After the storm set in we decided to retire for the night. A short drive back to St Ives in the pouring rain was at best difficult, the roads were dark, and edges were unmarked and the rain was heavier than the wipers could cope with. Not to mention the motorist coming the other way were staggered in such a way as to make using high beams impossible. When we arrived back at the B&B I was exhausted. I can’t remember if I had a nap but it wasn’t long until we headed out for dinner. After dinner though the clouds had passed and the stars were out for the first time in almost a year, they weren’t bright but they were there. We wondered around the sand of the port, which during high tides would be flooded, left footprints in the sand about a meter deep as my only shoes taken on the trip were my pointy toed cowboy boots and they didn’t have the surface area to hold me and my coat, my hooded jumper and my beanie and my recently consumed dinner up in the soft sand.
It was a memorable event walking arm in arm with Jane across the port of St Ives that very night, a night whose memory will fade slowly with the ravages of time and age pulling strongly at my mind!
Whoa, snap out of it, this is no mills and boon novel, it’s a blog! Sorry, I digress
The following morning we arose for breakfast, paid our bill and bought postcards then headed off to St. Ives Tate. I had bought Jane a Tate membership for Christmas and this allowed us free entry into all Tate galleries across the UK. The building was built only in 1993/4 but it was reminiscent of an art deco building of the 20’s in so many ways, it surely was different, by George, I wonder what the beaver would have thought! It stood on the foreshore overlooking a nice sandy beach. None of those boulders of the south coast. The work was interesting with a focus on the local art scene, something I alluded to before. St. Ives is known as an artist enclave, due to the quality of light, the inspiring landscapes and many other reasons I couldn’t quite fathom. The work, typical of Tate was all modern, with a bizarre exhibition on a couple of artists and their sculpture. I have to say, if, an s an artist, you are going to join either similar materials or two different materials together the junction or joint is just as important as the overall form or artistic intent in creating the form with said junction. Splodges of glue just don’t cut it in my book. Crisply cut plastics and sharp edged brass and other metals allude to a machine aesthetic, one of complex materiality and joining them together in such as poor way as some of the work displayed just lets the whole piece down. This is supposed to be fine art, art worthy of praise, and the artist should either hide, or express the joint not ignore it as being too hard to achieve properly or not important… It is important. Vitally so.
Anyhoo, after Tate St. Ives we marched across to the Barbara Hepworth studio where much of her sculpture and life was displayed throughout her house and garden. She died in a studio fire during the 1970’s, leaving behind a great collection of stone, bronze and timber sculpture.
We had to get back on the road as Jane really wanted to see where King Arthur was purported to have been born. We crossed the peninsula and drove for a few hours until we found the small isolated town of Tintagel. While possibly not the birthplace of the fabled King Arthur, it was certainly a very impressive castle, well remains of an impressive castle anyway. Perched on two sides of a narrow peninsula towering high above the waves the castle fortified the peninsula and the mainland and both halves were joined by a precarious, steep and slippery stair carved into the cliff face. Over the last 100 years however the erosion of the peninsula has been so severe that parts have fallen into the waves and the rest is just waiting for its chance to fall to oblivion. Typically it was raining when we arrived so we opted not to get the guide book until we returned, in case it got soaked. However the rain cleared and we needed the book to explain what we were looking at. So we wandered aimlessly making up stories and theory as we went, balanced on rocks cantilevered over the cliff and generally enjoyed skylarking in the alternating sunny/cloudy early afternoon.
So it was back in the car for the long journey home, along the way we needed petrol so I decided to ask what the Highway speed limits were. Oh my god, 70 mile an hour up to 80 if you are overtaking, no wonder we were being passed like we were standing still. We were standing still. And a bonus 10 mile an hour if you are passing, so into the middle and outside lane we headed passing everything. Including road signs, Armco barriers, cat’s eyes and that building over there in the distance with the lights on. Oh we passed anything to maintain 80 mile an hour. Ace, love this country.
On Sunday, we decided to use the car one last time and invited friends to head to Leeds castle in Essex. Nobody could make it due to them hating us so Jane and I headed eastwards to visit an old castle who remained in private ownership until the 70’s or 80’s and then remained inhabited by the family until 2001. The castle had many Payn and Payne connections so I felt quite at home, until I was shown the shark skin table. Don’t think I really want to be part of that world! The castle is in really good condition and sits in the middle of a lake, accessed via a gatehouse and bridge, and the gardens and grounds are beautiful. It is only an hour and a half away from home but it took us nearly 3 hours to get home as we had to drop the car of on Monday morning, thus it needed to be clean. Finding a car wash in London proved to be difficult. As a cyclist and public transport user I haven’t really been on the lookout for those sorts of things. Plus we were so low on Petrol, due to running it empty so I didn’t have to pay for more and got my bribes worth, we were a little worried we would stop on the side of the road in a dirty car. We finally found one and for 10 pounds 4 or 5 people went manic on its ass. There were cleaning people everywhere, high pressure wand, hands wash, dry, vacuum, wipe, condition, tyre black and the option from several different smelling rear vision mirror ornaments. And it all took about 7 minutes or less. All I wanted was a wash, and vacuum, but my polish wasn’t good enough. I guess I could have got away with 2 pounds if I just spoke pole! Oh well.
We had a great time in and around Cornwall; we still like each other despite a year in trying conditions and look forward to our next jaunt.
Stay tuned for photos to appear soon.