James Matthew Atkinson

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24th July 2014 at Gretna Green

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Main » 2014 » December » 1 » Two go for a Wonder in Cornwall 2014
9:22 PM
Two go for a Wonder in Cornwall 2014


Cornwall is Julia and my top destinations to visit and we decided that we should go again. We set off for 2 weeks of relaxed Cornish holidaying. It was a shame the weather was utterly appalling when we set off. I had to wear waterproofs loading the damn car as the rain was bucketing it down. Quite a bit of the car journey was in bad weather and it took ages to get to our cottage near Padstow. I think we set off around 10.30am and ended up getting to our place at 9.30pm. It is the latest we have got there. I just did not want to rush as going down the motorway and seeing the ridiculous speeding in poor conditions was insane. There should be instant bans, we saw the results of such poor driving on the A30. There were backlogs and we finally got to the scene of a multiple RTC. There was debris strewn all over the road. We had to circle around smashed cars, glass and plastic. Not to mention one poor old guy trapped in a car with breathing apparatus on. The rain was pouring and ambulances were everywhere and yet passing that scene we still saw speeding. I must admit we were glad to get our destination in one piece.  
Once in our Riverside cottage Julia and I took it easy. In fact we were shattered and had already got croissants and milk from a Tesco we go to near Wadebridge, unpacked a bit and went to bed. The next day we saw a lovely Kingfisher through the upper patio doors. The cottage looks over the Camel Trail and the little river is home to all sorts of wildlife. We enjoyed seeing him just sat taking in the scene while having a (late!) breakfast. One thing we never have is internet at the Riverside cottages so rely on Bt Fon and our account to tap into local networks. Means opening windows but it is not a big thing. When we were last in the same set of cottages I used it for work so was using my IPhone out in the car as a hotspot and connecting the MacBook to that. What a mad carry on. Glad I don't use it for work now and only for personal bits and bobs.
Julia and I went to Truro as I wanted to put a cheque into the Halifax and we needed shopping. In the end we stayed quite a while. It was busy as we went on the Saturday. I bought a gilet from Mountain Warehouse go go under a Goretex top I have and we went into the delightful cathedral. I recently watched a BBC 4 documentary on Gothic designs through the ages and wanted to see the marvel. Marvel it was too, there were the Truro Choral Society practicing Orpheus, Mozart and something by Russell Pascoe called 'Music!' It just sounded magical. The building was alive and you could imagine the experience in the years after completion. We had a lovely meal at Hubbox. Tasted so fresh and was well worth the money. Looked to be a converted chapel. Julia looked in Lush, that place is busy. It has a brilliant business philosophy and I hope the marketing holds true that they have Eco values. I know the items are expensive but seem high quality and well designed. Julia and I came home in the dark and felt tired. Julia bought Fabreeze as she did not like the smell of the sofa.


Note; I am writing the next part directly from the diary entries I took of the holiday -
Today is Sunday 16th November and it has been mild in Cornwall. We were up very late and felt worse for it. We decided to get our skates on and walk the All Saints route to Padstow that is right outside the cottage. It was very boggy and I was glad for walking boots but Julia didn't have as good walk wear. We got to Padstow and love it there. Where we came into the town it was past an old campsite I once stayed at with an old mate called Gareth. We were daft then as we walked all around with rucksacks full of gear. I could not do it now but seeing the old (closed for winter) site reminded me of those good times gone by. It is a shame that we don't see each other now. I did notice he was a tattoo artist with his own studio in York called Talisman Tattoos. He seems to be successful which makes me feel happy, and he is married which is a bonus!


