the tragic loss of the Penlee lifeboat.
There were songs about runs ashore in New York, Cobh and Baltimore, tales of wrecking in Cornwall, whaling in Greenland, smuggling (and drinking) of French wine in Scotland and of a rowing trip to a very remote, now uninhabited Hebridean island.
The Tars took their audience on a global musical journey from Bere Ferrers to Plymouth then on via the Eddystone to the Scottish isles. Then turned west for Ireland, north to Greenland and continued on down to Maui, Cape Horn, the Rio Grande and New York before ending up in a fisherman’s paradise.
An exhausting voyage was brought to a fine conclusion with a rousing rendition of an old music hall classic in praise of real ale and the landlord.
Our thanks to the RNLI and the Maritime Inn for inviting us along and we look forward to seeing the Plymouth lights again later on this year. With a bit of luck, nautical readers, ex-sailors, retired fishermen etc.  may be able to work out the titles of the songs from the clues given above.

Apple Courses

There are two new courses organised by the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group:

Wednesday 15 February 2012  7pm - 8.30pm
Endsleigh Nurseries, Milton Abbott
Bring any secateurs or pruning knives that you may have.  Places are limited. 
Rootstocks will be available to purchase.
COST £7.50 (Non-members £8.50)

Wednesday 22nd February 2012    10am – 12noon
Visit a regional producer of apple juices, cider and mulled cider.  Andy Atkinson, Managing Director, will personally lead the tour and explain the complete process. You will also be able to visit the Cornish Orchards on-site shop and express a serious interest in any of their products!  The company supplies the Eden Project, a major Tavistock shop and many other varied businesses and it also buy apples from local orchards!
Cost: A donation of £4.00 per head.

NUMBERS ARE STRICTLY LIMITED AND PRE-BOOKING IS MANDATORY.  (Use booking form at but pay on day at Cornish Orchards.)
For grafting course book directly with Endsleigh Nurseries.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Scots Wha Hae!

Another successful Burns Supper was enjoyed in the pub last night when local Scots, along with some English folk with, presumably, some vague link to north of the border, celebrated the birthday of Rabbie Burns, the poet and philanderer from Alloway.
Rob Mackintosh Smith, resplendent in Scottish dress, was the Master of Ceremonies (now I know what a sporran is for - it's for guitarists to keep their plectrums in!) and, as always, did a magnificent job instructing us Sassenachs into the ways of Burns!

The evening started at 7.30 with Ferrers Reel providing some Celtic music as guests arrived. Rob gave the Selkirk Grace, before Jane and Rebecca Hamlyn gave us a rendition of 'Sweet Afton'.
The Loyal Toast was taken before the first course, which was Tattie Soup, after which Blaxton sang a couple of songs, before the haggis was piped in. Ross gave an impeccable Address to the Haggis, with some animated swipes of a lethal-looking knife!
The haggis, neeps and tatties were excellent, particularly with a wee dram in the haggis to give it that extra kick! Blaxton sang 'Bonnie Dundee' before Clive and Seth regaled the audience with an animated tale of 'Tam O'Shanter'! TheTipsy Laird pudding was followed by Ian Wood (who had come all the way from Tavistock!) who proposed the Toast to the Lassies. The reply was given by his wife Ann on behalf of the Lassies.
Coffee and cheese was taken, after which Lesley Smith, deputising for an ill Andy Stewart, gave The Immortal Memory. The evening finished in fine style with 'Flower of Scotland', followed by 'Auld Lang Syne'.

Seth and Clive

Auld Lang Syne

Thanks must go to Sarah, Ted and their team who provided a super meal, as always.

Diamond Jubilee Commemoration?

As you will all know, 2012 is H.M. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. As a village we should decide how we commemorate this extraordinary event: do we have a permanent memorial in the village? Do we hold a big party? Do we have both?
The Parish Council are overseeing the co-ordination of various suggestions by all the various groups in the parish and a sub-committee will be meeting soon to discuss any suggestions.

Sarah Williams and I have been researching a suitable fixture for the village, but now it is time for the village to come up with suggestions - and ideas for fund-raising. We have arranged a public meeting for all villagers that are interested to come along and have their say.
This will be in the pub at 8pm on Thursday 2nd February so come along!
This is an open meeting and is not connected to any organisation - we just want your views and ideas!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Salmon Fisherman's Funeral

The funeral service for Allen Jewitt, the well-known Tamar salmon fisherman who died recently, will take place at St Nicholas' church, Saltash, on Friday at 11am.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Deja Vu II A Success!

