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Devonshire February March 17

Devon's Countryside, Wildlife, History and Events

STAYCATION Want

STAYCATION Want your hotel featuring in Staycation? call Nigel on 01395 513383 Want a luxury, stress free holiday, without spending a couple of days at airports? The answer's simple - holiday in Devon - Staycation With some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, world class hotels providing amazing food, superb service and facilities, all within a maximum of 60 minutes away in the car, why would you go anywhere else? DEVONSHIRE magazine is unique in allowing you to see your destination in high fidelity and pre-visit. We do the work, so you can get the most from your thoroughly relaxing stay. Just go to Devonshiremagazine.co.uk /devon/lifestyle/holidays/staycation DEVONSHIRE NEWS You are able to see all STAYCATIONS as they appear through our e-newsletter, just go to Devonshire magazine website and subscribe 78 Countryside, History, Walks, the Arts, Events & all things Devon at: DEVONSHIRE magazine.co.uk

But here’s the thing... In this, the Year of the Rooster, the answers may already be blowing in the wind THE MAJORITY OF DEVON’S churches are topped by a weather vane of some kind, many of them depicting a cockerel or rooster - which may be of particular interest this year to Devon’s estimated 7000 Chinese. For this is already the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese calendar and promises, by ancient tradition, to be an ‘interesting’ one. Already there are those who are braced for what is, traditionally, a challenging year ahead (January 28, 2017 until February 15, 2018). Gung hay fat choy! 新 年 快 樂 的 公 雞 That’s ‘Happy New Year of the Rooster’ in Chinese and here, courtesy of this column’s Hong Kong reader is what Devon might care to know about Rooster year and how to best weather the blow that is normally associated with it. The Rooster Year is not a ‘get rich quick’ year. So no wild goose chases, no half-baked schemes. Stick to practical and well-proven paths if you know what’s good for you. Self-discipline and self-control will serve you best and if someone does try to lord it over you a little it may not be such a bad thing this year - it could even be the best way to instil a smidge of peace into a year that will often get its feathers ruffled. Lucky numbers are 5, 7 and 8. Numbers to avoid are 1, 3 and 9. Lucky flowers to plant, send or give are gladioli, and fortuitous colours are gold, browns and yellows. Avoid white and green - unless you’re planning to be a bride, in which case - go for it! But why a cockerel on a weather vane? The 9th century Pope, Nicolas 1st, decreed that churches should show the symbol of a cockerel on their high points as a symbol of Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s betrayal (Luke 22:34). But that was before Exeter’s St. Peter’s Cathedral started to be built and may explain why it remains rooster-less to this day. Or perhaps not. No mention in that decree then that they might also be jolly useful for pointing out which way the wind might be blowing and this oversight seems to have opened the floodgates to some really quite remarkable creative interpretations over the intervening years. Today for example, the world’s largest weather vane is an ancient Dakota DC3 perched atop a swivelling support close by Whitehorse International Airport in the Yukon and is so perfectly engineered that it only requires a 5 knot wind to rotate. By contrast, Exeter Airport, like Devon’s other three functioning airfields (Plymouth being still in mothballs), rely on less spectacular but tried-and-tested orange windsocks to give pilots wind direction - which is probably a wise choice. South-West England, according to the Met Office “is one of the more exposed areas of the UK, with wind speeds on average only greater in western Scotland” - something that the good Bishop William de Warelwast would have been aware of back in 1114 when he drew up the plans for for St. Peter’s, Exeter’s magnificent twin-towered, rooster-less cathedral. If you have an eye for history and a head for heights, you can climb to the rooftops of St.Peter’s by visiting www.peterstephens. co.uk/ /content/virtual-tours/exter-cathedral/ virtualtour.html New highways call for Devon THE BEST WAY to get through to your neighbours may be to cut a hole through the fence between your two gardens, suggests the Devon WildlifeTrust. It needs their agreement first of course and then it has to be 15cm x 15 cm (that’s 5 inches for olden days people) - just big enough to let a hedgehog through. It’s part of a county-wide plan to create a Hedgehog Highway for these small prickly people whose very existence is under threat because their habitats are diminishing and they need to be able to roam to find food (great slug-eaters are hedgehogs). And with some 15-million gardens in the UK that’s a lot of holes but then we have very few hedgehogs left. Gloomiest estimates tell us it may be less than one million. Come to think of it, when did you last see a hedgehog in Devon - and have your children or grandchildren ever seen one, outside of tv screen or a picture book? When Beatrix Potter introduced Mrs Tiggy Winkle to the world in 1905 there were probably 40 million hedgehogs in the UK and perhaps only a few score of motor cars in Devon itself. How times change. JOHN FISHER hubcast .co.u k 79

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