This break seems to be have been a long time coming. We usually take our holidays far earlier than this, but herself didn't get herself organised in time so couldn't get the time off in work.
Anyway, by just before 6pm we are fed, loaded up and on the road, joining the M4 at junction 48 to start out haul down to the West Country. I may have mentioned this before, but I hate the tow out of South Wales with a passion. However, traffic was reasonably light as we crossed the River Severn and veered off onto the M49 towards Avonmouth and the M5 southbound.
Our rapid progress was abrupty halted as we joined the M5 car park with an armada of caravans and Citroen Picassos with roof boxes and made somewhat less rapid progress until we'd cleared Weston Super Mare.
Normal service resumed and we were passing the wicker man a little over 2 hours after leaving home. He was somewhat more impressive when he stood in a field in the middle of nowhere a few years ago, unlike now when he is dwarfed by the neighboring mahoosive Morrisons distribution centre.
We pulled into Taunton Dean Services at a little after 8pm for a break and let the dogs stretch their legs. I made sure I stretched mine first to avoid a repeat of last year's antics with Tali.
With the sun dropping below the horizon we pressed on and skirted the North side of Dartmoor in half light and into Cornwall to cross Bodmin Moor in darkness. Miranda behaved very well taking the numerous climbs in her stride, but I was on my chin straps and we needed somewhere to stop for the night. Herself dismissed all the ones that I had planned on Google Earth, but we found a vacant layby just passed Newquay to rest up for the night.
I've been told I can't call Roids' girlfriend 'The Mute' cos it's not nice and she does actually talk to us now. She is always cold from here on in she shall be known as The Fridge (TF).
Ronnie, Roids, DD and TF are joining us for a while and are setting off at 3am with the intention of meeting up with us in the morning. I send the the coordinates of our whereabouts and we settle in for the night.
A restful night it was not. Trucks thundered past, some pulled up behind us to take a break and NEDs sped along the road with their baked bean tin exhausts doing the business.
Saturday 10 August
By 6am I've had enough and get up to let the dogs add to the stench of stale urine at the side of the road.
Modern technology never ceases to amaze me. Not so long ago, the kids meeting us in a nondescript layby on the A30 would have taken some organising, but as if by magic, at 7.45 they roll up behind us having been directed by TomTom to the nearest meter.
Surprise surprise, they want feeding. We travel a little further until we stumble across a Brewers Fayre joint that does an eat as much as you like breakfast menu. We did !!! It was an interesting experience. It's not that often that I sit in a restaurant and am surrounded by people eating in their pyjamas!!! Some 45 mins later (loaded up with muffins stolen from the buffet) we wobbled our way to the cars to travel the rest of the way to site, having eaten enough to keep an African family going for a year
By 9.30am we were on our pitches at Trevedra Farm in Sennen and were fully set up - Caravan , awning & tent by noon.
Between the awning, the tent and the windbreaks my right arm is aching somewhat from all the hammering and swinging of the mallet and feels like it belongs to a 13 year old who just found a copy of Men Only tucked behind a tree up the woods!!!
Despite having done a monster shop (mostly meat) in Farm Foods yesterday we need some provisions (mostly alcohol) so make the trip back to Penzance to load up.
Our trip back to site was interesting to say the least. A car was attempting to overtake another, misjudged and clipped the front corner of a bus.This sent him into the bank before catapulting him in the air, wiping out some power lines before landing on his roof in a field. This happened about 5 cars in front of us, and pandemonium ensued.
A local seemed unperturbed about the accident and was more concerned about the road being closed. Lots of arm flapping and cursing resulted in him storming back to his car, but kindly offering for us to follow him so he could show us a diversion. Great we thought, that is until he took off through the lanes like Gwyndaf Evans. Miranda's tyres were screeching, herself was hanging onto what ever she could hang onto and the dogs were playing pinball in the back of the car.
Back on site the Weber is fired up for an easy tea of sausages and burgers, all washed down with luke warm lager.
Herself and I take the dogs out for a walk later while Ronnie, Roids, DD & TF take a hike down to the beach from site. We sit around chewing the fat until about 10.30 when we all give in and call it a night.
Sunday 11 August
We wake to clear skies and breakfast on cereal, pastries and bacon rolls. Bacon was cooked outside while guzzling numerous mugs of tea. I'm enjoying this site. Whilst it's not up to Caravan Club standards, it's cheap and has an interesting vibe to it (read full of ageing hippies) and there's always something going on.
There's an elderly gent stopping on a nearby pitch, and he's packing up to set off today. He has an old caravan dating from the 1970s, and I think his towing mirrors are as old as the van. It's quite some time since I've seen a pair of these bewts in use!
The site overlooks the busy Atlantic / Celtic Sea shipping lanes, and I'm also rather enjoying looking through my binoculars and doing a bit of ship spotting, cross referencing with an ipad app that live tracks maritime traffic on an interactive map.
The kids are off to Newquay today to take in the last day of the Boardmasters and we wave them off late morning before getting ourselves together to make tracks ourselves. After herself took it upon herself to tidy up their tent.
We hit Penzance by mid day and narrowly miss a collision with some tumble weed as we try to find a car park. There's not may people about. We pick up some odds and ends and a couple of ginormous pastys for lunch, which is eaten on the harbor wall watching old men pottering with ropes and other boaty stuff.
From there we take the coast road to Newlyn and Mousehole before heading in land to the Drift Resevoir. The intention was to walk the perimeter with the dogs, but it is all fenced off as private property. We continue north to St Just and Cape Cornwall before going back to site to chill for a few hours.
Making our way through the lanes herself gets very envious as we stumble across a hamlet named after me. I am touched as we pass Paul's Golf Club and Paul's Village stores. They even have a graveyard named after me down here. How cool is that?
We get a phone call from DD. They are on their way back, and guess what? They are hungry. The Weber gets loaded up with chicken in readiness for their return, and I kick back with a bottle or two of San Miguel while doing a bit of ship spotting.
In fairness to them they did rock up with some presents for us. They called in Healey's Cider farm on their way back and herself and I are presented with some scrumpy and some Rattler cider.
After tea we all decide to head off back out. Earlier on today we'd spotted an amusement arcade on the promenade between Penzance and Newlyn, and the place looked lovely as we approached with it being all lit up in the fast fading light.
It's lucky that I'm not really a 'competitive dad' and have gone easy on Ronnie and Roids over the years. Otherwise they wouldn't have thrashed me 7-2 and 7-1 at air hockey in front of the whole arcade!!!!!
With my mojo having taken a hammering I retrieve the dogs from the back of Miranda and cross the promenade to take a wander and watch the world do what the world does in this part of the world.
Ship lights twinkled out at sea, couples strolled arm in arm,NEDS raced up and down and druggies lurked in the shelters waiting for their dealer to show up with their fix!!!!
Herself, Ronnie, Roids, DD and TF got thrown out of the arcade (well, it closed) and we head back to site at 10pm.
The return journey of 8 miles or so had its moments. On the outskirts of Penzance on the unlit roads some NEDs were playing chicken with cars, I slammed on Miranda's brakes and narrowly avoided tangling the tw@t's spindly legs in Miranda's front bull bar.
Herself is an animal lover, and incidents involving road kill don't really sit well with her. A few miles after the NEDs incident a rabbit gets caught in Miranda's headlights and is weaving back and fore in the road in front of me. The pressure is on but I manage to avoid flattenng it under Miranda's tyres, so Mixy lives another day.
Or so we thought! We pull up on site and Ronnie says ... " You know that Rabbit that you missed back there ...... well I managed to hit it!!" before dissappearing into his tent leaving me to deal with a traumatized herself!