Monday, 16 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Monday 16th July 2007

Woke up at 6am to the gentle beeps of the alarm clock. Didn't feel tired or grumpy - still plenty of time for that later!!

Still weight the same as before the holiday, so that's good. Feel as though i'm a bit thinner though - my works trousers will tell me the truth in a little while when i get dressed for work though.......

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Sunday 15th July 2007

Woke up about 8am. All quiet in the house - no sign of Muddy - he's soon forgotten us now his real family are back! Got up at 9am, got ready and packed the car up - had a cup of tea, and waited for them all to get up - finally just after 10am, they started to surface. Had some cereal while chatting to Craig about music.

Started out on our journey home at 11:30. It was raining, but not as much as it had been earlier. They definitely made the right decision to come home last night. It drizzled most of the way home. The M5 was busy around Bristol, but not too bad apart from that.

Stopped off at Asda to get some food in, and finally got home at 3:30pm. Had a drink, checked the emails, unloaded the car and started the long winded job of sorting everything out and putting it all back where it belongs.

I spent quite a long time on the Internet looking for info for Craig about keyboards and for me looking at cameras. When i finally got to bed i couldn't sleep, and ended up putting Ceefax on for a while. Rossi fell off on lap 5 of the Moto GP and Pedrosa won it.

I was still awake at 12:30 - i wasn't het up about work or anything - i just couldn't sleep!!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Saturday 14th July 2007

Got up fairly early and took Muddy for a quick walk before i headed into the village for provisions for another picnic. The plan is to head out towards Princetown and then beyond to a large reservoir which appears to have a road going all the way around it. I estimate that it is about a 5 mile walk. The whole thing hinges on if Mudkip can behave  in the car for the 20-30 minute that it should take to get there!

We put him in the back of the car - there was plenty of room in the boot because we had taken our clothes bags and the cool boxes out. We put his towels and a couple of the cushions he likes to sleep on in the car, and popped him in with them.

I talked to him most of the way there, but he quickly settled down and in fact he ended up sitting on top of the tent bag so that he could see out of the back window. He was a very good boy, which was just as well, as in the end it took about 50 minutes to get there.

The signs at the reservoir claim that it is 3 1/2 miles around it - i don't see how this is true as it is bigger on the map than Fernworthy is. I was all on tarmac'd roads so it was very easy old the old legs. Muddy was very well behaved as always, and started out with a very perky spring in his step. By the end of it though he seemed to be slouching rather! We had our picnic 3/4 of the way around - banana baps - yummy!!

On the way back, Muddy crashed out in the back of the car most of the way - i'm not sure if he did fall asleep, but he must have gotten close, and he was very very quiet. He did end up back on top of the tent bag again, and he looked very cute up there.

It took an age to get back to Chagford, thanks to being stuck behind an old codger in an Audi A4. The only pedal he seemed to use was the brake one - he was soooooo slooooooow! Once again, i was truck by the beauty and bleakness of Dartmoor. The colours and textures seem to vary by the minute. The sun can be shining in one direction, but turn a few degrees and it is looking very stormy and black. A very strange place, but one that i doubt would ever be boring or predictable. I think it would be an amazing place to spend a year with a camera, never seeing quite the same thing twice. The only time i have ever seen such a huge expanse of sky and ground before is in Scotland.

Saw a sign saying "Sheep Lying In The Road" - i expected to come across a sheep saying "I once played rugby for England you know", but we didn't.

Back at the ranch, we put some washing out to dry and went back into the village for more treats for the Mudster and something for dinner for us. Took a slightly reluctant Mudkip with us, but i think he would have been happier to have stayed home asleep.

Lovely weather now - very sunny. We had a text  from Rachel saying that they may come home tonight as the forecast for tomorrow is not good.

After another of my scrummy pasta bakes for dinner, we took Muddy out for yet another route march, sorry, walk. We decided to do the usual evening walk but in reverse, so that we couild walk DOWN the steep hill rather than up it! This made the whole walk seem shorter and more pleasant.

We thought it might confuse Mudkip, but he coped superbly, and knew we were getting close to his skinny dipping spot even though we approached it from the wrong way. As we got closer to it he got more and more excited. He jumped off the bridge and into the water even before i was through the gate - i hadn't even unhooked his lead yet!

He got out so that i could undo his lead and then got straight back in again. He couldn't find the stick that Sally threw for him though - he can be a bit of a dipstick at times. When he got out of the water he started to run off as he was so excited, but, he stopped as soon as i shouted for him to and he came back and let me put the lead back on him - Good Boy!!!!

It seems as though we have been away from home for such a long time - we can hardly remember what our house is like. It feels more like 4 weeks rather than 2. It's funny how quickly one can get used to new situations. It almost feels like this is our house already - even though we are only using 1/2 of it, and we can both imagine living here, and how we would have it set out.

Only a week ago, it seemed like we had been living in a tent forever and we would be quite happy living like that in pretty basic conditions - as i say, it is amazing how quickly you can adapt.

