Shipping notes No. 143 (January/ February).

In port – Yelland Quay.

Arklow Resolve – built 2004: flag Rotterdam; owners Dutch; crew Russian; from Glensanda to Avonmouth; arrived 13/1, sailed 15/1; discharged 4,700 tons chippings (this was the largest cargo ever discharged or loaded in the Taw/ Torridge estuaries).

Welsh Piper, 9/2.

Bideford Quay.

None since last edition.

Shipping at Appledore

Arco Dart , 29/1 and 30/1.

Bristol Channel Observations.

13.1 at 13.35 the tanker Stolt Sandpiper , owners Stolt Nielsen BV Rotterdam, outward from Barry (having sailed at 08.45).

14.1 at 10.30 vehicle carrier Baltic Breeze, 12,466 tons d.w., owners Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Norway and Sweden, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 05.17.

15.1 at 11.20 vehicle carrier Grande Benelux, 12,940 tons d.w., owners Grimaldi Line Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

20.1 at 08.00 cargo vessel Schillplate, 3,176 tons d.w owners Schillplate Germany, outward bound from Avonmouth (having sailed at 04.14). At 08.05 bulk carrier Aasheim , 5,826 tons d.w., owners Aasen Shipping AS Norway, inward bound for Avonmouth..

21.1 at 09.01 cargo vessel Victoria C, 5,000 tons d.w., owners Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd Cowes IOW, inward bound for Sharpness.

28.1 at 08.00 cargo vessel Scot Mariner, 3,300 tons d.w., owners Scotline Ltd UK, inward bound for Newport. At 10.46 cargo vessel Sea Kestrel, 2,225 tons d.w., owners Northern Coasters Grimsby, inward bound for Swansea. At 10.52 bulk carrier Strategic Encounter, 33,000 tons d.w., owners SC Encounter Pte Ltd Singapore, inward bound for Avonmouth .

29.1 at 10.01 vehicle carrier Paganella, 11,434 tons d.w., owners Paganella GMBH & Co.Ltd, inward bound for Portbury. At17.52 bulk carrier Yeoman Bank, 38,967 tons d.w., owners Aggregate Industries U.K. Ltd, inward bound for Portbury.

1.2 at 10.43 vehicle carrier NOCC Atlantic, 22,500 tons d.w., owners Norwegian Car Carriers ASA Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 12.12 cargo vessel Arklow Brave, 8,660 tons d.w., owners Glenthorne Shipping Arklow Eire, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 12.28 vehicle carrier Autoprogress, 4,442 tons d.w., owners United European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

5.2 at 11.50 vehicle carrier California Highway, 18,664 tons d.w., owners Kawasaki Kisen KK Japan, inward bound for Portbury.

7.2 at 08.00 vehicle carrier Glovis Conductor, 17,709 tons d.w., owners STL Conductor Singapore, inward bound for Portbury (also seen again outward bound from Portbury having sailed on 8.2 at 04.37).

8.2 at 08.00 vehicle carrier Goliath Leader, 12,098 tons d.w., owners Ray Car Carriers Ltd Israel (in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan), outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 03.31. At 09.14 vehicle carrier Opal Leader, 12,200 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 10.50 vehicle carrier Autoprogress, 4,442 tons d.w. owners United European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

Readers may have noticed many other vehicle carriers inward and outward bound – I think between 10 to 12 vessels which showed on my computer’s AIS but was unable to see due to misty conditions.





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Plough Theatre – March events.

9 – 11 Fore Street

Great Torrington

EX38 8HQ

Listings – March 2017

Box Office: 01805 624624

25th March – Saturday 22 April.


Prints by Merlyn Chesterman and Pine Feroda


Tuesday 28.


Hidden Figures (PG)


Tuesday 28.


Prevenge (15)


Wednesday 29.

Music (Americana)

Albert Lee and his Electric Band


Thursday 30.


Prevenge (15)


Thursday 30.


Sweet Dreams (12A)


Thursday 30.


Keith James in concert – The Songs of Leonard Cohen – St Georges Hotel, South Molton


Friday 31.


Steve Tilston and Jez Lowe.


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Bideford host families sought for ‘SOL’ in summer 2017.                           


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Let’s be careful out there – Part 1.



Sexting/ Grooming.

– Victim is encouraged to share naked pictures of themselves (or explicit mes- sages) via text/ apps/ emails. Often involves children being groomed by adults or their peers.

There will often be offences under the Sex Offences Act 2003; and always a big risk of being pressured into going further or having full sex.

Frequently linked to or develops into Sextortion. (Megan’s Story – Sexting 1:52) (My story – online grooming 0:56)


• Victim has engaged in intimate online communication with the offender via webcam. The victim is filmed without their knowledge and then blackmailed for money and threatened with their video being revealed to friends and family. Adults or children can be victims. (Singapore crime message 2:27 mins), (Sextortion public service announcement, 1:30 mins)

Phishing emails.

