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August 2021 - Cornwall - Day 2

Today I am going with a new attitude and to try and really enjoy Cornwall. There must be something I’m missing. Perhaps if I bumped into Demelza it might help.

I think the weather is a big factor. This is my third visit to Cornwall, and I have never been blessed with balmy weather. In 1979 when I was here it was so bad that the Fastnet boat race ended in disaster. Then in 1999 we apparently had just 1 nice day and I cannot even recall that. Certainly, on all the photos it appears dark, cloudy and cold.

I know everywhere just looks better with blue skies. It certainly always makes me feel better. For the time it took us to get here we could have flown to Florida in less time and been guaranteed the weather. But with that not being an option at present I feel Cornwall should be trying harder (I am ignoring the fact that the weather seems even worse at home).

It helped that I had some porridge for breakfast which after carrying for 3 miles yesterday was most welcome and fortified me for the day ahead.

We had intended to leave mid-morning to drive the short distance to Glendurgan Gardens but the weather was cool with a hint of drizzle in the air so instead we rested a while and then eventually left about midday.

It was only less than 4 miles away, yet most of it was down single-track roads again and so took a while to get there. We thought that what with the weather and it being a National Trust Garden it wouldn’t be busy. WRONG AGAIN. As we pulled in, I decided to ignore the car park full sign and just carried on. I was right to do so as there were actually 4 spaces available. The car park was large but still not able to cope with the number of people here.

As is our habit we thought we would check out the café first. There was a long queue out of the door so we thought we would go and explore the gardens first.

Perhaps I am getting blasé to these places. Perhaps it was the very light drizzle. But whilst it was pleasant enough, it didn’t have a wow factor. It was large though. In fact, it was large enough to absorb all the people from the car park without the gardens feeling full. The original house sat at the top of a narrow valley down to the sea. The gardens then fill out the valley. They were set out formally at the top and less so the further down you went. There were some lovely looking specimens of flowering trees that we passed as we made our way down some steep slopes.

The highlight of the gardens though was the laurel maze set out on a slope. It was impressive being able to look down on it from above from different angles. Lots of families were having fun doing it and it made an interesting view looking down on it. It also looked hard work with lots of steep inclines involved. We decided we were too dignified and boring to try it ourselves. Besides looking down on it I think I had worked out the route to the middle.

We made our way to Durgan village at the bottom which consists of a few cottages all owned by the National Trust. There were a surprising number of people on the stony beach with lots of kids climbing on the rocks. After watching for a while, we set off on the climb back up the valley through the gardens to the top. It was quite an effort. Karen’s jumper was on/off along with her cagoule as she went from being too hot, too cold, getting damp and all variations in-between during the walk.

At the top we were disappointed to find the café queue was just as long as before. Karen though was desperate for a drink and so decided to join it. She was waiting a long time but returned triumphantly with drinks and a couple of toasted sandwiches. They were expensive but very nice.

It was now 2.30pm and we chatted about what to do next. We agreed that we should head north of Falmouth to Tressillick Gardens which is another National Trust property about 30 minutes drive away.

The drive involved more single-track nightmarish lanes. If you thought the depths of Norfolk was bad with roads/tracks then think again. Again Cornwall – sort it out.

Tressillick Gardens were in Karen’s opinion much posher than Glendurgan. Instead of a valley they were set on a Peninsula with a river one side and then the sea another. There were some lovely viewpoints. The gardens were all very nice but again not wow, but I think it was just me though as the comments I overheard from others contradicted that.

It was then time for another break. There was a nice courtyard where I treated Karen to a Cornish Cream Tea whilst I had a simple cheese scone. This was all very pleasant. We were struck by the number of well-behaved dogs sitting with their owners around us. Karen firmly reminded me that under no circumstances would we be ever having one.

We then headed back to Falmouth calling into Asda on route. Rather than failing again at finding a restaurant we planned to get a Rotisserie chicken to take back for our evening meal. Another failure as the hot deli was now closed for the day. We compromised on buying their meal deal instead but vowed to try and at least book a local pub for the next evening – if they would take our booking.

We also bought some rolls for a pack up lunch for our trip to the Eden Project tomorrow to give some variety and also cut down the costs we seem to be incurring each day in cafes.

So, Cornwall, today you have been better, but we do still have to work around you which isn’t ideal. It says something that we have both said that holidays should be better than being at home. Although we cannot fault the accommodation, we are not feeling the overall package is doing it for us yet (plus we are both missing the Hot Tub!). Today’s feedback for Cornwall is ‘must try harder’.

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