Watergate beach

Watergate beach

Once upon a time, when I first came to the UK, I shared an apartment with couple of friends; English friends this is. One Saturday they suggested that working is not on and we are going for a picnic. Now, I come from Southern Europe and for me a picnic is something you do sitting on a blanket on green grass, the sun is shining and children are playing around in their swim suits.

I looked out of the window and it was a dark and wet day.

‘What picnic?’ – I said – ‘Have you looked outside?’

At this point my friends looked at each other and burst out laughing; yes, I was again the ‘continental wimp’ who didn’t know that picnic can be had in any weather – you just have to be prepared to drive somewhere, find a nice prospect and eat your sandwiches in the car.

This is a very English picnic; a very English holiday by the seaside is similar, I am discovering. John and I have been spending that last three days in Cornwall (Newquay) , by the sea. We came over to drive our son who is camping for a week with his friend’s family. We are not camping – couple of years ago I tried this one and discovered that I don’t enjoy it; also by the time I have paid for therapy and osteopath it works out far too expensive as well.

Generally our holiday has been wet and expensive. This is what I figured out:

There are many different kinds of rain but there is also a place specific patter. In Manchester it rains like in ‘Hundred Years of Solitude’ – it starts raining and it gently rains for hundred years. In Newquay you don’t get rain, it is a deluge that soaks you in seconds and then if you can’t swim there is trouble.

  • It doesn’t matter whether it is raining or not – the English are out on the beach having great time.
  • They swim wearing wet-suits and the beaches don’t have sun-shades – they have wind-breakers and tents to shelter from the rain and cold.
  • There are places where rain is glorious or at least I don’t mind it so much but the beach is not one of these. In the rain the beach is just sad. Oh, and the place where rain doesn’t matter is Scotland.

I kept to my continental conviction that beaches should be bathed in sunshine and warmth so sitting on the beach in a tent, under sleeping bags was not an option. Instead we had a wonderful day visiting interesting places in the area.

First we went to St Ives – a lovely little town on the sea and well known artists’ Mecca. Charming architecture, beautiful sea and light! This is why, this little town has a Tate gallery; a small but interesting one. Looking at modern art on a wet afternoon is an enjoyable way to pass time.

St Ives beach from the Tate

St Ives beach from the Tate

Remember some time ago I was telling you about Cape Point – the place where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet? Well, today we went to Land’s End – the most Western point of England.

Land' End1

We also discovered that our SatNav has great sense of humour. When we arrived at Land’s End it told us we have got into a ‘dead end’ and we should make a U-turn. Of course we were in a ‘dead end’; after all there is nothing between Land’s End and America except couple of islands.

Land's End

Apart from keeping off the beach and playing tourists we have been over-eating, under-sleeping and generally…well, having a mini-holiday. How much this costs us I’ll tell you when we are back home.