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The Sennen Cove Diary

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.

Previous Months:

December 11th - Monday

It seems something went awry with Diary upload yesterday and you did not get a daily dose; apologies. Fortunately our reader noticed and telephoned to see if I was still here. Hopefully there are two today - oh, and a picture, TF.

The wind had died away by the end of yesterday and although there was a bit of rain about it was considerably more pleasant than it had been the rest of the day. Our respite was short lived as the wind returned with a vengeance from the north and continued to give us another turbulent day.

A north wind is a difficult maid, you can never tell where zackly it is heading in from or what it will do. Coming across the car park this morning it was in front of me, slightly to the right; I assumed a northwesterly. When I turned the corner and came back along Coastguard Row, which runs to the east, the wind was straight in my face - easterly, then.

I was greeted, when I came down the steps, with our bin tipped to the left, despite it having been strapped down and our sturdy newspaper bin on its side with the rocks that were inside to help weigh it down, spilled out on the street. We bought that bin after the other one we had for a year was destroyed in the Valentine Day's massacre storm and it has survived, unmoved, since. Must have been a mighty gust that turned it over.

We were promised a miserable afternoon with heavy showers, particularly in the west of Cornwall. Instead, we had sunshine and brightness for most of the day. This picked out the white foam in the sea and made everything look sparkly and clean. It was very pleasant to look out at from the warmth of your home but the wind dropped the temperature and insistent on you wearing layers even when out for a short walk.

Do not open your screen; it is very windy

The Missus was charged with making some dinner dishes for Mother's friendship club or it might have been the dinner club or, perhaps, the knitting club; she belongs to so many. In any case the Missus cooked up some chicken and pigs in blankets and whisked them off to St Buryan. While we were away, she confessed to a strong desire, thankfully, for my award winning pasties. I thought that she had forgotten but she had not and issued my instructions to make some while she was gone.

Unfortunately, the making of pasties takes a bit longer and I like to make the pastry one day and let in settle in the fridge. Besides that, the vegetables that I prepared far too many of last time were still in the freezer and so was the remnants of the meat. I managed to find some strong bread flour that I use but not enough and the lard was off, so when the Missus returned I broke the bad news and told her that I would have to send out to St Just for provisions - and also something for tea tonight.

When I returned the Missus was in the loft, extracting items for the shop Christmas window. This is a process not the very bravest of us wishes to get in the way of, so I repaired to the kitchen with our goodies and started to make the pastry rounds. By the time I had finished, the Missus was still in the loft. I had not realised that it had become dark in the interim and the bleddy hound was in the living room in the pitch black. She did not seem to mind too much and it does demonstrate the all consuming nature of the making of a Cornish pasty, especially and award winning one.

The Missus returned to the loft after tea to organise the Christmas decorations some more. This does demonstrate the all consuming nature of the making of a Christmas window display, especially one the Missus puts up.

A bonus picture - inside Wells Cathedral that you would have had if the tech was working in the hotel

December 10th - Sunday

It is a good job I set my alarm; I had quite forgotten how dark it still is at half past seven and I would have slept on. It was my turn to get the bleddy hound out of bed, too.

I tentatively stuck my head out of the front door as the wind had been making one hullabaloo all night and was still at it in the morning. Several of the big heavy tables from Little Bo Café that they had left outside during their refurbishment had shifted a little way down the road. There was, fortunately, little in the way of rain but that did not matter very much as it was replaced by quite a lot of spray from the big and boisterous sea. That wind knocked us back as we battled across the car park and pushed us back along Coastguard Row.

We avoided any showers as we went around the block but, since I was heading to the range, I checked the forecast. The wind was set to diminish during the day but not by much and there would be some light showers during the morning.

