Sennen Cove: the final frontier. These are the witterings of a West Cornwall shopkeeper. His seemingly interminable mission: to plumb new depths in literary rambling, to seek out the boring and banal, to boldly sink deeper than any Diarist has sunk before.
July 24th - Monday
We were very pleased to get a bit of a rip gribbler, today. No, I do not think it could be described in any other way, with a bit of warmth, blue sky and bags and bags of bright type sunshine. It was a perfect day to take a trip out to St Just and the surgery there to see a doctor about a foot.
I had little doubt what the solution would be and I was right but what I needed was, first, to stop the Missus nagging me about going to see a doctor and, secondly, to agree a risk mitigation strategy to see me through behind the counter until, at least, the end of September. Fortunately the doctor I saw completely understood the situation and we agreed a couple of options to protect the area temporarily. After the season I am going to have to approach a proper solution, the various gruesome types of which, customers apprised of my condition, have gleefully been describing to me. Thank you.
We were busy all morning and were out of pasties by lunchtime. I was a bit coy about ordering more for tomorrow as the weather is about to change. I also failed to predict it would be white bread over brown today and backed the wrong baker. We shall try to do better tomorrow.
I think that there must have been an expectation that today was a one off and people went to the beach in numbers. Even with the tide half out there were sufficient bodies to cover from deep into the water back to above the high water mark. That high water shanty town extended from below the OS at the slipway all the way to and beyond Vellandreath Valley. With big spring tides in evidence this week there was sufficient sand to walk through to Gwenver; it seems that the deep gully that led away from North Rocks has been filled in.
It was quite late in the afternoon that we saw the happy approach of our local vicar on her regular pastoral visit, though I cannot see how that is right as we are coastal. However, her visits are always a joy and brighten the heart no end, as she is such a jolly person. She enlightened me to the labyrinth that had been set out on the beach for the local infants school at the top of the hill. Unfortunately the school arrived before the labyrinth maker there must be a special name - so they devised their own. Two labyrinths become difficult in the same place, particularly if you have a lisp, but it seems fun was had by all, nevertheless. The vicar also gave me fair warning that later in the year she would be enlisting my help, which sounded ominous, as in 2020 there will have been a witness to faith, as she put it, on the site of St Sennen Church for 1,800 years. I have no idea what sort of assistance I can provide but the look I had was one that said that this thing is bigger than both of us, so be there.
As if to provide a point to her earnest, and being alone at the till at this point, I was sent a plague of young German students. There were around thirty, perhaps, who individually came to the till in a long line for the purchases of cans and bottles of pop and tubes of crisps - at least once, unless some of them looked like each other. It lasted all of thirty minutes but I understood, for I have seen what Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille can do.
July 23rd - Sunday
We appeared to have been given a free upgrade on our weather booking for today. Gone were the misty and damp bits and in were the sunny spells and occasional blue skies. It pretty much worked out that way too.
There were definite signs of yet another step change in activity in The Cove. More families that we have not seen in a year arriving, catching up on what has happened in absences and so forth. It is mostly always interesting, meeting new people and hearing stories that they may have. One lady who had just told her dog to stay, wondered why she still talks to her dog, as he was deaf. She told me she had two cats which were also deaf. Presumably they all sit around wondering why it is so quiet. We would not see any difference if the bleddy hound was deaf; she ignores us anyway.
While it is pleasant listening to people's stories it would be quite good if people stopped talking when they were supposed to be listening. When you have explained quite conclusively that there are only two places to get cash on a foreign card, St Just and Penzance, you do not expect to be asked if there is one at Land's End. It is also not helpful when someone is trying to explain directions to somewhere to constantly interrupt with incorrect alternatives. My absolute favourite, however, in the not listening stakes is to ask where something is in the shop then be half way down the wrong aisle while I am trying to provide the answer. The cream on the top is when the customer returns to the counter to say they cannot find whatever it was and could I repeat the instruction.
We will not leave that on a dower note. I had a call during the morning from a gentleman in Whitby, who I imagine got our number from the Visit Cornwall website. He had a serpentine lighthouse lamp and was looking for another to make it a pair. Serpentine rock has been used for years on Lizard to create various objects of collectable fashion; so many years in fact, that I believe that there is now only one person who has licence to continue the practice. I thought that Lizard might be a good place to commence the search and found the number of a gift shop in Lizard village. The chap could not have been more helpful, although he did not have hands on a lighthouse lamp, and was very willing to take a call from my Whitby contact and to have a chat. It was good to pass back an optimistic note to the caller.
