I've been by the sea for the last couple of weeks on the southwesternmost tip of England. It's been a fantastic couple of weeks of long walks and beautiful sights. I thought this little sea horse was appropriate for seaside summer adventure.
I have to tell you, though, if we had to count on the BBC Weather Service predictions this week, we'd be hunkered down with hatches battened the entire time we've been here. Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.
The weather was predicted to be dismal to the point where Andrea was no longer looking at property-porn (the daily ritual of - "God wouldn't it be great if we lived ..."). I think she was setting her sights on an ark. Instead of two tickets to paradise, she was looking at two tickets on a ship, boarding two by two for forty-days and forty-nights.
That reminds me of one of my all-time favorite cartoons. Inserted here for comic relief.
That brings me to the point of all of this. If you wait for the conditions to be perfect, if you rely entirely on the predictions of others, you're liable to wish your life away. You have to get out and do stuff.
Except for only a couple of hours of torrential rain, once in Truro where we ducked into a couple of shops, and at a place called Hell's Mouth (love that name) where we found a nice little restaurant to sit out the deluge, we escaped relatively unscathed. We skipped most of the inclement weather and caught the best of every single day we were here.
I think the BBC errs on the side of caution when they predict the weather. A BBC forecaster had a bit of a hiccup in 1987 when he predicted light rains that turned into hurricane-like torrential rains and winds that destroyed homes, downed trees, and thoroughly pummelled England. So, I'll cut them a little slack for being cautious.
England is a tricky monster for predicting the weather. The climate in your garden may be completely different than your neighbor's. Microclimates.
Weather forecasters have a nightmare job here. It's not like Arizona where all they have to do is forecast how freaking hot it is. Today - sunny and warm - Tomorrow - sunny and bloody hot.
Anyway, we got out, put in the miles, and made the best of the beautiful sands, sea, and scenery.
Though I'm going back to work next week, I'm excited for that chapter to start.
As always, until next week, I wish you peace, smooth sailing, and following seas.
I run into great people all the time. Some of them are even artists. I met this guy today on our afternoon walk. His gallery in Marazion is about two and a half miles west of Penzance. It's like a little hole in the wall. I almost missed it.
This gallery features the art of just one person, Morgan Read. Like lots of artists, after getting his art degree, he pursued the bright lights and big business of advertising and design in London. Now he operates out of his studio right across from St Michael's Mount. Not a bad view from the front door.
I'm thrilled I met Morgan and wish I had stayed to ask him so much more. I also wish I took the time to snap a photo of him while I was in his gallery. That's another thing I'll have to put on my "why the hell didn't I do that" list. It's pretty long.
I do like Morgan's style, though. He has a few different styles, and I loved each one of them. Here's a harbor painting I saw at his place that I loved.
He's an accomplished hand sign painter too. He has a variety of signs that he's produced but will make them to your specifications as well. His signs have a great weathered effect.
There was so much on the walls of his studio that he doesn't have on his website yet. You're going to have to plan a trip to Marazion to visit Morgan's shop.
Delivery within the UK is free so if any of my UK readers want some hand-drawn - yes, hand-drawn - cards to send for any occasion - you can scoop them up on his website for a very reasonable price.
I invite you to look over his website to see what he's all about or maybe you can like his Facebook page or follow him on Instagram.
Now go out and make some ART!
I like boxers - their wrinkles and stare give them an air of confidence and contentment. They also look a bit curmudgeonly which kinda suits this little rant. I enjoyed drawing him.
Life's pleasures are, more often than not, the simple things. Walks in the woods, sand between your toes, and a big ole fashioned cheeseburger.
For the most part, we do our best to eat a healthy and balanced diet (Andrea is a fruit, nut, and seed fanatic). I do have my little indulgences, though. I'll have some potato chips here, maybe a piece of cake there, and I might have a beer or two faster than a gull can snatch an ice cream at the seaside.
My goal is moderation. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes, I fail. I know that's going to happen, but I always try.
This last week has been full of long and challenging walks. When we are in Carbis Bay and we've had a long day walking there's a little place in St Ives we love to go. It opens at 5 pm, and it's called Blas Burgerworks. They have great vegetarian and vegan burgers as well - so I'm told - I've not tried.
I asked the server if Blas is part of a chain or if there are any "sister" stores anywhere. The restaurant in St Ives is the only one, and I'm so glad we discovered it.
Their motto is "BURGERS FOR PEOPLE WHO GIVE A DAMN." Yup, I believe 'em.
