As a journalist, one of the worst side effects of this blooming pandemic is not being able to get out and meet people 'properly'.
Zoom, teams or whatever website conduit has been a major help during the various Lockdowns and will, no doubt, continue to be the way ahead for many meetings where you spend more time getting to them than actually meeting.
But, and this is no disrespect to Freddie the rocking horse, my companion in the playroom-cum-office for the past 14 months, the novelty is wearing a little thin.
That's why it was great to meet up face-to-face, sorry mask-to-mask, with Trevor Bartlett, Dave Markham and Mark Webber from the Blue Sea Food Company, the other day.
The venue was Molly's over at Paignton harbour and a delicious breakfast bap and cup of coffee.
For me Paignton harbour has always been one of the English Riviera's hidden gems. During my times as a columnist in another life which included a weekly piece just on Paignton, I was always beating the drum about what a lovely, idyllic place it was.
In those days it was about talking to the owners of the TJs restaurant and trying to promote their business and the harbour itself.
TJs is still there and going great guns. So is the charm and much, much more especially when it comes to food and drink.
Blue Sea Food still have a presence there and now they are about to join the food and drink sector on the harbour.
They are opening the Crab & Hammer restaurant which will serve up a mouth-watering menu of shellfish caught by a couple of crabbers owned by the business owners as well as 12 local day boats fishing out of Kingswear and Salcombe.
The opening date is set for July 12 when 'locals and visitors will be able to soak up the majestic beauty of Torbay, taking in the busy comings and goings of a working harbour and celebrate spectacular local seafood on the glorious Paignton harbour.'
Chef John Paul Medhurst will be heading-up the kitchen and says: "I am delighted to be joining the team. I am a real fan of the Torbay area,.
“In terms of what's ethical, the bar has been raised. I’m really looking forward to welcoming guests to what will be a must-visit dining destination with sustainability and humanity at its core.”
Blue Sea Food Managing Director David Markham said: "“There is a great deal of press at the moment about the environmental impact of fishing and indeed the sentience and welfare of seafood. Our aim with Crab and Hammer is to offer the freshest possible seafood, cooked extremely well in a welcoming and casual environment. We are delighted John Paul is on board and look forward to putting Paignton firmly on the foodie map.”
Jack Clarke, Sustainable Seafood Advocate at Marine Conservation Society and Publisher of The Good Fish Guide, said: "We welcome Blue Sea’s efforts to improve the sustainability of their products. We look forward to working together, toward more sustainable crab fishing.”
Crab & Hammer will open in early July, taking bookings from the 12th after a week of soft openings.
The restaurant will make a great addition to what is there already which a lot more than there was during my days of 'Parker on Paignton'
A lot more is also being planned as a rallying call goes out to the community and council to join the party.
More on that, and what massive potential there is for the harbour, later. I don't want to spoil your fun so take a trip over yourself and see what you are missing.
I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised by what the 'hidden gem' has to offer.
And that is something that needs to be addressed at long last if the harbour is to flourish - without losing its natural charm and sparkle, of course
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