The Missus tried to complete her weekly grocery order in the afternoon but gave up due to the amount of traffic in the shop. She laboured into the late evening with it. So it begins.
July 22nd - Saturday
I was definitely ahead of the posse today, despite a late night and being woken at half past three o'clock by the commencement of Armageddon. There was a spectacular light show and thunder that felt like it rocked the building; it must have been right over head. I have never seen rain like it in The Cove, either. I can imagine that it was the sort of deluge that did for Coverack except we are not at the head of a funnel and the rain water has plenty of routes to the sea.
My attitude was not exactly laissez faire, just comfortably relaxed about having everything under control, especially since the milk and newspaper deliveries were on time. It, therefore, threw a complete spanner in the works when my Lifeboat pager went off at about five minutes to eight o'clock. A yacht, of the posh sort rather than the sailing sort, had started to take on water and was situated about half way to Ireland. The Coastguard thought it a jolly good idea to launch a boat from Cork, too, which seemed like a decent plan. They also despatched the Irish Coastguard helicopter to take a pump out to the boat and sent our helicopter, as well, with another pump, once it had finished on another call.
After nearly three hours steaming to the casualty it transpired that the plan to deploy two pumps had done the trick and the boat had stopped sinking and started floating a bit better. It was at this point our boat was turned back. We observers had lost it on AIS and I presume that the Coastguard switched to another transmitter as we stopped hearing communications with the boat, too. It was purely educated guesswork when the boat would return to The Cove but, as it happened, we got it spot on.
I was quite grateful that the boat would need no further attention from me for a few hours after the launch. The newspapers and bread that I was baking in the shop do not arrange themselves. My well ordered morning with time to spare turned into a mad rush to get everything ready in time for opening. What was needed was a shopkeeper with years of experience, a level head, the ability to stay calm in a crisis and ingenuity to break through and make it all happen. Unfortunately the Missus was still in bed so I panicked, ran around in circles a bit and eventually did it myself.
It was during the waiting hours - waiting hours made longer by the heavy rain sweeping through The Cove and few customers - that something odd occurred. For those of you with a weak constitution, look away now - this includes the Aged Parents who would have kittens; they do fret so. Skip the next two paragraphs.
It was while I was serving one of our few customers during the final stages of the rain when I felt something wet and sticky in my left flip flop and it was not a wet stick. I thought that something might have leaked, although I could not image what. I looked down and it took a few seconds for my brain to comprehend the visual information and translate that it was in fact me that had sprung a leak; there was claret everywhere.
The lady customer helpfully pointed out that it appeared that I was leaking from a vein and that it might be a plan to stick my finger in the hole as it was unlikely to stop without assistance. I considered the argument and found it pretty sound and duly followed her recommendation. She also told me that it was worse than it looked. I considered exsanguination and wondered how much worse that could get but decided to take some comfort from her words. The Missus, who was fortuitously to hand in the store room, though somewhat more concerned than I, helped by fetching dressings, bandages, hacksaw and wire wool and Dettol and the like. The lady I was serving, it transpired, was a GP and despite claiming that she normally would leave wound dressing to a nurse, very ably applied a pressure bandage. I have no idea what caused the issue, other than the presence of varicose veins at the site, as I do not recall knocking it. What it did do was prevent me from attending the Lifeboat recovery.
The Lifeboat returned to The Cove at around two o'clock. The timing was fortunately such that it was recovered onto the short slipway; the robust nature of the swell in the bay would have made a long slip recovery nigh on impossible. I heard the boat make a couple of approaches so even on the short slip it was not straightforward. However, there are men made of sterner stuff for whom a bit of swell is no more than a summer fly to be brushed away. For these men, churning out yet another textbook recovery, regardless of the conditions, is pretty routine and, even though I was not there, I played a part in ensuring the right men were there on duty. We are, after all, a very complementarily skilled, very excellent Shore Crew.
Time to put my feet up, I think - at least one of them, anyway.
July 21st - Friday
It was widely advertised that we would be rained upon today and we were. Rain stopped play - or more accurately univented whatever game it was we were playing - for all of the morning and some of the afternoon. It was not until the middle of the afternoon that we saw some brightness, laced with the threat of showers, by which time those that were travelled had travelled and everyone else found something else to do inside.
