West life

I always enjoy the ‘silly season’ – the fortnight or so in high summer when nothing much happens. News editors scratch about for stories and end up with cats stuck up trees, or shock-horror ice-cream shortages.

This year, though, it hasn’t really happened. Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza, Syria and the Ebola threat have kept the newsrooms busy, so I finally decided I’d been depressed enough and headed off for some long-awaited rest and recuperation.

With harvest well underway and the local roads jammed with tractors hauling grain and straw, I headed to Cornwall to get away from it all. Only after getting stuck behind sluggish caravans for several hours did I appreciate how fast some of today’s tractors travel on the roads.

Port Isaac, my first destination, is the fishing village made famous as the home of TV’s Doc Martin. Can’t say I’m a fan of the show, failing to see the attraction of the eternally lugubrious medicine man, but the area is beautiful and offers fine eating and drinking opportunities. Unlike the village a few miles away where I’d booked a room in an inn; its food was sub-motorway café standard and the miserable landlord made Doc Martin seem the heart and soul of any party. After a sleepless night caused by rowdy guests I decamped to Padstow – or Padstein as the locals now call it. I didn’t eat at Rick’s place, the queue was too long, but that in itself must be testament to its food quality.

Down South for a boat trip from Polperro harbour next, then West to visit the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. I also took in a tour of St Austell Brewery, and much fun it was too, particularly the tasting session in the bar. A pint of Cardinal Sin at 8.5% ABV might not have been the most sensible lunchtime tipple – but what the heck, it is the silly season.

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