We sat down to our meal on Wednesday at about 5:15 and saw only two open seats at a table that served six. At Blas, you share tables with folks you don't know. We were a bit knackered after eight miles over the rocky ups and downs from St Ives to Zennor.
We'd walked for miles, and our feet were hurting. It felt like a million bucks to lodge my backside on a plank bench and order my beer and burger. Luxury.
The beer was a great Cornish Lager called Korev.
Do you remember the advertisements that said, "Fosters, It's Australian for beer." Well, Korev truly is Cornish for beer. That pale smooth lager was just what the doctor ordered.
When my burger came, I was ready. I ordered the Burger of the Day! Angus beef, garlic mushrooms, caramelized onions, and hand-cut, perfectly cooked fries.
I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Perhaps I had.
If heaven doesn't have Blas burgers, I'm not all that sure I want to go.
Then, yesterday, I got my bubble burst a bit as we turned on the news to find out that the council on climate change has determined that one of the most significant contributors to climate change is, drum roll please, meat-based diets. I'm not going to go into the particulars; you can read the report if you'd like. The BBC reported, " A major report on land use and climate change says the West's high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming." (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
I don't know if it will dissuade me from the occasional burger and fries, but I'm certainly going to think about it.
Lots of people think we've pretty much already tipped over the edge and are on our way to absolute oblivion at an accelerated rate.
What can we do?
We do our part, recycling and not wasting massive amounts of food, but it's just a drop in the bucket. It makes us feel like we're doing something though and feelings are all that matter, Aren't they?
So, as I lament over my 100% Angus burger from a couple of days ago, I know that all we can do is the best we can. And, I'm doing the best I can.
So, even as celebrities and moguls rush to Sicily to rub elbows and wag chins about things they know nothing about in their private jets and massive yachts, I will still try to do my part.
BTW - the minute Leonardo DiCaprio deigns to fly coach on Jet Blue; I might take their hypocritical a$$es bit more seriously. Until that time, I'll put my stock in the scientists who did the work, and try to eat a bit less meat.
The planet will not die, though; it will recover. It may take a couple of billion years and a few asteroid collisions, but it will get better.
It is true, we will die out long before the world disintegrates into the dark matter from whence it came. The earth has recovered from worse scourges than us.
Unfortunately for us, our survival is probably not necessary for the long term health of this world, but our extinction might be.
I have high hopes that the planet will find a way to heal before we are all gone. I hope we can achieve a symbiotic relationship. However, I don't think self-aggrandizing self-proclaimed nitwits whooping it up at the Google Camp in Italy will make one iota of difference to the outcome. I wonder if they would have been so keen if the meeting took place in St Evenage at the Holiday Inn Express. I hear smart people stay there.
I will still do my best. I will put my best foot forward. I will always do my bit regardless of what they do. Because that's all we can do, isn't it?
Each of us can do our best.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
T - 242 DAYS
One of our walks over the last week brought us into Lelant. We love to walk along the Hayle estuary through Lelant. The trail passes through the West Cornwall Golf club and then down to the station. If you go just a little bit further, you will run into the gallery of Jon Tremaine.
We were walking through the streets of St Ives and saw his work in another gallery in the town. We snapped up a few cards with photos of his work in that shop.
When I spotted his gallery in Lelant, we just had to stop by. I enjoyed meeting him very much. Jon's not a trained artist, but I have to tell you the images he produces are some of the most imaginative and well-executed I've ever seen. He works with a Rotring pen with a 0.1mm nib to create his wildlife images. He even let me photograph his next work in progress.
You can see the images embedded in the overall picture of the lobster. Here's a segment of one of Jon's finished pieces where you can see the detail he includes.
We should always be learning, and when I met Jon, I learned a bit about his art business and how he markets his art. He taught me a little about style and patient persistence.
I'm looking forward to the next two weeks.
I painted this little painting the last time we made an excursion to the southwest portion of this island. It's the view we get walking from St. Uny's Church in Lelant towards the island lighthouse off Godrevy Head.
On Saturday, it's time to head out again for two weeks of uninterrupted recreation & relaxation (R&R). I'm so looking forward to it. The sea, the sand, and, hopefully, the sun will make an appearance or two during our two-week stay.
I'm looking forward to enjoying more amazing experiences.
Most of our getaways always include some degree of scenic walking, especially when we go to Cornwall. "The South West Coastal Path is England's longest waymarked long-distance footpath and National Trail."
And, it's Poldark country too. The scenery is dramatic and gets more so as time goes by.