Strangely, the wind did not seem quite so severe up on the moors above the airport; it was recorded as fifty knots out on Seven Stones buoy but I would say we had gusts exceeding that. Luckily, the range faces the east, so we were well protected from the slightly off westerly blow. I was up at the top of the range fixing the red flag when the squalls of heavy rain started. They persisted for a good hour but thankfully at a time when we were just setting up.

Despite the wind dropping to a kindly 40 miles per hour in the afternoon, clay pigeon shooting was quite interesting. Clays fired north west would stop and hang in the air before returning the they direction they came. Clays fired from the other side of the range, whizzed past at a speed even the most alarmed of pheasants would find difficult to achieve.

Such punishment from a persistent wind and cold can be quite wearing. It certainly was today. By the time I returned home I was exceptionally weary. Whether this was contributory, I do not know, but by the latter part of the evening I felt the dry throat and fuzzy head symptoms of a cold coming on. Oh, deep joy.

December 9th - Saturday

At some point during the night the wind dropped out completely. By morning the sea was as placid as a bowl of milk and at least two of the fishing fleet were out on the water somewhere. Neither of these boys were at the do last night.

As I returned from running the bleddy hound around the block, I bumped into two more avid fisher folk, both of whom were at the party. I berated them for their late turn out but, thinking that not ever so fair, I commended them on their smart turn out in matching fishing dungarees and woolly hats. I do not think that they were real fishermen. They were joined even later by another party beast, one who featured on an exciting film of the evening taken by his sister who was working the bar. I think the dedication has gone out of fishing in recent times.

I am really in no position to criticise; the bleddy hound allowed me a sleep in this morning, which was unusual. Even worse, that was the last thing in the day that I did of any worthwhile note, although far be that from stopping me writing about the unworthwhile things in today's Diary. For example, I broke out the lardy cake that the Aged Parents had procured for me, I had suggested the last time we visited that I had not had lardy cake since I was a lad and wondered if, indeed, it was still made. I would explain what a lardy cake is except all I can recall is that it was something like a soft tea cake with a sticky coating that probably was very bad for you. I assumed it was peculiar to Somerset or thereabouts.

Testament to the Aged Parents' memory skills they recalled my request and acquired one for me. As with all such things, finding one that is a patch on the ones made thirty or more years ago was a labour of love. They believed that the one they managed to get would be a fair reproduction of the ones of yore and I stuffed a bit in the oven this afternoon. Since it was so long since I last tasted one it was difficult to say with certainty that it tasted the same. I will venture that it probably strayed from the heart stopping lardiness of years gone by or perhaps that was my memory toying with me. It was rather toothsome, nevertheless.

By the middle of the afternoon the rain moved in and became increasingly heavy. The Missus took herself and the bleddy hound over to Mother's, which negated me running her around the block in both the middle of the day and the late afternoon. Thus unrestricted, I stayed indoor and did begger all except prepare my repast for tomorrow. What an unmitigated slouch I was, apologies if you expected more of me.

December 8th - Friday

I did not think that the Arctic blast that we were expecting was too bad, as I stepped out side the front door, this morning. The wind had been howling in the eaves all night, so I was expecting a much worse feel to it. Thankfully, my expectations were met as soon as we stepped beyond the shelter of the Lifeboat station. With a face full of icy north westerly wind, we made our way across the car park until, at last, we could put it all behind us as we rounded the corner.

Any cold that I had taken on was quickly dispelled down at the gymnasium. I am now back up to full operation after nearly a week off, up to Wednesday. I scarcely felt the breeze whistling through the hairs on my legs on the way back.

This must have inspired me, as early into the afternoon I kept my word and ran the bleddy hound down to the big beach. I would have done it as soon as I came back from the gymnasium but the tide was still in and I was expecting a customer to collect one of the last few Cove Diary books that we have left. I think that soon I may have to let market forces loose on the remaining numbers and maybe auction the very last one for charity - depending, of course, how much I get for the penultimate one.

