I often hear it said that Camping / Caravanning is not a proper holiday, it's an endurance test. This is often spouted by those who have either never been in a touring caravan or watch too much Top Gear or both.
We are fast approaching the end of our holiday and I feel refreshed and re energised. I have never ever felt like this after a package holiday to the Costas and for the foreseeable future I cannot envisage any other way I would rather holiday.
Last night on the way back to site Miranda blew a headlamp light. It was my first priority to get that sorted this morning as we have a 275 mile overnight tow home on Saturday. I wanted to get it fixed ASAP so that we could enjoy the rest of the day.
There was some umming and arring in my head as I weighed up all the alternatives. It's a 9 mile spin back to Penzance and the nearest Halfrauds, where I knew I'd get a bulb, but would not trust the monkeys working there to change the batteries in my torch. It would therefore be a DIY job, and from bitter experience I know it's a pig of a job to do on Miranda, especially with my sausage fingers.
We'd passed a garage in St Buryan, about 2 miles from the site, so I chanced my arm there. I walked into reception and was greeted by a deathly silence ans a stony stare. Once they'd picked their jaws up off the floor I explained my predicament and asked if they could help.
Sure enough, out came the head grease monkey with sparkly clean latex gloved on. He fiddled and he puffed and he swore as he scuffed and cut his hands to ribbons. I had tried to tell him that when PC last changed a bulb on Miranda he found it easier to take out the complete unit. Cornwall's answer to Kevin Webster was having none of it though, so I watched as he bled to a slow and painful death on the forecourt.
With Miranda's lamps now fully functional again and my wallet only £5 lighter I return to site where Giuseppe has left.
Over breakfast we watch as the last of the commune on site moves pitch once again. This will be his third pitch in 10 days. I really don't know if I could be bothered with that.
The forecast today is not great, cloudy with showers, so we make for Penzance to do some gift shopping. We don't last long before we get pissed off and pick up some pasties which are eaten over the water from St Michael's Mount.
A rather unfortunate and rather messy accident in a public toilet necessitates a return to the van. After a sort out and an unplanned afternoon kip we wake and realise that we have no grub in the van. Back out we go and pick up a trout for herself and a mackerel for mois.
Safe in the knowledge that we will not starve tonight we take some lanes to the north coast of the peninsular to do some exploring. We stop at the Levant mine workings but herself shows little interest in looking around (refuses to get out of the car) so I have to make do with standing on a grassy bank to look through my binoculars and take some snaps.
We press on as far as St Just where herself declares that she would like to look around. It is now gone 6.30pm and apart from the Co-op everything is closed.
We sit at the tables outside the Kings Arms and I go into order some drinks. The locals make far too much of an effort to laugh at me for my liking as I smash my swede on the very low door heads in the bar. HTF would Mr Shag cope here?
I get the usual 'they are no good for you mind' looks as I order 2 pints and 2 packets of pork scratchings at the bar. I do explain that they are for the dogs but they do not believe me.
We watch the world go by for a while before making our way back to site to settle in for the night. After tea as I'm doing my outside jobs another Italian motorhome, driven by another Giuseppe pulls onto the adjacent pitch.
Saturday 24 August
I wake after a great night's kip ready to tackle a very busy day. As is always the case when we holiday in Cornwall we book an extra night to tag onto the end of the holiday so that we can pack up at our leisure with out the pressure of having to be off our pitch by a certain time and to be able to travel home in the evening when the roads are quieter.
We are booked on the site until tomorrow, but will leave this evening.
Giuseppe II has left, they don't hang around long these Italians!
Skipping breakfast we set about breaking camp in the very warm sunshine, and doing it at a leisurely pace, it wasn't the grim task that it often can be. The awning came down bone dry and everything was packed away in either the caravan or Miranda by midday.
After showers all round we go out for the afternoon and make in the direction of Hayle. First stop was somewhere to exercise the dogs as they had not had a walk yet today. We found a beach that did not have a dog ban, but seemed to have 1001 dogs on it, and as Tali would probably upset the 1001 owners if I let him run free, the dogs were restricted to their extending leads to play on the sand and in the water.
They both decide to curl down a few gooduns, and with herself having deposited what seems like a weeks worth of doggy shite bags in the doggy shite bin we go to the Philps pasty joint to have lunch and pick up a few pastys to take home with us.
After that the shops of Hayle hold our attention for about 30 mins, and as it happens that is the exact length of time we were allowed to park up for, before we hit the road back west.
We zig zagged the peninsular taking in the rugged north coastline before cutting back down south to Newlyn and Mousehole. It's a Bank Holiday weekend and everywhere is rammed. We intend to have a meal before leaving tonight, and plan one last fish supper from the excellent 190 degrees west. From experience I know they will be queueing out of the door later, but have read on line that you can place your order at any time for collection later.
That done we returned to site to rest up for a bit before doing final few chores ready for the off.
Now I know during the course of writing this blog I've been rather disparaging about some of our neighbours, but I am a tidy person really. I am mun, honestly. I did two good deeds today. Firstly, the last of the commune was having car troubles and with Miranda being the only vehicle in our enclosure capable of giving his Disco a jump start I offered my services (even though he originates from Neath), and secondly the mass murdering Beamer owner next door who has been pitched up next to us for 2 weeks and not uttered more than 5 words to us was struggling to pull out his pegs with a stubby screw driver so I loaned him my supa dupa tent peg puller!
I still think he's up to something though so will keep a close eye on Crimewatch through the winter. I'll keep you posted!
7pm came and we went to collect our fish suppers, jumped the queue, and ate them in our favourite spot on the cliffs. Just as we were finishing, with impeccable timing, the clouds rolled in from the Atlantic and it started to drizzle.
We made our way down into Sennen Cove itself to see surfers jostling for best position in the swell and the angry ocean frothing as it crashed over the rocks.
We also watched as fishermen cast their lines in the shelter of the harbour as the waves crashed over the sea wall.
We also looked on as two daredevil kids in wet suites diced with death playing in the waves as they crashed over the wall and jumped into the water oh the harbour side of the wall. They just don't see the danger do they?
Not wanting the witness them being washed out to sea we decided it was time to leave, climbing the steep hill out of the cove for the last time, pausing briefly at the local chapel with has surf boards mounted to the outside wall to form a cross, and a prayer box in the car park.
I am told in no uncertain terms that leaving a slip of paper relating to a possible lottery win would be bad form, so we go back to site to hitch up and set off in the drizzle at 7.45pm.
The 275 mile tow passed without incident. Miranda handled the climbs over Bodmin and Dartmoor admirably and when on the M5, M49 and M4 held the unit rock steady at 65 to 70 mph all the way, averaging 20 mpg over the journey.
At midnight we were handing over SIX POUNDS BLOODY TWENTY to the git in the toll booth for the privilege of re entering our home country, and we were pulling up outside our house in Llangennech at 1.15am.
Sunday 25 August
A day of unpacking, putting away and washing was in store for us when we woke at 9am to bright sunshine. I had the pleasant surprise of the captain next door having weeded the caravan's parking slot where she now sits abandoned until our next trip.
Tight fit isn't it!