Ok, so when we’d first put today’s plans into Google Maps it told us that the drive time alone would be six hours. That’s a fuck tonne of driving and that’s not even taking into account stopping and looking at shit. There was only one thing for it; Get up at 4am and get on the road to watch the sunrise somewhere pretty before your body realised what you’d made it do and went into shock. Teabags and Tarrant’s Jet Boil were packed as a preventative measure against trauma and by 5am we were settled on the seafront in Charlestown watching the fiery sky ball inch its way up, sipping a cuppa and hoping that my basic motor functions would fully kick in in time for this massive motherfucker of a Cornish tour. I may or may not have drooled tea on my own shoes.
Anyway, given that there’s fuck all to do in Charlestown apart from the Shipwreck Museum which didn’t open until a much saner hour, we headed off as soon as I was able to form sentences beyond the usual grunts and clicks applicable that time in the morning because you’ve either just destroyed your frontal lobe by consuming your body weight in Jagermeister or you mistakenly thought that it was acceptable to get up before 9am whilst on holiday.
Next stop was Mevagissey because it was meant to be pretty. I can happily confirm that if Mevagissey was a person, you would be happy with it dating your offspring. Don’t try driving through it though, we used a car park located just before you got to town and thank fuck we did, it’s basically made up of these tiny little roads you would get no joy out of trying to inch an automobile down, even at a time when only dog owners and joggers were up. Even the newsagent’s was closed which meant Tarrant’s nicotine fix had to wait and I hoped my sunnies wouldn’t disintegrate before I could get to a tube of superglue.
Also, these signs amused us…
The first one is stuck to the payment machine at the car park. I had images of people jumping up and down in the hope the machine would accept their £2 before someone added the word “coin.” The second one, well we weren’t sure if it referred to a bakery or a brothel.
But the harbour. Guys, the harbour. Look at this fucking harbour. It’s gorgeous isn’t it? After a bit of a stroll we dropped by the shop so Tarrant could get some smokes and I could promptly glue my fingers to my sunnies before we headed back to the car and continued onward to the often raved about Falmouth. We were advised to go here by so many people but I we must have gone to the wrong places because we weren’t that overwhelmed. We found a car park and wandered past the dock to the castle which wasn’t open yet so we contented ourselves with a walk around what used to be the moat then down to a stone building which would have been used for shooting crap like enemy boats and shit back in the day.
And that’s all I have to say about Falmouth to be honest. We stuffed a cream tea into our faceholes then headed past St Michael’s Mount for a photo op (it’s been inhabited by the same family since a fuck load of time ago), on to Penzance for a beer at the oldest pub in town and a pasty, then we arrived at Minack Theatre. Dude, what a fucking awesome place. It’s a working theatre built right on the edge of a fucking cliff. A cliff! Talk about actors being upstaged by the view. It was built by one incredible woman called Rowena Cade and her story is told in a small museum on site but in a nutshell, she was born in 1893 in Cheltenham then after the first world war she buggered off to Cornwall and had a house built for herself and her family.
In 1929 a bunch of locals put on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a local meadow which apparently rocked so much, the following year they decided to put on The Tempest, but the meadow wasn’t the best location for it. Rowena lived right by these cliffs, her garden was basically on the edge of the cliffs, so she set about making seating for a crowd to watch a play. As in SHE built it by hand with the help of her two gardeners. By 1932, it was ready and over the years her and her gardeners worked on the theatre and made it amazing. The second world war fucked it up somewhat, but once that was over she started again. What you see today is quite simply breathtaking. Rowena died in 1983 but the theatre has carried on and grown but has always in the spirit of her original ideas. If you’re ever in this area you have to check out this theatre. They didn’t have a show on that we were interested in but at certain times they let folks in just to have a poke around.
Right. So, Land’s End. That bit right in the far south west of England that so many people flock to just to say they’ve been there. Folks who travel from John O’ Groats to Land’s End or vice versa are known as End To Enders. All you need to do is somehow get yourself from one point to the other, they don’t care how, and you too can claim to be named after what basically sounds like a lesbian sex toy. Sounds pretty awesome to me, I’d love to head from north to south on foot with a spot of hitch hiking thrown in so my legs don’t drop off. The aim, for me, would be free transport the whole way and given that I don’t cycle because I don’t like feeling like I’ve been kicked in the cunt, walking and hitching would be the way methinks. Apart from that, Land’s End is a bit… meh… yeah nah, just meh. A rather breezy meh, but a meh nonetheless. It has a fabulous tourist infrastructure so you’ll not be short of an ice cream or a cuppa, but apart from that it’s a bit like, is that it? If you want an official photo next to the iconic sign it’ll cost ya, but no one seems too upset if you just sneak a quick selfie in without jumping the barrier.
