TUESDAY (May 30): Today we planned to go out to Penzance and St. Michael's Mount. Since it's a pretty long drive, we decided to take the train instead. So we drove to the Liskeard (LIS-card) train station, parked in the free car park and bought our cheap day return tickets (£10.60 each.) Caught the 10:37 train and arrived in Penzance about 90 minutes later. Beautiful scenery along the way and much more relaxing than driving would have been.
After we got to Penzance, we caught the bus to Marazion (about a 10 minute ride.) The tide was out when we got there, so we walked out to St. Michael's Mount. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but there was a very strong cold wind blowing all day and we were very glad we had our warmer jackets on. Stopped at the NT restaurant first, but it was pretty crowded and we thought it might take too long to get served. So we walked back to the café for lunch. Mom had a roast beef sandwich and I had the fish pie - mine was very good, Mom wasn't crazy about her sandwich. After lunch, we watched the short film about St. Michael's Mount, then started the hike up the mountain. It was a long, steep climb, and it was very windy, but it wasn't too bad (not as bad a climb as Dover Castle). The views were spectacular. The water was Caribbean blue and there were lots of palm trees - something you don't expect in England. The castle has been around for a very long time - dating back to the 14th century. Mom and I both noted that there wouldn't be that kind of rough terrain allowed at the site if it were in the US. We'd have guard rails up everywhere.
We walked back to the mainland just before the tide moved back in. We walked around a bit in Marazion and by the time we were ready to catch the bus back to Penzance, the tide was covering the causeway and people walking back were wading through calf-deep water. Their legs must have felt like icicles!
Back at Penzance, we walked around a bit, stopped into Boots and found out that No. 7 was having a gift with purchase promotion. YAY!!! So I bought an eyeshadow and a lipstick and got the free gift. Also bought a couple milk/almond/pistachio body butters (25p cheaper than in London.) Stopped in a Woolworth to see if they had any good sales on Cadbury - they didn't but we bought a Double Carmel Magnum ice cream bar. Stopped at a cashpoint to get more cash, then we walked down to an Irish pub across from the train station for a beverage. Mom had a lager, I had a cider.
Back to the train station, we were the first ones on the train so we got the facing seats with the table. Train wasn't due to leave for about 20 minutes so we just sat on the train and relaxed. At least it was out of the wind. Trip back to Liskeard was relaxing - almost fell asleep. Saw Truro cathedral when we passed through Truro.
Got back to Liskeard about 8:15, walked back to our car and headed toward home. Jane keeps wanting to take us down all these tiny lanes (the "shortest" way) and we wanted to stick to the bigger roads, even if it was a bit longer.
We stopped at the Butchers Arms pub in St. Ive (not St. Ives) for dinner. Mom had the pasty and I had fish and chips. The barman told us he had been slammed all day and they were running out of food, so our choices were limited. It took a long time to get our food, but we felt sorry for the barman. He was running his arse off. My fish was very good - fresh, not frozen and batter was very light and tasty.
Drove back home, turned on the heat, watched the news and went to bed. Jill left a note taped to our door about a beautiful bluebell walk she had seen. We'll have to look at the map tomorrow and see where it is.
WEDNESDAY (May 31): We decided to follow Jill's directions and look for the bluebell walk. We followed Jill's directions and only missed one turn. We found the footpath she was talking about, climbed over the stile and walked along the path for a while admiring the bluebells. Very peaceful and beautiful. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Not as cool as it has been.
On the way to Bodmin, we passed Trago Mills shopping centre and decided to stop for a look. It's like a giant Big Lots store. Lots of very good bargains on all kinds of goods - lots of junk, but still fun to browse. Interesting to look around. Mom picked up some art supplies and a lock for her suitcase (since she will be leaving her suitcase at the Heathrow Left Luggage.) Had lunch at the restaurant there - very cheap. We had the pork roast, potato and veg - £3.99 for me, £2.99 concession price for Mom. Also had a piece of apple pie with clotted cream. Most expensive thing on the menu was £3.99.
