February diary.



Thursday 23rd

6.45pm Westward Ho! Bridge Club at Trinity Church Hall. 470990

7pm Hartland Aikido Club for over 18s at Bucks Cross Village Hall.

7pm ‘Life Drawing’ sessions at Bideford Arts Centre.

7.30pm N. Devon British Bike Club at Robin’s Nest.

7.30pm Scottish Country Dancing at Westleigh Village Hall. 473801

7.30pm Bideford Folk Club – melodeon player Ollie King at Joiners Arms.

Friday 24th

10am-12pm Community Coffee Morning at School Room, Kingsley Hall, W.Ho! 421274

2-4pm ‘Sew Together’ at Westward Ho! Baptist Church. 01805 622666

2.30-4.30pm Torridge Table Tennis Club at Bideford Youth Centre. 477932

7.30pm Quiz Night for N D Hospice at Appledore Community Hall. 422710

7.45pm Modern Sequence Dancing, Kingsley Hall, W Ho! 01769 540309

8pm Ceilidh Club at Northam Hall.

Saturday 25th

10am Torridge Ramblers day walk. 429080

3pm Bideford AFC v Wimborne Town.

7pm ‘Encore’ in concert at Bucks Cross Village Hall. 429388

Sunday 26th

2-4.30pm ‘Way of the Wharves’ celebration at Pollyfield Centre.

Monday 27th

10am-12pm Appledore Community Art Group at Appledore Community Hall.

1.30-4pm Westward Ho! Art Club at Baptist Church, W.Ho! 477601

6.30pm Yoga & Meditation classes at Chubb/Churchill Community Lounge.

7pm Tai Chi at Bideford High Street Methodist Church Hall. 472532

7.15pm Appledore Singers rehearse at Appledore Baptist Church. 420652

8.30pm N D Jazz Club at Beaver, Appledore – Sandy Suchodolski Trio.

Tuesday 28th

10am-1pm Lavington Church coffee and lunches.

10.30am Walking for Health. 421528

11.45am-12.45pm Tai Chi at Northam Community Hall.

2-3.30pm Salvation Army ‘Fun & Fellowship’ Club at Baptist Church Hall.

2.30pm ‘Lift Off’ at Baptist Church, Westward Ho! 0792 636030

6.30pm Bideford Band Beginners Group at Band Room. 475653

7.30pm Lions Club meet at Royal Hotel.

7.30pm Northam Choral Society rehearse at Northam Methodist Hall.

7.30pm Bideford Camera Club meet at Chubb/Churchill hall. 421391

7.30-9pm Samba Baia Rehearsal at Community Arts Network,13 Rope Walk.

Palladium Club – Jam Night.


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Shipping notes No. 142 (Nov. ’16/ Jan. ’17).

In port – Yelland Quay.

Welsh Piper, 12.12.16 and 17.12.16.

In port – Bideford Quay.

Oldenberg returned to Bideford about the 23rd December, following her annual drydocking at Sharpness.

At Appledore.

Arco Dart, 29.11.16.

Bristol Channel Observations.

21.11.16 at 07.40 vehicle carrier Grande Scandinavia, 18,440 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

25.11.16 at 08.25 bulk carrier Tien Le, 37,904 tons d.w., owners unknown, inward bound for Newport. At 09.30 vehicle carrier Grande Portogallo, 12,594 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

26.11.16 at 10.50 cargo vessel Paulin B, 2,300 tons d.w., owners unknown, outward bound from Birdport, having sailed at 04.04.

29.11.16 at 08.28 cargo vessel Kastor, 3,671 tons d.w., owners Argonauten Holding GMBH Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth.

30.11.16 at 10.23 container vessel MSC Korini, 48,244 tons d.w., owners Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA Switzerland, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.28. At 10.25 cargo vessel Helsinki, 4,211 tons d.w., owners Helsinki Vertom Bojeb Germany, inward bound for Cardiff.

3.12.16 at 14.54 cargo vessel Arklow Racer, 4,993 tons d.w., owners Invermore Shipping Ltd Eire, inward bound for Newport.

4.12.16 at 12.35 cargo vessel Moena , owners unknown, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 1346 vehicle carrier Castor Leader, 21,186 tons d.w., owners Longevity Matitime SA Tokyo (in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan), inward bound for Portbury. At 12.00 the buoy tender vessel Galetea, 900 tons d.w., owners Trinity House of London, sailed from Bideford Bay.

