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Published: January 3rd 2009
Drum roll please...yup, this is it, completely out of sync and chronologically challenged...the missing month (ok probably a little more than that if I'm perfectly honest but...ok, I can't lie, not my kind of vice, this is long overdue and I know it). The thing with writing about my trip to Cornwall is that there is so much pressure with this one. See, this one, I promised to print out, pics and all and send to Jenny, the lovely Jenny, hence the pressure to get it right! So, here goes...
First of all, did you know that the Cornish word/name for Cornwall is Kernow? Yup, which, incidentally, every time I think that, reminds me of Cheryl Kernogh...sad, but true.
Anyway, one cold and stormy night...ok, scratch that, it wasn't either, but I really need to remember that line for future entries - winter is on the doorstep and I could actually use that line legitimately. But I digress. One evening after work, one week after my continental sojourn to Paris, I was back at the train station. Yes, a different station, and I had skipped out of work a little early but still; the similarities are there...I promise. After
finding myself in the wrong carriage, thinking that I didn't have a reserved seat and then realising I did only to just stay where I was because, really, who wants to cart their stuff up and down a train (those aisles aren't that big) I was on my way to Cornwall. Now, before I had even left Perth I had been talking to my Nanny May about heading down to Cornwall to visit Jenny, one of her bestest bud's from forever (as in longstanding, not old, before anyone takes offence!). Jenny had been to Australia to visit a few years ago and after showing off my home I couldn't come all this way and not visit. Plus, how else was I going to see the surfing capital of England?
So, kicking back and subtly watching the James Bond flick that the guy in the seat across the aisle and in front of me had on his laptop, the hours passed quite quickly. And before you ask, no, there was no sound, but Bond is Bond. Arriving at the Redruth, I made it off the train to see two very concerned looking ladies. Why is it that whenever I am
being met at the train I end up and the furthest possible part of the train from the main station and everyone thinks that I have missed my train? But, fears soon allayed, I was bundled into big cuddles and soon speeding off to Bracken, Jenny's home in Portreath. After a manic week of work (how did I end up juggling 2 jobs?) and the 5 hour train journey I was finally in Cornwall.
By the way, if you ever take the train to Cornwall, make sure you spend some time looking out of the window...it is truly beautiful.
Now I had been told by pretty much all and sundry that September was the month. The month of the heat wave, when summer decides to stop hiding behind those grey clouds and shine hello. And Saturday was lovely! Driving around, getting oriented, visiting Newquay and driving down the coastal roads, I think I actually caught some sun. And I was adamant that I was going to make the most of the sunshine so with grim determination I braved putting on my bikini, grabbed my towel and headed to the beach. Now for those Aussies that are reading, imagine
a Spring or Autumn day. It’s sunny and not too cold and there isn't any wind and you decide to head to the beach because, let's face it, you haven't been in a while and the idea of seeing the surf crashing on the soft sand and feeling some rays on your skin is pretty appealing. And you know it won't be as crazy busy as it can get because this is just isn't the kind of day that would bring people down. So not really thinking and with my head in that reflective head space that calls for some chill out time at the beach, I turn the corner to, wow, lots of people. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't unhappy about that. I just didn't expect it. For some reason I was in home-mode, while appreciating the sun and the blue skies and the warmth, I had slipped back into normality and didn't even consider for a moment that this was actually a day for celebration. I am a beach worshipper in all seasons, I love it, but normally... well normally, it is just me and some random old dude that you know has swum everyday for
the last 40 years, come rain, hail or shine. But nope, culture shocked again!
So there I am catching some rays, watching the water and subtly eavesdropping on the dudes playing frisbee when I realised, ya huh, even here, there were Australians. Inescapable! I'm sure whoever counts up the census has a broken calculator. Really. How on earth could there be 20 million or so people in Australia if they are all here? Not that I have a problem with that, but it is one of the philosophical questions one has to ask oneself. 😊
Anyway, luckily for me, I took the chance to hang out with Mr. Sun when I did because for the rest of the week the weather wasn't so hot. At all. But that was ok. Cos I was at the beach! Woo hoo!
But before I digress, the previous Monday was actually my birthday, which I spent by taking myself out for a glass of red and updating my journal. Which wasn't as sad as it sounds, especially after having spent the weekend frolicking around Paris. So, what better way to celebrate and to enjoy finally making it to Cornwall than to
Can tell where her priorities are!
have a bbq. Not just any bbq, we escaped to a fairy wonderland, complete with candles and our own bonfire. As you can tell from the photos...well maybe, this was super cool. Watching the stars come out, sitting by the fire and to top it all off, the two cheeky ladies, as they will now be named, conspired against me, to bring out a birthday cake, complete with singing candle! This was the best chocolate ginger cake in the world!!!! Yummy! And, I got to play at fire starter!