Walking the All Saints Way
I digress as Julia and I were enjoying the walked through the top of the town with its palm tree gardens and white fronts. The atmosphere is pure seaside and the views they over look of the camel estuary must be fabulous. We needed a drink so went and had one at the Shipwrights Inn at the Quay and it was lovely. Julia had a pear cider while had St Austell Tribute and we just had chips. We bought two hats at Mountain Warehouse and set off back. By goodness it was a slog. The light was fading and we made it back in the dark. Because it was muddy in parts we were covered so had to clean our footwear and now the clothes are in the wash. We both have showered and sat down watching Stephen Spielberg's Warhorse which was clever and Julia's favourite books. Then it's Carl Fogerty in I'm a 'Celebrity get me out of here'. We are discussing what to do tomorrow. I have a guy coming out from autoglass in order to repair a chip in the car windscreen.
Monday 17th
Well it started with rain, heavy rain. We stayed in for the Autoglass man. He is coming from St Austell so at the moment I am hoping he does not have wasted journey due to the chip being quite small! Then we are thinking where to go. I need to put a cheque in and we are thinking Eden Project but will have to see what the day brings from now. We are watching the Waltons as I type so are in great spirits. I just wish Wi-Fi was easy to get here so updating was not so difficult.
Autoglass man couldn't repair the chip as it was too small. The rain was lashing it down as we were discussing the issue. Julia and I went around the houses to put the cheque in. We were heading to St Austell but did not like the look of it so did not stop and went straight to Truro instead. Needed a Halifax and had to ask a helpful Policeman in the end. Searched all round for a coffee shop but ended up in a BHS restaurant! The parking ticket was running out so we had to go somewhere to eat. It was not a great meal. Julia wanted to do to Hobbycraft so we went on the way to the cottage. What a huge place, even saw some Tamiya models like a shop that used to be Harrogate called Collinsons. They used to have a free Tamiya catalogue I used to get. It was brilliant. Although I am not into war models there were fabulous ones beautifully photographed. They had the models at Hobbycraft including all the cars, planes and motorbikes. Incredible to see and a was tempted but have too many other hobbies. The trip back was really wet and I felt quite tired so was glad to get to the holiday cottage. Had a good internet connection earlier so was looking at ideas to go to tomorrow. Think it will be St Ives as Julia wants a bag (she bought a skirt from Seasalt in Truro today) and maybe Jamie Oliver's fifteen at Watergate Bay.
Tuesday 18th
St Ives day today. We were up late again but got ready and set off. It is 40 odd miles away so it is twice as far as Truro. Downloaded a great little app called Ringo that let's you pay for your parking without change. It took a while to find a car park but once there we were straight on the beach. It's a lovely place full of back alleys and a picturesque harbour. We went to a few shops as Julia wanted a bag from Cath Kidston. She ended up with some patchwork pieces from there too. The staff were very friendly but the store is not my bag (no pun intended!) We made our way up the street where all the shops are. I noticed that there were lots of cars going down the wrong way in the small cobbled street. A shop keeper said it is due to some road works or something which must be quite annoying for the locals. One incident really stood out for me. I went to Musto as there was a jacket I was interested in with a Gore-Tex membrane. I like Musto as it very much reminds me of working at Hein Gericke and the quality that the products signify. I went to the St Ives Musto as previously I have had a decent customer service there but not this time. At Hein Gericke I always made sure customer service was a number one goal. The staff in the stores were trained to help and, to me, Gericke products were better quality than any Musto ones I have purchased. So when I walked into Musto St Ives I did not expect the complete disregard that the male and female staff gave me. I was in the store for ages asking questions with little friendly interaction or interest from the staff. Really pathetic and disappointing with utter obnoxious reactions. There was no sale when others came in whereas when I have been in to Mountain Warehouse in Truro, Padstow and St Ives the staff were great with other customers actually purchasing too. I will see what Padstow Musto brings. Musto, of all stores down here, need more staff interaction than most other stores due to the product cost and technology. Very poor.
Julia and I went to The Tea Shop on the quay front and had lovely hot drinks and sandwiches. We wanted to go to a pasta restaurant on the front but it had closed at 3pm. It was nice to walk back across the beach to the car. We finished the day, after shopping at a local Tesco, relaxed in the cottage.


Julia at St Ives
Wednesday 19th
I had got to bed far too late last night so, in turn, struggled to get up. In fact I was up at around 9.30am and was not awake properly until 10.30am. We wanted to get out in order to travel to The Eden Project St Austell. The weather was raining and quite cold too. Was annoyed, as it has not been great weather since we got to Cornwall. We did have a good day, as the Eden Project is a superb place to visit. I was interested to find that the rainforest biome was not as warm as I remember or as humid. I had to have all my layers on but Julia found it quite warm. There were visitors walking around with shirts and T-shirts so maybe it is just me. The coffee there was nice but due to the weather we toured the biomes and stayed until it was closing time at 16:00. While there I got some bread on offer for half price. When we came home and had some it was gorgeous. Qat and ale loaf, just lovely!