14.12.16 at 12.16 cargo vessel RMS Laar, 2,305 tons d.w., owners Rhein Maas Und See- Schiffahrtskkontor GMBH Germany, inward bound for Sharpness.

16.12.16 at 15.32 vehicle carrier CSCC Shanghai, 12,300 tons d.w., owners China Ocean Shipping (Group) China, inward bound for Portbury.

28.12.16 at 11.45 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,343 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.40. At 11.45 cargo vessel SWE Freighter, 4,537 tons d.w., owners Sneekerdiep 11 BV Cyprus, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 12.13 cargo vessel Fluvius Axe, 3,193 tons d.w., owners Fluvius Axe Ltd Crediton, inward bound for Birdport.

1.1.17 at 10.45 cargo vessel Wilson Hobco, 4,338 tons d.w., owners Bremer Lloyd Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth.

2.1.17 at 09.43 vehicle carrier Dalien Highway, 21,616 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K of Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 11.45 vehicle carrier Grande Ellade, 18,440 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 11.00 container vessel MSC Koroni, 48,244 tons d.w, owners Mediterranean Shipping of Switzerland, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 06.29. At 14.59 vehicle carrier Bess, 18,013 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury.

3.1.17 at 09.25 bulk carrier Andermatt, 20,002 tons d.w., owners Massmariner SA Switzerland, bound for Newport. At 1703 Dalian Highway seen again outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 12.28.




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Plough Theatre – February events.

9 – 11 Fore Street

Great Torrington

EX38 8HQ


Listings – February 2017

Box Office: 01805 624624


Thursday 23.


A Plastic Ocean (nc) – 8pm.

Friday 24.


La La Land (12A) – 5pm.

Friday 24.


La La Land (12A) – 8pm.

Saturday 25.


Decoupage with Teena Wright – 10am – 1pm.

Saturday 25.


Giles Robson and His Band – 8pm.

Sunday 26.


Balamouk – 2pm.

Sunday 26.


An Audience with Phil Beer – 7:30pm.

Tuesday 28.


Cold Process Soap Making with Christine Keeley – 10am – 2pm.

Tuesday 28


La La Land (12A) – 8pm.


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Regulation by “Impress” – “Buzz” complaints procedure.

Bideford Buzz” is now regulated by ‘Impress’, the independent press regulator.

Making a complaint.

We can look into complaints about items we have published which are in our control. We adhere to the Standards Code adopted by IMPRESS and can only deal with complaints which relate to an alleged breach of the standards set out in this Code. http://www.impress.press/standards/.

We can only deal with your complaint if you are:

  •  personally and directly affected by an alleged breach of the Code.
  •  a representative group affected by an alleged breach of the Code, where there is public interest in your complaint.
  •  a third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information.

We are also regulated by IMPRESS, but initial complaints must be made to us, Bideford Buzz, in writing at the following address or by email:

Buzz community newsletter,

c/o TTVS,

14, Bridgeland Street,

Bideford, EX39 2QE.

e-mail: editor@bidefordbuzz.org.uk

Telephone: 07929 976120

We will acknowledge your complaint by e-mail or in writing within 7 calendar days and will normally respond to your complaint with a final decision letter within 21 calendar days. If we uphold your complaint, we will tell you the remedial actions we have taken.

If you are not satisfied with the final response to your complaint, or if you do not hear from us within 21 calendar days of submitting your complaint, then you can refer your complaint to our Independent regulator IMPRESS at the following address:

Regulated by IMPRESS: the independent monitor for the press

16-18, New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6AG



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“Knit & Natter” – February & March.













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The Filo Project.



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One hundred years ago – December 1916/ January 2017.


The first three issues of the Gazette in December 1916 are full of seasonal cheer of all varieties.

W.J. Ridge, Wine merchant of 70 High Street has two adverts – one for Old Scotch Whiskies including “Dew off the Highlands”, the other for “Anglo” ales and Oatmeal Stout. Charles Ashton, family grocer trading at Trafalgar House, is the sole agent for W& A Gilbey’s wines and spirits. For the home baker, Tattersalls Stores boast that they have the largest stock, the best of everything at the lowest prices. Among the items for sale are loose Muscatels for cooking at 8d per pound, Chinese figs and the finest Tunis dates are 9d per pound. Tattersalls also offer “Evaporated fruits” – apricots, peaches and pears as well as a wide variety of nuts.

