Tag Archives: Cornwall

FREE Campsite Tales

Tales from Corny Cove

Apologies, but I’ve been a bit slack… because yesterday I put a post up on my main Pyjama Writer blog then immediately shot out the door to enjoy a day of sunshine riding my bike, only realising this morning that I hadn’t shared my news on this blog.  (Some people are just plain selfish, aren’t they?)

Basically, I wanted to share a special treat where my loyal subscribers (err… that’s you, in case you were wondering!) can pick up a bunch of stories for free in the ‘new improved’ Tales from Corny Cove series.

WHY IS THIS RELEVANT to you on the Campervan Capers blog?  Because the stories are set on a campsite – but more on that in a moment…

Originally intended to be published as 5 separate novelettes, I instead released Tales from Corny Cove in 2014 as a single novel-length book.  Well, I’ve recently put the stories through the mangle…  They’ve been reworked and have shiny new covers, and I’m now re-releasing them as a series of 5 separate novelettes as well as a box set.

ARE YOU LIVING YOUR DREAM?

Well, Henry and Margaret Mooney are!  They’re the two main characters in the Tales from Corny Cove series.  And when Henry was facing redundancy, they decided to sell everything and travel in their campervan to the south of England in hot pursuit of their dream.

Eventually, they ended up running a campsite on the picturesque coast of Cornwall only to discover that there were a few nightmares along the way.

DARE I SAY MORE…?

Suffice to say, if you like easy, light-hearted reads with a feel-good ending, why not pick up the five novelettes in the Tales from Corny Cove series and join Henry and Margaret as they get to grips with a host of bothersome campers as well as the obnoxious red-bearded farmer next door?

Yesterday, the Tales from Corny Cove box set of tales was free on Amazon, so apologies that you’ve missed that.  But all is not lost!  Because the good news is that each of the FIVE novelette tales will be free on each of the FIVE days of this week – in turn from Monday to Friday (ie starting today, 16th May!).  Just click a link below to pick up each title on the relevant day

Individual tales

Monday 16th May – TALE #1 – BEASTLY ENCOUNTERS

Amazon US   Amazon UK   Other Amazon stores
 ***
Tuesday 17th May – TALE #2 – FLY IN THE OINTMENT
Amazon US   Amazon UK   Other Amazon stores
 ***
Wednesday 18th May – TALE #3 – CORNISH HOSPITALITY
Amazon US   Amazon UK   Other Amazon stores
  ***
Thursday 19th May – TALE #4 – NO BED OF ROSES

Amazon US   Amazon UK   Other Amazon stores
***
Friday 20th May – TALE #5 – HARVEST THE SUN

Amazon US   Amazon UK   Other Amazon stores

Meditating frog

O-oh!  I’ve been meditating in a cave all week and missed all this!

Well, the good news is, with all that meditation, you probably won’t be quite as stressed out about missing out on the above as you might normally be.  But if your brain is ready for some new input after all that retreat time, know that the box set is at a low introductory discount price which I’ll be holding for a limited period after this launch…

All you need to do is hit the link below for the Tales from Corny Cove box set to reach your country’s Amazon store:

Tales from Corny Cove box set

TALES FROM CORNY COVE
Box Set – Tales #1-5

Amazon US

Amazon UK
All Other Amazon stores

NOTE!  The box set includes some bonus ‘behind the scenes’ insights into the tales which you won’t find in the individual novelettes!

Reading a book


One of my goals over the coming months is to continue to put out more fiction as well as build a readership of folk who enjoy my work.

One of the ways to do that is to encourage readers like yourself to spread the word.  So if you have a moment, please share this blog to pass on the news.  Or perhaps post a link on your favourite social media network.

Well, here’s hoping you enjoy your visit to Corny Cove where Henry and Margaret are waiting for you in the ‘new improved’ Tales from Corny Cove series!
 ***
Happy reading!
 ***
Alannah Foley

aka the ‘Pyjama Writer’

Alannah Foley - aka The Pyjama Writer

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Filed under Cornwall, Freebies & Offers, Other Books/Reviews

LATEST NEWS – Too Much Grindstone?

Nose to the Grindstone

As mentioned on the blog’s homepage, my travel blogging has, over these past few years, had to make way for other projects.  I’ve posted the odd tiding, but I’ve had a lot going on over this past year and a half – including rebuilding and renaming my main website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re still using the old Foley’s Forum website link, be aware that you need to update your favourites to pick up the new Pyjama Writer link instead – click here for details of all this in a previous blog.

