Monday, 26 August 2013

Cornwall 2013 (Part 6 of 6)

Friday 23 August

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!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Cornwall 2013 (Part 5)

Tuesday 20 August

I wake quite early with the sun streaming though the blinds.  We want to be up early this morning and get out pronto, but herself is still outers and I dare not wake her (on purpose), so I rattle a few things about pretending to make her a coffee until she stirs in her pit.

We are both up, washed, dressed and out of the door by 10am and make the short journey to the Farmer's market in Sennen Village.  Trip Adviser waxes lyrical about it, so it was with some excitement that we pulled up.

Farmer's market my arse! Nanna Coupons and the Bryn WI have put on a better effort! Stall after stall of hippies selling over priced hippy tat with stall after stall of housewives selling a slice of home made lemon cake for £2.50.  People were lapping it up FFS.

In the middle of this mire we did locate a meat stall and bought 2 very nice looking Sirloin steaks for supper tonight, some free range eggs for breakfast and herself dot suckered into buying some very expensive organic doggy treats.  We did however fail to locate a loaf of bread that looked anything like a loaf of bread so took a quick spin to the sancity of the Co-op in St Just.

Outside there is a reminder of just how far away from civilisation as we know it we are at the moment.  If you had a heart attack out here, rigormortice would have set in by the time the paramedics turned up.  It's much the same in Llanelli but that's due to cut backs!

Most villages have these located in a central location - a sort of DIY ambulance.

We return to the van and breakfast on the recently purchased free range eggs.  Herself said they were very nice.  I wouldn't know because I had mine in a manwich with bacon and HP sauce.

After breakfast we go back out, this time to take a look at the Minack Theatre, a theatre built into the rocks on the coastline near Lands End.  It's a fantastic setting and the Internet will tell you far more about its history so I'll let pictures do the talking for me.

It's very steep, and disabled friendly it is not.  Climbing back out through the auditorium requires the agility of a mountain goat and my calves feel like they are ready to pop by the time we reach the top.

Herself wanted to know why I wanted to visit this place as I'm not at all interested in anything 'darling' but I explain it is to marvel at the engineering feat of creating this unique place. Though having now seen it with my own eyes I have to admit to being more impressed at what Grandpa Grumbles achieved in the equally steep back garden of their old house in Parc Howard Ave!

We return to site, and after doing the outside jobs the intention is to catch some rays.

The Beamer has yet to leave for the day, but all bodies are accounted for and moving around (even the scarecrow).  He's a clever one but he's not got me fooled, I'm onto him and I'll keep you posted.

Our neighbours on the other side are horrible gits. They've parked their ageing campervan up on chocks at 45 degrees on the pitch so that whenever they look out they do so straight onto our pitch and into our awning.  We have no privacy with them and they are for ever looking on and smirking in a condescending manner.

It's taken us a few days to work it out why they are continually whispering and smirking at us, but herself and I think we've cracked it.  Both mammy and the 15 year old princess are wiry athletic types and look like they are heavily into running or something.  Herself and I are on the other side of the spectrum.  We think they disapprove or are mocking us.

Anyway, while I am doing the outside jobs they return from a walk down to the beach.  Mammy and the princess appear but there is no sign of Daddy.  A good 10 mins later Daddy turns up and he's blowing out of his arse after climbing this lot.

Obviously Daddy is not as fit as the other two and they left him to struggle on his own,

I fall asleep in the sun and herself informs me that I snored very loudly for a full two hours, it was that bad that the fit family retreated indoors to escape the din!

The steaks were superb and were grilled on the Weber to perfection while I watched ships glide past the campsite.

We cannot stay in tonight, nor can we walk along the front in Sennen.  It's Magic in the Skies tonight and we have to escape for ours and the dog's sanity.  Tali even had a moment earlier when an old VW camper backfired as it entered our field!

At 8pm we headed over to Mousehole for a wander before making for Marizon to view St Michael's Mount lit up in the darkness.

Returning to site we passed the hundreds of cars travelling in the other direction from Lands End - the display obviously over for another day, just one more for us on Thursday to avoid.  The scrumpy and Rattler take a hammering before we turn in late as the Beamer pulls back onto site.

Wednesday 21 August

The dogs wake us up an start performing, I get a little cross with them before I look at the clock and realise it's 9.30am. After taking them for their (not quite so) early morning walk we breakfast leisurely in the (not so early) morning sunshine.  The site is alive, and the gits next door have gone out so we have some privacy.

