Old black and white telly favourite Poldark is brought to light on my long-awaited visit to the county. And, check this, there were blue skies . .
Cornwall is one of those places I always wanted to see. I think it stems from the television series Poldark, required viewing in my late great aunt Suzie’s house.
Poldark was a searing saga of one man’s battle against injustice, or perhaps oppression – I can’t really recall, to be honest. Someone nicked his girlfriend and he wound up marrying his servant. Apparently in 18th-century Cornwall, absent-minded matrimony was quite common.
Old Suzie was 70 then and she just loved Poldark. Before it started, she would whip out her four hair curlers to look her best. When Ross Poldark thundered up she’d lean closer to the black and white telly until her nose hit the screen, so she could see and comment admiringly on his shoulders. She liked his shoulders.
It was all heaving bosoms and men in boots jumping on and off horses and striding about shouting at each other on clifftops. People with names like Drake Carne, Demelza and arch-baddie Warleggan regularly bellowed over howling gales as full sailed ships broke their backs on treacherous rocks, lured by the false lights of a wrecking crew, whilst Ross Poldark got his frilly shirt nicely wet, thus hugging every contour of his manly chest. Old Suzie really, really liked that.
So earlier this year, driven mad by that sudden little burst of sunshine we had in March, I booked the family for a short holiday in Cornwall, confident that the sun would last all summer.
Well, you don’t holiday in Britain for the weather, as we always wearily say to one another. We can, however, say that other great phrase of UK holidaymakers – we were lucky with the weather.
Scots return from UK holidays where the sun was actually spotted with the relief of Second World War fighter pilots who just missed a dammed close thing, by Jove.
No doubt about it, though, Cornwall is lovely. Those names I remembered from an old black and white telly show decades ago suddenly came to life. There’s a village called Warleggan. There’s a mine called Poldark. And there’s a place called Gnomeworld, but I can’t remember what that character got up to in the proceedings.
Talk about annoying
CORNISH folk are wonderful. Just one tip, though, don’t bound up to them trying to talk like a pirate. They don’t really talk like that.
It’s like visitors from the US shouting about braw moonlit nichts at us, and seldom do our dear American cousins annoy us more, unless you count the sight of a podgy Yank with a terrible combover teeing off at his own golf course that he’s casually had Scottish peasantry chucked off. That’s a bit annoying, too.
You want chips with your lounger?
WE stopped at one of the very few service stations back then, Forton, on the M6.
Well, we had to, on account of my wee brother chucking up over his Alf Tupper, Tough Of The Track maze puzzle.
We would have stopped there anyway, since this, my father announced, was the future.
And gee whizz, Forton Services was the future indeed, with its space-age tower gleaming above the motorway.
Believe it or not, the tower used to have a sundeck on it. Why? Who stops to sunbathe at a service station? It’s like putting an outdoor swimming pool in at Harthill.
We passed it on the way home, heading back to a sky that was fifty shades of grey, which as we’ve all learned, tends to leave you feeling a bit let down.
Changed times for today’s Minor passengers
IN order to get to Cornwall, we packed our trusty Rover with the requirements of a UK family holiday – sunscreen in wild hope and wellies in dull certainty.
And, of course, the newly 13-year-old son. For the first time, he got the back seat to himself for a long car journey, with cushions, duvet, portable DVD player, crisps, juice, sweeties, MP3 player and games on his mobile phone.
In the 1960s, my mum and dad decided to go on family holiday to Bournemouth. Bearing in mind the family car was a Morris Minor, this was an epic undertaking.
All we had was a tartan travel rug, Victor Summer Annual and Bunty Book of Summer Fun. Oh, and what words you could make up out of cars’ number plates.