Friday, 26 August 2016

BACK IN BLIGHTY- Cornwall and Cheltenham and around

After a painful (for Rich) stay in Cambridge, and a pending wait to see doctors there, we decided on a trip to see some old friends living in Cornwall, who, luckily for us just happened to both be osteopaths! The bus trip was long, and as we arrived in Cornwall the roads became narrow and winding, the farmland ever greener, signs for cream teas and pasties appeared, as did cutely named villages such as Doddycress, Merrymont and Lastwistel. We were happy to arrive and catch up on eight years worth of news with our friends and meet their two little girls who had been born and grown up during the previous eight years.While Lloyd helpfully treated Richard for his problem, Jo and I managed a few lovely, hot and sweaty walks along the stunning North Cornwall coastline with it's vivid blues and greens, around various quaint seaside villages and a bike ride along the Camel Trail- a 18 mile cycle path along the Camel River between Wenfordbridge to Padstow.

Gorgeous walk on a gorgeous day, Cornwall

Walking into the busy Polzeath beach, Cornwall

Stone steps, walk along Cornish coast

We all enjoyed a typical British day out at the packed beach at Daymer, with Sal being most amused at the little fort-like windbreaks that were set up everywhere staking the sunbathers domain, but loving the fantastic atmosphere of everyone appreciating the hot weather so much, swimming and surfing in the FREEZING sea, and absolutely enjoying their day- we love Britain on days like these.

Brits at the beach, Daymer Beach

Daymer Beach, Cornwall

It really felt like Summer had properly arrived, with 30 degree days, al fresco dinners and BBQs, lying outside in the garden in the warmth, and the girls enjoying a paddling pool and slip and slide in the backyard. Wadebridge and the surrounds were full of festivals and fairs and tourists- especially along the Camel Trail during the day. We loved visiting the adorable harbour villages of Bosworth, and Port Issac (where Doc Martin was filmed), with their slate cottages, where even the many tourists couldn't detract from the prettiness.

Bosworth quaint little cottage

Wonky cafe, Bosworth, Cornwall

Beautiful village wall, Cornwall

Walking into Port Issac, Cornwall

Back alleyway of Port Issac, Cornwall

The cute harbour town of Bosworth, Cornwall

A rainy day- the only one, was spent in "the big city" of Truro, where we found the range of strong Cornish accents very funny and the charity shops posh. We discovered "Tre" means "place of"- as in Tredizzick and Trebekerick.

Back street of Truro

Truro cathedral

As Rich's body slowly made improvements week by week, he felt up to another visit- this time to Cheltenham to catch up with a long time friend Bookey. The spa town of Cheltenham has long been a popular holiday health spot since the 1700s, when George III's visit to the Pumphouse in the lovely Pitville Park set the trend of "taking the waters". The town's regency architecture was impressive, but we didn't do much sightseeing, preferring to hangout with the lovely group of people who were Bookey's friends- walking up Crickly Hill (and admiring the famous Cotswold landscape with it's patchwork quilt of small farms on rolling hills), chatting and having BBQs in the glorious weather. We tried our first balti, a delicious curry with an interesting history- some believe it was first invented in Birmingham! Other delights on offer were the many local ales Rich and Bookey enjoyed sampling, homemade nettle beer, and blackberry and apple crumble, made from fruit picked at out friend's amazing pyrapod.

Feeling a bit better!

Soft and rolling Cotswolds countryside

Our mate's uniquely designed "pyrapod"

As the sun and warmth continued, we began to wonder why the Brits flee the summer here for other parts of Europe. The beautiful weather was just perfect (well, in South-east England, anyway)- most days between 20 and 27 degrees, soft breezes and dry. If February was the time for daffodils, and April for tulips, July and August undoubtedly belonged to the variety of roses in most gardens, and the sweet smell on the air. The local fruit on offer became plentiful, with plums, redcurrants, blackberries, green gauges and gooseberries joining the already bountiful displays in supermarkets and fruit stalls. We were lucky enough to find some sloes growing- a dry fruit from the blackthorn tree and a tiny variety of plum- it was a good excuse to buy some gin in order to make sloe gin for Sal to try! Bountiful cherry plums and blackberries were also gathered from the hedgerows- amazingly just growing there for the taking!

Roses galore, Cambridge

More flower filled gardens, Cambridge

Little flower pot man

Crumble with freshly picked blackberries....yum!

A morning's punting and an evening participating in a pub quiz completed the Cambridge experience- a wonderful time with family, complete with ginger beer, local ales and a picnic by the Mill pond on the River Cam, and a few drinks at a local pub, respectively.

Enjoying a Pimms in the backyard

Punting on the River Cam, Cambridge

Keeping cool on the Cam

Up the Amazon (or the River Cam!)

Tree lined avenue, Jesus Green, Cambridge

Other days out included a day hitting the charity shops in the historic market town of St Ives, and yet another impressive cathedral in the big city of Peterborough- we were getting a bit cathedraled-out by this point! We compared the absolutely cracking day with the windy freezing one when we visited in February. A long day was spent strolling along the Thames in London, in a mini version of the long distance path we'd hoped to follow all the way from London to Oxford. The big sights of the London Eye, Southbank, Tower Bridge (which Sal had always thought was London Bridge!), Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben kept us busy looking from the outside- London is expensive, and it was way too lovely a day to spend inside! The holiday crowds were out in force, and we loved the people watching and busy atmosphere, but were happy to be back, exhausted, to Cambridge that evening. Rich was happy to be in a lot less pain than before, and be able to walk more freely.

Tower Bridge (or is it London?!)

Tower of London

An "oyster" ice cream

Big Ben as seen from the Thames, London

Westminster Abbey, London

Looking to the town square, Peterborough
Rich's improving health meant we were able to travel further afield. Having enjoyed a beautiful summer in England, we felt we needed a bit of excitement and chose one of the furthest away and most exotic of Europe's countries- Bulgaria.

1 comment:

  1. The wonky cafe has a cousin in the wonky Queenslander. Both structures are function over form. however a closer inspection reveals that both in a sense mirror the natural formations that appear wonky. Nice observation.