Courtesy of the eminent Mr. Rick Stein [all hail!], probably the most widely known town in the whole of Cornwall is Padstow, or Padstein as some wits like to tag it because of the plethora of the great man’s businesses in the town. Another of our lessons from BBC Radio Cornwall was that some typically inventive artist has conceived a controversial plan for a sculpture in Padstow harbour. The Padstow harbour sculpture project is seeking to erect a giant mussel shell, prominently positioned on the harbour wall, atop a support resembling a curved lamppost. The sculpture and support will be ~5 metres (~16 feet) tall. The siting of the sculpture is critical because – and here’s the clever bit – the mussel shell is to be engineered to open and close with the rising and falling tide. Merveilleuse! The controversy is at least partially caused by the thought that the giant bivalve will be very prominently placed and, paraphrasing one local, will not be in keeping with the ambience of the town and will be unavoidably in your face. Whilst I find the idea of the sculpture and particularly its engineering fascinating, I think I’m inclined to agree with my paraphrased local.
After yesterday’s almost incessant rain, we were all a little stir crazy. Since we had an appointment with a valid tasting of a decent Cornish pasty, we headed for Padstow where the Chough bakery (one business that’s nothing to do with the eminent Mr. Stein) supplies some of the best. Padstow suffers in the very same way that Port Isaac now suffers; it was always a popular tourist destination and Mr. Stein’s media presence has made it even more so. After two circuits driving round Padstow’s narrow streets at walking pace, all the while carefully avoiding swarms of inattentive, wandering tourists doing their level best to demonstrate Brownian motion, we finally found a 30-minute parking spot and extracted our mothers with their rollators to sample traditional steak, potato and swede [rutabaga, in Amerispeak] pasties whilst overlooking the harbour. One advantage of rollators is that they come equipped with brakes and a seat for occasions when the fixed civic seats are all occupied; les mères appeared very content.
With the sun continuing its rare appearance, we continued driving into and out of various dead end roads to various Cornish bays before ending up at the National Trust’s Carnewas and Bedruthen Steps. Francine was quick on the draw with her NT membership and, after pausing for a witty natter with a jovial car park attendant, we got les mères to roll/wander into the cafe tea garden where they could slurp a cuppa and sit in the sun while we went to peer over the cliffs and admire the awe-inspiring view.
An observation on mobility difficulties: were les mères more disabled and in wheelchairs, they’d have been able to enjoy the Bedruthen Steps view whereas the rollators, not being 4WD, can no more negotiate the the gravelly track to the Bedruthen Steps overlook than they were able to negotiate the cobblestones outside the Jamaica Inn. [No, I don’t wish being more disabled upon them, being wheelchair-bound is clearly more limiting in other ways, but I thought this restriction interesting.]
An enjoyable sunny afternoon but, if the weather guesses are anything like accurate, it may be all we get.