Saturday 23rd April, 2005
Sunday 24th April, 2005
Monday 25th April, 2005
Tuesday 26th April, 2005
Wednesday 27th April, 2005
Thursday 28th April, 2005
Friday 29th April, 2005

Saturday 23rd April, 2005

Drop Cap e left Crickadarn at about 09:00 in quite heavy rain, which continued as we drove on to cross the Severn Bridge and join the M5 for Devon. Geoff had morning tea at a truckies layby snackbar which he said was good and very good value as well.

Drop Cap he day started to clear by the time we stopped for lunch at the motorway services near Exeter, and by the time we reached Peter Tavy and the Harford Bridge Caravan Park the sun was out and the clouds rolling by. Good stuff - hope it continues!

Drop Cap ur chalet is quite attractive, not as well-equipped as the cottage, or the boat either, but it has most of what we need, we have just been a bit spoiled.

Drop Cap e went into Tavistock (two miles) and did a load of shopping and came home to make plans for our week. I want to show Geoff Morwellham Quay and Land's End, I want to go to Buckland Abbey, home of Sir Francis Drake, and maybe also Buckfast Abbey which is still a genuine Benedictine monastery. Also Tintagel and Boscastle (to see how the cleanup is going after the devastating flood six months ago), Cawsand for the Skinner connection, Dartmoor Prison and Postbridge, maybe Widecome in the Moor, and old Uncle Tom Cobley and all. Possibly St.Michael's Mount and Mousehole. Lots to see and do.

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Sunday 24th April, 2005

Drop Cap oday was one of those unpredictable April days - we awoke to quite heavy rain, so slept in. By 10:00 it was warm and sunny so when we had all showered in the tiny gas-heated (either boiling or cold) shower cubicle and Geoff had had morning tea, we left around 11:00 for Morwellham Quay.

Morwellham Quay photograph

Main Street, Morwellham Quay, Devon

Drop Cap ac and I had been to Morwellham Quay in 1992 and things seem to have moved on from there a bit - some Lottery money has helped, I think.

Drop Cap e went around some of the trail but branched off to suit ourselves. We met several costumed staff members from farm workers driving horses, to inn servants, to a real character, a prize-winning botanical artist who has a gallery in one of the old cottages. His watercolours of flowers are superb. He had been to Australia once, he told us, and wanted to return, but was not in an occupation which rated highly (not too many openings for flower painters!) and he would find it difficult to emigrate. He wants to paint our flora from life, not at Kew Gardens.

Train Driver Rick photograph

Talking to Rick, the Train Driver

Drop Cap e had lunch at the Ship Inn and then went to ride the tramway into the George and Charlotte Copper Mine. Our driver, Rick, was a Cornishman - the Tamar River, on which Morwellham Quay is built, forms the border between Devon and Cornwall. He was full of information and the train ride into the mine was interesting, with quite a lot to see, tableaux and machinery etc.

Morwellham Ship photograph

Ship at Morwellham Quay

Drop Cap fter this we took in some of the craftsmen's cottages, the Assayer's Lab and the Blacksmith, then went down to the Quay to see the boat which is docked (and silted in - no way will she ever float again!) The young man dressed as a sailor there was all excited about finding a Victorian candlestick in the silt only that morning - Geoff and I cynically wondered how often it got found!

Drop Cap e had a cream tea in the pub by the fire and left, mentally deciding on a little soup and toast for tea - we have had quite a lot of food today!

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Monday 25th April, 2005 (Anzac Day)

Drop Cap oday was very long and tiring - all the way to Land's End and back. The drive there, including a morning tea stop, took four hours. We seemed to get stuck behind innumerable roadworks (controlled by lights), tractors towing huge trailer loads of agricultural junk and general traffic held up by the abovementioned.

Lands End photograph

Lands End

Drop Cap owever, we reached Land's End and the tourist trap which has grown up around it. It cost three pounds to park but nothing to get in, just separate admission costs to all the "attractions". We decided to do just two, the Labyrinth and the sweet factory demo of how they made boiled sweets.