Poldark features the rocky cliffs and rolling seas off Cornwall, not to mention Aiden Turner's chest. Pretty damn good scenery, I'd say. The latest Poldark series dropped a couple of weeks ago, and we're chomping at the bit to watch it on that same rugged coastline.
I have to tell you I love the journey to Cornwall almost as much as the stay itself. It takes about seven hours, and it's an integral part of the holiday.
Peter, the silver-maned stately Lord of Essex Road Manor, is picking us up Saturday morning and depositing us at the train station in St. Evenage.
Peter's a hell of a guy. Though ten years my senior he has a magnificent full head of silver hair. I'm in a constant state of seething green-eyed jealousy. I've even been thinking about growing my beard long and doing a severe combover.
Thank you, Peter!
We'll take the train to Kings Cross, and a Taxi to Paddington Station. Then, we'll be winsome travelers on a smooth, relaxing five-hour journey through some of the most scenic landscape England has to offer.
We've had incredibly good luck with trains to and from Cornwall; So much so that I hesitate to bring up the one disastrous occasion we experienced about three years ago. It was dismal.
We were wrapping up a lovely week at the beach. The weather displayed uncharacteristic cooperation. Though we were disappointed to leave our little haven by the sea, we realized we must and trudged begrudgingly to the station for our journey back to the real world.
It's not too bad. We had booked reserved seats in the quiet first-class car. For a holiday, and on such a longish journey, it's the best way to travel.
We got to the station at St Erth early enough. So we sat down in an old fashioned tea shop at the station. It's a fabulous tea shop - a throwback to the 1920s - think "Brief Encounter" (a 1945 British Film for my American compadres, look it up). We usually try to leave early enough to allow some time for a cup of tea and cake before getting on the train.
We had forks charged, tea at the ready, and salivary glands fully engaged when we heard an announcement on the loudspeaker. They said something about our train. It sounded like, "The 'unintelligible static unclear' train from Penzance to London Paddington Station has 'static, random noise, screech, click, static, hum, click again,' we are sorry for the delay and any inconvenience caused."
Hackles had risen, ears perked, investigations were in order. A determined and, I must say, steely-eyed Andrea rushed to investigate. The swiftness of her departure was like a flash, a bolt of greased lightning. From my perspective, she vanished from in front of me and appeared simultaneously at the ticket office window berating some unfortunate clerical minion.
What they had said between the screeching and clicking was they canceled our train and replaced it with another. Okay, that doesn't sound too bad. Or does it?
What brought steam from Andrea's ears was: they did not replace the trains like for like. They had replaced our 12 carriage train with three first-class carriages, and a dining car with a four carriage commuter train.
Oh my god, what had the good and gracious master of the universe done? How would we survive? How would we keep our sanity? Our pleasant trip now felt like a slow week-long journey in a cattle car back to London thru Dantes nine circles of Hell!
"Your Last Train To London Paddington from Penzance is formed of four coaches, calling at limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. "
The ride lived up to our expectations too. There were loud, angry, and obnoxious people crammed into standing room only train cars. I'm too embarrassed to tell you what we had to do to get seats on the train. I have been authorized to tell you it involved, in part, elbows, foul language, and copious amounts of "hey, get out of my way."
The train was so crowded, the folks in the aisles were involuntarily nudging their way between the seats. In some cases, they were shoving their ample and foul-smelling derrieres in front of unsuspecting seated passengers (us) already jostled, overcrowded, covered with suitcases, and other debris.
What happened to our snack and beverage cart?
What happened to our quiet little trip?
What happened to our scenery?
What happened to our air conditioning?
What happened to our wifi?
Please, merciful angel, tell me what happened?
The whole experience reminded me of the Marine transportation "a$$-hole-to-belly-button" in what we euphemistically called "Cattle Cars"!
If you need a visual - here it is:
They crammed us in closer than a WWII landing craft in the South Pacific. We were keeping our heads down and hoped bullets wouldn't rain down when we stepped off the train.
Anyway back to our Cornish trip - as you can probably tell, we did live to tell the story.
After the fact, there were telephone calls made and letters written too. They included words like, unacceptable, horrible, cramped, vile, and a few other choice phrases. "How can you creatures from my bureaucratic nightmare sleep at night?"
After some negotiations and some strategic toing and froing, we ended up scoring a first-class trip the next year gratis from the Great Western Railway.
We've put all that behind us now and are on good terms yet again with our journey. I'm looking forward to two blissful disconnected weeks of bliss.
Until next week, I wish you and yours safe journeys and, of course, peace.
T - 249 DAYS