After lunch, we were back on the road toward Bodmin and Lanhydrock. It was a very interesting tour. Lots of rooms - both upstairs and downstairs. Not only did we see the manor house rooms, but the kitchens and servants quarters below stairs. It was all very interesting. After the house tour and the gift shop, we stopped for an ice cream cone - Cornish ice cream (very, very good!) Then we spent some time in the gardens. Very pretty. After we were done, we each paid £1 to ride back to the car park (uphill) in a 1929 Humber. Very cool.
Drove toward home through Bodmin Moor, stopping at Tesco for a few things, then back home. Relaxed the rest of the evening - had the leftover chicken, potatoes and salad we had for dinner a few nights ago. Had to turn the heat on again.
THURSDAY (June 1): Today we were planning on heading out to Looe and Polperro, but after chatting with John this morning, we decided to go to Mevagissey instead. Jane got us there without mishap - beautiful scenery on the way there. We parked at the car park at the top of the town and walked in. Mevagissey is a very small, charming fishing village. We had a beautiful sunny day - the best (and warmest) we've had so far. We walked around the harbor a bit, then looked for a place for lunch. After looking around a while, we decided on the Fountain Inn - a very old pub. Chatted with the barmaid for a bit - discussing the royal family (she doesn't want Charles to be king, but has nithing against William.) I had the grilled salmon and Mom had a BLT wrap. Very good. Visited the Mevagissey Museum and chatted with the woman minding the till (which wasn't working correctly.) Walked around town a bit more - stopped off at the ice cream shop for a Kelly's Cornish Ice Cream cone - Mom had black currant and cream and I had the caramel swirl. Looked around at the shops, but didn't see anything we couldn't live without.
Got back in the car and decided to stop by Fowey on the way home. Not far mileage-wise, but took a while to get there. We missed the turning to the car park and ended up driving right through town - which was an experience! Very narrow, one-way streets - and no where to turn or back-up. Pedestrians had to step into doorways to let cars pass. We had to drive completely through town until we finally stumbled upon a car park. Walking through the tight, higgledy-piggledy streets makes it quite easy to imagine the way it would have been hundreds of years ago. Very cool. Stopped at the King of Prussia pub for a beverage, sat at a window overlooking the river and watched the boats and the people along the streets. Saw Daphne deMaurier's house, Ferryside, across the river. Stopped at the tourist info center where they had a lot of info on Daphne and her local writing inspirations.
Headed back to the car park, fired up Jane and headed back home. We always have to head Jane back to Callington instead of South Hill because Jane likes to take us on the tiny lanes when we could stick to the A roads a bit longer. Got home about 6:30, relaxed for a bit then headed out for dinner. We decided to try a local pub (in Rilla Mill) called the Mansion Inn. There was a business card on the bulletin board in our cottage with a comment "excellent food, good prices" on it - so we wanted to try it out. For a change, I drove - my first driving experience in the UK! It was only about 3 miles, but it was all on narrow lanes. Got there without mishap - didn't meet any other cars so didn't have to do any backing into the hedges.
The Manor Inn was very nice. The waitress was very friendly, food was very good and a very nice atmosphere. I had a chicken breast with a prune and onion stuffing, with mashed potatoes and a dinner salad. Mom had a pasta dish. Everything was very good - they used all locally grown food.
I drove home again and this time encountered a large truck - luckily he backed up, but I had to dodge a bunny rabbit along the hedge. Then a bit later, a farmer was crossing his cattle across the lane and I had to wait for that. All in all, I did OK on my first driving attempt. The GPS really helps!!!
Relaxed at home the rest of the evening. Watched celebrity X-Factor on itv - James Hewitt (Princess Diana's kiss and tell ex-lover) and his partner were eliminated. Corrie's Candice was also one of the celebs. She was nearly eliminated, but James and his partner got the axe instead. The studio audience boo-ed James every time they were introduced.