It has been a while since we have had rain as heavy as it was this morning. For whatever reason, our drains at the back of the shop made it today to be unable to cope with the flow and emptied into the shop. One overflows into the store room and we were very lucky that none of recent deliveries, still strewn about the floor, were affected. The other drain finds its way under the grocery shelves and pops out by the beer fridge. While the former seems to have been a one off and was mopped up in one mopping, the other persisted throughout the morning and half filled the mop bucket. This, I quite cleverly poured over my foot later, when I went to empty it.
Business picked up later in the afternoon when some blue sky appeared and the sun shone benevolently down. Toward evening we started seeing familiar faces arriving for the new week. It is getting close to the time when staying open a few hours more will be helpful to these late arrivals, for their starter kits of milk and tea. However, I was quite grateful that tonight was not one of those late nights.
I had arranged with the Highly Professional Craftsperson to venture out on a beano into the big city. Hanterhir, a band with which we are familiar, were playing at the Farmer's Arms, a haunt with which we are familiar. Obtusely we felt absolutely no contempt.
We did, however, feel that we had it wrong again and discovered that Hanterhir were playing support to another band and that consequently we missed most of the set. It took a while for the Hamster's From Hell to get organised as there were rather a lot of them. Between them they had four guitars, a harmonica and a drummer on a beat box and a lead singer who you probably would not take to see your granny for Sunday tea. If I tell you that the first song was Hairy B@st**d Man you will get the idea.
However, despite the language they were irreverently funny and competent, experienced musicians to a man, although you would not go to see them for their looks; only the drummer was under fifty "and if you expect anyone looking like us to have a chance, you put the looker at the back". They play much blues, some SKA and a country and western song filling in with the themes from Batman (the original television version) and Sweeney, although not as you might know them. That was surely entertainment.
July 20th - Thursday
Morning and the sea was tempestuous, in a minor sort of way. With the tide out it was apparently warm and calm enough for bathing in swimsuits. It was also the type of day for a pre nine o'clock beer if you are a small Nepalese looking gentleman, doing a pretty good impression of a Sherpa. I make no judgement but it was a rare enough occurrence to deserve comment; long gone are those days for me, even on holiday - honest.
Once in a while there are things that make life less ordinary. A film crew turning up to do some work with the Lifeboat makes for one of those things and although it was scheduled for the afternoon, the weather forced an earlier start. Had there been sufficient numbers to launch and recover the boat I would have demurred, so it was I found myself on the slipway waiting for the boat to return.
With some help from spurious Boat Crew members the cable was already drawn down the long slipway when I arrived. By the time the boat returned from its filming mission we were poised and ready, Head Launcher on slip, a spare Boat Crew member on quarter stoppers and me on winch, which makes us sound like a spoof jazz band. There was a fair bit of movement down at the bottom of the slipway when the boat came back but between us we managed what appeared to be, from my lofty eerie in the winch room, a textbook recovery. We are after all, even pared to the bone, a very excellent Shore Crew. It was very pleasant that the RNLI chap from St Agnes, who seemed to be liaison for the film crew, dropped into the shop later and thanked us for our morning's efforts.
The Cove basked in the sunshine for most of the day, braving just one light shower during our opening hours. Some heavier stuff arrived at various points during the evening all of which while I was under cover. This meant that I had cleverly timed my trip to the OS for a spot of quizzing to avoid getting dowsed. This did not stop us getting a ducking in the quiz itself. It is possible that I did not get wet going home either but I really cannot be sure; it was all so long ago.
July 19th - Wednesday
Our friendly fisherman had told us to beware taking orders for crab and lobster this half of the week. I thought I had spotted a window of opportunity this morning for and hour or two so I took a lobster order yesterday. When I looked out of the window this morning I think someone had taken an iron to the bay it was so smooth. Our lobster duly arrived half way through the morning. I do not think that we will be so lucky with the seven lobsters the Missus took an order for on Saturday.
It was warm and dry for most of the morning but the forecasters had threatened us with rain so not only was it dry, warm and bright for the morning it was also dead quiet in The Cove. The promised rain turned up as a few sporadic showers around the middle of the day. Later, this turned to mizzle and drenched the cardboard we had put out for collection tomorrow.
The Missus had returned from Mother's a couple of nights ago clutching some duck eggs to her breast. She had promised to get some from Polgigga, where the ducks and geese roam freely, mainly across the road. There is a little stall there and an honesty box. They are more expensive than chicken eggs; they come with a big bill. I cooked the eggs this morning as I had nothing else lined up for breakfast. I thought that they might have been in better condition, as they had not travelled far but they all had a quack in them. I have asked the Missus not to drive through Polgigga any more just in case she runs over one of the ducks; that would really get me down.
