31 March 2024

Welcome back! We’ve returned refreshed and invigorated following our brief break in Cornwall and looking forward to the burgeoning Spring with enthusiasm.

More on Cornwall in a minute. But first, I need to update you on an outing we enjoyed just before we left – we met up with friends in London to see the production of Nye at the National Theatre. It was my first “serious” outing with the sciatica affliction and it started off in a somewhat foreboding nature – when our train to London arrived it was jammed to the gunnels. The driver announced that it should have been a six-carriage train and somehow they had lost two carriages. As a consequence it was standing room only! I have to confess I was not looking forward to balancing on my one good leg for an hour but fortunately a woman who boarded at the same time as us shouted out, “There’s an old man here on crutches! Can someone please give up your seat?” I wasn’t particularly keen on the “old” part of her announcement but it worked a treat – a nice young woman vacated her place and I was able to sit for the duration of the journey. Interestingly, the whole of the rest of the carriage found something exceedingly noteworthy as they stared at the floor.

We had already decided that we would not attempt to struggle with the underground with all its steps and escalators. So, Penny hailed a cab and we set off through the London traffic to the National Theatre where we met up with our friends.

The play was sensational! Michael Sheen plays Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, a Welsh Labour politician who is mainly remembered for his time as Minister of Health in Clement Atlee’s post-war Labour government during which he spearheaded the creation of the National Health Service. The reviews are mixed and, to be fair, the play crams an awful lot of history into a short period of time. But Sheen is excellent and the staging was imaginative and, at times, very moving. Bevan faced great obstacles in forcing through the creation of the NHS and we should all be eternally grateful.

And so, to Cornwall. My carer had decided that a change of scenery would help my convalescence and it truly did – we had a wonderful time even if the weather was somewhat changeable. Pen had found a “dog-friendly” cottage in the village of St Merryn, just near Padstow and also near some wonderful dog-friendly beaches and the South West Coast Path. Marvellous location. Sadly, I was not able to accompany Penny and Daisy as they set off most days to traverse some of the coastal pathway. Fortunately, I am now able to drive so I would drop them at one beach, find a nice place for a cup of coffee and perhaps a wee cake, and then collect them an hour or so later at another beach. Hey, it worked for me and I did not get rained or sleeted or hailed upon, all of which the two brave explorers experienced. I did, however, miss out on some amazing scenery, some marvellously muddy paths and the sheer cliffside drops of hundreds of feet. Thankfully, neither brave explorer took a false step. (There are some seals playing in a couple of the photos below – see if you can spot them!)

Padstow is noted for its beautiful harbour (to be fair, Cornwall is riddled with lovely little fishing ports) and also for its connection to Rick Stein, a noted chef and restaurateur. I believe he has something like ten establishments in the immediate vicinity – we only were able to sample three in our short time there. We had dinner one night at the Cornish Arms, the pub he has in St Merryn itself, where the food was excellent although, unfortunately, the service was inexplicitly slow. We also had fish and chips from his establishment on the shorefront in Padstow – OK, but not great. The fish and chips van which comes to the village once a month or so is every bit as good. His Seafood Restaurant, though, was outstanding in every way. From the first greeting as we walked through the door, to the service and the meals themselves, everything was excellent.

I think he should introduce a Passport type of arrangement where you could get a stamp for each of the establishments you visited. When you’ve visited them all you get a free dessert or something. No wonder the locals allegedly refer to Padstow as Padstein.

We had some pretty decent weather in Cornwall – some bright, sunny days – but we also had a few dismal days of rain and wind. I guess that’s what one might expect at this time of year. The beaches were lovely and, as it was out of season, relatively quiet. Daisy had an absolute blast, careering around meeting dozens of “friends” to chase and run about with. But, all too soon it was over and we had to pack up for the drive home.

As it happens, Storm Nelson was dumping all over the UK on our drive home and it was rain and motorway spray the whole journey – very tiring for Penny who did most of the driving. As we arrived home the full force of the storm struck with hailstones the size of small marbles. We sat parked in front of the house for a good ten minutes until the weather subsided somewhat and we could drag our tired backsides and all our possessions inside.

A lovely few days and, as they say, a change is as good as a rest. And it was.

As if that wasn’t enough fun to satisfy us, on Friday Nick, Lucy & Annabelle came over as did Adam, Ava, Jessie and Julieta for a magnificent Good Friday feast which Nick had prepared. Every bit as good as Rick Stein’s, I’ll tell you! A lovely day and the perfect end to our “holiday.”

No YCNMIU this week, just an image I ran across on Facebook (I think) which speaks for itself.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep exercising, be good, be careful, and keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.

Lots of love to you all,


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