MOUSEHOLE, CORNWALL and The U.K. 6th – 31st May 2018.

BINGO! Did we arrive into London on the most spectacular day or WHAT! Not a cloud in the sky and glorious views all the way down on the train to Penzance and taxi to our gorgeous seaside cottage “little Dorris” for the beginning of a 20 night stay.

First we had a brilliant Uber ride shared with Belinda and Patrick Peck with our fantastic driver Ali giving a great city tour on the way through to Paddington station. Here we hugged our new friends adios as we went on our separate journeys and we had to change to Marylebone station as Paddington was closed for maintenance.

We actually scored a great seat on the train with a table and although I would have liked to have a nap it was so hard to as the scenery was just too glorious in the sunshine to miss.

Once at Penzance we discovered no Uber here and having only just missed the last bus as it was a Sunday, we took a taxi to our home in Mousehole.

The taxi driver was a great source of local knowledge and when we arrived at our little cottage were welcomed by Pat and Allan with champagne and flowers and a box with a few necessities to get us through till we could go shopping, greatly appreciated.

We didn’t un pack much, just a look around our abode before venturing out for a stroll around the town.

We booked Mousehole from the photos we had seen of this quaint village and it sure hasn’t disappointed our vision of what we hoped for. It is full of the cutest odd shaped little cottages and laneways with the seaside fishing boats and walled seafront as a background ( think Doc Martin the tv program for an idea of the vista).

A dinner at The Ship Inn pub a few doors down and it was time to call it a day.

Unfortunately the first night the shower wasn’t successful as the hose leaked so badly but, a quick email the next morning to Pat and when we returned from our day out all was sorted. This is the difference between a good stay and a bad one when you get quick responses to any little problems that come up.

MONDAY the 7th of May was bank holiday here in the UK and luckily the weather was holding up for a glorious coastal walk to Penzance via Newlyn which is another gorgeous seaside fishing village.

We had a great day exploring both Newlyn and parts of Penzance. An interesting and informative visit to the information centre meant we had heaps of ideas for our time here and some great local knowledge makes all the difference.

After the requisite Cornish pastie and coffee we organised a SIM card with data and hit the supermarket for some shopping essentials.

The extra cost of having a whole cottage to ourselves is more than offset by the cost savings of constantly eating out.

Food here in the supermarket is very reasonable but the prices in restaurants when we have to almost double the price for conversion to Australian dollars is crippling.

The small local bus bought us within 50 metres of home and after putting away our packages it was time to rest.

We had our first home cooked meal in over 10 weeks. We kept it simple till we regain our cooking skills and familiarity with the kitchen and it’s on hand utensils.

The next few days we spent walking back into Wherrytown where they have a Tesco for a little more shopping and a lot of time walking the local countryside including a fantastic coastal walk to the very quaint Lamorna, which was fairly challenging at times as I didn’t really have the right walking boots, but hey when on holiday you somehow make do.

The coastal views were well worth it and a lovely coffee in the cafe at Lamorna coastal waterfront was a welcome break before we turned and headed back to our cottage home.

There are some lovely little villages with some stunning rural vistas and some of the public footways are not more than flattened grass tracks often leading into farmers fields sometimes with cows in them! Which we’ve discovered several times now. This still seems strange to be walking through farmers fields with no questions asked, but it certainly gives you some great scenery and lovely rural walking.

We were pleasantly surprised to know that another couple from the ship were coming for a week stay in Mousehole from Thursday the 10th. It turns out their cottage is only about 50 metres from ours so it wasn’t ever going to be hard to catch up and it was a laugh to walk into the deli cafe on the Friday morning for a coffee ( the best flat whites in town) to see them sitting there having breakfast.

Unfortunately the weather started to be a bit up and down since their arrival but still on the whole we’ve been very fortunate.

We had a plan to share the Sunday taking a train to St Ives but with Sue waking up and being ill, Terry popped down to say they weren’t likely to be going. James and I changed our plans and took the bus to Marazion and as the tide was out walked over the sand to Saint Michaels Mount.

Saint Michaels Mount is a tidal island and you can see it for miles around and it’s history is incredible from monastery from the 6 th century to private home for the St Aubyn family till handed over to the National Trust in the 1960’s. Steeped with so much folklore it’s a wonderful few hours with glorious views.

Back on the mainland it was another walk through the historic town of Marazion before walking back into Penzance then bus home.

Honestly it’s crazy how glorious the the scenery is and we’ve really enjoyed getting out and about in the countryside and little villages.