Rachel has texted and they ARE coming back tonight. It is just after 10pm now and still no sign of them.  Muddy is asleep on the sofa with Sally who is reading. I'm sitting on the floor writing this, having just made a cup of tea. Mudkip is going to go mental when they arrive home - it will be bedlam - watch out for your shoes!!

It was quarter to eleven when Craig, Rachel & Frankie arrived back, and as predicted, Mudkip went a bit bonkers. We sat up talking till almost midnight, and we were glad to finally get to bed and  get some sleep - our last night away from home.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Friday 13th July 2007

Both slept till about 9am! Mudkip did too, and he still seemed a bit zonked out. Had a leisurely breakfast. The weather is not so good today - very cloudy and trying to rain. The forecast isn't great to be honest, but we have to make the best of it, as our holiday is nearly over.

We finally got out for a walk at 11am. Took Mudkip on the adder common route march. It was drizzling quite hard, but he seemed very keen to get out and was very perky.

Met a few other doggies, but he was his usual well behaved self, taking very little notice of them, except for the spaniels, and he think he was more jealous of their frisbee than anything else.

Went to the flea market at the village hall at the end of the walk. We didn't find any fleas at the market, but Mudkip did find some loaves of bread hidden under a table. I think i managed to drag him away before he was naughty, but i can't be 100% sure.

He was very patient in town while Sally got us some things for lunch and dinner. He just sat or lay down quite happily while he was waiting. We dropped the shopping back at the house before walking to the Book Box at "Proper Job". It is Craig's little mauve hut that he has sorted out into a viable second hand book shop. I didn't find anything that i couldn't live without, but then, on the way out of the facility, i spotted a book that i was after sitting on top of a cardboard box. No one seemed sure if it was for sale, or how much to ask for it, but they still sold it to me anyway! The man asked for 50p, but i gave him a quid for it - some poor sod will probably sit down with their lunch to read it and find it gone!!

It was still raining as we got into the evening. Had the obligatory Friday jacket spuds for dinner before braving the elements to take Muddy for his walk. Didn't venture too far as it was heavy drizzle, so took him around the lanes by the church, doing a walk that i remembered Rachel taking us on a few years ago, except in reverse. He did his business, which was good, and we gladly headed back to the house.

Ashamed, yet again, to admit that the TV went straight on, and even more shamed that it was the Big Brother eviction that we watched!!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Thursday 12th July 2007

Had a good nights sleep. Sally seemed dozier than me for a change. Mudkip was a very good boy and slept right through. He did seem a little bit confused by the change of routine today. The plan is to take him to Fernworthy Resevoir for his big walk. Of course, him being a dog he doesn't understand this. I took him for a 5 minute walk at breakfast time, and he whinged a bit afterwards, but all he really wanted to do was sit on the window ledge in the living room, and once we had opened the curtains he was able to jump up there and was happy enough.

We got some petrol at the local garage - attendant service - now that brings back memories!!! We took Mudkip into town and got the bits we needed for a picnic.

Off we went to the resevoir then. It is only a short journey, though is slightly hampered by being mostly down single track country lanes. It only took about 10 minutes or so, but when you have a dog wriggling around on your lap it feels much longer.

To begin with we did the 3/4 mile short and easy walk, then we decided to go for the big one - the 3 1/2 mile walk around the whole resevoir!!

We did it - it took exactly 2 hours including a stop for the picnic. It was very wet and muddy in places, but was quite good fun. Mudkip was very well behaved and seemed to enjoy it too. It certainly seemed to tire him out - he was very sleepy when we got back to the house.

Thankfully, he decided not to cling to my shoulder like a demented parrot on the journey back from the resevoir like he had for a lot of the way to it. He still wriggled around a lot though. I'm so glad the trip wasn't any longer.

Poor Mudkip - he got muddy on the walk, and spent most of the rest of the day kipping - he is well named then!!

Mind you, i think that both Sally and I fell asleep on the sofa during the afternoon.....

Had the rest of the pasta for dinner and then took a stroll into the village to "The Three Crowns" pub. Had a lager shandy outside the front of the pub. I think that Mudkip was a little confused by  this, but seemed glad to not be going on another proper walk.

Back at the house it was straight to bed. Sally fell asleep with her usual speed, and i ended up watching a documentary about the Hindenberg and an episode of South Park.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Wednesday 11th July 2007

Woke up after a really nice sleep with a bit of a headache. Fairly soon, the chaos that seems to be a part of life in this house started up again.

Poor Rachel was running around  like a mad thing trying to get things ready for their trip to Buddafield. The weather was great - sunny and warm - not at all what they had forecasted on the TV. We took Mudkip for his morning walk, this time over the common. Rachel had drawn me a sketch map as she really didn't have the time to come with us. I was a little worried, as there is a section  of the common noted for its adders apparantly!! We didn't see any i am glad to report, but then again at the speed i went through the place everything was just a blur anyway!!!

