Saturday, 27 April 2013

Getting away

You will have noticed that I made no reference to the leaving of Beaune in any way emotionally. It was not possible at the time of writing. It was too painful.

What made it somewhat bearable, however , was the change in the weather. Gerard, our fellow 'syndic' member who, with his wife Simone had had us for drinks one evening to 'get to know' us, told us some incredibly low number of hours of sunshine to date this year. [The syndic is our body corporate.]. Ben, the husband of our property manager Libbi told us that the weather prediction for the next few weeks is very bleak indeed, with heavy frosts and lots of cold rain. Our two weeks of sun have turned out to be fortuitous in the extreme!

On the subject of Gerard and Simone, it apparent that the Big G is the captain. He is the captain at home. He was the captain at work (now retired from his job at Pernod Ricard) and appears to be very much the captain of the syndic. Roger and Anna had accompanied us to drinks and Roger's assessment was that we had made a hit. This view was probably rammed home manifestly at the moment I looked deeply into Big G's eyes and solemnly vowed that the Roses were hell-bent on doing nothing but the RIGHT THING by the commune of residents at 28 Rue de Lorraine.

Six of us ripped through two bottles of cremant (Burgundian champagne) that night , accompanied by some lovely hors d'oeuvre prepared by Simone's own hand (or so we assumed). The evening was politely pleasant an we 'etrangers' beetled up to Appartrment Rose to a slightly overcooked bouff bourgignon accompanied by lashings of potato, salad and Bordeaux red wine. How perfect!

But back to departure time ...

The rain could be heard on our roof all night. We had done much of the packing and sorting the night before (the practice known in our family of "Boadle-Frawley-ing"), leaving only a little bit of cleaning to do on the morrow. I must say that the sound of rain on our roof was most comforting and reassuring in a funny kind of way. It was raining and we were snug as bugs in our own beds, inside our own apartment, inside the walls of our own town.

When you come to stay it will be YOUR bed in YOUR apartment (and so on). Go on, make a plan RIGHT NOW to come.


Leaving Beaune

Well we're all packed and ready to catch the 9:00 am train to Lyon, then on to Milan. My only other experience with Italy was not a good one because I had spent a 9-month cycling in Britain (in 1980) and a goodly part of Spain, Portugal and Switzerland and was yearning for the parched plains of Australia. I was not in a good mood.

So Italy now beckons with a whole new perspective in prospect. We will catch up with Andy and Grazyna again and it will be a hoot to hear of their adventures since we saw them last in Beaune. Graz is learning Italian, so she will be pretty headlong into the culture. As you all know, I am pretty fluent in that language, so I hope I don't upstage Grazyna with my rapid-fire conversations with the locals.

Anyway, DJ is giving me the 'look', so I had better hop up out of bed and get on with some serious train-catching.


Pat's for lunch

Bloody hell, I haven't told you about our afternoon at Pat's joint! This is a serious oversight, as this WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE DAY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE! [All excepting our wedding day of course.]

Pat embarrassed me totally by arriving at our apartment while I was out walking. I arrived home to see her chatting away with DJ, Roger and Anna. She had her latest beau with her- a lovely chap called Andre. From Annecy. Pat invited us four for lunch the next day (Sunday). It was great news, because Pat's neighbours Daniel (pronounced "Danielle") and Michelle were going to be there too. I had met them on my earlier trips.

Pat's son Sache came and collected us in Pat's car and five of us scorched our way up the valley to Echevronne in a four-seat Renault. Well, what a lunch! The meat was wild pig ("sanglier") roasted to within an inch of its life. [Succulent AS!]. The cheese, the desserts, the veggies - all gorgeously presented and YUMMY!

But the wine! The wine was beyond belief. Grand Crüe, every one, but get this - the first two bottles (after the sparkling and the vin blanc) were dated 1998. The last bottle to be wheeled out was 1993! With dust and cobwebs ALL OVER IT. Dark, brooding and foreboding, this was a serious wine.

