Sennen Cove: the final frontier. These are the witterings of a West Cornwall shopkeeper. His seemingly interminable mission: to plumb new depths in literary rambling, to seek out the boring and banal, to boldly sink deeper than any Diarist has sunk before.
June 23rd - Friday
I felt remarkably chipper after such a late night; it will probably catch up with me tomorrow. Had I not, the day would have been quite kind to me as there were very few demanding customers about, in fact, very few customers at all. We do not mind this every now and again as long as it is not too often, although we prefer those quiet days to be in the winter when we are closed. Perhaps it was because we had a blanket of cloud over us that only occasionally gave way to blue sky or perhaps it was because it is a change over day. Nevertheless, we had quite a busy time when I broke out my breakfast after I returned from the gymnasium.
It was during the busy periods of late that I noticed some gaps appearing in our postcard offering. It is quite frustrating knowing that there is a widening gap and no time to do anything about it. Therefore I took the opportunity this morning to go over the draft second order that I made at the start of the year. There were not many changes required, which pays testament to my fire proof stock and order system, which reminds me that we ran out of lemons two days ago.
Our half decent day was interrupted in the early afternoon by an unannounced, thirty second rain shower. It caught me at the only thirty seconds of the afternoon that I spent outside, as it happened, fetching a piece of cake to replace the vegan slice I threw away yesterday. Perhaps that was the small gods of vegans getting me back for yesterday's unkind comments.
I was not the only one to suffer. It seems the surfing community might have committed some misdemeanours for which punishment was required. The sea was pretty stirred up in the afternoon but with hardly a hint of the ground sea required to make decent surfing waves consequently only attracting the most keen. There were two or three out and I imagine the rest were in the ale house.
I was commended by a young lady for my advice yesterday regarding her heat exhaustion. She had been up on Pedn-men-du all day the previous day and was suffering somewhat but did not appear to be burnt, so she had clearly been sensible with sun protection, at least. Actually, I had not exactly regarded the conversation we had as advice otherwise I would have asked her to sign a disclaimer. Fortunately it was she coming back with a commendation rather than her solicitor with a writ. I shall be more careful what I say to young ladies in future, although I have been thinking that since I was seventeen.
June 22nd - Thursday
I had expected the mist to hang around for a day or two but it was gone in the afternoon yesterday and did not return. This morning was a little grey but perfectly temperate. Later, the sun burst through for a little while before greying out again. In short, it was the sort of day you might expect at this time of year, warm and dry.
It did not take long, therefore, for the first person to come into the shop to ask what I had done with the weather. It is an old belter of a jest that we find just as funny as the first time we heard it fourteen years ago and all the time in between.
Despite the foul weather, ahem, we had a reasonably busy day. There were not so many hats and parasols flying out the door but it was a going home present day and all that involves. It is odd, though, that if we have something to do later in the day, how quickly everything rushes towards it. I had an appointment in the Far East in the evening and my desire to have some cake before I went became more intense with the more customers piling into the shop and the time of leaving getting closer.
Fortunately, or as I discovered, not so fortunately, I found a window in the customer rush, just in time to buy and consume the cake before I left. I was persuaded to try some chocolate cake and although normally little cajoling would be required I was informed that this was a vegan chocolate cake. I demurred at first but was told that I would not grow sandals and an irrepressible urge to hug trees and I would perceive no difference in the taste and quality. Having sampled the item I can see why the head man at Little Bo Café was so keen on me having it. Other than it being as dry as a witch's broom stick and cloyed to the roof of my mouth it did not taste of cake in the least. I am cured of ever wishing to be a vegan if this is the sort of cake they must endure.
Cakeless, a small raggle taggle party of us set off for the wilds that lie beyond Penzance and the old clay pit that is the Eden Project. We set forth to see the band called Royal Blood, which consists of two chaps who make an awful lot of sound for two people. Big Sis and the Highly Professional Craftsperson came too and, at the last minute, a young chap, offspring of a long time visitor, who was probably more keen than any of us.
I forget what traffic looks like, being cosseted in the remoteness of The Cove for most of my time. The hour we chose to leave is the hour that there are more cars on the road than any other. It took us a while to get there and I spurned the filling up of the van's fuel tank partly because of this and partly as I thought that we may find a small independent petrol station somewhere in Bugle or Roche as we passed through. We did not.
The support band were very awful. The lead singer insisted on shouting encouragement to commit inane acts such as jumping and waving our arms about and continually asked if we were ready. We were not.
The Royal Blood band were very good and the light show behind them intriguing. How the young man managed to maintain a bass line while getting his bass guitar to scream like a banshee - whatever one of those is - was quite a feat. The drummer was especially merciless on his range of drums and top hats but was clearly upset and emotional at the end as he felt it necessary to throw his drum sticks into the audience in a fit of pique. It was a bit of a risk to go and see a band that Highly Professional Craftsperson and I knew little about but at the end we enjoyed the performance just as much as the dedicated young fanatic that we brought with us and Big Sis. The band hoped that we had enjoyed it at the end. We certainly did.
June 21st - Wednesday
Today was the day the sun went out and on the longest day, too.
We had a cracking start to the day and through the heat that has mounted and persisted through this period, a pleasant easterly breeze struck up this morning. Sometime in the early afternoon, while I was busy with two spider crabs and a monster lobster, the mist rolled in. My name will be mud, as I had previously used the Twitter thing to post a classic sunny Cove picture with a comment below "rain coming".
Oh no, look at that. Rain coming. Oops.
Yes, two of The Cove's likely lads have turned their constant activity on the water into a bit of a moonlighting business. They have a few pots in the water hereabouts and, this morning, the Missus was inveigled into having the aforementioned articles 'for a song'. We were told the lobster was around two and a half kilos but I would venture nearer to three or possibly more. While the spider crabs accommodated nicely into our catering pot, the lobster needed a fair bit of persuasion. In the end I had to lean on the lid while it settled in the water for the first five minutes of cooking. I had to hope that the tail would steam, as it was completely clear of the water.
It was no surprise that the afternoon went a bit quiet, although the benches across the road and the tables at Little Bo Café were all full. It is most probably the shock of a sudden change in weather where people have trouble adjusting and wondering what to do next.
It seems that our meat and fish freezer felt much the same and decided to go into meltdown, quite literally. I test temperatures in the fridges and freezers every morning and discovered that this one freezer was ten degrees below where it should be. Such a drop is unlikely to be a blip or temporary so I called upon the engineers to attend.
Our man turned up while I was at the gymnasium. When I returned he had completed his assessment and assessed that the unit had become too hot, despite being in front of the new fan. This and the freezer next to it have survived several years in the same place without a fan and now that a fan is in place to remove the hot air, it breaks down. The engineer told me that it was now six years old, suggesting that the age of the unit did not help. The fact that our twenty year old beer and wine fridge is still going strong - alright, the fan stopped working this year - is clearly neither here nor there.