Thursday 20th
I got up late yet again. We had decided to go to Padstow and on the beach we like. We set off and the sun was out. We went into some shops including one Julia likes called Seasalt as she wanted a particular bag that the branch in Truro said could be in Padstow. Unfortunately it wasn't but Julia bought herself a jute bag in consolation! I wanted to go to Musto to see what the service was like in comparison to the awful welcome at St Ives. Well how different it was. I wanted to look at a particular jacket and the assistant there was superb. The lady even ordered the colour I want into the store as they did not have it. This is with no obligation to buy. I was impressed and Kieth Musto would be proud. St Ives needs to take note at how to keep customers. It is a good job for Musto we are near Padstow as they still have a customer.
Julia and I then went to the beach. The tide times did say the high tide was 15:50 and we found it coming in at 14:00. We had enough time to beach combing and that was fun. Julia loves doing that it is a shame the tide came in so quickly. I found what looked to be beach defences from the war. It brought on imagination of what happened at them during those times and also the intervening years. We ate pasties on the beach too and looking over the camel estuary is always relaxing. When we eventually got back to the car we just wanted to get to the cottage. Tonight we ate chocolate bought from Padstow Spar and Julia made a lovely tea. Tomorrow we are hopefully gong back to the Eden Project and I am hoping it will be better weather.


Friday 21st
Went to the Eden project again in order to go around the outside biome. The weather was terrible. Mist was out and the rain was mostly non-stop. I was head to toe in Gore-Tex and Julia had her brolly up most of the time. It was still very enjoyable apart from the misty drive back. The road to Padstow from St Austell is twisty and rises so tends to be misty on the tops.
The one aspect I did notice at Eden was that the weather seems to have played a part in the outside biome as there were not as many plants and part of the banking had sunk with warning signs visible. Once we had been rained upon more than we could bare we went inside and had another lovely coffee (Julia a hot chocolate) and those fabulous cakes. Once going outside again, and visiting the RHS Chelsea winning memory garden, we went into the Core building. It is an amazing design and environmentally friendly in its build. The only criticism I have is that since visiting in 2011 the exhibitions look a bit tired. Things don't work on them and parts are missing. That is the same for some of the outside biome exhibits and information plaques. I have a feeling that is why a guide booklet is useful.
Julia went out of the core a few minutes earlier than me in order to go to the shop as she wanted to view a garden pot. I exited a different way as usual and saw a cosy stable and went over the walkway which had a glorious view of the site. Julia didn't find her pot but we got some nice jam and she found more of that great bread. When we got back to the cottage we simply fell asleep.


Saturday 22nd
I got up slightly earlier today even though Julia was up about 8am! We wanted to be out as the tide was out around 11am. We got to Daymer beach so we could walk to Rock. It was annoying to start with as there was a rough looking guy at the ticket machine who just said 'how many hours?' in an incredibly unfriendly tone. No please or thank you, it was horrendous. I have been to that beach a number of times and was shocked at the attitude. It was only £3 for the whole day so was OK price wise, it is mainly the attitude that got my gears in a grind. We spent over 4 hours walking and the sun greeted us so it was a nice day out. At the start of the adventure we unfortunately saw a dead seal with a puncture wound in its neck. It was quite upsetting to see as it was right below the car park and was quite fresh, poor little seal.
We walked to Rock instead of going to Polzeath as the tide was out and the sun was shining. It was a long walk back as we felt hot and the tide was coming in. Rock itself is a nice place and full of a great deal of wealth and lovely houses. When we got back to the car there was a feeling of just wanting to get back for tea and sandwich. Julia made lovely sandwiches from the ale bread we got from Eden. Then we fell asleep again! Julia then preceded to make a lasagne which was superb. We ate it while watching Atlantis on BBC 1, as it is a top programme. We both loved a similar programme called Merlin so when that finished we were glad they commissioned a series in the same fantasy mould.



