One hundred years ago; July 1917.

Of immediate interest this month is a Notice of Sale of the entire Appledore Gas Works. Established in 1874 on land in a field called Barn Close, which is part of Watertown in the Parish of Northam. The site, leasehold at £4 per annum comprises – “Extensive buildings, Plant and Machinery. Manager’s Dwelling house. Retort House. Smith’s shop. Engine House and stores. 2 complete Gasometers, a Crossley Gas engine and many other tools, furniture and fittings”. All for sale on Thursday next, 19th July 1917, at the Rechabite Hall in Appledore. (The site eventually became part of Hinks’ boatyard.)

To be let at Hallsannery, 26 acres of productive farmland in four separate fields for the next 4 years. The taker is to crop these fields with 2 crops of corn followed by a root crop and then followed by another corn crop. The seeds will be supplied by the landlord. The tenant is to pay all the rates, taxes, and is required to keep all the fences and gates in good repair. The owner reserves the sporting rights.

From an earlier month we reported on the call-up relaxation for farm workers. In this month’s newspaper any worker in full time employ since 31st March this year who receives his call up papers should take them to his employer and the Recruiting officer, who will have them rescinded. Of 500 soldiers held in Exeter, 400 have been placed with farms needing immediate labour. However several have been returned to Barracks because”They could not milk”.

Bideford Guardians in Meddon Street report that the numbers using the Workhouse are the lowest for several years. There are 65 inmates compared with 87 during the same period last year. The committee have accepted a tender for the supply of butter at 2/- per pound, surprising considering the hard times many of the public are experiencing and the Guardians are seeking tenders for the supply of 120 tons of coal for the winter.

At Weare Giffard the strawberry season is over for this year ; most of a considerable crop has been sent to Wales. Mr K P Balson of The Barton has 2 lady assistants on his farm who are doing most useful work. Throughout the village the potato crop has been sprayed and Mr Lock from Locks Beam Farm was relieved to hear that a prize bullock originally presumed drowned in the river Torridge during a flood spate has been found downstream on the other bank among a herd of cows.


These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Website –


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One hundred years ago – June 1917.

Many of the items of interest in this month’s editions are centred around agriculture and the implications the War is having on local businesses and farms.

Heard Bros are advertising Avery Farm Tractors for sale with additional tractors on their way “by Rail in this Country from America”.

Tattersills, grocers in Bideford, announce that growers of fruit may apply for sugar for preserving their produce. Special arrangements have been put in place by the Government and to obtain a supply you must apply in writing to Mr C. S. Rewcastle, Mincing Lane, London.

With the advent of some fine weather and the stopping of the Bideford to Appledore railway, there has been a considerable renewal of boating between Appledore and Bideford for marketing purposes. On Tuesday last over 20 boats brought marketgoers from Appledore and were moored near the flagstaff on Bideford Quay.

In local news, at Appledore 12 boats fishing in the estuary took 100 salmon ranging up to 23 lbs each on one tide.

At a meeting held in Hartland School and chaired by W.T. Braddick, a scheme for food production was discussed. Of 150,000 acres in Devon in food production, 60,000 are in North Devon and 5,000 additional men would be asked for from the government. 100 motor ploughs could be needed to achieve the target but ploughing small fields would be a problem.

In the editorial columns local soldiers are mentioned. Private W.S. Panter, Bideford, promoted to Corporal at 1/6 Devonshire Regt HQ. Gunner Henry Hopper of Meddon Street, Bideford, wounded. Two sons of Charles Northcott, Clifton Street, Bideford, promoted. Gunner Turner, Kingsley Terrace, Bideford, recently gassed, is now in hospital. Gunner Wilfred Foley, Cornwall Terrace, Clovelly Road, awarded DSM. Sgt Edward Hoooper, the third son of Thomas Hooper, Geneva Place, was missing is now confirmed dead. Randolph Goodenough of Meddon Street, passed away in France. There are six more reported deaths in the village and district news columns in one week alone.