We are to leave the freezer switched off for a few days then try it again with a load and see what happens. If it still fails to work, a new compressor will be required and based on the likely cost of that we shall decide whether we have a new freezer or not. Fortunately we have a few weeks before the fight starts down here so hopefully we can resolve it one way or another before the start of the school holidays.
We went from quiet to very quiet as the afternoon progressed. It is also difficult for grumpy shopkeepers to adjust from very busy to customerless and for the first time in roughly a week I read a bit of newspaper. I kept eyeing up the floor by our switched off freezer but it refused to leak its melt water. It is a job I shall look forward to in the morning.
Upstairs, a paradox. At the last of the hot sunshine, that pleasant easterly wind blew through the flat making it a cool place to be, especially for an over hot bleddy hound. The temperature outside and in the shop dropped very quickly after the mist rolled in and the easterly breeze died away. Up in the flat the temperature soared. Another night of the bleddy hound in front of our clever fan is in store.
June 20th - Tuesday
I cannot believe that I missed this particular trick. I should have seen it coming and stocked up accordingly because I would have made an absolute killing. The world and his mistress had been in - alright, three people - to ask for paddling pools so that their overheated dogs can cool off until they are allowed back on the beach after seven o'clock. I mean, what was I thinking? What a wasted opportunity; I shall be drummed out of the grumpy shopkeepers' guild, no doubt.
Still, we seem to continue to have the monopoly on parasols and at the present rate of sales I think I will see out the current, we hope current, sunny period with the existing stock. This is a bit of a stab in the dark for us as, I understand, we have not had such a sustained period of heat and sunniness at this level for many years. The usual pattern of people retiring to the beach and staying there all day has been broken; it is just too hot. Instead people will come off the beach to seek shade, parasols and beach tents. We like this new weather very much.
I was out of bed well before any self-respecting lark this morning. I had forgotten to call in a fish order, which irked me greatly until I got up and did something about it. The previous day's fish order failed to materialise before the customer wanted it to take home and two failed fish deliveries would have been too much to bear. I ordered extra hake, as I know we have used a fair bit in the last few days and later promptly sold out of haddock and pollack instead.
We have also run out of two of our regular wines. It seems our local cash and carry, where we get our regular wines from, has also run out and after at least two weeks of lack of supply I thought that I had better do something about it. The boss man at the cash and carry suggested that I come and meet him and between us select alternatives. With this in mind I set out for the centre of the know world in a van equipped with air conditioning and turned it on. Hang the expense. It did not take long to determine the replacement wines and I suspect I probably need not have gone at all had the boss man not been incapacitated with a broken leg. Still, it was a jaunt away for the tin stope for an hour.
The air conditioning in the van was godsend. The heat here has had our visitors slowly grinding to a halt and I would say that we are lucky enough to have the cooling effect of the sea. I am exceedingly pleased with the performance of our new fan at the back of the shop. In operation it strikes up a good airflow through the shop door. This, along with our magical fan from Mr Dyson, has kept me quite comfortable all day.
That is not entirely true as the fan was initially purchased to keep the bleddy hound comfortable during the long sultry nights; she suffers so in the heat and no one would have spent that sort of money on keeping me cool. I commandeer it back during the day but this morning it was still so warm in the bedroom - where she returns after our walk - she insisted she needed it. I suggested we play cards for it but I forgot just how good she is at blackjack and lost my shirt, which was a necessity having lost access to the fan for the morning.
I joined the Missus on the beach after my tea. She has been down there collecting small stones for her flower pots and has taken the bleddy hound so she can cool off in the sea and take some exercise. When I arrived the Missus has taken cover the other side of the Lifeboat slipways as the Harbour beach was alive with families with an abundance of small children. I took the bleddy hound down to the water but she was mobbed by excited fans. Celebrity has long since taken its toll on her and neither of us were keen on her going back into rehab' again, so we went back to the Missus and made do with rock pools. I could tell she was stressed because she took it out on her tennis ball, which ended up in tow halves. What an end to a day that could easily have been the mother of all rip gribblers.
June 19th - Monday
If you want to relax and take in the sunshine and the glorious view across the bay you had better start early. You could not get much earlier than the couple in the motor home in the Harbour car park who had their deck chairs out at just gone half past six o'clock this morning, as the bleddy hound and I walked through. It looked like they had been there a while, too.
It was also relaxed in the shop today, or at least more so than the weekend, which was a smidgeon disappointing. We were still busier than we would normally be at this time of year, I think; I was not tying myself in knots trying to serve and fill shelves at the same time. With it still being sunny, we were selling parasols in abundance so it is good that we have an abundance of parasols.
However, for the second day running I have been asked for a non-standard application and would our parasols be suitable. Well, when it comes to strapping one to a pushchair, it is highly unlikely, especially given the flimsy construction of the modern examples. A wheelchair is a slightly different prospect, although the customer suggested his aged wife would hold onto it. I proposed that a normal, small rain umbrella might be a little easier to handle. While it might look somewhat incongruous, given the weather, it would be better than nothing. Our gentleman bought the small, black rain umbrella.
It was moments after this transaction that a gentleman of our acquaintance popped his head into the shop and shook my hand. Nonplussed, he explained that he felt that it was the mark of genius being able to sell a rain umbrella on a day like today. I cannot understand why he seemed surprised we have been selling unfeasible goods for years and getting away with it.
We had a visitor arrive in the bay in the middle of the afternoon. The yacht has been here so often I should know its name by heart, however, when I checked, Amicula did not seem to ring any bells. It was not the only surprise visitor, either and the first I knew of the second was three burly men in black jump suits standing before me in the shop. They were gentlemen of the Border Force agency, who might once have been known as excise men or customs men, although the role is somewhat different. Perhaps I should have adopted a traditional role myself and been very surly with them but they all seemed very pleasant gentlemen. They said that they were increasing a presence in the area and making courtesy calls ahead of the time they might be back breaking down doors. I pointed them at the Harbour Master, whom they sought, and they left. As they walked off I noticed another one across the road. Perhaps they live in fear and have to travel in large groups.
When their black boarding RIB left the Harbour it seemed packed and weighed down with black suited people. They had mentioned that they came in by cutter but they steamed off toward the Amicula. I know that times are hard but I rather thought that they might have a boat with an engine.
Before I go I must tell you that fame, at last, has reached my door from a quite unexpected direction. A very pleasant gentleman dropped into the shop on some pretext or other and told me that I was famed throughout the land. At least, he suggested, famed throughout the land of those people who had read a particular poem in which I feature. A poet, whose name our man could not remember in a publication he could not recall, either, wrote about The Cove awakening on such a morning as we have had recently. He commenced on the beach, then his walk towards our end of The Cove where he came upon a chap putting out his wares and hanging his flags outside the shop. Our man could not remember the exact reference to my features but we agreed that it was probably fine looking, handsome or debonair or something of that poetic nature. Perhaps if you think scything and Aidan Turner you will get the idea that it was clearly me being described by this nomadic poet. I shall be more observant when next I put my flags out; it might be Martin Scorsese passing by next time.