Feeling brave, I headed for the beach in shorts and flip flops but with five layers on top to compensate. It did not take too long for the pain to dissipate and my toes to turn blue and completely numb. Unsurprisingly, we were the only eejits on the beach and there were not that many people about generally, either. There were quite a number of harmless jellyfish of varying sizes, littering the beach but other than that, hardly a seabird to join us. We made our way to the west end of the beach, which, for some reason, the bleddy hound seems to favour. I avoided going for a paddle, as even at low water the tide line was quite rough and we played chase the ball amongst the rock pools and tufts of seaweed.

We did not spend terribly long down there, just enough time to have a good run around and blow the cobwebs out. I would have been better placed had we gone for a walk, as at least I would be moving about. For all my heavy layers and bare feet, it was my hands that suffered most, which caught me by surprise. It was for this reason alone that I sought succour and warmth in the OS. Of late it has definitely been a place of warmth, uncomfortably so, as they seem to have no control whatever over the heating. Last evening it was like an oven in there with the radiators melting off the wall and the fire in the hearth pumping out heat. Even in the cold of today, I did not tarry long in there.

As if attending a Lifeboat training session last night was not enough being in the company of fellow crew members. This evening a lively Boat Crew member had organised the station Christmas gathering at the F&L where all manner of tasty morsels had been set out for our delectation. Without fear of contradiction he did a first class job and it is a shame that not everyone could be there but those that could included crew, fundraisers and shop staff without distinction. There was no particular entertainment laid on but after a beer or two there are a few members of the crew who fill that requirement quite satisfactorily. Well done, JW.

I did not stay until the end. Once upon a beer, I might have but the time seemed right and I slipped away. As luck would have it, a passing wife offered me a lift I could not refuse and I avoided a walk home across the fields under the plentiful stars and a chilly breeze. It was also early enough to persuade the bleddy hound that it was not running around the block time, despite the wind having died down and the night being conducive, but particularly because she was limping badly after her run on the beach. One of us must be getting old, I fear.

December 7th - Thursday

The sea was a tad bouncy, this morning and remained much the same way all day. The wind, piling in from the west somewhere brought an added chill to the occasion along with slowly declining temperatures. For all that it was not an uncomfortable day.

I spent most of the day in the shop. The morning was consumed by minding the refrigeration engineer who I had completely forgotten was coming today. With eight fridges and freezers to service he was here for a while, so I finished off the vacuum packing the meat and graduated to loading some more ammunition.

The lady representative who I had berated for not called back yesterday, called today. She does not work Wednesdays but called me early in the morning to arrange a lunchtime appointment, which more than compensated for not calling yesterday. She duly arrived at the appointed time and we discovered that her company can do all of what our previous supplier was able to do and she was happy to talk about pricing, too. The company also does bake-over bread of the right sort, so we can drop our old company which was being frightfully unfriendly by changing its delivery dates.

It was pretty as a picture down on the big beach again towards the end of the morning. I was tempted but decided against, since I had run the bleddy hound about a fair bit yesterday. I understand that it is planning on being colder tomorrow but I shall try and make the effort when I return from the gymnasium.

The Missus went off to take Mother to Truro today; she was feeling much better, thank you for asking. She will not have stayed any longer than necessary today but was still gone for five hours. I imagine that it is a trial beyond patience to try and make an appointment at the hospital when you rely on public transport here.

I needed no transport at all, other than Shanks' pony, to get me to Lifeboat training. We would have refreshed our ability to provide CPR with bag and mask and a tube of oxygen but the good doctor was called away at the last minute leaving us somewhat at a loose end. Provided that the conditions are kind there will be a medical exercise on Sunday to round off this training that never happened. I suspect that this may be in doubt with winds forecast to be gusting to fifty miles per hour from the west.

