Thursday 25 July 2019

A Cornish Adventure.

We travelled by train (as we don't have a car) and I have to say it was dead easy. Four and a half hours direct from Reading to St Erth, then a further fifteen minutes or so on a little branch line with absolutely breath taking views into St Ives, what's not to like?

I was in a somewhat fraught state when we set off, work was totally manic and I'd been frantically trying to get as much done as I could before I left, on top of which the shower had suddenly decided to start leaking through the kitchen ceiling *AGAIN*!?! Our landlord got it done on the cheap and boy do we know about it! This meant I got up even earlier than planned to reseal half the shower base before my usual pre-holiday activities/rituals.

Once we were off though I have to say letting the train take the strain has it's compensations. The countryside we travelled through was stunning so I alternated between reading and just gazing out of the window. I could literally feel myself unwinding.

We had checked Google maps and found that our B&B was only 15 minutes walk from the train station. What we had failed to note was the gradient. It became obvious it was called Atlantic Heights for a reason...
The final hill actually had a gradient warning sign, I swear at one point I was just walking on the spot due to the angle of the hill and the weight of my suitcase cancelling each other out!

We arrived to find the front door open, we rang the bell several times, knocked and called but all to no avail. I then rooted around in my bag to find the booking paperwork and Himself called the number. The lady who answered said she was in the garden and would be there in a moment so to make ourselves comfortable in the lounge (it turns out the garden was across the street and then down behind the garage rather than at the back of the house) When she arrived it turns out she may or may not have been the owner, to be honest we never did quite figure it out, as there was another couple who didn't live there but seemed to come in to run the place. Indeed they had expected us to call in at their house first only I had missed that message.. anyway the lady Mary was lovely and initially offered us tea but then said no, no  let's have a Pimms so next thing you know we were sat with a huge glass of Pimms whilst she explained the breakfast/house rules.
We finally got shown our room which was very cosy and I bloody loved the fact there was a little fridge "so you can cool your beers or wine or whatever" No need to sneak alcohol in and empties out like elsewhere. We unpacked, freshened up and followed Mary's advice on the quickest way into St Ives itself.
The view from outside our guest house, can you tell we are up a hill?

The weather was mental frankly. I genuinely have never experienced glorious hot sunshine combined with a gale force winds before, it literally knocked you off your feet. Apparently the day before the weather had been horrific and the winds were due to that storm. We mooched about a bit and got our bearings.
I can understand why a lot of guides recommend coming without a car, the roads are very narrow and steep with sharp bends and the traffic nose to tail in places, I dread to think what it is like in the height of the season.
I could not get over the colour of the sea, this stunning turquoise blue, it was gorgeous. We tried to sit outside a pub with a beer but you were basically being sandblasted which was actually painful at times and had to cover your pint with your hand otherwise it was full of sand, so we bought some chips, then a bottle of wine and headed back to our room with it.

The next day we had decided to explore St Ives in the morning as it was a week day and hopefully less busy. The day alternated between sun and cloud but was lovely and warm though still super windy.
I ended up giving up completely on my hair during this holiday. I usually dry it straight but the combination of wind and salt air brought my natural curls out in force the moment I stepped outside so in the end I just embraced the demented surfer look!
We started out climbing up to the church on St Ives Island which had beautiful views

(look at the colour of the water!) before following winding streets down to the centre of the town and the shops.
I came to conclusion that someone needs to open a shop selling reasonably priced tourist crap and they would clean up (and probably be run out of town by the local traders with burning pitchforks) everything was triple the price of other seaside towns, for the same touristy tat.

Having said that there were some lovely independent shops, and I treated myself to some gorgeous organic hand lotion as well as a couple of brooches
and this driftwood boat. 
Which Himself hates and I love.

There were a couple of charity shops but they weren't great and all I bought was another brooch
A teeny tiny Scottie dog.