I manage to get a few words out of the Beamer owner and count 4 skins in and around their pitch so I am beginning to think that he's realised I'm onto him and has changed his plans.  My alertness may have prevented a tragedy, not that Herself would think so, in fact she is of the opinion that I am quite (very) nosey!

After some discussion (arguing) about what we are to do today we pile into Miranda, complete with a packed lunch and make our way to the Roseland Peninsular, via the King Harry Ferry to the south of Truro.

This area is very pretty and as we drop into St Mawes it looks more like a resort on The Med,  After only 3 circuits of the car park we bag ourselves a space and head off through the village.

The place is buzzing, pubs are heaving, there are long queues for boat trips and families play on the beaches.

We lunch on a bench over looking a beach in the shadows of the castle spending some time watching an artist at work and watching kids play on a pontoon, when suddenly Jaques Cousteu appears from nowhere!

We amble our way back to the car browsing as we went and took the road North towards Newquay.  On arrival I park in Asda because it's free for two hours.  I know that will be plenty long enough, but herself makes it known she is uncomfortable with the idea.  Tuff, after all the cash the car parks of Cornwall have made off us this last two weeks, I'm having some back!

After nearly 2 weeks with surfers and hippies in the far west, Newquay's chavs are a bit on an eye opener. The place is rammed with tattooed Roid Heads and fat orange women with tramp stamps.  The place is also Tat Central. We stay long enough to have two cushions printed with photos of our dogs and head back to Miranda for a good scrub down with Dettol and a wire brush!

We are hungry and start to make our way to Bowgies for some tea before hitting the road back west.  As we sit in the queue of cars trying to escape Newquay we get a few spots of rain.  herself wants to sit outside with the dogs to eat, so that plan goes out of the window.

Smart phone make things easy these days.  I get mine out, have a quick conflab with it and find out the weather is better in the west.  As the skies open back up the first pub we come across is ruled out because there is a play area and there will be too many kids, the second is ruled out because it's too near the road and will be noisy, the third because herself just doesn't fancy it!

Remember now that I am hungry! We then drive through Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole not finding anywhere suitable and get stuck behind a city slicker who has never driven down a lane before all the way to Porthcurno!

By now I'm losing the will to live (but have held onto my temper) and we resort to having cod and chips again from 190 degrees west.  We park up looking over towards Cape Cornwall, let the dogs out and sit on the tailgate about to dig in.

Cerys curls a two bagger right in front of us that has to be cleared up before we can start!

Having said all that, it was a nice way to spend the last hour of a long day out before returning to site by 9pm.  While I'm doing my outside jobs I note that the gits next door seem to have an electrical problem on their camper.  None of the inside lights work and they are sat in the semi darkness.  Ever the considerate neighbour, I go inside and light up our awning like Blackpool, just to make them feel better!

10pm and the Beamer pulls up, stops outside leaving his engine running and then pulls back out.  I am now back to having some suspicions about him.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday 22 August

Two sure signs that this has been a busy holiday.  Firstly, I usually read 3 or 4 books in the course of a fortnight break.  So far I have read just 50% of Nigel Owens' book Half Time.  Secondly we are sleeping late, and the dogs are happy to do so too.

This morning we woke at 9.30am with the van warming up to the temperature of an over.  Flinging open the door I see the rozzers are on site.  My first inclination is that they have caught up with the serial killer in the Beamer, but no, they park up outside a van a little further away.

Reluctantly I set off to take the dogs for their morning walk (they are no longer early) leaving herself under strict instructions we keep an eye on goings on so she can fill me in on the details when I return.

I took the dogs to our usual spot, and I swear there is no better place to wipe the sleep from your eyes. I'm going to miss this spot next week.

I get back to site, tether the dogs and ask herself what's happened (the rozzers have now gone).  She does not have a clue as she didn't take much notice.  I let her know of my disapproval.

The Beamer is being treated to a valet, including the boot.  Perhaps he was spooked by the Rozzers turning up.  Shortly after they rushed about and made themselves scarce.  Herself says they just went out for the day, I'm not convinced and will keep you posted.

The gits from the other side have moved on (Yey!!!) and we have new neighbours in the shape of Giuseppe and his family in a large Mororhome.  He's not told me his name yet, but it must be, he's Italian and they are all called that (the same way that all Welsh blokes are called Dai!)

I've been reading @Nigelrefowens book and last night I read that he's rather fond of a fried egg sandwich on matchdays, so that is what I declared to Herself that I wanted for my breakfast, and I must say the free range eggs tasted wonderful.

