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.

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Right out – part 2

Last week I wrote about our first foray out into the wilds, i.e. not being at home overnight for the first time in months. We’d had a soggy start to the weekend, but enjoyed our first indoor pint and checked into our favourite country retreat.

We pick up at the point of our evening meal, again a first for months. Mr D enjoyed a magnificent sea bass with seasonal veggies while I went wild and treated myself to lobster thermidor. Unusually our table was chat-free, only the noises of two people enjoying every mouthful of deliciousness, washed down with wine. Knowing our limited capacity for desserts, we opted to share a cheeseboard. We love cheese but rarely have it due to the need to be able to fasten waistbands on jeans! This weekend was the exception… we didn’t stint and slept like the proverbial logs.

Logs sleeping outdoors

Day two started with an epic full English platter: bacon, sausage, grilled field mushroom (the size of a small tea plate!), hash brown, fried bread, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, topped off with a choice of eggs. I opted for scramble, while Mr D decided on fried. I like to choose scrambled or poached to test the chef. If you can do decent scrambled or poached eggs, you go right up in my estimation.

Just as well we planned a long walk after that gargantuan feast. All we had to do was navigate to Grassington. As Mr D drove yesterday it was my turn at the wheel. I love taking my car over the moors. The roads are more interesting than the main routes, and more scenic. Mr D didn’t disappoint, although I should point out his navigation skills are somewhat suspect at the best of times. Fortunately I have a great sense of direction and can read road signs!

Fortunately our road signs had more info than this!

Anyhow, he decided to take me the pretty way, through Coverdale. Had I seen the road map before, I would have been prepared for unclassified single track roads (a.k.a drove roads with tarmac on!) with the occasional passing space, cattle grids, free-range sheep and cows! Not to mention an uphill bicycle race. Those guys are tough. I had a few moments when I had to take evasive action when meeting these cyclists on hairpin bends! We hit one traffic jam… a cow that refused to get off the road, even when I honked my horn. I was on the point of heading off-road to get round him when he finally moved on… ever….. so….. slowly…. because….. well…. because….he….could!

Finally we arrived in Grassington, shifted some sheep out of our parking spot (they’re easier to move) and got into our walking gear. Hooray for dry weather! It made for a more pleasant walk. We followed the trail along the banks of the river Wharfe, accompanied by a variety of birdlife and the occasional sheep. The wooded section of the trail still had bluebells in bloom, mixed with newly flowering wild garlic. Normally that scent makes me hungry but our breakfast provided us with plenty of ballast for the walk.

Eventually we turned back, retracing our steps, still not hungry but ready for some liquid refreshment. I can highly recommend The Devonshire, which doubles as the Drovers Arms when filming for the All Creatures Great and Small tv program is in production. There’s plenty of outdoor space to enjoy a refreshing pint while watching the world walk past.

Our route home wasn’t quite so off-road this time as we wanted to visit some waterfalls which we knew would be running high following all the recent rains. So off to we Aysgarth Falls drove. We weren’t disappointed. The noise was deafening, the water brown and icy cold. Needless to say we stayed well back from the edge. Nobody survives if they fall in!

Towards the end of the afternoon we drove through Wensleydale and back to our base, just in time for the bar to reopen and a fresh cask of local ale opened. Mr D was in seventh heaven, while I opted for a local gin and tonic. It was great to remove the walking boots and rest our tired, hot feetat last.

Next week will be the final day of our epic minibreak, coming home via the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, with me in charge of the roadmap.

Until then, have a safe and healthy week.

Cath xx