We were also recommended a local off licence John's as a great place to buy unusual gin, but as I don't drink gin I chose a bottle of Dead Man's Fingers, a spiced rum made in St Ives which is delicious.
I also managed to find a birthday present for my Mum as well as some fudge for my Dad and to take into work.
I couldn't resist checking out Seasalt as they had a sale on but restrained myself to a breton top in shades of blue.

We went back to the b&b to drop the shopping off  before heading out on the coastal path towards Zennor. We couldn't go too far as we had a table booked for 5.30 for dinner. Mary had warned us to book as the world and his dog eats out in St Ives and she wasn't wrong. By the time we got to the restaurant of our choice the only table left was at 5.30pm!
I wanted to mooch through the graveyard first as I loved it's position on a madly sloping hill to the sea. It certainly made for some atmospheric photos.
The coastal path to Zennor is described as the most challenging part of this bit of the South Coastal Path
so once it started to get treacherous we did turn back, we had neither the time nor the right equipment.
There were more stunning views though so we sat in a sheltered spot and drank it all in a bit.
As you can see I wore my new top straight away!

Back at the B&B we got changed and headed out for dinner. It seemed a bit weird eating at 5.30 but other than a bit of cake we hadn't eaten since breakfast so had no problem stuffing our faces on delicious pasta. yes, yes it should have been seafood but Himself won't touch the stuff *sigh*.

There was another restaurant we wanted to try so once dinner was over, lesson learned, we walked straight there to book for the next night. We had a mooch round the harbour to let our dinner go down, then carried on to Porthminster one of St Ives 4 beaches. There is a raised restaurant on the beach there with a balcony with sea views so we went in and asked if we could just buy a drink and sit out with it rather than eat. They found us a little table outside, so we sat drinking wine and watching the sea and I suspect completely pissing of the poor people inside whose view we had just blocked!

The next morning I may just possibly have woken up feeling a tad delicate. We had planned to walk some more of the coastal path, this time to Lelant and I didn't want to postpone. I wasn't sure breakfast had helped so we decided to get into our walking gear, head into town and see how I felt
To our surprise found a sea fog had come in overnight and everything was swathed. By the time we walked round to the harbour I was feeling more the thing, so we bought some water and set off. The first part of our walk was surprisingly busy considering the weather. We soon found ourselves following a single file track winding up onto the cliff top, with less people and thankfully the weather started to clear.

From there we then headed down and through sand dunes before climbing back up again and finally, and rather alarmingly, right through the middle of a busy golf course at Lelant to the church of St Uny, where randomly the graveyard is up high above the path. I was blown away by all the different flora, so many species I didn't recognise. I will need to by a book.
We were going to catch the train back but got lost finding the station. I decided to ask for directions but by this time Himself had spotted a pub, so we retired there for a refresh and in my case a desperate pee! I also wisely stuck to diet coke. In the end we caught the bus back to St Ives, ate chips, bought some pop, then climbed the hill back to our B&B, got changed and took our books out to read on the cliff above Porthmeor beach.

After dinner that night we walked all over St Ives trying to find a pub that wasn't either too packed or too meh. In the end gave up, went to the Co-op and bought a chilled bottle of wine which we took out into the garden at our B&B. There it was lovely and quiet with gorgeous sea views, seriously what more could you want?

Thursday 18 July 2019

June in all it's Glory.

