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

Hello staycation pt 1

Wow! At long last, against the odds, the Dean household, including the mad pup, went on a long-overdue holiday. Every year we go to Cornwall to chill out and have fun with the pup, saving our foreign travels for pup-free time. She has her staycation in a canine hotel… the kennels are too nice to be called kennels. The likelihood of foreign travel is uncertain so time to make the most of what we have here in the UK.

Yipee! We can go on holiday

Anyway, back to the holiday. We hedged our bets at the beginning of Lockdown 3.0 and booked our usual cottage for our usual week away. Fortunately dear Boris, here in the UK, came up with an exit plan that meant we’d not only be able to travel, we’d also be able to enjoy some pub time. What we didn’t know was he’d planned a little get-together (G7 Summit) in the same county and at the same time. Rude!

It’s a heck of a long way from Yorkshire to Cornwall and we didn’t fancy being stuck in rush hour traffic so we left home at 2.30am!! I can’t remember the last time I saw this hour. I think it was on New Year’s Eve/Day… from the right side of the clock, instead of getting up after 4 hours in bed! On the plus side, as it’s nearly the Summer Solstice, so it doesn’t get completely dark, more of a midnight blue velvety dark. Owls and bats wheeled overhead as we made our way from the countryside to the motorway network.

The traffic gods smiled on us the entire journey. No traffic jams. No accidents. Overnight motorway maintenance closures opened on time. Hooray! We arrived at our breakfast destination an hour early. For those of you who love English literature, we stopped in Jamaica Inn! No pirates or smugglers, but a number of like-minded early morning travellers all ready for a full English breakfast. To ensure decent behaviour from the pup, she had her breakfast outside in a nearby field… a chance to stretch her legs and attend to morning business. When you plan a beach visit later in the day, it’s wise to try to empty the pup tanks as much as possible to avoid embarrassing incidents!

Jamaica Inn

Our first stop after breakfast gave us the heads-up that dear Boris and his friends might be joining us later in the week… there would be road closures all round the nearby airport. Oh well, for now, the roads were open and most of the UK’s police forces were enjoying a lovely sunny posting to Cornwall. My first glimpse of the sea was so exciting I missed my turnoff. The SatNav rerouted us and off I went.

If any of you have experienced the joy of Cornish roads you will be laughing already at my decision to follow the new route. For those of you not in the know… Cornish roads are notoriously narrow. This one was one of the narrowest I’ve ever been along… both wing mirrors touched the recently-trimmed greenery on each side of the road… and I met an oncoming car! I always take a note of the last passing place and knew I had quite a long trek backwards. Lucky I have a reversing camera… it made me look like a professional.

Finally we emerged from the narrow road, back onto something with white lines down the middle and all I had to do was release the tightened butt cheeks and restart my breathing. Finding a parking spot was far easier. Friday is a big change-over day so the car park was empty… I had my choice of spot close to the route to the beach, our favourite is Watergate Bay. Aaaaaand relax.

Watergate Bay

Within minutes of arriving we were on the beach, pup racing around (now emptied) like the proverbial headless chicken, shoes off and sand between my toes. The tide was still reasonably far out making it possible to walk to the far end and investigate the caves and rock pools.

The final icing on the cake was finding a free table in the beer garden near the cottage and sipping the first Tarquin’s (local gin) and tonic in the blazing sunshine.

In part two I’ll let you know how Mr D and I faired against our kidults in an epic sea voyage in kayaks and whether we made it through Merlin’s Cave safely. Till then, stay safe and healthy.

Cath xxx