Anyway. Another thing I’d had my little heart set on was picking our own strawberries because who doesn’t love strawberries? Apart from people who are allergic to strawberries, obvs. I’d find it hard to love something that made it feel like my face was about to fall off, no matter how delicious it was. So, I’d found a place called Trevaskis Farm on the Interwebs and they’d assured me that there’d be plenty for the picking around this time so we duly rocked up. Basically, it’s done by weight. You grab yourself a cardboard punnet and follow the signs to the strawberry tunnels then pick as many as you want, not forgetting to drop a quid or two in the jar at the counter for all the ones you stuffed into your gob whilst you filled your punnet.
And oh my god, they’re so fucking tasty! Probably the best strawberries I’ve ever had the pleasure of inserting into my facehole. Trevaskis Farm also has animals for you to gawp at and it appeared it was tiny animal season so off we went to find the pigs because Tarrant wanted to look at the babies. They’re so sweet! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know where my food comes from and I know that someday I might be removing parts of them from a plastic wrapper marked “unsmoked” and putting them under the grill but until then I’m happy to photograph them lots and get all girly about how cute they are.
But it was getting late and looking at all that tiny bacon was making me hungry. We’d decided that we were gonna have dinner somewhere nice in St Ives because dining out is one of our favourite things to do and you remember what I said about Mevagissey’s roads? St Ives has the same along with a one way system and tiny, narrow streets full of tourists that don’t seem to think that vehicles would hurt as much if they got hit by one whilst on holiday. I’m not even shitting you, they wouldn’t move until you were nearly on top of them then they’d sort of look at you like they weren’t too sure what a car was before shuffling to the side.
I used to see it all the time in Cyprus. Holiday makers strolling up the road (the actual road where cars go) in their swimmers or a towel, then looking hurt and confused when the bus driver leaned on his horn to get them to fucking shift. IT’S A FUCKING ROAD!! You know those things you don’t walk in at home? Don’t walk in them on holiday either! And instead of leaving your brain on the side with a note for the house sitter telling them when to water the house plants, fucking bring it with you!
When we got to the car park we were aiming for and it was full and the sat nav was trying to get me to turn round in a road with no turning round options as vehicles tried to come the other way because for some reason, this street wasn’t one way, it was all I could do not to stop the engine and curl up in the foetal position in the driver’s seat and weep. Eventually we made it with my shakey sanity vaguely intact, were rewarded with an awesome sunset over the sea then headed to Wharf Road where were ended up at the Onshore Restaurant for an awesome feed.
And here’s a fun fact; Driving across Cornwall after dark whilst using a sat nav with a penchant for two way roads about the width of a small car is one of the most terrifying things you can do in a Nissan Note with your seatbelt on. At one point she (we called her Bridget) took us down an unsealed road with corrugations you could hide a shire horse in as I tried to estimate how much of our car rental deposit we’d lose to the brambles that lined the narrow roads and demanded that Tarrant use the map we’d bought to “find me a fucking A road!” We couldn’t decide if she had a sense of humour or a sadistic streak. Clearly we did make it back to camp in one piece. Not that I can say the same for my nerves.
On account of the fact we’d had several gorgeous days in a row and the British weather has a reputation to maintain dontcha know, we woke up this morning to rain pelting down on the tent. It was a new tent. We watched droplets form above us and promised if the tent was as waterproof as they said it was and we still owned dry things when we got back later that day that we’d offer up UHT milk with bits of grass in it at the alter of the god of camping. Because the god of camping seems to have a penchant for adding grass to everything you own so I figure they’d appreciate it in an offering. Right? Unless they already have more grass than they know what to do with so they sneak it into campers’ sandwiches to try and get rid of it. But anyway.
Today we’d be checking out the Shipwreck Museum at Charlestown that we’d seen yesterday but was closed because it was still stupid o’ clock in the morning. We figured we’d go back today and have a look so we duly rocked up and had a wander round at a much saner hour. There is a lot to take in. Like, an absolute fuck tonne of information about shipwrecks and how scuba diving had evolved through the ages. There were trinkets and cups recovered from wrecks and so many information boards and a room playing a VHS tape on a loop about Charlestown Harbour with a Casio keyboard soundtrack. It warrants way more time than we gave it but there are only so many things recovered from wrecks that I can look at before my mind starts to wander to cake.
