England – Day 7

England – Day 7

Sunday, September 30th. We were up early and off to visit the little fishing town of Mousehole, where we stopped for breakfast in a tiny cafe overlooking the harbour that gives the town it’s name. We ordered our small and large Cornish breakfast of sausage, eggs, bacon, beans and toast. Dave even tried hogs and black pudding. Not sure I know whats in that, not sure I want to know! We sipped our coffees (haven’t switched over to tea yet) and just listened to the varied accents and conversations around us.

We drove out, again through the winding one lane streets rolling up and down, following the natural curve of the land, stopping every once in a while to just take in the scenery.

We arrived at Lands End around noon, still stuffed from our Cornish breakfast, so we bypassed the shops and went straight for the “last first place.” 

It is a rugged, windswept place with some cool rock formations looking out over the waves as they crash into the rocky coastline. We did the tourist thing and got our pictures taken at the Land’s End signpost. We were glad we did. The photographer was a wonderful friendly Cornishman who kept us laughing as he snapped away with his camera. He even used my phone to give us some instant looks at what our picture will look like when they arrive at our house in two weeks!

After that, we drove on the Marazion, where St. Michael’s Mount rises out of the ocean, with a stone causeway that appears at low tide, allowing you to walk there and back. The tide fluctuates so much that the boats docked in the harbor during high tide, just sit on the sand twice a day when it goes out. 

It started to rain, a heavy mist really as we walked back across the causeway to our car, but we were soaked by the time we got in. Dave was a good sport about it, but I really enjoyed it.

We drove then to our destination for the night, Camelot Castle hotel in Tintagel, built overlooking the ruins of what some believe to have been King Arthur’s original Camelot castle. Another place of rugged beauty with windy rocky coasts, and cobblestone streets lined with shops.

We checked in, and told the clerk we were expecting a package containing our coats. She said she’d bring it to us as soon as it arrived. Being supper time, and again, not having eaten since breakfast, we checked out the hotel bar, ordered a couple of glasses of wine and considered the restaurant menu. Thats when it got weird.

The hotel owner, Ted Staunton, who is an artist, and not shy about showing off his “talents” (coffee table books of his art are on every table), approached us as we were drinking our wine. At first, being very impressed that he would welcome us personally, Dave took my picture with him. I thought this was quite a coincidence that I’d chosen to wear my “Support Local Art” tee shirt from the Arts Partnership! We listened to him breathlessly refer to us as “my dears” and describe how he’d been working for 7 years on a ceramic representation of his signature work (a circle with two dancing figures inside – which are basically his initials T S) and had just this moment finished part of it to his satisfaction – would we like to see it? 

We followed him through the halls as all the while with interjections of “my dears” and “my loves,” he explained how famous this place was, and how wonderful his benefactor, and his lovely wife were, and how many people of note had visited here. Then he took us down some crooked stairs, into the bowels of the building… That’s when it got weirder.

He showed us some studio rooms with paintings, then a very hot room where he showed off his ceramic circle… some chicken wire and clay in an oval… not at all a representation of the painting, but oh well. We commented favorably when he asked if we liked it, but we were getting seriously creeped out.

When he led us into another room with musical instruments and some chairs. He asked us to have a seat, and it was then I thought to switch on the voice recorder on my phone, as I was wondering seriously if we would ever find our way out of there. Ted then picked up a guitar and “favored us with a song.” Wishing at the same time I hadn’t gulped my wine and that I had another glass of wine, we followed our “host” into yet another room where we had a seat in some different chairs.

He proceeded to display 5 or six of his paintings, varying the lighting in the dim room, referring to us as my dears, and reciting a verse of a poem, I assume of his own. Dave kept looking at me, but I couldn’t make eye contact with him for fear of losing it. I wasn’t sure if I would burst out laughing, or just run screaming for an exit.

Creepy Ted finished his exhibition with what I assume was a sales pitch, telling us that his work has been valued at several hundred pounds for a single piece, but because we were his guests, they were only a couple hundred. We mumbled something, and then he took us back upstairs and very unceremoniously, dropped us back at the lobby. We then looked at each other, rolled our collective eyes, and decided to high tail it into the village for dinner.

We laughed and talked about our creepy adventure, and drank too much wine over a lovely curry and pork chop dinner at King Arthur’s Arms, then stumbled through the town, back to our hotel. A little of the shine of staying in a place called Camelot castle had come off. Our room is sparse, with what looks like a train bathroom compartment attached to one corner. Its a little chilly, we don’t have our coats, and both the internet connection and cell service is shitty.

We fall asleep, wishing we’d budgeted our time better, maybe staying in one of the lovely AirBnB’s longer instead of three nights here. Tomorrow though, The Ruins of the real Camelot, and Merlin’s cave!


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