Yesterday, Friday, I went off with 'Poppy' on the ebb tide at half past nine in the morning and came home with the flow of the tide at half past seven. It was a long day of glorious sunshine with light winds, first from the north and then from the south. For me it was a wonderfully aimless day of just messing about in the boat, than which, as every schoolboy knows, 'there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing.'
At lunchtime, however, I discovered that I had failed to pack the flask of coffee which I had carefully prepared so I went to see what the new 'River Exe Café' had to offer by way of libation. I had been keeping an eye on this amazing building rising from the Exe without knowing what it was about. It floats just off Starcross like the Ark, as though some latter day Noah was taking global warming very seriously.
The construction is somehow very pleasing. Everything is of timber. A deck about 80' by 60' has been laid on two canal barges and a sizeable hut has been built on it. A strip of landing stage is attached. It is such a fantastic project, so brilliantly conceived and executed that it deserves every success.
I was made fast alongside by a helpful hand and went aboard beneath a flutter of brave bunting. It was lucky for me that only last weekend the Café had received its licence to serve alcohol and I was able to enjoy a pint of cold Yellowhammer beer, brewed by O'Hanlon's in Whimple, with my lunch. It will be a great place for a party. I shall be going there again and taking friends and so, I hope, will many another.