This wonderful, long lunch was enjoyed in Pat 's dining room in a 16th Century house that had once been the presbytery of the village church. Pat pointed out that the garden was the site of an ancient cemetery and it was not unknown for her to dig up bones and other body parts in the past. Now that's pretty special.

Conversation bubbled and squeaked throughout the afternoon, with Andre who had worked for Rolex and sported a most impressive heavy gold one. He is Swiss and speaks French and German, but not so much English. He was sitting at my end of the table.

Pat was seated next to Andre, just near the door to the kitchen. She bustled and busyed herself all afternoon, with absolutely nothing that was too much trouble. I think Pat is one of my favorite people in the world!

At the other end were Daniel and Michelle, whose French was brilliant, but whose English is on a par with my French. They are retired art and craft teachers and they both continue their work with great enthusiasm. Now what these two lacked in English language they certainly made up for with conversation. This sounds odd, but there were no lengths to which they would go to get a point across. They were such fun! Daniel with an enormous laid-back approach to life and Simone with her genuine interest in we strangers was such a refreshing and enjoyable experience. We walked down to their house after eating and they showed us around. Wonderful house, sculptures, handicraft and ambience to the whole property.

Throughout the afternoon, the gorgeous 5-year-old Stella (Sache's daughter) and the same vintage (age) black labrador Goofy entertained and annoyed us in turn (mostly entertained, I have to admit). I have referred to these two before. Goofy can't speak any human language, but Stella makes up for this glaring shortfall in English and/or French as and when needed.

Sache hadn't appeared for lunch, but materialised when the time came to take us home. We had drunk quite a lot of wine, but did not feel particularly intoxi-bottom. Needless to say , however, we tumbled to bed that night with very little else by way of victuals.

An overwhelmingly sumptuous day!

None of we Australian guests took photos of this day, so the word pictures painted above will just have to do.


Friday, 26 April 2013


Bike riding has been most joyous. It is a pursuit that tends to be more enjoyable when undertaken on one's own vehicle. We collected our new bikes on the first Tuesday of our trip and were then able to travel out to the hardware shops and supermarkets that lie to the north of Beaune, right beside the tollway. We could now do it without the need to walk, or to wait yonks for a bus. Delicious!

Not only can we conduct house setting-up and maintenance in this way, but also venture well beyond the ramparts on tours to pastures green and wineries dormant. This we did on three occasions - twice to points south, viz Santenay and Chalon, and once to Point Snorth, ie Nuits-Saint-George.

I have regaled you with descriptions of these rides in prior postings, but no word can capture the splendor of this area. There are always new and wondrous sights to behold, as well as the familiar, everyday scenes of workers going about their daily tasks with good humour. Rolling through the vines, approaching a village or hamlet, then cruising their winding streets, by town squares and gorgeous parks, the cafes beckon for a stop and a coffee, all too easy to give in to.

We have worked out the best day's plan on the bike. First leave Beaune around 9:00 am. That's when the hire place opens and bikes for visitors can be collected from Cedric or Florian, two of the most helpful bike hirers IN THE WORLD. These chaps will let you know of any number of rides to be undertaken out of Beaune, all with good grace, understanding and enthusiasm, but I digress.

Leaving much after 9:00 am leaves too little time for lunch which, in France, waits for no man (or even DJ). So, morning coffee is taken in the morning, around 10:30 am in the town square of Meursault. This revives the cyclist and prepares him/her for a goodly grunt up an incline of moderate proportions and back onto some rolling countryside, passing an ancient windmill up on the hill to your right.

If lunch is not taken at the 3-hat at Puligny-Montrachet, or any of the other cafes in the town, one needs to bear in mind that the next opportunity lies quite some way off in Santenay, BUT ONLY IF ONE ARRIVES BEFORE 1:45 pm.

Roll on after lunch to the canal. Turn left onto the tow-path, on past the fisher-folk (men with extraordinarily long fishing poles) and canal-boaters, and on to Chagny, the train and home to Beaune.

