We are no longer tied to school holidays, so our annual jaunt is a little earlier this year. Through the dark winter months I trawled the internet for hour after hour seeking out an alternative destination for our break, but there was nothing that jumped out at me and said "Come here instead of Sennen", so after 2 full days of getting the van ready we were hitched up and climbing the slip road at J48 by 7pm in the evening sunshine.
I'll not bore you with another rant about the M4 through South Wales, bit 1/4 tank later we are over the Seven Bridge and heading towards the West Country. As we join the M5 we hit a wall of tail lights and crawl past a rather nasty looking accident involving a HGV that has jack knifed and demolished a wall at the side of the road.,
Once that was cleared the cruise control was set to 65 and we hurtled into the descending sun. We stopped at Taunton Dean services to stretch the legs, have a cuppa and let the dogs curl down a few bag fulls before once again hitting the pleasantly empty motorway.
Miranda didn't miss a beat. She never dropped below 60, even climbing over Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, and not once did she ever hint at losing control of the rig. She is some towing machine. As we topped Bodmin Moor in the drizzle (Does it ever do anything else up here?) Herself's lamps spot some flashing blue lights in the carriageway ahead. I was too busy enjoying Madness pumping out of the speakers to notice.
As we approached it became evident that a Freelander towing a caravan had lost control and got stuck as it crossed the central reservation. That served as a timely reminder that I'd been towing for approx 200 miles and it was time to find somewhere to get our heads down.
We pulled into lay by at 12.30am and joined a line that included a HGV, Caravan, Motorhome and a van. After winding the legs down I sent our coordinates to Ronnie and Roids before hitting the hay.
Saturday 28 June
A restful night it was not. Not because of passing traffic as the road was reasonably quiet, but because it absolutely tipped down from 2am to 4.30am.
I got a notification on Facebook that Ronnie, Roids and TF set off to catch up with us at 3am, so allowing for a Costa stop they should be with us sometime between 7am and 8am. Through sheer exhaustion I must have drifted off into a really deep sleep by 5am and was dead to the world.
I need to set the scene here. I am deaf, so my phone is set to loud and has a VERY loud ring tone, to even give me a chance of hearing it under normal conditions. Overnight in the caravan my phone lives in a holster about 8 inches from my head.
I am dead to the world and at 7.30am a rather loud air raid siren wakes me from my dreams and I raise my head from the pillow with a start. My head collides with the holster and a sharp edge catches me on the temple just right. My vision was blurred but now I'm seeing stars very clearly indeed. I recoil and catch Herself in the chops as I rip the phone from the holster and it flies across the caravan hitting Cerys on the nose.
I'm now crawling over the floor follwing the sound of the ringtone feeling for my phone.
It's Ronnie. They've arrived and didn't want to knock the caravan door in case it startled me! Well that worked! Once I've composed myself and put on some clothes they join us for a cuppa before we make tracks on the last leg of the journey West.
It really down here for us. M4, M49, M5 the n A30 till you run out of road. To travel any further west on mainland GB would involve getting on a boat.
We are pulling onto Trevedra Farm at 9am, and are told that our pitch is free so after handing over a wedge of folding we are free to start setting up. I have to fess up here though. While booking in I told the girl behind the desk that it would not just be Herself and I staying as we had the "Kids" with us. "How many" she asked, as she tapped away diligently. Three I told her then she asked if any of them were under 5. No I replied. " Ok " she said, "are they under 16?"
It was at this point that I looked sheepishly to my right at Ronnie (who is pushing 21). She the said "So, they're not kids then, are they?" Apparently "Well they're my kids" does not qualify them to stay on site for the reduced tariff.
We all muck in with the setting up (we have quite a bit to do with a full awning and 2 sleeping annexes), but make light work of it before having a light lunch and catching 40 winks.
Herself and Ronnie take themselves off to Tesco and I clean the dribble off my chest before taking the dogs off for a walk along the cliff tops.
We scrub ourselves down with some dettol and a wire brush in an effort to make ourselves presentable before heading off out to dine at the "First and Last" followed by an ice cream at Sennen Cove. Cerys forgets she's a dog and joins TF at the table.
Back on site I start attacking my stock of Double Dragon, but with everyone on their chinstraps and early night was called for.
Sunday 29 June
What a kip! It was 9.15am until I stirred in my pit. I thought Herself was getting a bit amorous and started to get a bit excited, but with a crushing disappointment I opened my eyes to see Cerys licking my face! IT wasn't long before last night's consumption of Felinfoel Ales started to demand attention and the severe burning in my guts indicated that action was required sooner rather than later. Felinfoel Ales (Feeling Foul) has a rather undesirable affect on me. Herself informs me that my guts were a little ripe overnight and now on the bog I am reminded on televisual scenes I have so often seen of Amazonian rivers in flood after the rain storms. Still, I challenge you to find a hotel bathroom anywhere with a view to compare to this.
