Monthly Archives: October 2011

St. Ives autumn half-term

The old person’s rail fare to St. Ives is an incredibly low £13 which is vastly cheaper than the cost of driving and parking there. There are also the wonderful views as the train trundles down the Exe estuary and along the coast, with the breakers crashing alongside the carriages, to Teignmouth. There is also the incredibly long journey as the train stops at every town and village and hamlet west of Plymouth. But what the heck, it’s half-term and Sheila and I, with Danae, Esme and Rocco are about to join Louisa, Julian, Tove and Harper for a few days.

We were, of course, here this time last year when we walked away with the first prize at the Castle Inn Quiz. So there has to be a repeat performance. Sadly, I don’t take part but Julian and Sheila return with second prize – 2nd out of 22 tables and just the 2 of them!

not such a fun quiz for the losers!

The weather is variable but the views are stunning and a new moon means neap tides. The cold doesn’t stop Danae, Louisa and Julian swimming every day and the children want to get on the beach whenever they can. We leave St. Ives though for a trip to the Wayside Museum in Zennor  and lunch at the Tinner’s Arms. St. Andrew’s, Blas, Onshore  and the inestimably wonderful Digey are also other eateries we favour. Not sure that any of them are Symons’ establishments though.

the children carve out Halloween pumpkins ...

... which are scary enough to frighten Rocco, although he made one of them.

Sheila and her iPhone

the ever iconic lighthouse

Other pictures are, as usual, on my Gallery website.


we are the 99%

The front of the Guardian’s G2 section.

The tents are still there but the press and public attitudes are starting to take shape and focus. So too is St. Paul’s stance, reportedly now revising it’s liberal standpoint, now that it’s tent tenants seem to want to stay awhile.

There are two good articles in today’s G2 which is more or less given over to the Occupy movement. The first is from the perspective of a reporter camping with the protestors and the second is by Simon Jenkins, whose opinion I normally detest but with whom I feel some sympathy today.

Doonesbury, my favourite political cartoon strip, is also currently featuring the Occupy movement in the States.

Carry on Camping

My antidote to the excesses of TOWIE was to join the Occupy the London Stock Exchange in their encampment on the steps of St. Paul’s cathedral. Not only do I agree with their sentiments but I was also delighted with the story that Canon Giles Fraser had asked the police to leave saying he was happy with the people exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully. Ray tells me the canon is a great friend of Lucy’s.

Ironically, the meeting I attended was debating how too look after the donations that had been raised in support of the movement. The speakers had qualms and were clearly embarrassed that they might need to put the money in a bank account.


Back home I had to pass the TOWIE shops but couldn’t avoid being spotted by Lauren Goodger and Kirk Norcross. Loughton has become a Trollop town, literally not literarily.



The Only Way is Essex is featuring Loughton big-time. Two new shops are opening and one is just round the corner!

Actually, I think this is the same place where Rod Stewart used to eat his vindaloos.

Is this Pope Lauren?

Our home is already very famous because Lord Murray crashed his car outside. Ron Greenwood lived opposite and, of course, Rod Stewart used to eat curries in the restaurant across the road from Curries! But now there is TOWIE and, in fact, isn’t that Lauren Pope in the window? Everyone will be well jel.

a barrow load of snow

Snow has arrived in Barrow, one of the world’s most northern cities. Barrow has a polar night that lasts from November to January and this was the setting for the comic and film “30 Days of Night”. The comic, of course, is illustrated by the brilliant Ben Templesmith.

The other reason why Barrow is interesting is that it has a webcam that illustrates the effects of global warming by showing that the Arctic Ocean around Barrow is ice free for longer and longer each summer.

then and now: the gate house at Cockington




Thom ran his second half-marathon at the Eden Project. His first was a week or so previously at Greenwich where he completed the race in 1 hour 34 minutes. Both races were to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

We had travelled down on Friday, staying at the Livermead House Hotel in Torquay. It was interesting to see what the town had become since I was there last (probably in the late 1990s). The magical Rock Walk is a rock desert and the secret beach at Beacon Cove is a concrete platform. Palm Court hotel has been destroyed and the main streets of the town are pedestrianised and full of cheap shops. There was a Poundland, though,  and what a joy! I liked it. Sod Westfield when there are treasure troves like that. But, all in all, the place was down at heel. Even Cockington looked shabby.

I remember Macari's from the 60's!

St. John's, where I was a server, now seems to be offering Sky TV.

We visited some of my old homes in Hawkins Avenue and Princes Road East and Bramhope in Lower Warberry Road. No. 27 had just been sold for £177,00o and no. 63 would be worth about £ 120,000.


63 - the ancestral home


Our hotel was fine and comfortable but definitely exuded an air of past grandeur with overdressed, formal waiters and heavy curtain drapes and candles, The Fowey Hotel was also grand but much more modern and had a splendid view over the estuary and it’s yachts and shipping  moving through the harbour. The town itself reminded me of a very smaller version of St. Ives without the trippers; definitely Hampstead-super-Mare. The restaurants and food were superb especially the excellent Fowey river mussels. Fowey, apparently, is pronounced “foy” perhaps because Cholmondley often goes there.

dinner at the Livermead House Hotel

Sunday, 09-10-11, was the race day and we got Thom to the Eden Project biodomes where his half-marathon race started and finished. Thom’s race number was 1597 – synchronicity is running wild! The day was cool, grey and wet underfoot. The terrain was also west country hilly. We waited at the finish for Thom to appear but had no problem identifying him from within a crowd of runners. He arrived, on his own,  storming down to the finish line well ahead of any crowds. His time was 1 hour and 37 minutes and he came 53rd out of nearly a thousand other competitors and 3rd in his age group. What a brilliant achievement for only his second competition.

Eden Project biodomes

what will Jung make of this?!?

Thom and Tara

a winner!

PS Another notable achievement: Darwin was born on 10-10-11. Should have waited for 11-11-11 but Svetlana was already a week overdue.


We have two weeks in Crete with Pete and Sue. The start and finish both require night travel so we begin and end with sleep disorders. In between we stay in the heart of Xania, an old Venetian port, and in a villa in Asteri, a small village in the foothills above Rethymno, and have a marvellous time enjoying Greek life, food and the stunning scenery.

outside our apartment in Xania

Xanai was the best of the places and, for me, the lighthouse and ever-changing skies epitomised the town. From Asteri we also got to explore Knossos and hunt for the Minotaur. Although, that wasn’t difficult!

sunset from the terrace of villa citrus

Stavros and the mountains below which Zorba danced - not bigging this up!

The rest of this travel blog is in the usual places: my gallery and