Cost of train - 3.50 euros; cost of bike hire - 18 euros for the day. Value of day's experiences - priceless!


Restaurant Montrachet

One-Hat-Michelin. One-Hat-Michlin!! Did you hear that!??? DJ and I have done it. TWICE! One-Hat-Michelin. "How did this come to pass?", I hear you ask. Well, I shall tell you.

We knew about Resaurant Montrachet from our trusty bike hire chaps - Florian and Cedric, and had cycled past some time last year, pausing only to press our noses up against the window pane. This time we made plans to EAT THERE. Think of THAT!

Andy and Graz and we two tootled down one day in a hire car, and Roger and Anna and we two (again) cycled down one week later plus one day. That is, on Wednesday one week and Thursday the next. Twice WAS a little over the top, but R & A's son Hugh had just won a job at Vue de Monde in Melbourne and we were desperate for some bragging rights with him.

Well I have to say that I completely enjoyed the experience, even though I am certainly NOT the type of chap who enjoys fine dining (said as one would imagine Christopher Pyne saying it). There was more style evident these days as one would encounter anywhere on the north-western hemisphere. Thee courses were interleaved with palate-refreshers to absolutely die for! The courses themselves, it goes without saying, were delicious. All for the bargain-basement price of 28 euros! This smacks very much of a loss-leader to me, and probably was, but it allowed a pleb like moi to cut it with the hoi-polloi, if only for a couple of hours (times two).

It most likely that I will never again experience a Michelin anything ever again in my life, unless Hughy Allen invites me to a nosh-up in some high-faloutin' restaurant he runs for Shannon Bennett. And I don't deserve it - let's make that clear.

Looking great was easier last week with Andy and Graz because we were in a car on our way to Vezelay. With the Allens it was tricky because we were on our bikes, but with good clobber in bike bags and backpacks. A convenient park near an ancient cemetery provided the cover we needed for a quick change prior to sashaying in. Afterwards the gang used the conveniences, while I quickly changed my dacks in the street while watching the bikes.

That's enough for now. I'll leave you with a few shots from the trusty iPhone.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Daffodil thieves

WHO would ever think of DJ as a Daffodil Thief? Well, it's very sad to say, but its TRUE!! I shouldn't be surprised, really, because she does have FORM in this regard.

There was a time on an earlier trip when DJ and another friend whose moral compass I rate at a high level - Nada Cunningham - leapt a fence and gathered poppies from the roadside.

DJ and Susan Anderson once ripped down a poster advertising an art exhibition in Haute Provence (concluded the week before, to be fair) and took it for her own use.

... So here we see DJ AT IT AGAIN, this time with the assistance of GRAZYNA KULIG! Attached find the PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE of this nefarious behaviour.

Dear Jude, I arks you: "What would happen if EVERYONE who went by picked the daffodils!???


Monday, 22 April 2013

Bike ride

The four of us cycled south on Wednesday, off through the vineyards of the Cote de Beaune. The weather could not have been better, with cool breeze and blazing sun. Very friendly bike hire chaps - Florian and Cedric - saw us off at around 10:00 am (no one gets carried away with early departures here in Beaune) and we were soon wandering the slopes of the old Cote d'Or. There are a few up bits, but overall it is a gentle roll along through Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, down to Santenay, along the canal for a while and finally back to Chagny for a train ride home to Beaune (around 3 euros each).

You're right, of course, we did the same trip last year with Ally - "It's what you do". DJ and Grazyna got a little bit burnt, but only on un-sunscreened legs, so there's a lesson for us all.

One teensy mistake we keep making is almost missing lunch. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU IN FRANCE! Lunch goes off at 1:45 pm, so get to a restaurant in plenty of time. We paid the penalty today and only ended up with a scrummy cheese platter and salad, but there was no other choice at Restaurant Terroir ... We will return to this little gem, however, it looked great inside and comes with good recommendations.

The 45 km ride was just long enough for the gang and we caught the little train back to Beaune, where Florian happily retrieved his bikes and sent us off home for a lovely meal of left-overs from earlier gastronomic triumphs.

