Sunday, 31 May 2015

Rail Anniversary Celebrations at the Tamar Belle

The first of the events to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of our railway line was held at the Tamar Belle Railway Heritage Centre on Friday 29th May, when guests enjoyed a superb dinner with wine.
As they arrived at the Restaurant Coach, they were greeted by a selection of railway-themed songs by another of the village’s supergroups: the Bere Buskerteers, featuring Rob Smith, Clive Charlton and Bev Slaughter.
The following afternoon the Tamar Belle held an Open Day, including the inauguration of a restored narrow gauge diesel locomotive on probably the first section of new track laid on the Tamar Valley line since Dr Beeching tried to close it in the 60s.
Unfortunately, visitor numbers were not as large as was expected, but those who did attend were entertained by the Bere Buskerteers again, this time joined by Ian Wood. The group sang from the small goods wagon attached to the 1927 Gresley LNER teak coach. At the end of their last session they were asked by Chris Groves if they would like a trip down the short stretch of line to the buffers. The answer was Yes and several guests jumped aboard and were slowly pushed down to the buffers. However, unbeknown to everyone, Chris had uncoupled the wagon and so, when he started the return trip to the platform, the wagon with its passengers was left at the buffers! The Buskerteers continued singing until Chris came back for the wagon.

The Bere Buskerteers (Photo: Mike Benson)

Chris winds up the restored loco.

Off she goes - with lots of diesel fumes!
Now and then.

Waiting for an engine!

Hey! Come back!

Full House for Fascinating Talk

It was yet another fantastic night at the BFS Club last night (Saturday) when, following another of Margaret Ball and her team’s excellent suppers (curry), about 70 people were enthralled by another of Clive Charlton’s fascinating illustrated talks. Billed as ‘Rail, Roads and Rivers of the Bere Peninsula’, the talk invariably concentrated on the railway line, because of the current celebrations commemorating the line’s 125th birthday on 2nd June.
Between the supper and the talk, four members of the Tavy Tars sang three ‘railway’ songs to get the audience in the mood. They were ‘Paddy Working on the Railway’, ‘The South West Passage’ and ‘The Tamar Train Came Down the Line’, the latter two being re-workings by Clive of established folk songs.
Clive’s talk started with the birth of the railways and how, over time, they reached Plymouth and the need for the London & South Western Railway to have its own line to the city without having to run over GWR metals. Eventually this happened and ‘our’ line was opened on 2nd June 1890.
After an hour, Clive handed over to Neill Mitchell who used to travel on the line from Okehampton to Plymouth in the 1960s. Neill gave us a ‘clickety-clack’ graphic description of the line between these two places, before ending his session with a loud blast on a standard BR whistle!
Clive continued his talk, bringing us up to date before finishing at about 10pm. Brian Lamb thanked Clive for his excellent talk and also those people who had organised or contributed to the anniversary celebrations and to Margaret and her team for the supper. There were several railway luminaries in the audience: John Snell, Bernard Mills and Stephen Fryer.
There was an interval, when a raffle was held, with many magnificent prizes taken home. The blanket squares that were knitted for the Red Nose event in March had all been sewn together by Margaret Willmott into three blankets of varying sizes and a cushion. A special draw was held and the winners were Stan Sherrell, Maurice Crout, Margaret Ball and Liz Mackie.
Margaret announced that the bar had taken £200 and the raffle raised £105.

Supper time!
Members of the Tavy Tars sing railway songs.
Clive starts his presentation.
Clive with Stephen Fryer, while Neill listens to Stan Sherrell.

Waiting for the raffle.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Blankets Raffle

Don't forget! The blankets knitted for the recent Red Nose event at the BFS Club will be raffled at the Club this Saturday evening during Clive Charlton's fascinating talk about rail, roads and rivers in the Tamar Valley.
Raffle tickets are still available at Margaret's Hairdressing, so don't delay! The event has raised an incredible £1,524.82 so far!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Fish Man

The Fish Man should be back at the Saturday Shop this week after a three week break.

