England 2016

6 May 2016

Elizabeth Ross

The poster was actually in Oslo, but we will use it as a transition to the UK.

We flew from Copenhagen to Gatwick England — long queue through the foreign passport check, a long walk to the rental agency, then a very slow drive around London, and finally on our way for pleasant visits with Craig and Carolyn in Solihull, then Kate and Nigel in Uphampton who we would see again in France.

Cornwall gardens were the focus of the British part of our trip and we had found a B&B run by descendants of the founder of Glendurgan, a garden dating from the era of the plant hunters in the early 1800’s.  It was lovely to wake up to views of the garden and to walk through it whenever we wished.  Negotiating the narrow roads with high hedgerows quickly became tedious and we limited our excursions to nearby sites: Trebah, Penjerrick, Bonython, Bosvigo…

Trebah tulip tree

Massive Tulip tree, with the old woodsman for scale.

Trebah maze

Maze, well maintained but pruned short, according to EU regulation, so no one would become lost—no wonder the Brits voted to leave the EU.

We drove to St. Ives to the Barbara Hepworth museum. Her sculptures and Tony’s were strikingly similar.  Tony was awake that night mentally sculpting unfinished pieces.  At the museum we requested a recommendation for a coffee shop.  The locals at the “Art Cafe”  included an artist and poet who gave us a guided tour of the St. Ives Arts Club, and Martin Turner of the old music group Wishbone Ash.  It was a pretty, serendipitous day.


Barbara Hepworth

We dined at a pub in Falmouth, a city with a rich sea heritage, and chatted with two local men:  “Do you have a boat?  Most Americans who come to Falmouth come by boat.”  They might have confused us with the owners of the yacht, Paraffin.  “No, we arrived in a rented Vauxhall.”

On Kate’s recommendation, our next stop was in Padstow, an old fishing village when Tony had visited over the past 40 years.  Now it’s been gentrified and is ironically also known as “Padstein” because the chef Rick Stein has transformed numerous buildings into hotels and seafood restaurants.  Good food and lodging by the sea on a busy holiday weekend.

Next stop, Two Bridges, a country hotel in the moors of Dartmoor that Tony first visited in 1971.  The ancient miniature oaks of Wistman’s Woods, (home of the Stannary Court since 1305) had always been surrounded by primroses, but in four visits, never seen in the bloom.  Because the primroses were in prime throughout Cornwall,  we thought we’d see a big show.  Surprisingly, there wasn’t a primrose to be found; they have been replaced by encroaching grasses–climate change perhaps….

Whisman's Woods

Then to Plymouth for a day and the overnight ferry to Roscoff, France.

(Sidenote:  our credit cards had been blocked while we were making reservations.  According to the bank, one of the sites we were using was “trending for fraud”.  I am guessing that would be Brittany Ferries with all the refugees looking for a means to cross the channel.  Hard times.)