In July a merry little group of us went down to Crantock in Cornwall for a week's holiday.
I've drawn up a list of formal headings in the construction of this post, please.
The Pack & Drive
We left the day after my sister's wedding on Sunday morning. We'd stayed over at my parents, so the first task was to have some breakfast and the second task was to drive home and pack. The packing took a lot longer than I had anticipated.
We did take a lot of stuff down with us including: a 32 inch flat screen television with its stand, stereo and speakers, duvet and pillows, alcohol, Dexter and three suit cases. The Almera was choc full and no mistake.
Chris, of Monty Christo fame, drove up with Ging and I drove up with Tash & Ben. Chris also transported a hefty wedge of stuff including: body boards and a barbeque. The drive down was pleasant enough, the route taken was thus: M25 followed by M3, trumped by A303 and a final jaunt on the A30. There was one worrying moment when Tash almost convinced me were going the wrong way, when we were going the right way. Other than that it was a fine drive down by anyone's standards.
We stayed in a house called Kareena at the end of a road to the beach, I have inserted a picture below. It's a run down old place with heaps of character, see. Downstairs we had a bedroom stroke study, a dining room, kitchen, larder, bathroom, toilet, sitting room and a conservatory type area. Upstairs was bedroom bedlam with five bedrooms steeling the show.
The house was pretty much as near to the beach as you could get, it was a five minute walk through some dunes to the beach. Here is the view:
In the other direction it was a five minute walk to the hub of Crantock that is Londis, the tea rooms and the pubs.
The Pizza debarkle
On arrival we didn't have much food in and what with it being a Sunday, everything was closed. So, we decided to try and order some pizza to be delivered. We spent some silly amount of time like four hours attempting this task, in the end it was just a farce and I couldn't stop laughing. On the one hand you had all the orders constantly changing and Ben insisting his came without tomato, and on the other hand you had the fact that all we had was an out of date yellow pages to consult.
A lot of time was spent trying to obtain a mobile signal so Ben could go on the internet to find relevant information, this was however sporadic. Whenever a signal was obtained it was met with great excitement. We even tried putting the phone inside an empty tube of Pringles to boost the signal. Tash had also cracked open the Rose we'd brought with us and this didn't help matters. In the end we did ring several places to no avail and eventually found out that Dominos in Newquay was being refurbished and was due to open on the Monday. Most inconvenient I'm sure you'll agree.
So, we walked into Crantock to see if we could get any food which was just folly. Chris, Tash and I went back to the house and Chris concocted some chicken and bacon in pita bread for us, the only ingredients at our disposal. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. Ben & Ging went to the pub and took Dexter with them, he was a real ice breaker, apparently, with people only too keen to come and say hello to the wee scamp, aka Wagglepuss, aka Little Nipper (aka Teddy Ruxspin).
The Cornishman & The Old Albion
There are two pubs in Crantock, pictured below. The Cornishman and The Old Albion, I went in both and my hands down favorite was The Cornishman.
Both pubs were more than happy to accept dogs, which was nice. One time, I tethered Dexter to the picnic table in the garden and went to order a round. The next thing I know he's at my feet having chomped through his lead. I've since purchased a lead constructed of metal links (a chain, yeah) and will be using this for future tethering.
I drank cider in The Cornishman, Weston's Stowford Press, and we ate there a couple of times; cheesy chips for me.
Crantock Beach Cafe
There is a fucking amazing cafe down at the beach car park in Crantock. We went there on several occasions and I'd encourage all and sundry to visit. The breakfast was especially vital and they did good plain sausages, you could get a full on fry up or a breakfast bap. The chef was a bloody good bloke to boot. The burgers were good too, but remember they only serve chips between 5 pm and 8 pm.
Healey's Cyder Farm (aka The Cornish Cyder Farm)
A trip out to get some cyder was definitely a must for me. Eventually, after sifting through a wad of leaflets in the sitting room, we settled on Healey's Cider Farm. There were some very odd attractions in amongst the leaflets including some sort of mackerel farm museum thing, a paperwork museum, gnome world and a tin mine. I rather foolishly agreed to drive and suffered an incredibly stressful time trying to extract directions from the passengers who only seemed to care about getting a sodding ice cream from Londis.
After around half an hour of driving we made it. I was very perturbed when I discovered, on the way back, that had I turned right, and not left, at the main road it would have taken ten minutes. Essentially a 9 mile trip had been turned into a 21 mile trip, I’ve done the math.
We got a few crates of Rattler, which I have grown very fond of. It's a cracking drink, I only wish it was readily available in my neck of the woods. We also purchased a few of the bottles of the special stronger cyders, well you've got to haven't you? I would have classed this as a world class trip out if it wasn't for the directions malarkey, so this trip only receives an exceptional rating.
One day we had a BBQ out in the garden, took the stereo outside with the extension lead I had handily brought with. We had potato waffles, so versatile. The BBQ was a luncheon affair and by late afternoon everyone except Ben and I went to bed for a nap. So, we took a couple of special cyders and went for a stroll along the sand dunes with Dexter. We ended up taking quite a trek over to the far end of the beach and then walked to the caves on the opposite end of the beach. On the journey we found:
A small dead crab which we put inside an empty bottle
Some snorkeling goggles
Some old netting and assorted flotsam
We watched a fair few films during our stay, the ones I remember being: Step Brothers, Taken, The Losers, Next & The Hangover. All corkers, I'm sure you'll agree. Step Brothers is one of my all time favorites.