Geoff at Lands End photograph

Geoff at Lands End

Drop Cap ut first, we had lunch, then went out to see the view, the cliffs, very picturesque, overlooking the Longships Lighthouse. Geoff had his photo taken at the signpost and will have it sent on to him at home.

Drop Cap he Labyrinth was, I think, essentially the same as it was in 1992, but still very well done, a sound and light show telling myths (both ancient and urban) and history. We thought it was good.

Drop Cap he sweet making factory was something else again, the demonstrator and his offsider made a batch of about 3,000 strawberry and cream flavoured sweets using equipment built before the second world war. They gave them out, still warm, to taste. Mac said they were the most intensely flavoured sweet he had ever tasted. I passed, not wanting my tooth fillings removed.

Carn Euny photograph

Remains of Carn Euny Prehistoric Village, Cornwall

Drop Cap hen we left we went off the main road for a couple of miles to find Carn Euny, the excavated remains of a prehistoric village. There were walls and courtyards and an underground "foggou" or chamber. We had to walk a kilometre through farmland to reach it, but it was very interesting.

St. Michael's Mount photograph

Twilight on St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

Drop Cap e knew we would be too late for St. Michael's Mount at Marazion but decided to detour off the main road to see if we could get a photo, the day was turning very misty. So we did and did manage to take some, but when we tried to get down to where the causeway starts, a motorcycle policeman held us up while a convoy of large dark cars came up the road from the causeway and we saw, in the first one, HRH Prince Edward! What a bonus, and quite unexpected. If there was a royal visit we probably would not have been allowed in today, anyway, so it's a good thing we hadn't set our hearts on it.

Drop Cap t started to rain quite heavily as we made our way home but while we were out and about it was fine. It was a long and tiring day, but interesting.

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Tuesday 26th April, 2005

Drop Cap oday we went out on to Dartmoor for another fairly long day.

Buckland Abbey photograph

Buckland Abbey, Devon

Drop Cap e started out by visiting the National Trust's Buckland Abbey, where we were able to save six pounds each with our Heritage Cards.

Buckland Abbey Foundress photograph

Foundress of Buckland Abbey

Drop Cap uckland Abbey started out as a Cistercian Monastery but was dissolved by Henry VIII and sold to the Grenville family who converted it into a Tudor home. After his rich return from circumnavigating the world, it was bought by Sir Francis Drake and lived in by him and his two wives between journeys. There were some very interesting exhibitions and displays, including "Drake's Drum" which will beat in times of national peril to summon the Captain who is sleeping there below to the aid of his country again. The grounds were lovely, with an Elizabethan knot garden and a large herb garden.

Dartmoor Prison photograph

Exploring Dartmoor Prison Museum, Devon

Drop Cap e had both morning tea and lunch here in the refectory, then left to cross the moor to Princetown, home of Dartmoor Prison (or the genuine Japanese cardboard replica!) We visited the Dartmoor Prison Museum which was situated in the former dairy of the prison farm. This was quite interesting, with historical facts of old Dartmoor, it all reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
There were articles made by prisoners (some of which were made to help them escape!) and others which were for sale, made in the prison workshops. They seem to specialise in pigs, for some reason! And decorative planters.

Drop Cap fter leaving here we continued over the moor to Postbridge, where we saw the Clapper Bridge, and Moretonhampstead, where we turned off for Bovey Tracey, where we visited the House of Marbles. This is a Glass Works and factory, where they make lovely glass marbles and very exquisite glassware of all kinds. You can watch them blowing and shaping the glass. Unfortunately, we had left it a bit late, and only had half an hour to look round. They were selling seconds and practice pieces in the shop but they looked quite lovely, nevertheless.

Drop Cap ame back to Tavistock and had dinner, then did some washing and drying in the laundry here. It took ages.

Drop Cap omorrow to Cawsand and hopefully a meeting with Jan Wood, my Cornish "cousin". I have not yet been able to talk to her but have left messages. Oh well, if we don't find her we will look at it by ourselves.

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Wednesday 27th April, 2005

Seaton Beach photograph

Seaton Beach, Cornwall

Drop Cap e had a lovely day today. It was fine and sunny for most of the day and we found Cawsand with only one small deviation, when we stopped for morning tea at Seaton by the Sea. It was great to see some good waves, although the sand looked more like dirt to me.

