Sunday, 13 July 2014

Cornwall 2014 (Part 4 of 4)

Wednesday 9 July

@DerekTheWeather has promised great things today, and after all the buzzing about we've done over the last few days, we've not got plans to move far from the van today.

I was in charge of breakfast, so made myself half a loaf of bacon toasties while I sorted out a few boiled eggs for Herself.

By the time we've cleared away the breakfast dishes the sun is burning the grass, so I scoop out a cupful of last night's chip fat from the pan and go about smearing it all over me from head to foot. The blanket is spread out on the grass and I set about the task of getting the bronzed Adonis look.  No sooner have I laid myself out star shaped, than Cerys decides now would be a good time to cwtch up to daddy.

I am now covered in dog hair.

I did not move for a few hours, and started to attract some attention from the lady folk on site.  I'd like to think it was a diet coke moment, but Herself tells me that one or two were curious as to how a seal got washed up this far from the beach.

We spent a blissful day soaking up all the sun had to offer moving only at tea time to take a short spin into St Just to pick up something to cremate for tea from the butcher.

Apart from that little jaunt the most energetic things  I've done today are to walk back and fore to the coolbox and empty the toilet.

Nos da

Thursday 10 July

I was up waking the larks this morning, not because I was feeling fresh and energetic or anything (who are these people who go to the gym first thing in the morning? I've got a job to stand up straight!) but because I have a bit of a situation ongoing.

Today is Herself's birthday, and for the last two days I've been a worried man.  You see, I have managed to lose her birthday cards from Ronnie and Roids that they had written before they left.  I have lost mine as well, but Herself wouldn't care about that, it's the ones off the boys that would get me into big doodoo.

I am sweating like a 1970s BBC TV presenter every time there's a knock on the door as I empty out Miranda's interior, but just as Herself opens the black out blinds I find the lost cards and the day is saved.

After breakfast Herself declares that she would like to go into Penzance to do a bit of shopping.  In my head I can see the £20 notes fluttering away buy I say nothing as it's her birthday, and me saying anything at all would result in my conjugal rights being terminated forthwith.

I park up in a shaded space and Herself and I head off to the shops.  Herself is enjoying making me sweat as she browses jewellers after jewellers and I have palpitations at one point when she takes a like to a bracelet costing more than Miranda's new tyres.

Having exhausted shopping opportunities we make our way to the promenade where after managing to get myself tangled up in the dogs leads and falling over, we sit and have lunch on a bench with Newlyn to our right and The Lizard to our left at the other side of Mounts Bay looking up the English Channel.

With lunch out of the way we head over to the other side of the bay and have some beers in a garden looking directly over to St Michael's Mount before browsing the village of Marazion.

I've been dropping hints all day, but tell Herself straight that I've Booked a table somewhere special for tonight.  She's curious and keeps asking "Is it her?" "Is it there?" and I tease her a little playing warmer, cooler as we return to site along the winding roads.

I tell Herself to scrub up and I don't want her letting me down and fair doos, she emerges from the back end of the van looking the business.  She finds me rummaging through the shoe crate looking for some tidy shoes that I have not brought with me!  The tidiest thing I have to put on my feet are my Jesus creepers!  The look of disdain was shattering.

We leave the site and turn left - remember that Herself does not yet know where we are going.  We pass the turning to Sennen Cove so she works out that we are not going to the posh Beach Restaurant, we also bypass Whitesands before slowing down in Sennen village.  I come to a halt outside 390 degrees west and hop out.  As I walk around to open her door for her I can sense that all is not well. The tirade of abuse and floods of spittle that was directed towards me left me in no doubt that my choice of venue for her birthday meal was not what she was expecting.

Before one of her swipes with a nail file hit its target I am forced to admit that I am joking with her (surprisingly she did not laugh).  By the time we are cruising into the car park she has calmed down a little and when I pull up outside the hotel reception at Lands End and turn off the engine the love of my life is smiling once more.

You see, earlier on last week when they all thought I was popping to the toilet I was actually reserving a window table here for this evening.

All was going well as we strolled hand in hand past reception towards the restaurant for our 6pm reservation until a bemused young girl at front of house tells us they don't start serving until 6.30pm.  We are invited to take drinks and plonk ourselves down at a table with a view up towards Cape Cornwall and browse the menu.

Front of house comes to collect us when the restaurant is opened.  We are feeling a million dollars as we are led past the last of the day trippers (I've pulled my trousers down a little so they hang low and cover my rather inappropriate footwear) and are asked which table we would like to sit at.  We opt for one looking straight out to Longships and she leads the way with all eyes on us.