Suggestions for Christmas presents are plentiful. A. M. Morrish at the Quay Café is showing a good selection of chocolates, confectionery and season’s novelties. F. Karslake, draper from London House, heads his advert with the words “Christmas should be enjoyed in a reasonable manner. Our old fashioned custom of giving and receiving presents must not be allowed to pass. It is a glad time of friendship and goodwill of the year.”

If you are looking for practical presents, Heywood & Heywood of Grenville Street offer serviettes, 5 o’clock tea cloths and tea cosies as well as handkerchiefs and Antimony trays. Steward & Co.’s Bazaar at 56a Mill Street has a splendid selection of British-made toys. W. Wood of 10-11 Meddon Street reminds readers that Christmas is the children’s festival and offers dolls, toys games and tea sets.

For the ladies, Robert Yeo at Manchester House(in an advert illustrated with line drawings) suggests that “Suitable and acceptable” presents include aprons and pinafores, whilst Sanguine & Son’s Boot stores in Grenville St. promote their pretty slippers, house shoes and ladies gaiters. For the man in your life you could visit H.I. Meredith at 18 High Street and buy vacuum flasks, shaving requisites and electric pocket lamps, whilst Coles & Lee at the Gazette Offices offer useful leather goods.

The troops have not been forgotten and suggestions include “Swan” fountain pens with ink tablets in tubes, metal cigarette cases and photo cases.

The more extravagant could buy an American organ from J.T. White of 77-78 High Street, a piano from Nicklins in Bridgeland St., watches and jewellery from E. Northwood at 69 Medon St., or furs from Burrows at 17 High Street.

To decorate your home, Perkins and Son, florists on the Quay offer ferns and palms in pots as well as cut flowers supplied fresh daily.

If you were unfortunate to be unwell, Gerrish’s Speedy Cure for coughs and colds can be bought for 1/3 a bottle at E Gerrish, dispensing chemist on The Quay. We are also assured that Mother Seigels Syrup banishes indigestion.

To return to more pressing matters, the 28th December edition reports that Bideford Council are discussing the food shortage and considering the possibility of ploughing up Victoria Park to provide extra allotments. Early in the New Year Bideford Council advertise a Public meeting in the Town Hall for the purpose of considering providing extra Allotments. Northam Council are also concerned about the shortage of vegetable patches, and in particular the shortage of potatoes. The Committee were told that 2 miles from Northam a farmer was holding a large quantity of potatoes waiting for prices to rise. A committee member, Mr Vincent remarks that “the Government should do something” and suggested that as they now controlled the railways they should lead by growing potatoes beside the track. Later in the month a report appears stating that the National Food controller has set and published potato prices. Main crop, of not less than 6 tons will be priced at £5-15-0d per ton, rising to £6-10-0d in the Spring. Locally a 2-acre field at Kiltrasna is available for a period of 3 years for cultivation, but a flood of letters to the Editor decry the notion of ploughing Victoria Park, citing that it is the only pleasant area where the elderly can walk and enjoy.

At the Devon Crown Court 2 local residents are accused of stealing £300 worth of jewellery (£14,500 in today’s value) from their employer, Mrs Elizabeth Daw of Baddesley Grange, Northam. Herbert Clarence Leonard, alias Victor Howard, was employed as a cook but was actually a deserter. His common law wife, who was pregnant, Daisy Fowler, alias Leonard or Howard was a servant and was acquitted of the crime but her partner was found guilty and sentenced to 15 months hard labour. Only a tiny proportion of the jewellery was recovered.

Appearing in the first January edition is an Almanac for the year. In the centre are famous events and personalities for every day throughout the year but around this are local details and information, postal rates and times, bus and train times on both Bideford, Westward Ho! & Appledore Railway and, across the river, the LSWR. Financially the public are served by National Provincial Bank, Fox Fowler & Co Bank, Lloyds Bank and London, City & Midland Bank all in the High Street and Exeter Savings Bank has offices in Bridge Buildings opposite the Town Hall.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery, December.


Here’s a recipe for Christmas Eve or parties with friends and family. This is based on Darina Allen’s  Simply Delicious Christmas book and is rather retro as it was originally written in 1989! (and reprinted in 2002).

Ingredients for 4. (Can be scaled up for parties)

500g of monkfish or scallops.

I onion, chopped(50gs); 30g butter and 60g/2tablespoon flour/cornflour.

Dry white wine, 500ml fish stock.

