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I’ve taken the King Harry Ferry twice in the last month – so I decided to post a short clip of this meditative little journey across the Carrick Roads.

I can never resist a ride on this chain ferry (can you hear the clicks?) rather than drive the long way round to the Roseland, even if I am £8 poorer per 10-minute return trip as a result. It isn’t really acceptable pricing as a functional part of Cornwall’s transport system, is it? But I’ll leave that rant aside for now as it’s just so beautiful, and is a particularly calm and woody treat for a West Pewithian, where trees and calm water are both somewhat rare.

King Harry Ferry, £8 return day trip. More details & timetables here.

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Last week I was airing my concerns over Cornwall Council’s plans for Penzance harbour on pasties & cream. Well, on Friday I went to the public meeting in St John’s Hall called by the Friends of Penzance Harbour. My attendance of said meeting in a dusty town hall bang in the middle of Friday night is testament to my love of PZ’s waterfront!!

Turns out I was not alone – it was packed. It got quite heated in there – well, you know, as heated as things ever get in this mellow corner of the country, ie clapping, a few ‘hear, hears’ and a spot of hissing. There was an overwhelming sense of frustration and anger in the crowd about how the episode has been handled – one speaker even questioned whether the lack of public consultation flouted the Aarhus convention  (the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters)… to much vigorous nodding.

I took a few short vids.

Here is one deceptively gently spoken speaker:

And the lone representative of Option A speaking:

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via wiki

The fat of the land I can’t say I had really thought much before about the fuel potential of chip fat – and then in one week I hear about two Cornish businesses running on the stuff. The new Place Ferry (from St Mawes to Place) is powered by waste chip fat (provided by local businesses – nice) and this week I took one of Newquay’s biotaxis, running on an eco-friendly biofuel.

God knows there’s enough fish & chip shops in Cornwall to oblige! Does this mean that if I fuel my body regularly with fish & chips that I am technically being very green? If necessary, I can up my intake.

Mackerel crisis It really isn’t easy being green when it comes to eating fish – there is next to nothing left on the OK list. Still, I’ve always been glad that the humble but delicious mackerel is on there (along with gurnard), so that is what I buy – and occasionally attempt to catch (low success rate – the fish stocks are totally safe with me). So this Times article about the ‘mackerel war’ made rather grim reading…

Cornish wallabies Finally, everyone say ‘aaaaaah’ for these zoo escapees seen strolling about in Cornwall – a long way from the outback.

OK, actually, sorry you’re going to have say ‘aaaaaah’ again for this dancing dolphin snapped off Porthtowan. I saw some dolphins do a turn at the weekend off the coast near Zennor but this guy caught a really high jump (& he deserves it for getting up at 5am).

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At the weekend, under heavy grey skies, I set off with friends from Feock for Tolverne Cottage on the eastern side of the Fal, via the King Harry Ferry (free for pedestrians). It’s a serene part of  Cornwall – and you can cut through on a footpath through the woodland attached precariously to the banks.

On arrival at Smugglers’ Cottage, we found what was once one of Cornwall’s most eccentric teahouses looking considerably more dapper, having been taken over by Tregothnan of tea fame.

‘Oh,’ said one of our party, ‘It’s been Farrow and Balled’.

That pretty much summed up my unedited response to the new understated colour scheme and smart garden furniture. Gone was the endearing eccentricity of the place (though all the nautical curios that once hung from all available spaces will appear in a soon-to-open museum) and in their place was a National Trust look, silver trays and lots of beige.

I think I am probably taking out my frustrations about wider issues on this one, ultimately very pleasant spot – it’s hardly like Starbucks has just pitched up in the woods on the River Fal. There is nothing wrong, and plenty right, with tasteful aesthetics and high-quality cream teas but, like all forms of gentrification, in large quantities it starts to feel like it’s endangering the very character of a place – ie the bit people liked in the first place.

I feel that on some level this is what is happening with Cornwall. Where it was once a novelty to have a pricey cappuccino in chic surroundings by the beach, it now seems to be an essential part of the business plan of every beach, cove or garden – and I can’t help thinking that if I’d really wanted to be drip-fed lattes after every muddy walk, surf and wild view, I wouldn’t have moved to England’s most remote county!

On a similar note, Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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