Normally, my wife and I are early-risers. But England seemed to demand a different schedule. So it was that we arrived in Bideford shortly before noon. We left our car in a park, and as we stretched our legs, we came across an old barge along the river. It advertised good hot food, which is always attractive come lunchtime, so we walked onboard.
We could have eaten inside, but it was nice outside. So we decided to emulate the English, and dine alfresco whenever the weather allowed.
It seemed a rather ironic place for Amyas Leigh to dream of a seafaring life at the beginning of Westward Ho!, given the low level of the River Torridge.
On the other hand, the low river thrust those white houses Charles Kingsley described to the forefront. It was easy to imagine Amyas growing up in one of those, with his quiet but religious mother, and his much smarter brother Frank, who would grow up to tutor the children of wealthy families, and serve in Queen Elizabeth's court.
While we ate, the tide came in. As the river swelled, the birds came too. The strong current, lapping against the river bed, served as gentle accompaniment to the calls of the birds. Seagulls flew, ducks swam, and the houses across the river, surrounded by verdant greens, grew even more picturesque.
There was so much I yearned to explore in Bideford, as well as the rest of this northern corner of Devon. I had done lots of research, and here was my chance to see it all! But part of a vacation is the idea of relaxing, just taking it easy. And then there is the subject of sketching. I'm not saying I'm a great artist, or that I ever will be. But I had vowed to do more sketching on this vacation. Still, I had to make a choice. Should I take it easy, and enjoy the scenic splendor of my riparian roost? Or should I abandon the nest, and camera in hand, strut my San Diego stuff through beautiful Bideford? In the words of The Clash: "Should I stay or should I go now?"
Westward Ho! Go Go GO! Yes Yes YES? Or no No NO?
What would you do?