An enthusiastic Bere Ferrers audience enjoyed the second and final night of ‘Déjà Vu II’, a Victorian music hall evening at the Belinda O’Flynn Theatre, Bere Ferrers, last night.
The evening, produced by Monica Mitchell and directed by Jane Hamlyn, featured many aspects of the old-time music hall: mellifluous melodies, heart-warming harmonies, mesmerising monologues and dastardly dramas!

The Chairman, Bev Slaughter, was on hand throughout to introduce the talented acts, starting with The Company, who entertained with a selection of songs from musicals. A ladies’ quartet, Under The Fingers, travelled all the way over the Tamar to entertain with a variety of songs and instruments!
The audience joined in throughout the evening with typical Bere Ferrers gusto, booing and hissing the villain of the melodrama and cheering the hero, plus joining in with the singing.
Graham Hodgson rendered a bloodthirsty tale of cannibalism after a shipwreck, in ‘The Yarn of the Nancy Bell’, by W.S. Gilbert, while Avril Bellinger delighted the audience with ‘Three Ha’pence A Foot’, an amusing tale about Sam, Noah and his Ark and rain in Bury.
Jane Hamlyn, Helena Rogers, Gill Wyatt and Pauline Weiss sang a delightful selection of Gilbert and Sullivan melodies. Clive Charlton impressed with his usual rumbustious rendition of ‘She Was Poor, But She Was Honest’, helped along in the chorus by the enthusiastic audience.
The Tavy Tars and Sirey’s Sirens provided other musical items, while Ann Parsons and Maggie Cartwright provided some musical comedy with ‘In a Persian Market’.
But the biggest applause of the evening went to the children, Kate and Niamh Mugridge-Guest, Sophie Williams and Mia Anstey, who superbly presented an excerpt from ‘Matilda’ and the cautionary tale of ‘Jim’, a boy who didn’t do as he was told!
A rousing finale, led by music director Ann Parsons and featuring the audience, finished off the evening in fine style.

After the show the Company enjoyed a post-concert party at the Olde Plough.
Dave Gadd and Isaac Kelly, who played
brothers in the melodrama.

Some members of the Company
enjoy a drink after the performance.

Two pictures below from Sue Hodgson from the party. Has anyone from Saturday's audience got any good pics of the show?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Devon Air Ambulance Presentation

The Chairman of the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group, Brian Lamb, and I attended a BBC Radio Devon event in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust at the DAAT base at Eaglescott Airfield, somewhere in the wilds of north Devon near Winkleigh.
There were lots of people in the hangar, ably looked after by members of the DAAT, with coffee, pastries and biscuits. Most were people who had raised money for the two Devon air ambulances or who represented organisations that had.
After looking at the displays, Brian and I were taken out to the helicopter on the apron outside the new hangar by one of the paramedics. We presented a cheque to a DAAT member and then the paramedic explained how the helicopter worked medically. It is amazing what they can do on such a tiny aircraft; for instance, if they suspect that a patient is having a heart attack, they can patch their monitor readings through to a surgeon who will be able to confirm their diagnosis, all while they are flying to the hospital. They can then take the necessary action on board and on arrival at the hospital. Every minutes counts!
Of course, BBC Radio Devon was out in force, with Judy Spiers and Fitz at the event. Later, Hamish Marshall from BBC Spotlight arrived, so Brian and I made our excuses and left!
Fitz and Hamish Marshall

The presentation

Deja Vu II Revue

Some of the cast of the revue prepare for the Dress Rehearsal last night.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Rail Forum Meeting

At the meeting of the Tamar Valley Line Forum today, the following items were discussed:

Journey Figures 2011
2011 ended 5.1% up on the previous year, an increase of 8,466 journeys. Every four week period saw an increase except for the peak late-July to mid-August period, something that happened also on the Newquay branch!
Total numbers for 2011 were 172,914. There was a 14.7% increase over all the Devon and Cornwall branch lines, better than any other branches in the country.