In any case, here’s a quick round-up of my ‘latest’ escapades…  You can click on any of the images to find out more.


TALES FROM CORNY COVE

Life in a Cornish Paradise…
What could Possibly Go Wrong?

Tales from Corny Cove


CYCLOPATHIC TENDENCIES

An Action/Adventure-Style Novel with a Twist of Humour
Set in the World of Cycling

Cyclopathic Tendencies

RECENTLY RELEASED!…

CYCLING WIDOWS 2

The Trials & Tribulations
of Living with an Obsessive Cyclist

Cycling Widows 2

The Cycling Widow’s
SURVIVAL GUIDE

The Cycling Widow's Survival Guide

 

Beastly Encounters and The Cycling Widow’s Survival Guide are permanently FREE for anyone who wants to download them, and the other cycling-related ebooks will be running at a DISCOUNT for a very short time.  So if any of them takes your fancy, why not check them out and get them at a reduced price while the offer is on?

With all these book projects going on, it might sound like I’ve got my nose too close to the grindstone.  Well, that’s probably true to some extent, but I do still make time to get out and about.  Earlier this year, Steve & I took a trip up to the Lake District, followed more recently by a weekend shimmying along the Tarka Trail.  (I have to admit, after a couple of weeks off the bike, my backside was in need of a rub – thank goodness for Steve!).

And for my NEXT ACT?

Although I haven’t strayed too far into campervan territory with the above books (the nearest I’ve got is Corny Cove), my latest writing project does involve a chap with a campervan.  I’ve been beavering away on this one these past weeks now.  However, this is the first place I’ve mentioned anything, as the project is still under wraps, so I don’t want to give too much away at this point – I’m still in the ‘creative stage’ where anything could happen!

NEWSLETTER Homepage Link

Want NEWS & OFFERS?

As well as posting my latest news & offers on the Pyjama Writer Blog, you can also sign up to the Pyjama Writer NewsletterBy doing so, you’ll receive a free download as well as pick up the latest news and offers (some subscriber-only).  Just click on the image above to find out more.

By the way, I post far more regularly on the Pyjama Writer Blog – eg you can pick up a free read in the FREEBIE MONDAY slot each week.  Why not try it out?

Best wishes, and I hope you’re making the most of the summer – even if it does rain sometimes!

Alannah
Alannah Foley

HOW to help SPREAD THE WORD…

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Filed under Misc, Other Books/Reviews

PAPERBACK out NOW – Tales from Corny Cove

Tales from Corny Cove by Alannah Foley
TALES FROM CORNY COVE
Life in a Cornish Paradise…
What could Possibly Go Wrong?

My latest book is out now in paperback and I’m posting news of this on the Campervan Capers blog because I think it’s bound to appeal to a few campervan lovers.

The tales are set down on the beautifully rugged Cornish coast, where Henry & Margaret have moved to run a campsite in the hope of ‘living the dream’.

A reminder that the Smashwords Summer Sale is on till the end of July, in which you can get the digital version for FREE.

For all the info, visit the Foley’s Forum blog.

 

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Filed under Cornwall, Freebies & Offers, Other Books/Reviews, Reblogs & Shared Links

PREVIEW & FREE eBOOK… Tales from Corny Cove

Tales from Corny Cove - due for release 6 July 2014I recently blogged a brief message about my forthcoming book, which I thought would be of interest to those of you into campervanning, beautiful landscapes, holidays, or who just love Cornwall.  So in this blog, I thought I’d tell you a bit more…

The novel-length book is called Tales from Corny Cove (Life in a Cornish Paradise…  What could Possibly go Wrong?) and it’s set on a fairly remote cliff-top campsite in Cornwall, England, overlooking the golden sands of Corny Cove beach.

The main characters, Henry & Margaret, move down south to ‘live the dream’, only to discover that this involves dealing with a few nightmares, too.

Set during the course of a typical British holiday season, the interwoven tales are full of twists, turns, and tickles, with the bespectacled Henry having a hard time from the likes of ‘Rusty’ Gates, the obnoxious red-bearded farmer next door, and campers like the brutish Mr Botherham and unruly Mrs Gladstone.

