Sunday, March 1, 2009

In the kernow

To quote Spike Milligan;

The Spring has sprung, the sap is riz.
I wonder where the boidies is?
They say the boid is on the wing.
But that's absoid.
The wing is on the boid.

There's a soup├žon of sunlight flickering its sedentary way through the atmosphere here in my bit of Eng-er-land, and it reminds me that it's March. Always feels like the year is well underway by now, and that Summer is not far off and camping and hiking are distinct possibilities.

We went for a yomp down to Land's End last year (or was it the year before? Answers on a postcard please to the usual address: The Gravel Farm, c/o The Internet).

Cornwall is a deceptively long way away for British people, who generally think they ought to consider a B&B if travelling over a hundred miles away. By the time you get to Bristol, you think you're nearly there, but you're not. It's still a good few hours on, so it really is a good idea to consider a hotel, or take a tent. It also explains the infuriatingly high numbers of caravans on the road, as humans decide they'd better make like snails and slowly carry their homes around with them at a pace more familiar to geologists studying plate tectonics. One must do battle with these road-blocking creatures, avoiding eye-contact lest they offer you some Camp Coffee or proudly show you their toilet with all blue water in it. Eventually you'll make it.

And it's completely worth it. I'm not going to show you photographs of the stunning vistas and seascapes that Cornwall is famous for, as you can see them on postcards or internet tourist sites, but I will share with you a couple of things that caught my interest. For instance, a really nice rock formation:

A geologically minded friend did explain (in hideously great detail) the processes of sedimentation and layering involved, and the time-scales needed for the subsequent buckling of those layers into the formation we see here, which was all very interesting but doesn't take away from the fact that I took this photo because the cave bore a passing resemblance to a giant anus.

I never claimed to be high-brow.

Also on the walk, near Sennen Cove which is pretty in its own right, I came across the wreck of the RMS Mulheim, which ran aground in 2003 and then broke apart:

I expect the locals were very excited as visions of Whisky Galore galloped unbidden through their looting-addled brains, before they learned the Mulheim was carrying a cargo of scrap plastic. You wouldn't have been more disappointed if it was carrying bags of old dressings from the local impetigo colony. Still, at least it makes for an interesting tourist attraction:

I wonder if the Captain got done for littering?

So, after a long hike taking pictures of giant bottom-holes and scrapped scrap-vessels, we made our way into a local cafe for a refreshing cup of beverage, which is the acceptable thing to be done not only by tourists, but also some locals as well:

This seagull walked past the open door a few times, obviously casing the joint, then casually sauntered in as though just perusing the wall-mounted menu, before grabbing a bag of crisps and legging it out, closely followed by the irate owner of the shop shouting "Bloody fevverred baaaarstid!" in tones of unnappreciation.

Amusingly, it flew off, only to return moments later when the owner had resumed his position behind the counter, to eat the bag of crisps right outside the front of the cafe.

I think it's probably an ongoing feud that stretches back through generations of their respective families. Not the sort of thing you can get involved in, because it will take a lot of mediation to sort out. A lot of give and take on both sides.


  1. I have a wonderful photie of myself and the missus at Lands End.

    There we stand, covered in shite, and two empty pokes of chups... one in each hand.

    You live and learn!

  2. Good morning Jules,

    "I took this photo because the cave bore a passing resemblance to a giant anus". I confess that thought never occurred to me until I read this line.

    As always Jules, love how you view the world we live in.


  3. When I was in Uncle's Navy, we'd occasionally muster on the fantail of our mighty warship for a little small arms training and practice. For targets (there being nothing but water for hundreds of miles in most cases), the messcooks would toss the last meal's garbage over the side. This gave us all sorts of ugly floating things to plink at with high powered rifles, handguns, and your usual automatic weapons. we were routinely admonished not to shoot at the seagulls who seemed to appear out of nowhere as soon as the messcooks appeared on deck with the trash. Yeah, right. Never managed to hit any, though. Even on fully automatic with the Thompson or the M-16.

  4. Must be very painful, having those piles of stones outside like that.

    Seagulls really don't appreciate the good deal they get in life, do they?

  5. Jimmy - I once saw a real fat bloke in Brighton have his doughnut taken out of his hand by a gull, and then proceed to punch it whilst it was still in mid-air in front of him, right in the gizzard.

    U - You'll be comparing rocky formations to orifices forever now!

    Douglas - Sounds cool. I wanna shoot rubbish with big guns.

    Mdme DeF - they bloody well don't. They do work quite hard for it though.

  6. That seagull v. shop owner is pretty much the same story as 'Braveheart' except instead of Scotland it's a bag of crisps up for grab.

  7. Whew. That Mulheim picture is pretty intense. As I read your piece, I was very cognizant of the way in which different terrain and physical attributes affect one's journeys, and view of the world.

  8. Kurt - We can expect Mel Gibson to be black-and-whiting himself up for the role of Seagull Chief soon then eh?

    Savannah - Is it speechless with disgust?

    Logistician - That's arseholes for you.


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