Friday, 29 June 2012
The weeks leading up to that trip seemed to have passed in a whirl of work related stress and other issues and my time away seems to have passed as always, far too quickly, yet I know that how I felt then and how I feel now pay very little resemblance. Despite being back at work, back to the same old problems of an unappreciative boss (for that read Director, for my immediate Manager is the opposite, and I guess that is what really counts), and being generally overworked and underpaid, I feel much more relaxed and refreshed than I did then. It normally takes around a month for the holiday feeling to really wear off, so I guess I have another three weeks to go ...
On the day of departure, on the train to Penzance, I felt slightly nervous knowing that it had been many years since I made a long train journey such as this. Once we got past Reading however, where I connected with the First Great Western service from Paddington, I began to relax, especially once the man sitting next to me, who did seem to realise that a quiet carriage meant no mobile phones had been put straight! The journey itself, which initially seemed to drag, soon went by, as I found myself staring out of the windows watching the ever changing scenery intermittenly reading my Kindle. Every so often I got up for a walk to the toilets or to the buffet car for a cup of tea, wishing as with other transport providers of this kind, that gluten free was more readily available and I had not been forced to bring my own, adding to the bulk of my wheelie bag.
On arrival in Penzance, I decided to walk to the YMCA where I had booked myself in for the night. It was quite a long walk, maybe a mile or so, most of it uphill, so by the time I got there I was short of breath, hot and sweaty. However, once I had checked into my room and claimed by bunk, I soon regained my composure before going back into town for a proper look around. One cannot really get a feel of the place when staying for a few short hours overnight, but from what I did see of Penzance it is a pleasant enough place, and one that I would be quite comfortable spending more time in. The hostel itself was comfortable enough, even though the common room was taken over by the local youth club which meant I was unable to watch television, but I didn't lose too much sleep over that.
The following day I walked back into town via Archie Browns healthfood store and cafe for a a delicious breakfast, before heading back to the railway station to catch the shuttle bus for my flight to the islands from Lands End. The weather was overcast, but the wind managed to stay away, and the flight itself was over quickly. We landed just after 12.30pm, and I was then bussed back to the flay, courtesy of Skybus, where I quickly changed, before going into town for a look around and to visit the Coop.
Each day after that was a new adventure, as the islands gradually unfolded for me to explore - a different one each day, each with their own character. Each seemed reminiscent of a different aspect of Lundy - Bryher like the rugged north end, St Martins like the lush and sheltered east coast and St Agnes like the west, while Tresco was a little of each. Samson of course, is a law unto itself, being given over now to nature and a large colony of black backed gulls, and of course terns.
Many happy days were spent exploring the islands, from north to south and east to west, sitting on beautiful white deserted beaches, exploring rock pools and large granite formations, walking labyrinths (known on the islands as mazes) and eating local delicacies and morsals - Troy Town ice cream (rose and geranium, delicious and unusual), and locally caught prawns) with Scilly's famous cream teas. One of the best days was spent walking around the coast of St Mary's, the largest island on which I stayed - 12 miles in total. It was one of those sunny yet windy days, when the wind whips your hair around your face, stinging your cheeks and bringing tears to the eyes. By the time I got to Old Town, the sign saying cafe was most welcome, and I walked inside for a delicious cup of tea with home made gluten free brownie.
Nights were spent soaking in the bath, walking around the Garison and nearby Halangy Down and watching television. As ever, the 2 weeks went far too fast, and now I am home, it seems a lifetime away.
One of the things I appreciated the most about the flat that I rented was the radio that came with it, and I soon got into a routine of waking each day and switching it on, listening in bed while I ate breakfast and prepared for the day. I was tempted to make a booking for the same flat for next year, but my heart tells me that it would be nice to explore other places as otherwise it may turn into another Lundy.
While I was away, the Editorship of the village newsletter that I recently left behind seems to have been thrown back into the air, as my replacement has been abruptly sacked due to a dispute over their ideas for the future of the newsletter and their treatment of contributors. I have no intentions of taking it back, although it looks as if Coran might, on a temporary basis at least. As for the Olympics, well that it now less than one month away, and the machine continues to grind on. We attended an open meeting in the Village Hall yesterday and did not learn anything new. It was however a chance to vent our spleen, not that it achieved anything, other than making us feel better.
Now all I have to do it enjoy the rest of the summer and plan the next holiday!