The next day we took the bus to St Ives, the village we visited on our 2013 tour of the UK and which had sold us on the idea of returning to Cornwall for a longer stay with hopefully much better weather than we experienced that 2013 trip.

Enjoying the sunshine and coastal walk from one side to the other and up the hill to the little chapel then strolling the laneways is always a great way to spend a few hours. Oh and a great flat white too.

We got home just in time to welcome Belinda and Patrick ( also from the COLOMBUS cruise) whom we invited to stay a few days with us if they could get down this way.

It was a great couple of days exploring all over the countryside and coastal views in their little grey rocket Skoda.

A fantastic visit to the Minack theatre with an evening show of music by a group called “ praying for rain” was a highlight.

Watching the day turn into night was spectacular as the evening draws slowly from dusk to dark here in the warmer months.

This theatre really is a gem of Cornwall and if you ever come here it’s a must see and definitely get to a show if you can.

Along with touring around we managed to enjoy having Terry and Sue join us for dinner on two of the three nights Belinda and Patrick were with us.

Everyone was in great spirits and generous with bringing food and drink to the table and I especially enjoyed sharing Sues lovely gin.

This is one of the joys of travelling meeting new friends and supporting each other on our travels, sharing what we have with each other to enhance the whole experience.

Both couples were leaving on the Thursday so there were hugs all round as we waved Sue and Terry goodbye and goodnight after they left our Wednesday night dinner at our cottage.

On the Thursday we left with Belinda and Patrick for more countryside driving until we got to Newquay where after a pub lunch with great views they waved us off as we boarded our first bus on our way back to Mousehole.

This was quite the trek with the first bus taking us to Truro a lovely bigger town with imposing Truro Cathedral quite a statement in the township.

We spent an hour here before our next bus to Penzance and our final one back to Mousehole. We left Newquay at 1:30 and arrived home at 6 pm.

It was a quiet cottage we returned to and we both said how great the last days had been with The Colombus crew around.

It’s now back to organising our next sector from here to Paris and I’ve got to get the blog from our time onboard posted.

Of course there was THE WEDDING to watch on Saturday 19th and it was lovely to be in the UK for this special day.

When we mentioned we would be coming to Mousehole my eldest brother instantly gave us the heads up that he had friends nearby at Newlyn, Elaine and Stan Fenton.

So now that we had waved goodbye to our ship mates we got in contact with Elaine and Stan and Elaine suggested meeting at the Old Coastguard cafe/ restaurant and guesthouse for coffee on the lawn. We quickly agreed as it’s a beautiful garden overlooking the water.

Well a coffee turned into two and then a wine. Lovely couple and we appreciated them giving up their Sunday to share about 3 1/2 hours with us.

Elaine has since sent through some of her ideas for us to spend our last week here doing.

Having made our mind up to hire a car to drive to Dover and pick up a bus to go over on the ferry with, then take us into Paris, we decided to get it earlier as price was so good.

On Monday the 21st May we took the little bus from Mousehole to Penzance picked up our weeny car an Hyundai i10 and drove to Geevor tin mine.

They said it would take around 2 hours but we spent 4 and a 1/2 it was just so interesting. With a tour of an underground mine plus a spectacular walk along the coast to see the ruins of both Geevor and Levant mine then add a stop at St Just another quaint village before a bit of grocery shopping and it was a full day.

We’ve occasionally seen the show Doc Martin on telly and we decided to take the opportunity to drive to Port Isaac where the show is filmed to take in the quintessential Cornwall quaintness this town embodies.

It didn’t let us down. The scenery is breathtaking. And it was a fairly easy drive and even the few narrow lanes we did drive down were every bit as pleasant with their hedgerows covered in spring flowers.

Another wonderful day was having a little boat ride from Mousehole on The Cormorant a delightful little boat captained by Mick. We had a lovely tour down the coast just past Larmorna cove where we had walked the coastal path to. It was great seeing it from the water and even better we saw the caves along the coast used for smuggling back in the day and the cave that the village of Mousehole is named for. It is much larger than it originally was due to erosion but still a good story.

Mick was a great character and we had a little fella on the trip wearing a VW tee shirt with 1962 written on it. Mick gave him the wheel for a while and we gave him a pair of our captains glasses to wear. We had bought them on board with the intention of leaving them with Mick so kids could wear them on tours with him. We felt it was a good home for them. They have traveled around the world with us almost twice since Paul and Michelle bought them on our world cruise last year 2017.

