Meagan escapes to quiet, charming Cornwall for a restful weekend break. Some of the charm would be lost, she suspects, when the tourist season kicks in.
Another adventurous weekend. The week went by without a hitch – we’ve started training steadily – Jock for a marathon and me for getting in shape. So, every day this week we ran at least 2.3 miles at the Downs in Bristol. The Downs are these beautiful open fields at the top of Clifton (the main area for going out on the weekends).
The Ladies Mile
We usually park on a stretch of road called The Ladies Mile, and is apparently named from back in the day when prostitutes were legal and would wait on this particular street for their customers. Now, instead of women, there are men who wait in their cars creepily waiting for other men to stop by and pleasure them. How exciting!
You can imagine I try to run as quickly as possible past these cars. I have visions of them mistaking me for a young boy and abducting me into the woods, and then when finding out I don’t have the correct body parts, pushing me off the cliff into the estuary below.
I don’t know how plausible this really is, but nevertheless, I can’t help the thought flashing through my mind every time I run by them. Kind of like every time I step out of the shower, I envision my feet slipping and me cracking my skull with no time for a scream to be let out. Oh, how the mind works!
Caravanning in Cornwall
So, after the week finished, Jock’s parents invited us to Cornwall to stay with them in their caravan. Another new place to put on the map! Friday night we spent on the couch gearing up for the weekend ahead – Jock obsessively trying to finish the third level of Sudoku for his first time (which he did successfully! Go Jocko!), and me on Wikipedia researching the history of Looe, Cornwall, England.
Looe first had settlers around 1200 AD and is/was a fisherman’s town with smugglers coming in for jewels they stole from ships of other countries. Now, it has a population of around 5,000 people with their income mostly coming from tourism.
East and West Looe are divided by a bridge. When I read this, I expected some type of massive bridge that we’d have to trek over – but no, the bridge is probably 400 feet long. It was absolutely adorable. We passed by a church from the 1600s that has been converted into flats right on the beach.
We also took a stroll on the beach, and on the way back passed by some 8-year-olds drinking an 18-pack of Stella Artois. That was quite disturbing to say the least. I know my first drinking experience was around the age of 12, but at least I looked 15 years old. They reminded me of Alfie – that 4 ft tall 12-year old boy who supposedly impregnated that 14 year old girl and hadn’t yet gone through puberty.
Looe was nothing in comparison to the town a mile down the road called Polperro.
The delights of Polperro
This town was magical dating back to the 1000s! With paths curving around the cliffs half a mile high overlooking the sea, houses right on top of the other with doors big enough for the seven dwarves to enter and Cornish pasties on every corner, this town I could imagine myself retiring in.
The coolest thing about it was that it was entirely self-supporting with no commercialism ruining the charm and authenticity. All the shops were run by locals, and even though the entire town was probably no more than half a mile around, there were so many nooks and crannies you could peek into that I could never imagine getting bored. I definitely want to go back with Jock and do some more rambling (an English word meaning ‘taking a long walk’) in the cliffs and woods. There are signs pointing in directions of other towns that connect only by these paths. I think we were all a bit tired at this point, so we went back to the caravan.
On the way back to the car, we stopped by a pub called the Crumplehorn. When we walked by around 6 pm, the sun seemed to be shining down on this single pub which caused a sort of sun trap warming the locals drinking their beer. A wooden and iron water wheel pumped on the corner of the old building. We had to duck as we entered the pub and Jock being 6′ 2″ couldn’t stand up straight even inside.
The owner was behind the bar and told us he had bought the place about six years ago and lived in the house next door which used to be the mill. The pub was made from the old 13th-century barn, and on each wall you could see remnants of the tools they used to use. After a couple of glasses of wine, we headed back to the trailer park.
Yes, we stayed in a trailer park. But this was no regular trailer park! This was deluxe camping. Their caravan had two bedrooms, two baths and a pullout sofa in the living room! It was so much nicer than any hotel room and plus you could cook your own food on the gas stove. I had never heard of renting a trailer for a vacation as an American, but it must not be too uncommon over here.
There was a large manor (what we could consider a small castle) in the park called Trelawne Manor where the bar and festivities were, and some entertainment in a large banquet hall that smelled of damp and mildew and had quite possibly the most shockingly embarrassing mother/father/daughters act I had ever seen. We only bothered staying to watch for about 15 minutes before we all started feeling nauseous either from the odor or the bad singing – we couldn’t tell.
All in all – an amazing weekend in Cornwall with absolutely no raining! I think the best thing about the weekend was how quiet all the towns were. I can imagine that during high tourist season, it would be awful and cramped.
Back to writing my book now!
Reprinted with permission of The Lady Who Lunches
Follow Meagan on The Lady Who Lunches: her 5,370 mile move from loud Los Angeles to elegant England, the adjustments from somewhat aspiring actress to overly-excited novelist, the cultural shocks a very American woman faces living in Europe, the reluctant but fantastic start-up of a social group for women in a foreign country, and learning how to live with the English gent she fell in love with. Phew!