Got back to the house to find the same frenzy of activity from Rachel, and a little more urgency from Craig. No sign of Frankie though. We discovered that he was waiting with his friend at the side of his friends mums car, playing quite happily, oblivious of the bedlam of the preparation going on around them. We finally got them all jammed into the car and off they went at 12:30, running a little bit later than they would have liked.

We had a bite to eat now. It all seems very strange and VERY quiet with them not being around, and us left in charge of the dog. I'm sure that we will quickly get used to it, but i have to confess to being a little freaked out by it at first.

After lunch, we went into the village and had a look around the two hardware stores, Bowdens and Webbers. They are both like stepping back in time, and you could easily spend hours in them both looking in all the nooks and crannies at their vast stocks. Got Mudkip a new collar which he needed. Back at the house we had a lovely mug of tea and set to doing some of our washing.

I spent some of the afternoon investigating the "joys" of Sky TV. There are just too many channels. You surely can't enjoy anything as there is always the nagging feeling that there might be something better on one of the other channels.

I made us a pasta bake for dinner which was quite pleasant. I put the remains of last nights dinner in it too, and the flavour of the chilli just about managed to overtake the rest of the flavours i had put into it.

We too Mudkip for his evening walk by the river. Sally managed to fall over and hurt her ankle. Muddy was very well behaved and i even let him off his lead so that he could go for his usual swin in the river. I was so worried that he would not come back, but he was as good as gold.

Ashamed to admit that we watched TV for the rest of the evening. I especially enjoyed the episode of South Park that i watched......

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Tuesday 10th July 2007

Woke up in the night to the sound of wind and rain - not impressed! As we got closer to getting up time, the rain eased off and finally stopped. Got up at 6:30 and headed straight  off to the shower block. Once back at the tent we had breakfast, got the washing up done, and made a start on getting the car packed up.

We got everything into the car first, and then started taking the tent down. I'd thought up a way to try to take the tent down and keep it all fairly dry while folding it up. It seemed to work out pretty well, which was good as it started to rain again while we were doing it!!

Once we had the car all packed up, we seemed to have room left over - can't quite understand why - what have we left behind?

We took a slightly scenic route to Chagford by going via Tavistock. Had a wonder around and had fish & chips in the rain by the river. Why is it that it always rains when we have fish & chips? At least there wasn't a belching whino nearby this time!

Leaving Tavistock behind, we drove over Dartmoor to get to Chagford. Even though it was a bit grim weather wise, it is still  a stunning place. I can see why the army use it for survival training. It both bleak and beautiful all at the same time.

It is very noticable that the roads are narrower - we must be in Devon! It's no good having a wide vehicle around here - which is a bit of a pain as so many people DO seem to have 4x4s which take up the entire road.

After a couple of hours in Chagford, time seems to have slowed down - it doesn't take long to the Chagford "magic" to work on you, and you can feel your bloodpressure dropping, your whole body relaxing, and the world seems so much better. It might be down to the air, or it could be the music, but something definately helps.

Dinner was pasta in a chilli sauce with salad. Very nice, but the sauce was really hot!

Took Mudkip for a walk in the evening after dinner. This is his usual evening walk, so we have to learn the route and all the proceedures before Craig & Rachel leave us alone and in charge of him. The walk goes alongside a river and through some farmland. It was still quite wet and muddy in places.

After watching Big Brother with Craig, we finally got to bed. We were both very tired and slept well on the sofabed. It was very strange not having a ceiling that moved.......

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Monday 9th July 2007

Woke up a couple of times in the night to the sound of yet more rain hitting the tent. These showers were quite heavy though not long lived.

When i was finally able to drag myself out of bed (mostly thanks to the ubiquitous mug of tea!) it was lovely and sunny. We headed off to the shower block, me complete with another mug of tea. After a refreshing shower, when i came to leave the shower block, i found that it was absolutely hammering down with rain. A few of us waited in the entrance to the block for the downpour to pass, and once it had it brightened up again.

Today we decided to head into Truro. It was an easy journey and fairly quick to get there too. We parked in the "viaduct" car park, which, amazingly, is a car park in the shadow of a viaduct! It was a short walk into the city centre from there. Sally bought herself a book and a bag at a charity shop, and we also bought some fold-up shopping bags in a gift shop as presents. I got a new sun hat at Marks & Spencer.We wondered around the city for a couple of hours or so. There were some nice shops, but have to say that there were too many of the "usual suspects" in the shape of the big chains for my liking - i suppose it is one of the major shopping places in Cornwall though, so it is hardly surprising that so many of the multiples want a presence there. Some of the independent shops were excellent, including a jewellers that had a huge range of Rolex watches in the window including one of those hideous tiger effect Cosmographs. We did treat ourselves to an apple corer/slicer from Lakeland Plastics, so that was a pleasing multiple shopping experience.