Men aged between 41 and 50 are no longer considered for conscription but fit men will still be able to enlist.

Property for Sale: 11 Milton Place, Bideford, tenanted by Mr George Violet, 12 Milton Place, tenanted by William Verran and 13 Milton Place tenanted by Miss Nancekivell. Woodbine Cottage, Cross Street, Northam. A pasture field of 3 acres known as East Lamb Park adjoining Commons Farm, Northam.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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A brief history of the Palladium Club.

The Club began life in 1919 as the stables for the Heavitree Inn. In 1926 it was the Palladium Cinema and the ticket office was situated where Patts’ Fruit and Vegetable shop now is in Mill St. Later it became a Gentlemen’s Club, then for many years it was the home of the SWEB Social Club.The Palladium Club developed from this, with the bar made from the original skittle alley.(You can still see the brass points where the pins used to be placed before people played.)

The club has evolved from being a members’ drinking club to what it is now, a music venue with acts, both from our local area and as far away as Europe and America. The club also offers the facilities for snooker, pool and darts and has its own teams which continue to support the club.

The club is an important part of Bideford giving musicians a place to play and learn their craft – it would be very sad to see it go. The new owner is Ben Nigh ; we wish him well.

Margie Hughes (former owner).


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – June.


Skate – or now we call them ray – wings. These are the fish species that are most common and therefore sustainable and mainly caught in the Westcountry. You may have noticed that after “Masterchef ” programme the BBC direct you to the Marine Conservation Society website ; their entry for Skate/Ray says-“If buying spotted ray ask for ray fished in the Bristol Channel (and landed in Appledore) for assurance of better management in this fishery. The North Devon Fishermen Association (NDFA) members voluntarily adhere to a minimum landing size (MLS). of 45cm for all ray species to assist growth and spawning”.

Ray wings with asparagus and rosemary and garlic dressing.


10(lots)rosemary sprigs with leaves picked.

small tsp of sea salt.

1 large clove of garlic.

squeeze of lemon.

5 tbsp. extra virgin oil.

I large ray wing, halved, or 2 small ray wings.

100g plain flour.

230g asparagus, trimmed.


1.For the dressing, put the rosemary leaves in a pestle and mortar with the salt and (peeled) garlic clove. Pound relentlessly until you have a smooth paste – up to 10 minutes! Add a squeeze of lemon and slowly pour in 3tbsp olive oil, stirring as you go with the pestle until everything is combined.

2. Season the ray wings. Put the flour onto a plate and coat the fish on both sides. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Fry the ray for 4-5 minutes on both sides, until cooked through and golden.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, Simmer the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, until just tender but with a little bite. Drain well.

4. Serve the cooked ray wing with the asparagus and the dressing drizzled over.


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One hundred years ago – May 1917.


The main theme this month is the state of the food supply. In his regular column for allotment holders, “Spadeworker” encourages the growing of carrots as the most important root crop; varieties such as Red Elephant, James Intermediate and Long Surrey are recommended.

Kohl Rabi is also a good vegetable as it is not affected by drought. Also mentioned are leeks, vegetable marrows, peas and Jerusalem artichokes. Lime and soot mixed together makes an effective insecticide.

Early potatoes grown under glass at Stevenstone, near Torrington, have been lifted and have given good results.

Cockcrow” in his column reminds poultry keepers that meat is an essential part of their birds’ diet. Left-over meat scraps and offal should be cooked and mixed with meal. A good supply of fresh water is also important.

Later in the month another appeal from Mr Osborn and Mr Labbett is printed, this time asking for people to become Food Controllers. These people will take the lead in using substitutes for wheat in bread-making. Suggested alternatives include rice, oatmeal, barley, maize flour, dried peas and beans. The “Win the war cookery book” contains 100 useful recipes and is available from stationers and bookshops for 2d. (Does anyone have a copy of this book?)

