Monday 29 October 2018

A Fortnight in Cornwall #3 - Heading South to Boscastle and Tintagel

Hi there everyone 😀

Whilst it's a beautiful bright crisp autumn day here, the clocks going back this weekend, and the frost on the car this morning, are real signs that winter is not too far away.

We are back with some Cornish sunshine for this morning's post. It was the Tuesday of our first week and we were heading South with Lesley and Tom. 

We were planning to have a wander along the river and a good old mooch round the little shops in Boscastle, followed by a visit to Tintagel, where pasties were definitely on the cards, along with trying to spot the recently installed 'Gallos' sculpture, which sits high on the cliffs above Tintagel Castle.

We parked up in Boscaslge and whilst it was a bit on the cool side, the weather was better than hoped and we headed along the river towards the coast.

Back in 2004, before Martin and I had met, I'd been on holiday in Bude and was on my way home as the area was hit with horrendous flooding. It was heartbreaking to watch the devastation of such a beautiful spot unfold on the TV news, having only been walking in the area a few days previously. It was hard to imagine today, with the river just gently rolling towards the sea ...
We started our walk, heading up to the right of The Harbour Light, which had to be completely rebuilt following the floods, having been completely destroyed after being hit by a camper van as it was washed down the river ...
We headed up to the viewpoint above the harbour, where you can just see Queen Victoria's rock in the distance ...
We were still on the lookout for signs of autumn and we weren't disappointed ...
We didn't carry on out to Queen Victoria's rock but decided to re-trace our steps and have a wander along the other side of the river, along the side of the harbour ...
We sat for a while in the shelter of the harbour wall, just taking in the views looking back up the river ...
... before heading out a bit further where we just sat on the rocks and took in the view ...
It was a lot easier to see Queen Victoria's profile from this side ...
... and all but me managed to catch a glimpse of a seal swimming in the sea ... or so they said 😀

After a good while sat just watching the sea we headed back along the river and into the village ...
From Boscastle we made our way along the coast to Tintagel. We managed to find a sneaky free parking space on the side of the road by the Castle Hotel, where we headed into the grounds as I knew there were some great views of the castle from here.
To say it was windy would be the understatement of the century ... we were nearly blown off our feet, it would be fair to say it was pretty invigorating ...
It's not the first time Martin and I have seen the castle from this angle. On one of our first visits to Cornwall together we found one of our very first Geocaches on the cliffside, it's how I knew that the views were worth a look.

After a good look across to the castle, pretty much deciding that we wouldn't be climbing the steps for a visit, we headed into town to be able to tick off one of our objectives for the day ... real Cornish pasties, ate out of the paper bag, sat on a bench on the high street ... classy 😂
We had a quick wander up the high street where Martin couldn’t resist a few purchases before heading back to the car before heading off towards the church ... but not before Martin and Tom shared their ancestry ...

A narrow and bumpy lane found us at our next free parking spot, up by the church on the top of the cliffs, where blue sky put in an appearance. It was just beautiful ...
We spent a while doing s spot of geocaching, which involved a good look around the church and the churchyard, followed by just a short wander up the lane ...
... where we were pleased to find what we were looking for ...
It was from here we were hoping to be able to catch a glimpse of the 'Gallos' sculpture across on Tintagel Island ...
We did get some great views through Tom's binoculars, but the camera struggled a bit with the distance ... even the Canon with its mega zoom.

It looked really eerie in the distance, with not a soul to be seen. We found out later that the island and castle had actually been closed because of the high winds.
It was then back to the car to start to head back home, with just a quick call in at Crackington Haven for an ice cream and a wander on the beach as we were passing through ...

We'd had the loveliest of days and, all too soon, it was time to head for home ...
Very unusually for us we ended up going out to eat for the evening. We were going to head into Bude for fish and chips from The Mermaid, but rain was threatening so we had a change of plan and decided to try out the Bay View Inn, somewhere we’ve driven past numerous times but never visited.

It was lovely sitting there, tucked up inside watching the waves roll in. We had a lovely meal, the boys taking advantage of the Tuesday night pie and pud offer, definitely somewhere worthy of a revisit, especially if we could manage to sit outside.

Absolutely shattered we parted company, with plans to head North for Clovelly on the following day.


Thursday 25 October 2018

My Journey to Less Waste #2 - Another Rubbish Day!

Hi there everyone 😀

Following on from my post last week I thought Friday would be a good day to have another look at the waste that we produce over the course of a normal day.

In our house Friday tends to be shopping day, so it was going to be interesting.

The postie delivered our first lot of waste. Two letters from Nationwide ... about the same account, generating two envelopes and two A4 sheets of paper for recycling. 
The Gardeners World magazine was also delivered, wrapped in a plastic cover, clearly marked as being recyclable at the plastic bag recycling point in the supermarket, so that will be saved for dropping off.

The magazine itself though, was stuffed with 8 flyers and 4 envelopes from charities, filled with more paper, that are heading straight for the recycle bin.
It was grass cutting day ... yes, though I love gardening, grass cutting does not bring me joy, so we support a small local business and have someone in to cut the grass every other week. We did a quick pick up of the windfall quince, which we are sadly unable to use this year and these are destined for the garden waste bin, along with a couple of boxes of grass cuttings.
According to the local council all of this waste is turned into soil improver so, assuming they are doing what they say they will, none of this waste should end up in landfill. I am happy to pay the £36 a year that they are now charging for this service.

It was then time to prepare a fish pie for tea. As usual, we were cooking from scratch so there was a pile of waste generated.

