Wednesday 13 July 2022


A bit of a downcast Cauli early on - he wanted a pain au chocolat, he got raspberries

Tuesday morning found me in Truro, the Cornish capital and easily my favourite inland Cornwall place, not that Redruth, Bodmin and Camborne offer massive competition, let's be honest here.

After the farcical scenes of Monday (waterlogged GBG, aborted Scilly, pub opening hour mishaps, trains not behaving as they should), I was hoping for an uneventful, smoother passage to BRAPA success today.

WRONG!  At Truro bus station, the electronic and manual bus timetables are all telling me that the 10:43 I'd been banking on doesn't even exist!  So why is and Google Maps (normally so reliable) telling me otherwise?  I checked with a man who worked in the office, and he confirms my worst fears.

90 minute wait!  Ugh.  Still only 10:20am, I quickly reconciled myself to the fact I had a long wait so got engrossed in my phone doing an extremely detailed, drilled down plan of campaign for the day (I usually leave things fairly flexible because I'm so often let down by public transport).  

Satisfied with my plan of campaign, I just so happen to glance up (it is 10:44) to see MY bus, the 10:43 which allegedly didn't exist, reversing out of the station and speeding off.  I wave frantically, but he's not stopping, the Newquay bound passengers wonder what's wrong with me, and I've a good mind to go back to the ticket office and tell that guard what I think of him.  But I'm also furious at my own incompetence for being so unaware and believing.

Modern Technology 1-0 Truro Bus Station

I ring #MummyBRAPA and rant.  It gets it out of my system.

It is drizzling with rain for the first time this holiday as the next bus arrives, and it is a bumpy 40 minute ride to the previously unheard of coastal village of Portscatho, on the Roseland Peninsula.  More pretty Cadgwith/Calstock-esque views ensue as I make my way down a slope towards the pub ......

Plume of Feathers, Portscatho (2263 / 3826) was one of less convincing pub ticks of the week.  I'd followed in some old lady, the Duchess of Portscatho?  She's introducing herself to the younger staff she's never met before, and is after some information.  Quite what I'm not sure, but a man reaches for a dusty old book and hands it over, and she hovers near the bar looking awkward, before having a gander.   She does insist that I should be served quite quickly as 'nothing should stand in the way of beer!' and I have to agree.  Having said that, I opt for a Tim Taylor Landlord and it was poor quality.  Remember that lovely man from Totnes I mentioned yesterday?   Well he said it was my own silly fault for not ordering a local beer.  But I've had cracking TTL in Berkshire and London of late, is Cornwall a step too far?  And shouldn't a GBG pub keep all beer well?  I'm not convinced the Tribute or Proper Job would be any better here.  I sit on a comfy bench, but soon realised how 'dining' and 'aloof' the place felt, and like a tourist couple before me, I'd rather brave the benches outside.  I was shivering, teeth were chattering, I exchanged a few words about the change in weather with Mr Bluecoat who had instructed Mrs Pinky to find a shop and buy stamps, wine, batteries and salad dressing.  Fun evening they have planned!   I was delighted when I finally swigged down the remnants of this dross and headed back to the bus stop.

Complimentary?  Prefer bread 'n dripping

Uncomfy in ....

.... freezing out .... you can almost see the goosebumps on the florets

Yes, despite the odd smile and nod, Portscatho was one of the more unfriendly, or at least, watchful places I visited in a week of top Cornish friendliness, although ......

This kinda summed up the local vibe I was getting!

A gentle elderly local couple were waiting for the (delayed) bus with me.  They were off into Truro for a dental check-up and didn't want to be late.  He liked the sound of BRAPA and she said something along the lines of "don't you be getting any ideas!"   I hate to say it, but he was quite frail and it'd be a race against time if he's to get a GBG fully greened.

The rain was positively cats n doggish as we arrived back in Truro, and it is a 20 minute uphill walk from the centre to the trains, as I know from my previous holidays.

I took the train as far as Par (my 'base' on my first 2017 holiday) and after some more waiting in the rain, took a bus to gorgeous Fowey.  The wind gusted in off the river/sea, the hills were as steep as I remember from my trip to Bodinnick.
I was in much pain by the time the pub came into view, resembling an estate agents .....

