Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Hi all,

Sorry it's been a while since our last blog. Didn't have too much to report, e.g. exciting things like long holidays.

The quick london update: Obviously I wished a little too hard to stay a "lady of leisure". Matt and I haven't found work yet. Would be just like us to arrive when the economy gets the jitters and there are reports in the papers of Aussies leaving to go back to Australia (te, he!). Market is a little hard to crack into for non-UK people at the moment, the roles advertised tend to be very specific (i.e. must have worked in this organisation, this specific industry, etc). Plus, the roles you apply for are often not real anyway, they're just attempts by the recruiting firms to see 'what talent is out there at that time'. All a bit frustrating really. But fear not, we're still drinking wine, so it's not as though we're eating 2 minute noodles. Oh, and we found a roof terrace on top of our bedroom too. It's astro turfed, fenced and just waiting for a couple of banana lounges for summer. I love our place!
We've had some spectacular weather lately though. There were about 2 weeks where the temperature reached around 24 degrees (very unusual for May). Was fantastic! We're not far from a big common so we joined the throngs of other white-pasty bodies for a bit of sunshine. We also decided to head to Cornwall for a few days to make the most of the weather.

So, about Cornwall ...

Is a bit of drive from London to Cornwall (almost 5 hours) and that's on the main drags. After passing Stonehenge, to Matt's excitment ... not, we drove through Dartmour National Park. Absolutely stunning scenery, green rolling hills, lots of farmland, lots of very happy looking cows, horses and sheep. Some of the road we drove wasn't fenced so we were driving past sheep lazing around on the road.

We were staying in a little village called Lanivet, just outside Bodmin and midway between the north and south coasts of Cornwall. Had dinner at the local pub that night ... oh my goodness, was definitely a local. Ono of those pubs where everywhere stares at the 'out of towners'. However, I was introduced to my now favourite beer, St Austell's Tribute.

The next day was superb. We drove from our B&B in Lanivet to drive the north coast of Cornwall. We started at Tintagel (supposedly the site of King Arthur's castle and Merlin's caves). After parking our car at the bottom of the village we walked through lush fields to the Tintagel church on the headland and along a coastal path to the ruins of Tintagel castle. Was really interesting - Matt thought I was a complete nerd (possibly true). Surrounding the ruins were fields of blue bells, daisies and other flowers (all out for spring). We then walked from there to the village of Tintagel where I tried my first Cornish icecream (yummo).

Pic 1 - Tintagel Church, Pic 2 - Ruins of Tintagel Castle, Pic 3 Bluebells and Ruins

We stopped in quickly at Port Isaac, the setting of Doc Martin. We parked our car on the beach of pebbles (the only place to park in town as the streets are so narrow) and walked the streets.

Pic 4 - Port Isaac

After this, we drove straight from one end of the north coast to the other as I was keen to go to Jamie Oliver's restaurant at Watergate Bay (didn't even think that we wouldn't be able to get in). As luck would have it, just as we arrived a couple were cancelling their reservation and they had the table at the front of the restaurant, dead centre, overlooking the bay. We sipped white wine and dined on superb food (this is the life).

Pic 5 - Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

After lunch, we stopped at one of the Cornwall beaches for a look. Matt was keen to go for a swim until he felt the water temperature ... very funny. The beach was shaped like a small bay with a lot of sand from the shore to the water. There was a walking path along the headland, which Matt discovered while I was having a little kip on the beach, so we walked along the path to the next beach. We both couldn't believe how little development there was around the beaches (we both decided we wanted to live there). On the first beach, Treyarnon, you could see about 10 houses from the beach. And from Constantine Bay there were only about 4 houses. Was like paradise. Hopefully a Gold Coast developer won't ever go there!

Pic 6 - Constantine Bay

Our last stop for the day was Padstow, another fishing village. Was late Saturday so a lot of the shops were closed (including the Clough Bakery .... apparently the best Pasties in Cornwall). We stopped at Rick Stein's (another celebrity chef in the UK) fish and chip shop for dinner. I think it's the only place in the whole country that doesn't cover the stuff in greasy batter.
I can't describe well enough how beautiful the landscape of Cornwall was. A lot of the roads were very narrow (sometimes only 1 car wide), winding through tiny villages with houses made of slate and thatched rooves, with tiny flowers of every colour growing wild along the roadside. Also helped that the sky was a deep blue and the weather was beautifully warm.

The next day we took off to explore the very west coast of Cornwall. Neither of us have any idea what it looks like as the coast was fogged in til lunchtime .... bugger. We drove through St Ives, but didn't stop, to Penzance (didn't see any pirates) and onto a village I'd heard was lovely called Megavissey. Was a very typical fishing village in Cornwall. Matt had his first Cornish Pasty (verdict - not bad). After a bit of a disappointing morning (especially compared to the day before) we headed back to Lanivet to see Lanhydrock House (a spectacular country house re-built in Victorian style after a fire destroyed most of it in the late 1800s) and the location for "The Three Musketeers" and "The Twelfth Night". You should have seen the size of the kitchen in this place ..... was bigger than any kitchen I've seen in any of the old palaces/manor houses. They even had their own spit in the main kitchen. Was really well kept and a great insight into the lives of the Cornish elite.

Pic 7 - Lanydrock House

Our last stop for the day was Fowey (pronounced Foiye) on the south coast of Cornwall. Another village with tiny narrow streets and parking on the outskirts of town. Was a very cute place, with lots of book shops, tea houses and restaurants. We had dinner at this super place called Tiffins ... a deli/restaurant. The owners were very enthusiastic, the wine list great and the food was fresh (with more than 80% of it sourced in the local region).
Our last day, was mostly a drive home to London. But we did stop at a village on the north coast of Devon (bit of a detour) called Clovelly. After paying to even get into the town I was a little dubious. However, now I understand why. The town is built into a very steep hill and built either side of a cobbled road from the top of the hill to the water. The majority of the village is supported through tourism as it would cost a fortune to retain the houses in good condition. Not only are cars not allowed in the village, but the roads aren't suitable for driving anyway (unless you're in a 4 x 4!). We stopped half way up the hill on the way back for my first Cream Tea from Devonshire (I can see why they're so popular world-wide) ... and after wheezing and puffing (and sounding like a heavy breathing stalker) up the hill we got back into the car and headed back to dirty, grey London and more job hunting.

Pic 8 - Clovelly

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