Bakers across the area are appealing for their staff to be exempt from military service. Their argument is that people who bake bread at home eat it in larger quantities than if it is bought from a baker, thus depleting the wheat stocks.

Lord Fortescue, writing to the paper from his estate at Castle Hill, exhorts readers to avoid waste of every kind and to keep within the recommended rations. (At this time, there was no compulsory rationing imposed by the Government.)

In contrast to all the talk of shortages, Farleigh’s Stores appear to have a plentiful supply of bacon, advertising in the paper every week.

Once again there are several farms up for sale. Additionally, Blackmore’s Stable Yard is selling off 10 different carriages and carts, together with the harnesses, saddles and all other accoutrements.

On the back page of the paper for 22 May, the Gazette prints a column showing the Local Tide Tables for a ten-day period. (Is this the first time that this has appeared in the paper?)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Walking the Coast Path; Mouthmill.

This is a beach of contrasts. A stream idly trickles through football-sized boulders down to the sea, while soothing sweeps of light-brown sand provide a backdrop to jutting rock formations that point arrow-like towards the Atlantic. It’s a place for exploring rather than lounging, though flat grassy areas above the sea wall are ideal for reclining on while you listen to the babble of water below. (from ‘Secret beaches of the South West’).

There’s a beautiful bluebell wood between Mouthmill and the car park at Brownsham – ‘a patchwork of vibrant blues, carpeting the lush green valley.’ Winbury Hill, an Iron age fort, looks down on Mouthmill and Blackchurch Rock – an ideal vantage point.  Was this remote spot ideal for smugglers to haul ashore their contraband without fear of discovery?  Blackchurch rock is awe inspiring – a natural arch with two windows carved out by the ravages of nature. (from ‘Mouthmill – Beautiful North Devon’).


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One hundred years ago – April 1917.

On behalf of Miss Penhale, auctioneers Smyth-Richards, Stapleton and Fox are selling two lots of property:

Thornbury and Higher Thorne’,a farm of 140 acres with stone and slate buildings and a thatched cottage.  Two arable fields at Horestone Cross, comprising 19 acres.

Miss Penhale is also selling all her livestock and machinery, including 35 good quality growing bullocks, 160 sheep and lambs, a handsome cart mare (5 years old) and 4 fat pigs. (Ed – Is Miss Penhale having to give up due to the shortage of labour and horses?).

The case of a widow with 4 sons at the front, who has land and seed potatoes, but no-one to plant them, has prompted Northam UDC to release employees to help with food production, at the discretion of the surveyor.

New prices for ‘eating’ potatoes have been announced by the Food Controller- retailers can now charge 1¾d per pound. Some farmers and market traders have been heavily fined for selling seed potatoes at “prices beyond the maximum” which police consider a very serious offence. The Master of the Torrington Board of Guardians says the present stock of ‘eating potatoes’ will not last more than 5 weeks.

After the cold spring, the Board of Agriculture advises bee-keepers to use a feeding syrup made up of special coloured candy, unfit for human consumption but fit for bees. The spring mixture should be 1 lb of candy to ¾ pint of hot water, with a less concentrated mixture to be used in the autumn if needed.

Despite the cold spring, salmon fishing by rod and line has opened well, with several fish over 20 lbs being caught. The water of the Torridge is in good condition and fish are plentiful.

Poultry keeping is becoming popular, with several adverts for birds and eggs. The well-known breeds like Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns are joined by less familiar names – LaBresse, Langshans, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rock, Silver Campines and Sicilian Buttercups.

Heard Brothers arranged two successful tractor ploughing demonstrations, one in Percy Squires’ 5 acre field at Bowood and a second in Mr Pennington’s field at Ashridge. Over 100 people attended in spite of the short notice. Following the demonstrations, Norman Heard writes that he has instructions from the Board of Agriculture to engage additional men to operate their equipment in a large area to the west of Bideford; usual rates of pay will apply.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – April.