A weird fish mural led me down into the Galleon Inn, Fowey (2264 / 3827) and I'd have prefered a cosy boozer, and NOT an airy, partially outdoor summer bar, lacking comfortable seating and furniture.  But you can't always have what you want.  The young staff seem on edge, plus it was the only pub all week where I got a weird reaction for photographing the pump clips.  "You have to keep tabs on what yer drinking!" I explain to the barman, but he just looks confused.  The Skinners Lushington's is far from lush, in fact it is farty dross, possibly this was the only pub weaker than Portscatho all holiday.  Not even a pool table could make this bar feel remotely pubby.  Some bloke I spoke to later in the week bemoaned the lack of decent boozers in the Fowey area, and it is a shame. Still, the weather meant this was perhaps the quietest the Fowey streets will ever be on a June day.  A few locals sat outside in the courtyard - I shivered just looking at them.  Must be smokers I guess.  I sat on a high stool facing the wall because there literally was nowhere else.  Luckily, the experience was saved in part when a Scottish bloke next to me starts singing to his two pugs.  Quentin is particularly curious and keeps licking my leg.  I couldn't afford to linger, and thankfully despite the weather, it wasn't a pub for the lingerer.  If I could catch the next 'ferry' to Polruan, I could catch the final bus of the day to Polperro.

The pug licking had only made my leg wetter of course, the icy wind made them sting as I shinned as quickly as I could up the street to the 'ferry' landing.

I found some crumbling old steps and a small shelter.  Three pot smoking teenagers sat in one corner.  They didn't look ready for a Polruan crossing.  A load of litter was strewn across the floor on the other side.  This looked so unlikely!  

What is more, the visibility was poor as I blinked out towards where I imagine Polruan to be, the waves were choppy, and there were so many small boats littered across the harbour, I could almost hear Daddy BRAPA's voice on the wind saying 'there's no way, there's just no way this is going to happen, let's give it up!' 

But things start looking up when a young lady arrives.  She's not here to smoke pot.   Then a schoolboy, no hat, no jacket, just a blazer, shirt and trousers, sodden hair, he appears from nowhere.

And then, against the odds, bouncing along, weaving in and out of the abandoned vessels, a boat (not ferry) comes into view ......

The driver helps an elderly family of tourists off.  "How was it?" I asked one of the women.  "NEVER AGAIN!" she shouts in my face, looking traumatised.  One very elderly lady is on walking sticks and it takes four of us to hold everything still so she can step ashore!  

A middle aged tourist couple have arrived now, making the number of passengers five.  I pass our driver a couple of rusty old pound coins, and he starts up the motor.  I give the tourist couple a comedy terrified look (though I am genuinely terrified!)  The young lady knows the driver well, she might even be family.  And the schoolboy, Jansen, what a dude!  He must do this every day, in much worse weather.  Unflappable.  He only moves to tug at his shoulder length hair and wring out excess water from time to time.  Lad is putting me to shame! 

As we speed up, we take on a lot of water, my back and the edge of my bag is soaked.  I wonder how my recovering GBG is faring.  Closing my mouth would help, I soon realise, swallowing about a gallon of salty sea water which still tasted nicer than that Lushingtons.  I'd take my phone out for some action shots but I'd definitely drop it overboard!

Being a gentleman, the driver has insisted the tourist lady shelter with him in the indoors front bit.  But she goes and starts interviewing him!  "So, how long have you been doing this?  Do you find it rewarding?  Any funny moments that stick in your mind?"  OH MY GOD WOMAN, JUST LET HIM GET US TO POLRUAN IN ONE PIECE, I'm screaming inside.  

I'm first off at the other side, relieved but sodden, a ten minute wait for the bus to Polperro.

I consider a swift half in the inviting looking Lugger pub, but a bloke later tells me it is no more GBG worthy than the Galleon, and that concerns me deeply.  

It is a minibus that arrives (in keeping with the boat rather than ferry situation), an elderly chap grunts 'where ya goin'?" I get on and he goes for a ten minute wander in the rain!  Three other bus passengers join me, all great mates with the driver, and it's only bloody cool kid Jansen, his foghorn voiced ultra Lancastrian Mum with neck tattoo, and Jansen's little sister, who is desperate for Mum to explain what an avocado tastes like, something she cannot do, and despite eating the things every weekday as part of my Keto, it really is an impossible taste/thing to describe!

Bus driver returns and drops the trio about 2 minutes up the road (why didn't they walk?) and then it is one of those never ending ultra skinny country lanes where if you meet another vehicle, someone has to reverse a mile to the nearest passing point. 

A bit mean of him in this weather, he'll only drop me at the Crumplehorn even though he's driving all the way down into Polperro proper.

I still decide to walk down the hill and do the hardest pub first.  All the tourists are walking back up, I'm the only one walking down, and one lady says "very brave, I have to applaud you!" and I don't know whether she means my colourful hat, my shorts and lack of waterproofs, or bucking the trend and going into Polperro for early evening!  I thank her anyway.

