Ah. 9am in St Ives, the sun is shining, the sea is blue and the birds are making yark yark noises which is the best that a gull can do in the singing line.
I'm walking along the coastal path from St Ives to Lelant with a SparkFriend. We meet on time, set off comparing notes on St Ives and the coastal path and stopping every so often so that I can take photos and catch my breath.
Interesting point, boys and girls: while I still need to stop to catch my breath, it doesn't take me long to catch it. The hilly bits on this walk used to stop me dead for ten minutes at a time.
Anyway, enough of all this. What you really want to see is the photos, yes? Here they are:
We walk along, comparing notes about walking boots, sticks, waterproofs, living in Cornwall, not living in Cornwall, dogs and not wanting one because we'd have to scoop the poop, views, greenery, scenery and ultimately mud.
Yes, mud. We buzz along past Carbis bay, and up the other side, taking about a third the time I took in May last year, then we hit mud. Mind you I must say the mud in Cornwall is not nearly as muddy as the mud in Essex. As mud goes, it's pretty well a non-event. Spoken like someone with great big waterproof boots on.
We get to the most fabulous scenery in the world IMHO: Porthkidney Sands, and make our way down to the beach.
Pause for all of YOU to get your breath back.
This, we agree, is perfect. There are no cafes, rock shoppes, beach huttes, amusement arcades or Cornish Fudge Corners. There is a beach, and sand dunes, and the Hayle estuary and about three other people and two dogs. There is also no public lavatory but as I observe, every silver lining has a cloud.
It's all so photogenic I'm giving my camera some serious welly.
There's a noticeboard with Dire Warnings:
The main issue is, don't get into the quicksand near the Hayle estuary cos there's nobody around to pull you out.
We pick our way down the path through the dunes. If you miss this path and try to get through the dunes pathlessly, you very quickly get stuck and you can't see your way forward. It's like a maze of grass tufts.
In the 30 seconds it took me to take this photograph, I sank six inches into the sand:
We keep walking towards the estuary.
There are little grottoes in the cliff. A thinner person than I could squeeze in or crawl in and hide smuggled goods there, brandy, silk, French lace. It's quite romantic. Little streams run down the cliff and gather in pools before seeping into the sand and disappearing.
We turn inland, past the golf course and the mediaeval church of St Uny.
We've got wind of our nosebag at the Badger Inn. I'm seriously thirsty and have cider in mind. Plus food.
At this point I put my left foot in a pothole that is in fact not as deep as I'd like to pretend it is but I'm not going to admit I wasn't paying attention to where I was putting my feet, bend my ankle rather wittily, spraining it in a suitably painful manner, and end up flat on my face on a road that is a lot muddier than you'd choose a road to be if you're landing flat on your face in it.
It's funny, the sense of disbelief at times like this isn't it? Through my head goes:
WTF? Oh no not again. You can't have. Ow. Ow ow ow. Is that broken or merely sprained? If you wiggle it, does it work? Can you stand up? Well try then, you don't know till you try.
I stand up, cautiously. The ankle hurts, BUT I don't think it's broken. I've broken it before and sprained it at least half a dozen times, but not for about eight years. In fact, not since the time I broke it.
Start to hobble, pubwards.
Anyway I'm pleased to say that lunch an half a pint of anaesthetic later, the ankle's feeling a lot better. We'd intended to walk back along the beach but get the bus instead. I return to the B&B to examine the ankle. It doesn't look so bad as I feared, so I spend an hour pottering around the harbour, taking photos and pestering the gulls.
This one's a turnstone:
and the harbour:
The ankle had better be right as rain tomorrow, that's all I can say. I'm on HOLIDAY, I mean gimme a break!
On second thoughts, let me rephrase that one.