Topsham 2 : the bells….the bells !
WABI”’ is now in her temporary mud berth well on the inside of the little marina at Trout’s boatyard in Topsham. As far as i can see she will only float for some tides and almost certainly not at neaps : later in the year Mark (boss) is going to move me into a finger pontoon so that i can get in and out more easily. Currently what i will have to do is come out of that berth near to a high water spring and go out to a mooring as and when i want to go sailing in the Exe and then come back in at another high water….got some working out to do to plan the Autumn cruising.
Now i can’t say that i hadn’t noticed the big church behind the boat but what i didn’t realise is that they really like ringing their bells !…..maybe it was a one-off or maybe it was their practice night but that last night they had a right old noisy session. Every time i thought “that must be it now” they would have a quick break and then off they went again until they came to a final jangling climax (ooh-er) just before 2100 and ringing just one bell to tell us that it was 9 o-clock and time for them to go home.
Today i had a walk up the river as far as the other boatyard and where the M5 crosses the river and a wander around the village itself. I can’t say that the other boatyard was particularly friendly and they want to charge a ridiculous amount to lift WABI”’ for a scrub/antifoul and re-launch so when i need to do it i won’t be doing it there.
Walking back down the river along the narrow path there is a wall separating the footpath from the first line of houses and many of them have gates onto the path and either a landing stage or launching ramp for boats through the extensive reed-bed. Further down the river there are extensive mud flats, reed beds and marsh areas with look-outs for the twitchers….while i was there a whole group of them were getting over excited about having seen something ( a bird i think !)
As you would expect i had a good look at the boats on the river as its definitely a small boat kind of place : i may have mentioned earlier that there is a strong Devon Yawl fleet here and the class has its own ‘captain’ at the sailing club. This little gaffer caught my eye although i have to admit that i wouldn’t want a mooring as close to the motorway as that. There are moorings right up to the bridge and a few beyond but that’s as far as i explored today. One feature i did notice is that the playing field seems to have an adult exercise course with useful stuff like dip bars and the like , i haven’t seen one of those for years still in use.
The village itself is a really quirky but attractive place with some nice looking (expensive) shops, little lanes and alleyways and a really odd mixture of styles and ages of buildings. There isn’t one cohesive style in the older buildings like say there is further down in the west-country where many are built from the local stone….rather some are brick, some wood clad and painted. I must say that i definitely like it.
Very good coffee shop !
Just next to the town quay is an east coast barge being rebuilt which looks like a big project . There was nobody around that i could talk to today. Some time if i can get some history and some details it will make a great blog feature : for now all that i know is that the barge is called Vigilant, she was a working barge and then a houseboat and is being turned back into a barge again.
I can’t say that i did very much today except that i took some time to sit and work up a new defects and ommissions list of essential jobs : i did a couple of useful jobs and went and spent some cash on a new chart of the river and a new longer bow-line. For now i am happy that i have escaped Plymouth again and that the boat is somewhere that i think i will enjoy : i can well imagine having WABI” in this area for the autumn and winter as the estuary and river will be partially sheltered from the open sea and it should be a nice place just to go and stay aboard. Topsham isn’t that far away and not that long a drive, its definiteley a shorter drive than was getting to Falmouth . I think i will be staying here until next spring when i will wait for better conditions to leave and sprint across Lyme bay and the next section of the voyage which i envisage as being Weymouth-Poole-Soylent-Chichester next year.