Five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall
In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain. It's made me look at our home country in a different way, so I wanted to share the top five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall.
It's a truly beautiful county at any time of the year, but my favourite month in Cornwall is September. It's usually still warm and sunny, with a good amount of daylight in the evenings.
There's also a real feeling of peace and tranquillity at this time of year. Cornwall takes a deep breath in July before everyone works flat out over the summer to make the tourists happy. Then when they all leave at the end of August there's a county-side sigh of relief, and you can see the locals smiling more.
Don't get me wrong: I love tourists, and I absolutely love living in a place where people come on holiday. It makes me feel like I'm on holiday too!
But it's great when they leave and we get the county back for ourselves.
#4 Polridmouth beach
Polridmouth is our local beach and my favourite in the whole county.
It's a 15-minute walk from the nearest road, so it's pretty quiet even in the middle of summer. It's sheltered in a valley, so it's often calm even when the coast is stormy. It's a gently sloping sandy beach, so it's perfect for a swim and often has crystal clear waters.
Some of my favourite evenings of the last ten years have been spent sitting around a fire on Polridmouth beach.
#3 The coast path
For the last few years, we've been trying to walk the 300-mile length of coast path that runs around the edge of Cornwall.
We've seen some astoundingly beautiful places, like the old mining areas between Cape Cornwall and Zennor, and around The Lizard peninsula. But the whole thing is spectacular.
I'm really going to miss the wide open, green space in this part of the country.
#2 Lost in Film
It's been suggested by several people that the whole reason we're going to Spain is to escape our local community cinema Lost In Film!
This couldn't be further from the truth, the success of the film club is one of my proudest achievements and I'll really miss being involved in it.
We've shown over 130 films to an audience of more than 5,000 people over the last eight years, and there's a great team of people in charge who will keep it going.
#1 The people
My favourite thing about living here are the wonderful people. We've made so many good friends over the last decade.
But more than that is the amazing sense of community here. I'm really going to miss saying hello to a dozen people every time I nip out to the shops.
We'll miss the people most, and you're the main reason that we're coming back after our adventure!
What are your favourite things about Cornwall? Leave a comment below!
Lostwithiel then and now
This is something I've been working on for a while, but it's really hard to get perfect. We have access to a whole bunch of old photos of Lostwithiel, so I thought it would be interesting to see how the view has changed over the years.
There's something quite eerie about finding the exact same spot that someone stood in a century ago to take a picture.
Here's an interactive version that lets you fade between the old and new images - although it's a bit fiddly on a mobile.
Pascal's / Watts Trading
Quay St and the river
Wedding on Melville Terrace, 1916
If you're not interested in beautiful beaches, breathtaking views and lush gardens, please think twice about visiting Cornwall this summer on your holiday. Visitors please note: beaches may contain sand and owl sanctuaries may contain owls.
Here are a selection of real-life comments I found on TripAdvisor for Cornwall's most popular tourist attractions:
Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lizard and Kynance Cove
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre
Screech Owl Sanctuary
St Michael's Mount
Do you have any other good examples? Leave a comment below:
Who should I vote for?
I decided to run a competition to find out who I should vote for in the general election. Did you know that we're having an election next week? Maybe you hadn't noticed.
I can't remember who I voted for last time, it was either the Greens or the yellows. One thing I do know is that I've never voted for the winning party nor had my choice of MP elected.
Choosing a colour
First I took a number of tests to see who I should vote for.
I went through the extremely complex Vote For Policies website, which gave me a 50/50 split between Green and Labour.
I took the poll at Votematch and I scored 82% for the Greens, 73% for Labour and 66% for the Lib Dems.
I also took the quick I Side With poll, which gave me 97% Plaid Cymru (?!) 95% Green, 94% Lib Dem and 92% Labour.
Finally, just to make sure, I took the very quick Tickbox poll, which told that I should be voting Green.
So far, so good - it looks like I should vote Green.
However they're almost certainly not going to win here (in 2010 they got 1.7% of the vote) so is there any point voting for them?
So I thought I'd put all the candidates to the test and score them.
- Martin Corney - Green Party (no odds)
- Phil Hutty - Liberal Democrats (9/2)
- Declan Lloyd - Labour Party (150/1)
- Andrew Long - Mebyon Kernow (no odds)
- Bradley Monk - UKIP (16/1)
- Sheryll Murray (our MP) - Conservative Party (1/7, favourite by a long way)
- George Trubody - Independent (no odds)
I thought it would be interesting to see where they stand on issues that are important to me, so I emailed all of them with three questions covering, local, national and global issues.
I did this before the 2010 election with three different questions that were open-ended. I got a very poor response so these questions are much quicker with simple yes/no answers.
Hi [first name],
I live in Lostwithiel, in South East Cornwall where I believe you're standing in the general election in May.
I haven't decided who to vote for yet, so if you've got a few minutes I'd appreciate your thoughts on the following questions:
- Do you support plans to build the UK's first spaceport in Cornwall?