Sorry, I promised myself not to do that.
There were dolphins in the bay earlier in the morning, fortunately they arrived without any puns. As usual, I missed them. I had assumed that they would not have been that clear as there was a fair amount of mist around at the time but apparently it was before the mist got thicker. I did not notice that either; I must get out more. I had expected the swell to pick up during the day but it stayed flat through to the evening. Somehow and magically we are expecting it to transform into a thumping tempest tomorrow.
July 18th - Tuesday
The forecasters had given up entirely on trying to predict the track of the storm that was heading up from the continent. All Radio Pasty would say is that some places would not be rained upon but those that did get some rain would likely be swallowed up in biblical floods. All to play for, then.
Our customers in the morning had heard various predictions, too, most of which seemed to exclude the far west. We could easily settle for that, but we would have an increasing breeze finishing with it being quite vicious by the end of the day. This will explain why our wind, strong enough to knock one of our flags out of its seat at the front of the shop in the morning seemed to ease away later in the day. There again, perhaps I just became sensitised from the constant buffeting. Whatever was happening to it, we are not used to a warm breeze from the east.
It is always a little difficult to tell but I would say that we were somewhat less busy today compared with yesterday. This does not mean to say that we were not busy but we did have a few more gaps in the traffic, particularly in the afternoon. The beach, too, was less of a shanty town, although that may have much to do with high water being in the middle of the day. Big Sis told me that the Harbour car park was pretty packed when she went to take her car out toward the middle of the afternoon. It is a brave move as there was likely to be no spaces left when she returned.
It is always good to see returning faces and when there is time, a chat to catch up with often a year's worth of changes. A couple of sisters, with whom I have a common interest in orange hooded sweatshirts, are two such people. We had a cursory chat when they dropped down to say hello then, later, one came by again dressed for some serious pedal biking. There ensued a conversation on biking and, particularly, that she almost decided to ride a bike here - a big one named Enfield. Oddly, it did not surprise me as I could quite reasonably imagine this young lady on such a motor bicycle. It also seemed entirely within expectation that she should spend a redundancy payment on taking the bike to Nepal for an adventure. How inspired and how brave, I thought, and how very much it suited her.
I caught a glimpse of a large ship on the horizon shortly before we closed. I discovered that it was a buoy laying vessel. Just for big buoys, obviously.
I had watched the track of the storm on the computer. It was clear that the main bulk had headed toward south east Cornwall and Plymouth but there was a spur, more intense than anything in the big lump, heading up the east coast of Lizard. While we watched a lightning show out to the west into the later evening it was hard to imagine the damage that a little bit of weather has inflicted on Coverack. Good luck to all down there on getting back on your feet.
July 17th - Monday
When you see a chance take it must have been the moral of the day as the beach was crowded and we had a fairly constant flow of visitors through the shop for most of the day. The flow came to a trickle in the middle of the afternoon as, I would imagine, most people had settled down on the beach. By this time there was pretty much a carpet of beach tents and wind breaks from the Beach restaurant slipway to the entrance to Vellandreath and about half that number again dotted about in the water.
The weather is in flux, it seems, as the forecasting bodies do not appear to have reached consensus on what will happen over the next few days. There is a weather warning in force for either tomorrow or Wednesday and the form it will take is open to conjecture. On delivering our lobster order this morning our friendly fisherman suggested we avoid taking orders for crab and lobster towards the end of the week so there will be some big waves, at least, coming.
I managed to get down to the gymnasium early in the day and practiced my short session for the holidays. The Missus ran off soon after I got back to finish off the lawn mowing, gardening and general messing about round at Mother's, for she returns fairly soon, I think. Time fair flew through the day as I was either serving customers or bagging a sizable fish order I put in last night. We had been whittled down to a few portions of hake over the last week or so and while many people prefer to have their fish ordered in fresh, many more are happy to take it out of the freezer.
Big Sis was late home from work, the Missus was watering the garden and I was left all alone in the world wondering if anyone loved me - or at least was willing to make me some tea. They did not and were not, so I made my own out of some Vivian Olds chicken breasts and local farm Cornish Earlies we had lying about. I know, I know, I should eat properly but it is all we had spare.
July 16th - Sunday
Well, they said that it would be misty today and they were not wrong. Fortunately, for most of the day we were underneath it much like being under a duvet. Like being under a duvet it was also warm, very warm and quite muggy. I would not have liked to have been exerting myself today as I suspect it would have been quite uncomfortable.