125 g /4oz/cup sliced mushrooms.

1 tablespoon parsley, fennel and thyme mixed.

Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Creamy milk/half milk and single cream.

100gm /2oz Cheddar Cheese or Cornish Yarg.

Duchesse potato for piping or spreading around the edge of the serving dish.


1.Trim monkfish tail and cut into 1cm/half inch thick slices, cut fish at an angle – or cut large scallops in half.

2.Use a heavy saucepan – stainless steel or enamelled pan. Add fish slices and cover with white wine and 250ml half fish stock or water. Bring to the boil and poach for 2/3 mins only.

3.Remove fish and continue to boil the liquor until 200ml/2/3pint approx.

4.Cook chopped onions in melted butter for 5-8minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 mins. Stir in the flour and cook for 1min stirring all the time, add liquor with the milk added (300ml total) gradually.

5.Add the freshly chopped herbs /dried herbs. Sauce should be smooth and tasty – check taste. Correct the taste, add the fish into the sauce and cook lightly for 2mins only!

6.Pipe a border of duchesse potatoes -mashed and creamed or spread around the edge of a serving dish and add the sauce, sprinkle top with grated cheese. (This can be cooled and warmed later. When required, reheat in a cool oven 190F or Gas 5 for 20 mins. to melt the cheese).

To serve immediately, heat under the grill for approx. 5mins to melt the cheese.

Serve with a good green salad.

Happy Christmas and a very Prosperous New Year!


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Shipping notes No. 141 (October/ November).


In port – Yelland Quay.


Celtic Warrior – (ex- Thule, 2014) ; built 1996; flag, Cardiff; owners British; crew Russian; from Glensanda to La Legue; arrived 13/11, sailed 13/11 ; dscharged 3,900 tons chippings.

In port – Bideford Quay.


Pur Navolok – built 1997; flag Limassol, Cyprus; owners German; crew Russian; from Rotterdam to Castellon; arrived 13/11, sailed 15/11 ; loaded 2,800 tons ball clay.

Oldenburg due to depart for her annual drydocking at Sharpness.


The Freshspring left the berth at Appledore at 18.20 16th October, in tow of the Seven Sea and proceeded to the allocated berth at Victoria Park. This will now allow the owners The Freshspring Preservation Society to start on the restoration work and apply for further funds to get her back into working order.

Bristol Channel Observations.

15.10 at 09.38 cargo vessel Arklow Valley, 5,769 tons d.w., owners Avoca Shipping V Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 10.19 cargo vessel Nautica, 2,166 tons d.w., owners Baltnautic Shipping Ltd Lithuania, inward bound for Birdport.

16.10 at 12.20 vehicle carrier Onyx Ace, 18,529 tons d.w., owners Mitsui OSK Lines Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

18.10 at 16.00 cargo vessel Hendrika Margaretha, 3,200 tons d.w., owners Koning Cans CV Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed 08.02.

19.10 at10.07 cargo vessel Lady Menna, 3,332 tons d.w., owners Osprey Ship 2 Ltd Netherlands, inward bound for Portbury. At 16.55 vehicle carrier Tombarra, 19,628 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Norway and Sweden, inward bound for Portbury.

22.10 at 1551 vehicle carrier Aniara, 30,089 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Whilhemson Norway and Sweden, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 12.10. At 1600 bulk carrier Puffin Arrow, 6,2967 tons d.w., owners Gearbulk Ltd Bermuda, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 09.09. At 16.20 cargo vessel Tomke, 3,171 tons d.w., owners Tomke Germany, inward bound for Birdport.

29.10 at 13.16 cargo vessel Fehn Mariner, 2,953 tons d.w., owners Fehn Mariner Germany, outward bound from Birdport having sailed at 05.34. At 1324 vehicle carrier Grande Mediterraneo, 18,427 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

31.10 at 13.35 container vessel MSC Koroni, 48,244 tons d.w., owners Waldo Shipping Co Greece, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.30.

1.11 at 11.13 container vessel Endeavour, 9,168 tons d.w., owners JR Shipping V Holland, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 06.55. At 11.16 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,879 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 06.18. At 13.56 chemical tanker Bro Nakskov, 16,427 tons d.w., owners Maersk Tankers A/S Denmark, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 17.15 on 30.10 (previously anchored off Lundy awaiting orders).