Wandering through vineyards in this way cannot be beaten - not on foot (too slow); not on a motor car (too quick); and certainly not hopping (too awkward, too silly). Rolling countryside, delightful villages, great company and the prospect of fabulous food. Words are not enough at times, are they?!


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Luxembourg TDF

We didn't have much time in Paris (two nights, one full day), but managed to fit in quite a lot of experiences. On our departure day there was a little bit of time available so we toddled down to the Luxembourg Gardens.

Now on an earlier trio we had seen a photographic exhibition of some tribes of the Sahara desert - the Tiguans and the Touregs. What caught our fascinations this time were the photos on the garden walls of past runnings of the Tour de France. Here are a few snaps.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Arriving Beaune 2013

Quite a gap since I last blogged, isn't it? Sozzles! Anyhow, to get you up to date, DJ and I 'trained it' from Penzance to Beaune in one day! Sounds like a slog, but really an enjoyable tootle through time, space and culture. We had risen early, deep in the bowels of Cornwall, hopped on the train to Paddington, on to St Pancreas, through customs on to the Eurostar, over and under to Paris, on to Dijon and thence to Beaune. A short walk to 28 Rue de Lorraine and we were home! Again: Pheeewww!

... And home it certainly felt like. It's a stunning town and a lovely apartment. I didn't quite carry DJ over the threshold, but we did have enough energy to hoik down to the super marche to get some basic provisions (read "alcohol"). ... Tomorrow Andy and Grazyna arrive.

... And so it came to pass that Andy a d Grazyna arrived, just as I said they would! They had taken the train direct from Charles de Gaulle airport to Beaune. Now this sounds like a good idea, but in reality it takes quite a few more hours because it runs to Lyon first (1 1/2 hour wait) and then north to Beaune. For future reference for you readers of this blog, and to be FAIR to A & G, coming via Dijon involves getting to Gare de Lyon by RER first. This is a teency bit awkward, but in all it saves around 2 hours travel time. Just think on THAT!

A whole new level of pleasure can be attained seeing one's town through new eyes. And did their four eyes shine! Unless they are great actors, A & G were thrilled with this 'city with attitude'. Graz has found a Max Mara shop that had eluded the gaze of DJ and they were. Both were smitten with a tour of the Hospices de Beaune, complete with audio guide in English. Although the motive for building this hospice could be called into question (X believed he could guarantee himself a possy on heaven for his efforts), building a shelter for sic poor people in the 15th century deserves all the praise we can muster today. Care for these people at the hospice spanned 5 centuries, the last nun leaving for retirement only in the 1980s!

We have eaten 'in' most nights, first with a boeff bourignon created by Yours Truly and last night a coq au vin styled by Grazyna last night. SCRUMMO! WE HAVE NOT HAD A BAD BOTTLE OF WIME either!

Yesterday (Monday) DJ and I came up to Dijon to buy two bicycles from Gino at Valandro Cycles, leaving A & G to do some discovering on their own. 8:30 am train for DJ and me. Straight to the bike shop and BLAM: "la ferme Lundi"! BLOODY CLOSED ON MONDAY! Disappointed only briefly, after some time spent staring hard at the shutters on the windows, DJ and I headed for Ikea on the new tram.

Returning to Beaune by train heavy laden with goodies for the apartment (we had intended cycling back from Dijon) we ran into A & G down the street and had a drink with them.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the four of us trained it to Dijon for a good poke around, collected the bikes and trained it back to Beaune. We are now fully equipped with two flat-bar road bikes to take us and/or our besties through the rolling Burgundy countryside. You just HAVE to come now!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Porthcurno to Penzance

The lay-day did our legs the world of good. There is a lot of up and down rock scrambling on this walk. Very much like the Mt Feathertop walk, as far as the terrain is concerned. Chris at the Seaview House in Porthcurno had looked after us wondrously well and also set us on our way with a cheery wave. [LOTS of cheery waving on this trip!]

