May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Helford to St Mawes

William joined me to explore at a friend, Clare Latimer's house by the Helford River. Clare has lived down here for much of her life and knows all about it. We had lunch in the Shipwright's Arms in Helford and then Will and I set off for Marazion and St Michael's Mount.  The castle is still home to the St Aubyn family but the Mount is owned and run by the National Trust.
St Michael's Mount
We saw it – so beautiful - in the evening light, too late to cross (by foot at low tide and by boat at others times) and I am glad we did see it then because the next day was dull. No matter, we had other fish to fry – pan fry.
Will is a chef and I have to say that the two suppers I had with him surpassed my previous best – crab starter followed by salt marsh lamb in Kent with Fiona. We were too late for the fish stalls so bought dover sole, and wonderful Cornish butter for the beurre blanc sauce, in a supermarket in Penzance.
Will preparing supper
We stayed on a piece of scrub land near Newlyn in a strong wind, with the sea banging and crashing beside us. Expletives from the kitchen (one metre away) from where I sat when chef realised the fish hadn't been scaled, so he went out into the wind with the (only) kitchen knife and transferred the scales from the fish to the back bumper! They and the sauce were utterly delicious.
 Next day we wandered around Newlyn Harbour. Will was intrigued by a decrepit fishing boat lying in the water at a worrying angle beside the harbour wall, its heavy cables now very rusty. A mechanic for Stevensons Fish said the boat had been working 5 years ago but the man who owned it became ill and stopped work, and the boat had sprung a plank and now it was beyond repair... Commercial boats have to work 12m+ out to sea (more often 30 – 100m) out and that the EC can dictate what is being over-fished. Fishermen can't help catching a fish they aren't meant to catch, and have to throw them (dead) back, and aren't allowed to give them away or sell them for charity.. Ridiculous. 

We bought crab for lunch and hake for supper at the Stevensons shop on the quay before our visit to St Michael's Mount. It is a real gem of a place, where a fairytale castle sitting on top of a vast chunk of granite in the bay. Visitors can walk round the castle and the garden and see wonderful views back to Penzance, Newlyn and The Lizard.
I met Phineas on the King Harry Ferry
The King Harry Ferry crosses the River Fal, avoiding driving miles up to Truro and down the other side to St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsular. St Mawes is a dreamy place, once a fishing port, with its castle built in the time of Henry VIII to defend our coast from the French and Spanish. We had tea watching the most lovely boat (I have since heard her name is Agnes, and she's a 46ft Pilot Cutter) sailing in the estuary, and an elderly man swimming strongly against the tide.

Tea at St Mawes
Will's last night in Baa was at a campsite outside Mevagissey. I bet few of the other campers had such good hake with caper sauce!  Will suggested an early morning swim and, having torn his boxers on the door handled, reached the water a bit quicker than me! After our excellent sauces there was just about enough of that Rhodda butter left two pieces of toast.

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