The delicious dish below is traditionally cooked for family celebrations on Easter Sunday.

Salt Cod, Basque Style – Bacalao a la Vizcaina – 4 servings.


450g/1lb dried salt cod or pollack.

2 medium onions, finely chopped.

3 tbsp. olive oil.

3 large cloves of garlic.

1 slice firm white bread, toasted and chopped.

1 sweet red pepper – seeded and chopped.

900g/2lbs tomatoes; peeled,seeded and finely chopped (or 2 tins chopped tomatoes.)

5ml/1tsp. sweet paprika.

40ml/2 tbsp. parsley, chopped.

450g/1lb potatoes,cooked and sliced.

123ml/4fl oz. dry sherry.

freshly ground pepper.

Green olive, triangles of fried bread or toast and canned pimento for garnish.


1.Soak the cod/pollack in cold water for 24 hrs /overnight (at least 12hrs) changing the fresh cold water frequently. (Check out Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall’s cookbook for salting your own pollack or cod if you cannot order it from the fish counters.)

2. Put soaked fish into a saucepan with cold water to cover and one of the chopped onions, bring to the simmer and cook over very low heat for 20 mins. or until the fish is tender. When it is cool enough to handle remove any skin and bones and cut it into 3.5cm/1-2ins pieces.

3. In food processor or blender combine the toast, pepper, tomatoes and paprika and reduce to a puree. Add to the frying pan and cook until the mixture is thick and well blended, about 10 mins. Add the parsley, potatoes, cod and sherry, a little water in which the fish was cooked and ground pepper to taste. Simmer over very low heat just long enough to heat the mixture through, about 5 mins.

4. Serve on a warmed charger(large serving plate). Add bread cut in triangles around the edges and garnish with green olives and pimiento. This looks and taste great!

We will be visiting the Crab festival in Salcombe, South Devon, on Sunday 30th April ; there are still spaces in my car. So if you fancy a fishy day out please contact Felicity Sylvester- or 07918 779060


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Beavering away for Bideford flood protection.

There are proposals under consideration for raising the level of the Kenwith Reservoir dam to give the necessary added protection from fluvial flooding resulting from anticipated climate change and the amount of new housing development in the catchment area.

In this context, the following quotation from an account of works carried out near Pickering, North Yorkshire, seems rather appealing !

In Pickering, rather than building a £20 million concrete flood wall through the centre of town, the community planted 29 hectares of woodland upstream to naturally soak up water, and created hundreds of natural obstructions in the river made of logs, branches and heather to restore its natural flow. The flood risk has now fallen from 25%, to just 4%, and at a fraction of the cost of hard defences”.

This description almost exactly matches the account of work carried out by beavers in a controlled experimental research project by the Devon Wildlife Trust in the south of Torridge district (see below). Here the storage and slow release of water from sudden rainfall events is proven to significantly reduce peak flows downstream. When you consider the popularity of the wild beavers on the river Otter, the presence of Bideford Beavers in the Kenwith Valley Nature Reserve could also be a great tourist attraction.

After all, with beavers on the river Otter in east Devon, why shouldn’t we have beavers on the most famous otter river of all, the Torridge? They should live happily together, as beavers are vegetarian and otters would love the extra fish that beaver pools encourage to breed and thrive.

Chris Hassall.


Beavers win top BBC Countryfile award.

The remarkable story of Devon’s wild beavers goes on, with the announcement that the Westcountry rodents have now won a top national award.

Readers of BBC Countryfile Magazine have selected the River Otter Beaver Trial based in East Devon, along with the Scottish Beaver Trial, as their ‘Wildlife Success Story of the Year’ for 2017. The public poll attracted 56,000 votes across its 12 award categories.

