Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Big Cornish Write Up Part 6

Day 7

This was day 1 with Tommo (Holiday Part 2 dash Day 1) & Tommo had a plan of action. A bus, two trains and some foot power left us at Looe, a rather appealing little town (perhaps not in name) which boast a river, many hilly back streets, an ocean view, good food, a small ferry service (for those lazy individuals who can't manage the short walk to the bridge across the river) and a fantastic classic sweet shop....in which I found the chocolate sticks wrapped in paper of which the packaging closely resemble ciggies (and which I assumed had long since banned since my childhood).

Careful where you leave your car in Looe

Ah, chocolate cigarettes...how could the government ever have thought it a bad idea.
We wandered and basked in the glorious sunny sunshine finding time for a browse round a second hand book store (love those places) and the obligatory ice cream before heading back from whence we came. And, although both Tommo and I fled from the train like Russell brand from a Fawlty Towers convention (sending a group of chavs diving for cover in the process)and arrived at the bus stop in Redruth at the exact moment the bus was due to depart....no bus was to be seen (apparently the bugger had left early)...which left us with 2 hours to kill until the next one....we managed to find a respectable chippy nearby and paid heed to our rumbly tumblys before venturing back to the bus....A very long day indeed by the time we got back.

Day 8

A somewhat slow and murky start to the day. Tom and I opting for a local walk down to Low Bar via the Penrose Walk. It's a jaunty stroll through woodland next to a lake, which used to be a river until odd tides created the Low Bar, some 800 years ago, in the estuary.

I looked utterly stylish with my brown corded trousers tucked it my pink and purple skunk socks, as I squelched and slid my way along the sodden and mud slicked paths...I fear I brought much Cornish mud home with me.

Down at the bar Tommo and I went pebble hunting for an epic skimming competition on the lake....a little out of practice I soon came into my stride, beating the pants off Tommo with a highly respectable 8.

It's a sandbar with culture by the way, the abundance of rocks, pebbles and slate enabling the creative passerby to indulge in a bit of basic architectial design. Tommo decided upon a miniature Stonehenge and an 'impossible' tower (a precarious stack of large stones atop smaller ones).....a childhood of lego and stickle bricks well spent.We detoured to Porthleven, after far to long 'designing' rock structures like the adults we are, in which some kind of strange village ritual was occurring....involving locals (dressed as pirates) on homemade rafts taking place in the harbour.

Not to be rude, Tom and I joined the crowds on the harbour wall whilst various crafts rowed, splashed and sank in something which I can only assume was some kind of race. One particular hapless crew, consisting of students in drag, had a raft which had many design flaws ( mainly a large barrel in front out of balance with the three at the back) spent several exhausting minutes merely trying to reach the starting line against the incoming tide....two of the 'crew' bailed out and abandoned the craft, disappearing into the nearest pub for 'assistance'. Another craft, a couple of barrels joined together with a crew of just two and entitled 'HMS Seman Staines', barely made it a few yards after launching before it capsized....the captain undiginfyingly flopping into the water and losing his cap. When the motley crafts did eventually gather in a starting line formation a sea battle Hornblower would have been proud of ensued, involving flour and water bombs and some unseafaring conduct of sabotage on an already waterlogged craft.
Day 9

Misty and murky were strong themes of the day and, since Tommo had lent me the use of his house key, I was on the clock in terms of exploring (the poor boy in need of a nice hot shower when he finishes lumbering around the Lizard playing tractors on the farm where he works) Since the weather was less than pleasant I opted for Gweek Seal Sanctuary...a simple 5 mile, half an hour, bus ride from Helston.

I arrived in time for the first feedings and happily observed the cute and active balls of flubber for the next several hours. There are various types of Seal as well as Sea-lions and otters, all have been rescued and although most are returned to the wild there are a few long term residents. As it was considered early in the season there were no young pups or newly rescued seals on the site, which although was unfortunate for me is probably a good thing in the long run.

A favourite of mine was Sahara, an Arctic seal who had developed an aversion toward ice and had twice been rescued off the coast of Africa, less the majority of his fur. Sahara is quite the show off and seems to be taking all the recent media attention in his stride. Other favourites the grumpy old lady who won't share her pool, the cross-eyed gal who incurred some kind of brain damage at an early age and the blind sea-lion who was retired as a performer but can still respond on a dime to the keepers whistle.
Sahara, trying to learn that he should like ice

An ickle seal
It was an interesting day which became a little trying when I left to catch my bus back to Helston. To be waiting 5-10 minutes is normal, 10-25 annoying nut not unheard of....at 30+ minutes I contacted the bus company (a task in itself due to the whole Cronwall hit a miss approach to mobile coverage) to be informed that the bus (which had passed through the village in the opposite direction some time before) had gone kaput and was now in the shed being fixed.

'And the replacement bus?' I enquired
'We haven't be able to find one' the lady answered.
'Well how can I get back to Helston from here' I asked (knowing that there was but one bus which passed through Gweek.
'There's plenty of buses from Truro to Helston' that hapless women informed me.
I pointed out that this nugget of information, although interesting, was useless twice fold 1. Truro is at least 15 miles from Gweek and 2. the only bus which passes through and goes to Truro was in the shed being fixed....both facts I passed on to the woman on the other end of the phone.
'So, how can I get back to Helston, I'm a tourist and don't know the area and have to be back by 5pm'
'Um, the next bus will leave Truro for Helston at 5.10pm.....but if you could get to Truro, there's load of buses from Truro'

Oh dear....so, with the Truro bus service gaining a big fat fail with their 'computer says no' attitude and thankful for my Philip's Street Atlas of Cornwall I found a route of my own and put best foot forward....for the next 5 1/2 miles....mostly uphill....I made it back to base with 20 minutes spare.


Firefly mom said...

Oh, yumm. I love candy cigarettes - never tried chocolate ones, though.

Looks like you had another few fun filled days! 8 is an incredible number for rock skipping (mine seem to become lead filled after about 4). And those seals/sea lions are adorable! They're such fun to watch.

Love the idiocy of the bus lady. Further proof that common sense is on the decline.

Emma said...

Ah yes, the joys of the country bus service....at least I was used to walking fair distances by then...only just made it back in time though and was completely knackered also since I was having to hoof it.

love watching animals...i have a habit of imagining what their thinking/saying which harks back to an old TV series I used to watch as a kid....and the fact that my dear 'ol dad still has a habit of 'voicing' animals

Chocolate ciggies are fab...and now I have a cornish contact to feed my habit ;-)

Jenn said...

What fun you've been having. I wanna go. I used to play with candy cigarettes too! Ours used to puff and everything. What beautiful countryside. I also love the rocks in the sand.

Kimberly said...

Looe land slides, chocolate cigs, and busses that are MIA!!!!!

Sad to hear you will not be coming to FL next year. I was looking forward to meeting you.

Emma said...

I'm gutted that I won't be able to go to Florida....It's such an amazing holiday, but alas it's now just too expensive....maybe the following year, when I think the new Harry Potter bit will be open in Universal...I guess I'll just have to do a bit more exploring in my own back yard