The Ongoing Saga at the Quay: New Telegraph Pole

Robin Musgrave, our Ward Councillor, says:
I have received a phone call from Western Power regarding this issue (the power line above the Quay).  They have confirmed that due to the sensitivity of the proposed location they are now planning an alternative option of raising the cable by installing a steel frame on the gable end of the cottages which will resolve the problem.
The South-West Water Contractors are back on the quay to repair the damage done by their previous activities.  I will keep you informed of any further developments.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Meals All Booked

All meals for the Supper Night on Saturday 29th May have now been booked and no more will be available. However, the following Supper Night will be on 13th June followed by Come Dancing.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Bere Ferrers Art Group Spring Exhibition Opens

The Bere Ferrers Art Group's Spring Exhibition 2015 was opened tonight (Friday) by renowned local artist Ian Heard who viewed the exhibits before declaring the exhibition officially open. Many of the artists were at the opening, where wine and nibbles were on offer, in the Old Coach House, where the exhibition is being staged by kind permission of Daphne McDonald.
It is open to the public from 11am tomorrow morning (Saturday) every day until 6pm, closing on Monday 25th May at 4pm. Many exhibits on show are for sale. Admission is free.

Old Poles Disappear

Western Power were in the village this afternoon to remove some of the old electricity poles. Up went the cherry picker and down came the poles in sections. The one across the road from me was not too stable and was obviously rotten at the bottom, as it rocked backwards and forwards when the engineer pulled on it!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spring is here....and what usually comes with Spring? Yes, it's the Bere Ferrers Art Group's annual Spring Exhibition! It opens to the public on Saturday until Bank Holiday Monday; I've had a sneak preview and it looks to me like it's the best ever!
It's open from 11am until 6pm every day except the last one, when it closes at 4pm. Go along to the Old Coach House in Bere Ferrers - and admission is free!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Interesting Fact about the War Memorial

If you, like me, thought that the names on our war memorial were engraved into the stone or just painted on, think again!
Yesterday I was watching a man carefully repainting the letters on our war memorial and noticed that the sun was casting shadows of the lettering on the stone, showing that the letters were raised above the face of the stone. How did they do that? Were the letters part of the stone, which was chipped away around each letter (unlikely)? Was it reconstituted stone and cast in a mould somehow (even more unlikely!)?
So I asked the man in charge. The explanation was fascinating!
Initially, the stonemason writes a letter on the stone, then drills a number of holes along the letter. Then he takes a rectangle of lead and places it over the position of the letter, then hammers the lead until it is forced into the drilled holes. When the lead is at the required thickness, he takes a sharp knife and very carefully cuts out the letter. It takes an experienced stonemason to do this! Such a mason can do two letters in an hour. Obviously a job for a very patient and careful person!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Olde Plough Future Events

From the pub:

This Sunday, 17th,  is Acoustic Night hosted by Squandered Youth, then Wednesday 20th is our new monthly event of "Villagers' Night", a social evening including a two-course meal for £7.50. Our first one is Lasagne (veggie lasagne) followed by Apple Strudel. Since opening the new shop we have started chatting to our locals a little more, as we now have more trading hours! It's fascinating to find out out more about our neighbours' lives, etc. So hence Villagers' Night! Booking is essential.

We then kick off the summer filled with music, many new bands, local bands and Morris dancers!
Keep a lookout on our Facebook page!

Don't forget that we have bread, milk and papers (pre-ordered) available from 9.15 - 5pm

We hope you all enjoy the sun while it lasts!

Sarah & Ted

Monday, 11 May 2015

Summer is a-Coming!

Summer is on its way! A pair of house martins arrived at our house this afternoon and sat on the wall near the remains of a previous nest, discussing whether it would be a suitable place to build a home! Soon they were joined by two others, but they were soon despatched elsewhere.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Local Borough Elections

Robin Musgrave (Independent) polled the most votes in the local borough elections, followed by Mike Benson (Conservative) and these two candidates therefore remain as our Ward Councillors.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

War Memorial Refurbishment

Work has started on a major refurbishment of the war memorial in the village. The joints between the stone slabs are being drilled out and repointed and all the names on both the memorial and the New Zealand stone will be repainted.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Heritage Corner

This is the first of an occasional series of old photographs taken in and around the village.
Once upon a time a couple of weeks ago, a Mr Malcolm Sainsbury visited a house near the village where his mother lived. During the conversation with the current incumbents, Mr Sainsbury produced a selection of old photographs of the village and the people in it.
Here are the first two photographs.