Sunday 23rd
Today Julia and I decided to go down the B3276 where there are some little coves. It is a great road that more or less goes from Padstow to Newquay. The plan was to go Watergate Bay or Newquay but we only made it to 3 coves. That was about 5 hours in total. Going down the B3276 you go by Saint Merryn where Rick Stein's 'The Cornish Arms' is situated. Today we went by it as we thought Sunday may be busy and had set off later than originally intended. This was due to me sorting the recycling and checked the car oil and water. I also drove down from our cottage to near where I think the British Telecom router is that we tap the Fon network off (though the Bt app and account!) I wanted to check with my Dad that he has found someone to replace the clutch on the Toyota Aygo. He is waiting to hear. We are very thankful for his help.
The beaches we went to were Trevone Bay, Harlyn Bay and Constantine Bay. We even walked from Constantine to Treyarnon and watched a surfer taking a few waves as it was getting dusk. The Bays were quite chilly even though I had Goretex on I was getting cold. Julia was alight as she was looking for her beach stones and shells. Harlyn Bay was good for her as there were loads to pick from.
The top cliff walk from Constantine to Treyarnon was fantastic. It was getting dusk and the waves were lashing the cliff edge. Although it was cold we had a good walk and a local old gentleman came up to us as we were watching the surfer. He was explaining the fact a few fatalities have occurred around that bay area. The surfer rode one wave that took him all the way to the beach. It was fun to watch but that water must have been cold. We turned back from there as we felt like a tea and something to eat. We did not get as far as Watergate Bay or Newquay but we had to great afternoon. It will be really hard to get back home as it is truly relaxing to just contemplate what to do the following day.


Monday 24th
The Cornish Arms was the order of the day. We wanted to check out what it was like due to people we met a few years ago saying it was nice pub fare. The pub was open for food between 12 and 3pm so we decided to go down to Harlyn Bay again and build up an appetite as we had already had breakfast. It was a lovely warm day so we really made good use of it. The sea can be mesmerising and it felt a big like that today. Julia was looking for her shells and stones. Before we knew it the time was gone and it was time to go get some lunch.
Rick Stein owns the Cornish Arms but going in there you see no sign of him on the walls, only his dog Chalky, what I could see. As Julia said herself, it is a good thing. This is due to the pub itself having no airs and graces. The food was lovely and the guy behind the bar was excellent. I suppose the only issue was that we spent far too much as we had desert and extras. We both agreed the prices were worth it. We both had hake, which was fabulous. Julia was speaking to him about the fact I had asked to take a picture off the wall so I could read it. The frame contained a newspaper article regarding the sinking of the UK HMS Warwick by a German submarine in 1944 near Newquay. It was incredibly interesting. Julia asked the barman if anyone had asked to take a picture off the wall before, surprise surprise the answer was no!
Then we went to walk it off down at Porthcothan bay. We went there a few years ago. The tide was coming in and the sun was setting but we needed that walk. As the sun set we ended up at Watergate Bay watching some brilliant surfers. It was getting really cold on that beach and the tide was coming in yet the surfers were out taking some top waves. They were walking back to the car park bare foot in their wetsuits with board in hand. I was very impressed and envious that they were able to do that. I'm not sure whether they live there all year round; it would be a gift to be in that position. We drove home and sat feeling stuffed and glad to be in the warmth. Watergate Bay is such an exciting place, it is a mixture of high class (with the hotels and new accommodation plus the Jamie Oliver Fifteen restaurant) and the surfing community with their Volkswagens and sticker laden pick up trucks. I remember those stickers such as Sex Wax, Fat Willy's Surf Shack, Weird Fish and the various surf retailers. Loved seeing them at that Bay, poor Julia was frozen though. That is how hardened those surfers were!