 Truro Cathedral.
It is our last full day here today. We are going to start "breaking camp" tonight as much as we can to save some time in the morning. Salad baps for dinner (we had jacket spuds while in Truro for lunch), and are basically finishing bits and pieces of food off where we can.

After we washed up, Sally cleaned the cookers and "kitchen" down and we packed them away - one less thing to do in the morning. Quite a few showers this evening, and windy again. Hope it stops before we get up in the morning - it always seems to rain while we are packing the tent away, and it is a real pain as our garden isn't big enough to put the tent back up in to dry out when we get home.

Sally had a slight mug of tea mishap in the bedroom this afternoon, which meant that the towels got wet mopping it up. They still haven't dried out and it is almost bed time. It could be entertaining in the morning if they haven't dried overnight.

Just got back from the toilet block, and despite the noise of the rain on the tent, it isn't actually raining that hard, it's the wind battering it against the tent that makes it sound worse than it really is. It is rather chilly outside though. Glad of the snuggly sleeping bag.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Sunday 8th July 2007

Had to get up at 2am for the loo. It was very cold outside and some people were still up and making a noise - hooligans!

Another lovely sunny day – looks as though we’re in for another good one.

I was very tired this morning and was rather reluctant to get up. A superb mug of tea got me kick-started and I then headed down to the shower block. For the first time, we weren’t able to get one of the “private washrooms”, and had to use the separate ladies and gents facilities. It actually turned out to be quite good though as the shower cubicles are actually very spacious and the floor in then stays more dry while you are getting dressed rather than the entire floor being wet like in the other rooms we have been using. The down side is that you can’t clean your teeth while drying yourself. Oh, and I also managed to bodge the shower knob with my elbow while I was drying myself and got soaked again! What a plonker.

Had a nice chat with some of the other campers. One was in the laundry block, and was telling  us about some other campsites worth trying out. The other was with the couple on the next pitch to us. It turns out that they know Chagford quite well, and they go “letterboxing” in the area, which is an activity you can do while on a ramble. We may have to give it a go when we go there next week. (check out these web sites for more info:-

We walked into St Ives again. We hadn’t been there for long when it started raining, but not for long though thankfully. We had a good wonder around the town again, this time searching out parts we hadn’t seen before. I did kick myself a bit for not taking the camera with me though, as we saw some lovely quaint old fishing cottages down some of the narrow streets – this is more how I had imagined it to be.

Went to the coast watch building on the high point overlooking the town. The view was very good and gave more of an idea of the intricate layout of the town with all its little hidey-hole streets.

Got the bus back to the campsite again, which was full again and very cramped. We seem to pick the worst time to come back. We checked the pedometer, and had done nearly 10,200 steps.

Have got the kettle on for a mug of tea. It’s taken an age to boil, partly due to the breeze, and partly due to the gas canister being almost empty. It has become a bit cloudy but the sun is still trying its best to peek through, and the view down to the sea is clear.

Here we are, half way through the holiday and it seems like forever since we were at work. It has also flown by quickly though if that makes sense!

The tent totally feels like home after only a few days. It makes you realise that so much of what we have at home is totally pointless, and that we could live far more simple lives. I don’t miss the TV at all really, but do miss the computer a bit. I would need that for my photos if nothing else.

I seem to recall feeling this way each year when we go camping. Our “normal” life seems to have too much in it, but amazingly, it only takes a few days to get back into the swing of it when we return to “our real world”.

I wonder if I could take to a simpler life? I try to imagine life, say, here in St Ives (or wherever really), living in a tiny cottage type home, maybe running a small shop down one of the cobbled streets. I’d like to think that I could take to it well, but of course we will never know unless we do it, and that is the hard/scary part – the actually getting off your backside and doing it bit.

What would I sell? I suppose the obvious thing is jewellery. It’s what I know best after all. Despite my protestations that I wouldn’t want to stay in the trade, if I was my own boss I couldn’t really fall out or disagree with myself could I?

If I stuck to my idea of selling fairly inexpensive silver jewellery I would have a fair bit of competition here, but none of them seem to be keeping it simple, all going for unique designer type pieces. If I went with Hot Diamonds, Kit Heath and Gecko type stuff, but in nice wooden boxes, I think I could be on to something. Keep the prices sensible, but the presentation spot on. That’s the way to go I think.

If we also had some of Sally’s cards too, maybe, just maybe, we would be sorted.

The afternoon was partly spent outside until it got chilly and we retreated inside. I put Radio 4 on and promptly fell asleep!

Dinner was tuna and salad followed by strawberries and yoghurt. All very pleasant and also fairly healthy.

