Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Land That Stein Forgot
St Columb Major - the most un-touristy town in North Cornwall. Susan and I spent a pleasant morning pottering round the rainy and slightly run-down streets. Lovely church, nice locals, interesting buildings and a couple of excellent butchers.
By contrast, Padstow was a disappointment - a nice but not terribly picturesque harbour, one Spar, a lot of expensive places to eat and a lot of expensive clothes shops. Rick Stein obviously loves the place - but he's killing the thing he loves. His empire is now expanding towards St Merryn and Constantine Bay - I confess to having given him my beer money at the Cornish Arms.
Memorial to the Cornish wrestler James Polkinghorne. The town was also the birthplace of John Nichols Thom, self-proclaimed Messiah who led a small detachment of Kentish farm labourers to defeat in the 1838 Battle of Bossenden Wood, having promised them invulnerability to bullets in the style of the late Pierre Mulele.
Above - not much rocket or sun-dried tomato to be seen on Broad Street, St Columb Major.
Maybe Padstow's just a bit more upmarket than last year's Perranporth, but Cornwall seems more hideously white than ever. The beaches at Constantine and Porthcothan rang with RP accents (Constantine has a beach stall which does six kinds of coffee but no tea) as little Barnaby and Saffron splashed about in their wetsuits. The English upper middles still seem to be sprogging, I'm pleased to say. And everywhere we went builders were busy catering for those seeking to escape the "frantic lifestyle". If 'Wales is the new Cornwall' then Cornwall is still the old Cornwall.