The weather began nicely, but slowly gained momentum (in a negative direction) from the outset. We scrambled along the Path, noting the subtle differences to the north side of the peninsula - those being the more gentle farmland (south) compared with the granitey geology of the north. We admit to getting a little lost on this day as we headed a little too far inland than the Path warranted. Our legs were getting stronger, but extra distance was not welcome.

Settlements of note included a couple of tiny working fishing hamlets with fishing implements lying on their sides on the sand waiting for the incoming tide to turn them into boats, thereby facilitating the simple fisherfolk to go about their fishing activities with good humour. The tide was still on its way out, though, and fishing would not commence for some time. One of these cove hamlets had a huge windlass/capstan/winch that could only be powered by human force, as no engine or pony was in evidence.

One little descent off the cliff-tops took us through a little garden oasis, where a couple of farmlets in a row sat right down next to the sea. These had huge trees (we had left the treeless landscape of West Cornwall), under which grew daffodils, jonquils and much more besides. A lot of work had gone into these gardens.

By the time we got to Lemora the rain had reached its crescendo for the day. Some holiday-makers were huddled under a cafe tarpaulin drinking coffee. We felt sorry for them as we pulled our gortex hoods firmer over our heads and trudged on up the stony track. Poor buggers! Cupping their hot coffee mugs to freezing lips. At least we were warm!

Around the next headland was Mousehole (pronounced "Mowsel"). The tide was right at turning point here and we watched the sea begin its rush through the narrow, bricked, harbour entrance from the warmth of our cafe of choice up above. I'm not sure we were at all welcome here, as we were saturated and we left quite a bit of mud on the floor. Great cream tea though!

The last bit into Penzance was a doddle, with only a flat path beside the coast to deal with. The rain had abated to a stop and we could see St Michael's Mount off in the distance. Bob at Carnson House showed us to our rooms earlier than normal and we were soon changed and warm and heading off to the Turk's Head for a pint.

Tomorrow we head to Paris.


Land's End

Land's End is a singular experience! You recall that we dipped down there as a codicil to Day Two. You CANNIT BELIEVE the tawdriness of the place! I know I'm being harsh, but the number of skanky shops full of plastic glumph has to be seen to be believed! There is a pirate experience much like a ghost train ride that stars Brian Blessed - with beard and belly-laugh - roaring at passers-by to "Come on in" and see the show. The holiday-makers leaving this show did not have the expression of people who had been excited out of their tree. [Much the same as those leaving the Ned Kelly show in Glenrowan, I bet!]

You see I cannot understand what is so special about the western-most tip of any country. ["If that's the case why did YOU go there, GRAEME?"]. Apparently it is only in relatively recent history that a bluff a little to the north - Cape Cornwall - was thought to be "Land's End. A little more research by geographers determined that it lies where it is now. So there you go.

The one other amazing thing about the current Land's End is the number of "first and lasts", as in "First and last house in England"; "First and last Post Office in England". A little further inland is the "First and last Inn in England" ... And so on. Maybe there are more of these! You will just have to come and see for yourselves ...


St Michael's Mount

Day Three weather did not look as bad as forecast, but we had decided on a day to St Michael's Mount. You have probably seen the photo of this amazing castle, perched atop a hillock off the coast near Penzance. The bus from Sennen Cove took us on a wristy-twisty route inland through some pretty villages and hamlets, via Land's End and our destination town for the night - Porthcurno. From the bus station at Penzance and straight on to Marizion, the town next to St Michael's.

Lots of history on this castle, which you can research yourself. An interesting thing that can be pointed out, however, is that the Lord of the Castle (David) passed away (died, that is) ONLY LAST SUNDAY! Think of THAT! His nephew, Andrew - Lord David having no issue - is already ensconced in the West Wing and carrying on AS IF NOTHING HAS HAPPENED! "Only in England", I say!

We had walked out to the castle at low tide and hoped to avoid the £2-a-head boat trip back, but Mother Nature beat us and we paid the ferryman. [So the answer to "Who pays the ferryman?", is: "We".]

