The next events of which I am aware are the AGM of the Victorians, and then Christmas! The AGM of the Ilfracombe Victorian and Steampunk Celebration will take place in Pip & Jim’s Hall from 7pm on Thursday 26th October. All who are interested in maintaining and improving the celebration are welcome. We will be electing a committee: if you feel you have anything to contribute, perhaps you might consider whether you could join. If not, how about joining the Friends?
Just about one month later, on Friday 24th November, we begin Ilfracombe’s Winter Wonderland, with the High Street Lighting the Lights. Last year saw a marked improvement in the lights and this year should be even better. Come sunshine, rain, hail, snow or hurricane, Santa promises to do his best to be there. I hope you will be also. Lighting the Lights is an event I have always looked forward to, and, in the years I have been coming to it, it seems to have become more and more popular, culminating in last year when the town was packed!
Santa will also be travelling around town during December, so watch out for announcements of all of these events.
If you go to Wetherspoons, be sure to pick up a copy of the Autumn edition of Wetherspoons News. There is a nice little article about Victorian Week in our town.
After almost every event we hold in this town, someone complains that they missed it because they had not heard about it in advance. To be honest, advertising events is a problem. The major ones tend to be mentioned in the Journal or the Gazette, but not always in advance, and probably event organisers could be more assiduous about letting these local papers know. However, these papers cover the whole of North Devon and not everyone will be interested in the goings on in our little town, so the space they can devote to us is limited. And, of course, not everyone reads the Journal and not everyone gets the Gazette. Most events tend to put up banners, generally on the railings in the High Street across the road from Marlborough Road and often up near Tesco: not much use if you do all your shopping in Barnstaple, but, perhaps,. If you do all your shopping in Barnstaple, you deserve to miss what we put on in Ilfracombe!
The answer, if you know anyone who is unaware of what is going on, is to suggest that they make an effort to pick up a copy of Focus – this tends to list everything going on in town, including much that is too local to be of interest to readers outside the town. It’s available from many places, including the Medical Centre.
Of course, Focus is good for much more than just telling us what is on. It begins with a journey to the past from the Museum and ends with some tales from old newspapers, plus a lot more. Dave Griffin has a regular column there and this month tells us why he cancelled his holiday abroad and will be enjoying the delights of Britain instead. I won't repeat what he says, but must add that there is an additional reason for anyone who is in any way disabled avoiding flying – our treatment at the major airports is a disgrace, especially on returning to Britain. I have been left, feeling like an unwanted package, for over an hour in a transit zone waiting for someone to take me to the exit. Other countries handle the matter so much better. Why can't we?
Newspapers inevitably focus on what is new, and so old stories quickly disappear, even if to those affected they still go on. Marcus Hutchins is no longer headline news, but I urge you not to forget him, our neighbour in Ilfracombe. He is stuck thousands of miles away in a foreign country, forbidden to return home, and facing an uncertain future, with a court appearance scheduled for October. You may think that the USA is not so foreign given that we share the same language, but, in terms of culture, we are far closer to continental Europe, even though our languages are different. If you have been following my blog, you will know that I believe Marcus is probably innocent, and I have heard from many who know him personally (as I do not) that they cannot believe him to be guilty of the crimes with which he has been charged.
I am not a newspaper, and so I can and will go on talking about those matters that interest or disturb me, even when they are no longer hot news. So I hope you will forgive me if I continue to mention Marcus in future blogs, even if there is nothing new to say!
Finally, The Tubby Foundation has picked two very worthy, but very different, recipients of bursaries this year. Kai Tooley is going to UWE Bristol to study Games Technology. This is a subject in which Britain has been among the world leaders for many years, and I am sure that Kai will be a future major worker in that field.
Jeremy Bailey will be taking a three-year, Paramedic Science degree at Oxford Brookes University, something which we should all applaud.
You may have noticed that the recipients of bursaries for the last two years have all been men. I can assure you that there is no gender bias – of the 6 trustees who decide who gets the bursaries, only two are male. The reason is simply that no women have applied in the last two years. I have no idea why. Although, in my day, science tended to attract vastly more men than women, I believe that is no longer the case. Believe me, any women who apply in future will be looked on no less favourably than men. I don’t believe, in general, in positive discrimination – positive discrimination for one class means negative discrimination for another, but I do believe strongly in equal treatment for all.