Veg peelings, fish skins, plastic bags and cartons. I was quite excited that some of the plastic bags will now be destined for the supermarket bag recycling box, as these previously would have gone in my general waste and onto landfill. They do need washing out first though. And ... some of the other plastic bits are destined for an ‘Ecobrick’, but I will tell you more about that in another post.

I was chuffed to bits to find that, from just this one meal, the waste destined for the kitchen bin was pretty much halved and consisted purely of food. Massive win and pretty motivating I can tell you (though I am still mourning the loss of my compost bin). And tea's ready ... bonus!!

I was hoping to be able to include the raw peelings in my green waste bin but I had a bit of disappointment this week to find that the council will not allow raw fruit and veg waste to be included in the green bin. Apparently it’s something to do with the possibility of the food having been contaminated somehow once it’s entered the production chain.

We then had a few tablet blister packs which I removed the foil from the back of to add to my little bits of foil pile, which will be scrunched into a ball when there is enough, and the plastic packaging, again, is destined for the Ecobrick.

Time for the supermarket shop ... this was going to be interesting. Though we are finding lots and lots more things we can recycle, with just a little bit of effort, the real answer is to refuse the packing in the first place. This was the first shop we’d done since really starting to think about reducing our waste .. would it be any different?

But first ... as it’s such a lovely day ... peg out the washing.

Before we hit the supermarket we had a stop off at one of our favourite spots for lunch and after we’d finished I thought it would be interesting to have a look at our shopping list and see where we thought plastic would be involved.

Oh my goodness ... this really brought about a feeling of total failure and helplessness. 

On the right hand side of our list is fresh fruit and veg, everything else is on the left. 

Straight away we could see that everything on the left hand side came in some form of packaging, the majority of it plastic. 

We knew that the majority of the fruit and veg would also come on plastic packaging ... it did not feel good at all.

Our initial feelings were that, without completely changing all of our shopping habits, it was a lost cause.

Feeling a bit deflated we headed in total silence for Aldi where, yes, pretty much everything we bought came in some form of plastic packaging.

We managed to make a few small changes though. We didn’t put the stuff we bought loose, bananas and peppers, into single use poly bags and we switched our normal double plastic wrapped apples and netted onions and plastic carton of pears for alternatives supplied in poly bags which looked like they would be recyclable in the supermarket plastic bag recycling scheme. We also decided against the plastic tub of pomegranate seeds and opted for a loose pomegranate from Asda ... more effort I know, but one less piece of plastic.
Whilst the pears were slightly more expensive than the netted plastic carton of pears, the apples were about £1.50 cheaper, so ... win win.

As usual we headed from Aldi to Asda, and I was on the lookout for the bag recycling box, which I am sure used to be in the entrance lobby. There was no sign of it today and when I asked about it was told they no longer have it. It was another downer. I will have to see if our local Sainsbury's or Morrison’s have one, but I will be emailing Asda to see why they no longer offer this facility.

Back home I checked the Asda’s website, it clearly states that all of their stores offer this recycling facility ... time to hit Twitter to see what they say.

The shopping was unpacked and, along with all of its plastic packaging, stored away. This is the waste that was generated ... for now ... all of which can be recycled in one way or another.

Unusually for us there were also a few mouldy carrots and the squishy end of an old cucumber which made its way into the general waste.

I have to say that by this point I was feeling a bit deflated. I really want to make changes. I really want to do my bit ... but it’s hard. To cut the plastic packaging out of my weekly shop I would have to visit lots more shops and I know it would end up costing us considerably more.

Time for showers ... resulting in one loo roll middle, a couple of cotton buds and a cotton wool pad.

The rest of the day saw the production of an empty wine box with all of its associated plastic innards and a few pieces of kitchen roll used as hand wipes and a small amount of food leftovers.

Really not wanting to give up at the first hurdle I had a bit of a word with myself. After all, in just this first week of trying I have learned so much just by asking the question ... can this be recycled? l know I can considerably reduce the amount of plastic that gets thrown in my general waste. That has to be a good start ... doesn’t it?

And ... I reckon we are definitely going to get a wormery 🐛🐛🐛

Now ... I need to head off and fetch in my washing 😂😂😂


Monday 22 October 2018

A Fortnight in Cornwall #2 - We're on the Breakwater!

Hi there everyone 😀

Welcome to the second of my posts about our fortnight's holiday on the North Cornwall coast at the end of September. It already seems such a long time ago.

It was the first Monday of our break and Lesley and Tom were arriving. They were staying in a chalet not too far away until Friday. They got to us mid-morning and, after sausage sandwiches, we just spent a lovely afternoon back in Bude. 

It was a bit grey overhead but we had our first walk out to the breakwater ...

Along with the point at Widemouth Bay, this really is one of our favourite spots ever and we spent a good while just taking in the view ...
... and snapping a few selfies ...
Lesley and Tom even braved the wind to venture up the steps ...
We were soon heading back. The views looking back across to Bude from the breakwater are always a treat ...

We made our way round the back of the castle, via The Peace Garden where we tried to re-live the holiday that Lesley and the girls spent with us not long after Martin and I had met.
The Peace Garden - 2006 - Lauren, Jess & Lesley
The Peace Garden - 2018 - Lesley & Me
This is us all now - in case you were wondering 😀

We did fit in a quick pit stop at The Barge, where we were treated to a lovely and unexpected bit of afternoon sunshine, before Lesley and Tom headed off to check in and we made our way back to West Holm, with plans for a big day out heading South on the following day ...