With breakfast dispatched we went about doing nothing.  Yes that's right, nothing, sweet FA, ziltch, bugger all.  The sun was out and it was declared that today was a day for kicking back.  The most energetic thing I did all day was rub some used chip fat on herself and myself in a bid to get that  bronzed Adonis look you see on telly!

We fried in the sun and the dog lay in the shade as our flags flew limply in the very light breeze.  Considering the furthest I moved all day was to get another San Miguel from the coolbox time flew. Mind you I did also manage top both stay awake and finish off @Nigelrefowens book and see off 5 chapters of @Samwarburton book.

By 4.30pm  though I'd had enough.  We were out of used chip fat and I was putting Gavin Henson to shame.  We both showered and changed into some clean clobber - well I turned my pants inside out - and we went out in search of somewhere to have food.

We passed through St Just then followed the signs to The Queens Arms in the small hamlet of Botallack.  We settled ourselves down in the beer garden, tethered the dogs and placed our order for food.  I had a sea food broth to start with a belly pork mains while herself went for garlic mushrooms and a chicken dish,

Just as the starters arrived so did the roadies for a local amateur dramatics group.  Apparently they were putting on a floodlit show in the beer garden later on.  The intention was to sit out the evening here until after Magic in the Skies and then returning to the van.  However as the luvvies arrived, with their many props Tali starts to growl.

As more arrive there are luvvie hugs and pecks on both cheeks all round and it's darling this and darling that. Herself takes one look at the look on my chops and says that we cannot possibly stay for the show.  I didn't realise my disdain for them was that obvious!

The food was superb, though it's possibly the first time ever I've taken the time to check the tab before paying it! I thought we were eating in a Cornish beer garden not a West End restaurant.

In my mind I've hatched an escape strategy partly because of mine and Tali's dislike for the luvvies but mostly because I cannot afford another bottle of wine here for Herself.

We pass the luvvies huddled in shed doing pre-performance luvvie things as we escape the beer garden in the general direction of Miranda.

My plan includes calling in the Co-op in St Just to pick up a chilled bottle of wine for herself and something for desert for me.  I like my desert but there is no way, as long as I have a hole in my arse, that I am going to pay £8 for a slice of Black Forest!

Now I know many of you that actually know me would struggle to believe it, but I do have a romantic bone in my body ..... somewhere!

With wine and cheescake purchased we make the short journey down to Cape Cornwall where my plan is to have a romantic evening sitting on the tailgate while the sun disappears behind the cape.  When we arrived to a nearly full car park it would appear that I am not the only one to have had this idea as it was hard to see the grass in places for picnic rugs, upon which many middle aged men  poured a glass of chilled white for their Internet brides of Asian origin!

With some very clever reversing and superb parking skills I managed to manoeuvre Miranda's considerable bulk into a space in the corner.  In doing so I also manged to completely block the view of another couple who were sat in their car enjoying a previously uninterrupted view of of the cape and ocean beyond.

They left shortly after, but not before he'd made a point of stomping around Miranda and standing directly in front of us to look out to sea through his binoculars.  

Was I bovvered? No I was not, I just gave Tali and Cerys a few more feet on their leash so that they could dribble all over his Chinos and he soon buggered off.

We settled ourselves down on the Tailgate, herself leans into me, rests her head on my shoulder just as the sun fell bellow the headland.  I'm thinking to myself "You've played a blinder here shag, tonight may be your lucky night!"

Then my phone rings, I ignore it.  herself's phone rings, we ignore it.  The herself's other phone rings and with the moment gone herself jumps up to locate it in the bowels of Miranda's cubby holes.  It's Roids wanting instructions on how to use the washing machine FFS!

With Roids happy the machine has started we settle back down on the tail gate and look out to sea and watch a tanker glide past on the horizon. The optimism gnome is talking to me on my shoulder when Tali kicks off, no amount of shwwching him does the trick so herself looks round the corner and he's guarding the adjacent car ........... stopping the owner of the car opening the door and getting in.

We see the sun set and decide to escape before the hippies climb down from the point and \Tali attacks one of them, and we make our way back to site.

9.15 pm comes with a bang as magic in the skies kicks off.  She starts climbing the walls, panting uncontrollably and dribbling all over me while having palpitations as one bang is closely followed by another bang ...... then with all the upset Cerys starts playing up too cos she also doesn't like the fireworks.

By 9.30 it's all quiet again, and shortly after the Beamer pulls up.  I wonder if he'll ever read this blog?