The wind makes no difference to our performance at the OS quiz, however; we would be as rubbish windy or no. Not even the star, accumulator prize was up to much this week as one of the bar staff won the several hundred pounds last week. This only left the excitement of a stagger back home into the wind and a run about the block with a crazed bleddy hound. The half moon was bright as a button and illuminating our dash around. There were stars aplenty, too and lumps of cloud lit up by the moonlight. Who needs clever prizes when you have all that?

December 6th - Wednesday

Yes, absolutely back to normal with a hot tongue in my ear at impossible o'clock in the morning. It was distinctly darker, later this morning but the half glow of dawn seemed to go on forever, no wonder the bleddy hound was confused.

I made my way to the gymnasium as soon as was decent and discovered that having missed nearly a week I was not in quite the bad form that I thought I might be. It has not been that cold since we came back but there is a damp chill about it that, if you let it, will get into the bones. My gymnasium session set back the process by several hours.

I had a call from one of our suppliers, the one that provides our bake-over bread, soon after I had changed and sat down. The very pleasant lady on the telephone informed me that they had been working very hard to improve their service and, as a result, had decided to change their delivery days to us - just to make things so much better for us. Currently the company delivers on Monday and Thursday, which while not ideal for us is at least roughly two halves of a week. Their improved service - just for us, because they knew we deserved it - was to change the Monday delivery to a Tuesday.

I pointed out that previously we would have three mornings in which to sell our Monday delivery and now we would have only two. Conversely, the delivery we had on Thursday would now have to last five days instead of four. I suggested that this, perhaps, was not the vastly improved service that they anticipated it to be and it was more akin to having just one delivery a week instead of two.

As I said, she was a very pleasant lady, and agreed that it was complete tosh. She knew very well that there is a minimum order and thus we could not reduce our volume to suit. We also have limited freezer space and, at peak, a full freezer is just sufficient to last four days; it is a brain teaser trying to get our orders just right so that we meet minimum orders and do not overload the freezer. I knew that there would be nothing that could be done to change the company's decision, so I left it at that. We will just have to run out of bread at peak times.

With my head now alerted to matters shop, I went about trying to find alternatives for our frozen food supply. The company that used to supply us went bust last week and it appears that it was a one of a kind. It also supplies the big supermarkets and they too have suffered stock shortages, I read in the press. It would appear that we can probably get by but will have to spread the solution over two or three new suppliers instead. I called the largest of those alternative suppliers and left a message for a representative to call me. I still have not heard back, which is not very encouraging.

I was about to descent into the shop to vacuum pack the meat that we had purchased the day before. Looking out of the window before I went, the wide open space of the beach at spring tide, low water looked very attractive. I was also mindful that the bleddy hound had not had a run out since before we left on our long crusade beyond Camborne. Not least, I was mindful that a guts of rain was heading our way and would be with us in less than an hour. I therefore resolved to take the bleddy hound down to the Harbour beach for a somewhat restricted run, instead. This worked remarkably well, mainly as the oar weed has largely disappeared and what is left is old and not so palatable to wayward pups.

In the event we made it back long before the rain hit us. I also managed to fit in a small zizz and the vacuum packing - well, most of it.

The Missus has been complaining of a sore tooth since before we went away. She is much more affectionate at these times, which I suspect proves the adage that abscess makes the heart grow fonder. She eventually managed to secure an emergency appointment today, later in the afternoon. Since she also seems to have fallen foul of some influenza type symptoms I offered to take her. Their solution was to remove the offending tooth, a process that took less than half an hour before she was released back into the wild.

We stopped at Mother's on the way back for tea and sympathy; sympathy mainly for the Missus. However, disappointingly there was no offer of tea. They are off again tomorrow for Mother's appointment in the big city, so I suggested that they stop off on the way back to buy Mother some tea bags, as she had clearly run out. Mother may be pushing ninety but can still pack a good clip round the ear 'ole, so I made sure I said it out of range.

December 5th - Tuesday

Back home.