Tuesday 25th
When we woke today it was with the knowledge that both of us could not decide where to go. It did not come to me until I was having a shower. It did not help that we got up late. I suddenly remembered about Penzance and the Minack Theatre. I went there years ago in summer so we both agreed to go. Due to the late rise we set off at about 12. It was going to take about an hour and was around 45 miles away. The trip started with a piece of metal, that looked to be thrown from a truck in front, going under the car. It made a clattering noise so I stopped to have a check underneath. Thankfully everything looked fine.
Getting into Penzance I suddenly saw St Michaels Mount. Again, I had forgotten it and had been there years back. We carried onto the Minack at Porthcurno near Saint Levan and got stuck behind a slow tractor that we could not pass for at least 3 miles. I was conscious of the fact we had set off late and did not want the sun to set on us too early. When we got there it was £4.50 which was too much as we only had 2 hours. I wanted to see the museum but it was too late so we went down the coastal steps. They are really steep meaning Julia was facing her fear. She was frightened of the drop but did it so we could go onto Porthcurno beach. We noticed how different the beach was. The consistency was coarser and the shells were white. The sea was turquoise and it was very mild. Julia spotted a seal or two, it was incredible. We watched the sea for a while enjoying the setting sun and waves cascading over the rocks. It was the. Time for us to go back up the rocks and those steep steps. Julia was off like a shot and didn't look down. It was hard work going back up but we did it.
We then drove back through Penzance to Marazion and Saint Michael's Mount. It is a magical place. The town itself is one of oldest in Britain. The sun set as we watched the amphibious vehicle coming ashore for the last time dropping visitors off and then turning around to go back to the mount. It was amazing to watch, we both had never seen one before. The boat just rode out of the water with its wheels and did a 180-degree turn to reverse and lower it's rear door. It was impressive and we felt disappointed with ourselves for not getting there earlier in order to travel across. The Mount itself is owned and run by the National Trust and St Aubyn family. The National Trust owns and funds the upkeep after being gifted it by the St Aubyn family. The family run it day to day and still live in part of the castle after being there since the 17th century.
We then walked around the town as it was lit with just street lights. What a lovely, if traffic busy, little town. Both of us were hungry by that stage and couldn't find anywhere to eat so set off back. It was an hour to get to the cottage. We had lovely pizza made by my dear Julia.


Wednesday 26th
Today did not turn out as we had planned. The idea was to travel to the Bowgie Inn at Pentire Point at Newquay. As we set off, late again, there was a phone call. It was from the lady at Musto in Padstow saying the jacket has arrived for me to see. Julia took the call so we did an about turn and went to Padstow. It is only £1.70 for the whole day parking so we parked up and set off to Musto. Now I have to say that it was such a different experience at Musto in Padstow compared to the awful people in St Ives. The young lady in Padstow helped with all aspects of the sale. She even knocked off  around 13% due to my job, and I did not even ask. Yep, my faith in Musto is restored. Once getting the jacket we went to Rick Stein's shop as Julia wanted to look for a present and ended up with a few. I bought some fudge for my parents too, after all they funded the holiday and have sorts the car clutch for us. Not to mention looking after our house when we are in Cornwall.
Julia wanted some fish and chips so we noticed the Rick Stein Fish and Chip restaurant as we were going back to the car. We went for a walk down the original railway path and over the bridge that the train used to use. It is now part of the Camel Train and you are supposed to be able to walk down to our cottage at Little Petherick. We went a small way down but my feeling is that Julia really wanted those chips so we headed back.
We only just got to Rick Steins because, like lost places in Cornwall over winter, it closes at 3pm. We were there about 2.55pm so it were grateful they let us be served. The fish and chips were lovely. Mine were done in beef dripping and Julia's were vegetarian.
It was a trip to the lovely Port Isaac and Port Gaverne after our lunch. The dusk was coming in so I tried to get there as soon as possible. We parked at the top of the village in the council car park but did not have enough change. There was another older guy with the same problem and I mentioned that you can use the phone with an app called RingGo but it wouldn't allow a shorter stay so in this case was useless. You can ring too but it was the same with that option. The other guy got his mini iPad out after what I suggested but it was a waste of time. He came back with change from a shop and actually gave us £2! I told him we only need £1 but he said keep it. We were very grateful. The Port itself is where they film Dr Martin with Martin Clunes. It is a small port and we have never been this late in the evening. The sun was setting and there was a magic feeling. The tiny little streets are like a picture box village and the street and boat spotlights gave you a cosy feeling. By the time we got to Port Gaverne it was dark. The evening was mild so it was a climb to get back but it was worth it. We sat looking over Gaverne and sat taking in the darkness and water washing up on the beach. Then it was back to the cottage via those twisty roads. Getting back is a nice feeling. The under floor heating means it is a toasty environment to return too. We sat and relaxed again. Suddenly we can get wifi in the house, this is due (I think) to people moving into the large house next door and thankfully on BT with Fon. Julia was there with her iPad on Pin-interest while I could back up her device and mine and also make sure my finance spread sheets on numbers could be sent to Dropbox. I have been doing this since getting here and Wi-Fi to tap into has been hard to get. It has been a case of hanging out of the window at points!


