Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hang Spring Cleaning

It's not Spring, we're not cleaning and no one here answers to "Mole", but the inhabitants of Alf Towers were in agreement. The weather forecast was unseasonably favourable and the collective soul required succor. So we went to the beach.

Now I'm not a beach person really. The lure of sand castles and chilly bathing in July holds no allure. I like them a good deal more in the winter months, when the visitors have largely gone and you can legitimately paddle in Wellington boots. A sunny winter day, to my mind, is best spent in two ways. Either walking (in boots) on an almost empty beach - or walking across London, preferably to Charing Cross Road and the welcome of a dozen different book shops. The latter is closed to me these days, but I can do the former still. If walking on beaches and stunning scenery were all that daily life required, well I'd almost say I was happy to be living down here in Cornwall.

The preferred beach chez Alf requires some travel, but it's worth it. My formative beach years have been spent there (if you discount Bexhill in Sussex and a brief picnic near Boulogne during my one and only foray in foreign parts) and I consider no other beach in Cornwall worthy of the name. It's not well-known, it doesn't have "surf" and there are absolutely no gift shops. Oh, and you have to go down really winding lanes to get to it, which is probably the real reason it's not much favoured. For us, we have to start by crossing the Fal River. Yeah, so we could the boring way via Truro, but why do that when you can use the chain ferry and get this kind of view while you're waiting?

Yes, a bit of mist this morning and more opportunity for atmospheric pictures than you could wave a camera lens at. That's the Fal River looking downstream from the Feock side. Upstream many an unseaworthy merchant ship has been moored up waiting for the money from the owners so works can be done and the inspectors let her travel on again, deemed shipshape. None today, which is a first in my memory. Downstream is Falmouth Bay, the docks and ultimately the open sea; upstream, Truro, modern capital of Cornwall. All along the length of it the trees grow right down to the water, so it looks like a silver ribbon flanked by green cushions. By all means go to the North Cornwall coast if you want rocks, and people do, but you miss the softer beauty of the south if that's the only place you visit.

Anyway, here's the ferry coming across:

On the other side you miraculously find yourself on the Roseland Peninsular. Many a chidhood holiday spent there - great place for holidays, but awful to live in. It's so cut off you end up adding a chunk of time and mileage to every journey. But I can't help liking it. There's a combination of Cornwall's natural dampness and the Roseland's warmth that brings out a particular smell from the hedgerows. I smell that and I'm transported back about 25 years to a holiday on St Anthony's Head (home of the "Fraggle Rock" lighthouse). I wasn't well, in retrospect my folks were more than a bit worried about me, but all I remember is that smell - more noticable for being so land-based when all around there's nothing to see but sea perhaps - and running round the footpaths on that headland so often that I knew them better than the back of my hand. I just know that if I was in some TV drama I'd be doomed to return there at some point for soulful clutching of cups of tea and staring out to sea while considering "Life". Thank goodness I'm not in such a drama...

Where was I? Oh yes, taking the route through Veryan, home of the famous Roundhouses to "keep the devil out" you eventually come to the beach. You're contractually obliged to go "ooo" at this point. "Wow" is an acceptable alternative...

And the view down-sun.

I stood in my wellies in the shallows and felt very much better. I challenge anyone to find a more pleasant therapy for life's little bumps and knocks.The place was bimming over with canine joie de vie as our doggy chums, banished in the summer months, indulged in the joys to be found on a beach when you're a dog. It almost made one want to be able to hire a hound for the purpose of letting it also enjoy the fun. No sand castles were made. No rock pools prodded. No sandwiches shaken to remove unwanted sand. All told, it was bloody marvellous.


  1. Porthemmet beach ? :) Cornwalls finest so I'm told. Tee hee.

    Cheers Mike R

  2. No more of these travelogs please :), makes me feel quite homesick.

    I'd like to hear you wax so lyrically about the Charing X Road.



  3. Lovely images and a wonderful write-up!

  4. Mike, it's not quite as spectalcular as Porth Emmet :-D

  5. Alf,

    Did I detect a hint of fondness for my native land? I'm concerned you're going a bit soft.

    aka GSoW?

  6. Phil, I'm concerned too. But I never claimed it wasn't a nice place for a holiday... ;-)

  7. Thanks for taking us on a lovly day out.



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