This group photo was taken in the Methodist chapel and was presumably for some sort of celebration. The chapel was built in 1868, so perhaps this was the 25th anniversary in 1893? It seems unlikely that a photograph would be taken at a normal Sunday service. If you know the answer, let me know.
This is a group of children at Beer Ferris Mixed School in 1892, taken outside the schoolhouse at the rear of the chapel. Hensbury Lane is the other side of the wall on the right. Again, if anyone knows who these children are, please let me know.
More photographs to follow!!!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Anne's Final Jump Total

Remember when Anne Turner jumped out of a plane at the beginning of April for charity? Well, the final total has just been announced: it's £3,309 including Gift Aid and it will go to Alzheimer's Research and Water Aid. Well done!

Railway Anniversary

(in conjunction with Tamar Belle Heritage Centre)
of the coming of the Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway (The Tamar Valley Line)
Friday 29 May 7 for 7.30pm
Commemorative 'On-Train' Dinner at the Tamar Belle Railway Heritage Centre, Bere Ferrers. Three-course Dinner with wine. Details and bookings to Chris Grove, tel.07813 360066 by Wednesday 27 May.
Musicians will be playing songs with a railway theme before dinner.
Saturday 30 May 11am – 5pm
Historical Exhibition at the Council Chambers, (rear entrance Parish Hall, Station Road, Bere Alston). An amazing collection of photographs, books and drawings representing the history of the Plymouth to Bere Alston and Calstock rail lines. An historical film will also be shown.
Enquiries to Trevor Bond, tel 01822 840447. Admission Free.
Saturday 30 May 11am – 6pm
Tamar Belle Railway Heritage Open Day Inauguration of the rebuilt 2'0” gauge passenger and mixed train line with rebuilt 1939 Ruston Hornsby diesel engine. Demonstrations of standard gauge vintage passenger and freight train operation with short train rides behind our 1940s diesel mechanical locomotives. Signal box open. Musicians will be playing songs with a railway theme during the afternoon. Exhibition of artefacts and photographs. Light refreshments and strawberry cream teas. Admission Free.
Saturday 30 May 8.15pm
'History of Rail, River and Road in the Bere Peninsula', an illustrated talk by Clive Charlton, Chair of the Tamar Valley Line working group, at the BFS Club, Bere Ferrers.
Clive will focus mainly on the coming of the railways to the Bere Peninsula (and developments thereafter) including the LSWR's strategy for gaining their own main line into Plymouth, as well the Callington branch from Bere Alston and more.
7pm A Supper will precede the talk by Clive. (Highly recommended – though not compulsory!)  Menu: Choice of Chicken Curry, Vegetable Curry, or Chili Con Carne, with rice or jacket potato: £5 per head. Choice of three desserts: £3 each. Bookings must be made for these popular monthly meals by Monday 25 May to Margaret Ball, tel 01822 840534
Tuesday 2 June 2015 ANNIVERSARY DAY
The coming of the Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway
Plymouth Railway Station 12.30pm.  Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque in the presence of children from Bere Alston Primary School and other guests. 
Bere Alston Railway Station 1.35pm. Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque by the Mayor of West Devon Borough Council, with rail poems by children from Bere Alston Primary School and other guests. Music will be provided by the Summerhouse Strummers.
Dress – Victorian Dress.

The Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway originally served as a passenger line for London & South Western trains from London Waterloo, through Tavistock, Bere Alston and Bere Ferrers to Devonport and later Plymouth Friary.
It developed into an important line for the transportation of fruit and flowers from the productive area of the Tamar Valley in the 20th Century to Plymouth and beyond.
The Plymouth Devonport & South Western Junction Railway was absorbed into the London & South Western Railway in 1922, which itself became the Southern Railway in the railway grouping of 1923.
The line from Bere Alston to Lydford and on to Okehampton was closed on 6th May 1968.