Next stop was Glendurgan Gardens because they have a maze and Tarrant loves mazes. They also have a cafe but we decided to leave the cream teas until the end because tea consumption before attempting a maze may result in needing a toilet which is on the other side of a wall you can’t find the door to. And and and! It had actually stopped pissing it down! Woo! Glendurgan is actually more than just a maze. It has a huge tulip tree, so called because the flowers it produces look like tulips. It flowers for one month a year in June so we were lucky to catch it. They also have a swing type thing called the Giant’s Stride which is hell bent on wrenching your shoulders out of their sockets but is still kinda fun if you felt like punishing your inner ear with the whole running round in circles thing. But yeah, it’s a cool place. We solved the maze, checked out some more of the garden, stuffed cream teas into our faces (they even had a savoury option. Is that even legal?) then headed on to The Lizard which is pretty much the southerly most tip of England.
I think I love it a little bit here. Whereas Land’s End is a tourist circus made entirely of just-to-prove-you’ve-been-there photo ops, The Lizard is a village with genuine charm and atmosphere. First off, parking is by donation. Nowhere else we’d been ran this system. We’d spent a fucking fortune on parking during our time in Cornwall and the thing is, because they’d politely asked for a donation rather than demanding a certain amount for a certain time, I probably ended up putting more in than necessary. Secondly, it’s fucking beautiful here! We didn’t go inside the Lighthouse Heritage Centre or walk to Kynance Cove because we were adamant we were treating ourselves to a chilled one with a BBQ and a fire at the campsite that night, but if you’re not pressed for time, I believe both of these things are worth it. We did squeeze in a swift half at The Witches Ball which is the UK’s southern most pub and serves an ale brewed in the village then we headed home.
And yeah. Ale. I’m trying my best, guys. When I travel I like to try locals beers, wines and spirits and I did swear I’d treat England as a destination so I’ve been sampling the local Cornish beverages which do consist of a lot of ale. Thank fuck they also have a couple of lagers to brag about, and cider. I do like a good cider but cider here is of the flat, cloudy, 6 – 9% kind that will kick you in the head and steal all your thoughts and I figure I should probably steer clear of anything above 4% if I was driving. But once we were back to camp and I didn’t have to drive now until Saturday, it was game on. You remember all those strawberries we picked? We’d decided half were for inserting into our faceholes and the other half were gonna be for daiquiris. See below for my handy cut-out-and-keep guide to making strawberry daiquiris whilst camping.
A shit tonne of places around Cornwall, England
Stayed at: Acorn Camping & Glamping
Strawberry Daiquiris. You Will Need:
- A punnet of strawberries you picked yourself from a Cornish farm. They just taste better that way.
- Limes. Probably, like, five of them?
- Sugar gomme. I’ll tell you how to make this shortly. You’ll need some white sugar.
- Rum. We just used 35cl of the cheap, white £7 shit from ASDA.
What To Do:
- Ok, to make the gomme, put half a plastic camping mug of boiling water and one mug of sugar in a saucepan. Put it on a low heat and stir it constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool.
- Take another saucepan (or a large bowl. We only had saucepans because we didn’t have the foresight to bring bowls camping) and chop the strawberries into it.
- Add the rum to the strawberries. All of it. Go on, don’t be shy.
- Now you need to mash it. Chances are you didn’t bring a masher camping with you, or a cordless hand blender for that matter. We’d brought a spatula for the BBQ which had holes in it so if you have something like this, it’ll do. Preferably a clean one though and not one that’s recently been soaking in the melting fat of dead animals.
- Mash the absolute shit out of it.
- Squeeze the limes into the strawberry mash and stir it.
- Now add the gomme. Just add a bit, stir, taste then add more. If you get it too sweet you’ll just overpower the strawberry taste.
- Ok, so because I knew I was making elder flower cordial, I’d brought a clean tea towel for the purposes of straining. I’d already strained the cordial so I rinsed the towel, cleaned the left over gomme out of the saucepan then I strained the daiquiri mixture into it.
- I’d also bought a funnel so I could get the elder flower cordial from the saucepan I’d strained it into into a bottle. This is what I used to decant the strained daiquiri mixture back into the rum bottle. Heads up, it won’t fit. You’ll probably just have to drink that bit from the saucepan or some shit. And what? You’re camping, not sipping cocktails from chilled glasses at the Ritz. Chances are there’s already bits of grass in your daiquiri anyway. Thanks, camping god.
- By this point, the mrs should have won her battle with the BBQ and made some awesome burgers.
- Cocktails by the fire, you sophisticated little fucker, you. Enjoy until the British Weather decides you’ve had enough fun for one evening and sends you back to your tent to play cards.