Friday, Septmber 5th-Day 1
We finally managed to book a weekend away in Cornwall. In the spirit of adventure-I booked us into a caravan site. I figured I could survive it for a weekend. Michael’s family used to holiday there before our two were born, and he and I visited it once before, so I knew what it looked like.
(Actually-it was there that we announced to his family that I was pregnant with Hazel.) The kids were over the moon with excitement about staying in a caravan-they packed all their baby doll things a week before we left. We had to read the Topsy & Tim Caravan Holiday book a few times over the past week. So, after spending all of Thursday packing all the bathing suits, wet weather gear, dry weather gear, walking boots, beach shoes, warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes and linens—off to Cornwall it was!
(An aside—my husband, the one with the built in navigational system in his brain-had decided that using his Sat Nav (that came with his car over a year ago) was a necessary tool due to the geocaching phase we’re in. He plugged in all the locations en route-even some restaurants to stop in if we needed to!)
(The other significant part of the day was it was the anniversary of the day I arrived here 8 years ago. The fact that that went right over Michael’s head will be forgivable, eventually.)
When we woke up on Friday it was drizzling-and it rained on and off most of the day. As many people here will know, we were driving past areas that would be flooded during that drive-though we were fine other than a down pour or two. As usual, to break the drive up we visited a National Trust site en route. We chose to stop off at Lanhydrock House, and arrived just in time for the rain to stop. Since I had been too busy packing all of the clothing and shoes we own to pack a lunch, our first stop was the restaurant. It was a very nice lunch all round, and not overly expensive as many of the NT restaurants can be.
The house and grounds are huge, and it would have taken hours to see it all. As we wanted to arrive at the caravan by dinner time, we decided to just visit the kitchen and other ‘below stairs’ rooms. I have to say-boy, were we impressed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many rooms dedicated to the production of the family’s food before. There was a huge kitchen, side kitchens, prep rooms, a bakery, creamery, ice house, etc… We all enjoyed the rooms, and they alone took over an hour to see. We never made it to the servant’s quarters or any of the other rooms. When we headed back up the stairs one of the volunteers thought we had gotten lost, she was most surprised when we said we had only come to see the kitchens.
Off to the caravan it was! I thought things might just go well, because as we got closer to the site, the sun got stronger and stronger. The kids were so excited about being at the park; you would have thought it was a 5 star hotel on the most beautiful island in the world. Hazel kept quoting things from the Topsy & Tim book, such as: “This is our first caravan tea,” “For T & T’s 1st caravan tea they had….” Cute; and no-it didn’t get to the annoying stage.
One of the reasons for picking a caravan site was to see how the kids liked the social side of camping/caravanning. This didn’t pan out as we’d planned—we weren’t put in the main section of the park! We were put in a small side strip of about 15 caravans, so no interaction took place. I have mixed feelings—I’d probably have hated the main section, but it would have been nice to see how the kids liked it. Anyway-they had a nice safe road in front of the caravan to scooter around like mad. This is just what they did, while we unpacked as fast as we could. The caravan was ok; but if anyone can recommend a site where they don’t have icky living room carpets or curtains with-out mildew on them-let me know! When we finished unpacking we headed off to the beach.
It was a nice stroll down to the beach, with our umbrellas in tow! We had to walk over the (big)sand dune to get to the beach, as a river had formed at the top end of the beach.
The kids had a nice run around, and we all enjoyed the evening sunshine. At dusk we headed back to the caravan where we had a late caravan tea—chips from the take-away with fried eggs. Then two excited children climbed into their caravan beds, while their 4 baby dolls went to bed in the wardrobe, where they had made bunk beds for them.Saturday, September 6th – Day 2
We woke fairly early on Saturday morning, mainly due to Hazel being over excited about being away. When Michael went out to see them, Kieran asked if he was joining the ‘caravan breakfast club’. I thought that was so cute-so even I joined in; which was a good thing, as I wanted to get out early. The main destination of the weekend was the Eden Project, a place I have waited 7 years to see; a wait that wasn’t in vain. I truly enjoyed the whole place. We started in the Core Building, where the kids enjoyed the displays. The best bit there was Kieran spending ages turning a crank that raised a huge weight that finally dropped and crushed a hazelnut. There were about 4 older people there encouraging him on and explaining it to him.After that we wandered through the outdoor gardens. This was my favourite bit-it is amazing how many wonderful, colourful flowers will grow in the South of England. Hazel and I took photos of many of the flowers to try and find for our garden. (I so like that she enjoys the flowers as much as I do!) We then decided it was lunchtime and had pasties in one of the outdoor covered patios, just a few minutes before the rain started. When we finished lunch we decided to pay a visit to the rainforest. It was much bigger than I thought it was going to be. We all enjoyed the walk and had fun spotting new things. One of the greatest finds for the kids was a drinking water fountain—they hadn’t seen one before. Kieran’s face was priceless when I showed him what it was. My favourite bit of the rainforest was when we got to the very top; there was a bench and a breeze! rder=”0″ /> While we were sitting up at the top an elderly gentleman sat by us and said that we had the happiest kids he’d ever seen. I just get so amazed every time people say that-and always wonder what prompts them to say it. I hadn’t even noticed him or his family while we were walking through the rainforest. He said he’d been watching them the whole time, and that they smiled and walked and talked with ‘joy’. Wasn’t that a lovely thing to say? We ran into them a couple hours later in the Mediterranean gardens and he remarked that they were still smiling!