I wish I'd seen it but I didn't - the raised floor that is.  Arse over tit I went and went down like a sack of spuds.  I'm no lightweight and I think they felt the tremor out on The Isles of Scilly.  The young girl was extremely worried, whilst Herself was rather less so struggling to catch her breath in between fits of laughter, Feeling like a right dick I hobbled over to our superb table where I composed myself before ordering.

We pushed the boat out and I'm playing a blinder.  Herself is putty in my hands as the divine courses are rolled out and the bubbly flows.

I had a belly pork starter and Herself had mushroom soup.  We both had a superb ribeye steak for mains and I made a pig of myself with a really posh chocolate desert.,

We rounded off a simply perfect evening sitting hand in hand on Miranda's boot as the sun set over the Atlantic once more.

Nos da

Friday 11 July

Sunny skies wake us again this morning, but no chance to sit round and enjoy it.  We have to break camp today in readiness for our departure late this evening.  Breaking only for a few bottles of water we are all done by 12 noon and jumping into Miranda to head off out for the day.

We get the dogs loaded up, clunk click then turn the key.  Nothing, absolutely bugger all.  There was no point in trying to hide it, I had dropped an almighty bollock.  Earlier on while loading up the car I had to move the front seats forward to drop down the back seats.  With Miranda everything requires power to work, so I had turned on the ignition to power up the seat adjusters ......... and left it on with the very same battery running the air con.  This I had done some 2 hours earlier, so repeated turns of the key only brought a dead mans click!

Herself turns to me with disdain written all over her face and utters to me the words made famous by Bryn Cartwright in the film Twin Town when Fatty Lewis falls from the rugby club roof.

I have to go digging now into the depths of Miranda's boot and retrieve our a set of jump leads.  I could have just called Green Flag, but that would have resulted in a few hours delay, which in turn would have written off the rest of our last day, which would have in turn removed my rights to conjugal activities being withdrawn medium to long term.

So I get out the leads, open up Miranda's bonnet and drape them over the front for all to see.  Next door is sunbathing so I clatter about a bit and cough a few times rather loudly so as to attract their attention.

They clock Miranda's open bonnet, leads draping over her front and Herself sat steaming in the passenger seat muttering expletives with every breath.  Any brownie points I may have earned last night have long since been forfeited.

"What's up, flat battery is it?"
I bite my lip to stop myself replying "No shit Sherlock!" and instead explain in great detail how herself had left the key in the ignition with everything turned on.
"Women eh!"
"Yes." I said "I'm going to try find the farmer now, see if he can jump start me."
"I could give you a jump now if you want."
"Really?  I didn't want to bother you."

No sooner is Miranda purring away than he is left standing there waving us off as I spray grit and grass in his face waving a cheery goodbye.  We stop off briefly in Sennen to let the dogs relieve themselves while we watch some nutter attempt to launch himself into orbit under a hang glider.

His first attempt didn't go too well as he tripped and then got dragged closer and closer to the cliff top, his mates worriedly ran to his rescue while I struggled to contain myself.  He got picked up and the wind caught him immediately.  I hope he knows what he's doing because the next land from here is the good old US of A.

We take the coastal road from St Just to St Ives and after about 10 miles Herself is starting to mellow a bit and words that would not need to be bleeped out on Channel 5 are passing her lips.

The scenery on this road is really out of this world.  We pull into St Ives and wonder of wonders, we find a parking space close enough to the town that you do not require a picnic break half way in!

With the dogs on their leads we explore the narrow streets and get lost immediately.  We eventually find our way to the harbour and Herself gets into spending mode as she explores all the little jewelry workshops plying for trade.

After a few hours we are done.  St Ives is rammed and it is very hot, too hot really for the dogs, so we head back to Miranda and make our way over to Hayle for same pasties to take home for the boys.

With that task done we make tracks for the south coast and the small village of Mousehole, in which taking place is the Sea Salt and Sail festival.  We manage to park up and feed yet more coins onto another parking meter before strolling down to the harbour.  The festival isn't really up to much and seems only to comprise of a few sail boats flying a few flags in the harbour.  We turn on our heels and settle down on some tables outside a Bistro for some refreshments.

Herself was in charge of ordering, and handed over the best part of £25 for two 9" Meatfeast pizza and a few bottle of warm Pepsi.  The Meatfeast pizzas arrived, but appeared to be sans meat!  After a few minutes the girl comes out and asks if everything is OK.  My prodding of the pizza with my knife and saying "I'm having a little trouble finding the meat in this meatfeast pizza!" earned me a swift kick in the shins.