The accolade is recognition of the work being done with the East Devon beavers by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust. The beavers are the first wild population of the animals to exist in England for 400 years. Devon Wildlife Trust leads the River Otter Beaver Trial in partnership with Clinton Devon Estates, University of Exeter and the Derek Gow Partnership.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott manages the River Otter Beaver Trial and said:

We’re delighted to have won this prestigious BBC Countryfile Magazine Award. The fact that thousands of members of the public have taken the time to vote for beavers in Devon and in Scotland shows the wide support these charismatic creatures enjoy.”

A breeding population of beavers was first discovered on the River Otter in 2014. No one knows how the beavers came to be living wild in East Devon. In 2015 Devon Wildlife Trust was granted a five-year licence from Natural England, which allowed the beavers to remain after they were initially threatened with removal. The licence also allowed the charity to establish a project which will monitor the beavers until 2020 when a decision about their long term future is to be made by the government.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott added:

The BBC Countryfile Award stands as a tribute to the strong partnership we’ve established to conduct the trial. Our research is now beginning to show the important role that beavers could play across our wider countryside in improving water quality, mitigating against the worst effects of flooding and drought, and in benefiting other wildlife. The trial has a long way to go, but this is a very public endorsement of the work we’ve done with beavers here in Devon and of the trial that has already been carried out in Scotland.”

News that Devon’s beavers were in the running for the BBC Wildlife Magazine Awards was announced in February. Nominations were made by a panel of judges which included the author Bill Bryson, along with broadcasters John Craven and Anita Rani. Other nominated projects in the same award category included conservation work done with dormice, cirl buntings, bumblebees and bitterns.

Prof Richard Brazier, University of Exeter, project partner and Chair of the River Otter Beaver Trial’s Science and Evidence Forum welcomed the public recognition:

“Undertaking research into the impacts of beavers is a challenging yet highly rewarding field of study, made all the more fascinating via the genuine partnership approach that Devon Wildlife Trust is leading and the huge interest in this keystone species shown by the general public.”

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Conservation Manager for Clinton Devon Estates, said:

There was a lot of stiff competition. The award is testament to the hard work of all the partners involved. Clinton Devon Estates recognises that the beavers can have great benefits for wildlife and society and this award is affirmation that these benefits are being recognised nationally. We are very grateful to everyone who has voted for this project.”

Devon-based mammal expert and project partner Derek Gow said:

I am over the moon that the Devon Beaver Trial has been given this recognition. I have worked with this magnificent species for 22 years. It is just brilliant that BBC Countryfile Magazine have recognised the importance of beavers in the presentation of this award.”

Chairman of Natural England, Andrew Sells, said:

I would like to add my congratulations to Devon Wildlife Trust for their work on this programme. Their careful planning and monitoring of England’s first wild population of beavers for 400 years continues to provide us with important evidence on any impacts which a potential reintroduction might have. This is an exciting time for conservation and their award success is a clear indication that many people are very supportive of this scheme.”

It is thought that around 20 beavers now live on the River Otter, which winds its way through 20 miles of East Devon countryside. Last year one breeding pair of the rodents established themselves on land owned by Clinton Devon Estates close to the village of Otterton. Throughout the summer the adults along with their five offspring, known as kits, were seen most evenings. The family drew hundreds of visitors to the area.

The River Otter Beaver Trial receives no government funding. People can learn more about its work, help, and give their support via

Steve Hussey, Devon Wildlife Trust.


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Bideford’s Newfoundland links & the Chope Collection.

Devon has strong historic links with the Canadian Province of Newfoundland dating back to the 16th Century, when boats from local ports sailed to the waters of Newfoundland to fish for cod. Initially men left Devon in April and returned in the autumn, but gradually land bases were established and in 1583 the Devon mariner Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland as the first English overseas colony.

While people in Newfoundland are very aware of their Devon roots, Devonians are less well informed about the link. Indeed most of us would have to ask Google where it is! Bideford of course was a major port in the Elizabethan age, and quickly developed close maritime links with the New World colonies. Importing tobacco was initially the main source of income but the town also gained a large share in the lucrative Newfoundland cod trade, sending out more ships than any other English port except London and Topsham. The fish were sold in southern Europe in exchange for fruit and wine. Bideford pottery for export and provisioning ships was also renowned for several centuries.