As you can imagine, with delightful picturesque landscape on the one hand, and a host of bothersome characters on the other, life at Corny Cove can be both a blessing and a curse.

Beastly Encounters - Free eBook - Tale #1 from Tales from Corny CovePREVIEW & FREE eBOOK available NOW!
I’ve recently been posting up-to-the-minute news about the book on my Foley’s Forum blog.  In a nutshell, I’ve been posting Sneak Peeks, you can preview the first 20% of Tales from Corny Cove on Smashwords prior to its release on 6th July (2014!), and you can also get the first tale, Beastly Encounters, as a free ebook.  So why not download it now?

Remember!  You DON’T need an eReader to read any of my books.  Printable & screen-readable versions are available, as well as formats for your favourite eReader (including Kindle, iPhone & iPad!).

SHARE & LIKE!
Everyone loves to hear about free stuff, so why not share the above links with people you know?  On each Smashwords book page, you can also click a button to LIKE it on Facebook, Tweet it, or pass on the good news via other social media networks.

WHAT’S NEXT?
I hope you’ll celebrate the launch of the ebook version on Smashwords on Sunday 6th July.  It will then be distributed to the likes of major outlets such as Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.  Shortly thereafter, I’m looking to publish in digital on Amazon and in print with CreateSpace.  You can subscribe to the Foley’s Forum blog to ensure you don’t miss out on any news & offers.

CAMPER LOVE by Jamie Tinney - click to preview it on AmazonDID YOU MISS…?
Camper Love is the latest release from Summersdale Publishing – a photo-book which I’ve been invited to review.  So if you’re into VW campers, check out my last blog which gives you the low-down on the book, as well as a few luscious Dub pix.

I know the weather is fickle here in England, but I hope those of you who live here have been getting out and enjoying the recent sunshine – be it in a camper, or just sitting out in the garden and mopping up the rays!

HAPPY SUN-WORSHIPPING!  (While it lasts!)

Alannah
Alannah Foley

 

 

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Filed under Cornwall, Other Books/Reviews

Sneak Peek at the New Book

If you’re into campervanning,
or love Cornwall,
you might just be interested in
my forthcoming book
set on a Cornish campsite:
TALES FROM CORNY COVE

“Tales with twists, turns & tickles…”

Click for a sneak peek at the first tale
on the Foley’s Forum blog…

And remember to
pass on the good news!

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Filed under Cornwall, Misc, Reblogs & Shared Links

CAMPERVAN CAPERS 2 – Launch Celebration!

AFTER the recent launch of Campervan Capers, I’m happy to be able to announce the release of a free sequel, CAMPERVAN CAPERS 2.

As many of you will know by now, the book is an adaptation of the Campervan Capers blog entries from 2011, which I wanted to publish for free in a handy eBook format.

Now, I know the word ‘eBook’ will send shivers down the spine of a few folk who still haven’t got an eReader (ironically, you can count me in!), so it might come as a surprise to know that my publisher, Smashwords, offers all my work in formats not only for eReaders – like the Kindle & iPad – but also in formats for home printing – eg PDF – and reading on your computer screen.

Why release the Campervan Capers blog entries in book format? you may be wondering.  Well, although the blog is free to read for anyone with a computer or other internet-enabled device, publishing as an eBook will open our travel stories up to a-whole-nother audience.  In fact, since the publication date, only a few days ago, I’m amazed to see that the new book has already been downloaded 32 times!

For those who are new to this blog, it’s worth mentioning here that there’s also an original Campervan Capers book and, as with the blog/sequel, the stories follow me & my partner, Steve, as we embark on various mini adventures in our campervan.  My aim is to write in a style which is both light-hearted and practical, so as to entertain as well as pass on tips we’ve picked up along the way.

Now, I hope you’ll all forgive me for publishing Campervan Capers 2 slightly later than anticipated – my excuse being that I’ve been putting together more photos of our travels on Flickr and short videos for the Campervan Capers books on my new YouTube channel.

WHAT TO DO NEXT?

Well, why not visit my Smashwords Author page direct, where all my published works are listed.  Some, like Campervan Capers 2 and The Welsh Leek Conspiracy (adapted from the original Campervan Capers book), are free.  And you can sample 20-30% of the rest for free, too.

Alternatively, you can go to my Foley’s Forum website, where there’s information on all my books as well as a whole load of other free-to-view stuff such as short stories, articles, poetry & photography.