This is not another blog of "First we went here, and then we went there" (as promised), but of rollicking adventure, so no more descriptions of that kind. The bus ride back to Porthcurno provided an unwelcome distraction.

We had hopped on the bus at the bus station and had scurried up top of the double-decker to claim the front seats. Bewdy! At the first stop, however, a little family hopped on and sat directly behind us. Mummy, Frances (8-year-old), and her slightly younger brother Rowan. What ensued was not pretty. Two naughty children and one powerless mother. "Get down off the seat, Rowan." "Get over on your seat, Frances." "PLEASE Rowan"; "STOP Frances!" [From the mother.]. "I HATE you, mummy, I HATE you, mummy" [From Frances]. "Put your shoes on, Rowan" and on and on - right in our ears.

This was too much for me. I stood up, turned around and grabbed Rowan. "Just you sit right there and look out the window, Rowan", I commanded. Turning to Frances I pointed to a seat beside the mother and told her in no uncertain terms just want her mother had sacrificed to get her to the situation she was now in with a clean roof over her head and a good few meals every day. She would only realise what her mother had done for her when she turned 32!

The mother looked at me with a look of shock, horror and gratitude and the bus journey continued peacefully on to the family's destination at Sennen Upper. The mother shook my hand and thanked me sincerely. We watched them head on up the lane in a slow, contemplative fashion, each considering the lessons they had learned from me.

Of course, except for the shocking behaviour of Frances, Rowan and the mother, none of this happened. I did not intervene. No lesson was learned. It was a bloody awful bus trip made all the worse because it was raining and there are (is) no wipers on the windows in those upper decks.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pendeen Watch to Sennen Cove

Pendeen to Sennen Cove today. Moira set us off with a cheery wave as we headed back to the coast to pick up the yellow acorn markers to guide our way along the South Coast Path. These acorns were not the only way-pointers, I have to point out, as some woman or other (it could only be a female) left gleaming white tissues on the track. Well, MOSTLY gleaming white, if you catch my drift.

While Day 1 was noted for its smugglers coves and Secret Seven caves, Day 2 was highlighted ("high lit"?) with ancient, ruined brick engine houses and chimneys, left over from the dismal mining days. Dismal it must have been. One photo showed a bunch of women huddled outside a mine shaft waiting for news of 15 miners who had plunged to their doom in an elevator whose cable had snapped. Another plaque told of miners who dug for ore in a mine that tunneled out under the sea. Apparently they could hear waves breaking above their heads. THINK OF THAT!

As we approached Sennen Cove a number of surfers appeared, much to our amazed gazes. They were resplendent in wetsuits and handled the waves with grace and aplomb. Probably more aplomb than grace, although the latter was in evidence. I wish I could do that!

With surfers to ogle on our right, we nearly missed a fenced-off breeding site for adders. Apparently they like to nest under sheets of corrugated iron that have been left for that purpose. Also on the subject of wildlife, we came across a chap walking with his dog who said that the day before he had seen a mink! He reckons that this was bad news for any otters that lived nearby as minks are quite vicious little creatures. A ranger chap we met later in the day said that there had been a mink farm up in the hills that had folded financially. Apparently the caring people who managed the break-up of the assets let the cute little minks go free. These little tykes interbred with local otters (the ones they didn't eat) to produce polecats. Remember that this is told to us by a ranger in a smart uniform, so it must be true.

We walked into Sennen Cove along a gorgeous beach, but continued on past the town and on to Land's End. The reason for this was that a decision had been made not to walk tomorrow, but to take a bus to St Michael's Mount, the other side of Penzance. The weather prediction was dire and the planned walk was the shortest of the four planned days. We walked down to LE and back to Sennen Cove for the night.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Heading orf ...

Sunday was "Head-Orf" day. We had had a good look around St Ives on Saturday afternoon, wandering around the cursor town and taking in the Tate St Ives Gallery. Old Groombles was poozled that the gallery was named the Tate, but DJ pointed out that it WAS one of three Tates in the UK: The Tate Modern, The Tate Something Else and The Tate St Ives. So THERE YOU DO GO! Now I know and now YOU know.