June 18th - Sunday
It turned out not to be the most cheery of mornings. Ordinarily the Diary would skirt around such matters but it was a tad difficult to do so this time.
It was around nine o'clock this morning that both Lifeboats were launched to assist with a missing cyclist who had been staying in Mousehole. The Penlee boat was tasked to search from Mousehole to Gwennap Head and our own boats from there, northward. When our boat reached the Armed Knight rock sea stack at Land's End they discovered the bicycle and shortly thereafter, what purported to be its rider. Both were brought back to The Cove and we shall leave it there.
Had I not already cancelled my trip to the range this morning, on the grounds that we expected to be busy today, then the launch would have scuppered it anyway. The whole point was that I was in attendance for the busy period but since I was over at the Lifeboat station the Missus took the brunt of it. She told me how delighted she was to have the opportunity of dealing with a big, full on busy bit all by herself and how there was no question of accountability for leaving her alone behind the counter. You might imagine how relieved I was to hear it, dear reader.
We continued to be busy through the morning and into the afternoon. It only really let up in the later part of the afternoon when the army, camped out on the beach, could not be bothered to traipse up the road any longer. Traipsing any distance is only for those who walk over to Gwenver beach only to discover that their cigarette lighter does not work. It is therefore essential to traipse all the way back to buy another.
The roll up to evening saw a string of spontaneous barbeque buying including the food to go on them. There were the usual requests for unfrozen foodstuffs and when finding out that most of our meats are frozen, how long would it take to defrost and can you cook it from frozen. When I surveyed the damage at the end of the day much water, including the additional big bottles I brought in for the weekend, had been taken, the fruit and vegetable refrigerator had nigh on been emptied and our food shelves had taken a battering. Do not even get me started on our newly filled hat hooks and towel rail. Though it represents much work in refilling it was a delightful sight.
The Missus took the bleddy hound down to the Harbour beach again but this time without the ball thrower, for some gentler exercise. The idea was to collect some smaller stones for her garden project but I believe that the bleddy hound rather insisted on playing instead. I think I may well be heading down there tomorrow night to act as decoy but we shall see how many shelves need filling up first.
June 17th - Saturday
The bleddy hound was suffering quite badly from her crazy chasing of a ball yesterday. It has been a while since she had any sort of exercise and although we were not on the beach for long and she could quite happily have gone on playing much longer, she paid for it today. She could barely get down our steps and took a while to get into her stride around the block. It was also very warm in the early morning sun which did not help her mood at all. She sat with me while I had my cup of tea but then refused to shift back to bed with the Missus until I carried her. She will be back on form in a day or two.
I finished off the first order we took in during the week with the exception of the rain macs, which I am hoping will not be required for a while. I also had to repack some of the hats after pricing them as there is not quite enough room for them out on the hooks. I should say that there was not enough room on the hooks but I suspect that now I could have put them all out. Given the splendorous day we had we sold rather a lot of hats. Talk about just in time delivery; we could not have timed it better.
Our day was a glittering example of how summer days should be, except that if they were all like today I would be a crumpled mess on the shop floor - alright, more of a crumpled mess on the shop floor. It was almost as busy as a school holiday day but with not so many small children running about. Those that were running about were near naked, like small Dickensian street urchins but with ice cream and chocolate faces replacing the grime and soot.
It is early yet in our fair weather cycle. The moans about cloudy and chilly conditions have been banished and smiling, happy looks have taken their place. I will give it another day or two before the moans about it being too hot, not enough shade and humidity come to the fore.
As yesterday, I stopped in the shop after we closed to clear some of the backlog of bottling up and shelf refilling. The Missus had gone up to Shrew House in the later afternoon to finish off what she had started up there. I gave her a list of goodies that we required in the shop and this pile now stands waiting for me to sort out in the morning. If I am lucky the piskies will do it overnight, although I seem to remember there is some onerous payback for such eventualities. In which case, begger the piskies and I will do it myself first thing. It must be time for a beer, for heavens sake.
June 16th - Friday
We were presented with a rather cloudy picture first thing this morning but it was not in the slightest chilly. I had little doubt that the cloud would melt away because our faultless weather forecast service told us that it would. If these rip gribblers become even more gribblish I shall run out of superlatives.
The sea, however, was another matter and remains stirred up and angry. It continues to flop over the Harbour wall at high water, which I suppose is an improvement on thumping over it. It had certainly kept some of the more experienced surfers happy, while probably drowning some of the novices.
I set about the order that arrived yesterday and found myself still unwrapping swimsuits and swim shorts towards the end of the day. We were busy in between times which made progress very slow. It did not help that some of the items, hats in particular, were individually wrapped, all forty eight of them. It took over-packaging to a new level. At the end of the day I still had some left to do as well as another delivery that turned up in the middle of the afternoon.
In all it was a pretty standard sort of sunny day with quiet periods interspersed between the busy bits. There was a moment of adrenaline injected excitement, which happened while I was at the gymnasium. It was a wonder that I managed to capture it as I had my earphones in and was 'in the zone', as we highly tunes athletes call the utter concentration of our workouts. It may have been more the deep vibration that caught my attention rather than the sound seeping through the deep growl of Nick Cave's vocals. As I broke between activities, I had a look out of the door to discover that a navy Lynx helicopter was hovering just to the right of the door over the other side of the sea wall. It hovered for about five minutes before scooting away - if helicopters do scoot - in the direction of Gwenver and beyond, significantly lower than the cliffs. I suspect that word has reached Culdrose about my thrice weekly sessions; is nothing sacred.
The Missus presided over a barbeque in the evening including some rather fine ling fish kebabs. The Missus had some chicken on the bone; the Missus hates fish. Since we do not have an outdoors we pulled the cooked elements inside and sat down at our table to eat it. Bear with me here, dear reader, as I am not about to give you a blow by blow, or rather mouthful by mouthful account of us eating our tea.
However, it was during this process that the Missus noticed a brave surfer out on his own, so far out the back he was a good hundred yards or so away from the pack. This might have had something to do with the rip he was in the middle of. He was paddling quite hard to get back toward the beach and making little progress. It was shortly after this that he started to wave. We considered waving back but also considered that this might, indeed, be less of a friendly gesture and more of a 'oh begger" gesture.
Given that it appeared no one was taking much notice of him I thought it pertinent to have a word with the Coastguard about his predicament. I had a very swift response to my 999 call and a very pleasant man at the other end listened very patiently while I explained the situation. As I spoke with him two other surfers noticed our man in trouble and went to his aid, thus making an alternative rescue unnecessary. We both left it at that.