Tavistock Line
This is progressing apace. Land has been handed over to Bovis Homes for the construction of the dwellings. Kilbride are now working on the Transport and Works Act order which should take about two years and once this is in place it will be All Systems Go! Kilbride are aiming for completion of the line by 2014, though this is thought to be optimistic.

Plymouth Station
Plymouth Station will be transformed before the summer; work is expected to take 16 weeks. The canopy is being repainted; the customer information screens and the station announcements are being upgraded and should be ready by the end of February.
Work will start on a new concourse area, with new toilets, waiting room and a more sound efficient ticketing area.
All toilets will be refurbished and the waiting rooms will be revamped. The waiting room on platform 7 will have a Help point, while platforms 7 and 8 will have a new waiting room.
The subway, long an eyesore because of water ingress, is being fitted with a water-catching system and will be relined totally.

New Franchise
First Great Western have applied to be appointed the franchisee of the current system, when the current period ends, for a 15 year period. This will give them enough time to install and operate new systems for passengers' benefit. There is likely to be about five tenders for the franchise. All support for this bid has to be delivered to the Government by March; the Parish Council will be discussing the proposal at the next Full Council.

Richard Burningham, Ray Bentley
and Robin Pike checking the trees.
Following the meeting, several members of the Forum travelled to Gunnislake and back from Bere Ferrers to identify sections of the trackside within the railway boundary where trees and bushes could be cut back to give better views of the landscape from the train.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Deja Vu II Is Coming!

Deja Vu II, the Victorian music hall revue will be at The Belinda O'Flynn Theatre in the Bere Ferrers Church Hall on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st January, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are selling fast, so don't delay, get yours from Margaret's soon! Only £5 for an evening's entertaiment - and a raffle! There will be a prize for the best costume worn by a gentleman and best costume worn by a lady.

Use the Post Office - or We Lose it!

The post office is open - and has been since before Christmas - but very few people are using it!
Last Tuesday, only one person went in! This is obviously not good, particularly for Trevor, so let's start using the post office again - OR WE LOSE IT!
                                           Spread the word to all villagers!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Results From Dog Fouling Meeting

Over thirty people attended the Special Full Council meeting at the Parish Hall tonight to discuss the problem of dog fouling in the parish. Many of these were dog owners. The meeting was fortunate to have Murray Cowley, West Devon's Dog Warden, in attendance and he explained his role. He asked for as much information as possible about fouling incidents: times of the offence, names and addresses, etc.
Several parishioners said that the people at the meeting were responsible dog owners, it was the irresponsible owners who must be targetted. The discussion centred on the Recreation Field at Bere Alston; suggestions for reducing the amount of dog faeces in the Field included moving the seats from around the football pitch; having a winter curfew for walking dogs; locking the gates to the Field when it got dark.
It was pointed out that there were no dog bins at all in Bere Alston; Chairman Hilary Boot-Handford gave the meeting some costings for supplying and emptying bins of various types.
Mr Cowley pointed out that the positioning of bins was vital because of the smell from them in summer. There would be a significant financial outlay for enough bins to cover various areas and the Council are restricted on funds available. It was suggested that dog owners could pay £1 per year towards the cost of the bins and the emptying costs.
Signage was another problem - there was very little of it, mainly due to vandalism. Can the telephone number of West Devon B. C. be put on any signs so parishioners knew who to contact?
Because of the problem with dog mess on the football pitch, someone suggested putting a dog-proof fence around the pitch. Not surprisingly, this gained the approval of the representatives of the football club!
It was agreed by all that the lack of mowing of the Field due to the red diesel restrictions had caused a problem and no suitable solution was available yet. Someone suggested that the football club mow the whole of the Field, as they had made such a good job of the footbal area!
Another problem was children taking dogs for walks and not picking up the mess. Mr Cowley said he was willing to go to the Primary School and address the children.
Finally, the meeting was thanked for their attendance and comments and the following items will be discussed at the next Full Council meeting: provision of bins; improved signage, including a phone number; dog poo bags (similar to those at Cotehele) at the Fields; locking the top gate of the Field at night; education of children. Suggestions for a dog-proof fence around the pitch will be discussed at the next Recreation meeting.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Rector Appointed Rural Dean

The Rector, the Rev Nick Law, has been appointed a Rural Dean, attached to the Tavistock Deanery.

