Enigma 1114: Christmas changes - From New Scientist #2270, 23rd December 2000 Christmas is said to change things and so this enigma is an old puzzle with some changes. Problem: You have to...
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Last Sunday we decided, despite the weather forecast, to go camping in Cornwall for a few days. Big mistake! It was very, very, very wet... However we did get some sun as well as showers, hail, strong winds, rain-battered noisy nights, low temperatures, etc.
We stopped just inside Dartmoor (Devon) for the first night on a camp site which had its own hydro-electricity - this meant it had the warmest shower block I've ever been in! And there was even a bath available too. The drinking water tasted horrible - all chemical - but the other facilities were amazing. However our goal was Cornwall. And it hadn't rained much yet... So on we went.
Nearly eight years ago we got married in Cornwall as a way of marking it as our future home. Recently I've been wondering if it was time to move there. (See my Looking at Houses in Cornwall blog). But the first real question is whereabouts. Most of our visits have been to the far South-West. I love St Ives as a centre for art and Jim has climbed on the sea cliffs, especially near Sennen (actually so have I but never again, thank you!), which is even further South-West than St Ives.
But thinking about living there means different things from holiday-style living. So this trip was partly to visit Truro, Cornwall's only city, to check out what it was like as neither of us had been there before.
We had decided to camp as this is so much cheaper than staying in holiday cottages - even looking for last minute "bargains" I found plenty of vacant cottages but no-one willing to do a decent discount. (I even asked nicely... but only got a meagre £50 off offer.)
The site we ended up at was mostly a retirement park. There were quite a lot of caravans and camper vans there too but we were the only ones foolhardy enough to be in a tent!
Truro turned out to be a lovely city for shopping so that's good and means we won't feel too cut off from "civilisation as we know it" if / when we move to Cornwall. On the downside the road layouts in Cornwall seemed to be getting worse and the drivers much more impatient and rude... incredibly so... worse even than Bristol!
I was so busy looking at Truro that I failed to take any photos worth showing you here! We also visited Falmouth and St. Mawes - photos of those to come in another post. And on the north coast St. Agnes and Perranporth.
St. Agnes is a place I was vaguely interested in because one of the houses I'd noticed in my house searches was an eco-house there. I'd already worked out that it had no garden to speak of so wasn't suitable for us but I was still curious about the village.
Having visited though I think I can safely remove St. Agnes from the list of possibilities. It just wasn't our sort of place. Whilst there though we discovered that we really ought to have been there for this weekend, the weekend following May 1st. As there are lots of celebrations of St. Agnes and the Giant Bolster, (that's a giant called Bolster, not, as I first thought, a big pillow!) over the weekend. Including a Beltane fire on St. Agnes' Beacon. Its a celebration of one of those strange local legends that Cornwall has in plenty.
After St. Agnes we headed for Perranporth and lunch. Another place neither of us had been before. Perranporth has a surfers' beach. There are lots of places in which to eat and loads of tourist shops too. It also has some pleasant gardens to sit in. Fun to visit. Too touristy to live in.
I loved this tile on the side of someone's house near the beach at Perranporth.
Aren't the terracotta seahorses fun!
One of the main reasons I'm interested in Cornwall is that the air is so much cleaner there - as its a peninsular there is a sea-freshness everywhere. I've always thought that living there I'd be a lot healthier. The downside of Cornwall is its tremendous inequality - the born and bred locals are often very poor and have to put up with much wealthier incomers buying up all the houses... house prices are falling there, as they are in most of the UK now, but it will take a much bigger fall to make them affordable by those on the "average", very low, wage in Cornwall.
On our way home we visited a Tortoise Garden at Lower Sticker. They have over 400 tortoises there. Jim was in his element.