Relaxing on Sunday morning, a stroll on the beach was in order. As you can seen from the pictures, the coastline is gorgeous, even on an overcast day. And, to add to my cultural disorientation, there were lifeguards. And no, not because I was all a-flutter with the thought and sight of some hunky lifeguards, it was the imagery - and we don't even have lifeguards on the beaches I normally visit in WA! In normal Sunday morning style, what a better idea than than to relax after a walk along the beach with a cup of coffee and stare out at the waves, in that hypnotic fashion that only
the ocean can inspire. So Nan and I popped into the nearest cafe...for a flat white! Now, that may sound a little ridiculous to most of you, given that the flat white is a staple for you but it doesn't really exist in real coffee making terms. You have espresso, macchiato (mmmn), latte and so on. So, you don’t find them on the menu. Clearly the aforementioned Aussies that are taking over Cornwall have had an impact. A flat white was definitely on the cards for me - a shot of coffee without the gallons of milk that are in a latte...yay! And, I have to say...it was fabulous... Thinking about it now, one of my favourite things about travelling is exploring different foods and how that fits into culture, and although you try not to, you can't help but unconsciously compare things to what you are used to, if only to give things a frame of reference. And, when you accidently come across a taste or flavour from home you can't help but be a little excited. If only I could get that chocolate ginger cake home though...!
The rest of my trip to Cornwall was super relaxing,
just kicking back with Nan and Jenny, giggling a lot and taking in the sights. I’m thinking that next time I am in the area, some more exploration of St Ives maybe on the cards, as well as another trip to Rowena Cade’s magnificent amphitheatre, built into the cliffside, the Minack Theatre. This is a spectacular venue, if you ever get the chance to go, make sure you do, even if you don’t see a production, you can visit the theatre and adjoining gardens during the day. At night, with all the lights sparkling like fireflies, I couldn’t help feeling a little like I had been plonked right into Elvendar…or at least the LOTRs set! We saw the Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Group’s production of ‘The Yeoman of the Guard’, which, despite have no idea what to expect, was really well done. Luckily the sun went down though otherwise I think the view may have provided some stiff competition.
Driving along the twisty, turny, hilly route, it was hard not to see where the tales of Camelot, Arthur and Merlin come from. The green and the stone and the seemingly unending undulations, along with the setting sun and
the view of St Michael's Mount, alone, surrounded by all that water, can’t help but set the scene for magnificent storytales… “As…You…Wish!”
Of course, being in Cornwall, I indulged in a couple of pasties…I think my travels may have become an excuse for eating pastry! The pasty has evolved from a simple coalminer’s supper to a £150 million a year industry. That’s, even with the fluctuating exchange rate, quite incredible. Take that, Mrs. Macs!
I also made it to the Eden Project, via train and bus, despite Jenny’s best attempts at providing me with a driver (!). If you don’t think plants are interesting, than this probably isn’t the place for you, although the setting and the dome’s could be enough to swing your thinking. These have been constructed within what was formerly a clay mine, rehabilitating the site to this magnificent botanical garden, providing not only great examples of sustainable gardening, but showcasing plants from a variety of ecosystems…even eucalypts! The larger dome houses the tropical ecosystem, and towards the top of the dome it definitely gets pretty hot…reminded me of Darwin in the wet season.
Now, Cornwall is renowned for the beaches, and surfing. Shocked as most
people I’ve met on my travels are, I can’t surf, I’ve never even attempted to. Despite that, I don’t think I saw any waves that would have been a huge rival to Cottesloe, let alone Marg’s…but 10 points for getting in that water time after time, even with a wet suit. After my trip to the Eden Project I took myself off to the beach, determined that, as it was summer, I had to get in the water. Sitting on the beach, looking out across the ocean I couldn’t help but think about the shores of home. Strange to think that these waters at some point reach home. But I digress. Watching as the lifeguard hopped into his ute and drove up to the surf hut, I stripped down to my bikini and headed to the water. Funnily, the lifeguard must have seen me and immediately u-turned back down the beach. Clearly, with my pasty skin and nervous approach I didn’t look like a swimmer, let alone an Australian! Not to mention the fact that the water was so cold, after a couple of minutes of splashing around I realised that I couldn’t feel my legs, that I felt rather
like my heart was about to stop and that if I didn’t get out, I might in fact need that lifeguard. But, invigorated, and strangely warm, sitting on the beach I could officially tick that one off the list - check: swim in the sea, in England, in ‘summer’. And Steve, before you say anything… there is no way you are getting me in the sea up in Scotland!
Speaking of my Scottish friends, after my Cornish adventure, I spent the weekend before I returned to work, kicking back in a strangely sunny London-town, sipping wine on the Thames and watching squirrels scampering around St James Park... definately not a bad end to my little holiday...
For the ultra speccy photos and the low down on the bits and bobs I've been rambling about:
And...if you are ever in Cornwall, near Portreath, make sure you keep an eye out for Jenny and say hi. She will be the cheeky one, and I expect, she will teach you a thing or two! At the very least, she will be able to point you in the direction of the best chocolate ginger birthday cake ever!!! Thanks
Jenny xxx 😉
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