Monday, 5 April 2010


From the Exmouth Journal, July 1908.

“…A party of Exonians who were on a visit to Exmouth, last Saturday, had a novel, if not disagreeable, experience of “navigating” on their own account. They hired a boat, just as others did, and went out for a short trip on the “briny.” But shortly afterwards, when somewhere between the Exmouth beach and the Warren, they found their own united strength more feeble than that of Old Neptune, and eventually were cast upon a sandbank! The boat by this time was also accommodating the water and of help their (sic) was none to be had.

Two of the passengers sacrificed comfort for the sake of their companions by jumping out, and , up to their waists in water, they succeeded in safely towing the craft away, a landing then being effected. They, however, suffered the disadvantages of wet nether garments, which, rumour says, they dried in the sun, and patiently awaited the consummation of renewed comfort…”

What I like about this story is its pomposity, its intrinsic silliness, its total insignificance and its studied unfunniness. It seems such a strange survival, such a serendipitous find. Thanks to the Exmouth journalist and against all the odds after a hundred and two years we know all we need to know about what happened to some visitors from Exeter on that Saturday in July.

They hired a boat,went aground on a sandbank and two of them had to dry out their trousers. Good, isn’t it!?

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