A Cornish Concoction pt 3 – Harbour delights

Hello again, and it’s another stunning day down in Cornwall. Clear blue sky and a gentle breeze just to take the edge off. Just lovely. Lovely that is, unless you are a hay fever sufferer. Early attacks were repelled but clearly forces have been amassing and the defence offered by the anti-histamines has shrunk to virtually nothing. A trip to the chemist later to find something more effective may be in order.

So, another blog means another day off – from sightseeing anyway. Trev has gone to put some washing on – mainly black shirts (short sleeve – another concession to the heat on my part!) and soggy handkerchiefs apparently – and I’m sitting here trying to find something witty to type. No luck yet then!

After the joy of Sunday afternoon and our first British Wimbledon Men’s champion for 77 years – thanks Scotland, you can have independence now (that was a joke by the way, before anyone starts!) – we have the start of the Ashes today when England take on Australia in the first cricket test. Experts are predicting that England win the series and retain the Ashes – yes, RETAIN them, because we won last time – and the time before (tee hee!)  however we all know about experts. Should be good though. A note to my Aussie friends here, forgive the crowing, but you had your turn for long enough – it’s our go now!

Right, Sunday night and a drive out, through the village of Newlyn, stopping for the view across the bay to Penzance before moving on to Mousehole, a popular and  archetypal pretty Cornish fishing village.

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Mention Mousehole to HRH – that’s Trev’s Mum for any newcomers – and she’ll tell you that the best crab sandwich she ever had was in Mousehole – more than once probably. Well, we’d eaten anyway and the cafes were closed, but the pubs weren’t and we stopped for a delicious pint at The Ship Inn overlooking the harbour.

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A pub further down near the car park had a live band on which we bypassed – it could have been the acoustics but they were doing unspeakable things to a Bee Gee’s classic and I couldn’t bring myself to listen!

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We returned via a different route along some extremely windy roads, some of which seemed narrower than the car and paused at The First & Last Inn at Sennen again for a nightcap. The tasty Seafarer ale had gone to be replaced by Dartmoor bitter – not quite as nice but at only £2.20 a pint, equally as enjoyable!

Monday and Falmouth was the destination, some thirty or so miles away. You have to learn, very quickly around here to be patient behind the wheel. Narrow windy roads with high hedges, large tractors and hot impatient tourists can make a lethal combination. We arrived however unscathed and opted to use the park & ride service to save the hassle of looking for a parking space.

One of the larger towns in Cornwall with a large marina, yacht builders, a shipyard and now a cruise terminal, it still has a small cozy feel as you saunter down it’s high street, a section of which proudly boasts a range of independent shops – although the usual chain store suspects can be found further up.

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However we had arrived quite late and the only thing on the shopping list was something to eat. As well as delightful cream teas, the other delicacy(?) you’ll  find down here is the dear old Cornish Pasty. We decided this was a must and stopped to sample one. ‘Voted the best traditional Cornish Pasty in the WORLD’ the posters screamed at us from the cafe window. True or not – and in fact a similar claim was made by nearly every outlet – they were very, very nice. We paused at the various quays for photos’ and vowed to return to do a river trip later on in the week.

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Gammon steaks on the barbie provided the evenings solid sustenance whilst the excellent  Jennings bitter, procured from a certain German discount supermarket for a bargain 99p/bottle provided the liquid refreshment on what was a very warm night.

Tuesday, and back to Falmouth again with a couple of day passes procured for unlimited rides on the various ferries that ply their trade around the harbour. We decided on the longest trip first – up to Truro, somewhere we would have gone to by car anyway. We crossed first to St Mawes – about twenty minutes across the bay on the Roseland Peninsular. Quaint – and wealthy judging by some of the houses – St Mawes also boasts one of the best preserved castles of Henry VIII’s era. Back over at Falmouth sits a similar castle built at the same time, although much expanded on the demands of Elizabeth I. Size queen!

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The trip onwards to Truro was lovely – we both agreed one of the best we have done and reminded us of a mail boat run we done on the Hawkesbury River in Australia many years ago. The uniformly straight bottom edge of the oaks that line the rivers bank is not the work of some skilful arborists but merely the result of salt water erosion at high tide.

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A further stop was made at Trelisick, pausing too for the chain ferry, before what was to be our final stop at Malpas. Tide conditions sometimes mean that the boats can’t get up as far as Truro so a bus takes you the last couple of miles.

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The view you get as the bus pulls in is not one to inspire. A main road with thundering traffic beyond which a large Marks & Spencers promises little. However a glimpse of the spires of Truro’s cathedral gives a hint and a short walk brings you to the more traditional and pretty city centre.

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Once again, given the time of day, food wasn’t far from our minds. The fast food chains were in evidence but we opted for Charlottes Tea Rooms, in the old Coinage building plonked bang in the middle of the road. We had no idea about this place but what a delight it was. A  waitress in Victorian style garb showed us too our table and took our order. We opted again for Cornish cream teas – and very nice they were too, but it was the overall ambience that made the place along with the high ceilings, dark wood furniture and chandeliers – energy saving bulbs notwithstanding. Not cheap, but worth it.

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The cathedral was next and, nestled as it was in the city centre reminded me very much of Chichester cathedral which we visited earlier in the year. Truro’s cathedral is quite new – well relatively, with the foundation stone not laid until 1880 and on closer inspection you can tell. More opportunity for lens clicking and it was nice and cool too.

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The tide was still ebbing so we caught the bus back to Malpas, and from there back on the boat to Falmouth. The aforementioned yacht builders, the skipper informed us will build a yacht to your requirements with prices starting at 10 million quid. And there’s a waiting list……..

Back at the site, dusk brought with it a power cut and our first experience of caravanning ‘off grid’. With the fridge switched over to gas and everything else being able to run from Patsy’s considerable battery there really wasn’t any drama and we carried on as normal – well, as usual anyway! Apparently some substation had had a hissy fit and blacked out the whole area but the lights came back on around midnight.

Pt 4 coming soon………

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