SUMMER SALE!

Did you read the recent blog about the Smashwords Summer Sale?  If not, just click the link to find out how to get discounts on all my books for the entire month of July!


COMING UP (SOON?)…

Steve’s still doing a fair bit of cycle training at this time of year, but I haven’t given up hope of pinning him down at some point to write something for the next Steve’s Cycle Shorts.  Once I do that, you can rest assured you’ll be reading about our latest trip up north in ‘Old Bessie’ (as Steve calls our campervan)…

In the meantime, if you missed the last Tour of Flanders blog, along with a ‘words & pictures’ video treat, then why not click the link to check it out?

As ever, I remind readers that, if you’d like to be kept informed of the latest news & offers, why not subscribe to the blog to automatically receive an email whenever new posts appear – thus saving you the hassle of checking for updates?

Hope you enjoy reading!

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Filed under Campervan Capers book, Cornwall, Devon, Isle of Wight, Photography

Wheals of Clay

 WHEAL MARTYN
China Clay Country Park
St
Austell, Cornwall

Daytrip – Mid-October 2011

Ever wondered who made the ‘pyramids of Cornwall’?  Or what Cornish commodity could possibly be more lucrative than the pasty?  Stay tuned to find out…

For two days in October, members of the local Friends of Luxulyan Valley (like ourselves), were granted free entry to Wheal Martyn, just a few miles from St Austell in mid-Cornwall.  Thanks to them, I can pass on these insights into this China Clay site which is a combination of museum, showcase of past & present clay working, and nature park.

IT’S MINE – ALL MINE!

Barely had Steve & I crossed the threshold into the visitor centre than we were greeted by a kindly volunteer guide who told us a bit about Wheal Martyn – ‘wheal’ being a Cornish word meaning ‘mine’ or ‘pit’.  We were surprised to discover that the slopes surrounding the site are the result of waste materials being piled up over the years.

Just in case you weren’t sure… This is a dummy, not Steve! (Steve hasn’t got a moustache.)

After walking through the gift shop reception, we were led through a series of inventive displays relating the story of Cornwall’s China Clay heritage…  A ‘talking portrait’ of William Cookworthy telling you how he first found local clay in 1746…  A Victorian ‘Kettle Boy’ at the door of a work shed painting a picture of his working day…  Videos showing how the clay was (and still is) taken from the opencast mines and processed before it heads off to various countries around the world…  And much, much more…

Spot the tiny Tonka truck! (Clue: it’s yellow & it’s somewhere in the bottom left-hand corner.)

WHAT A SITE!


As we left the centre, we looked around.  It was quite something to get your head round the fact that all these hills were the result of years of clay mining.  Wherever there is Cornish clay mining, you’ll also see the huge ‘sky tips’.  These ‘pyramids of Cornwall’, made of waste from the mining process, no doubt gave the Egyptian tourist board something to worry about when they first appeared!

The Eden Project (also near St Austell), has turned another of the county’s legacies – an old quarry – into a thriving tourist attraction with its famous, iconic biomes housing tropical and Mediterranean plants.  And a whole network of Clay Trail routes has been created in the area – you can even walk or cycle from Wheal Martyn to St Austell and the Eden Project after your lunch if you fancy it.

Cluey readers among you will probably have noticed how shockingly long it’s taken me to post this blog.  All I can do is apologise to my faithful subscribers, who have no doubt been pulling their hair out waiting for it (not!).  Unfortunately, my blog entries have had to take a backseat to other things on my list lately…

 

COOKING THE BOOKS

I’m still plugging away at the Campervan Capers book as well as getting sets of photos ready to accompany it.  And as I’ve also been spending time publicising my other recently-released eBooks (click links for more info), I’ve put back the release date to around springtime next year.

LATER POSTSCRIPT…

My book is now finished, so you can now read about our adventures in Campervan Capers. Available at all major outlets online. Click here for more info.

CAMPERVAN CAPERS

COMING SOON…?

I’ll keep you all informed as things progress…  We’re still popping out in our camper occasionally, but nothing significant enough to write about at the moment.  In the meantime, have a fantastic Christmas break and we look forward to more CC blogging in the new year!

PS  Do you remember our Underground, Overground trip where Castle Drogo needed a decent wedge of money to fix its leaky roof?  Well, the good news, according to the National Trust, is that they’ve had a cash injection now of just over half a million.  The bad news?  They are still a few million down.  Luckily, lottery funding may able to help to ‘plug the gap’ – err… both literally and metaphorically!  Click for more info about the appeal.