Two minutes after putting down the telephone my pager went off requesting that I attend the Lifeboat station. As I was first one there, I related my tale to the Launching Authority, however, since someone else must also have called in a 999 call the Inshore boat was launched to just make sure the emergency was over. Shortly after this the Coastguard team arrived, which had also been paged to arrive. How they were going to help a surfer a hundred yards or more from shore I do not know, unless they have someone who can walk on water as well as climb cliffs.
If that were not excitement enough the Missus and Big Sis repaired to the beach ostensibly to collect stones for the garden - not ours, we do not have a garden, the one that the Missus spends her time weeding - irrespective of the fact that the tide was coming in and no stones would be visible. The bleddy hound went too because she, at least, could chase a ball at this state of the tide. I followed suit with a camera and took several pictures of the setting sun, the beach and the Missus being soaked by an errant wave, a picture you, dear reader, will only get to see should I wish to take leave of my senses and surrender certain soft bits of my anatomy to ritual abuse with something very hard.
Notwithstanding any of this, Big Sis took much better photographs, with the help of some clever Bramley mobile telephone software, and here are two of them.
June 15th - Thursday
This morning was not quite up to scratch. Water had fallen from the sky at some point during the night and had quietly wet the ground. It is not what we expect from our perfect summer, or perhaps it is; rain overnight, I mean.
Never mind, the day brightened quite nicely as we proceeded through the morning. Before long we were back in rip gribbler territory with suggestions that there might just be a proper heat wave, or at least what passes for one in these parts, come the weekend, which we shall not hold our breath for.
We had some minor excitement soon after the middle of the day. One of our sharp eyed Lifeboat crew spotted an odd vessel in the north west making very slow progress towards Brisons. We scrambled for binoculars and telescopes but even the glimpses we had of the vessel as it crested the troughs did nothing to enlighten us. I looked at the Internet when I had some time later and searched for round Britain rowers, as I had a hunch. It is much better now, thank you for asking. I discovered that a lady called Lesley's Row, which was very appropriate, is doing something called the Rannoch Adventure GB Challenge, an 1800 mile round trip of Great Britain by sea.
Rannoch is a fair distance from the sea, if I recall, as we passed through it by train during our holiday in Scotland. The lady is from Newbury in Berkshire, which is also a long way from the sea. This may have much to do with her wanting to do something which, if you lived by the sea, would probably seem like a very daft idea. It would have been an exceedingly uncomfortable trip around the corner here today with waves in excess of eight feet and a nice hefty westerly breeze, too. Also she went inside Brisons on her way to Padstow, which, if we were to be picky, is cheating just a tad. We wish them well.
I took some time to stock up our jam shelf today. It did need doing but more importantly the boxes were using up space in the store room that I needed for the fudge delivery from yesterday. This takes some time when trying to fit it in between customer visits and during this extended process seven large boxes of clothes turned up. This will have something to do with the fact that I ordered them the day before yesterday. I know that I have another sizable order arriving tomorrow, too, so I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to dismantle this delivery ahead of the next. I do love this carefully crafted ordering plan of mine.
It was such a lovely evening it would have been rude not to launch a Lifeboat out into it, so we launched two. Both boats launched at around seven o'clock into a reasonably lively sea and both came back, which was useful, about an hour and a half later for a lively recovery up the short slip. The situation required a full team of experienced and expert individuals but as we were the only ones there we did it instead. We managed to bring the big boat up in something akin to a textbook recovery without them. We are, after all, a very innovative very excellent Shore Crew.
Naturally, there was an exodus to the OS for a spot of quizzing where we came an unfortunate second place. It preceded a usual walk home into a freshening westerly breeze with light still on the horizon. A star or two peeked out into the brightness, which made it all worthwhile. It does not take much to make things worthwhile down here.
June 14th - Wednesday
Gadzooks! Cursed by the good weather paradox. For the uninitiated, this is where the sun loving visitors to The Cove are made so soporific by blazing sun and warm conditions that they sit on the beach and do not move all day. Result: one empty shop and one very grumpy shopkeeper.
I got a trip out to Helston in the latter part of the morning, which might have been a welcome change from shopkeeping for a while. I would have said that it was a pleasant jaunt but the road between Penzance and Helston is not one of the region's greatest routes from a driving perspective and the traffic did not make it any better. To discover that the shop had been quiet in my absence did nothing to lighten my mood.
Oh the bright side, the Missus had unwrapped the, largely, sun lotion order I had placed yesterday and put it out on the shelves. On the reverse of that particular coin, I was back early enough to catch the delivery of fudge that arrived in the middle of the afternoon and required putting away. Not one bag was broken, darn it.
I should have mentioned a day or two ago that the Marines are here again for at least one of their annual visits. I am not sure if any or none are British because one of the leaders was Dutch - and probably still is. He was in the shop this morning looking for the West Cornwall Climbing Guide, which we usually stock but I had not noticed that we had sold the last one. I told him I would order some more as they will be here a few weeks and he promised to buy half a dozen of them and they are not cheap books. He also came in for change for the car park so I should be seeing much more of him over the weeks. It pays to be nice to big, muscle bound Dutchmen - ladies, please.
Things perked up a bit in the later afternoon, as they are wont to do on days like this. It was one of those lazy, dozy afternoons when people amble about buying this and that. I noted how amiable people were and how pleasant to each other, which will doubtless give way to snappy and teasy if this hot weather hangs about for very long.
June 13th - Tuesday
Now, that is what you call a rip gribbler. Our spectacular day started spectacularly with some spectacular sunshine. I had thought about slipping a jacket on as I ran around the block, first thing, but having tested the, erm, airs when I went down to get the kit out at the front of the shop, it was quite apparently not required. The spectacularness stayed spectacular until the end of the day. How spectacular was that?
I celebrated by putting together an order to top up our swimsuits, towels, hats and the like. Along with buckets and spades I have always called these beachware, like tableware, although the former could conceivable be beachwear, I suppose. I have been pulled up for the use of beachware on our notice hanging on the railings at the end of the street, the suggestion being that I had spelt it wrong. I had not but it becomes a little tricky if I am the only one who knows it.
The ordering process took most of the day. The main reason was that we were rather busy, which is a good thing to be and constant interruption of that kind I can handle all day long. I also discovered that we have a similar issue to the one we have with flip flops where we have to buy swimsuits in combined sizes. Looking where we had gaps I noticed that we have an abundance of child swimsuits in the 2-3 year size and nothing in the 4-5 and 6-7 year sizes. If I buy another box of child swimsuits we will have even more in the 2-3 year size to cope with and, presumably, end up throwing away. I might start a swapping website where besieged shopkeepers can swap excess sizes in clothes, unless, of course, we all have the same sizes overstocked.
What with all this clothes concentration, and customers, I had little time to look out of the window. The big spring tides are starting to tail off and the sea state calmed down during the day, from being quite boisterous this morning. This was just as well because the boys have started the boat trips around the bay again from today. Six people were booked in for a morning trip and I think I saw it going out again in the early afternoon. It was a very pretty day to be swanning off around the corner and poking your nose in around Longships.
