Saturday, April 18, 2009

Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel, Polperro, Mevagissey

So. What shall we do on our last day?

We consult the map.

Let's go to Polperro along country lanes and hunt for smugglers.

So that's what we did.

On the way, we saw signs to Restormel Castle, which was one of the places we had considered going when we were checking out the EH and NT handbooks. Restormel is an EH property. We had our membership cards. The day was pleasantly sunny. So we called in. And had a lovely walk around the castle. Nearly lost Bernard, though. I was carrying their basket up the stairs to the top walkway, when he randomly jumped out of the basket. I nearly fell down the steps trying to catch him!!

The Builder was reading the guidebook. "Look," said he. "There's a beautiful Tudor Bridge somewhere around here. I wonder where it is." I didn't know. And the guide book didn't tell us. But the very helpful EH man knew - and did tell us. It's in the centre of Lostwithiel. Off we went to find it. It's a splendid addition to my bridge collection!

And so, on to Polperro in search of the smugglers. Along very narrow, very, very narrow, supremely narrow lanes. It was quite a challenge just passengering. The poor Builder had to concentrate mightily. Eventually, we ended up behind a tractor pulling a trailer which **JUST** fitted between the walls and hedges. A couple of cars joined our little convoy. There really was quite a lot of traffic to say we were out in the middle of nowhere on a laneway! And you have to feel exceptionally sorry for the car coming in the other direction that encountered us all. There were no passing places. It was obvious the tractor couldn't reverse (And very glad we were that it didn't try our we would have been squashed first!). The luckless driver had to reverse ever so, ever so slowly and then back into a farm gateway.

On we proceeded. Until we finally reached Polperro (having lost the tractor en route) only to see a sign as we drove past which said" Authorised Traffic only" between certain dates and certain times. Only - we didn't see what the times and dates were :-S We did see the sign that said that there was no streetside parking ever. And we did notice that the sharp, left hand bend as we got into Polperro was not designed with cars in mind! And, as you head out on the main road there is an ENORMOUS sign which says what the access restrictions are and which you couldn't possibly miss (although I couldn't read it properly, it being behind me on the way out!!). It's attached to a huge car park which clearly says: leave your car here!

I think it is highly unlikely that we were in an authorised vehicle. However, by the time we had got past the little sign on the back entrance to Polperro, there was no possibility of turning around. And even if we had been able to turn round, we would still have had traffic coming down the road behind us. There really was no option but to continue. But we didn't hang around once we got out, lest men in uniforms come and beat us about our thighs with batons. We headed along the MAIN ROADS to Mevagissey for a calming lunch. And, for the first time since we arrived in Cornwall, the chips were not a disappointment. A pity then that I had ordered something with new potatoes because all the previous chips had been very disappointing indeed!!!! (It's ok, though. The story has a happy ending. The Builder gave me half his chips in exchange for half my new potatoes :-) )

I bought two new cotton jumpers in a beach stall near the Mevagissey car park. They are very cheerful.

And that was our last day in Cornwall. We ate the seafood thermidor and the Padstow seafood. We drank the wine. We went to bed.

And then we came home, along the North Cornwall and Devon coast. We had intended to come up through Chepstow and Ludlow, but it took much longer to get to the M5 along the coast roads than we had really expected. And the M5 was very busy. And the weather was closing in. We decided to leave Wales for another day and headed home along the A38.

It was a lovely holiday, but it went very quickly. And it was one of the first holidays I've ever had where I have been aware from the very beginning just how short the time was. I think it's because we went on a Friday and usually we go on Saturday. I was exceedingly aware from when we first arrived that we didn't have the following Friday to play with. Well - not if we wanted to get home in time for dinner!
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