Thursday 27th (last full day of holiday)
Julia wanted to go back and purchase a felt type reindeer head from the Eden Project shop. We were up at a decent enough time and both felt that feeling of the holiday coming to an end. Although the cottage is not perfect, compared to the next-door one we have hired before, we know that you tend to miss the place. Little aspects such as the owl on a night and peace and quite (from neighbours that don’t know how to behave)
Well we decided that after St Austell would be a trip to West Pentire, near Newquay, and the Bowgie Inn. First it was back to the Eden Project. It was the third time we had been to Eden but there is so much to do that it never gets boring. I had noticed a bridge with a stable the last time we were there and so we went over it to enter the site. The stable had the reindeer in it ready for Santa in December. Julia suspected that it might be for the reindeer when I explained I had seen it the last time we were at Eden. It was fantastic to see them. The male had large antlers but the lady that was with them said they were only six months old as he lost his last set. Very impressive to see and they were lovely creatures. I wanted to see the bee exhibition that Julia told me about in the Core building. I am glad I did, as it was very interesting. In fact I am thinking of starting beekeeping with the advice it gave regarding native black bees. Julia was desperate to get the reindeer head and so we went up to the shop. At the same time we bought soap to go with the presents we already previously bought for others. We said goodbye to Eden for 2014 then set off to get some food at the Bowgie Inn overlooking Crantock Bay.
It was a twisty trip there of around 40 minutes but once there it was well worth seeing what it was like. I had seen a post on Facebook where Tim Hayden (from my previous employment at Hein Gericke UK Ltd) had mentioned it a few times while in Cornwall with his wife. It certainly stands out, as the pub is purple. The view is quite unbelievable as it really does look over the full bay. The word is a Cornish one pronounced ‘Bow–Jee’ meaning cow shed. The main bar area we were in was called the ‘Pig Sty’ and was very cosy with that great view too.
Julia and I chose our food, she had the curry and I had the lasagne. Julia had a Rattler Cider and I had the Doombar from Sharps brewery near Rock. I always like to have Doombar while in Cornwall. The bottle conditioned ones are lovely but this time we didn’t actually go down to the brewery. The food at the Bowgie went down well and I looked around the pub too. It is a large place and well maintained. A real revelation, no wonder it is a popular place. We then walked down to the beach to walk it off. The sun was out and so were five surfers. The beach was large and glorious. The waves were perfect for those surfers. We wondered about the bay and I don’t think either of us wanted to go, as it was the last day in Cornwall. We walked back up the costal path in the direction of the pub car park where the car was parked. Before getting to it we sat on a bench overlooking the vista of the bay. Both of us knew we had to get back to our working lives but it was hard leaving there. Driving to the cottage we bucked up our spirits with comedy and listening to Simon Mayo like we used to while working together.
Back at the cottage Julia made baked potatoes after we relaxed and I reproofed my walking shoes. Julia is a brilliant packer and did a grand job with the Antler cases. By the time we were ready for bed we only had a few items to pack in the morning.


Friday 28th – The Trip Home
Julia and I had to be out of the cottage before 10am. This meant getting up in good time. I have a small Toyota IQ and the luggage space is not huge. This means packing it carefully. We had breakfast and got the recycling and rubbish out before starting on the car. We had more to take home, as there were all the items that we bought while in Cornwall. I think that we did well. There was enough space to look out of the rear view mirror. That is the only flaw with the Toyota, the entire luggage is behind the driver and passenger and there are 9 air bags. God forbid there is an accident as that is enough weight to squash us. I just hope those specially designed seats have extra strength. We set of at about 9.40am but got home at past 8pm. We stopped twice, once for coffee and secondly for the toilet. The problem was there were 2 mayor holdups. One was on the M42 and the other was around 17 miles on the M1. It was incredibly annoying as the car was full and I really did not want to drive at snail pace on the clutch. We were both glad to be home and the day after we pick Hubble up from the cattery. What to great holiday, it is always a shame when it finishes.

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Category: Holidays | Views: 821 | Added by: James | Tags: Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Bowgie Inn, Minack Theatre, The Cornish Arms, surfing, Eden Project, Cornwall | Rating: 0.0/0
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