Monday, 30 July 2012

Rail Franchise News

The Invitation to Tender (contract specification) for the new rail franchise to start next year was issued on Friday 27th July. The press release is here and the full paperwork is here

Richard Burningham MBE, the Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, says:
“It's very good news for the Tamar Valley Line - the full existing service is safeguarded, including the early weekday train, the additional train introduced in December 2008 and the all year Sunday service. Thanks to all of you who contributed directly to the DfT Consultation.
In the spirit of giving the franchisee more flexibility, the specification does not lay down the number of seats that need to be provided on specific trains. There is a minimum number of seats that have to be provided on trains arriving in Plymouth between 07:00 and 09:59 - 617 on non-London trains, 1,134 on London trains.  I've not yet done the totting up but I hope this means the 08 17 arrival (from Bere Ferrers) remains a two-coach train as a matter of course. I'll flag up the 16:38 from Plymouth (to Bere Ferrers) as a necessity for a two-coach train with the bidders, too.
The specification also asks bidders to give a price to provide eight additional trains a day between Plymouth and Tavistock, making it clear that they will not be reducing the specification for the existing line. As you know, there is still a lot of discussion about the best way of providing the Gunnislake and Tavistock services when Tavistock opens and my preferred option is still Plymouth - Tavistock near hourly with a shuttle between Bere Alston and Gunnislake, which would be more frequent than the current service. I'd also like to see a cross platform connection, too (which would be possible). The main thing now though is that Tavistock is there and mentioned in the specification. It's on page 116 of the main Invitation to Tender document.
The Tamar Valley Line service specification is great news, almost all we could have hoped for at this stage, and a great success for all of us.”

Friday, 27 July 2012

Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Presentation

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service was presented to the Saturday Shop and Cafe by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon at a ceremony in Exeter on Wednesday. The two original members of the Steering Committee were unable to attend: Caroline Clark because she was in France and Juli Slaughter, who was unwell. Some of the attendees were driven to Exeter by Mike Grimshaw, who originally put forward the team for the award and who returned from sailing in the Channel especially for the event.
Lesley Smith, the Treasurer, explains: "The day was bright and very warm. A dilemma then; we had all thought of what to wear on a cold day, not a hot one! We arrived in good time and spent about an hour in the ante room with about 65 other people. There were eight other groups to receive the QAVS and it was remarked that there had never been so many from Devon.
At the correct time, we all proceeded to the function room.Team Bere Ferrers sat in the front row - there are advantages to beginning with B.Yelvercare were at the back! Various dignitaries processed to the front, then the Lord Lieutenant (Eric Dancer) brought up the rear and stood at the front of the room.The National Anthem was played, followed by a short speech by the Lord Lieutenant. He was resplendent in uniform with medals and sash.
The official photographer took two photos, then a few personal words from the Lord Lieutenant, e.g. “How long have you been doing this?”, then we sat down.  Others followed in alphabetical order. At the end of the ceremony, we all went downstairs and we were asked to have our photos taken first, so we went to the garden with the photographer, then other groups went to do the same routine in turn.The day was really pleasant; Eric Dancer is a real professional and made you feel at ease immediately.We left at 4 p.m. and were home by 5 p.m., in time for Mike to return to Plymouth and get out on his boat."

Important Village Meeting

As many of you will know, the village post office is closing in mid-October and there is doubt over the future of the Bere Alston post office. There will be a meeting at 8pm in the Social Club on Wednesday 1st August to discuss what we can do to possibly keep some sort of outreach post office service.
In addition there will be a discussion on the Bere Ferrers Jubilee memorial. Bere Alston will be having a couple of benches and it is suggested that we have another one in the Recreation Field.
What do you think on both of these issues? Come along to the meeting and tell us or contact the Villagers' Group Secretary, Daphne McDonald.

No Bells at Bere Ferrers

Where were the Bere Ferrers bells this morning to ring in the Olympics? The rest of the country was ringing bells of varying sizes and description at 8.12, but the bells of St Andrew's were strangely silent. Shame on you, bellringers!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Who Were They?

'Twas that shadowy pre-dawn, when the sky is lightening in the east. I was awakened by the noise of people loudly talking in the road below. It's our hardy village runners, I thought, until I looked at the clock - twenty to five this morning. Not even the runners are up this early (are they?). I looked out of the window. Four or five young people were noisily making their way through the village, looking at an iPad and one was singing scales. They sat at the war memorial for a few moments, still noisy, until a voice from somewhere asked them what they were doing.
'We're tryin' to get ter Plymoff!' a girl's voice shouted. 'Which way is Plymoff?'
An indistinct reply was heard and they all ran off down the road laughing and giggling in the direction of the Causeway.
Who were they?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Summer's Afternoon in Devon

What could be better on a hot summer afternoon in Devon than to go to the pub, finish off a homemade pork burger with chips, two pints of Devon Dumpling, followed by a session of Dartmoor Border Morris in the road outside the pub? Nothing!

Tranquility on the Tavy

Thursday 19th July 2012 at about 8am. The River Tavy at Bere Ferrers.

Watersports Thanks

After another successful Watersports, thanks go to the Two Margarets - Ball and Willmott - who took over the reins of this popular event and continued its success. Thanks go to all those other folk who took part - no names, no pack drill, but they know who they are. Without them it wouldn't happen. Well done!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Sunny Watersports - For A Change!