• Victim receives an email purporting to be from the victim’s bank or similar, containing a link to a fake website. When the victim clicks the link either a virus/ ransomware is downloaded, or they are asked to enter their banking details and password, which are then used to steal money from their account. (Phishing real world example 2:53 mins), (Safety in Canada, 3mins, Phishing), (1 min, Spear phishing)

Remote access Tool (RAT) / TeamViewer (software brand)

Victim receives a phone call from the offender who purports to be from the victim’s bank or similar. The suspect usually tells the victim that their account or computer has been compromised and in order to fix the problem the victim is instructed to go online and download software. The software the victim is actually downloading is TeamViewer or similar which then gives the suspect remote access to the victim’s computer including the webcam and screen. The suspect then elicits personal information such as banking details in order to steal the victim’s money.

E.g. Microsoft scam (10:18 mins, first 6 mins only necessary)


• This can be installed a number of ways; by the victim following a link on a fake email, by downloading a program online that has ransomware hidden inside, or by the victim’s computer or network being hacked due to weak passwords etc. Once installed the ransomware will encrypt all of the files on the system preventing the victim accessing them. This can include photographs, business documents etc. The victim will be unable to use their computer while the machine is infected. They will normally see instructions on the screen asking for money in order to get their files and computer unencrypted. Often the payment can be requested in bitcoin (online currency). (1:03 mins Kaspersky Lab)


• These can be installed in a number of ways similar to ransomware. The purpose can be varied; disruption of the victim’s computer system, as a means of obtaining personal information from the infected computer or in order to use the computers processing power as part of a “botnet” (collection of infected computers). Many offenders will use a botnet to send out millions of phishing emails or launch a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on a website to take it down and cause disruption

(Difference between viruses, worms, malware, Trojans, ransomware and spyware – Kaspersky lab, 2:45 min).


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South Molton jazz club.


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One hundred years ago – February 1917.

February 1917 saw several radical changes in the Bideford Gazette newspaper. The Great War headlines were still most depressing. There was a least one page in each issue devoted to news from the action across the world – one of the February pages proclaims “British Raiders take 1228 prisoners”, “big Turkish losses”, “German Sink-at-sight claims” and “U.S. action – Liner seized and torpedoed”. There was a day-by-day diary of events and further reading explains that the Anchor liner “California” was sunk with considerable casualties. It is feared that this action was designed to provoke President Wilson into joining the War.

Completely new are three photographs showing Devon soldiers setting up sawmills to cut timber for use at the Front. This is the first time photographs have been printed in the Gazette, albeit for apparent propaganda purposes. The tribunal hearings continue across North Devon and the shortage of male labour is becoming acute.

February was a very cold month. The lake at Stevenstone has been frozen for some time, and in Hartland the frost has split pipes and radiators at the new United Methodist church and at the council school. It has also cracked several cylinder blocks of internal combustion engines and cars. Clamps of mangolds have been seriously damaged. In Appledore Mrs Vaggars and Mr Tom Barkwell have both fallen on ice and injured limbs. On the 20th February the frost lifted allowing work on the land to recommence, but fears are expressed regarding the autumn wheat that is looking very poor because of the cold weather.

Property for sale this month includes 39 and 40 Geneva Place, Bideford, currently let to tenants Messrs J Found and A J Mills on a weekly tenancy. The sale will be later in the month.


The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway closed during the late Spring 100 years ago. To celebrate this centenary the Archive is planning an exhibition of our references , pictures and maps to be held later this year. If you have any material relating to the railway, perhaps you could contact us so that we can include it in our display.

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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Buzz Byte – printers.


Welcome to this new series of articles about home computing. This month’s tips are about printers. Most home users will have an inkjet printer which will use either a colour and black cartridge or a black with individual colours, cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow.

You need to turn the printer on at least once every week to charge the ink. This helps to prevent blockages and keeps the ink fresh in the head and stops the inks from drying out. You do not need to do anything to your printer as the cleaning function happens automatically when the printer is turned on and you do not need to print anything either.

Once the printer has finished making its ‘start up noises’ this means that it has performed the above function and can be turned off again. This is true of the majority of inkjet printers ; if your model doesn’t work automatically it will be a feature that is accessible from the lcd panel on the front of your printer, or via the printer software on your computer.

Many people think that you must only use original cartridges as cheaper compatible inks will either damage the printer or void the warranty of the printer, a misconception that the manufactures do not correct. This is not the case. You can get wonderful prints from inks that are a fraction of the cost of an ‘original’.

Did you know that if there is an interruption to your phone or internet service you can still print documents or pictures as your printer will still be able to operate wirelessly (providing the router is turned on! ; you just won’t be able to surf the web until the problem is fixed!! ) It is handy to keep a USB cable in reserve, just in case. If you need to print direct from the web, or if your router breaks, a solution would be to use a mobile broadband dongle, which is a little pre-paid USB device that plugs into your PC or laptop in conjunction with the USB cable.

Nicola Baglow (Complete Computing).


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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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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.

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.


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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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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“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


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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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