October 28 Dittisham  Village Voice

I have just returned from the baptism of my granddaughter, Rowan Olivia, which took place in a pretty wooden church in a small village in the  wooded foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina.  The native American tribe that used to live there are the Cheyenne and when walking along the trails drinking in the vistas and the brilliance  of the Fall colours it was so sad to ponder on the loss of their way of life in this paradise.  There are no people at all  living up there now.   I read a wonderful proverb on a trail sign.  Do not judge your neighbour until you walk two moons in his moccasins.  When I walked the half marathon in Baltimore to raise funds for my Tanzanian orphanage the following weekend and was lagging a bit I was inspired by the thought  of those nimble footed Cheyenne braves and squaws and how teeny this 13.1 miles would have seemed to them. Back in Dittisham the Harvest Festival was celebrated on Saturday, September 29th. There was a terrific turn out almost 90 people attended.  . Pam Bennett and her team provided a wonderful harvest festival feast of lasagna  or fish pie followed by apple pie custard and cream. A very big thank you to all of them and those that helped clear up the next day. Thanks, too, to Paul Vincent who arranged for Les Ellis to come and entertain us with amazing magic, table to table, and what better way to wind up the evening than a good old sing- a -long with Ray Benson on guitar, wine flowed and  it was a really fun party. £947 was raised for Water Aid.   The Church looked festive  that  Sunday thanks to Janet Bootherstone  and others who arranged  the flowers, fruit and vegetables and  all the traditional harvest decorations. A rather unusual event took place on October 1st  a cricket match on a sand bank. (see photo) It was a glorious sunny day, so drinks and photos at the Dittisham Sailing Club House were followed by the  launch of two safety boats armed with charts and oars and a course set for Stoke Gabriel sailing area upriver.  Middle Back sand bank emerged from the Dart and proved to be an excellent wicket. There was hard sand with a smattering of shells and enough oysters to keep Dartmouth restaurants going for a week. Although relatively little bounce in the wicket, it took spin, largely in the form of players falling over themselves. A tennis ball determined unnecessary the plan to use buoyancy aids as cricket pads. Unfortuately Stoke Gabriel were unable to field a side, although their Commodore John Bradbury and his wife Chris did arrive with cakes which were much appreciated,
In the Test Match, two captains were appointed, DSC Commodore and ex Commodore. Jonathan Weeks believed he could act for Stoke Gabriel  ( having dual nationality) Two varieties of the game were offered to sustain crowd and media interest. “Tip and run”, the equivalent of today’s 20/20 was followed after the tea interval by the “Test Match”. The rules were essentially tip and run with each player required to bowl an over and each batter to face maximum of six balls. Despite some fierce bowling and powerful batting on both sides the outcome was an honourable draw, each side having scored 24 runs. Such was the size of the pitch at 0.5 m above chart datum that no boundaries were recorded. Particular mention should be made to Erica Pilkington - impressive bowling despite this being her first game ever and  to  Josh O'Brien and John Hitchins for their batting and Neil Drew who showed considerable zeal in the oyster collection competition. Huge thanks to Chris Taylor and David Thompson for organizing this quintessentially English madness.
The wedding of Phil Alcock to  Sophie Houdret on Saturday, October 22nd was also an extraordinary affair.  A Mexican  Mariachi band played in the church (see Photo) and then serenaded the whole village as they paraded down to the Anchorstone Café  singing.

You, me and us

We are my favourite people

We go together like peaches and cream

Or bells with a church and a steeple.


The four young sons of Phil and Soph were  the best men;  the pages were dressed in batman and spiderman costumes;  there were 33 children in the congregation and 32 adults.  It was a fiesta. Ole