 

 

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Filed under Cornwall, Doorstep Daytrips, Our Campervan Capers

The Land of Arthurian Legend

Journey Date

Daytrip – 30th Sept 2011

Destination

Tintagel, Cornwall

When it comes to holidaying, people are renowned for neglecting their own locale in favour of somewhere farther afield.  Over more recent times, however, we’ve been making a point of sucking the marrow out of the local tourist destinations (as it were).  And, as we had a visitor over from Down Under who was keen to visit Tintagel Castle, we fired up the campervan for another daytrip.

MONEY FOR MYTH…?

The site of Tintagel Castle, set on Cornwall’s north coast, is now owned by English Heritage and, as most of you will know, it’s the birthplace of King Arthur – or, should I say, the legendary King Arthur…?

Having paid our entrance fee, we were treated to a short video about the site, which made it clear that the story of King Arthur is not necessarily fact, but may actually fall into the realm of myth.

Hmm…, I thought, we fork out good money to see King Arthur’s birthplace, and then we find out the guy might never have existed!?  Well, we were here now, so I guess we’d have to make the most of our day – King Arthur or no King Arthur.

ARTHURIAN ATMOSPHERE

Now, I could have regaled you with tales about having visited a bleak, windswept coastline and it might have sounded quite atmospheric, what with romantic monarchic legends haunting the landscape.  Unfortunately, it was a beautiful day which showed off the last of the summer sunshine, so much so that our Ozzie visitor probably thought he was back home.  I apologised for the good weather, promising that it actually was normally much more overcast and gloomy here in England.  Better luck next time, eh?

Apparently, Tintagel Castle was built about 500 years ago (some time after the not-sure-he-even-existed King Arthur was supposed to have lived).  However, before we were to see any of the ruins, we would have to scale a heckuva lot of steps.  And I don’t use the word ‘scale’ here lightly.  The steps were so steep that one lady had to lift her dog up them.  And don’t get me started on wheelchair access – which would have been impossible unless you had a winch.

At the top of the first flight of steps were the remains of a fortification, now home to a solitary seagull.  Looking over the walls, it was clear that the sheer cliffs and lashing seas would have afforded strong protection against marauders – and, if nothing else, the steep incline would have wheedled out the unfit ones.

DOORWAY TO THE PAST

Descending the steps was almost as hairy as the ascent, and we moved on to another set of slightly-less-steep steps which led, through a medieval-looking doorway, to the main headland.  Here were the ruins of a stronghold built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in the early 13th Century.

Over the years, the headland has apparently seen many constructions come and go; and outlines of old buildings can be seen dotted about.  Thousands of pieces of pottery have been found in the area, which have led archaeologists to believe that Tintagel was the centre of a luxury goods trade, the likes of which are unknown in the rest of Cornwall.

On such a sunny day, the views from the cliffs were glorious; and I had to wonder what it must have been like living on the headland all those years ago, especially when it was cold, wet and windy.  Squalling winter days might make an atmospheric backdrop to films and TV shows about King Arthur and the (also legendary) wizard, Merlin (whose dwelling cave is said to have been somewhere down below the cliffs), but they can’t have been that pleasant to endure.

Can YOU spot the clot?

CLOTTED CORNISH…?

After we’d had enough exploration, it was time to head off to town so our friend from Down Under could experience a traditional Cornish Cream Tea.  Now, some say that Cornish folk aren’t that bright, but Steve & I have always thought that anyone who can charge a fiver for a bit of hot water, a couple of teabags plus scones, cream & jam – all of which are pretty cheap and left to the customer to look after – has got to be pretty canny!

Fully refreshed, we made our way home and our Ozzie friend spotted a sign for ‘Arthur’s Stone’, so we turned off to investigate.  No doubt, he was keen to see if this would lead us to the stone from which King Arthur pulled out his legendary (and possibly non-existent) sword, Excalibur.

Unfortunately, time was getting on and the entrance gates were locked.  We turned round and drove off.  My friend might not have shown it, but deep down I think he was disappointed at not having had a chance at trying to pull the sword from the stone.  Oh, well…  At least he’d been to see Tintagel Castle… even if Arthur was the stuff of legends and might not even have existed in the first place!

