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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cornwall 

This originally started as a blog about meeting with Richard and Sue. Then I decided it needed a little background about my holiday with David in Cornwall and now it is longer than I intended, a full multi-media spectacular with pictures.

Anyway ... Cornwall.

Cornwall is one of our favourite holiday destinations along with Snowdonia and Buxton. We generally take our holidays in the UK and like places that have plenty of lush gardens and good food. If the gardens are National Trust or Royal Horticultural Society properties then that's all the better as we get in for free!

We also like to stay in tried and tested hotels and guest houses as a rule. Last year we took a gamble on a hotel we found on the Internet and were very impressed with the Tremarne Hotel in Mevagissey. Not only was it clean and spacious but every meal-time seemed to be filled with laughter and friendly faces. It's no surprise, in that case, that we booked it again this year without hesitation. The hotel was as clean and comfortable as ever and the staff, as well as our fellow guests, were friendly and fun.

We visited a lot of gardens this year. It's about the right time for camelias (below-upper left and lower-right), magnolias (below-middle left) and rhodedendrons (below-middle right) to come into flower. We also saw some odd little heart-shaped flowers (below-upper right) in Heligan and some lovely curled-up ferns (lower left) just beginning to spring into action.

                     Camelia at Heligan Heart-shaped flowers at Heligan

Last year we went in June  and were a bit late for most of the flowers. There was tons of greenery but little colour.

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This year was different and all the gardens we visited blazed with red, pink, purple and yellow and each one seemed to echo with the tinny shrieks of peacocks.

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We saw six gardens in total:

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

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The gardens fell into disrepair and became overgrown after most of its gardeners went off to fight in the First World War and subsequent owners of the land were unable to maintain all of it. Then someone rediscovered it in the 90s. It's a lovely place and well worth a visit.

We spent an entire day here.

The picture is, I think, some pear blossom although I could easily be wrong.
Caerhays Castle Garden

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This holds a magnificent and very impressive collection of magnolias that are hidden away in long walks around the gardens.

The picture is a close-up of a magnolia bud.
Lanhydrock

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Unfortunately, we spent a very short amount of time here as we decided to visit on the day we had heavy rain. We had lunch and a very brisk walk around the grounds before heading back to the hotel and dry clothes.

I did get this picture (actually two that have been merged) of one of the formal gardens by hiding under David's umbrella.
Glendurgan

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We tired ourselves out here by trying to walk from Glendurgan to next door Trebah but one way was barred by a gate with a padlock and the other by large slippery rocks. This year we didn't try the maze (picture). We were way too tired after all the walking and climbing.
Trelissick

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We have been here before. There are the obligatory rhodedendrons, camelias (see picture) and magnolias as well as views of the sea.
Trevarno

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I think this one was my favourite. Despite being very well hidden it was very popular and justly so. The gardens were very colourful and boasted a lake with a boat house.
 

Another favourite place of mine in Cornwall is St Michael's Mount. I love the idea of being able to walk to an island when the tide is out. It appeals to the five-year-old in my head. We went there this year and managed not only to walk over to the island and back before the tide came back but also to walk up the short but steep hill that dominates the island and admire the view from the top. I have visited there a few times in the past but this was the first time I had been up the hill. It was also the first time I visited the island just before the tide closed in. We got back to the mainland just as the sea breached the sides of the path at its lowest point.

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There were more than a few people who had left their departure just that little bit too late and got their feet wet.

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Amazingly, people were actually making their way to the island as the tide was coming in. I guess they planned to return by boat or stay there. I prefer to walk back with dry feet.

As I mentioned at the start, this posting was originally intended to be about our meeting with Richard and Sue.

Now, I have to confess that I am not the most gregarious of people and I find social events or even just meeting friends a bit nerve-wracking. That is simplifying things a great deal. I usually enjoy myself when I meet people or when I go to a party. I enjoyed myself at Hyperspace, for instance, although I did have an awkward first few hours where I knew no-one and everyone seemed to know each other. I suppose I am just not that good with people. I have been plagued with shyness ever since I was a child and haven't really been able to conquer it yet, even at 44.

So, when Richard saw that I was going to be in Cornwall over Easter and suggested on TPDIS that I drop in, I was a bit apprehensive. Would we get on? Would a shared interest in The Tomorrow People be enough to talk about?

I needn't have worried. It was like meeting old friends; friends I had known for years but somehow I didn't know I knew. It helped a great deal that we have a lot in common (anyone who likes Battlestar Galactica is alright by me). Having a shared love of the Tomorrow People, particularly Nigel Fairs's inspired adult interpretation of the concept and the characters in the audio series was a joy and being able to talk with someone about the latest goings-on in TP fandom was brilliant. There is only so much you can say in mailing list emails.

We talked and talked and I could have talked for a lot longer but we had to go. It was a shame that we could only stay a relatively short while. We had to get back to the hotel. It was our last evening and I wanted to make sure I was rested before the long drive back. And my satnav usually insisted on sending me down the tiniest of lanes and I didn't fancy that very much at night.

It would be great to see them both again, whether they come to London or there is another TP do at any point or, most likely, the creatures of habit that David and I are will be making our way down to Cornwall next year.

One final note: we've developed a tradition (in only two years!) of dropping in on Montacute in Somerset on the way back from Cornwall. We found a tea-room combined with a TV & Radio Toy Museum and shop there. We have lunch or a snack there and browse the shop to look at all the marvelous TV inspired toys and games that I used to own years back or would have liked to have owned had they been available. We still haven't made it round the museum but we'll give that a try next year. It's a lovely place to visit.

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