The “Tank’s” thermometer is showing an outside temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, but inside the air-con is happily blasting out a constant stream of refreshing cold air. Only a few miles from our destination and it’s time to do another bit of blasting. J presses the eject button on the CD player and out pops Take That. With due reverence the next cd is carefully loaded into the “Tank’s” gramaphone and the volume control is twisted to “very noisy”.
As the sun beats down from a cloudless blue sky and the deeper blue of the north Cornish coastline comes within sight, the Beach Boys crash full tilt into “Surfin’ USA”. Our holiday in the far south west corner of England has begun.
The Fatdog was left at home to be looked after by a multitude of minders, some less than enthusiastic about the prospect I have to say. The Fatdog’s propensity to spend her evening gently snoring, while at the same time expelling from her system a superabundance of noxious gases makes even the most enthusiastic of doggy lovers quail at the prospect.
Everyone was roped in…one of J’s friends, The Bleating Sheep, Cap’n Jack, the Cupcake Queen…and Grandma – who wandered off leaving the house unlocked because she got into a tizz trying (unsuccessfully) to work out how to lock the door. All had purchased WW1 army surplus gas masks and were prepared for battle. The Fatdog was totally oblivious. As long as she was suitably fed they could wear what they liked. We were well out of it.
There had been a one night stop-over in the Cotswolds at one of our favourite B&Bs, The Old School – Little Compton. We’d been looking forward to a good pub meal at the Red Lion in the village but it turned out to be somewhat average. At breakfast the following morning Wendy, who owns the B&B and who is a member of the Guild of Food Writers, sighed as she told us the chef who served up some great food last year was long gone. We sighed in agreement. We would meet Wendy again on our way back up the road to do a bit of amateur restaurant reviewing for her…but that’s for later. We were off on our first visit to Cornwall, with a weather forecast to die for. Some deranged eejit had forecast sun…lots of it!
Our first Cornwall B&B was “Westaway” a modern bungalow in the small hamlet of Trelights about 10 miles north of Padstow. Our light and airy coastal themed room had a private terrace with views over fields down to rugged sea cliffs. On reflection I think this was our favourite stopover in Cornwall but today we had no time to admire the view. There was only time for a quick shower and change. We were off to Watergate Bay…and “Fifteen”.
Jamie Oliver created the first “Fifteen” restaurant and wayward youth chef training facility in London. The second was opened in an idyllic beach location just north of Newquay in Cornwall. We were both looking forward to a bit of Italian themed food and all we had to do was get there!
Trelights is a quiet wee place probably because the sane and savvy decided that driving narrow high hedged lanes at any time of day or night was at best suicidal and at worst an act which would gain an automatic place at the nearest nursing home for the incurably demented. They thus avoided the place at all costs. We had managed to get in…but could we get back out? It started off well, for about 100 metres and then we reached the road junction…at the same time as a very large van with the names Pauline (and another which escapes me for the minute) in big bold letters on it’s side. I cursed loudly, J squealed in delight. You may understand my difficulty in comprehending this level of happiness at having a bloody big van blocking the road with limited scope for getting past, but I was prepared to let it go in the interests of global peace and more specifically my peace.
J watches Doc Martin. I Don’t. I didn’t realise when I booked “Westaway” that Port Isaac, the film location of said programme was only a couple of miles distant. I was face to face in one of Cornwall’s tightest lanes with the happily beaming driver of a cast cabin for an ITV comedy drama. This made me so much happier.
Fortunately they had already done a few series so this guy knew what he was doing and it only took a couple of minutes shuffling before we were on our way to dinner, the Beach Boys continuing to sing of the west coast, surf and Good Vibrations.
“Fifteen” is a modern rectangular box with a full wall of windows looking out to the ocean. It had been a hot day and the windows were all wedged open, allowing a fresh sea breeze to waft through the bright, airy, dining area. Our early dinner booking had given us the benefit of a prime window seat overlooking the wide beach of golden sand. The tide was out but surfer after surfer trotted out from below us, board tucked firmly under arm, heading across the warm sand into the summer evening haze and the distant waves. With the big blazing sun beginning its long drop into the Atlantic we lounged at our table, sunglasses on, watching the more athletic prepare for surf-action whilst we contemplated our giant menus in preparation for some serious eating! On the beach below a number of lobster-red sun worshipers were also contemplating some serious eating. As their BBQ spurted liquid barbs of seriously evil sausage fat, the smell of scorched flesh and early stage food poisoning wafted upwards competing with the garlic and seared fish aromas of the restaurant above. The restaurant had bigger kitchens and won fins down.
I won’t bore you with the details of the meal, but the menu was a resounding success. It wasn’t complicated but it was bloody good, everything perfectly cooked with great flavours. My favourite had to be the ricotta and sorrel dumplings. Incredibly light, fluffy and full of taste…I have the recipe. There was only one thing that could be added to this thoroughly first class dinner and that was a walk along the beach to watch a first class sunset. Cue photos…
Today we ate and watched the sun drop into the Atlantic…tomorrow we would walk!