3.11 at 10.56 bulk carrier Aasvik, 4,319 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelson Norway, outward bound from Port Talbot having sailed at 06.30. At 11.20 cargo vessel Svetlana, 8,865 tons d.w., owners Svetland BV Bulgaria, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 06.15.

4.11 at 12.04 container vessel Elbstrand, 11,367 tons d.w., owners Elbstrand GMBH & Co KG Germany, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 07.17. At 13.53 vehicle carrier Grande Europa, 18,461 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

5.11 at 12.10 cargo vessel Westewind, 2,815 tons d.w., owners Weststrate JL Netherlands, inward bound for Sharpness. At 12.31 cargo vessel Akela, 5,572 tons d.w., owners Akela UG Haftungsbeschrankt Germany, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 13.31 vehicle carrier Morning Chorus, 16,178 tons d.w., owners Eukor Car Carrier Ltd South Korea, inward bound for Portbury.

6.11 at 11.02 vehicle carrier Opal Leader, 12,200 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

7.11 at 113.40 vehicle carrier Oberon, 24,600 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Norway and Sweden, inward bound Portbury.

Just out of interest between the 31.10.and 8.11, apart from the vehicle carriers I have seen passing Lundy, there have been a considerable number of vehicle carriers calling at Portbury as follows – Arcadia Highway, Heogh Xiamen, Ciudad de Cadiz, Grande Benelux, Autosun, Titania (one of the largest carriers visiting Portbury), Leo Spirit, Asian King , Auto Eco (the first vehicle carrier to be powered by LNG) and, on her maiden voyage, Genuine Ace. None of these vessels seen, due to misty weather.

9.11 at 16.40 vehicle carrier Auto Eco, 12,600 tons d.w., owners United European car Carrier Norway, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 11.51 (& see comments above).

10.11 at 08.15 vehicle carrier Grande Benin, 26,097 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 03.51.

11.11 at 15.07 cargo vessel Arklow Rally, 4,400 tons d.w., owners S & P Bulk X1 AS Netherlands, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 1101.

13.11 at 07.26 vehicle carrier Grande Anversa, 12,353 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 02.43. At 0952 vehicle carrier Michigan Highway, 17,673 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen K.K. Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.14.


Review of 2016

Things have been rather quiet at Bideford, with just a few clays ships loading for Castellon and Bendorf. Yelland has not seen as many ships this year even though the building industry has been busy. The shipyard at Appledore completed the third patrol vessel Le William Butler Yeats and also obtained an order for a fourth vessel, due to be delivered in 2018. As shown above the SS Freshspring finally arrived at Victoria Park after long negotiations with TDC and clearing the berth of the wreck in September.

As this is my last Shipping news for 2016 may I take the opportunity to wish all our readers and Happy Christmas and New Year.




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“Fire Kills” campaign.



Torridge District Council is supporting the campaign launched by Fire Minister Brandon Lewis for people to test their smoke alarms after research showed that only 28% of all households who own one test them on a regular basis.

The “Fire Kills” campaign highlights the importance of having at least one working smoke alarm in your home and encourages everyone to test their smoke alarms immediately and then regularly every month. Analysis of fire data shows that you are at least seven times more likely to die in a fire in the home if you do not have any working smoke alarms. The cheap and easy to install devices are vital in ensuring that, should a fire start, individuals have valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

There were 229 fire-related deaths in the home last year. The “Fire Kills” campaign hopes that by encouraging everyone to test their smoke alarms straight away, and then every month, more deaths could be prevented.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe, follow these simple steps:   Test your smoke alarm(s) now or when you get home · Make sure you fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly, even if they’re wired into the mains. · Whatever happens, never remove the battery in your smoke alarm unless you are replacing it. Some require a new battery every year. · Plan and practise an escape route and make sure that everyone in your home knows it. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999. · Test others smoke alarms who are unable to test their own.     The Local Fire Service also offers free home fire safety checks for everyone.

Graham Rooke – Local Risk Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service – said:

A key aim of the work we do locally is to try and reduce the incidence of fires and prevent casualties and fatalities through education and proactive campaigns. Having a working and regularly tested smoke alarm is vitally important. We are very keen for everyone to take up the fire services offer of a home fire safety check over the telephone by calling 0800 05 02 999. The checks may then be followed up with a home fire safety visit and the fitting of a free smoke detector if required. We also want to attend more meetings with community groups to advise people and promote good practice and welcome further enquiries in this area as well. Community groups interested in arranging a talk should call us on 01237 423859”.