If you want to do some reading about this, we have in our Chope Collection in Bideford Library a number of books that cover early Devonian seafarers such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake. We also have a couple about Newfoundland in particular. A History of Newfoundland by D W Prowse 1896 is a fine old book with reproductions of lots of contemporary illustrations and a big fold-out map at the back. (It’s a bit worn, so you’ll need to be careful if you come to have a look at it). There are references to Bideford in the earlier parts of the volume. Westwarde Hoe for Avalon in the New Found Land as Described by Captain Whitbourne of Exmouth Devon 1622 very nearly has a title longer than the book! Published in 1870, it is only 47 pages long and is a transcription with the original Early Modern English spellings preserved of Richard Whitbourne’s accounts of his travels. It is a lovely little book, nicely bound and has beautiful woodcut illustrations.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chope Collection is a collection of books left to the people of Bideford by Richard Pearse Chope (1862-1938). A native of Hartland parish, he was a keen local historian, writer and member of the Devonshire Association. These books are held at the library but they do not belong to the library. They belong to the people of Bideford. They are available for reference only, so why not come in and have a look at them.

Matt Chamings, Bideford Library.


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One hundred years ago – March 2017.

There has been no break in the wintry conditions across the region. The seasonal rise in temperature usually seen during this month was only very slight. Frost and fog have been persistent and snow has fallen on several days – over an inch was recorded nearby at Cullompton and more was seen in South Devon. It has been the coldest and wettest March since 1888.

A Mr Prothero has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking guidance on the question of Sunday working, especially on farms and in the fields because of the expected poor harvest. In his reply from Lambeth Palace Archbishop Randall says that as long as there is no compulsion to work, men and women may, with a clear conscience, work on a Sunday.

Despite the cold an adder was killed in Parkham at Powlers Piece and another at the waterworks at Meddon.

Bideford Guardians now meet monthly, because farming members who are short of labour cannot attend the original fortnightly meetings. During the meeting this month the Board decided to change to margarine instead of the usual butter. At a similar meeting of the Torrington Guardians a review of the weekly allowance for inmates was considered – currently this comprises 6lb 14 ozs bread, 9½ oz cake, 6oz flour, and 1lb 11½ oz meat per week. The Guardians suggest that in view of the recent Food Rations Directive this consumption will have to be cut down.

Addressing the shortage of labour, the Board of Agriculture is releasing nearly 1,000 men for service on the land in Devon. Many of these are Army reservists. No German prisoners are available. Local Farmers requiring help should apply to the clerk to the War Agriculture Committee, Mr W T Braddick, at 25, High Street, Bideford.

Bideford Chamber of Trade hosted an interesting lecture on “The Metric System of Weights and Measures” given by Mr Cecil J Smith. At the closure the Mayor, Mr Chope, proposed a resolution in favour which was defeated amidst laughter , much reluctance, and outright hostility.

Property for Sale this month: ‘The Oak’ in Fore Street, Northam, currently occupied by James Chapple, and a field also in Northam known as Lords Meadow, in the tenancy of John Penhorwood.

On 27th March the usual timetable for the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway appears on the front page showing train times up to 31st May. However in the Western Express & Weekly News dated 31st March this Notice appeared indicating that the service had already ceased.


The Archive is preparing an exhibition about the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway and have already received postcards not previously published. If you have any memorabilia or items of interest, we would be pleased to borrow them.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – March.

A belated happy and prosperous 2017 to everyone. This year I plan to visit the fish festivals in Devon and along the north coast – there will be 3 spaces in my car, so come along. Please contact me or the editor. The first in April will be the Crab Festival in Salcombe, (Mary Berry’s holiday home!) then Westward Ho! Fish Festival in May, and then the Seaweed Festival in Clovelly in June.