One lady passed a casual question about the cost of the boat trips but did not seem that interested. She came back a few minutes later as her husband had asked for an information leaflet. She told me that she was not sure that at her age she could cope with an hour on board. I suggested that an hour was not much to have to cope with but completely understood when she told me that she had just retired after ten years working on cruise ships.
We had a very pleasant evening. It must be summer.
June 12th - Monday
We had to wait a while for our sunshine today and also for the sea to eventually get over its unreasonably paddy it has been having for the last few days. When I walked the bleddy hound around the morning waves were still bashing over the Harbour wall and thumping a fair bit over Cowloe. There was some brightness at the very start of the day but it clouded over for a while after that. By the time I came out of the gymnasium the sun was out and the deserted street I had left behind was abuzz with activity.
The day matured into a proper rip gribbler, enough short of a heatwave to keep people off beach and on the move. We had a steady flow of customers throughout the day with sufficient gaps in the traffic to permit me to put away a sizeable biscuit order that arrived in the early afternoon. The Missus had four deliveries in the time I was at the gymnasium so things are certainly shifting along a bit.
It is things like this that make the day disappear rather rapidly. It was as well that Big Sis brought me some cake to try early on in the morning as I would not have had time later. I should make it clear that I saved it until the afternoon to try it, honest. It was a sticky toffee cake with figs, which I have previously eschewed, but I very much enjoyed the whole ensemble. I was going to say that it made a bit of a mockery of my going to the gymnasium but, when you look at it, it is the whole purpose of going to gymnasium; if I had nothing to exercise away it would not work, would it?
Talking of somewhat stretched logic, I have been selling a number of books recently. Yes, it has rather surprise me, too. It may well be a new generation who have not yet been forewarned of what they might be throwing their well earned pennies away on. It reminds me of a wag who bought a copy of the new Guide (St Ives Printing & Publishing, £9.99 - available at all good booksellers, alright one slightly dodgy seaside shop and online) stating his reason for purchasing as 'to prevent the unsuspecting coming across it' - name retained for future reference, DN.
Anyway, I digress. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, an unexpected upturn in book sales to the degree that we have sold out of Cove Diary book one. This should guarantee a rush on book two and to prove my point a very pleasant German lady, with broken English (although distinctly better than my non-existent German), purchased a copy. She was disappointed to have missed the first book but happily purchased the second with a view to improving her English. You will know her if you ever should meet. She will be the one asking for a geet pasty with plenty of they turnips inside un in Philps and pointing at dogs in the street and referring to them as bleddy hounds.
June 11th - Sunday
The Missus stayed up late to finish the blinds so I did not get to see the finished article until this morning. She has done a belter of a job and perhaps DIYman should look to his laurels. I spoke to him later and he agreed that it was a very good job for a girlie.
Moving swiftly on, it was something of a surprise to see the sea so active when I looked out of the window, first thing. As we were told it was going to be a pleasant day I rather assumed that the sea would play along as well. Instead it was big and dangerous, lumping over the Harbour wall and charging over the Cowloes like a child in a tantrum - a very big one, er, child and tantrum. Later on it provided some game for a number of surfers and one maid, who had enjoyed a lesson in it, came into the shop looking like she had been in a washing machine.
I had gambled on the grey giving way to sunshine before long and went to the range in my little boy trousers. The sun did make an appearance but so did a thirty miles per hour breeze from the south west. The chap who designs the courses also ensured that there was plenty of kneeling in the gravel for the bits that I was doing. Nevertheless, warm up it did and, on balance, I was grateful I had my knees in the breeze, even if they did have small stones poking out of them.
By the time I got back to The Cove there was quite a buzz about the place. Little knots of people were gathered along the roadside, outside Little Bo Café and sitting on ours and the Ice Cream Kiosk's tables across the street. There were not that many people camped on the beach but a fair number enjoying being beaten up by the waves while on a surf board, while the sun shone down benevolently on them all.
In other words, a cracking little Sunday, typical of those at the start of June. Let us hope we have many more before the balloon goes up, the axe falls and the fat lady starts singing.
June 10th - Saturday
It was a mucky day from start to finish; visitors stayed away in droves. Despite that we had a few people come through, mainly German as it happened. We sold a collection of postcards and the occasional going home gift but I suspect most had been purchased yesterday or the day before.
We can usually get away with a bit of rain; even the walkers come out when it is raining. It is the mist that puts the boot in and it was as thick as a bag up the top of the hill; you could not see a thing. The hardiest of walkers will stay at home when it is misty as well.
Oddly, given the weather, I had a look at the state of our sun lotions. We sold quite a bit between Easter and the Whitsun break and could do with a top up. It was sort of prompted by a call from a supplier we had long since parted company from. Since the company has not changed its high minimum order and only sells sun lotion and sunglasses we will not be going back to them. It was sufficient though to have me going through our stocks and selecting from our current suppliers some replacements.
Our main problems are that if we have a recognised brand we cannot sell it as cheaply as the high street stores so people think we are ripping them off and if we use a lesser known brand people are wary. It is expensive enough so as a result we try and mix our offering with some well known and lesser known across the factor ranges, thus offering some sort of choice.
The process kept me occupied for a while and forced me to fill our shelves so that I knew what other goods from those supplies we needed. It did not keep me so busy that I forgot about ordering some cake from next door. Being busy is definitely healthier as I do not get time to think about cake from next door, however full of natural goodness and free from additives it is.
It is Golowan next week and Mazey Day too. These are the midsummer, pagan and new age like celebrations in Penzance and are all very full of artistry, colour, performance and music. Someone very kindly gave me an advance programme that lists in great detail all the events and places in town that I need to avoid for a week.
The Missus pulled a bit of a blinder today, quite literally as it happened. She was absent for most of the day, holed up in our flat. When I returned there after a hard day at the tin stope I noticed that she was in the throes of replacing the blinds in the living room. We now have those modern vertical jobs hanging all along one side. And in her spare time she made some pizzas for us all to share. What a gal.
June 9th - Friday
We were told to expect a good day today and, my life, it was a very good day. We had warmth, sunshine and loveliness until well into the afternoon, when it a got a bit hazy and close. The weather was followed by a good dose of visitors, coming around and buying things, which was all very pleasant.
One of the things that customers have been buying in far greater quantities than I imagined has been a little black bottle of gin. I almost certainly mentioned last year that this particular distiller uses Cornish potatoes to make his base spirit while, as far as I know, all the others buy it in. Last year, however, he only made vodka. This year he has broken into the lively gin market. Making his own spirit, I suspect, gives him and extra layer of creativity and control, although there is also a higher cost involved. I enjoy the occasional gin and tonic, made properly, but this particular brew is best out of a cold fridge - or possibly freezer - neat, like a good Dutch genever. I do not appear to be alone in my assessment as the case I thought would last the year has nearly been finished. I cannot imagine that it is anything to do with the fact that I have been doling out samples.