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The past is a foreign country :

they do things differently there.

After umming and ahhing over a decent setting for my recent novel – Weekend Rockstars – I eventually settled on a fictionalised unnamed westcountry town that was unnervingly close to the Bideford I left over a decade ago. As I found myself lovingly describing pubs long gone and struggling to remember the names of streets I had walked down a thousand times I began to wonder why I ever left; and then I remembered, that Bideford only exists in my mind now.

To make it clear, I love Bideford, I moved there with my family at the age of five in 1983 and didn’t leave until 2004 – my parents still live there so I visit regularly. A lot of people I know left Bideford forever in their twenties because it was too small, rural and constrictive – and had I left five or six years earlier than I did it would almost certainly have been for the same reason.

But I didn’t, and it wasn’t. Eventually I realised I am a yokel and my life is an everyday tale of country folk. Despite my teenage swagger and insistence that I was going to get out of there and do something, I had always loved the small town life: I could walk into almost any pub and the staff would greet me by name and have my usual drink ready before I had even reached the bar (I don’t know if that says more about me than Bideford in the 90s, but it feels relevant) and I was only ever a short walk from somewhere big and green, where the air didn’t choke.

Some time at the beginning of the new millennium all that started to change, the pubs began to close in the wake of Bideford’s first superpub – The Tavern In The Port, cheap prices, no soul and a disorientingly fast staff turnover rate (see any modern Wetherspoons for reference). I was having to walk farther and farther out of town to achieve solitude and my then-dog had developed arthritis in protest – restricting us to Victoria Park perambulations that had to be so early that they would encroach on the middle of the night if we wanted the quiet. The once recession-bitten streets of boarded-up shop fronts began to be tarted up, new shiny modern buildings began to replace the crumbling edifices I had romanticised beyond their almost-certainly-dangerously-rotten reality. I didn’t like it, longing for the return of Scudder’s Emporium.

The famous New Year’s Eve celebrations had become massive, highly organised affairs, rather than the spontaneous outbreak of fancy dress and crazy it had always been before all the publicity. Plastic glasses everywhere and no space on the bridge at midnight (though the latter was always the case). While New Year’s is now undoubtedly a lot safer than back when we used to do the 21 Newcastle Brown bottle salute at midnight – it’s not for me anymore.

I have since realised that it wasn’t Bideford’s fault, it was me (it would have been a real cliché of a breakup letter I would have had to write were Bideford a lady). The ever-growing nature of all towns is perpetual, a middle-aged Bidefordian from the 1890s would undoubtedly have complained about all the horses on the Quay compared to when he was a lad. No town in the world is ever the same town as it was ten years previously. I found another place (an undisclosed small town in the middle of Devon. I would tell you where it is, but if you all knew then you’d all come here, and I’d be back where I started). The barstaff know everybody’s name and what they drink, if an event is put on, then the whole town turns up to see it (oh look! A thing! We must go, we must go…) though if there is nothing on, then the streets are curiously empty, and any person encountered therein will greet you as a long lost friend whether you have ever set eyes on them before or not – city-dwellers beware!

You are never more than five minutes walk from a completely empty, bleak, barren and utterly wonderful bit of moorland. Although at certain times of day it is full of fellow dog-walkers, unless you know the empty places and how to get to them (I do, it is glorious).

At our annual Chilli festival last weekend, the entire town had turned up – along with a smattering of newcomers, all of whom were being interrogated with smiles and enthusiasm. I was in a happy chatting group ranging from 80 something to 2 years old. None of us were related to each other (alright, the two year old’s Dad was with us). When the Chilli chow-down (don’t ask, it is hellish) began, several of the contestants were pretty new to the town, including the winner. They got as big a cheer as the local institutions who were sat, sweating and crying until they dropped out. One of the newcomers is a skinny, odd, twenty something musician with a funny haircut. Just like I was 12 years ago when I came here, escaping the sprawling metropolis of Bideford, that I had once found so small and constricting.mail-attachment

Dave Holwill is the author of Weekend Rockstars currently available as an Amazon exclusive in both ebook and paperback formats ; for more of this kind of thing visit www.daveholwill.com


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One hundred years ago – November 1916.