We had a delightful wander down the rainforest, and enjoyed all the little displays throughout. The kids hopped into a little boat for a quick photo—they were a tad nervous and thought we’d get in trouble.The Eden People are very clever people-as soon as you leave the Rainforest-they have an ice cream stand. How can anyone pass that up? We enjoyed that and then headed to the Mediterranean garden. We ended up sitting in there for awhile looking at the vegetables and just discussing the differences between all the gardens. I was pleased to see their peppers weren’t doing too much better than mine!
We had a wander around the outdoor garden again when it started to look like rain. Instead of risking getting wet walking to the top where the exit was, we decided to take the tractor train to the top. Kieran nearly keeled over with the joy of a tractor ride. Last time he had one he was 2 ½ and screamed with fright and the freezing cold the whole time! I think he enjoyed it immensely! When we got to the main building we had a tea stop and a wander round the shop. They didn’t have the top I liked for the kids in their sizes-I just may have to order them.
If you are planning a visit to the Eden Project-I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful way to regenerate an old mine, it is reasonably priced-even the food and drinks, they have great customer care, handy buses/rides for people who need it, and most importantly–it is just beautiful. We spent well over 5 hours there, and it was all enjoyable.
After our wonderful outing, we headed to see some of the other local beaches. By that time it was so chilly out; we just sat in the car and watched some crazy surfers. Then a quick trip to the grocery store to get something for dinner-rotisserie chicken with salads—quick and simple! A fairly early bedtime for the kids, and we followed shortly.
Sunday, September 7th – Day 3
After our ‘caravan breakfast club’, we headed out for the day. Today’s 1st port of call was Cornish Mines and Engines to see one of the old beam engines in action; a very impressive sight to behold. It always amazes me what people accomplished without all of our modern labour saving devices. There were two locations to wander round, and plenty to learn about. At the second sight we watched a movie on the mining industry and walked to the top of both of the engine houses. In the second engine room a volunteer was explaining to a teenager how the pumps worked, and the man explained it very well-that even K & H (and I) could understand it.Kieran wants to make a model one of his own; I gladly volunteered Michael for that task.
Now-what are two novice geocachers thinking would be a nice way to spend the rest of the day? Of course-we thought we’d go for a walk on the St. Agnes Cliffside. We had two caches mapped out-so off we headed to find them. (Actually—we put in about 7 coordinates for caches in the area.) We had a quick lite lunch on the Cliffside before heading out. It was sunny, but very breezy. When we got to where the 1st one was, there were too many people about so we headed off to the 2nd one. We found the location-but couldn’t find the cache. The major problem being-we weren’t quite prepared-you really need gloves for some of these. The kids and I gave up after awhile and complained at how little help someone else was in our search.
Slightly downhearted, we headed back to find the first one. It was supposedly in a wall. But try as I may-I could only get so far into the gorse bush and still couldn’t find it. Kieran and Hazel were great hunters, but we were fruitless yet again. While we three were searching away-someone else kept complaining that there were people about ¼ of a mile away and they could see us! Helpful? No! Lesson of the afternoon—bring gloves and actually read the hints given.
All though we didn’t find the caches-we had a lovely walk in the sunshine. We then headed to the beach in St. Agnes. Not a bad beach, but not the best village around. We had a wander on the beach and then shared a bag of chips. On the way back to the car, we tried one more cache. It was a micro one, and was easy enough to find—so yeah! One is better than none. We then decided to head back to the caravan for a quick dinner and to go for a walk to the beach. We had a fun time-and the kids splashed around for a bit. I was half expecting to see them turn blue with the cold!
Off back to the caravan for a snack and to pack everything up. Caravanning requires far too much packing! They also have an ungodly check out time of 10am!
Monday, September 8th- Day 4
We managed to be up and out before 9:30am. I was rather surprised, especially as Michael and I stayed up watching a Nicholas Cage movie- The Weatherman. Haven’t decided if I liked it or not, but it kept my attention.
Our first outing was supposed to be a geocache hunt. But when I saw the cliff th
at we were going to have to walk down and all the way up to the other side to then go look for the cache-I backed out. Lesson—I need to learn to read these OS maps much better! And Michael needs to make sure I understand them! Hopefully, that will probably prevent any further ‘discussions’ over misunderstandings! So-on to plan B.
Plan B was a stop at Finch Foundry, a water-powered forge. There was a tour guide who also did demonstrations; always makes a place like that come to life for me. Especially when the guide actually has a lifetime of experience doing the work! He was very informative, and seemed to really enjoy what he was doing. The kids liked it-and paid close attention. Though I think the noise in the main forge was a bit much for Kieran. We had a nice tour (about 45 minutes), then we wandered around the museum. They have a walk-way to the top of the water wheel, which was nice to see. We had a snack in the tea room, where we add a nice chat with another visitor who was visiting from our area as well. She wasn’t able to walk round the forge so was sitting waiting for her husband. They were just arriving, and we were just leaving the area.
We then headed up the M5 towards home. Michael, Mr. Sat Nav these days, had plugged in some restaurants along the highway-so we found a Harvester about 3:30 and had a late lunch before heading home. When we got home, the kids raced out to play, and we had tea.