After polishing off our veggie pizzas it dawned on us that neither of us had bought the obligatory sweets for work.  Time is getting on, so our only hope down this part of the world is Lands End.  We pull up to the booth where Dick Turpin lies in wait.  Welcome to Lands End he bellows, and I ask if the gift shops are still open.  He doesn't know but still wants £3 off us to park up.  I say that we only want to spend some spondoolies in the gift shops and all the other attractions are closed anyway.  He still wants £3 to park and for us to run over to the shops to see if they were open.

I refuse his ever so generous offer with a "thanks for eff all" and we spin round to return to site sweet less.

We spend the next few hours watching nutters soar above the site hanging by a piece of string from a kite and catching some kip before doing our final preparations for the off.

Time for one last final treat and at 8.30pm we go to get some fish and chips from 190 degrees west to be eaten on our cliff top looking down towards Gwenver cove where a pod of dolphins are in temporary residence and creating a bit of a stir.

With the van hitched up to Miranda we say our final goodbyes to fellow caravanners on site and we are pulling out of Trevedra at 9.30pm with the sun setting behind us.

The tow home was uneventful, which is exactly how it should be. Miranda shrugged off the monumental climbs over both Bodmin and Dartmoor with nothing more than a throaty growl.  5 1/4 hours later we are pulling up outside home completely knackered.

The tow home had not been as uneventful as I thought as we have lost one of our fridge vent covers somewhere along the A30, M5 or M4.


We never tire of Cornwall as a holiday destination, and have certainly found a little gem in Trevedra Farm. This is the first time in many years that we have holidayed outside of the school summer holidays, and whilst we appeared to be the youngest couple in our field, it was like travelling back in time to the days when campers used to be not so insular.

I cannot remember the last time we talked so much to our neighbours, and it made a very pleasant change. Those young families that are new to caravanning should take note, it makes for a far more enjoyable experience if you interact with people.  A sign of modern times that this is now not the norm.

We've had a blast.  Flat out for the first week when Ronnie, Roids and TF were down with us, and a little slower during the second week when it was just Herself and I.

We were lucky with the weather again this year with there really being only one bad day, and the colour on me you'd think I'd returned from 14 nights in Sa Coma and not Sennen.

Herself and I are both agreed that the low point of the holiday was when Tali decided to empty his bowels in front of half the population of Falmouth, but picking out a high is a little more difficult.  Up there for consideration though would be our dining experience at Lands End closely followed by one or two others.

Until next time, Da bo chi.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Cornwall 2014 (Part 3)

Sunday 6 July

I wake again with the sun streaming through the blinds and the inside of the van heating up like an oven. Because of our lazy day yesterday the dogs are also nagging a little earlier, so by 8.30am I am on the throne sorting my guts out, I'll share the view with you.

The dog walk field behind us is busy, and which ever direction you look there are middle aged men and women with a little black bag covering their hand, stooping down to pick up the deposits that their 4 legged furry friends have so thoughtfully left for them.

Wait for it ............. I skip breakfast this morning and make do with a cup of tea, over which herself announces that she would like to visit a market today.  As the saying goes, Google is yewer friend, and Google soon informs me that Cornwall does not really do markets, loads of car boot sales but markets are few and far between.

One does catch my eye though, and that is the Cornish Markets near St Austell, some 55 miles back up country.  After a quick scrub up with dettol and a wire brush we are fit to go, and with the dogs already waiting in Miranda's boot we make tracks.

We pull up outside and it's immediately obvious that this place is vast and has numerous car parks.  I spy a sign that forbids dogs so hunt for a space with some shade.  I shoe horn Miranda into a suitable space under the biggest tree we could find, open all the windows 4" and the sunroof to full, leave the dogs a few bowls of water and head off.

The place is like an Aladdin's cave and sells all sorts.  We do some gift shopping as well as picking up some pasties for lunch.  Conscious that the sun may move and expose the car we try not to stay too long.  I am relieved as my wallet has been assaulted by herself.

After giving the dogs a stretch we head off in search of somewhere for lunch on the way into Mevagissey.  A slight detour takes us to The Lost Gardens of Heligan where we picnic out of Miranda's boot Twickers stylee in the vast grass car park taking in the glorious views of the rolling countryside while the dogs run free.

