The day I supplemented a seagull's diet

Trip Start Jun 18, 2005
Trip End Jul 26, 2005

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Today was our day for packing in as much of Cornwall in as we, Cornish pasties, seaside strolls and quaint country towns were on our checklist. And seaside donkeys, if at all possible.

We dropped Fleur off at uni, (she's just finished her PHD about natural selection) and then it was Mary's turn to drive the diesel demon we'd hired. Admittedly she got the more tricky driving, as Cornwall is full of narrow streets that SHOULD be one-way, but are not. But after a terribly amusing stalling incident in the middle of a roundabout, we were safely on our way to St Michael's amazing place, where we were able to check off much of our list all at once...gorgeous quaint village, cornish pasties with the bonus of a gorgeous castle on an island just off the coast. Very Famous Five.

After boating over to the island and checking out the view from all angles (you can walk to the island at low tide), we had our pasties and then drove on to Penzance, which was disappointingly pirate-less. So we kept driving and went to the Minack Theatre at Portcurno. This is an amazing theatre, literally carved into the side of this dramatic cliff, so the backdrop is amazing. Funnily enough, (well, for us,not for the patient) there was a helicopter rescue from the cliff while we were there, which took away a bit from the tranquility, but meant that we had quite the matinee performance. Doctors suspended from the skies and all of that.

We then crawled down the narrow cliff path ourselves (suddenly understanding how someone had come to grief there...they don't seem to believe in handrails here!)to the gorgeous beach. Yes, that's right kids, not all English beaches are ugly, grey, pebblelined and grim. The water was bright blue, the sand was a sandy colour and the water was...ok, it wasn't exactly warm, but it was quite bearable. So yes, we went for a quick dip, just to say we had swum in the English sea.

The southern most tip of England is called Lands End and has been lumbered with an ugly seaside theme park development, which does nothing for the surrounding desolate cliffs, so we did a whistle-stop tour and keep going to St Ives. This was more in keeping with the quaint town theme.

I indulged in a cornish icecream, which is possibly the nicest icecream I'd ever had...which was why I was devastated when a seagull the size of a wedge-tailed eagle swooped in between Mary and I and took THE WHOLE THING out of my hand, and then swallowed it in front of me. I gaped stupidly for a little while, while the winged marauder gulped his spoils of war and then flew away. I wasn't going to let him win, so I slunk back to the shop and bought another one, this time guarding it carefully against attack from the air. It seems that birds have it in for me these holidays. It clearly wasn't enough for them to make my plane 24 hours late, but they had to add insult to injury...what have I ever done to them???

In my feeble defence, the lady at the icecream shop did say that the seagulls were freakishly large in St Ives (see, I'm not exaggerating) and that it happened to lots of people. I wouldn't be surprised if dogs and small children had also fallen victim...
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