June was a full on month of unexpected changes in terms of work which is partly why I haven't blogged sooner. The mad departmental reshuffle seemed to have hit the buffers, so on the plus side I wasn't having to re-apply for my own job, but on the other I wasn't getting paid for all the additional responsibilities either.
Out of the blue my friend Alex announced she had found a new job and was leaving. I can't say I blame her and the new role is great for her career plans, but oh lordy am I missing her already.
This was followed by not one, but two pregnancy announcements meaning three members of our team of ten will be on maternity leave at the same time! (This on top of three of the ten posts being vacant right now.)
The dust had barely settled when the head of our department announced he is leaving too. To be fair we had a feeling he might, but as his contract didn't end until November we certainly didn't expect it so soon and not when in theory he should have been giving six months notice...
It's a weird one because whilst I did like him, he did have a habit of hatching all these mad plans and never quite seeing them through (yes the reshuffle was his idea) so he has left chaos. His deputy is acting up, but as she is one of the pregnancies it looked like everything might be on hold indefinitely. Then apparently someone had a moan to the deputy dean (not me) and suddenly everything has to be sorted by the end of July!?! This is not in anyway way, shape or form enough time for the proper consultation period and everyone is feeling completely fraught again. The only good thing is that as we made it known in no uncertain terms how we felt about having to re-apply for our jobs we now only have to have a 'formal chat' rather than submit an actual application.

The joys of working in higher education. NOT.

Anyway I did have some fun times in June too, going out for dinner several times with friends was a definite highlight, though my waistline might not agree. As well as a trip to see Giffords Circus yet again. This time in University Parks with Alex and Charlotte from work. The show this year was called Xanadu and was an wonderful psychedelic summer of love confection with the usual amount of breath taking acts.
As ever I could have done without the horses, personally I don't feel there is a place for animals parading and performing in a ring in this day and age, but that is me, others seem to enjoy it.

For me the highlight of the show was Lil Rice who is described on the internet as a 'wheel performer and singer.' She started off standing with what looked like an oversized hoola hoop on the floor at her feet. She stepped into the middle of it and started singing a song. She then picked the hoop up and spun it on one arm then the other for a bit and you were kind of like nice voice and everything but is that it? She then got inside it and started swinging which was pretty impressive, see picture below.
(photo borrowed from official Giffords site)

 The next thing you know she is off spinning round the ring like a freaking gyroscope! Over, under, side ways you name it she did it! It was absolutely jaw dropping, and all the while singing, never missing a note or sounding out of breath, just incredible.
I also loved that they had a proper old fashioned slapstick clown routine with buckets of water and coloured slime. It does the soul good to have a good laugh. I highly recommend this year's show.

I also had a day out in good old Witney with Soo. We haven't seen each other for a while and Witney is always a good fall back for a shopping trip. The weather gods were kind that day too so though it started rainy it quickly cleared to the point where we even got to sit outside to eat our pub lunch.

We trawled the chazzas without much joy until we got to Oxfam, my purchases there being this Boden dress
(apologies for it's crumpled state) some birthday cards and this rather mad and very happy paper mache tiger decoration who I could not resist.
He had this weird thick red stripe on his back which I didn't like so I spent Sunday afternoon repainting and varnishing him. He's now hanging on the kitchen door handle grinning at anyone who enters the room.

I shall finish up with some handbag purchases. I really do need to stop, it's getting out of hand...

As you can see my obsession with Corde continues at a pace and I added these two to my collection

The brown one was from Australia and I just loved the star like pattern.

I also bought this lovely blue 1930's leather bag on the bay of E.
It looked lovely on it's listing and I particularly liked the deco style clasp.
Sadly when it arrived the seller had posted it in just a plastic carrier bag turned inside out an taped shut, with absolutely no other protection it arrived so bent and battered I could have wept.
I treated the leather which is fairly brittle with a restoring cream, and then carefully tried to reshape the bag. You can tell when you lift the flap originally it would have been a bright royal blue but years have darkened it to navy, so I used a navy leather cream I already had.
As you can see it's still a bit dented and creased but a million times better than it was. As someone on a selling site I'm part of said this week,  it breaks your heart to see beautiful things that have survived decades completely destroyed by careless and inadequate packaging. 

I have also been sorting out my earrings now I can wear them again (long boring story) and came across this nifty way to display them in the tinternet.

Aluminium craft mesh and a picture frame equals instant earring display. Result.

I shall return anon with a post about our trip to Cornwall.