- Do you support Dignity in Dying's campaign to legalise assisted dying in the next parliament?
- Do you think we're doing enough to tackle climate change around the world?
If you'd rather speak to me, call [my number] any time.
I'm going to score them on: how quickly they respond (3 points for the first to reply, decreasing by one each time); the way in which they respond (4pts for a long call, 3 pts for a short call, 2pts for a long email, 1pt for a short email, 0 if they don't reply), and how much their responses correspond with my views (0, 1 or 2pts per question).
Andrew Long - Mebyon Kernow
Andrew replied within quarter of an hour of me emailing him, and gave detailed, well-reasoned responses to my questions:
- He's in favour of the spaceport, as well as continued development of the AeroHub at Newquay Airport.
- He's in favour of assisted dying provided the proper safeguards are in place. He pointed out that this is his personal view, as Mebyon Kernow doesn't have a party policy on the issue.
- He doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change, he thinks the government should be encouraging wave energy and geo-thermal as well as existing renewables, and he believes that we need to protect our land for the production of food.
So 3pts for replying first, 2pts for a long email, and 6pts for his answers to my questions.
Total: 11 points
Phil Hutty - Liberal Democrats
Phil called me within an hour and a half of receiving my email, and we had a very interesting fifteen minute conversation. He's very bright, enthusiastic and passionate about Cornwall. I'll paraphrase his answers:
- We didn't talk much about the space port as he didn't know too much about it, but more generally about the Cornish economy. He'd like to make Cornwall more appealing for business by dualling the A38, adding a second railway line into the county and cancelling the Tamar Bridge toll.
- He was in favour of assisted dying, providing the right safeguards are in place.
- He thought we should do more to tackle climate change. He mentioned some interesting new technologies that can replace fossil fuel-generated power, and said that he sees wind and solar farms as an interim step for power generation until better technologies come along. He said that he was in favour of building new nuclear power stations if they're needed, to reduce our CO2 output.
So Phil scores 2pts for replying second, 4pts for a long call, and 6pts for giving answers that agree with my opinions.
Total: 12 points
Declan Lloyd - Labour Party
Declan responded in a couple of hours with a short email. To paraphrase his answers:
- He thinks Cornwall is the best place for a spaceport and will bring quality employment
- He agrees with people having the right to die with at their own time, with the correct oversight.
- He thinks we're not doing enough to tackle climate change, and opposes mining for shale gas.
So Declan scores 1pt for replying third, 1pt for a short email, and 6pts for giving answers that agree with my opinions.
Total: 8 points
Bradley Monk - UKIP
Bradley responded within about four hours. He sent a long email with detailed replies to my questions. To summarise his reply:
- He fully supports a Cornish spaceport and the highly paid jobs it will bring to the county
- He fully supports assisted suicide, having been personally affected by the issue
- While he's skeptical about the human involvement in climate change, he agrees that we need a wider mix of energy generation, but doesn't think wind and solar are the sole answer.
If I'm being honest I was surprised at how eloquent and well-reasoned Bradley's answers were, and I was expecting his answers to include references to the EU and immigration, which they did not.
So Bradley scores 2pts for a long email, and 4pts for giving two answers that agree with my opinions.
Total: 6 points
Martin Corney - Green Party
Martin sent me an email reply within a week, here's a summary:
- He supports the spaceport because he loves technology and sees it as part of a Green world.
- He is against assisted dying because of the risk to the vulnerable.
- As you'd expect, he doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change and believes that fossil fuels should stay in the ground.
So Martin scores 2pts for a long email, and 4 pts for his answers to my questions.
Total: 6 points
George Trubody - Independent
George replied with a long-ish email after week or so (after I chased him), his replies were:
- He would welcome the investment and jobs that it a spaceport would bring. He made the point that Newquay Airport is owned by Cornwall Council who have always struggled to make it profit, so any new business would help.
- He didn't know enough about assisted dying to comment.
- He doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change.
So George scores 2pts for a long email, and 4 pts for his answers to my questions.
Total: 6 points
Sheryll Murray - Conservative Party
Unfortunately Sheryll didn't reply to me, so I'm unable to give her a score. This is a shame, because everyone says she's a nice person and a good MP, and because I really wanted to back the winner for once.
I've learned that I'm a natural Green voter, but this year I'm voting for Phil Hutty, our Lib Dem candidate.
Sadly too late for this election I discovered that it only costs £500 to stand as a candidate in a general election, so I've added it to my i-Spy Book Of Life for the next election in 2020!
I hope I can count on your vote.
Post boxes of Lostwithiel
When I started writing this blog, I always wanted to feature posts by other people. Here's the first one by John Pegg, a quirky gallery of all of the post boxes in Lostwithiel.
If you've got an idea you'd like to share, get in touch!
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What's this about?
Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.
Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.
I'm very good at starting things, and very bad indeed at finishing them...
Also in Cornwall...
If you're not interested in beautiful beaches, breathtaking views and lush gardens, please think twice about visiting Cornwall this summer on your holiday...