We had started the day with the Aged Parents, a scat or two east of Camborne, on yet another dull and damp day. The Missus had indicated, well, it was a little stronger than that, perhaps, that she wished to visit a farm shop that we had come across by accident the last time we were out this way. It was about half an hour's drive from where we were and since the Aged Parents knew the way, they were coming along, too.

Before that we stopped at the rather excellent independent butcher in the high street. We have shopped there on our last three visits and, such has been the size of our order, they have been able to close for the rest of the day. Today was no different and we filled three large reusable carrier bags full of goodies. Since, this time, we were there ahead of Christmas, we bought our entire Christmas dinner meat there. It is exceedingly good gear; the sirloin and rump steaks were grey and heavily marbled with fat, something that is particularly rare in these low fat times.

The farmers' market is a permanent set up with a restaurant attached. We had cause to walk through the dining area and have a surreptitious look at the breakfast on offer; you probably would not eat for the rest of the week. The shop area is complete with butchery, fishmonger - mainly Cornish fish looking bright and fresh - and delicatessen, with shelves stacked with every conceivable comestible. Another two large reusable carrier bags were filled, including sandwiches to have before we left. Despite the shop being well off our direction home, it is not a visit that you would want to miss, either as a confirmed shopper or a foodie.

We waved back at the Aged Parents as we left them at their door. Actually, it was the street as they could not make sure we had left from their door. The journey home was free from heavy traffic and we made good time back to Mother's to pick up the bleddy hound. She showed no sign that she had missed us at all and the bleddy hound could not give two hoots, either.

Back to normal tomorrow.

December 4th - Monday

The eagle eyed reader may well have noticed a small omission of a Diary day yesterday. Apologies for that but we spent the entire day driving from A to B, which was not very interesting at all and while regular Diary readers may be used to that there is no need for me to be gratuitous about it.

The only vaguely interesting moment of yesterday was messing up the turn off the M3 in order to head down the A303. From years of driving south on the M3 and being used to a geet sign leading in the direction of the South West, with Andover clearly marked, I rather expected the same coming from the south. Apparently, a driver is expected to turn off on the A34 for The Midlands and know instinctively that this will connect to the A303 and Andover. This error resulted in a twenty mile detour only to find that the A303 was closed completely at Andover and a further detour through the town was required.

The purpose of heading along this route was to end up at the Aged Parents' abode to demonstrate my alivedness, and thus suitability, to be included in the post terminal handouts, so to speak. We duly arrived late in the afternoon and after the normal pleasantries headed off for an evening meal, which was very pleasant, thank you very much.

We had not planned any particular event for today but the Missus had identified a goat farm that she wanted to go and see, near Wookey. The Missus has shifted some of her giraffe focus onto small goats in the belief that they will enhance her suitability to keep giraffes at the right time. I have no idea where we might keep goats but I am sure that we will end up having somewhere where they might be kept, which I will be driven to secure by a process of attrition. Driving out in the direction of Wookey was therefore settled upon.

Fortunately, and also in that direction, lies the City of Wells, which has a splendid cathedral and plenty of shops and a certain amount of character. It was also not that distant that it would take hours to get to. We left sufficiently late that a visit to a goat farm looked less and less likely, notwithstanding that the farm had not answered the telephone when called to find out if they were open.

We drove through various small and larger bath stone clad towns and villages on the way. There were signs of industrial past all along the route from the now defunct Babycham factory to the line of restored mills along the River Sheppey at Croscombe. Wells was lying in a cold and damp valley, shrouded in mist as we descended into it. Parking was mercifully easy and the walk up to the cathedral none too demanding. It had been a long time since I have toured the inside of a church or cathedral and this one was spectacular, from its vaulting ceiling, huge stained glass windows to the famous ancient clock embedded within. It also conjured visions of the Bishop of Bath and Wells from the Blackadder television programme, which was unfortunate.