It was good to see, even outside holiday time, a good crowd camped down on the beach. It was also encouraging to see that the sand seems to be accumulating all along the southern end of the beach. Any day now the lifeguards will be able to drive their quad bike up to the hut and save them all that running around.
I imagine they were all being very vigilant towards the end of the day. The sea, which had looked quite benign all day got into its stride in the later afternoon with a hefty swell and very surfable, if you like that sort of thing. There were several that seemed to, out towards North Rocks, and one in front of the Lifeguard hut wondering where the waves had gone.
There was a flurry of helping people find their way at the end of the day. It was probably this that helped me remember to find my way to the hose to wash down the windows as I meant to do yesterday.
June 8th - Thursday
I managed to pick the worst possible time to take the bleddy hound around the block. It was proper raining, then stopped while we were half way around. The rest of the morning was laced with mizzle most of the time, although it was clear that the dirty weather was on the way out. By midday there were sizable chunks of blue sky to be seen here and there, while the mist hung in the air, which could actually have been the dust on our windows. I had rather hoped that the rain would wash it off but insufficient for the task; I will have to resort to the hose tonight.
I had not expected to get our small new potatoes delivered for a day or two yet; they do not dig them up when it is wet. However, our man delivered them last night. The potatoes were damp and muddy, which demonstrates just how much rain is required to get the ground proper wet again. Another reason for not having our potatoes too wet is that in the warmth of the shop they will rot, almost overnight, and start to smell quite unpleasant within a day or two. Three cheers, then, for our new extractor fan, which I decided to leave on overnight to see if it would dry out the newly bagged spuds. Quite amazingly the top bags in the basket had all dried out. This morning I rearranged the baskets so that the potatoes underneath got an airing. That fan is starting to look like a pretty good idea. We will not mention who suggested it.
I thought that I had better slip off and do my civic duty in before we opened, as I had no idea when I might be able to get to the polling station else. I was pleased to see that the sparkling door step had been re-employed. I stepped over it twice just to make sure it yielded its maximum value, for me at least. I had noted that a different booth had been installed for the local elections so I was very surprised to see that it had been changed again for the national ones. I was told by the wardens, or whoever they are, that it was brand new and quite difficult to erect. I asked whether it was some sort of dexterity and intelligence test but was told that intellect was not required but brute force and ignorance more played its part. Once again, it would be good to see some better use of it but, really, I do hope that we do not see it in its current role for a good five years yet.
There was no launching of the Lifeboat at training this evening. There was rather too much swell and the tide was wrong for a timely short slip recovery. Instead there was some unpicking of the recent emergency launches and some tacit acknowledgement of the textbook recoveries, which you would only notice if you knew what you were looking for. It was extremely subtle. We went outside and brought down the tattered RNLI flag which had attached itself to the flagpole. We could not find a replacement so we hoisted a postage stamp on a square of cloth instead.
Later we repaired to a somewhat less crowded OS for a spot of pre-quiz chatting followed by some quizzing. It was not so less crowded that we managed to find a seat, which clearly affected our performance. We did slightly better than we did the previous week, given rather fewer smart Alecs being present, but still only managed a poor second. No one won the sizable and increasing chase the ace either.
We wandered home through a surreal half daylight world. The sun had barely relinquished its dying hold and the near full moon was blazing from the brow of the cliff above us. Some of our brighter stars were shining through but largely it was a midnight blue canopy, light enough to hardly need a torch to take around the bleddy hound.
June 7th - Wednesday
We had it pretty good during the morning both in terms of business and the weather. The two, after all, very often go hand in hand. There was sunshine and brightness to start but as the day went on it became increasingly cloudy until we ended up in the late afternoon with the cloud lowering and with some proper, good old fashioned mizzle.
I did not attend the gymnasium this morning as I seem to have done something unspeakable to my lower back and it was best to give it a rest. I shall assume it requires a good battering if it is still with me on Friday and head to the gymnasium regardless. I think it is about time I visited my bone cruncher to be realigned as a standing up person rather than a sitting down one. I should have done it sooner but I blinked and now we are in June.
I ordered quite a lot of fish today as our freezer is nearly empty of the spares that I keep for those who just drop in and fancy some fish right now. It defrosts very quickly and even quicker in some very luke warm water. My master plan was to have some of the hake baked in the oven for my breakfast, as the Missus did some homemade tartare sauce last night to go with my tea. Unfortunately the fish man did not turn up until late and with some rather expensive hake, at that. I suspect the market this morning was a bit thin after the big seas of the last couple of days. I had some out of date Cornish truffle brie instead; oh, how we suffer.
I was going to delve into my administration chores in the afternoon, after all, the Missus has spent the morning doing to money and invoice reconciliation. However, with the weather not quite as bad as was painted - what a surprise - we had sporadic groups of customers dropping by. I found this far more satisfying than playing around with spreadsheets, so I stopped one to concentrate on the other.
If this weather continues, at least the newspapers might be a little bit more diverse with news after tomorrow.
June 6th - Tuesday
I did not think that I had changed the ring tone on my mobile telephone, which serves as my alarm clock these days. It sounded quite similar to my Lifeboat pager. It took a second or two to establish that it was, indeed, my Lifeboat pager going off, at roughly the time my alarm would have gone off had I let it.
We launched the boat into a hefty rolling sea and the teeth of a force seven to eight gale, much diminished from last night's force eight to nine. Twenty two miles north of Land's End sat a yacht with two people on board, one of whom was sporting a head injury and displaying signs of concussion. When they arrived, the crew transferred the casualty to the Lifeboat in somewhat tricky conditions given the wave height upward of ten feet.
The Lifeboat brought the casualty back to The Cove where an ambulance was summoned, while the remaining yachtsman steered the yacht back to Newlyn. The boat arrived back at the station at around eight o'clock having left just before half past six. The return coincided with our shop deliveries and with the road most likely blocked with abandoned crew cars, the delivery needed to be unload swiftly. There were sufficient numbers on the long slipway without me and the boat steadied itself against the stiff northwesterly breeze by tying onto the breasting buoy. I could see most of the procedure from where I was in the shop doorway and it did appear to me to be something of a textbook recovery in the circumstances. We are, after all, a very loosely connected very excellent Shore Crew.
We had been led to expect some rain showers with our blustery day but I had a word and the forecasters duly changed their forecast to being just blustery with some very pleasant sunny spells. I did try but they would not budge on the wind aspect. As a result we had a few more jolly visitors around today and I think at some point someone drove a coach down to help out, too.
Just for added excitement I agreed with a very pleasant lady from the doctor's surgery to run along there and allow them to empty one of my arms of blood. It is a thing that they do every year as I think it brings them some cheer on slow 'tween season days. I was adamant that, on previous occasions, they had only taken two milk bottle's full but she insisted that it had always been three. I did try and broker a deal at two and a half but she took three anyway.
