Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Little Cornwall Does the Spirit Good


It was half-term break here last week and as a treat for everyone (especially my husband, who is still playing catch-up with his dissertation work after my 11-day hospital stay), I decided to bring the boys on little holiday in Cornwall. I was a bit apprehensive about going solo with them, as I did just get home on Monday… but all fears were happily unfounded.  It turns out that without Daddy-007 involved, a four-hour drive can be turned into a five hour one without anyone getting bent out of shape.  In fact, it is perfectly OK with the rest of us to stop and use the loo every half hour, get trashy snacks when stopping for diesel, and it is not just tolerated, but encouraged to play the radio at deafening volumes (so as to sing along with it louder). Sorry, Daddy-007, we love you and wish you could’ve been there met us there!!

Our little cottage (for four) was in a converted barn on a farm outside of a village called Goonhavern (appropriate name for the Furious Four, no?), just a few minutes away from Perranporth Beach.  It was a snug little thing and, despite forgetting my laptop and hard drive with movies on it, the kids never lacked for entertainment because there was a TV. We have lived without a tv for almost 18 months now, so I forget just how special this is to the kids.  They were in TV heaven and I was more than happy to let them lie around and watch it.








We didn’t get in until 5pm Thursday night, so we just lazed about the cottage as the rain came down outside, making dinner and eating the lemon drizzle cake that the cottage-keeper dropped off for us (warm from the oven! with milk!).  We didn’t waste any time on Friday morning, though, so after only an hour (or so) of TV, we all squeezed into our wetsuits and raced off to the beach to beat high tide.










From the beach we went back to the cottage to watch more TV.  While the kids lounged, I made arrangements to meet the woman who owns the cottage we stayed in the last time we came to Cornwall, back in October. The boys forgot all their soft blankies and a treasure trove of favorite stuffed animals, so it was high time they were reunited. The boys made her a thank you cardthey were so excited to get their softies back! (It really was nice of her to hang on to our rather large stack of forgotten items for so many months.) We drove the 40 minutes to Port Isaac and, despite two out of three boys not having jackets to repel the rain, we managed to have a lovely time walking the half mile along the coast from the car park to the village and found a pub called The Golden Lion for lunch, where the cheeseburger was declared “the best in the land” by Destructo. The herbed cod was pretty amazing, too.

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From Port Isaac, even though it was almost 3pm, we decided to push on to The Eden Project, a botanical garden that I had heard about and thought looked like it would be a great thing to do in the rain because the gardens are inside enormous bubbles.  We got there about 3:30 and hustled to get through ticketing (bonus: tickets are good for an entire year’s admittance!), but then I made a grave tactical error and opted to go through the gift shop first to buy a sweatshirt for my poor, bedraggled, soaked Destructo, who had somehow gotten out of the house with only a t-shirt and sweatpants on. He didn’t even have socks. So we didn’t end up rolling into the gardens until after 4 (and they closed at 6). We were all immediately blown away by the size of the biomes.










Cornwall-Feb11-39We hustled into the rainforest biome and were directed to collect magical seeds and then if we hurried we might get a chance to see “it.” No hints to what “it” was, just that we didn’t want to miss it!!

Guess what we missed!  Yeah… “it.”

SO, we decided to come back the next day!!  And we were rewarded with more than just sunshine… we got to see IT and it was THE MOST REALISTIC DINOSAUR OUTSIDE OF JURASSIC PARK.  (Stick with the video past the tame first 10 seconds, you will NOT be sorry.) The Animal was brave enough to step up and pet it, but as soon as it started walking around and making noise, he got back quick.

After exploring the Rain Forest Biome and sweating out approximately 3 quarts of steaming misery… we moved on to the blessedly cooler Mediterranean Biome. (I was crying for the Scandinavia Dome after about half an hour in the rain forest… I was just not built for that kind of heat and humidity!)

Because the boys got to string the beads they collected in the rainforest onto bracelets or key chains, with the help of the fantastic Eden worker bees, the night before in the Mediterranean Biome , we got to turn our attention to important things like lunch. Amazingly, this Biome had three different food stations set up where you could buy lunch.  We got some of the canellini, chorizo, and pork belly stew and some lamb kababs with lemon, tzatziki, and fresh focaccia. YUM! We then settled down on the carpets and enjoyed our meal while listening to a storyteller recount the tale of “The Magic Bowl.” The day could not have been more perfect!

From there we went to The Core, this gorgeous building that houses a giant seed sculpture and a “just right” amount of other inspiring artwork and educational exhibits that reinforce the notion that the Earth is fragile and plants are what make the world go ‘round. Cornwall-Feb11-50Cornwall-Feb11-46







I think we spent about six hours total at the Eden Project and all three boys had a fantastic time. The Animal actually cried because he didn’t want to leave! I know that there were some special events going on because it was half-term break, but it was obvious that the Eden Project took the idea of a botanical garden and turned it to Eleven. The level of creativity, beauty, science, and innovation throughout the facilities was staggering.  We look forward to going back in June, when we can take my mom along with us!

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