After sorting my guts out I take the dogs out to sort theirs out and Ronnie joins me for a few circuits of the field behind our caravan. Breakfast is cooked alfresco while guzzling a few gallons of tea and is eaten in the glorious sunshine.
Once scrubbed up we all pile into Miranda and head into Penzanze to take in the Golawan Festival. Parked up at the harbour we walk over to where it's all happening along with the crowds.
It is rammed, loads of stalls selling hippy tat, and loads of hippies buying hippy tat. A live band playing around every corner along side the obligatory stall selling authentic Thai food (more authentic that the one we walked last just 50 yards down the road). Tali is going beserk. He hates balloons, drummers, people dressed as pirates, and so on and so on. He's also growling at any other dog within 5m of him and is yanking my arm out of it's socket. He is attracting a bit of attention himself though, as today he is carrying his own water supply.
We round the corner and happen across the fun fair. I know from experience that Tali also does not appreciate loud music, bangs or hissing noises so this could get interesting.
The rides are not cheap, so the £15 I threw in the general direction of Ronnie, Roids and TF did not last long. They had a ride on the Waltzers before taking a car each on the Dodgems.
We exited the fair onto the promenade and took a seat to have a drink next to a Red Indian dressed in traditional attire making trashy bracelets for suckers to buy.
Refreshed, it was time to run the gauntlet again as we re traced our steps through the fair and the festival and back towards the town centre.
Herself has informed me that she needs a new hair dryer. I get the look when I ask what is wrong with the one at the caravan. We also pick up some pasties for lunch which are eaten on the harbour wall while watching some people do boaty things on their boat.
We head back to site to chill for a few hours and soak up some rays while the dogs take cover in their UV shelter.before getting our things together to go for a swim in the Atlantic.
We have the dogs with us so some Googling is necessary to locate a dog friendly beach not too far away. We make the short journey over to Cape Cornwall where the website promises a sandy beach that is easily accessible from the car park.
My spirits are raised as we approach and I note with Glee that the car park attendant has left for the day, so if I pretend I haven't seen the honesty box parking is free.
It all starts to go a bit down hill from here, literally. We make our way down to Priests Cove down the very steep path and steps and I'm starting to think that Flip Flops are a poor choice of footwear for the evening. As we are decending the steep and very uneven steps I can hear Herself's knees clicking with every movement. In my head I can also hear the agggro I'm going to get later on for bringing her this way. The steps lead to a very steep concrete slipway.
Never the less as we skid round the last corner with flip flop toe posts trying to cut their way to our ankles, the splendor of Priests Cove opens up before us. Pretty as it is, there is no sand, it is a rocky beach. Herself has no intention of going anywhere near the water so settles herself down on some flat rocks.
As we make our way down to the water's edge Tali starts to get a bit fractious as he knows that he is going to be enticed into the surf. I had full intentions of taking a dip, but as soon as the crashing waves reached my gonads and they disappeared up my back bone I had second thoughts. By now Tali is protesting somewhat and his claws catch me on my foot. The stinging salt water tells he he's drawn blood, and I use that as my excuse to Ronnie that I no longer want to swim.
Ronnie, Roids and TF enjoy a refreshing dip in the Atlantic while I enjoy a refreshing can or two of Double Dragon. All too soon it's time to leave. Remember the trip down here? Well, we have to go back up that. It's about 1/4 mile almost straight up. This isn't going to be pretty.
By the time we get back to the car I am gasping for breath like an Iraqui insurgent who's been waterboarded by the SAS for a month and the lactic acid is pumping into my calves in gallons.
Back on site my recovery process is aided by some ice cold Bow and the Webber gets fired up to cook up some ribs and burgers for our evening meal. As I sit next to the BBQ looking out at the Atlantic shipping channels with the Isles of Scilly visilble through the haze, swigging on some ice cold cider with the late evening sunshine on my chops, I think to myself that there is no way I would rather holiday. You just don't get this in Hotels.
The rest of the evening is spent guzzling various alcoholic drinks, while TF cleans Roids and myself out in a game of cards. Ronnie and herself are content to sit and watch while Ronnie plays at being DJ.
We turn in my around midnight, all knackered after a pretty full on day.
Monday 30 June
No clear blue skies to wake up to this morning, but at least it's not raining. I stir at around 9.15am and load the dogs into the boot of the car and make my way to one of my favorite spots. If there is a better place on this planet to wipe away the sleep from your eyes I am yet to find it.
