dst. (km) Today 64.97 Trip total 592.7 Odometer 451.9
Woke at as usual, but managed to sleep for another two hours with my mask on and ear-plugs in. When I finally did get up it was to see a gray dismal sky and listen to the howling of the wind.
At breakfast an old man celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary observed, “In my day, you was a sissy if you ‘ad gears.” Despite the accusing tone, he was quite interested in where I was going and where I’d been, and did temper his initial comment by pointing out that he “’adn’t carried arf as much kit” as I was.
Finally saw another bike tourer as I rode through Tintagel, a girl heading north with bigger panniers and twice as much to carry as I. I called out hello but she either didn’t notice or didn’t respond. Tintagel looked a bit too touristy for my tastes, too many plastic King Arthurs and Merlins, so I didn’t stop to look around.
One of several strangely named towns for the trip was “Rock”. These single-noun towns seemed unusual, I guess I was expecting them to be prefixed by “The Rock” or “Fred’s Rock” or “Big Rock”. “Rock” and “Beer” just seemed too short.
Showing that the residents have a decent sense of humour, I sat around in the local “Soft Rock café” for morning tea, then spent half an hour in the shop next door chatting to the guy who runs it. He normally lives in Grenoble in the Alps, and was full of advice on places to visit and roads to ride. Unfortunately most of these were rattled off at such a pace that I couldn’t remember more than one in ten. He was also surprised that I’d chosen to go touring with SID forks on the bike, I think brave was the politest way he could find to express himself.
After wheeling my bike across the sand and hoisting it into the boat, I caught the foot ferry across to Padstow, then it was pleasant riding the rest of the way to Newquay. Like most of the coast, the road swoops up and down from sea level to moors, and on one my chain decided to come off just as I started to climb.
Newquay is crass and touristy, full of surf culture and pinball parlours. Out-of-place looking Australian surf memorabilia and shops. The strange thing is that for such a tourist-oriented town, the Tourist Information Centre is shut on a Sunday! According to the sign on their door, they’re only open half of Saturday too. True British tourism at work.
After negotiating a maze of one-way streets I found the backpackers and left my bike in “the Boardroom” — a room full of surfboards and wetsuits.
The ATMs decided that I wasn’t going to get any money, so I thought that £11, was going to have to last me til morning, but after lunch the VISA machine decided to work and let me have some. Checking my bank balances on the Internet I found that I’ve already maxed out my Mastercard! I tried to check my email, but one of the automatic processes back at work has gone badly awry and there are 2900 email log messages in my in-box. Attempting to sort through these over a dodgy connection with a PC that keeps substituting ding-bats for the fonts is well nigh impossible. I found one email from Jo from last Thursday, managed to rattle off a quick reply, disconnected and was charged £5.20, for the whole unsavoury ordeal!
For entertainment in the evening I headed out to an aussie theme pub for a beer, laughed at the tackiness of it all, street signs from Melbourne and Sydney, the front half of a Holden Commodore hanging over the bar, stuffed crocodiles everywhere. A tiny portion of expensive fish and chips and a couple of beers, most of the entertainment was in watching the 20ish crowd, all dressed in American/Australian surf gear, but talking in west-country accents.
Boscastle(50.6833333,-4.6833333), Tintagel, Rock, Padstow Newquay