Now when one begins a long walk, as we were now doing, one forgets how grueling walking can be. I'm not sure what I was anticipating, but THIS walk was a doozey! At 24 km it was not the longest we have done, but it was probably the most rugged. Along the coastal cliff-tops yes, but often plunging down to almost sea-level , then back up to cliff-tops again. This day evoked feelings of running into smugglers with Enid Blyton's Secret Seven in hot pursuit. Tiny bays could well be known as "Smuggler's Cove" and the occasional overgrown cave could well have been the secret entrance to a den of thieves bent on getting kegs of gunpowder off to London to help with some parliamentary overthrow or some similar dastardly deed.

DJ and I took the trip in our stride mostly and we soon came in sight of your Pendeen, our first destination town. A desolate town it turned out to be. Rows of miners' cottages in terrace formation, all grey in colour and dismal in appearance. We had a mile to walk into town to find our digs for the night. We found these at the bottom of the main (only?) street, but only arrived after a huge slog up the hill into a fierce, freezing headwind. This last 30 minutes or so was the toughest-going slog one could imagine.

However, on arrival at our destination - St John's House - wherein we found Moira. Gorgeous Moira, who showed us to our room and the bathroom. Here I drew a bath and soaked for quite some time. DJ also had a relaxing wallow to get our Basel temperatures vaguely back to where they ought to be.

At this point I am reminded of a mishap I experienced on this day. Not to put TOO fine a point on it, I must disclose that I fell into the mud. Only to my knees, but it COULD have been to my neck, or even beyond! DJ laughed! The track WAS black and soggy in parts and the bit I thought to tread on did have a 'dusting' of white granite-y bits that looked sturdy. However, to my astonishment, when I, with enormous (as it turned out) overconfidence stepped onto these deceptive white grains, DOWN I KEPT GOING! Moira was very helpful, it has to be said, and by next morning the socks and boots were dry and ready for the next day's jaunt. Good old Moira!


Bursting the Long-Haul Barrier

All right, all right, keep your knickers on! I've been busy. I've been out walking with Dear Jude (DJ). In Cornwall. In the cold. Along the coast. Up and down. Into the wind (sometimes).

We arrived in Cornwall having made the necessary transition through the time/space barrier that is long-haul flying. I have decided that the discomfort, tedium, relentlessness and leg-aching sleeplessness really ought to be embraced as a necessary per-cursor to all that is wonderful about international travel. No more to be said here, other than we made it.

No mucking around on Heathrow-arrival, we collected our bags in record time (there they were, swirling around on the whirligig as we approached - well, almost). STRAIGHT onto the Paddington Express. Then STRAIGHT onto the 5-hour train to Penzance, hopping off at the penultimate station to hop on a teeny little link-line train to St Ives. Now I hear you saying, "But Groombles, surely that much train travel ON TOP of the long-haul flight was way too much for a koala to bear!" "Not a bit of it, I say, because I LOVE TRAINS!" Not sure about DJ though. Rolling and clattering across the landscape, calling at stations here and there letting passengers on and off, stations with half-familiar names like Swindon, Taunton, Newton-Abbot and finally St Erth is mind-blowing.

On arrival at St Ives, we found ourselves plonked in the middle of holiday-by-the-seaside territory. Sunny, but by no means hot, day. Holiday MAKERS with their buckets and spades, sunnies and very warm coats all down on the beach brushing the cobwebs out of their work-torn everyday lives. No rest for the Ramblers, though, because we had to haul our suitcases up, up, up the hill to the Chy-an-Albany Hotel. We had arrived! After many thousands of miles/km and of hours of travel. We were there! Phewww!

Don't go concerning yourself about the bags now, because it has all been planned. Three of them will be transferred to our last hotel in Penzance and one will be transported each day to our walking destination. We Ramblers are only carrying the BARE MINIMUM!

Let's see what happens NEXT!