Good Results from First Car Sharing

Daphne McDonald reports a good response from the first showing of the car sharing scheme, with twelve people signed up.

Another Successful Wassail

The annual wassail was held this evening in the church hall and the orchard and for once the weather was kind. It was dry and mild, but even so, the bonfire in the orchard was very welcome!
The celebration started in the hall, with Clive Charlton explaining the origins of wassailing, how it was to drive away evil spirits and ensure a good crop of apples in the coming year.
The Dartmoor Border Morris Men performed a couple of dances in a very confined space. They performed extremely well in, what for them, was a very small area; they appear at the Wassail for free and we thank them for that. After their second dance it was time to 'process' to the orchard for the main part of the ceremony. Carol Horner led the procession with her concertina and soon everyone was in the orchard, suitably prepared by Richard and Tim Peden.

Brian anoints a tree with cider.

The Tavy Tars led everyone in singing suitable wassailing songs, before everyone made a loud noise with trays, dustbin lids and even a shotgun to frighten away evil spirits. Brian Lamb, Chair of the Tavy & Tamar Apple Group, anointed an apple tree with cider before people were invited to hang toast soaked in cider in the trees.
Returning to the hall, it was time for hot cider, apple juice and a pasty (or two!), while the Tavy Tars sang a couple of songs. Finally, Dartmoor Border Morris took to the floor again and invited several villagers to join them!
Preparing the hot cider.
Robin Musgrave joins the Morris.
Thanks go to all those people who took part and in particular to the Peden family, who did most of the organising, and Margaret Willmott for selling the tickets.
Proceeds from the evening will go to Devon Air Ambulance.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Car Sharing Scheme Starts

The new car sharing scheme from Bere Ferrers has started! Daphne McDonald will be at the Saturday Shop tomorrow to start the ball (or should I say the car?) rolling. Daphne will have a sheet and if you either are able to share your car journey to either Bere Alston or Tavistock with someone, or you would like to see if there is a seat in someone else's car, check the sheet.

Power To The People!

No. it's not a new traffic signalling device! The men from Western Power Distribution are in the village doing something drastic to the power lines. Three men are up three poles from the post office down to the river.
It's not certain whether the orange and red sheets are hanging out to dry or there to provide shade from the burning sun!!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dog Fouling

If you're concerned about the amount of dog mess left lying around in the parish and are interested in trying to lessen the problem, or have a solution to the problem, come along to a Special Parish Council meeting in the Parish Hall, Bere Alston, next Tuesday 10th January at 7.30pm
It is not a meeting to blame others, but to try and find a solution! All parishioners are welcome.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Monday, 2 January 2012

Art Group Starts Again Tomorrow

The Bere Ferrers Art Group re-forms tomorrow after the Christmas break. The theme is 'specialist techniques'. Don't forget to bring subs - in cash.

Wassailing on Saturday

Don't forget it the Wassail on Saturday evening at the church hall and the orchard. Admission by ticket only and there are just a few left - available from Margaret's Hairdressing.

Pub Closed

The pub has closed for its post-Christmas break and will re-open on 13th January.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ring In the New!

The usual festivities to welcome in the New Year took place in the village last night, with a new one this time.
As usual, the club and pub were heaving with revellers determined to say Goodbye to 2011 in the appropriate fashion. There was a disco at the club, which is always popular, and a fancy dress theme of things beginning with 'A' at the pub - so there were an awful lots of Arabs wandering round in the damp at midnight!
This year, however, some of those musicians who regularly attend the jam sessions in the pub decided to hold a New Year's Eve party in the church hall, with invited guests. On hand to provide musical entertainment were some of the Bere Ukes, Two Blondes and a Bloke, Bruce and Carol, The Summerhouse Strummers and A Bit On The Country Side.

The Strummers
Some of the guests

Some of A Bit On the Country Side warm up

At the midnight hour a huge crowd of villagers and visitors gathered in the falling rain at the church for the traditional ringing in of the New Year by the church bells.

A Happy New Year to all readers of the Bere Ferrers Blog, now well into its second year!

Record Sales at the Bric-a-brac Stall

The amount of money raised by the bric-a-brac and used books stalls in the church hall has topped £4,000! Ann Street, who ably manages both stalls, was delighted and thanked everyone for their contributions since the stalls started. All monies raised goes to the church.