Friday, July 07, 2006

A swift look at Cornwall

I'm going to show a few pictures and tell a couple of tales, but I can't do the full show and tell here, folks. We're having a party tomorrow (haha, welcome to my home, don't trip over anything, and you'll have to wash your own dishes...). Yesterday I did about half the laundry, and it took all day. Jeez Louise...

Anyways, let's see how quick and succinct I can be here. First, a complaint: On their web page, Ryanair does not list knitting needles as forbidden items (but no crampons, darts, harpoons or ice picks, please) but the security folks at Stansted won't let them through. A whole hour each way with no knitting. (And then I checked the Air Canada page and they do have a little picture of dangerous knitting needles! A whole flight across the Atlantic with no knitting!? I'll figure something out! Pencils will do!)

But, okay, I'm being succinct. Succinctly, we shoulda taken the train! Flying seems cheap, when the tickets are 14p each, but with all the extra charges, and with the savings of our family railcard, I think it would have worked out about the same. And it seems fast, except that you have to hang around at the airport for hours before the flight and get to the airport and all. When we were leaving Penzance to get back to the Newquay airport, we figured that the train we started out on would get to London at about the time the plane was taking off from Newquay.

Ah well, let's have some pretty pictures...

These are some shells on some beach. I'm all ready for August, when Project Spectrum goes neutrals! Great colours here. The infinite variety of Nature and all that.

We went to lots of beaches, and I believe this is Fistral Beach, the surfing beach in Newquay. (They've been surfing here since "1966" as it says on the van!) There are plenty of beaches on this twisty turny coast. In the morning we did the "swimming beach" which had a mysterious tunnel with a locked door at the end, presumably once used for smuggling barrels of brandy in. Now, judging by the debris found, it is apparently used for drinkin' beer and playin' cards! This was also the beach where a seagull flew right up and snatched a baguette out of Elaine's hand! Practically right out of her mouth! Then, of course, that seagull was pursued by every other seagull on the beach, and who knows what happened to the bread.

But later that first day we went to this other beach covered with surf dudes (please tell me that in California, the surf dudes do not have 3 inches of Calvin Klein underwear sticking up out of their saggy-baggy shorts!) and dudettes. Arthur got wet, and then lay down and made an angel in the sand. Lovely. There were not only stretches of smooth sandy beach, but also some cool rocks to clamber around on, with tide pools and hiding places.

Day 2, Tintagel, birthplace of King Arthur and spectacular rock. Apparently there was a fire on the site about 20 years ago, and then archeologists started looking around more, finding expensive imported wares from Africa, dating back almost to Roman times. So someone big and rich and important lived here. Since the castle now looks like nothing more than a few piled up rocks, Elaine was miffed, to say the least. "It's not a real castle! They say it's a castle but it's nnnnnoootttttt!" It is, however, very steep and high and covered in wildflowers and there's a cave and a great coastline and really, it's very impressive.

Next day, off to Falmouth. The harbour is full of big and small boats. There was a Russian "tall ship" in. We spent the afternoon at the Maritime Museum, which was great. Go there! There were lots of actual boats to admire, both in the water and out, and little toy ones to sail on a windy sea, and a lifeboat to pose in! There was an exhibit about endurance at sea, telling the stories of people who, intentionally or not, found themselves stuck in the Pacific in a dinghy or something!

We managed to plan our Cornwall vacation to take in a friend's wedding. It was in a wee little church, in a wee little town. A bat flew out of the belfry when the bellringers started up!

After the wedding, we headed to Penzance. More beaches, pasties, caves for smugglers. And no report would be complete without a posting box! I took lots of postal pictures on this trip, but I'll spare you most of them.

We went to the Admiral Benbow, the pub which figures in Treasure Island. It was full of nautical stuff, like figureheads, bits of sterns, ships' steering wheels, ropes and pirates and things all over! And good burgers, too.

We spent our last day on a bus trip which took us to Land's End. Really, Land's End is a bit of rock that sticks out a bit farther than all the other bits of rock along that coast. But in case that is not thrilling enough, there's a hotel there, amusements of all sorts, audio-visual displays and tourist traps galore. And "talking telescopes" which tell you all about the lighthouses, shipwrecks, birds and whatever. We could still see part of a ship that ran aground here in 2003, carrying tonnes of scrap plastic from cars. Ick.

I wish we had had more time to hike around, but we had to get the bus in time to get the train to get to Newquay to get a cab to get to the airport to get our plane to Stansted where we got a bus to Cambridge, and a last cab ride home.

But really, I just wanted to show you these flowers!
Not very succinct, but now I've done my duty to my faithful readers. And can return to my real life as a laundress....