09 July 2012

England: A Quiet Weekend, then More Adventure!

This last weekend was quiet. We spent it around the house, save venturing out for a pint or two, and a couple meals. The weather was apologetic - damp, windy, rain, a peek of sun on Sunday morning, but more rain by midday! We watched Andy Murray get into the finals at Wimbledon, then lose to Roger Federer (no surprise, though it was exciting to see a Brit (well, technically a Scot) in the finals for the first time since 1938. No British male has won since 1936. Sorry, Andy, you played your best. We also watched the British Grand Prix which is infinitely more exciting than tennis. The Grand Prix circuit in general is a damn sight better than NASCAR ("Look, they're turning left! Oh my, they're turning left again! And therrrreee they go...yup...turning left yet again!" And that's just 3/4 of one lap!) The British Grand Prix doesn't generate the excitement that Wimbledon does, but then again, the British are a proper people and racing cars around a track is not nearly as proper as whacking little yellow balls back and forth across a very expensive lawn that sure does seem like it needs some new sod along the ends! Anyway, I digress.

Sunday lunch was at The Badger, a "carvery". In US terms, this is similar to a buffet, but you only go through the line once. The server carves off what pieces of meat you want (I had roast beef and pork, though I should have gotten some lamb, too), and puts a Yorkshire pudding on your plate (asked for or not), then you serve yourself from the assortment of veggies - potatoes fixed at least three ways, cauliflower, green beans (yay! no peas!), sweet potato mash, onions in gravy, stuffing, perhaps a couple I've forgotten. Then you slather gravy over the whole mess which seems to be a mandatory thing. In any case, it was pretty good even though the waitress got our dessert order wrong. In doing so, I discovered I'm not fond of custard - the ice cream would have been preferred over the Apple & Blackberry Crumble - a Proper Crumble, mind you.

Bins for each kind of material...
Today dawned bright and sunny, so it was time to take care of a couple of errands. We went by the surgery so Derek could straighten out his prescriptions (they've just moved to electronic prescriptions here, apparently there are yet a few bugs), then we went to the dump to get rid of a few things. It resembled ours so closely I almost thought we'd transported back to Chesterfield County!

After dumping all the trash (elapsed time: 4 minutes), we headed to Penzance again. I needed to pick up my train tickets for Friday, and Derek needed to pay a bill and make an appointment at the bank. I guess it was a good idea to get the tickets early, as the kiosk would not accept my non-PIN & Chip credit card, and the info desk that was able to swipe it and print my tickets closes at 20:00, an hour and forty-five minutes before the train leaves on Friday, and probably an hour before I planned to arrive at the station! Afterwards, I walked along the walk beside Penzance's harbour...here's a panorama of the scene (the exposures were different, so it kind of sucks, but you'll get the idea).
The harbour is to the right, the large rocky lump just left of center is
St. Michael's Mount.
This was another quick trip, and shortly we were taking the scenic route on our way to Land's End (not the store, though there is a Land's End store there, naturally). The scenic route took us through such villages as Mousehole (pronounced maus'-ole, not mouse-hole). The roads in these villages tend to be narrow!
Land's End, is as the name implies, the end of the land....southwest England's land, at least. Unfortunately, it has been built up as what we in the US consider a "tourist trap". The museum is gone, replaced by a 4D (not 3D,  but 4D) theatre! You must PAY for a picture by "the sign". We checked out the menu at the restaurant (very modern, and glassy). EIGHT BLOODY POUNDS FOR A PASTIE!!! I suspect it would have been frozen right up until they nuked it for you.

There was a display that was not well documented as to why the event happened when it did, and where it did, but with all the attention given bullying in schools there days, I thought the message was important, if the circumstances of its posting were not.

I took a picture of "the sign", and one of the Cornwall Air Ambulance display, then we beat feet and headed out to find a proper lunch.

Lunch was not difficult to find. We headed up the hill to the First and Last Inn in England, so named because it is the last pub before you get to Land's End, and the first one you get to when you leave (assuming you approach from the top of the hill, and not from along the coast). It is next to the St. Sennon Parish Church, founded 520 A.D. I don't think the pub has been here that long, but I suspect it popped up not long afterwards (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
St. Sennon Parish Church

The Fanous First and Last Inn in England

I had a ploughman's lunch, with smoked mackerel. It was served with crusty bread (very, very good), a chutney of some sort (also very, very good), a salad "garnish", a pickled onion (YUMMY), and oddly enough, nachos and some sort of mustardy salsa which was OK, but not exactly authentic to a traditional ploughman's lunch.

We took the coast road back, with the intention of stopping at the Tinners Arms for a pint. It's a beautiful drive, and the tin mine at Carngalver caught my eye so we stopped for a look around. Tin mines started up hundreds of years ago, and as technology of the time allowed, became deeper and longer, some of them reaching well out under the Atlantic Ocean. Needless to say, this was dangerous business, and many men and boys died in the business of making money for the owners of the mines which are scattered all over Cornwall. These pictures show the Engine House, where the boilers for the steam engines were housed, and the Winding House, which held the winches and lines that pulled the ore to the surface.

After exploring a bit, we continued on to Zennor Parish. This is the home of the Tinner's Arms, a fine pub, the first I ever visited in England back in December 2007. Here's a few scenes from around the garden at Tinner's.
Yep, that's me!

The Zennor Parish Church tower, visible from
a long way away, as many of them are.
After our pint (necessary after driving the narrow roads of Cornwall), we decided to visit the Wayside Museum. It has been built up at the Trewey Mill, and was to say the least, worth every penny of the £3.95 admission price. These pictures show only a small part of the excellent displays, many filled with small items of everyday life in 1800's Cornwall.

Afterwards, we had another pint at Tinner's, then headed home, a long day of scenic beauty and Cornish history under our belt!

Tomorrow, who knows? Cheers!

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