The Otterman Empire.
Ere that annual tradition, all Hallow’s eve, is nearly upon us – the night Bideford dons an eerie glow, the moon sheds wispy shrouds of cloud and squats there in the sky, an obese orb, illuminating the newly awoken spirits that frolic far below. Only, this year, the moon won’t quite be full by October 31st; it will have just left its third quarter, so we’re left with a not-so-haunting semi-circle in the sky. Take what you can get. Full moon actually lands on a much more important date this time around.
Friday 6th October will see the long awaited ‘Bideford- an Otter’s Tale’ land on our shelves. For months, the folks at Business of Bideford have been working tirelessly to create the book; one part companion piece to the Tarka statue, two parts love letter to the town. Anyone who has happened by the raffle, DVD stall or tombola outside Co-op recently will have helped cover printing costs. Likewise, every little shop mentioned inside the book has put forward a donation of their own. It was a pricy venture, sleek and shiny- like Tarka himself – and is printed on glossy pages, with colour illustrations throughout. There were so many top class pictures put forward for the cover design, that all of them are included inside, although it was Sophie Lawrence’s striking illustration that won out overall.
“Well I really wanted a design that was quite fun and friendly so people of all ages could enjoy it,” says Sophie,” nothing too serious and detailed, just a simple happy otter underneath the Bideford bridge with all its different sized arches; something that is probably the most recognisable feature of our town!” Judges agreed that it was both striking and infectious, and it will be on every copy.
As it’s the 90th anniversary of Henry Williamson’s tome, his son and daughter in law- Richard and Anne- will be on hand to sign the books. This unveiling takes place at the Bideford Library, between 1 and 7pm; for £15 you can stroll out under the bulbous moon, leafing through your investment, savouring that new book smell. It has been a long time in the pipeline, but now that hard work will finally come to fruition.
Time to move on.
For some of our readers, this year marks their last one in Bideford as they take a new, brave step off to the world of work, or university. Often, this can be scarier than any number of ghouls and ghosties found cavorting round on Halloween. It means a lifestyle change.
To all those who flew the nest, or at least the education system, this September, we wish you the best of luck. It’s a rough transition, but there are still things you can do to make it easier. For example, there are great offers to be had by ordering an NUS card. A yearly subscription to the service is just over a tenner, and you can get 10% off hundreds of fashion brands, computer packages and, most importantly, fast food. Hunger pangs need not replace home sickness at the top of your woes. In fact, any money woes at all can be slightly diluted with a student account. Almost every bank offers some variation, with interest free overdrafts up to a £1000 with three years to pay it off. This alleviates some of the stress while you’re studying.
It’s a big wide world out there; the trick is finding the treats in amongst the pitfalls. For many of us next year, it’s a shambolic step into adult life, but the Buzz remains constant, calling us home.
This period is particularly apt for the youth page, as I am moving on to university, having had the privilege of being your Youth correspondent for the last three years. I will miss everyone connected with the Buzz and want to thank each member of staff for your unending patience and support. Finally, I want to thank everyone who’s read this column over the years; hope you have enjoyed it half as much as I have! Fear not, the Youth Page will continue, as that fine Biddefudlian, Lucy Braund, will be taking over the reins next month.
Millie Sutherland O’Gara
Thank you Millie for your excellent articles over the past three years, always sent to the editor well before deadline! We will miss you, but wish you well in this next stage of your career and look forward to working with Lucy. (And don’t forget – Buzz has its own page in the new Otter Book.)