March has 2 national saints’ days! ; St David’s Day on March 1st and St Piran’s Day on March 5th. This recipe combines both leeks, symbol of Wales, and Cornish cauliflower that are in season now. Here is a useful family recipe that also has potatoes – a meal in one pot!

Cheesy Smoked Haddock, Cauliflower and Leek Bake. (4/8 servings).

Ingredients. 2 small/medium peeled potatoes, cut into small cubes.

1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets.

1 or 2 leeks chopped into small rings (more leeks for more people!).

300ml pouring cream and 1 heaped tbsp. cornflower.

100gm Cheddar or Gouda cheese, coarsely grated.

2 tbsp. chopped parsley and 2 tbsp. snipped chives.

500g/1lb+natural smoked haddock (or pollack, whiting, hake), skinned and cut into pieces.

Black Pepper for seasoning and Paprika for dusting.

Butter or oil for greasing dish.

Method. 1.Preheat the oven to 200C/180Cfan/Gas 6 and use a shallow oven proof dish.

2.Put the potato cubes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil approx. 5 mins and then add cauliflower, and then leeks for a further 4 mins. Drain well and allow to dry in a large colander. Tip into a greased dish and season with pepper.

3. Measure the cornflour into a bowl, pour in the cream, add some salt and pepper and stir to combine.

4. Scatter half the cheese over the cauliflower, leeks and potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle the chopped herbs, then add the pieces of smoked fish, so they cover the top as an even layer. Pour the cream mixture all over the top and down through the veg. Scatter the remaining cheese and dust with a little paprika.

5.Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the top is light brown. Serve with extra warmed cream if required.

Next month – Devon Newfoundland Story and Salt Cod favourite recipes. Check the lovely programmes available now.

Felicity Sylvester – 07918 779 060.


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Let’s be careful out there – Part 2.


If you’d like to get started on the basics consider –

Home Wi-Fi – change your password away from a factory pre-set (i.e. the label on the back), as these are published on the dark web and are easy to find. (Your broadband site will have guidance on this).


Password99’ or ‘123abc’ common-type passwords can be cracked in seconds.

Change all of your passwords. (There are government approved sites where you can check the strength of a password – don’t use a real one, just test the structure). These sites will give advice to use lots of different random letters and symbols (hard to remember) or longer phrases, that when typed with no spaces are still strong but may be more memorable, perhaps as in a favourite breakfast ‘CornflakesTeaToastJam’.

Record your passwords securely – use a trusted encrypted password app such as ‘Last Pass’ or a similar trusted app (lots of reviews availablea) and find one that is recommended through the website.

Systematically record all your digital assets – hardware devices, subscriptions that you pay for, utilities/ banking that you use on line, digital photos, important files….whatever it is. (Don’t write down the passwords!).

Then imagine 1) that you’ve been burgled and all your hardware is taken, 2) that your system has been hacked and ‘identity stolen’.

In each case, who do you have to call to cancel/block accounts, or to regain control?

How do you prove that you are ‘you’ if the hacker now controls your email accounts?[tip – landline phone is great verification, mobile phone pretty good but not flawless, physical letters(?), attendance in person at your bank(?)]

How can you replicate what has been lost? (Cloud storage, duplicating your PC? Or separate USB or backup drive where you’ve backed up photos etc.? – kept away from your other hardware to minimise the chances of a burglar stealing it too).

Harm caused and how to minimise this?

Online banking – use credit cards (they have better fraud protection) and have a bank account used only for online purchases where the provider insists on an account. Use strong passwords and do not use public Wi-Fi without encrypting your connection (they can capture every keystroke, including your bank log in and password) – consider using a VPN (‘virtual private network’).

Talk to your family about sensible precautions and make sure everyone takes care (you being safe is little use if someone else then lets a virus onto your computer that takes it over.)

Emails– what do you send/receive? Would it be embarrassing/ damaging professionally if it became public? …most email systems are very insecure – assume they are not safe.