The evening went very chilly so we did the only thing we know and headed for the sleeping bags and got warm that way while reading and listening to the radio. There was one very heavy shower, but it didn’t last long.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Saturday 7th July 2007

We woke up to a gentle breeze and glorious sunshine. A decent nights sleep which didn't involve us having to sleep fully clothed. I wasn't too comfortable in the night, partly due to needing more air in my air-bed, and partly due to my sunburn. Sally caught the sun a bit more than she had realised too. I look like a lobster though - a "special forces" lobster, but a lobster never-the-less. I decided to wear my red t-shirt today in the hope that it will match my head so well that no one will notice, and will think that it is just the red of the shirt being reflected on my face.

Started the day with a shopping trip to Penzance, which proved to be a success - i got the Crocs i wanted in my size!! Just when it seemed that i would have to get some black or green ones, in a small shop down a side street we found some dark blue ones that fitted me - happy chappy.

Penzance actually turned out to be a good town i thought. It suffers from the usual Cornish lack of signage to a degree, but we managed - especially once i had found the toilets! Very odd they were too - they had a slot to put used syringes into!! How very strange.

We got a couple of baguettes from Warrens the bakers and ate them on the harbour front while being watched by the seagulls. Sally is convinced that one of them is following us. It is possible i suppose - there can't be that many of them around here and one of them does look suspiciously like one we've seen wherever we go.....

Moved onto Porthcurno which involved driving down some VERY narrow, winding and steep roads. Ended up at the Minac Theatre which neither of us had been that fussed about going to, but it was only £3.50 each including the parking, so we gave it a go. It was actually very good - an interesting short film explained how it came into being, and the lady who started it came from Spondon in Derby! She moved to Cornwall in her mid-20's, and who can blame her. Can you imagine putting up with the smell of Spondon for THAT long????!!!

The theatre itself is amazing, hewn from the cliff face basically. It took a lot of people many years to create it, but it was worth their effort. I took lots more photos. It was just a shame that they were preparing for a performance so you couldn't get right down to the stage area and see it all. It was also a shame that it was so hot and sunny with no shade anywhere. My sunburn was hurting and i really didn't want to sit in the sun anymore, so we didn't stay too long. It would have been great to have been able to sit and read or just take in the breath taking view.

We didn't go to the Telegraph Museum in the end - maybe next time eh? Porthcurno is a tiny village, but you could spend a whole day there easily as there is so much to see with the theatre and the museum and the lovely little beach it has. I was also called upon by two couples to take their photos using their cameras - they must have spotted my SLR around my neck and assumed that i knew what i was doing - looks can be very deceiving eh!!!

Took the "scenic" route back to base camp along the ridiculously narrow and winding roads that follow the coast back to St Ives. They claim to be "B" roads, but some of them were only just about single track in places. I was navigating, doing it "pace notes" style, trying to give Sally advance warning of the sharp bends, steep bits, etc. It was hard at times as i was also trying to take in the scenery too and did lose my place on the map a few times. It also helped if i looked as we went around right hand corners as i would see any oncoming cars/buses/lorries/tractors before Sally would. We had a few close calls, but she handled it just like Colin McRea to my Nicky Grist - if only i could have perfected my Welsh accent we would have nailed it.

At one point we were only half a mile from Lands End, but decided to give it a miss. We really couldn't face yet another lecture from a National Trust car park attendant, as pleasant as they are. They are like the Mafia - always wanting money from you and twisting your arm to join up. It seems that we really should have taken advantage of the special offer we saw in the car park in Falmouth - it would have saved us a fortune.

We stopped in St Just for provisions for tonight. It seemed like a lovely little village, with more than just a general store, but, the fact that it had a FREE car park should have warned us. Chav alert!!!! Yes, once off the main road (if you can call a narrow B road a main road) and into the car park, we discovered the council estate and a load of kids playing football and on bikes. It reminded me of the village in the film Hot Fuzz - on the face of it all very pleasant, but with a hidden underbelly of criminal youth and a nasty streak. We bought what we needed at the Co-Op and got out of the place before the wheels were stolen from the car and the straight hair & curly teeth people got us!

The rest of the journey was more of the same (medium right 4, tight left 2, hairpin left - don't cut) and finally arrived back safe and sound. The site is filling up, and there are more and more pesky kids around. We already know quite a few of their names, thereby proving, once again, that Vickie's theory is sound.

We were able to open the front of the tent up - what a novelty. Before i could do this i had to untie the "safety clasps" on all the zips that i had done the other night. Luxury! We sat out in the shade of the canopy and drank tea. I also smoked my pipe - yeah! and wrote up the journal. The wind is only gentle, but despite the sun, it is still a little chilly. But, it is dry and there isn't a force ten gale, so i count myself a lucky man.

Dinner was the Polmanter special - fish fingers smothered with baked beans, served in a bowl with a side plate of buttered rolls. Smashing - a holiday favourite. Afterwards we had a walk around the whole site again. It is 99% full now. I wanted to have a look at other tents to see if i could find the "perfect" one for us. No such luck - mostly full of darn caravans and massive camper vans. Even with the odd tent here and there i didn't see any that left me green with envy. I did take a shine to a good old fashioned VW camper van though.