Before the Aged Parents have apoplexy, I should say that I am in the very rude of health and that the taking of my sanguineous outpouring is a routine matter to ensure, first, that I have some and secondly it contains the things that it should, such as my heman goblins, I think she said.
Next, a lesson in not being smug when someone asks for something they think we probably will not have but we actually do.
Customer.: "I don't suppose you have anything like washing line?" Smug Grumpy Shopkeeper.: "Yes, sir. We have something very like washing line, so like it in fact that it is actually washing line." [Smugly holds up plastic wire washing line.] Customer.: "Oh, do you have something more rope like?" Less Smug Grumpy Shopkeeper.: "Ah, you mean actually like washing line, not actually washing line." Customer.: "Yes, precisely." Deflated Grumpy Shopkeeper.: "Er, no."
Big Sis has run away on a bit of an excursion and the Missus and I have lost the will to cook. I slipped away to the OS to take away one of their meals instead. There is less washing up, too. We will cook tomorrow; she is back.
June 5th - Monday
Goodness, winter arrived a bit smartish this year. I abandoned my bread baking in the shop and hurriedly took the bleddy hound around the block; neither of us particularly like getting wet and the rain had not yet arrived. The Missus was late getting downstairs to let me get along to the gymnasium but it still had not started raining in earnest even on the return trip. It rather conveniently waited until I got back and persisted as a heavy mizzle for most of the rest of the day.
Unsurprisingly we did not see too many visitors today. The most we had in at any time during the day was just when I had finished warming up my breakfast. One of these was a young lady from foreign lands who bought a huge amount of vegetables. I do not know if she came from a vegan compound or whether she had seen the forecast and intended to stay inside and eat a lot. I think if I was camping out today I would have done much the same, although there would almost certainly been some dead animal involved.
As a customer said, it is days such as these that allow us to catch up with chores and shelf stacking that are difficult to do when we are busy. They were absolutely right but it is far easier to stand behind the counter reading newspapers for much of the day instead. I did pull my finger out towards the back end of the day when I had become more than fed up with trying to find anything of interest in the papers. My main achievement was putting together an order for our hooded sweatshirts which have been diminishing in certain sizes in recent weeks. It was one of the things that could have been ordered at the start of the year but slipped down the priority list against things like buckets and spades.
I was quite pleased to close the shop door tonight; the lonely life of a long distance grumpy shopkeeper.
June 4th - Sunday
The lunchtime rain came through early and got the bleddy hound and I as we ran around the block this morning. I was going to say this was a surprise but the way the forecasts have been recently it was about on par but far better in the morning than when it was originally promised. This left the rest of the day to just get better and better.
The challenges of mental arithmetic should not be underestimated, especially when you have groceries to buy plus sweets for two people and only a fiver in your pocket. Clearly the groceries, two litres of milk and two packs of sugar will be a priority, so best get those first. Next we will add two packs of tic tacs and, oh, that is more than my fiver. No problem, we will put one bag of sugar back but add a pack of Milky Bar chocolate buttons. Hmm, still too much. Best we put back one of the milks. Ah, that works.
I half expected to see the young chap a few minutes later, with one red ear and asking for money back on a pack of chocolate buttons in exchange for some milk. At least he was buying items from our shelves, one small child in the last few days brought bits of the shop to the counter, which was a tad disconcerting.
I am sure you would not appreciate it too much if I just wrote 'for the rest of the afternoon, refer to yesterday's Diary', so I shall give you chapter but not so much verse.
Pagers went off at around half past twelve to launch both boats to an emergency at Pednvounder, just the other side of Porthcurno. As locking a lady in the shop appears to have gone viral in The Cove, I called the Missus down from upstairs as she happened to be at home for this shout. Once again I drove the Inshore boat into the water but with a speedy launch required for the big boat a lone oppo did the honours.
We understood later that a young chap had fallen off the cliff and had landed in the water. Again, details are sketchy but it might be that the wet landing may have helped. The helicopter came and whisked the injured party off to hospital after stabilising him at the scene. Both boats stood by until the helicopter disappeared and retuned to the station at sometime after three o'clock.
Unlike yesterday there were a healthy gathering of helpers to bring the boat back in on the short slipway. With so many present there was little doubt that it was a textbook recovery, although my concentration was elsewhere. I arrived on the scene later than the others and took to the Inshore tractor, down on the Harbour beach. Here, too I managed a textbook recovery of my own and even avoided running over any of the small children playing in the surf - I think. I did look afterwards for small child shape indentations on the sand. We are, after all, a very multi tasking and very caring very excellent Shore Crew.
It was shortly after I got back to the shop that we saw the peak of customers slowly dwindle away. It also started to cloud over a bit for a while but remained reasonably warm. It was the first day of our earlier closing so we are officially at the end of the holiday period despite still having a few families here for another week. It will be quite pleasant to settle down after such an action packed weekend and it has been a good trial run for the main season.
June 3rd - Saturday
Tis a time for presents and joy to all children but without decorations, men with white beards and daft clothes and an overly repetitive set of tunes ringing in the air. Yes, for the last two days it has been preparing for going home and the traditional spending of the last dregs of pocket money or, if you are fortunate enough, parents' pocket money. This was certainly the case for one small lad who happily skipped up to the counter brandishing a 'farm tractor set' and grandly announcing "I don't have any money." I suggested that he might want to contain his naïve hope of walking out with his 'farm tractor set' if he had no money about him to which he assured me that it was alright because "Daddy has some."
Mind, it is not just the children who display this level of optimism. There are more than a few occasions when people have come into the shop, apparently on a mission for some specific item or other. When I tell them that we have such and such in abundance they rush to it like it is the only one in existence and bring it to the counter. It is at this point that they announce they have no money and will be in later and could we save it for them despite there being a dozen on the shelf. I do not think I would invite any of these people to a bring-a-bottle party.
Talking of bottles, we had the regulation end of holiday week conversation about recycling. As you will know if you have visited these pages on a regular basis, the much maligned council removed most of the recycling facilities in Cornwall and decimated the ones remaining. It was believed that Tesmorburys would do the job for them but at least one of the big three in Penzance removed its facility and replaced it with a plaster cast of two elevated fingers in the much maligned council's honour. Recycling bags were issued to households, conveniently forgetting that the population of Cornwall increases by two thirds each summer, most of which do not inhabit a household with bags.
Just as an aside, I think I will cut that paragraph out and save it for next time. I doubt that anyone will notice if I use it again.
Anyway, having dispensed the preamble I shall proceed to the main course which is the conundrum: with the variables of vehicle type and amount of recycling accepted, it is more ecological to drive to the recycling point and back or to save the journey and throw it in the public bin - which, incidentally, has recently had stickers attached to it demanding that no holiday rubbish should be placed in it.
