Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Hello staycation pt. 3

In last week’s episode the Dean family visited the Eden Project, went sea kayaking, and visited Tintagel and Boscastle. This week’s episode features a visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the nearby harbour town of Mevagissey.

Good morning! This is your 5am alarm call!

When working, our days start with the alarm clock beeping. Our holiday days start with an equally early but different alarm sound … the sound of gulls on the roof, squawking at each other! It’s blooming noisy, ear-piercing and wakes our pup. Of course, once she’s awake most of the household is awake, as she bounces from person to person, persuading us to get up and take her out for her morning promenade around the harbour.

It’s not the chore it sounds. The early morning sea looks spectacular at that time of the day, and with few folks out and about, we have the view to ourselves. Each morning it’s a different scene depending on tides and weather. This particular morning a new ship could be seen on the horizon. At first, we thought it was a cargo ship, but then Mr D thought it might be connected to the G7 summit due to take place later in the week. A quick check with Vessel Finder and we know it’s an aircraft carrier! And she’s not alone. More naval ships were showing up near St Ives. I’m guessing that they were supported by a submarine or two, but they don’t show up on the map (for obvious reasons :-D)

Anyway, back to the day in hand. The weather wasn’t ideal for visiting gardens, but we can’t complain. It’s not cold. A lightweight waterproof jacket and you’re equipped for the day. We’ve visited the Lost Gardens on previous years, always in the sun. This would be our first visit in the rain. The fun part for me is the jungle area, the UK’s only outdoor jungle. Judging by the healthy growth on display, the plants brought back by intrepid botanists love their Cornish home. Pathways meander through the trees, stopping every so often next to hidden ponds. Last year Pup launched herself at speed, into on of the ponds, much to the amusement of other visitors. This year we kept a firm hold on her! She only got her paws muddy. There was no way I was risking embarrassment again with a full-on dive into the lily pond!

If Mr D and CC2 on the bridge, proceed with caution!

It’s a dog-friendly site, except for one attraction, the Burmese Rope Bridge. Walking across this gives you a birds-eye view of the jungle tree canopy, and an opportunity to try to unbalance the unwary. Anyone on the bridge and the same time as Mr D or Cost Center 2 (my son) is likely to endure one of the choppiest crossings of their lives. I admit I walk away and disown them. Lucky for me, there was a solo parent and two small kids in front of me so that kept Mr D from being himself!!

Shhh! Let sleeping Mud Maids lie!

After wandering around the woods and pleasure gardens, posing for silly photos on wooden stumps and in front of the Mud Maid, we headed off for Mevagissey. As a bonus, the drizzle stopped, the clouds cleared, and the sun shone. Our annual trip to Cornwall isn’t complete until we’ve had lunch in the Ship Inn, bought cool things from Lavender Pillow, and watched in horror as Mr D and CC2 scramble over the rocks in the harbour.

I keep my fingers crossed for high tides to thwart them, but this was the week of lower tides! While they scrambled around, I distracted myself by watching a gannet fishing. I was amazed at how long and far it could swim under the water. As soon as it submerged, I started counting the seconds (I count monkeys to approximate seconds) … got to 30 monkeys before it surfaced quite some distance away. Once finished with the fishing trip, it perched on a rock (not the rock with Mr D and CC2) and spread its wings out to dry.

Thank goodness the next time I looked for the boys, they were scrambling back up to harbour road, safe and sound, and scratch-free. Now it was the girls turn for fun. CC1 (daughter) and I love a good mooch around the Lavender Pillow shop. We invariably come out with something new. This year I bought myself a new tarot deck, and pretty dark blue velvet reading cloth. I’m still getting to grips with the new deck. Oh and I bought a couple of new crystals to add to my growing collection.

New cloth, new deck and new crystals

Meanwhile, the boys were outside looking bored while they kept Pup occupied. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. The week is flying past too quickly… I’m just getting into my relaxation groove and now my mind is on what needs to be done to prepare for the long journey home again.

However, we still have our trip to St Michael’s mount to enjoy and hopefully a trip to the beach for surfing and boogie boarding.