We saw one car brought in on the back of a breakdown truck - not a great start to someone's holiday. There is a family with 2 teenage lads across from us. All they seem to do is bicker and shout at one another. Glad we have left our "kids" at home!

Initially we were disappointed with our pitch and the fact that we hadn't been able to have any of our first choices. In hindsight, now we are glad. Yes it is warmer and more sheltered further down the hill, and the view is even better, but where we are the ground dries out quicker. Some of the spots we would have chosen to begin with are still very wet. If anything, we would prefer to be further up in our field at the highest point, the snag being that they don't have electrical hook-ups there.

I finished reading my book last night, and was a bit disappointed by the ending, but at least it wasn't totally predictable. Started another one tonight, which i quite like so far - am enjoying the way it is written, and am looking forward to getting into it.

It's 8pm now, the sun has started to go down, and it's getting chillier. We are still sitting outside though, and enjoying it while we can. Had my 2nd pipe of the day - got to try to make up for lost time after all. Having spent the first few evenings in bed trying to keep warm and sane, this is a real luxury. Have put the kettle on again, and will probably retreat inside soon. My sunburn is starting to sting a bit again now. I'm trying to keep myself more covered up, but it's not always easy and you don't always realise that it is getting to you.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Friday 6th July 2007

Well, we're still here! Yeah, sunshine!! Not quite as windy!!! A reasonable nights sleep, though not quite as good as the night before, but much better than the first one. Amazingly, the tent seems intact. The trick with the zips worked OK.

We did both sleep fully clothed - how very Polar of us. I am in bed with a lovely mug of tea and planning our day. Hopefully i will get to take some photos today - the camera stayed firmly in the bag yesterday.

Went out quite early (for us), and headed to The Lizard. This is more like it - sunny (still windy though), but the stunning view more than makes up for it. I could spend the whole day there and not get bored with that view. I took loads of photos - hopefully some of them will be good ones, and you never know, might even be good enough to sell. (back in the real world...)

Moved on to Kynance Cove a couple of miles further up the coast from The Lizard, where the view was even more stunning - you would NEVER get bored of a vista like that. I took even more photos - thank goodness for digital! This was the main place that John at the cafe yesterday had recommended to us - boy was he right.

We had our picnic lunch at the Cove while watching a body boarder try to smash himself into the rocks. He very nearly succeeded a few times. If he has a few more goes he might just manage it. What a strange hobby. I can see the point of surfing, but not lying on what amounts to a tea-tray while getting hit in the face by waves. Still, he would probably think that i'm weird, so that makes us equal.

Jagged, weather and sea beaten rocks surround the cove and lend a spectacular backdrop to the waves. There is a beach of sorts, though not what you could call sandy, just very rocky. There is a tearoom which seems to be doing good trade. There are plenty of people here for a tucked out of the way place.

The sound of waves crashing onto the rocks is strangely relaxing, reminding me of why i have come to love the coast. I defy anyone not to be touched by a place like this in some way or another.

On the way back towards Penzance, we drove through the village of Porthleven in the hope that it would be a Clovelley type fishing village, but sadly it wasn't to be. Maybe it was once, but any quaintness has long gone. We didn't stop, but carried on to Praa Sands, which WAS nice. A superb sandy beach which was just begging to be walked along, and who were we to not do so? We spent a couple of hours there, walked along the beach and back, paddled in the sea, sat in the sun and chilled out. This is what holidays are about!

So far, it's been the best day, both weather and enjoyment wise. All the places we have stopped at today have come up trumps. Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday if i didn't get sunburnt, and yes, i have a very red and sore head despite trying my best to cover it up. Maybe i should start wearing a Yaskmak!

We found a Tesco on the outskirts of St Ives and got our dinner from there. Spicy bean burgers and baps - yummy! We were going to try the Mexican restaurant out tonight, but changed our minds. The camp site is filling up and indeed they have put the "FULL" sign up at the junction by the pub. I bet it will be total chaos here tomorrow.

It is so much nicer here now that the wind has dropped a bit. As i have "nailed" all the doors shut, we can't open the tent up too much, but i doubt that we will regret it though. I'm not banking on the high winds staying away for too long.

Even though it has been sunny all day, the washing hasn't dried fully - work that one out. Cornish wind obviously isn't like the wind back home, and neither is the sunshine. My feet a nice and soft thanks to the walk along the beach, and still have some sand on them - must wash them before bedtime.....

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Thursday 5th July 2007

Had a good nights sleep, only woke up twice, once just before midnight and again around 3am. I really miss the projection clock while we are away from home! We both thought something was very wrong. It was too quiet. Had the tent blown away or been stolen? No - it had just stopped being so damned windy!!!

When i finally woke up properly it still seemed to be eerily quiet and was also fairly sunny. This wasn't to last though as the pitter-patter of rain started soon after. The gentle pitter-patter quickly turned into a herd of elephants on the roof as the rain got heavier. Rain always sounds worse in a tent as the taut material acts like a drum, but this was deafening. If it's not the wind making a noise, it's the rain - really can't win.