TIPS & CONCLUSIONS

  • Since there is no parking at Tintagel Castle, you need to find alternative parking.  We found a spot just before the town which was cheap at only £1.50 a day.  The Pay & Displays in town would probably cost a bit more.
  • Rather than take extended holidays, why not go for shorter local breaks and learn something about your area.  The money you’d normally spend on fuel can either be saved or spent on a treat and you avoid the hassle of having to load up the campervan.

For the foreseeable future, we’ll be taking our own advice and getting the most out of the campervan by making daytrips.  It’s a great way of exploring the local area whilst letting the van stretch its wheels every now and then.

COMING SOON…

We recently made a short trip out in the camper to undertake what would no doubt have looked to some like ‘strange goings-on’ off the A30 – all of which will be the focal point of another Steve’s Cycle Shorts soon.

Advice to Cycling Widows: To avoid disappointment, never ask your fanatical cycling spouse if he loves you more than his bike! You may not like the answer you get.

If you enjoy reading the Campervan Capers blog but don’t want to be bothered checking for new posts, then why not become a subscriber and get it sent to you by email?  Just enter your details under ‘Subscribe Here’ (in the right-hand panel) and let our ‘virtual secretary’ post one out to you automatically.

WHAT?…  THERE’S MORE?…

If you noticed the date of our trip to Tintagel, you’ll probably be wondering why it’s taken me so long to post.  What have I been doing all this time?…  Sitting on my backside?  Err…  Well, the answer is YES, actually, I have!

As it happens, I’ve been beavering away on my other writing projects so I can finally get round to working up a first draft for my Campervan Capers book.

LATER POSTSCRIPT…

My book is now finished, so you can now read about our adventures in Campervan Capers. Available at all major outlets online. Click here for more info.

CAMPERVAN CAPERS

 

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Filed under Cornwall, Doorstep Daytrips, Our Campervan Capers

Trusting the Locals

Journey Date

Two-nighter – Late September 2011

Destination

South West Cornwall

The saying goes that too much work can make Jack a dull boy – and it’s no different for Jill…  Having worked hard on my writing projects (as well as catching up on long-overdue household jobs) over the past months, a break in the camper was well overdue for Jack & Jill (ie Steve & me), so we booked a pitch down in West Cornwall for a few nights and headed off.

There was no let-up in the rain as we made our way down west, but rather than drive straight to our site, we decided to do a spot of sight-seeing instead.  After all, our blog readers don’t want to hear about two campervanners huddling inside their van doing nothing all afternoon, do they?  They want to read about a couple of adventuring souls unafraid of battling with the elements and getting soaked to the bone!

JURASSIC PARK & NOAH’S ARK…?

The remit for our break away was to make the most of our soon-to-expire National Trust membership, and a visit to Trengwainton Gardens near Penzance was first on our list.

Covering 25 acres, the Gardens were filled with magnolias, an amazing variety of rhododendrons, banana plants and ferns; and some sections would certainly have made a good background in a Jurassic Park-type film.

At this time of year, we’d missed seeing the place in its full glory.  Still, there was a large, walled kitchen garden to draw the interest.  For some reason, this was built to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark and, given the relentless rain, it looked like we might just need some kind of ark to see us through the afternoon.

One highlight of the kitchen garden was a stunning array of lettuces (looking enviably pristine and snail-free) plus several varieties of squash.  It was heartening to see that a few veggie beds had been cultivated by local school children, despite the fact that everything was now going to seed.

After a few hours wandering about the gardens, we were drenched, and headed off to St Buryan, just a few miles away.  Our site was the same one we stayed on for our Coast & Carn blog back in May.  A pitch in a farmer’s field, it had basic amenities and was away from the hustle & bustle.

A HILL LIKE NO OTHER

The next morning, we awoke to a completely different weather picture of glorious sunshine, which dried all our clothes before we headed off to the coast on another adventure.  Our destination was the Levant Mine & Beam Engine site not far from St Just, but on the way, we made an impromptu stop for a walk up what appeared to be ‘just another hill’.

In fact, it turned out to be the most westerly hill in Britain, with a Bronze Age summit cairn of a sort only found in Scilly and West Cornwall.  Over the centuries, it has had many uses: a site for burials, a hermitage and chapel (hence the hill’s name, Chapel Carn Brea), a beacon for fishermen, and a military observation post.  Pretty amazing!

