Special Dispatch: Darts Farm, Topsham, Exeter
by Armand Croissant
I have over-indulged on port. Somehow, I do not know, I have ended up, driven in a battered Mercedes, in a curious place. I cannot remember how we got here. I am suspicious. There is no noise, apart from a gentle hum of conversation. I look around.
What brave new world is this? What sweet airs, what delights? I am Caliban – and also Miranda – bewitched by teetering piles of produce so fresh and clean it seems as if, Eden-like, it sprang from the ground without anything so vulgar as labour coming into the equation; and what is this? A café! But there is something wrong – nobody is jostling, or swearing; the waiters have their faces contorted into what I believe is called a ‘smile’. Our food arrives not, as is customary, twenty-seven minutes after we have sat down, but, even though the place is crammed, within three or four. O miraculous salmon, sliced pink and new, mating eternally with the creamy, succulent egg! O substantial toast, crackling nicely between my teeth, grainy and buttered! O sausage-sliced-in-half-lengthways, nestling between two snow-white slices of bread! O elegant teapot, oh abundant water, oh, oh, oh (as Molly Bloom would have it). Is this the future? What is going on? Am I dreaming? Have I been transported into outer space?
I ask a grizzled local. Thiz bain’t ‘eaven, he says. It be Devon.