You can take time to encrypt all emails (fairly common now), or simply use good discretion.

Do not trust any email attachments (this is where the malware sits) and remember that all email headers and appearances can be faked exactly like the real thing (a phishing email) – it will look like it’s from your bank, the only giveaway is within the extended email header (technical).

Be careful in your main email account and set up ‘disposable’ email accounts to share when you have to sign into things or log into Wi-Fi etc.; then if these get sold on/ shared (and then hit with spam and phishing attacks) you can simply close it down and set up another.

Social media – what are you (and family) sharing?

Personal/ risqué/ banking info/ your address (or means or locating you)/ job, children’s schools?

Make sure your privacy settings are on, review your online footprint, discuss safe habits with family (and friends) too – they may take a picture of you in the pub and tag it exposing you/ your job etc.

Photos on Facebook and social media are not your photos anymore – they belong to FB, Twitter etc.

Social engineering attacks

It’s usually simple to find out something about you – your bank, broadband provider, water/ electricity supplier, a subscription you have – whatever they can find out, can be faked and you may be emailed (often phoned as well) very convincingly – to get you to share passwords or bank details which can be exploited.

Often this will be in stages so that it seems harmless, but put together gives them all they need (‘for security reasons give me the first and third numbers of your pin’….seems harmless? Next call a week later, ‘give me the second and forth numbers of your pin’…harmless? Now they have your entire PIN and can empty your account).

Always decline, get a reference number and call/ email them straight back on a number or email address that you know is genuine (from an older statement maybe?)

Ensure all your software is kept up to date (software patches are almost always to protect against discovered weaknesses/ threats) – but only update from the trusted source (Apple App store/ Microsoft site directly etc.)

Use trusted security software (anti-virus and firewall) – not necessarily paid for, (free software can be good) but research these before using either and start from a trusted industry or government site… to make sure it’s not malware in disguise.

So you are now digitally safe?’….everything has strong passwords, you have anti-malware software running on everything, firewalls, a VPN set up for using public Wi-Fi ; you’ve all your passwords and account details carefully recorded and encrypted in case of emergency, you and your family follow the above steps …

something can still go wrong or slip through at some point.

Assume the worst will happen and that you will have to replace or factory reset one or all of your machines at some point….plan so that this isn’t an irreplaceable loss – treat digital assets as you do physical ones, and if the worst happens retrieve your data from a backup, claim on insurance and move on.

Remember – technology can be great, it’s a huge part of our lives because we want it to be and enjoy it; so find the balance between security and isolation.

Minimise the risk of it happening, the harm it causes if it does, and have a plan…but continue to enjoy the benefits.


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Buzz Byte – antivirus & internet security.


What is the difference between antivirus and internet security; don’t they both protect your computer? I hear you say. Yes they do, but to a different extent.  An antivirus protects your computer from those mean little bugs that can infect your PC and cause it to misbehave. Internet security offers all the features of an antivirus, but with the additional features of a firewall, increased security against Trojans, viruses, and worms, as well as having the capability to detect key loggers and phishing – (obtaining sensitive information for malicious reasons to defraud or perform identity theft.)     The disadvantage of internet security packages is that they require a high usage of memory and CPU (Central Processing Unit ) so will slow down your computer, especially if it is an older model. This is due to the system scans that are performed on a regular basis. It is worth considering the cost as well – anti-viruses are generally cheaper and many can be downloaded for free from the internet – but be careful to use a reputable site or you may infect your PC before you even install an antivirus.

It is a matter of personal choice but if you send and/or receive sensitive data and conduct high level financial transactions over the internet then we would recommended an internet security suite (with a possible memory upgrade).

Any good computer store should be able to advise you, if you are unsure on which protection would be the most appropriate, and on which company to use as there are a myriad of suppliers of software to protect your PC. Some are better then others.

Nickie Baglow. (‘Complete Computing’.)


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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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