Monday, 8 August 2016

Cornish best...

So what was my Cornish best, apart from the beer that is? Not that I want to give the impression that I did nothing on holiday but drink beer – I drank plenty of wine and cider too. I even had the odd piratanical rum. Arrrrrrrrr!

So let's start with the journey down to Cornwall which took twelve hours over the Friday and Saturday because we went Tamar Bridge way and stopped on the Friday night at a Travelodge in Torquay. Faulty Towers was full and I'd like to say the Travelodge was Lenny Henry's fault but he's sold his soul to The Premier Inn Group instead. Besides I bloody booked it and you can't go to Cornwall and not cross the Tamar Bridge can you? Yes you bloody can, there were almost two hour queues at the Bridge.

To be honest the cottage in Cornwall was nice, but I wouldn't book it again. When I booked it I didn't realise it was so close to the owner's place and you felt overlooked at times. Hard for a fully tattooed naturalist like me to relax. The other thing - which many might think a small potato - was that there was no table and chairs in the place and I really don't like eating off a tray on my lap. The cottage would fit one but it would mean rethinking the furniture which was too big for the space. A full report has been sent to the owners entitled 'Feedback' and signed 'Grumpy old git from up north where it's grim but we do eat at tables'.

Much of our time was spent driving to wonderful little coves, looking for a parking space, and then driving away again without stopping. Cornwall has become a big and very full car park interspersed with massive supermarket superstores at every roundabout. They are all there and often within yards of each other - Tesco, Morrison's, Sainsbury, Waitrose, even Lidl. Not good for a man of my age who can't pass a supermarket without mysteriously being drawn in 'just to see what they've got'. As if I didn't already know that supermarkets sell lots of red wine and sausages of every description.

Now, and in retrospect, I wish I had followed my heart and not my wife's ravings and pre-planned the whole week out in tiny detail. If I'd done my research we could have had a perfectly organised and structured week instead of - and I quote - 'Just getting up when we feel like it and seeing what happens'. Well, when you do that nothing happens because you leave too late in the mornings and spend all of your time looking for parking spaces and a nice little pub to get some seafood for lunch which you never find so go hungry.

There were lots of good things though. I had some great pasties and we actually did manage to  happen across a couple of fantastic inns that served beautiful fish and shellfish. I tried lots of Cornish ales and bought gallons of flat cider in overpriced plastic containers with names like ‘Worzelwart’ and ‘Cornish Cudgel’. It tasted great in the sample glass, but not so good when you had a pint of it out of the plastic. I wonder if the cider in the sample glass was really Strongbow?  By the way I made those names up so don’t go looking for it online.

I also went back to some of the haunts of my surf dude teens to hang five and catch a big one (yes, I carved myself a body board out of stone back then) - St Michael's Mount, The North Coast, Falmouth. I wore my blonde wig and a very tight 'Strange Fish' vest that rearranged my fat into a bumpy series of blow up rings - so I think that I got away with it despite not having a board.

I touched the petrified maidens in a stone circle and got in touch with my mystic self. Many would say that most maidens would be petrified of me, but these seemed not to mind the touching. But then they were made of stone. I also stumbled across a few Celtic crosses and generally soaked in the legend that is Cornwall - mainly in pubs drinking fine Cornish ales and wondering where all the pirates were.

Anyway, on the final Friday I realised a long held ambition and went to The Minack Theatre to watch a very nice storytelling of The Tempest. It was what the Cornwall trip was set up for really - at least it was for me. The sun shone, the Atlantic backdrop was deep blue, the open air theatre just magic, and the cheap bubbles I brought along nicely cheap and bubbly. A perfect morning really. I couldn't have wished for more. I even found myself smiling, laughing and joining in. I don't know if you know about the Minack, lots of people don't, but if you get the chance then check it out. It is one of those places.

On the final day, which was really that Friday because (despite having the rights to the cottage until noon on Saturday) we had to leave early to drive home and avoid being on the road after dark, the usual happened. As we drove along that evening 
we found the beach that we should have found the first Sunday we were there. Why does that always seem to happen? Just as you are about to leave you happen into somewhere you could have spent a lot more time enjoying just when you only have a few hours to enjoy yourselves left. On this occasion it was Praa sands which didn't even appear on my map. Saturday was spent in the car on the M5/M6 for eight hours travelling home and wondering where the time had gone so quickly. 

So all in all I score my holiday 8/10 and really only knocked down by the two really wet and foggy days (Monday and Tuesday) and the parking (oh, and that table and chairs thing). Cornwall is as nice as ever, adding to my quandary about what to do with the rest of this life of mine. Now I'm home I still have to deal with all the shit that I had to deal with before I went away and I still feel the need for a massive change without the energy or the courage to make it.

And with that I'm off for a beer.

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