Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Racing Pigeons and Rugby Stars

With only a single nephew left as crew my mate and I set off westwards at 8 am to catch the tide at Portland Bill, and managed to sail past on a dead run with a reasonable light breeze before the tide turned. Lyme Bay was misty and we could only faintly see the shore at times.

We were suddenly joined by an exhausted racing pigeon coming home from France which landed on our jib sheet. I captured it gently between my two palms and brought it to sit on the deck where we fed and watered it. As we sailed further from land, we offered it a cardboard box in which to shelter. Some time later we had another visitor, this time flying straight at us from the Dorset shore. This pigeon, more Trafalagar Square than the elegant purple and russet French arrival strode round the deck before perching in the anchor windlass and eventually flying on south. Finally sailed into Dartmouth to be greeted by the wonderful sight of two dolphins cutting twin black bladed curves in the entrance. We berthed in Kingswear marina in lovely evening sunshine, enjoying the steep terraces of colourful houses reflected in the still water.

We caught the ferry to Dartmouth to stroll the streets, enjoying the lovely buildings and the old quayside station, now a restaurant. Nearby my nephew was delighted to see a pale blue VW camper van, back open to reveal a chic kitchen, with a film crew.

He immediately went over to ask to pose for a photo with the chef who was tidying up the remains of a crab and a delicious looking mayonnaise.

I took photos only to discover that the chef, was actually captain of the English rugby team, and much, much revered. Autographs kindly provided to queues of little boys and girls too. He is doing a series on cooking round the coast with local chefs.

To top off my nephew’s surprise we later bumped into one of his Shrewsbury school friends.

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