After our wonderful boat ride on a truly magnificent morning we popped home for a quick lunch before taking “little Blue” back down towards The Lizard.

This time we parked the car on the village green and took a walk to Kynance Cove.

SPECTACULAR is the only way to describe this place.

The water was the most glorious colour seen usually only in a tropical paradise.

With the dramatic cliffs and rocks surrounding this beach along with the paddocks and spring flowers this whole visit was a highlight.

Having driven along a few country lanes by this time James really had his driving skills tested when the next day we visited Falmouth for a longer visit and took the scenic road back towards Helston, before linking up for the rest of the drive home.

These are one lane wide at most, and occasionally barely enough room for one car.

It’s a testament to the locals of their good manners and driving skills that anyone makes it safely home with their stress levels surely tested everyday if they live along these lanes.

James did brilliantly and as people wave as they get past he even copped a “ Perfect” score from one lorry driver, big praise.

Falmouth has a lot to offer including a thriving harbour with ferry rides to other areas including Mawes.

A maritime museum and lots of quaint shopping streets, a castle and wonderful views.

On our trip back we also went past a number of open to public gardens which would be worth another day out.

James had a birthday while we were In Mousehole it was a very low key day. Started with me making him a cooked breakfast then heading to the deli cafe for coffee. Returning back to our cottage to spend some time organising our belongings for our onward trip heading towards Dover to spend our last days tripping around down that area before heading to Paris.

A last dinner at The Ship Inn and before we knew it Saturday 26th was here and we packed our kit into little blue and drove off.

We took a side trip to Torquay then headed into the lovely town of Wilton.A lovely wine and beer at The Greyhound Inn while we looked up accommodation for the night and we struck it lucky with an Airbnb close by at Susan’s home with a Scottish theme room and our own bathroom.

Susan welcomed us and her house was very quaint with all the accompanying paraphernalia you would expect from someone who is a Druid.

We drove down to have dinner at would you believe it! A pub called The Ship Inn. We chatted to a local couple in the car park and ended up sharing a table for dinner together. Bob and Mandy had lived there their whole lives living next door to each other before marrying.

They were great company and made it a lively evening for us.

Back at our accommodation we enjoyed a very comfortable bed.

Going into Wilton again the next morning for coffee we had a lovely walk around this village and it’s very old properties and arrived at Wilton house in time to watch the vintage cars leaving from an early morning event.

From Wilton we headed into Salisbury. What a fantastic place.

The Cathedral was massive with a lovely garden and large green spaces surrounding it and with the township also made up of character filled homes and shopping streets you certainly could spend a few days in this area.

Heading off again we decided to stop not too far away to spend the night.

Our next overnight stop was one of those forgettable beside the highway hotels. Which was clean and had good hot water, what else is there to say.

But the next day we had a great day driving down the coast and visited Hastings along the way to Dover and beyond to the large seaside town of Deal.

We had never been here before and were thrilled that it was as quaint and gorgeous as most places we had seen.Our Airbnb was a great price and was just off the High Street.

The flat was exceptionally well set up so you could easily live there.

All the comforts and bits and bobs that you would have at home.

There was only a few draw backs. The bed was really only a double and quite small for us and the 62+ stairs to reach it were very narrow treads.

But on the whole we were very happy to have such a great space for three nights.

The town was lovely and although some rain had started to set in we enjoyed our time here. Once again we bought supplies so we didn’t have to eat out each day.

The next day we got some administrative stuff sorted, James got a haircut and we drove into Dover and had a great four and a half hours at Dover castle.

We would highly recommend a day there if you’re near by.

Great history and there are several World War Two tunnels to visit as well.

The next day we drove the coast heading towards Margate but we never made it that far.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE NEXT TWO PICTURES. ONE FOR HAM AND ONE FOR SANDWICH I thought it very funny.

Stopping at the town of Sandwich which was delightful and then onto Ramsgate another great seaside town full of amazing big mansions and rail history as well as the port.

A mist like fog started rolling in just after 3 so it wasn’t worth going on any further so we headed home to relax for the evening with a red wine or two.

This was the day I found out my mum had liver cancer and we started looking into me flying back to NZ for a few weeks.

We were taking the bus and ferry to Paris the next day so packed our things and was sad that our last day in the UK was so visually great but heartbreakingly sad too.

We thoroughly enjoyed the UK and will definitely be back.

Next stop Paris.