After several years of having to put up with miserable and, in some cases, horrible weather and following two months of dismal, drenching, grey, wet weather, the sun finally came out for Watersports Day - and what a difference it made!
It shone down on the Quay: the bar, the stalls, the barbecue and the pig slowly rotating and roasting on the spit, but mainly on the people who had come to Bere Ferrers for a good day out - and they were not disappointed.
Robin Musgrave was in charge of the games and five teams lined up in their pristine kit to be told the rules of engagement. He was ably assisted by Helen Smith as the scorer and general adjudicator. It was a family affair: son Mav was in one of the teams and husband Vernon did his best to disrupt the flow of the games!

It wasn't long before the teams were covered, as the games took place in the oozy black mud of the Tavy. However, some of it did get washed off in a new, particularly brutal, game where each member of the team had to cross the mud hanging from a rope , while the other teams tried to knock them off using a powerful hosepipe sucking up the river water! Meanwhile, the barbecue and bar were doing a good trade and people enjoyed the afternoon sunshine and the antics in the river. All too soon the games finished and the team curiously titled Saggy Nuts were announced the winners. Shortly afterwards, as the tide came in, the crabbing
 competition started and there was soon a long line of children along the quay, dangling bits of bacon in the river to catch the crabs. At six o'clock the evening's musical entertainment started with Cowboy Ian, followed by the Tavy Tars, then Blaxton. Rockin' Ron joined them for a set. The hit of the evening was Georgina, who belted out a variety of songs before being brought back by popular demand for an encore! Scotty and Friends brought the evening
to a succesful climax.
Georgina belts out a song
The oldest competitor
Smoke on the Water
Messing in the mud

Wonderful Day for a Wedding

The sun shone down on the wedding today at St Andrew's church of Emily Wright and Steven Symonds. The bride and her father arrived at the church in a beautifully restored 1928 Sunbeam - just the car for today's event! A large crowd watched as the happy couple left the church and drove off in the Sunbeam to their reception in a large marquee at Ley Farm.

Bere Ferrers Post Office to Close

Our post office is to close in mid-October. In an email to the Parish Council, Colin Pound from the Post Office said: "I am writing to let you know that I have received a resignation from the above office and that the premises are no longer available for us to use. The office will close in mid-October."
Trevor has decided that, understandably, with the little custom he has from the village, particularly since the loss of the newspapers, he is going to re-advertise his house 'with retail outlet', not as a post office. It will be the loss of a convenience to those of us who use it.
'We can always use Bere Alston,' I hear you say, but here's the rub - that post office is up for sale now. If that isn't sold as a going concern as a post office we will lose that too.
Colin Pound continues: "I will visit the area to see what options are available but the provision will probably be a hosted site, run by another sub postmaster, in premises such as a village hall and will be for one/two sessions a week for about two/three hours. I would be grateful for any ideas you may have for premises that would be able to house a hosted site."
The Parish Council will be discussing this matter in due course and have asked the Villagers' Group for suggestions. Several suggestions have been made from other sources, but the obvious choice would seem to be the Hazel Room in the church hall.
The following article from Hilary Boot-Handford, Chairman of the Parish Council, will appear in the next edition of Bere Link:
"As many of you may know the future of the Post Office at Bere Alston is uncertain. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the community cannot afford to lose this facility and so can you help to do something about it?
· Have you expertise in management, finance, forming a cooperative or some other relevant skill that could help?
· Do you have money that you would be prepared to invest in your community?
· Do you have time on your hands that you could use to help to find a solution?
If you think you could help in any way, please contact Marion Gray on 840124 or Hilary Boot-Handford on 841185
I’d like to use this space to thank both Marion and Yvonne for the time and effort they have both put in to helping the Post Office stay open. Please continue to support them while a permanent solution is sought. Both the Parish Council and residents of Bere Ferrers are working with the Post Office to secure a service in the future."

Friday, 20 July 2012

Calm At Bere Ferrers

For those of you who had to go to work or were still lying abed, you missed a treat this morning! High tide was about eight-ish and there was no wind whatsoever; so the river was flat calm and like a mirror. The only thing that spoilt it was the scum on the water.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Curry and Quiz

The Tamar & Tavy Gig Club held an enjoyable curry and quiz night at the Olde Plough tonight. The excellent curry was followed by a quiz, hosted by Lin Renton. Several teams took part and the winners were The Under Forties. Following the quiz, Matt announced that it was his birthday and produced a huge sponge cake and a basket of strawberries, which the assembled rowers proceeded to demolish with some gusto!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Weather Set Fair for Watersports

Watersports will be here on Saturday and the weather is looking good! Apparently the jet stream that has been giving us the awful weather of the past couple of months has started moving north again, so we should be back to normal weather soon!
Watersports starts at the Quay at 3pm with games, the bar and the barbecue and many stalls.
The evening will finish at 11pm on the dot, because of the terms of the licence and we don't want a repeat of the Springsteen/McCartney fiasco, do we?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bere Beer Fest

The Bere Beer Fest takes place next weekend to coincide with Watersports. From Friday through to to Sunday it's Beer and Burgers all the way at the Olde Plough! There will be a fantastic selection of ales on offer for your delectation. There won't be any music, but the Morris Men will be performing at 2.30pm on Sunday.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 6 July 2012

Scarecrows Wanted!!

There's been only one entry so far for the Scarecrow competition - and we need more!! The prize is ready and the judges from Tavistock have been booked, but we need some scarecrows in the village, otherwise this could be a walk-over for the only entry so far. Come on, Bere Ferrers, let's see those nautical scarecrows; judging will take place well in time for the winner to be announced at Watersports on 21st July!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Watersports Is Coming!

Watersports is on 21st July and Robin Musgrave is looking for teams to take part in the games! There are a few slots left, so if you love getting soaking wet and covered in mud, contact Robin now!