It has been several years since I managed to lock someone in the shop. It was obviously time for a reprise. At near enough two o'clock our Lifeboat pagers went off for the launch of both boats to an incident at Land's End. The boats were required to support the Coastguard team in recovering some errant people who had decided to doze off some over indulgence on the end of the cliff. One had gone missing and feared fallen but I heard no more detail. I returned to the shop quite swiftly after launching the boats to find a lady pressed against the glass of the shop door; she was rather afraid that I had gone out on the boat. I have to say she was very good about it but a little peeved that she could not claim to be the first.
The boat was stood down about forty five minutes later. We were a bit thin on the ground and with the boat so close, had little time to set up for its return. We also had to switch to the short slipway, which takes some additional time. We left the Inshore boat to wait until another team member turned up and in the meanwhile brought the big boat up the short slip in what was undoubtedly a textbook recovery. All this, even with our backs to the wall, our noses to the grindstone and our shoulders to the wheel, as we are, after all, a very contorted very excellent Shore Crew.
The shout interrupted quite a busy afternoon. There were people arriving for the coming week and quite a few still here from the previous one. It is likely that quite a few were waiting for the expected heavy traffic to clear before they left. This made it quite difficult to determine who would be left here from tomorrow.
It was no surprise that people wanted to stay; our weather in the afternoon was superb. We had waited all morning for the forecaster's sun symbol to become a reality as it had indicated sunshine all day. The same forecaster also seems a bit undecided about tomorrow and we have had three different offering so far today. Never mind, we will settle for what we had this afternoon.
June 2nd - Friday
I am sure that some of you will have been concerned about the work going on down on the Harbour beach this morning if you had been avidly watching the CCTV camera there. For those of you who missed it, shame on you. The Harbour Commissioners have gone to great lengths to provide a live web camera for you to see what is going on and there you are, not bothering. Unless, of course, you were reading the Diary in which case you are excused.
Sorry, I digress. Where was I? Ah, yes, there were a team of burly workmen, well the fishermen boys and their pals, really, all with pickaxes and shovels, pickaxing and shovelling with the aid of a geet digger until they had a geet hole to look into. It is part of a major overhaul of the Harbour following numerous complaints about the amount of weed than accumulates from time to time. The Harbour Commissioners did a certain amount of head scratching before concluding that the best way to keep the weed off the sand was to remove all of the sand and replace it with concrete down to the mean low tide mark.
While this resolution sounds a bit extreme there is merit to the plan. Weed can easily be swept off should it not be taken away by the tide and the fishing boats can be wheeled down to the water. Beach goers will no longer complain of sand between their toes and there will be no place for those nasty weaver fish to burrow. As a concession to those small children who may still want to build sandcastles, two large circular sandpits will be made in the concrete. The Commissioners had consulted before starting the work and found that 52 percent of the people asked were in favour of the project, meaning that most people wanted it so it was alright to go ahead.
The work will take a little while as first, the Harbour Commissioners had to have a reshuffle to decide which team was best to conduct the work. As you might imagine, this took some time as one team said it had all the experience and the other team said that they did not want a hard beach in the first place but would do the work more sensitively. Secondly, the can only be undertaken on a receding tide but, apparently, most of it will be complete before the summer holidays. As a sop to those who feel the concrete will detract from the character of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are worried about a hard beach, it will be painted yellow and tastefully textured. If you were wondering, the bleddy hound was one of the 48 percent and is incensed.
The workers had a free reign this morning as there was hardly anyone about. There probably would have been no one about but for the fact the Lifeboat returned from a service that had started with an alarm call at ten to five o'clock this morning. A single handed fishing boat had broken down up by Pendeen Watch and required towing back to Newlyn. Five hours later our boat was back in The Cove looking to be recovered. There were four stalwarts standing out in the mizzle with just about enough time left to haul the boat up the long slip before having to switch to the short slipway. Despite a hearty swell we brought the boat up in what was almost certainly a textbook recovery and altogether a slick operation. We are, after all, a very smooth operating very excellent Shore Crew.
By the middle of the day the mizzle and then the mist dissipated and gave way to some brighter conditions. By the middle of the afternoon we had sunshine and blue sky. This had the endearing effect of bringing out our visitors and encouraging them in the gentle art of spending money in the shop. What a very pleasant afternoon it was. I do love my work on days like these.
June 1st - Thursday
That seemed to be the longest end to May ever. The rest of the month flew by as usual but the last few days were interminable other than the fact they terminated this morning.
So the very beginning of June seemed just the ticket. We had a warm dry day with just the right amount of breeze and a few blue patches and busyness coming out of the seams. There were no complaints about the weather today as they probably saw what it was going to be like tomorrow. However, tomorrow's forecast changed by the middle of the afternoon to something altogether different. This might surprise a few people.
The good weather and the time of the week brought a high demand for pasties. This was a little unfortunate because all week the numbers have been dwindling and I have followed suit with a reduction in the number I have ordered. Always conscious of the fact that things change quickly I have not been too brutal with the cuts and had enough pasties to last until the middle of the afternoon. I had forgotten about tomorrow's poor forecast and ordered a healthy supply, which now looks like good planning.
The good weather also filled the beach later in the day when the tide receded. Even at late afternoon there was a small village camped above the high water mark, though they were not there at high water, which was close to midnight. There was a great exodus around five o'clock as someone had decided that it was an excellent time to launch a Lifeboat. I demurred and let my compatriots take the credit for pushing the boat out and bringing it home again. I could not see from where I was but I heard later that it was very much a textbook recovery up the long slipway. Even separated, we are, after all a very excellent Shore Crew.
We had the double doors of the shop open for the first time this season. It was less for the weather and more for the bleddy hound who would not settle either outside or in. The Missus was working in the store room again moving some more of that rediscovered stock out into the shop, so the bleddy hound had to come downstairs too. Later, when the Missus went shopping with the bleddy hound still not able to decide whether she wanted to be in or out, we decided for her and set up her bed in the open doorway. It worked a treat.
Big Sis slipped her around the block later, through the Harbour car park. It seems that the ticket machine there has now been fixed and new pound coins are once again accepted. We have spent large amounts of time since the beginning of the weekend changing up new coins for old and any change we have given out has come with the request to provide the old coins. It was exceedingly obvious that the machine had been fixed, as for most of the afternoon we have had no requests for change at all.
While I avoided becoming involved in Lifeboat launching and recovering, I did force myself to attend the OS quiz. The chase the ace money stands at quite a sum and we could not pass up the chance to see it go to a complete stranger. Once again it rolled over, as indeed did we with our score on the general quiz; we have rarely done worse.
Still, it was pleasant enough on the walk back and the run around the block with the bleddy hound. We had a half moon and Jupiter for company through some thin cloud and enough cars in the Harbour car park to give us some hope that there will still be a few people around tomorrow.