All Aboard the Cafe Boat.
For the last few months Hertford has been periodically graced with the presence of this fantastic riverboat cafe. I had passed it several times while walking home or to Hartham Common and had heard about it from other, local residents, but was never able to stop and check it out for myself. Last Saturday, however, my schedule was wide open and I was finally able to climb aboard.
And here's the owner! His name is Phil - we had a little chat while my freshly ground coffee was brewing. He explained that he had always wanted to own a cafe, but that the idea for the cafe boat only came to him two years ago after he went on a boating holiday and fell in love with life on the river. He finally got up and running last spring and has since been travelling up and down the River Lea serving tea and coffee to anyone who is curious enough to stop in.
The cafe boat is wider than most riverboats. Guests can sit inside, around a large table or outside if there is enough deck space for a cafe table and chairs. The boat is also clearly marked as a cafe. It has several tea pots adorning the roof and one over-sized tea cup holding a garden light at the back. Phil's cafe is one of the few of it's kind in England, and the only one you'll find along the Lea until London - at least according to the owner.
It certainly is unique, anyway. Not to mention charming. Plus Phil is unbelievably accommodating. When I asked if he would be in Hertford during the week, he suggested that I take his phone number so that I could call to see if he was in town. I guess this is only courtesy, though, as he tends to move around a lot. Often people have discovered the boat and gone home to invite a friend to tea, only to find him gone or out when they return later that day.
Set up like a queen!
When I asked Phil if I could sit outside,
he brought out a cushy armchair and my own tea tray.
It really was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday - especially with the sun making a strong, surprise appearance. Let's just say that my sweater dress was not the best choice. I will definitely be making as many return trips as possible before the weather turns frosty. That will be far too soon, I fear.
On a random side note, I'd like to take this time to raise a point that may or may not have been noticed. That is the issue of my probably inconsistent spelling. I swear that I do know how to spell - in fact, I was a pretty strong spelling bee contestant in my day. Unfortunately, after studying in England for a year I've been beaten into spelling like the Brits. My spell check, however, is still very American, as are many of my readers. Therein exists the huge potential for a variety of letter arrangements and punctuation placements. For this, I truly do apologise.