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.


JuliaM said...

Sounds great!

Did you eat at any of Stein's places? I did when I was there - a bit pricy, but certainly you can't fault the food.

Yaffle said...

>"The English upper middles still seem to be sprogging"

Indeed. I attend a church with a mixed congregation in southwest London, where it always seems to be the posh types having the Christenings - three this morning, Anouk, Fenella and Edgar or some such.

None of them regulars mind you - "taking out an insurance policy" I call it.

Anonymous said...

no Asian Housing Associations, then?

Dan said...

Isn't attending church in itself taking out an insurance policy, Yaffle?

Cornwall-wise, I recommend St Agnes. There's a great pub on the walk up from the beach, about half way into the village, which I stopped at for refreshment each morning on the way back from the impressive waves; unfortunately, I can't remember the pub's name - the Cornish rattler cider and Doom Bar bitter had a corrosive effect on my short term memory.

Anonymous said...

The English upper middles still seem to be sprogging, I'm pleased to say.


The upper middle are more likely to be immersed in bien pensant attitudes such as multiculturalism, green fuckwittery and the general elitism that goes with the ruling elite. Look at the BBC which is a bastion of the upper middle class. Sure this group is part of the white flight and have a nostalgia for the past but that doesn't make them opponents of the change.

Laban said...

Why ? Because the only other English having a hefty sprog-count are Catholics (mostly of Irish descent) and the underclass.

I've noted before that the poor and the wealthy can still afford kids - it's Joe Average who's been squeezed by the need for two earners to pay the mortgage.

Laban said...

And no, at £30-odd a head we didn't eat at Stein's, although his chippy is quite reasonably priced. One couple we met at Stein's pub had booked their August meal at the seafood restaurant in February !

Dan, you're right - St Agnes is very nice - and for military buffs, the old germ warfare place at Nancekuke (RAF Portreath) is just down the coast.

Anonymous said...

Ive just got back from Somerset. Enriching vibrancy is in woefully short supply down that way too. Something Must Be Done.

Another place to witness the curious phenomenon of white people doing the jobs that white people wont do (so we need immigration). Cleaning the streets, serving fast food etc.

There were a few Poles here and there (nothing like my home town near London though) and even some of them seemed to be on holiday rather than working.