Another beautiful, watery place, almost Venice ......

I also have the benefit of these empty streets, the narrow cobbles really lending a fantastic atmosphere to the place.

The pub is around the last corner, up some slippery neck-breaking old steps, I give the door a hard push as instructed .....

And we're in!  Welcome to the Blue Peter, Polperro (2265 / 3828) and after two duffers, I'm presented with my joint favourite pub of the holiday.  A true ancient jewel in the crown, steeped in history you can almost touch, and with all the locals now effed off, it is even more blissful.  Otter Ale looks deep, hearty and strong, just the kick I need. "Shall we Skype KLO?" I ask Col.  "Nah, leave it pal, he's probably on the phone to Brentford" quips Col mysteriously.  I close my eyes and take a theatrical first sip of the nectar.  "Beer is loike treasure!" pipes up a local old crone, eyeing me from the corner.  I agree.  Well, this pint, not the last two, obvs.  The Brummie sounding barman asks how my day has been.  BIG MISTAKE.  And I end up recounting my boat crossing from Polruan, including interview woman and Jansen.  "You're a braver man than me for doing that!" he says.  Wow, just how many times am I going to be called 'brave' in Polperro?   And after that, I just sit and dry off and soak up the amazing atmosphere.  Highly recommended.

Back up the hill, including a wrong turning past the British Legion which is probably pre-emptive if Ramsbottom and Boothstown are anything to go by, but no time for that sadly!  

My other Polperro tick is where I left it (thankfully it hasn't run off) and is next to the bus stop too for a bonus point .....

Daddy BRAPA wasn't a fan of this place on his visit, but then again, it was daytime, peak lockdown outdoor only, and raining, so I definitely got a more favourable impression of the Crumplehorn Inn, Polperro (2266 / 3829) as evening time kicked in.  Only a smattering of diners (once again, all with Yorkshire accents) remain.  It was a weird start actually, getting lost trying to find the entrance, I ended up walking into a dead end which looked like a former stables.  I was sure someone was behind me, and I turned to say "I've definitely come the wrong way, lolz!" but no one was there!  Like the Blue Peter, once indoors, the place did have a centuries old, dimly lit, soothing feel.  Okay so it was a lot more 'foodie' but still had bags of character. And again, a staff member asked how my day had been!  Abridged version this time, I was knackered, and a real life doddery oldie behind me wanted to know if he could get a drink from the bar which was nearly the stupidest thing I'd heard all day, until he came back to order food and asked for a 'garlic chewbatta'.  Reminds me, I've not even made it to Wookey Hole yet.  The Tintagel was drinking very nicely under the flicker of fake candlelight.  A local lady insists on stroking the Yorkshire family's dog, mid meal.  The family don't want it, the dog doesn't want it, and even the serene ultra smiley staff are starting to see her as an irritant.  Some people can't read the room can they?  But all in all, as I had time for an extra half and the day caught up with Col, it was a pleasant experience on which to end.

Feeling sleepy

Spark out!

I was a bit paranoid about the bus back to Liskeard, not least because it was the last of the day but also I wasn't sure which side of the road it was going to arrive on (it ended up being one of those weird turning circles that befuddled me all week).

It was late, but I could see it was on the way, thanks to live bus tracking sponsored by Eddie Fogden Travel:

When it did arrive, a group of Yorkshire folk (surprise surprise) got off, and thanked the driver for doing so well!  "Bit patronising?" I suggest, but she explains it was only her second time doing this route, and the roads were quite waterlogged.  Her more experienced mentor steps into the drivers seat, original lady breathes a sigh of relief, and chats to me all the way back to Liskeard, mainly about BRAPA being thwarted by evil buses.  

Lovely stuff, back in Liskeard just right for the train to Plymouth.  A nice end to a real white-water raft ride of a day!

And best of all, I got to do it all again tomorrow.  Surely, it couldn't get any more awkward than days 3 and 4?  

Oh yes it could, join me next time as I'm 'forced' to crash a (selfish) wake, and no taxis in Launceston will help me out, so we will critique every taxi company in town.

Until next time, good night.  Si 



  1. Oi, I'm from Torquay, not Totnes!

  2. Quite an adventure, by the sound of it, and an enjoyable and entertaining read as well.

    Sounds like a real numpty at the bus station, though - not knowing the times of his own buses, or whether they are running or not.

    A complaining email would be in order, methinks! 🤔