It is definitely a school holiday phase of shopkeeping, as we have small children arriving at the shop first thing to collect morning goods. Two of these had performed a reconnaissance mission after their arrival yesterday and had clearly earmarked certain objects for special attention this morning. The younger of the two duly arrived this morning with a parent in tow who supervised from the relative remoteness of the benches across the road. All went well until a few minutes after their departure the youngster arrived back with big sister. The two tested out the elasticity of the purchasing power of a ten pound note and discovered, eventually, that there was an upper limit.
I was under the misapprehension that the money was a shared resource for some goods, while other funds, as yet not revealed, were for items to be purchased individually. Had I realised that the ten pounds was the extent of the finance I would have reined them in sooner, however, as it was we took ten minutes at the till to understand who had what, who had spent what and who would have to return which gifts through lack of funds. I provided them with a make shift ledger that they could examine at their leisure to understand just how little of their pocket money they had left after just one morning of being here.
We were busy today but not pressed. I think that our visitors also felt that doing too much today in the high humidity would have been a mistake, although they did a fair bit of relaxed shopping. I think I might have been grateful that we did not sell any more gin today.
Although it was not perhaps the busiest we have been, it was pretty constant throughout the day. I could not tell you much about what was going on at the beach, although when I looked later on there were a fair few surfers in the water looking for a wave. I would say that there were definitely more surfers than waves and I have no idea how they share them out fairly. Later, when I looked out after finishing in the shop, I watched some kayakers mucking about just off the long slip and the water then looked very flat indeed.
It was certainly flat enough for a small bleddy hound to have a little swim at the end of the day. The Missus took her down at last knockings while I sneaked off to my bed. A surfeit of gin over a couple of days can do that to a chap.
July 15th - Saturday
The weather dampened the holiday spirit somewhat today. Gone were the expanses, or even glimpses, of blue sky and in with the thick cloud and the threatening mist and mizzle, which was not supposed to arrive until tomorrow. I would say that a bunch of schools have broken up based on this evidence.
Having managed to increase the volumes of newspapers for this weekend in a startlingly unusual act of preplanning, we sent a good wedge of them back. It did not surprise me in the least, not only from the depressed volume of visitors but from one national paper advocating 'cooking with kids'. I have to say I think I would probably prefer chicken.
I managed to animate myself sufficiently in the morning to refill the gift biscuit and fudge shelves at the end of the shop. I had only done it a few days ago but we had been cleaned out by the sombre going homers; they must really love those people at home. Despite our flurry of ordering this week we seem to have grown some further holes in our stock. The navy strength Tarquin's gin that I ordered double the amount of after the last lot of bottles flew off the shelf, has nearly all gone. It is a mark of the reputation for food and drink that Cornwall has grown over the last ten years and particularly in the last five that even a little shop such as ours can successfully sell a good selection of local produce. It probably sells a bit better on days that are not grey and mizzly, however.
The Missus abandoned ship and ran off to Shrew House in the middle of the day on the pretext of sorting out the stock that she had carelessly thrown in through the door recently. The wetsuits are particularly in a muddle and now that we have a new supplier we need to be pretty slick with the stock so that we do not run out in the shop and can get at the spares in Shrew House quickly.
The wetsuits are not the only thing at risk of being in a muddle. I introduced a very pleasant lady from north of the border, Redruth and bear left, to a small sample of Stafford's rather excellent gin. She asked if I had ever tried Harris gin, which, being east or Redruth, I had not. She returned not ten minutes later with a plastic beaker half full of aromatic liquid, which on tasting turned out to be something of a little corker in the gin vernacular. It was quite a lot of gin to be having as a taster and I made it last over at least two drinks.
Tonight, from the very pleasant gentleman that I sold a bottle of Mr Tarquin's navy strength gin earlier in the day, I received at least an equal measure to that of the Harris gin I had earlier in the week. It would have been exceptionally rude of me not to sample it, which I did shortly before the shop shut. My word, it is a remarkably strong gin; I might have to make it last three drinks this time.
July 14th - Friday
I am not entirely sure that I would go around dressed as a lobster or a crab in a fishing port. You know the mentality, the only good lobster
From very grey beginnings our day blossomed into a beautiful swan of a day. The cloud thinned and the sun poked through just enough to make it pretty ripping. We were busy, too, but not quite so busy as yesterday, which I would rate as in the top couple of percent of busiest weekdays outside school holidays.