Until next week, stay safe and well… Cath xx

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Hello staycation pt. 2

Part 1 finished with us chilling out in a beer garden in Charlestown after a very early start, a long drive from Yorkshire and a day on the beach. Unusually for us, we’ve had to pre-plan the whole week, book the appropriate tickets and evening meals. We prefer to make it up on the hoof depending on the weather. With COVID restriction still in place, you can’t visit anything without a time slot and corresponding bar code! We would have to take potluck with the weather.

Fortunately the weather wasn’t this bad!

So far, the forecast for the week looked favourable. Maybe not the spectacular temperatures we normally enjoy in June, but at least it would be dry. Wouldn’t it? Hmmm… this is the UK and we are on the coast. It might change! Of course it will.

We had planned to spend the day on the beach, recovering from the journey, reading, boogie boarding etc., but alas, the drizzle said Nope! So, land-based activities it was. I had the foresight to check the tide times so we could time it perfectly to explore Marlins cave (on the map)… and the smaller but feisty Morgana’s cave (named by the Dean household) on the shoreline in Tintagel.

I think I underestimated how quickly the tide comes in as the boys got soggy coming out of Morgana’s cave. Usually I stay behind, sitting on a rock meditating while the family scramble through Merlin’s Cave, but this year I decided I was coming too. Like a true Girl Guide, I came prepared with shoes designed for walking in water and headed off into the cave. The rest of the Dean family were somewhat surprised as they usually have to wait for me to catch up when we walk/explore. Not this time. I was blazing a trail through the cave as the tide rose to my knees. I let out a small squeak of triumph and headed back to safety. I’m glad I did it. It was a much-needed confidence booster for a wee scaredy-cat!

My favourite – a traditional pasty

The walk back from the castle and shore to the village is a test of strength. It’s exceptionally steep. The reward for getting to the top without stopping is a trip to the local bakers for a proper pasty from one of the best pasty shops in Cornwall. Mr D and I love a traditional pasty but the cost centers (our kidults) prefer cheese twists etc. Yuck!

After lunch and a beer sampling session in King Arthur’s Pub our next destination was Boscastle, site of devastating floods back in 2004. It’s a beautiful seaside village with wonderful boutiques, steep narrow streets, and a museum of Witchcraft and Magic. In non-COVID times you may be lucky enough to encounter the resident witch in her garden, but it’s closed except for pre-booked appointments. Cost Center 1 and I have visited in previous years. It’s a fascinating museum. This time we contented ourselves with a walk around the harbour and a visit to one or two shops.

Needless to say, after all that fresh air and exercise, everyone was hungry, footsore, and ready for an early night… except the Pup! She wanted walkies at 10pm!!

Sunday dawned bright and early, signaled by gulls squawking overhead. This woke Pup, who immediately demanded out for morning business. At least the weather seemed to be warmer and drier that yesterday. This would mean a hot walk through the biomes of the Eden Project, especially the Rainforest biome. You definitely need to dress in layers, removable as you walk higher up this biome, and good trainers!

If you’re ever in this part of the UK I can highly recommend a visit. You can keep your tickets for a whole year and rebook visits as many times as you like. The vibe is so chilled and relaxing, ideal after the year we’ve had.

Onto the bit you’ve been waiting for… kidults versus adults in kayaks. Our Monday activity was a guided sea safari in kayaks along the St Agnes Head area, famous for wildlife and ruined Tin Mines like Wheal Coates.

If only kayaking in Cornwall was this warm!

Our young guide has been doing these tours for a number of years and is like a human encyclopedia of the area. After the usual safety talks, we were presented with a choice: paddle offshore and then left into quieter waters with a blow hole, or paddle offshore and right, into choppy waters with chances to spot seals. The Cost Centers were all for turning left, but the purchaser of the tickets (me) was up for more challenging seas. We weren’t disappointed. Atlantic seals and Common seals (which aren’t all that common) popped up to watch us as we took a short break to admire features in the cliff faces left by the mining industry.

The choppy seas were tough to paddle through and thrilling when timing a wave just right to pass through narrow clefts. Every time we prepared for a maneuver, we’d find our kidults lagging behind or complaining that they were tired! So much for the strength of youth. Mr D and I have a combined age of more that their combined ages, yet we lasted the pace without tiredness or mishap! I will gloss over how we felt the following day. Suffice to say, we were still in better shape than the offspring.

As this has turned into a much longer post than I’d planned, I’ll leave it there for this week. Next week will feature a visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the nearby town of Mevagissey. Until then, stay safe and well.