We take the coast road through the very pretty  Portmellon before winding our way through the very narrow streets of Mevagissey towards the car parks.  Once our King's ransom is fed into the pay and display machine we lead the dogs and head off to have a mooch.  We've been here many times before but never tire of the place, but for some reason with all the traffic I had a senior moment and took a wrong turn and we headed away from the harbour area and got lost.  I had steamed on ahead of Herself and took a left then another left and we arrived back at the car park.

Herself took me by surprise and didn't call me any names at all.  She was fine about it .... most strange.  We set off again and this time made all the right turns through the maze of narrow streets and I watched on as some bloke in a hired Luton Transit lost his deposit as he scraped the body along the overhang of a building at one of the numerous pinch points.  Suffice to say my day was going better than his.

The harbour opened up before us and we bag an empty bench to watch the world go by, soak up the view and watch as a seal surfaced in the water just a few dozen yards in front of us.

This is bliss and Herself keeps asking me if I'd like an ice cream.  I refuse a few times until I eventually cave in and have a coronary in a cone.  I take my first lick and am in heaven, when Herself moves in close to me and says "You know that street we went down earlier ..... well there was a lovely toe ring in the window of that jewellers."

I bloody knew there was something up ... no name calling when we got lost ..... I hadn't left her at all, she'd stopped to look in the window ..... then coaxing me to have an ice cream ..... fair play, there's no flies on herself, and if there were they'd be paying rent!  After agreeing that she can have it as her birthday pressie I am rushed into finishing my cone and dragged off to purchase the desired item.

We arrive and I'm shown the one she wants on the tray, I go into the shop and ask if I can buy it and the lady goes to get it.  There are no flies on this one either as she beckons herself to come into the shop, dogs and all, and proceeds to show Herself a selection of other toe rings until Herself changes her mind.

I go up to the till and get mugged as she rings in a number that is significantly north of the price of the original toe ring that Herself fancied. Cunning bitch.

My wallet has been assaulted big time and I announce it's time to leave.  We make tracks back west and chill on site for an hour or so before realising we have nothing in the van that we could make an evening meal out of.  Herself uses a pressure washer on me in an effort to clean me up and we head out for a meal at the nearby Whitesands Lodge which has a seafood restaurant attached to it.

The food was divine, Herself had the Fisherman's Pie and I had the King Scallops, and I can honestly say that it was some of the best seafood I have ever had.

We stay up late watching the sun set before tuning into watch shite on TV.

Nos da

Monday 7 July

We wake to cloudy skies this morning but the dogs are in no rush to go out so I guzzle a few gallons of tea until they start to nag at 11am.  After a few laps of the field I throw some bacon on the Weber for breakfast before Herself announces that we need to go shopping for provisions.  It starts to rain a little as we set off in the general direction of Penzance.

They've built a Sainsburys down here since last year and Herself has been nagging to go there. I'm not in the place long before I start to feel very uncomfortable.  Have you seen the price they charge for stuff in there?

"Do you want this?"

"Do you want that?"

"Do you want this then?"

Despite my very best efforts not to buy anything the cashier cheerfully asks for over £70 for some groceries that barely cover the bottom of the trolley.  I resist the urge to punch her lights out, and no matter how much she nags and coaxes, there is no way that Herself is getting me anywhere near that place again.

While loading up Miranda I notice that one of her front tyres is in a bad way, a very bad way, and is somewhat illegal.  The other front one isn't much better and I now know why she  felt a little lively round the bends the other night in the rain.

I've seen both an ATS and Kwikfit around here but have no intention of being mugged by either of those gits so get onto Google.  I ring a few local boys and get some decent prices, but neither have Miranda's size in stock.  I ring Trevedra to see if they can recommend anyone local.  The garage at St Burynan says they cannot possibly do anything until next week (it's only Monday mind) and another in St Just says he has better things to do with his time.  As he tells me this I look around and take in the view of his assistant lounging in an old car seat throwing nuts and bolts into a tub on the floor 5ft in front of him out of boredom!

Defeated, I ring up the tyre guy in Newlyn and order a set to be fitted tomorrow.  Miranda will not go far today.

I get into JFO mode back at the van and we dine in style.  My Kitchen Rules has nothing on us.  For starters we had cockles with bacon and anchovies, for mains Herself had trout and I had Langostines, and for desert I had a cream tea, Herself does not do desert.

With dishes cleared we facetimed the kids and the olds before heading over to Sennen to watch the sunset.

A perfect end to the day

Nos da

Tuesday 8 July

I wake from my deep slumber slowly and gently as the early morning sun sneaks into the van through the gaps behind the black out blinds. I turn over and give my beloved a gentle kiss on the cheek as she gets up out of bed to put the kettle on.

