Thursday, 12 April 2012

My brother's special birthday in Cornwall

Will's 50th birthday weekend April 6th to 9th 2012

Friday 6th April 2012

I managed to have time off for the Easter weekend 2012, as my sister-in-law (Jane Moffett) had arranged a weekend in Treyarnon Bay, a picturesque bay in Northern Cornwall.

This is my first visit to Cornwall since 2005, although I have made regular visits to places in Devon, so I was looking forward to making a return visit.

Jane (Moffett) had instigated the weekend, and has done a wonderful job, in organising a place to stay (the Treyarnon Bay Youth Hostel), and inviting guests, and at the last count we expected 39 visitors.

On the Friday (Good Friday) I had to get the first bus to Reading, which was 08.15 from Calcot, arriving in time for me to catch the 09.11 train to Birmingham New Street. I travelled with my good colleagues Daniel Renton (Reading First class host) & Philip Potter (Bournemouth Retail service manager). From Birmingham to Exeter St David's I travelled on the train with Carol (Plymouth Train Manager) & Helen (Birmingham Retail Service Manager) arriving Exeter early afternoon.

Jane (my sister) lives in Exmouth, which is a short train ride from Exeter, a ride along what is known as the "Avocet" (a wading bird often seen in the estuary) Line. My plan was to break my journey in Exmouth, proceeding to Cornwall the following day with Jane & her husband Rob.

I took a walk along the beach before reaching Jane & Rob's place. That evening we stayed in and had a Chinese supper (as it was Good Friday, I chose a seafood option of squid & Chinese mixed vegetables.

Saturday 7th April 2012

The weather looked doubtful when we left Exmouth about lunchtime. Jane & Rob Ferguson & I travelled in Jane's VW Camper van, and we travelled along the main A30 road, and when we reached Cornwall (Kernow as the county is known in the local (Cornish) language, we made a slight detour to call at Jamaica inn (a pub immortalised in a Daphne de Mourier novel). Here the weather was wind & drizzle, we could imagine how times were hard upon Bodmin Moor, when the book had been written. However the pub inside was warm & cozy, and I had a pint of the St Austell Tribute ale.

We continued onto Treyarnon Bay, arriving outside the Youth Hostel about 4pm. I couldn't check in until 5pm, but this gave me the chance to meet my brother Will, his wife Jane (M) & my other brother Tim & his wife Sue. I also had the (rare) opportunity to take a photo of the four Barker siblings. Later on I was enjoying tea & meeting the other guests (most of them being friends of Jane (M) & Will, and their daughters Hannah, Mary & Beth.

We continued our celebrating on the beach, the tide was out, the sun shining, and barbecues were cooking sausages, chicken legs, burgers, sweetcorn & even marshmellows. Some of the younger (and brave) people went in to the sea. As the sun went in, we lit a bonfire for warmth, and I was happy talking to some of the friends including the Herbert family (David, Maddie, Sophie, Milo), Bridget & Dawn, Jill, Charlie & Ela..

When it became too cold, we continued our celebrations in the Hostel common room, although Tim & Will couldn't play their melodian & guitar loudly due the (hostel's other) guests sleeping in the rooms above.

After a final cup of tea everyone went to bed.

Sunday 8th April 2012.

I was awake at 06.30, so had a shower, and made a cup of tea, before anyone else was awake. The hostel also served a buffet breakfast of eggs, bacon, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes, as well as croissants, yoghurt, toast & muesli. In the morning I joined Jane & Will on a walk to the shop in Constantine (a small hamlet) then walking back along the beach.

As Jane (F) & Rob, wanted to visited Padstow, I said goodbye to everyone, and took a final picture of Will, with Hannah, Mary & Beth, before we left in the VW Camper van)

Padstow is a small harbour town, but as we arrived the traffic was horrendous, car parks signs showing "FULL", and the town very busy with day trippers & holiday makers. We bought a Cornish pasty & had a beer in the Harbour Inn (less busier than the Custom House akin to a Wetherspoons (a popular English pub chain) on a Friday or Saturday evening. Again I had a local Cornish ale.

We then travelled back to Exmouth, where we spent the late afternoon/early evening. We were all very tired and went to bed quite early.

Monday 9th April 2012

My last day of the holiday, Jane (F) had suggested me visiting the Otterton Mill (a place where she, Rob, & her son David work), and we took a ride to the small village. I saw remnants of a railway which used to run between Exmouth & Budleigh Salterton. The mill is still working, producing enough flour to make bread, scones & other bakery products. In order to attact visitors there is also a gallery of local art, a gift shop and a small restaurant & shop. We also met Emma & Jill (Jane's colleagues).

In the afternoon I started my journey back to Reading & took the loacl service to Exeter, a Cross Country train (with Bernadette (TM Plymouth) & Jenny (RSM Birmingham) & finally the very overcrowded 19.04 Cross Country service from Birmingham to Reading. On board this train I helped Daniel Renton (covering an RSM job) we were unable to offer a Service at Seat.