Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday, 22nd September, 2006 - Cornwall

Sydney Swans are in the Grand Final !!!

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are Britain’s most visited gardens, and are just a few miles from where we are staying. We had read the story about their creation and were quite intrigued to go there. Heligan Estate dates back to the 13th century but the gardens were developed largely in the 18th Century and were renowned. But the gardens had become totally overgrown with brambles and ivy, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, until they were ‘discovered’ in 1990. “Our discovery of a tiny room, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens, was to unlock the secret of their demise. A motto etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil still reads "Don’t come here to sleep or slumber" with the names of those who worked there signed under the date - August 1914. We were fired by a magnificent obsession to bring these once glorious gardens back to life in every sense and to tell, for the first time, not tales of lords and ladies but of those "ordinary" people who had made these gardens great, before departing for the Great War.” They have certainly done (and are still doing) an amazing job, restoring the gardens, but also growing vegetables, raising cattle, and creating a wildlife reserve. We spent a very enjoyable few hours wandering around the garden, reading about the history and the redevelopment, and just enjoying the flowers and the greenery.

Did I mention Sydney Swans are in the Grand Final? Again! While we were at the gardens we were eagerly awaiting our sms updates of the game from Rob. What are we doing over here when we should be at the games?!!

From the gardens we took what looked like a coastal drive on the map, to a town called Polperro. We didn’t actually see the coast, but the countryside is just lovely so it was a very enjoyable drive. When we left Polperro we saw a sign pointing to “coastal route” so we took that – well, we couldn’t see the coast any more than the other road, but the road was really really narrow (made those other roads look positively spacious) – somewhat nerve-wracking, but we managed to survive – and so did the car.

Polperro itself was just charming, it looked like a set from a pirate movie – a tiny harbour, with whitewashed cottages perched on steep slopes and tiny, winding streets. It used to be a major smuggling centre, but now mainly relies on fishing and tourism. You have to park on the edge of town, and the whole town is car free. Despite the profusion of B&Bs there is virtually no development, and we just loved it. The sound of the seagulls, the smell of the sea, the views around every bend – just perfect.

Go Swannies!!!!!