After finally finding and checking into Primrose House we were offered birthday cake. Then came that B&B tradition of the first night; setting out for an evening walk and finding somewhere to have dinner. We took the coastal route round the harbour, looking for the Tate Gallery first to see how far it was and check opening times. St. Ives was buzzing, it was half term Saturday and everyone was off to parties or heading for dinner. In the dark we took a circuitous route round the narrow roads and when we found the gallery there was no information board outside. After finding some places full we settled on a fish restaurant hiding above a fish and chip shop, it was pleasant but pretentious. What I had was basically a piece of plaice on top of some mashed potato. When we got back to our B&B the chocolate birthday cake was still out on the table, so we took another piece up to our room. We looked up opening times for the Tate on the internet, closed on Monday, so tomorrow it must be. We wouldn’t have to move the car yet.
On Sunday the sun was out and the beach and harbour made a good walk after our cooked breakfast. The low tide harbour looked like a beach and the people walking on it seemed in no hurry to leave as the tide came in and fishermen clambered into their boats ready to sail off.
We have been to St. Ives several times and I am always amazed at the bright turquoise of the sea. From inside the Tate Gallery you can see the beach framed like a picture. The building is bright and white inside and out, airy and pleasant and of course there is a cafe and shop. You can have a look round the gallery here.
Our evening meal we had already booked at a hotel back near our B&B, a Sunday roast. If we had just stuck with the main course we would have thought it a good meal. Having wondered if we could manage a pudding, would it be greedy etc. we needn’t have worried. Cyberspouse’s jam rolly-polly was merely a thin slice of Swiss roll with a jug of custard, while my lemon tart a thin sliver of pastry with a smear of lemon curd.
Monday was the day of the Tin Coast. Cyberspouse wanted to show me mines visited when he and his friends went on their photography trip. We would have to drive the car back up that narrow steep road. Our host assured us one hardly ever met anyone coming down, but if we did the protocol was those going up had to back down. We were nearly at the top, the main road in sight, when another car started coming down. I closed my eyes – I wasn’t driving . An expert bit of manoeuvring and we were squeezed onto the driveway of someone’s house.
The Levant mine was still closed for the winter, but apparently has a restored working beam engine and the mine itself went deep under the sea. The rugged scenery alone is worth the visit. Then we drove a little further on to Botallack, even more rugged and I realised the perilous path trodden to get to the good spot Cyberspouse wanted for his tripod. As I don’t like heights I went no further and could hardly bear to look. I have since discovered, when we saw our friends, that his wife also refused to cross nature’s bridge of terror when he took her.
Cape Cornwall was different again with rolling grass that made you feel like running down, even rolling down the grass like children do. Perhaps if adults acted with the carefree abandon of children and dogs it would be good for their mental health. We wondered who the monument on top of the headland was dedicated to. The answer was baked beans. Or rather Heinz, Guardians of the Countryside, had purchase the land for the nation in 1987 to mark their centenary year and presented it the National Trust. By now I was ready for a nice cup of coffee, sitting at the bench in the sun outside the little cafe at the end of the toilet block. But when we got back down it turned out they were only getting it ready for the weekend. So it was off to St. Just for a traditional Cornish pastie.