Back at the van breakfast is a rather unsatisfactory affair of cereal and toast before I am informed that Ronnie, Roids and TF have their own plans for today - it would have been nice to have been invited - and they pile into Jenny and hiut the A30 northwards towards Crealey's Adventure Park.
I scrape a few day's growth off my chops and have shower before Herself and I pile into Miranda before realising we'd not discussed where we were to go for the day. I fire up the maps app on m,y ipad, and the Heritage Coast from Godrevy to Portreath beckons. It takes us forever to get through Hayle and by the time we get to the Godrevy Lighthouse, last night's consumption of Felinfoel Ales is pressing. We pull into the National Trust controlled car park and Dick Turpin is stood there in a high viz vest demanding £4. I'd rather shit myself!
We turned around and I'm now starting to sweat a bit. As luck would have it, just around a few bends I spy the Hells Mouth Cafe. Miranda drifted into the gravel car park and I am out of the driver's seat before the dust has settled. Luckily the toilets have a separate entrance, though a rather foreboding sign informs all they they are for customer's use only.
Skipping back out of the toilets I see that Herself now has the dogs on leads and is heading to one of the outside tables. Ah, we are stopping!
I go inside, order some drinks and a couple of pasties. The snooty cow behind the counter informs me that they do not sell pasties, but I am welcome to browse the menu. She did not appreciate my pointing out that they must be the only cafe in Cornwall that does not sell pasties!
Anyway, it is in a nice setting and we settle down at a table with our drinks, soak in the view and wait for our fantastic, supadupa, out of this world sandwiches to arrive - well they'd better be for what they cost.
Some time later we are presented with some rather ordinary ans way over priced sarnies complete with about 3 crisps, a side salad and a dollop of coleslaw - no fork though - and Herself say to me "Where is my effin pasty?"
With a frosty atmosphere we hit the B3301 and continue northwards. We call into both Portreath and Porthtowan. Both are very picturesque, but both also have dog bans on the beach, and as there was very little else these except a few shops selling flip flops and kites we didn't both to stop.
We continued towards St Agnes before turning south towards Falmouth for a bit of a mooch. Parked up, we head for the high st. We'd not been there 5 mins when I became acutely aware of people staring at us. Then one woman started running towards me holding out a carrier bag.
I could not hear what she was saying, but I turned round to see Tali nipping off the last of about 3 bags full in the middle of the road. Oh dear. Herself gets out the doggie bags and proceeds to do her very best to clean it up. A task not helped by the odd car wanting to pass, people who insisted on tip toeing through it instead of walking around, and the fact that it was a rather moist one that required tissues to do a proper job.
Herself looked up at me and said "Can we go please?" She is not enjoying the delights of Falmouth one bit. I buy some time by having a drink on the terrace of a pub overlooking the river, but Herself has a face on and I submit without further protestations.
I call into a B&Q on the way back for some waste pipe to sort out our connection to the drain and we make tracks after a bit of a nothing day.
The kids arrive back at the same time as us and we get a spag bog on the go for our evening meal. By 9pm Ronnie announces that he is bored, so we all pile into Miranda and head to Penzance to blow some pennies in the arcade. Myself , Ronnie and Roids get hooked on a coconut shy type of game and spend ££££s on it ans watching with glee as the machine spewed out reel after reel of prize tickets. We have a few hundred after blowing about £15 but my jaw hits the floor in dismay as we approach the kiosk and realise that we have enough for a rubber and a pencil sharpener.
We take a quick walk along the prom dodging the waves before making our way back to site via the scenic route through Newlyn and Mousehole.
Weather been good again today, not wall to wall sunshine, but still good none the less.
Tuesday 1 July
It hammered down overnight, and it's still a bit cloudy when we wake, though it is promised that it will all clear later.
After taking the dogs for a walk I get breakfast on the go before waking everyone else in an effort not to waste the entire day. By the time we are on the road to Newquay at 11.30am it's brightening up nicely, and as we roll into Newquay and feed a King's ransom into the parking meter the sun is burning the grass. We walk the familiar length of East St before Ronnie assaults my wallet for his forthcoming birthday pressie in one of the surfie shops.
We lunch on the green over looking the beach before Roids and TF depart to take in the delights of the Sea life Aquarium. The rest of us walk East St in the opposite direction before stopping off at a pub to have a well deserved beer.
Healey's Cyder Farm is our next stop to stock up on essentials before making tracks back west. I Back at the van our evening meal is sweet chilli ribs, sweet and sour pork loins served with noodles and fried rice. With everything cleared away the kids scoot off down to Sennen Cove to catch the sun set, while Herself and I are content to watch it set from the comfort of our van.
After it cleared up, it's been scorchio all day today.