Hearsay11 Ray Demelweek

Steer and Rundle were still together in the afternoon of Compton’s departure to Kingsbridge.

"I wonder how she'll fare?"

"Seems a barmy idea to me. I'd rather she'd been towed out to sea and scuppered."

They stood on the cobbled quayside of Bayard’s Cove and continued their reflections. Behind them a plaque commemorated the visit of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, en route to America.

"I doubt if Old Compton will get a plaque like that."

“I doubt it too. Why did they stop off ‘ere when they’d only just left Plymouth?”

“ Dunno.”

They were walking along the quayside up towards the higher ferry, agreeing a paddle steamer was for voyaging on not for drinking tea from. But there was still a kind of relief that her days were not yet numbered.

“See over there,” said Barratt.

Moored nearby was another paddle boat. Like Compton Castle this one’s future was uncertain. P S Totnes Castle looked a very strange sight. She too had been the subject of an inspection and the repairs she needed were too expensive.



“She’s been bought by a sailing school.”

Her new life was to be an accommodation vessel and the large white superstructure being erected on her decks would accommodate 38 people; a kind of floating hostel on the River Dart.

"That's another daft idea."

The two men agreed and continued walking on by the quayside.

“ Who was that bloke you said good day to when we was lookin’ at the Totnes? I recognised ‘im but couldn’t place ‘im.”

“Ray, the scrap man. That was Ray Demelweek.”

Presently they turned left and, together, strolled back towards the town.