Sally went for her shower first, and i discovered that if i buried my head deep into my sleeping bag and put my fingers in my ears, the noise was just about bearable. When i finally went for my shower, it was so lovely and warm under the hot water that i didn't want to get out of it. Afterwards, looking a bit prune like, i went to reception to try to get onto the internet. What a joke, it was so sloooooooow that i couldn't even check my emails yet alone check out the weather forecast and Ebay.

Decided to go to Redruth, but when we got there, it was tiny, and the rain was throwing it down, which meant that it really wasn't worth the effort of parking to get soaked to see nothing much, so instead we headed on to Falmouth. Once there, we took the park & ride into town. There was an option to use the "park & float", but we took the bus.  It had pretty much stopped raining by now, and was beginning to look a little more promising.

The bus got stuck in a traffic jam as we got closer to the town centre. Looking around out of the window, i spotted a little courtyard with The Cinnamon Girl Cafe in it, so we got off the bus and ventured into the cafe. We had spotted this on the net before the holiday, while Sally was looking at shops and cafes for sale in the area, and so had wanted to check it out anyway.

It was very small, but nice and friendly with a lovely atmosphere and good character - we like it!. The owner was very pleasant and chatty, and gave us tips on places that are worth checking out while in the area. We didn't let on that we knew it was for sale, as there were other customers in at the time. We both had a soya cappuccino and some home made cake - he didn't know what it was as his wife had made it, but it was nice.

Wondered around the town afterwards - Sally got some pyjama bottoms, i looked at Crocs, but couldn't get the dark blue ones i want in my size. It seems that the ones made in Italy are a different fit to the ones made in China. Of course, it could be like Tissot, and it's just the blue ones that are different?! (sorry - "in joke" that only Vicki will get!)

We found what John in the cafe had described as "The Harrods of Cornwall" - Trago. I had expected it to be an old fashioned department type store, but it turned out to be more like Moseley Trading or a gigantic pound type shop! We both bought some stuff there at bargain prices, so it wasn't too bad in the end.

For lunch, we had fish and chips in the rain on the harbour front. Nice, but not quite Bispham quality. Mind you, the drunken hobo belching at the other end of the shelter didn't help with the ambience much. He was swigging from a bottle of Lambrini would you believe. We then walked around the town a bit more before ending up at Costa for low fat Frescato's.

Despite my earlier thought that the weather might brighten up a bit, it kept on raining. Metcheck had predicted 0.20mm of rain for today i seem to remember. I think that they may have had the decimal point in the wrong place - move it two places to the left i think!

We took the "scenic" route back to the campsite via Helston and Penzance. It seems like there are a few good places to visit out that way if the weather improves. It was very misty on the way back, almost zero visibility at times. It must be awful here in the Winter. Maybe it doesn't get any worse than this though?

Back at base camp, it had stopped raining, but guess what? It was windy instead! Possibly more so than before. The tent had leaked a little - not too much - only where the electric plugs were! Teddy Edward was still in bed - the lazy devil. Some of the views from the site would be stunning if it was clearer. We also saw some excellent photo opportunities today - all we need is better light, less rain, or a waterproof camera.

Dinner tonight was soup and a cheese bap. Never let it be said that we don't push the boat out while on holiday. I had Mediterranean tomato & chorizo, which we got from Tesco, and it was VERY nice - my compliments to the chef.

It is really windy again and we have tried to tie some of the zips shut on the tent flaps. Will be amazed if we are still in one piece come the morning. With every massive gust, i expect the material or the seams to give up the ghost. The walls are moving so much that i'm starting to feel seasick. I have had to turn the radio up almost full blast  just to hear it over the noise.

Have retired to bed again to keep warm.  Wonder what's on the telly? Have the Blaze announced anymore signings?

Keep being hit on the head by the wall of the tent and on the feet by the cable to the light. Took the light down in the end and did my best to ignore the wall. It's very draughty, very windy and very noisy. I am writing this in bed all wrapped up and fully clothed. I almost feel like Scott at the pole - this must be like a scene from his expedition. I'm just going outside - i may be some time.....

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Wednesday 4th July 2007

What a night!! Neither of us got much sleep, though i think i did a bit better than Sally. I woke up for a few minutes every hour - she fell asleep for a few minutes every hour.

The wind, the wind!! I don't know how many times i thought the whole tent was going to collapse. I found the best thing to do was to hide my head deeper inside my sleeping bag. Incidentally, i love my new sleeping bag - it is roomy and cosy - very nice. A successful purchase - hooray!!

Amazingly when we got up, the tent and windbreak were both intact. How i do not know. I really don't feel that it is down to my "skills" in putting them up, that's for sure!

The shower block is VERY nice - clean and warm. We may consider sleeping in there tonight if this wind keeps up.

