Friday, 17 July 2009


Seriously, it's like it rains specially just to annoy us. It was drizzling until we left the house, then it absolutely bucketed down just until we got into the car, then eased off again. Still, we're indoors today so it's no big deal. This morning's excursion was the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, small but perfectly formed with all the essentials - sharks, rays, seahorses and a wide selection of both spectacularly pretty and spectacularly ugly fish.

Then our long-awaited lunch at Fifteen Cornwall. It's at Watergate Bay, a couple of miles east of Newquay, in a stunningly beautiful location. By the time we got there the sun had come out, but it was blowing a gale. We started with an amazing non-alcoholic cocktail - apple juice, elderflower juice, a splash of lemon and bitters, with sprigs of mint - delicious! Alex pigged out on the bread, olive oil and balsamic and only had room for his main course of penne with tomato and mozzarella, but the rest of us managed the whole nine yards. The food and service were both excellent, and the view rounded things off nicely.

We braved the winds for a brief visit to the beach before we left, but the sand was blasting our legs and going in our eyes. It was just as windy back at Perranporth, where Alex and Simon played crazy golf and tennis while Tash and I went shopping. Our last full day in Cornwall is almost at an end, and we end it by watching Finding Nemo and looking for all the fish we saw at the aquarium this morning.

Thursday, 16 July 2009


The rain is back with a vengeance, but today's activity is mostly indoors - we're off to Future World at Goonhilly. Tom Tom takes us on an interesting route down single track roads and through towns and villages with unlikely names. Alex is most amused to see there's a place called the Lizard.

Future World wasn't quite what I expected, with more focus on sustainability and less on space. Not that I'm complaining! It was an imaginatively-constructed programme, beginning with a short film, then a guided bus trip to another venue where we moved through three distinct zones where the evolution of communications technology and energy were explored. The final zone included a survey of our views on different aspects of the future and the results were projected onto the wall before we left. There was plenty to see at the main visitor centre, too.

There was a chance to tour the site on Segways, which Alex was very keen to do - and he just made the minimum height limit. But when we got to the Segway area it turned out he was too light to control it properly, and should have been weighed before our booking was taken. They were very good about it, though - he got a private lesson in the car park and a full refund. He took to it easily, controlling the Segway perfectly despite his lack of weight.

On the way back, we stopped for a cream tea and then Tash and I attempted to go shopping in Perranporth, but sadly because so few people were out in the rain the shops closed early. One of the shopkeepers reassured us that the weather is due to improve at the weekend - but that's not much consolation when we're leaving!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


A more cheerful start to the day so we decide to attempt a visit to St Michael's Mount. The crossing from Marazion is a bit bouncy. But the weather remains fine for our trip, which is a first for this holiday. The ascent is spectacular, along a cobbled path winding through beautiful gardens with spectacular views back to the coast. The castle itself is surprisingly cosy, with compact rooms that seem homely despite the remote and weather-beaten location.

We walk back barefoot along the causeway, just after the sea has retreated, visiting another small rock on the way. When we get back to the mainland the weather is still fine so we decide to attempt bodyboarding again. With a brief stop to hire wetsuits we arrive at Perranporth bay, to find the sea has retreated dramatically. The lifeguards have set up a safe area and the surf is spectacular. Alex and Tash had a great time bodyboarding until the lifeguards quit for the day.

This was the sort of day all holidays should comprise. We made it last by stopping for a drink at the Watering Hole on the beach.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


The weather forecast today goes from bad to worse - showers, followed by gale force winds and heavy rain. We decided to brave a trip to the beach first thing, and buy body boards for Alex and Tash on the way. It's all looking good until we actually emerge from the car and make our way down the beach - at which point the heavens open. Alex, to his credit, decides a little rain isn't going to put him off, grabs his body board and heads off into the surf. Tash decides to wait for another opportunity. It's freezing!

Alex gives it a good go, and then we take him back to our house and dry him off before setting off for Lands end. We stop for lunch on the way, with the customary downpour as we leave the car, but as we arrive at Lands End the weather cheers up. It's very windy, and not too warm, but at least it's dry. It's very commercialised here, but the seascape is dramatic and probably more so because of the stormy weather. Simon and Alex take in a Dr Who exhibit while Tash and I write postcards, and while choosing them we notice a fantastic photo of a beach called Porthcurnow. Tom Tom says its only a few miles away so we decide to go there while the weather is in our favour.

True to form, as we walk down to the beach the heavens open again. Alex is undetererred and decides to build a sandcastle, but it's raining hard and we get soaked. This is beginning to look like some kind of vendetta - it even rains as we walk from the car park to our house at the end of the day.


A long-awaited treat for me today - a trip to the Eden Project. It makes a stunning first impression - huge interconnected domes in a huge pit, the legacy of a former mine. We started on the outside and worked our way round to the hub, where there are interactive exhibits. With our usual impeccable timing it started raining just as we came out, so we headed for the link building between the two biomes and had lunch.

We decided to tackle the tropical biome first, which was steamy and humid - a big contrast to the rather cold and dank weather. Specimen plants from the tropics alternated with educational exhibits, including a complete Malaysian house and some wall paintings describing south American myths and legends. There were tiny ants everywhere and some of them followed us out. The mediterranean biome was a more comfortable temperature, and immediately recognisable from its blue and white paint and terracotta. We emerged into relatively dry weather and explored the outside areas, but got caught in a sudden downpour and had to take refuge in the shop. We finished the day damp but happy - a state that I suspect will become familiar in days to come.

Monday, 13 July 2009


We did the normal first day of the holiday thing of sleeping late and taking ages to get going, so our first outing was for lunch. Grand Prix today, which three of the Esserys enjoy, so we found a pub that was showing the race and went there for lunch. It turned out to be next to a circus, so we made a note of showtimes in case we needed an indoor pursuit. It's not raining, but it looks like it's thinking about it!

After lunch we went to Holywell Park where Tash and Alex got absolutely soaked on some little inflatable boats with water guns. Rain seemed imminent so we made a strategic retreat to the circus. That turned out to be an unexpected highlight, as Simon got "volunteered" into the ring by a clown and stripped to the waist for a mock-boxing match in a ring made of masking tape wrapped around four other volunteers. Hilarious - for us, anyway!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Cornwall - July 2009

It seemed like a good idea to holiday in the UK, but it was raining when we left home and it was still raining when we arrived in Cornwall. We're staying in Perranporth, just down the coast from Newquay. The house is on a holiday complex, but it seemed pretty deserted when we arrived and a quick check of the menu suggested that we'll be cooking in the evenings. So highlight of our first evening was a trip to the supermarket - rock and roll!