IN ORE OF THE PAST

Levant Mine and Beam Engine is not only owned by the National Trust but is also a World Heritage Site; and an informative film sets the scene before you wander about the site.  Along this coast, whole networks of old mines exist; and you not only get to look down a few mine shafts but there are still remains of buildings and other installations along the coastline which once played a part in the mining process in one way or another – from getting the people down into the mines, to extracting water (many mines went far out to sea) to bringing ores ‘up top’ and finally to processing them.

Unfortunately, I missed out on seeing the beam engine (used to bring up ore) in operation; and the engine house itself was so chock-a-block with tourists, that I couldn’t see who was doing the talk inside.  The speaker, however, turned out to be the only surviving member of the original ‘Greasy Gang’ who restored the engine after 60 years sitting idle (the engine, that is, not the Greasy Gang).

Walking along the stunning coastline, with the aged buildings looking out to sea in their retirement years, I couldn’t help thinking about the vast differences between past and present…

For those working outdoors in the mining era, days would have been long and hard; and, having lived in this area years ago, I know the coast can have more than its fair share of dreary, wet and windswept days.  Working in the mines meant a long working day, let alone possible dangers such as flooding, arsenic poisoning and pit collapse.

As a tourist visiting Levant today, I had the luxury of basking in the beautiful weather; and the only toiling I did was to lift my camera to take pictures.

A MOUNT OF MONKS & MYTHS

The following day was another sunny delight and we were all set to go home – but not before visiting the third and final National Trust property on our list.

Still home to the St Aubyn family, St Michael’s Mount is set opposite the village of Marazion near Penzance, and is an iconic rocky island reachable via causeway at low tide, and boat at high tide.  Subtropical gardens frill the island at its base and a steep, cobbled incline leads to a medieval church and castle at the summit.

Somewhere along the line, I had got it into my head that the island was once used by pilgrim monks as a stop-off point before heading to the ‘partner island’ of Mont St Michel across the Channel and beyond.  However, the over-riding impression was that the Mount had been used over the years as a battlement – evidenced by the castle’s paintings of soldiers in various eras, numerous weapons on display, and a remaining army defence ‘pillbox’ in the lower grounds.

MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT!

Now, although it turns out that the Mount was indeed a major pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages, all manner of myth seems to surround the Mount, so you do have to be careful what you believe…  For example, there’s the legend of Jack the Giant Killer, who is said to have slain a giant living on the island.  Apparently his bones were found in the 14th Century, but conveniently, I saw none on our visit!

After descending from the stunning views and wind sweeping the summit, we had lunch and made our way home.  We might have had only a few days away, but we’d thoroughly enjoyed our break and made good use of our National Trust membership.

CONCLUSIONS & TIPS

  • It might seem obvious to say it, but take a trip away even if it’s only for a day or two.  Being out of your everyday environment can be most revitalising.
  • Plan ahead with meals.  I made up some nutritious, tasty grub before we went away (soup & pasta sauce) and put it in tubs so we didn’t have to do much food preparation in the evening.  That way, we could make the most of the day and chill out a bit when we were tired later on.
  • Take extra wet-weather gear.  If it’s rainy one day, you can be wearing a dry mac the next day while the other one dries.  Window racks or similar (plus pegs) are also invaluable for drying clothes on!
  • If it’s in your line of interest join an organisation like the National Trust or English Heritage.  Planning your trips around their destinations will give your trips direction and interest.  Since we’d visited most of the NT properties in our area, we decided not to renew our membership, but even if you join for a year, you’re supporting a good cause whilst getting good value for money.

 

COMING SOON…

Look out for another Steve’s Cycle Shorts which will be in the virtual post soon.  But, answer me this: how can it be that Steve’s doing another one of his Cycle Shorts when he hasn’t even been doing any cycling while we’ve been away?  Solve the enigma in our next blog spot.

This year, we packed in most of our travelling in the early season, to spend some quality time at home over the busy summer.  But we may just manage to fit in a few more trips before the weather closes in on us and we ‘shut up shop’ on our campervan capering for a while.

In the meantime, we have another mini adventure about The Land of Arthurian Legend which will be posted soon.  So stayed tuned if you don’t want to miss it…

 

You can also read about our adventures in my book Campervan Capers. Available at all major outlets online. Click here for more info.

CAMPERVAN CAPERS

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