Saturday, September 12, 2009

Holiday adventures

So  I never told you about the rest of my holiday did I? Well, we spent three days of enforced caravan rest with no transport (because the car was being repaired), no local bus service, no mobile reception without a four mile walk to pick up a signal, and nothing within walking distance. We chose the site because of it’s remoteness and believe me, this site was in deepest Cornwall on a farm in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing within walking distance and yes, we did try! Why did we choose somewhere so remote? Well, one of the reasons we went was to observe Mars through our telescope (it was supposed to be super big in August, as big as the moon) and we wanted somewhere away from urban light pollution. We had a few nights of cloud and a few very clear nights, Mars was disappointingly tiny and the moon was only half full but we did see the persiod meteors. We read loads, we played Scrabble, Dominoes, and Frustration, I filled in my art journal that I’d taken, and knitted alot more of my BPT Hoodie, finishing the last sleeve and getting halfway through the hood! We listened to lots of music and we ate and drank. Bang went the diet. We walked in the farm orchard a few times when it wasn’t raining hard enough on the caravan to make us feel like we were in a car wash, and we looked at the beehives (and have a jar of freshly collected honey as a memento).

Eventually the car was ready and we got a taxi to the town where the garage was based so that we could collect it. It wasn’t ready until the Thursday afternoon and we’d been in Cornwall since Monday so as you can imagine, we were starting to get a little stir crazy by Thursday morning. We spent some time walking round the tiny town of Liskeard trying to amuse ourselves while we waited for the car to be done. We visited the local museum, the Stuart House where Charles I stayed for a week and we looked round the shops. We collected the car and after the initial shock of receiving the bill which was £200 more than the quote, we decided to forget about it while we were away so that we could enjoy the two and a half days we had left!

So we immediately decided to visit Polperro, a small fishing village on the coast with an ancient fishing and smuggling history. The houses are crammed together along very narrow streets and some of them are decorated with shells.

The fishing/smugglers museum also had a load of knitting samples because the local women knitted intricate jumpers for the fishermen. The village was so tiny and isolated that a local amateur photographer who had taken up this new fangled hobby called photography had obsessively snapped all the locals and there were all these beautiful old B&W shots of village life centuries ago, along with his annotations of who everybody was and what they did! We weren’t allowed to take photos though which was disappointing because some of the ‘knit-frocks’ as the Guernsey style jumpers (sweaters) were called were beautifully intricate! There’s a link here though if you want to find out more about the local knitting. 


ganseys & knit-frocks

'Excuse me. Do you remember any knitting like this?'
'I should think I do - my Granny knitted hundreds.'
'Can you tell me anything about them?'
'She only knitted for her own. They were masterpieces and they were all different. She knitted a hole in the front…'
'What for?'
'For the pocket watches. All her boys had one (jerseys). Uncle Willie lost his, couldn't find it anywhere and Granny was mad. She had a stall every week at Rock and Padstow markets. Twelve months after, Granny saw a man wearing Uncle Willie's jersey. "Here", she said, "you' got my boy's jersey on." "I hab'n," he said. "Yes, you have," she said, and called a policeman to arrest him. "How do you know this is your boy's jersey?" the policeman asked. "You make'n lift up his arms," said Granny. "You'll see I knitted a 'W' under one arm and an 'S' under the other and my boy's name is Willie Steer - what's his?"
Image and text: Cornish Guernseys & Knit-frocks, Mary Wright, Polperro Heritage Press, 2008.


The village was too narrow and too steep for cars, so we parked at the top of the hill and walked down. The tide was out in the harbour, so M and Joe got to go down and check out the boats close up.

The coastline is pretty treacherous so you can imagine that it must have been a smugglers haven! 

I also spotted a cottage with my name on the door, along with what appears to be a tidal flood barrier in front of the door! I could have done with one of those on my house ten years ago when we got flooded!

The next day we went to the Eden Project which is a conservation site built in an old clay mine in Cornwall. There are biomes housing different climates and flora, as well as lots of planting and environmental projects outdoors.

The tropical biome was too humid for my camera to get many decent photos, but I loved how this turned out!

There were loads of plants and environments

and also sculptures; some half manmade and half natural

some made from recycled rubbish

and some sculptural celebrations of nature.

It was a fantastic day out, though exhausting because the site is so huge!

The next day we went to Tintagel, the place where King Arthur was reputedly born. Again we were super lucky with the weather, it was windy, and overcast some of the time, and then brilliantly sunny the next moment! Tintagel is way up high on the side of the Cornish cliffs and getting there involves lots of dodgy one track roads which are first gear steep and one car wide only, and then lots of walking but is so worth it! The view is breathtaking!

Can you imagine that people used to live here? It’s an incredible view but quite a walk!

On the way back to the caravan, we stopped at the Carnglaze Caverns which is an old slate mine!

There is an enchanted walk to get to the Caverns, through woods filled with magical creatures

They used to mine slate from here by the light of candles!

the slate gives the water this pretty colour

If you’re a fan of the band Echo and the Bunnymen, you might recognise this from the Ocean Rain album cover If you haven’t heard the album, I recommend it :)

It looks prettier in real life though! The acoustics down there by the underground lake are superb and the Caverns are also used as an unusual concert venue…for rock bands!! Rock, slate, get it? Hee hee! 

We didn’t manage to get to all the places we wanted to go to, we ran out of time, but we managed to cram alot into the days we had left and we had a great time, so that’s all that’s important.



Ria said...

Looks like you saw a lot - those photos are incredible!



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