Relatives photograph

Jan and Trevor at Cawsand

Drop Cap e met Jan Wood, my Cornish connection, in the carpark at Cawsand, accompanied by her "fella", Trevor, and two dogs. They (Jan and Trevor) were both very welcoming and friendly and showed me the streets and houses where the Colmer ancestors lived, and where she stayed with relatives as a child.

Cawsand Street photograph

Cawsand Street

Drop Cap e walked across to Kingsand, which is the other end of the main street, with an arrow which differentiates the two villages on one building.

Colmer gravestone photograph

Gravestone of my Great Great Grandparents in Rame, Cornwall

Drop Cap e had lunch in Kingsand, then went on to visit the lovely old church of St.Germanus, in Rame, where she showed us the grave of my great-great grandparents.

Drop Cap e found several Skinner graves as well, and the name Skinner is well evident on buildings in the two towns. In a place this size there must be a connection somewhere. (For the benefit of non family members, Colmer was the name of the first Skinner to arrive in Australia. As he jumped ship in Sydney harbour he changed his name to Skinner (his mother's maiden name) before heading bush.)

Rame Churchy photograph

13th Century Church of St.Germanus, Rame, Cornwall

Drop Cap he church was consecrated originally in the 13th Century and is still unconnected to electricity. There are large candle holders lining the aisle, and a candelabra. The church is still used for services. The aisle is lined also with grave stones from the 16th Century. It is small and quite beautiful.

Cross Keys Inn photograph

Cross Keys Inn, Cawsand, Cornwall

Drop Cap awsand/Kingsand and Rame are historic towns in Cornwall and quite important in a nautical context. I have often heard the term "Off Rame Headland" in the historic naval novels I read. The buildings are old and picturesque like the Cross Keys Inn.

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Thursday 28th April, 2005

Drop Cap t was howling a gale last night and we woke to heavy rain. Why can't you get two consecutive fine days in this country? We had planned to revisit Boscastle but the weather did not look propitious. So we went into Tavistock to the bank and had morning tea in the famous old Pannier Market. (Rather like the Ivy Market at home, with lots of craft, especially jewellery, second hand books and food). We also actually discovered a shop where we could get Internet access. Mac bought himself a handmade leather belt at one of the stalls, then we saw that the weather was brightening so we decided to go to Boscastle after all. It is only about 35 miles from here so we arrived at lunch time.

Cross Keys Inn photograph

Repairing Flood Damage at Boscastle

Drop Cap fter having lunch in a cafe we explored the remains of Boscastle and saw all the rebuilding going on. Some places seem to have closed for good but a number of places have risen again, like the Witchcraft Museum, which lost a heck of a lot, and the Otherworld shop (crystals, incense etc). One of the bridges across the Valency had been broken down and had been patched up, the Youth Hostel by the harbour was badly undermined and undergoing restoration, hopefully, once the YHA and the National Trust get the agreement together. It was good to see lots of visitors still coming. Geoff visited the Witchcraft Museum and Mac and I strolled over the headland to see the sea roaring in.

Drop Cap s a postscript to the day, on the following Sunday night we saw Boscastle on TV celebrating May Day and the fact that most of the businesses are up and running again. Good luck to them.

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Friday 29th April, 2005

Drop Cap oday we had a rest day. We spent an hour and a half in the Internet Access shop catching up with and deleting emails. A couple from Bernie Fisher, everything is OK at home, so far. I sent a couple of emails to my groups, just checking in. We wandered around Tavistock and chose a restaurant for tonight. Came home, had lunch and packed up for an early start tomorrow.

Drop Cap e had a lovely dinner with some real local characters at a restaurant called "The Steps", up a short flight to a window table overlooking the street. We had a bottle of German Riesling, quite sweet, more like Moselle, we thought. Geoff had pate, as usual, and a pizza, Mac had spaghetti carbonara, and I had potato skins stuffed with bacon and mozzarella, followed by char-grilled lamb chops. Yummy!

Drop Cap ff tomorrow for Sussex.

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