Several farms are advertised this month under the “To be let by Tender” columns. Lot 1, South Hill Farm, Little Torrington comprising 157 acres and all the usual farmhouse buildings and two workers’ cottages; Lot 2, Higher Cross Lawn, 11½ acres; Lot 3, Lower Cross Lawn, 32 acres; Lot 4, Broad Parks ,28 acres. All currently in the occupation of Mr D Howard.

Also to be let – Sudden Farm, Newton St Petrock, comprising 162 acres that are stocked with sheep. The taker will be required to keep the oil engine running together with the barn machinery. Farm labour is a worry with all able bodies conscripted to the War and several farms are unable to continue in these circumstances.

Mr S. J. Williams of ‘Rothsay’, Abbotsham Road, Bideford has been “Called to the Colours” and is selling his beloved Rover 3½ hp motor cycle and coach built side-car, together with lots of household furniture.

A correspondent to the paper signing himself as “Rouge et Noir” was answering queries about the number of grist mills in the area and he states that in 1866 there were 14 operating. Of these Upcott, Edge, Littleham, Halsbury, Goldworthy and Tithecott Mills have been discontinued. The only mill still working full time is Orleigh Mill, where the Sanders family continue to flourish.

Farleigh’s Stores are now stocking “Nu-Way” Egg Flour. One packet makes a big cake 2lb in weight, needs no eggs, yeast or baking powder. Each packet costs 3½d and the thrifty can buy 2 packets for 6½d.

A strange Public Notice appears in several weeks during November headed “To men now serving in the Army who were employed on roadwork”. It goes on to say that if these men or their relatives will send a considerable amount of personal information including their regimental number to R. A. Stone, County Surveyor at Barnstaple, they will “hear something to their advantage”. (Has anyone heard of this? Was this genuine, or a very early and callous scam?)

After a wet month the reservoir at Melbury is overflowing and millions of gallons of water are going to waste. The rainfall during October was over 9 inches.

We reported last month on a great storm which affected the area. Bideford Workhouse Guardians were told of considerable damage to Meddon Street premises. Slates were torn from the main roof; a piece of lead weighing 1 cwt was lifted from the SE corner of the boardroom and carried to within a few feet of the gates, 30 feet of guttering was knocked down and destroyed and a number of the Infirmary roof lights were blown in. No injuries were recorded. It seems this area escaped the heavy and early snowfall that accompanied the gale.

Under the auspices of Bideford Farmers Union, in the cattle market and in support of the British Farmers Red Cross Fund, a guess-the-weight of a bullock, sheep and a pig is to be held. Prizes consist of silver jug, tea pot and sugar basin and if one person wins all three J. M. Metherell, President, will give the Winner £5.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery; November.


Here is a recipe from Rachel Allen Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland -more from them next month after I visit!

Preservation recipe when Herrings are glutting from Clovelly this month –

Pickled Herrings.

12 fresh herrings

600ml Vinegar

110g/4oz Sea salt

50g /2oz Sugar

1tbsp Black peppercorn -crushed ;1 generous tsp pimentos, and /or allspice berries – crushed.

6 Bay leaves.


Gut, scale and wash the whole fish leaving the heads on.

Put into a pottery container, pour over the vinegar and leave overnight

Next day. Mix the rest of the ingredients and put a layer into the base of the of stonework crock (large deep pottery bowl). Then layer with herrings and more dry mix. Pour vinegar over the herring layers keeping the herrings submerged.

Keep in a cool place -larder is best for 2/3 days -before eating.

These will keep for ages – ensure the vinegar is over all the fish.

Serve with bread, potato salad or green salad.


Clovelly Herring Festival – 10th Anniversary.

Sunday 20 November from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Clovelly harbour.

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Clovelly Herring Festival, which is held to promote these tasty, nutritious Silver Darlings and support sustainable fishing.

The village once depended on the harvest of herring, which are caught in superb condition for a short season off its coast. (Records go back over 400 years, and in 1749 there were a hundred herring boats in the port). When fishing was good, 9,000 herring could be landed at one time. Those days of massive catches are long gone and there remain just two herring fishermen ,who still employ sustainable fishing methods using drift nets and long lines.

There’ll be delicious herring specialities, cookery demonstrations, beer tastings, local food and craft stalls, live shanty singers, stiltwalker entertainment, face painting & henna tattos, a herring fishing photo exhibition, Herring Hunt and the National Trust event-themed children’s craft activities.

Maritime historian, Mike Smylie, will be returning with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of the herring. He will also be turning herring into delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse.

