Sunday, 21 June 2009

End of term BBQ

It's the end of term, my exams were out of the way some time ago now, and I am enjoying my summer - very much unlike any summer I've had in the past. I'm hanging around which is nice as I see people come and go - old friends come, new ones go... as typical of holiday periods. Although I've got a dissertation to sort out, I've been taking my time over it (for now anyway) since I don't often get the opportunity to kick back a little in this way. I am usually burdened with something, and come this week, I will have to go back to Swansea to help in the shop. Shop stuff is fair enough though - any other chores I can dislike.

Anyway - Sherry held a BBQ to which a number of friends came. Alex and Ralf were in Bristol visiting so it was great they could come. It was a great gathering, shame some people couldn't make it and some had to leave early, but still good to see most.

David and me

Early on...

Sherry barbecuing some lovely chicken and veg skewers =D Yummy!

Our favourite Redlander: Geth

Human Pyramid

We tried again with 5 at the bottom but some people chickened out and it didn't last anyway...!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Kernow (Cornwall)

It's been a while since I wrote of anything (there was little to write about). Last Thursday (18th), I went down with David, Bettina, Jann and Eriko to Cornwall. Lots of pictures in this post, and there's a few others I didn't bother uploading. I've never been, but thoroughly enjoyed it and will have to visit again at some point.

David drove us there, and it took around 3 and half hours to reach Falmouth, our first stop.

David driving

Wind turbines, A30

When we reached Cornwall, we found the black and white Cornish flags everywhere. They are very patriotic, kind of like, in Wales.

The first Cornish flag we saw.

The road down to Falmouth (A39)


We went to Falmouth to visit Pendennis Castle. It was built between 1540 and 1545, and with St. Mawes Castle on the other side of the River Fal, were part of a chain of castles built by Henry VIII to protect this part of the country against the French and Spanish. Pendennis, unlike St. Mawes were updated, and played an important role in defending the area up to and including the Second World War. (After that, we had nuclear bombs and aerial bombing etc.)

This is the view from the car park on the Peninsula.

On our side, is Little Dennis, built some 3 years before the main castle, to protect the coast whilst Pendennis itself was being built. This waterway is known as the Carrick Roads or River Fal and is reputedly the 3rd deepest or natural harbour or something like that. It is an ancient valley which flooded in the Ice Age when sea levels rised. It is possible to navigate all the way up to Truro on this waterway. St. Mawes castle is on the opposite side.

Little Dennis


The town of Falmouth from the path to Pendennis Castle

The entrance

The Herican Castle Keep
It's partially round as this was supposed to deflect arrows or something.

Callestick Farm Cornish Ice Cream - it was good!

Pendennis Castle has been updated over the years. During Victorian Times, the Half-Moon Battery was built - if you look carefully in the photo below, it is the overgrown brick area to the left, and it was built in a crescent shape, with a gun which fired something like 1 shell every 6 minutes.... at a potentially moving target - i.e. it wasn't very good. And they were used for something like 11-12 years.

For this reason, in WWII, those camouflaged buildings were built with huge guns which fired 6 shells a minute.

On the right hand side, there were stairs which led underground (we'll see this in a minute...) and the vents at the top were self-rotating and mechanically operated, since electricity was rather new at the time. The underground section was built in the Victorian times, but updated and one corridor bricked off due to worries during WW2 that an explosion would go through the whole underground area.

The Half Moon Battery

Eriko by the WW2 gun
...picture stolen from Bettina =)

The communications room

Old electrical cables

Underground - it had that musty smell.

We had no idea what these racks with holes were for...
...probably storing the shells or something......?

Shells or whatever they are called. They would have been piled high originally.

The Half Moon Battery was built a fair bit downhill from the keep. It was closer to sea. To reach there, there was a tunnel which connected the two sections.

The tunnel

Can't remember what this big building was - built 1901.
The far left one is the souvenir shop.

Inside the Keep - remember how it was round?
We're looking inside it now, out of the rounded bit.

David looking out one of the windows elsewhere in the keep

Looks like a new canon is being built!

The view of Falmouth from the top of the Keep
What a wonderful view it was of the area all around the Castle!

Me and David

On top of the keep.

After visiting Pendennis, we went to Mylor Bridge, a 20 minute drive away, to eat at the Pandora Inn. It's history dates back to the 13th century although I think the current building is a little newer, but still very interesting and beautiful nonetheless. It overlooks Restronguet Creek - a tributary of the Fal.


Boats harboured in the creek

Seaweed hanging from the trees
So beautiful to see trees over the water.

A small boat and a swan.

Looking at the restaurant

This is where we ate - the water was gentle enough so we did not bob up and down despite floating on it. A very unique experience!

Another boat

Bettina made a new friend with a deep-fried spider on her chip.

A seagull making off with some food!

We had a lovely meal there and was not overly expensive. With bellies filled, we set off for our next stop (a lot in a day, eh?), Tintagel. A picturesque village with a medieval post office and the ruins of a castle on the rocks. The castle is a 13th century one, and is associated with King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.

An old beautiful building on the way in.

The medieval post office - with rock roof tiles or something!

This little village was busy with tourists and locals alike!
Jann's on the left.

A little bridge over a stream on the way down towards the beach/castle.

Bettina being silly (as usual).
I've got no idea why, but the next few photos are overly dark for no good reason.

The ruins of the castle on the rocks.

The path down...

There was a souvenir shop and a cafe at the bottom, where the stream we saw earlier ends.

All 5 of us!

There wasn't much of a beach unfortunately, as the tide was in...

The guys on the rocks!
See - it's not actually that dark at all, just my camera being silly!

The view from the bit of the hill where we had a picnic. Lovely!

This is more or less our trip, but on the way back, we decided to drop into Boscastle, which was very near by. It's the village that was flooded in 2004 and made the news.

Identical houses going downhill on the right.

In the distance - the harbour and the river which runs through Boscastle.

A quick stop - the rebuilt bridge is on the right.

Looking downstream.

The village itself

What was nice about Boscastle, was that it still felt old, yet in good condition as a lot of the buildings were redone/refurbished, since many were damaged in the floods.

And so this is our trip to Cornwall - what a great time it was, thank you David for organising it =)

p.s. I've got much better quality pictures than the ones posted - please email me if you would like them! TIA.