Part 1 of 2 is a continuation of “Broomfield Moments” from earlier blogs and will fill in a bit of background before trying a chronological attempt at some sort of story. Because there are other bits, too.
Nick Broomfield is a documentary film maker. His magnum opus, from my perspective, was a feature length account of an interview with Eugène Terre’blanche (the South African white supremacist politician) that never took place. I’m not suggesting the subjects of my moments in any way resemble, or have ever resembled, the leader of the AWB, an organisation with a logo that looks like a swastika with a leg missing. It’s merely the principle of setting out on an endeavour with a goal in mind and in which stuff happens but the goal doesn’t, if you know what I mean?
These moments could equally be described as “Burns Moments” in celebration of the lines in To a Mouse: “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley.“
Examples of Broomfield/Burns moments include:
A primary goal of the trip we’re currently on was to meet two friends I’d admired on social media, and by reputation, and had bought wine from them. The first of these was Mike from BinTwo in Padstow, who’d won all kinds of awards as an inventive independent wine shop and was latterly proving to be an emerging winemaker himself. The second was Ben Prior in St Ives (latterly of Marazion) and we haven’t got there yet.
According to Mike, I was holding the last remaining bottle (No 148) of his Fizzy Bum Bum, a Pet Nat sparkling wine. I’d also admired what he and his partner Mary had achieved in redesigning their place to protect patrons from COVID-19. If you’ve been following these blogs, you may recall that another Mike, winemaker at Dalwood, had also given me a bottle of his wine to share with BinTwo Mike. This was nestled up to the Fizzy Bum Bum in a wine box in Campy.
This strand of the saga will continue in Part 2 after the break:
En route to Cornwall
I’ve related most of our adventures through Eastern Wessex (if that’s not an oxymoron) including duelling with satnav in various guises, including Jane and Niamh, who had commanded us to “turn around when possible” or demanded that we “make the U turn” followed by “turn left and then left again” when we demurred at these unsubtle attempts to dupe us into submission.
Even The Leader and The Driver chorussing “S.T.F.U. Niamh” did nothing to diminish her ardour.
Some light relief was in stall when we disobeyed her the whole way around to our hippy dippy campsite to find the picture repeated on the left below, suggesting a new nom de guerre for The Leader. You’d think Niamh, being Irish would be more understanding of the challenges of steering a behemoth around lanes with 2mm clearance on either side of the wing mirrors.
Our story now finds us making our first attempt at a hairpin just short of our designated camp site in Lynmouth. Campy didn’t have the momentum nor the torque to negotiate the damp surface of the tarmac. An attempt by The Driver to stop and attempt to pull off after engaging first gear provoked the dreaded wheelspin. If you measured the traction of a front-wheel-drive motorhome on a scale of 1 to 100, I doubt you’d get into double figures.
“I’m going to have to roll back and have a run at it in first gear,” thought The Driver.
“You’re going to have to reverse and take a run at it,” said The Leader.
“I need to check if something’s behind,” thought The Driver.
“You’ll need to check if there’s anything behind,” said The Leader.
The second attempt failed. TOO SHARP. TOO STEEP. TOO SLIPPERY.
“I’ll need to have another go and take it wider,” thought The Driver recognising that this would require an incursion into the oncoming lane.
“You’ll need to have another go but take it wider,” said The Leader.
A few minutes later we drew up outside reception at the campsite. The Driver donned his COVID-19 mask and entered the office. Outlining the attractions the most friendly and helpful manager explained how to get into actual Lynmouth.
“It’s about a mile and a half along the footpath,” she explained. “Takes about 45 minutes to an hour.”
“Blimey,” thought The Driver, “should only take half of that.”
But the driver kept his counsel.
We did get a great pitch though, alongside Silvia, pictured on the right above.
The next day it soon became clear why we’d take an hour to walk a mile and a half. Just have a look at the walk profile below (top left). Actually, descending was more difficult.
Pasty (had to be done) alongside the little inner harbour (top right) and then beginning the trudge back home past Shelley’s underwriting (bottom left) and nearly home (bottom right).
Lovely tea and cake as a reward at Neil and Mandy’s cottage (which we hadn’t seen before) in Lynbridge and Neil inspired us with a new walk for the next day in which The Leader may have discovered a new nom de guerre.
But first we must go down the hill, a drop of some 1,000 feet into the gorge at Riversmeet. An intensely beautiful place but quite a rough descent. Not sure whether the steps helped or not although they probably prevented some nasty soil erosion. Some bum~clenching drops off the side of the path once you get into trees and the gorge proper.
I’ll come back to the bit in the middle (between going up and down) because I need to make my excuses NOW for going up to Lynton in the water powered funicular. There is an improbably even incline for a walker at the end of the profile depicted below (top left). Yes, we also got a taxi back to the campsite.
OK. We all know that the Leader. Does. Not. Like. Being. Called. Shirley. After all, it is a suburb of Birmingham. But we don’t think Solihull would be any better, do we? Doesn’t sound too Leaderish! A bit bulky for an essentially feminine Leader. An attractive one at that.
In between going down the hill on foot, and going back up again by funicular, we came upon the answer. Nom de guerre? Probably not aggressive enough.
After a moment of quiet reflection (below left), The Leader came upon the answer herself. There it is, right there (below right) complete with Leaderish accommodation. And a pink throne for when one is caught short after a bit of Chardonnay at the pub bench.
Battered haddock and chips to celebrate in Lynmouth. The seagulls didn’t dare.
Coming some time very soonish: Part 2 of this saga hits Padstow.
 Shut on Wednesdays