Walked into St Ives, which was quite a pleasant 30 minute walk downhill, across a couple of fields first, and then down a narrow winding country lane between farmers fields before hitting the outskirts of the town with some nice cottages and bungalows. I suspect that we shall get the bus back to the site though as the hill is both long and steep in places.

St Ives itself is quite a nice little town. The streets are very narrow and the footpaths are mostly missing. It wasn't easy to get around the streets without getting run over - it must be an absolute nightmare in the height of the season. We found our way down to the harbour front where, guess what? It was windy! More so than at the camp site, so maybe we should count ourselves "lucky" tonight when the tent is flapping away like a demented bird.

After much searching, we finally found a pasty shop (!) and had a chickpea & potato pasty. Very nice it was too. Also had a Cornish Heavy Cake from a tiny bakers shop - the shop was only about the size of our bathroom - the queue for the shop had to wait outside! The cake was lovely, a cross between a rock cake, scone and chelsea bun.

St Ives has very few of the usual High Street shops, a tiny Boots and Woolworths, but apart from that, they were virtually all small independent and specialist shops. Lots of galleries, gift shops, pasty shops and surf shops.

Walked a bit more and ended up overlooking the beach and sitting in the sun. It was quite sheltered there, but the sun was very hot and quite blinding.

We had a very brief shower, but it soon passed, we walked back into the town centre and found the bus stop. The busses for the Park & Ride also pick up there, and we had the "pleasure" of being surrounded by a bunch of Northern chavs who were waiting to go back to the car park. Our bus, when it finally came, was a bit clapped out and only just made it back up the hill. I think we would have struggled even more though - Sally's pedometer read over 10,200 steps done.

Back in the tent, surprise surprise, it was very windy. Got the kettle on though and had a lovely mug of tea.

Having spent a couple of hours reading/sleeping, we had a lovely meal of fish fingers (cod) and baked beans (Heinz). It may not have been haute cuisine, but it really hit the spot and warmed us up for ten minutes or so.

We decided to take the windbreak down, before the wind did actually break it! Doing this has removed about 30% of the noise. We thought that our tent was having a good go at destroying itself in the wind, but looking at some of the others nearby, we seem to be doing OK. The only tents that don't appear to be in danger of self destructing are the proper frame ones. The snag is that these are expensive to buy, heavy to transport and take up lots of room when they are packed up. There is a wigwam tent in the next field. Looks good, but it cant have much room inside it you would imagine.

Having washed up, we retired to the bedroom for rampant.........chilling and reading. Thank goodness for a good book and "The Jazz" on the DAB radio - it is also the best way to keep warm! We were both in our sleeping bags with hoodies on, and must have looked like a pair of intrepid explorers. To this end, we made a video, just in case we don't make it back from the ice cap.

We did contemplate going into the club again this evening, if only to sit in the warm for a while and not have the walls moving around all the time. The thing that stopped us was that it is bingo night, and we weren't sure we could face that.

While we did some washing, we got talking to a couple who work on the site during the Summer. They told us that it has been windy the whole time that they have been here, and that the big give-away is that all the trees, bushes and hedges lean one way. Considering just how windy it is, the washing didn't dry very well.

Chicago is known as "the windy city". For me, Cornwall is "the windy county". Maybe it is the letter "C" that's the problem? Dorset was fine last year, so i'm going to call this place "Dornwall" from now on and see what happens.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Cornwall 2007 - Tuesday 3rd July 2007

Woke up to glorious sunshine!! Decided to get up straight away and get the car sorted. Got it all packed up a lot easier than we expected to and had time to spare before we set out. As we left home at 9:22am, it started to rain.....

It was an uneventful journey, though we had plenty of showers on the way, some of which were VERY heavy. We stopped off for a bite to eat at a service station just before Exeter. Discovered that Cornwall is a LONG way - it took 5 hours to get to St Ives in the end - you can imagine how bored i was by the time we got there.

We found the camp site OK, and put the tent up in drizzle and a force 8 gale, which made it all rather entertaining. Discovered that the tent is rubbish at keeping out draughts, and that the new windbreak is totally useless. When they say it is a "windbreak", they actually mean that it breaks in the wind. Very disappointed with it, and will be writing to the BBC to complain when we get back home.

The campsite itself is very nice and our view is lovely - we can see the sea! The down side is that with it being so high and exposed, it is very windy. We had a meal of cheese and salad cobs before having a walk around the site and checking out the bar, where we had a quick drink, before heading back to the wind tunnel, sorry, tent for a lie down, a hot drink and a Danish pastry.

We are having to cook inside due to the high winds and the lousy windbreak. It's a bit chilly but i think we will survive. Teddy Edward was car sick all the way here, and now has does the cap site.

Hoping to walk into St Ives tomorrow, assuming we don't get blown away during the night. Not expecting a good nights sleep, but you never know. It's very noisy with the tent flapping around - did i mention the wind??