Went to Langstone today, one of the prettiest villages on Chichester Harbour or anywhere else for that matter, for a meet of the UK Home Built Boat Regatta. The weather forecast was vile, predicting rain and high winds in the afternoon, so only Chris Waite and his partner Ruth were there. They were finishing their lunch in the Royal Oak, a very attractive pub, so I got Snarleyow off the trailer, plonked her on the foreshore halfway between the water and the high tide mark, and popped in for a quick pint of delicious Ruddles County and a natter.
And, of course, time went by. And I glanced out of the window and saw Snarleyow drifting off in the general direction of Emsworth...
I leapt out of the pub, briefly contemplated wading out but decided she was already too far out to avoid a swim, which I really did not want to do. Happily, she was heading due east so she would probably come ashore soon.
Chris went off in pursuit while I went to the car to retrieve that most essential instrument in any salvage operation, my mobile phone. So when I eventually caught up, Snarleyow had come aground after about half a mile and Chris had nobly and valiantly, in the teeth of a bitter sou'westerly, rolled his trousers up and gone in to secure the vessel. His absence from the New Year's Honours list is, frankly, a national scandal.
I rowed back. It was brisk but very enjoyable. I could have taken a spin round the harbour but decided to quit while my luck was still holding.