Ging's Wetsuit & Surf Board Hire
Ging was keen as mustard to hire a surf board and we rather stupidly went and hired a board from a shop in Newquay and then subsequently discovered they hire them out down where the beach cafe is. The irritating nature of this discovery was compounded by the fact that the surf board didn't fit in my car and we were forced to transport it with a dodgily secured open boot.
Ging was also keen as mustard to get himself a wetsuit, which he readily did in Newquay. Trying on wetsuits didn't strike me as the most pleasant of activities given the awkwardness of getting one of these bastards on. You then have to parade in the shop whilst the assistant decides whether it is the right size or not. Thanks, but no thanks.
The Eden Project, St Austell Brewery & Meverguissy
I think this excursion took place on the Wednesday and involved a hell of a lot of driving. You see, when I go on holiday I like to relax, have some drinks, lounge about, go to the beach and just generally chill out. It is not a holiday to me if you spend half your time in a car. There are plenty of attractions and tourist type things I could do at home within a thirty mile radius, but don’t do. So, why is it when you go on holiday people feel the need to find local attractions (well I say local, Meverguissy is 30 miles away from Crantock – that’s a 60 mile round trip) and visit them? You wouldn’t do it at home, so you certainly shouldn’t be doing it on holiday. Who wants to sit in a car for hour upon hour, not I.
Anyway, I agreed to go to the Eden Project to start with and off we set. Another disaster with directions ensued but we got there eventually… what a stinking let down. Two big green houses and that’s your lot, fucking rip off. On the plus side the ticket you get gives you entrance rights for a year, but only because they know no-one in their right mind would want to go back.
The WEEE Man, made of disguarded appliances, is quite good – but there’s only so long you can look at a statue. We walked round it and I remember saying to the others, “where’s the rest of it?” “That’s it” came the reply. Well, I can’t tell you how annoyed I was.
On the way to the Eden Project Tash had seen some signs to a town called Meverguissy, which one of her friends had conveniently told her was really nice. I was against the idea of going as I wanted to go back but we went all the same, and via St Austell Brewery to boot.
The brewery tour took a couple of hours out of the day but I quietly enjoyed it. Then it was onwards to Meverguissy.
It’s basically a dirty little harbor with streets so narrow you can’t even hear yourself think. I would only go here if I was a fisherman and/or I was obsessed with sea food, both of which are boxes I certainly wouldn’t be ticking.
Crantock Summer Fete
Our holiday to Crantock coincided with the annual Crantock Fete, more’s the pity. We had a look round, I bought a bit of fudge which wasn’t very nice and, of course, bloody Kelly’s Ice Cream was consumed (not by me I’ll hasten to add). The most enjoyable bit for me was going to The Cornishman and getting stuck into the cider. They had an Irish band on as part of the fete festivities which was good. I was so smashed by the end of it I actually bought one of their CD’s. Black Velvet they’re called and my favorite on the album is “whisky in the jar”.
I think we may have had a bit of a sing song when we got back, but don’t quote me on that.
On Friday night we decided to have a night out in Newquay. I drove us there and parked on the outskirts, with the intention of going back on Saturday morning to retrieve said conveyance. We went to several night clubs, it’s bizarre like some sort of Magaluf / Falaraki / Playa de las Americas on the UK mainland.
Later on in the evening Ben disappeared. The last I saw of him he said he was going to the toilet, he never resurfaced. It was a strange thing. We looked about for him a bit and then got a taxi back, oh must have been around 1.30 in the morning.
On Saturday morning I got up at 8am and was just leaving, with Dexter and Tash, to go and get the car when Ben suddenly appeared: walking up the road with a Londis bag and a daily mail under his arm. He had no idea where he had been or what he’d been doing. All we know is that he had got in a taxi to Londis in Crantock and he had a lipstick stamp on his forearm. The plot thickens.
The Jamaica Inn & Bodmin jail
The Jamaica Inn is a grotty little dive, I wouldn’t bother giving it the time of day, if I were you. We went there on Saturday whilst Ging traversed Brown Willy, for his sins. I just thank fuck they had Rattler on tap, their one saving grace.
On the way home we visited Bodmin Jail, bloody lovely. Saw the place where they used to hang the buggers and watched a film about Pierrepoint, intriguing. We would have done the tour but it was getting on a bit. You have to remember this was the day after Ben had had his little adventure in Newquay and got in at 8am. He’d had a little kip but was steadfast in his desire to visit the Jail.
This is a little map I’ve constructed of all the key destinations from the holiday. I feel it demonstrates some of the lengths we went to in terms of travel. This upsets me, I never wanted to be in the car, I wanted to be in the sea:
Operation Tidy & Driving Home
Sunday was our last day, it certainly bloody was. We left, but not after a thorough cleaning of the house. I for one had refused to use the bath or shower, instead choosing to cleanse myself in the sea; I’m rather an odd fellow in that I really like the feeling of salt in my hair. So, that ruled me out of giving the dirty old bath mat a good rinse out! Ha ha ha the last laugh was mine, Ging dear boy!
However I did wash the plans including this absolutely vile thing which must have been there for months (no way we had a jot to do with it). There was some nasty residue of cheese sauce in the pan and every time I looked at it, and caught a snifter, I couldn’t help but wretch. I had to run out of the back door on several occasions in anticipation of a severe gut reaction to the grim festering bile. I did wash it, however, and the thanks heaped on me by Monty Christo spoke volumes. I had washed up the impossible.
The drive back went well. Just the one blip at the Bracknell turning off, on the M3, when Ben and Tash were convinced Dexter needed the toilet. I turned off in search of an adequate lay-by only to discover he didn’t need the loo. Well, I can’t tell you how annoyed I was.