Monday, 5 October 2009


I have misjudged the tide but that's no matter. My boat is still leaning awkwardly on the mud but I can soon walk out to her in my short boots and clamber aboard. Once one saw a lot of longbooted walkers and waders out to boats who did not want to waste a moment of the tide. My father used to wade out to his 'punt' relying on a boathook to give him a third leg. This word 'punt' in local usage was given to the open, estuary built, clinker fishing boats of fifteen or sixteen foot, such boats as , in the days of the fishing fleet, carried the men out to their moored craft.

I sit in my stranded boat as though I were a child playing some game of the imagination and for a moment I consider that there might be something ridiculous about sitting in a boat that is lying high and dry and on her side. I have, however, already pushed that thought to the back of my consciousness for there is much to do. I have carried a few unwelcome pints of Exe mud into the boat on my boots and the seagulls have left a spattering of lime on the thwarts and there is some bailing out to be done and fishing lines to be rewound and any amount of cleaning up and tidying ship and squaring things away. It is amazing how much can be found to be done in such a small boat

Meanwhile the water is already lapping around Poppy's keel and there is a breeze and the air is fresh and the banks are fast disappearing and the gulls are wailing, mourning the loss. A little more general boatkeeping and now the tide is under my boat and she has steadied and I can feel her waking from her slumber. I slip her mooring and set my one sail and my Poppy tries but fails to pull herself into the flood. I poke with an oar, usually too early, but eventually she slides and bumps into deeper water and catches the breeze and wings away to glory.

Tomorrow: Back to the Warren.

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