The day: Sunday. Our mission: to swim from Aveton Gifford to Bantham, down the Avon estuary. Taking part: a motley crew of women and children armed with surfboards, dinghies, one blow-up armchair and one inflatable banana. The idea was that we would drift in a leisurely fashion on the outward tide, languidly floating down the river. In reality there was a very strong wind against us, and quite low water, so there was much paddling and wading. Highlights: the swallows swooping down on us, flashing their iridescent blue plumage; the herons; and the sand on the bottom swirling through the light as we neared the beach, after our two and a half hour odyssey.