>The people of North Devon are an independent lot. It’s not exactly The Wickerman out there, but if they run into a problem they like to fix it in their own way. I was once on a bus that was trundling down a narrow lane. We encountered a Lexus who for reasons only known to its beachball-faced driver refused to obey local convention and back up to a passing place just behind him. Our driver jumped out to have a word, but being ostentaciously blanked by this fool, got back in his cab to ponder his options. And there we might have sat for the rest of the day – if a farmer hadn’t appeared on a quad bike, complete with dog on the back. The farmer had a short chat with our driver and trotted up to Lexus Man – who was by now standing in the lane with his arms folded, still grinning smugly, and wearing sunglasses despite it being almost dark. After a brief but animated chat the farmer punched him squarely on the jaw. Lexus Man picked himself up and hurriedly reversed back to allow a bus full of cheering and jeering passengers on their way.
Most of the pubs (and quite a few houses) in Bideford have distinctive floor tiles, like here at the Kings Arms. These came from an Italian ship which ran aground on The Bar – the notorious reef at the mouth of the Torridge Estuary. In order to be refloated the ship had to have its cargo temporarily brought ashore. Not all the tiles she was carrying made it back to the ship – whether this was legitimate or not depends on who you ask – but it was good news for the publicans of the town who never need to buy a carpet again.