There’ll also be net making, flax processing and a Curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’ and a Herring Art Competition organised by The Small School, Hartland with the participation of other local schools. All the art will be on display on the day to be judged.

Contact: Visitor Centre. Tel: 01237 431781. Email: visitorcentre@clovelly.co.uk


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One hundred years ago – October 1916.


This month the newspaper is overwhelmed with news from the war. Several pages are given over to “reports from the Front”. All the villages without exception are announcing casualties, injuries and, sadly, deaths to their men who had been called up to fight. Occasionally the news is gladdened with an account of heroism and a medal award.

An advert appears in the mid October edition covering 5 columns wide and half a page deep by the British American Tobacco Company offering to send cigarettes by post to soldiers in France. Orders may be taken in to any tobacconist and the smallest order was for 280 Wild Woodbines for 3/3d, 1000 will cost 9/-. More expensive Gold Flake are 280 for 5/- and 1000 for 15/- and the most expensive cigarette Navy Cut will cost 8/6d for 500 and 16/- for 1000. Orders can also be posted to troops in India. The advert concludes with this ditty:      There aint no shops to shop in and there aint no grand hotels, When you spend your days in dugouts doin’ ‘olesale trade in shells”

At home men aged 41 and over will now be called up and Notice papers A F W 3195 will be sent to all men shown on the military registers as belonging to one or other of those groups, attested or not unless they have been marked on the register as having some form of excusable work. It has been reported before of exemption courts hearing pleas from traders, farmers and businesses to keep what male labour they have, usually without much success.

Harvest has been completed and festival services are taking place across the area. However a great gale springs up towards the end of the month, and a Norwegian steamer, “Rollon”, laden with coal for the war and France which had recently loaded and left Wales suffered a catastrophic shifting of her cargo which capsized the ship totally. Fortunately all the crew were saved but the same gale in South Devon sent coastal trading schooners running for shelter. One was lost with 13 crew drowned.

In Clovelly there is a “Capital Opportunity for a person accustomed to the catering trade”. To be Let by Tender from next Lady Day is The Red Lion Hotel, currently in the occupation of Mr John Moss who is retiring. Enquiries should be made to the Estate Office at Clovelly.

We do not normally report on Court cases but the following illustrates the current situation on men’s reluctance to volunteer for the war. At a local Police Court Ronald Hupert Waldorf Jeffery aged 24 of a local address and described as an agent or tipster was charged on remand with obtaining from a local shop a gold watch and chain valued at £26.10.0d by false pretences and further that being a British national he did on an earlier date this year represent himself to be an American subject contrary to the Aliens Registration Order, further, with being an absentee from the Military Reserve. He was found guilty on all counts, fined 40/- and sent to prison for 6 months to be followed by military service.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery; October.

fish ad

I visited Brixham Fishstock 2016 on 10th September and sampled the fantastic choice of fish street food stalls and pop up cafes. I ate salt and pepper cuttlefish with chilli sauce, freshly made local Devon fish sushi and Prawn Mac. I finished with delicious churros and chocolate sauce and coffee whilst listening to a great band from Dartmoor! Really worth a visit next year- shall we arrange a group visit?


Macaroni cheese with added flavours are quite trendy now. Here is my recipe –

Shellfish Cheesy Mac.


300g Macaroni, 100g Cheddar or Gouda cheese,100g Mozzarella cheese, 300ml/1pint milk 50g(large spoonful) flour and 50g butter/low fat spread(check it is suitable for cooking!)

Mustard, pepper and salt to taste

100g Smoked mussels or raw prawns -any size.

Any quantity of Croutons or toasted wholemeal bread.

Tarragon and Dill or Parsley, finely chopped.


Make up a cheesy sauce – Melt butter/spread in saucepan, add the flour and cook for 1 min. Mix in mustard and seasoning and then add the milk in small amounts stirring all the time to gain a sauce that shines (or you could make up a cheddar cheese sauce) and add the grated mozzarella. Add extra milk to keep the sauce runny.

Add the grated Cheddar /Gouda and then the Mozzarella. (This will be quite a runny sauce).

Cook the Macaroni as instructions on the packet (dried pasta has far less calories) – Drain and add to the sauce and stir in tarragon.

Add the smoked mussels or raw prawns and cook until pink, or for approx. 5 mins. Place in individual bowls (could be paper to eat outside).

Crumble the croutons, add finely chopped dill or parsley, and sprinkle over.

Serve Immediately-Yummy!




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