Having been steeped in culture we departed the cathedral for a small café hard by and a light lunch. Here, the Aged Parents were delighted to learn that the Missus spoke coffee ordering as they wish to have a coffee each but were unaware that they really wanted an Americano with hot milk and a flat decaffeinated over-whistle flowback, or some such. I will not place the blame on the Aged Parents for not knowing such things. Before our party on Saturday night I was charged with going to a branded burger bar with instructions to get a burger, large fries and regular Coke. The young lady asked if I wanted that as a 'meal', which made me wonder what else I would want it for. I told her that I had no idea what she meant but wanted to walk out with a burger, a large portion of chips and an ordinary sized Coca Cola, which I think came across well as that is what I ended up with.

We left the Aged Parents under the trust of the very pleasant café lady while the Missus and I had a little visit to a particular clothes shop in the town. There we purchased clothes that we never knew that we needed but also bumped into one of our regular shop visitors in The Cove. There is clearly no hiding anywhere.

In contrast to the grim burger bar, we ate at a regular haunt that had changed hands in the time since we were there last. There was an element of risk involved, particularly as it was in the middle of nowhere, but it worked out alright. It did not hep that we were in the run up to Christmas, as he normal fare was thin on the ground, elbowed out by Christmas themed dishes, which we all avoided.

At the last knocking I helped the Aged Parent sample the twelve year old malt we bought him. I am sure he was very grateful for the assistance.

December 2nd - Saturday

We had a very pleasant over night stay at the West Bay hotel. This morning, I worked out why we could not hear the sea: there is a shingle bank, almost as high as the hotel at the back of the beach that would have deadened any sound from that direction. Apart from that I believe that the sea state was flat calm, anyway, and would not be making any noise.

I took a quick stroll around before we left and recognised one or two of the buildings from the television series. We did not see the iconic cliff until we went and even then, only from the rear. There were a group of people who had clearly taken leave of their senses running up and down the slope on the western side; I suspect that it was a 'thing' you did when you were there. Had I only realised …

The barman from last night, who also was the waiter at breakfast - unless they are a twin - suggested that we might like to take the coast road out in the morning, as it was known to be very picturesque. We took his advice and left by the road that runs parallel to the sea and looks out over Lyme Bay and takes in Abbotsbury, where there is a famous swannery, on the way. It was, indeed, picturesque, although I could only take short glimpses as I was driving. Towards the end of the high bit there was a tremendous view along the length of Chesil Beach and out toward Portland. Stone, me, I thought.

We passed through Abbotsbury, which was exceedingly picture postcard pretty and expensive. We took a look at one, three bedroom cottage for sale at just under half a million pounds. It is a very pleasant place but it does seem, at least on the east end of the village, everything must be called 'swan' something. Leaving that behind we were lucky not to miss the road up to Winterbourne Abbas, otherwise we would have had to drive through Weymouth, which I was keen to avoid. The only reason I mentioned this is that I wanted to use the words Winterbourne Abbas, which just roll off the tongue. There is also a Winterbourne Steepleton but we do not like to mention that.

We drove into Poundbury, the new town feted by Prince Charles, on purpose. We just wanted to see what all the fuss was about but rather wish we had not. I am afraid I must disagree with the Prince, unless I am compelled to like it by Royal decree. It is a mish-mash of various architectural design from various eras, which has been done on purpose, presumable to make the town look like it has developed organically. Unfortunately, it looks like a town that someone has created to look like it has developed organically; it very much looks like a toy town. I apologise, dear reader, if you are reading this from the bathroom of your Palladian town house in Poundbury. I am sure it is very pleasant from the inside.

One of the major draws for the trip, from the Missus' perspective, is that we drove past the shopping centre at Gunwharfe in Portsmouth. I did agree to take her there and let her loose. We have been before, but it was mid week and at a time when no one else wanted to be there and I found it just bearable. Today, however, was different. If the small gods of shopkeepers ever wish to torment me for eternity they need only send me to Gunwharfe shopping centre on a Saturday in the run up to Christmas on a recurring basis.