Nah, scratch that.  I am woken harshly and suddenly by Herself with a punch to the shoulder with her barking at me to turn off the bloody alarm which is going off only 8" from my head.  I'd not heard it.  We have an early start today and it feels like the middle of the night even though the sun is high in the sky.

By 8.15am we've managed to peel ourselves off the sheets and Herself goes about making the bed while I light a flame under the kettle.  We are both showered and out of the van by 9am and eagerly making our way over to the Sennen Farmer's Market.  We get there much earlier than last year and all the stalls are well stocked with good quality, fresh local produce.

We come away with our bags straining under the weight of a few pasties, some lamb chops, some new potatoes, some coleslaw, 1/2 dozen eggs, some doggie treats and a blue glass thing that Herself had to have but does not know what to do with yet.

With the dogs walked on the cliff tops we pause briefly to watch a para glider shit out of jumping from the cliff before returning to the van to drop off Herself and the dogs before I make my way in Miranda to get her seriously illegal and dangerous front tyres replaced.  I swing into the service yard and am happy to see Miranda's new tyres sat there blocking the access to the garage.  They are not small.

This is not how I would ideally like to spend a morning of my holidays, but to be honest they were cheaper than PC would have done them at home, and while tyre fitting is not rocket science, they were very efficient and did a good job.  In no time at all I was heading back to site with a big £240 hole in our holiday spends budget.

The weather is due to turn nasty for a bit today and it starts to rain lightly as I pull back onto site.  We throw a few pasties down our necks before heading back out for the day, pausing briefly to admire the mahoosive Fifth Wheeler that has pulled onto site.

First off we make for Porthgwarra. I've Google earthed it, and it looks like a nice remote sandy cove with not much there to attract people. As we made our way through the narrow lanes we met a '14 plate Mitsubishi joking 4x4, with a twisted and haggard old witch behind the driving seat.  She stopped in a passing place a full 2 feet from the hedge and refused to move.  I then had to squeeze Miranda's considerable bulk through the remaining space.  It was cm by cm and still the old witch would not move closer to the hedge, afraid of damaging her paintwork. Our wing mirrors briefly touched, and I'm talking a fag paper's width here.  She winds down her window, starts to scream obscenities at me before showing me her vast repertoire of hand gestures as she sped off.

They are harvesting spuds down here at the moment and as we rounded a corner I spotted about a bucket full that had spilled from one of the trailers.  I said to Herself "I'm having them on the way back."

The narrow lanes descended to the cove at Porthgwarra, and it looked lovely, except there were quite a few people about and there was also a rather uninviting sign informing all that dogs were not welcome.  We didn't stay.

As approached the section of road with the free spuds on an arsehole came up behind me rather rapidly and proceeded to tailgate me through the bends.  I pull into a passing place to let him past.  Herself asked why, as usually I would just drive slower to annoy him.  I explain it's all part of the master plan, as I could hardly stop in the road to pick up the spuds with him behind me.

I'm getting in the zone now as we approach, I'm checking my mirrors, great no cars behind me, and doing my stretching exercises.  as we round the last bend I can see my prize still sitting at the end of the road.  I start to slow down and ask Herself to pass me a bag.  Then he did it, the barsteward swerved and ran over the said pile of spuds, squashing most of them to a pulp and sending the rest rolling to their fate.  The git!!

The red mist comes down and I floor it till I'm about 5ft from his rear end, and stay there till Herself twists my nipples until I stop.

The heavens opened chucked buckets at us from above.  Not to worry though, Miranda has a set of brand new boots on so I am throwing her through the bends with gay abandon.

We come up behind this van, and I take a photo to send to Mr Shag saying "Saw this and thought of you."  The reply is immediate, and I didn't know Mr Shag knew so many swear words.

We stop briefly at the Polygon Vineyard in Penzance to partake in some tasting before deciding on a few bottles of sparkling cider and then moving on to take a look at Porthleven.

Finding a parking spot was a challenge, once that was out of the way we spend a few hours having a nose around while Tali did his very best to yank my arm out of it's socket.

We stop for a drink on the quayside before making tracks northwards and Healey's Cyder Farm, where Ronnie wants us to pick up some more Rattler for him.

Back on site we throw together our tea from ingredients we purchased this morning, an easy one tonight, just lamb chops and real home made chips.

Tired tonight and struggled to summon up the energy to sit outside in this to watch the sun set over the Atlantic.

Nos da