The central purpose for this road trip was to surprise an old chum who we have not seen for fifteen years. We, or at least the Missus, keeps in touch via FacePage and we send birthday - which we often forget until it is late - and Christmas cards. He indicated that he was organising a major birthday event to include his son's major birthday event that happens at approximately the same time of year and would we like to come. We, of course, said that we could not, because it is far to the east of Camborne and did not travel such distances, or at least the curmudgeonly, grumpy shopkeeper half does not. At the same time, we made plans to arrive as a big surprise - or shock, perhaps - and eat all the sausage rolls. What a jolly wheeze.

It is for this reason that we found ourselves in a small village near Littlehampton, far, far, to the east of Camborne and feeling rather out on a limb. There are people here, lots of them, and traffic and noises of police sirens and people with odd accents who have not come from Birmingham or Yorkshire like they do at home. Fortunately, they do have beer, which has taken the edge off, slightly.

Unlike me I forked out three quid so that we could access the Internet while we stayed at the Travelyurt hotel chain. It was not until we arrived that I discovered that the three quid only cover the connecting of two devices and between us we have four. I was incensed. If you are reading this it is because I have found a way around it.

December 1st - Friday

This will necessarily be brief; where I am sitting is not the most comfortable seat I have ever sat on and there is a mirror in front of me. I have never considered myself inspiring and it is not working now.

We left home with all the intentions of making good progress and being at our destination with enough time to peruse the emporia of Bridport and have a little nose around West Bay, that has most recently come to fame through television drama. As with all best laid plans, they are all filed away somewhere.

The leaving home was a little later than I had anticipated but our planned journey was suggested to be a mere three hours and we had left before ten o'clock. There was the dropping off of the bleddy hound at Mother's, which took somewhat longer than I had imagined and then a necessary stop in Truro, city of light. It would have been the city of light but bad weather stopped the parade, which has now been scheduled into the new year. Instead it is a city lavished with manna from the much maligned council, it would seem. It has toilets that are open, it has bus stops with clever displays that show when the next bus is turning up. It even has buses that turn up. I know, jealousy is a terrible thing and the suffering inhabitants of this urban concentration are probably deserving of the goodies bestowed upon them.

There were only two reasons for being there, the first was to bank some cash that we should have banked at the end of October. We should have banked it in St Buryan yesterday but ran out of time, so I suggested we go to our own bank, the nearest branch being in Truro, to do the banking, and so we did. I also wanted to visit the Made in Cornwall show which was planted in the middle of the Plaza. As I suspected the majority of stands were occupied by artists with art type items that were expensive and individual and unlikely to grace our shelves or meet the constraints of our pockets or those of the majority of our customers. However, there were a few stalls selling items that were right up our street and, if we can fit their products onto our shelves, we shall be doing so in the new year.

Somehow, we missed the turning up to the A30, mainly because we do not usually exit the city on the east side. We ended up, driving over to St Austell and cutting up to Bodmin from there. This, at least, allowed us to park up and have a rather toothsome burrito from the street food stall in Truro Plaza. We joined the A30 just before the new dualled stretch, which we could see would make all the difference, particularly if they did not cone off the entire inside lane in both directions of it.

I recall relishing the east Devon and west Dorset rolling and green countryside last time we came this way. I enjoyed it even more this time as the setting sun was casting that special deep light about in a careless way, enhancing the colours everywhere.

Rather delayed, we made it to Bridport just as the sun set, which was a shame because I suspect that from the coast it would have been a real cracker. Instead we saw it from the inside of a Costalot coffee shop, which was my fault entirely because I had failed to stop at every other Costalot coffee shop on the journey.

As I close today, we are in a hotel in West Bay. It is a pleasant place on the sea front, although I cannot hear the sea, and our room is part of the old building, large and quirky, with the bathroom up a set of steps.

Exciting, eh?

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