I was quite grateful for the slight easing of hostilities; yesterday was fraught, to say the least. It gave us, or at least the Missus, the opportunity to tackle the large boxes of new stock that had accumulated in the store room through yesterday and the day before. We now have an even greater host of irresistible objects for people to cram into their already crammed bags on the way home. Grannies and aunts everywhere will be delighted to have yet another glitter dolphin/glass turtle/wooden sailing boat/skeleton surfer (delete as appropriate) - oh yes, we have skeleton surfers - to adorn their mantle pieces. Sorry, grannies.
I cannot remember if I mentioned that I was helping a couple from Virginia, which is somewhere west of here, find various places to visit while they are here. They already have an idea of what they want to do but have some misconceptions of the scale we operate within. For example, they had planned one trip to take in Falmouth, St Austell and Plymouth with stops here and there to explore. I managed to convince them to pare it down to a trip to Falmouth for the day and a visit to the Maritime Museum.
A few days ago the lady had decided that she would like to visit Boscregan Farm and the wild flower fields there. I found out that there was a one off guided tour today but directions were sparse and the meeting point vague. I asked a few local people and even a policeman and all said that there was no car park in the area suggested. I telephoned the National Trust and was given a number to call of someone who might be able to help. There was no one answering so I left a message yesterday.
Today, with time pressing, I tried the number again and had more luck, well, if you count being put through to a small shed in the Peak District (her words), luck. She told me she had no idea why I had been given her number but she was good enough to give me two numbers of NT sites on the Lizard. They in turn passed me though to a site in Penzance, where I left a message that was not returned. I had largely given up hope when a chap who has worked with the NT up at Geevor dropped into the shop. By a complete stroke of luck he had the number of the ranger who was leading the tour. It was a shame, therefore that the call went to voice mail and he did not call back. The lady of the Virginia party was a little disappointed but her partner seemed to be wearing something of a smug smile. He does not do flowers, I am told.
In the later stages of the afternoon, it was clear that there were a burgeoning number of school holiday families arriving for the coming weeks. We have one week left of our luxurious twelve hour days before the fight starts. Best we make the most of it.
July 13th - Thursday
This should have been a Friday given the date and the problems we had. Mr Microsoft gave me a headache with a new update that first clashed with my third party security software and then stopped my network from working. It was not as if I had nothing better to do other than fix it; it was one of the busiest days we have had outside a school holiday.
The upshot of this was that I was unable to pen any Diary pages or even send the one I had written for yesterday. Some saw this as a positive, thank you.
Amongst everything else we had a Lifeboat shout in the middle of the afternoon that saw me turfing about ten customers out of the shop so that I could launch the Lifeboat. It went from inside the boathouse on a very sharp launch to help search for a missing snorkeler off Porthcurno. The Inshore boat followed on later and both boats returned after six o'clock after being stood down. There was no sign of the missing snorkeler and we rather hope that he was in the Logan Rock or somewhere wondering what all the fuss was about. This would be a happy result under the circumstances.
I did attend the OS in the evening with the usual results. Both computers are limping along at present but I cannot shut either down else they will update again and my network will disappear. I understand that it has been reported in the press, which is some comfort. I have no time to play with the issue so it seems I might have to seek outside help.
July 12th - Wednesday
++ Sorry, uncheck Diary today and very late with it. Computer problems again thats to a MS update that flattened my box. Nothing for tomorrow I am afraid as I have spent a very busy day trying to fix computer issues and server customers at the same time. ++
I say, that is a lot better from yesterday, as if yesterday could have been any worse. We did have a bit of a blow for the first half of the day and I did think for a while that it might spoil things somewhat. By the middle of the afternoon it was clear that I need not have worried as we were inundated with happy beach goers and sun lovers in general. There was a sizable camp down on the beach and clearly some royalty, too, as they one of those tents down there that you normally see at jousts.
I discovered later that it was a local foraging cook company doing a bit of promotion down on the beach. I do not know what they were promoting but it must have been thirsty work; their runner was in the shop twice and purchased about ten large bottles of water each time. We thank them very much.
I would love to tell you tales of what went on outside the shop doors today but it was a big delivery day, too. The one thing we forget is that when we make lots of orders, the products arrive all together and in very large boxes. Today they arrive so much all together that the van had to leave half the delivery behind. That which did arrive came in big boxes and someone with a big sense of humour filled the gaps in the box with shredded paper - our favourite; it gets everywhere.
If it had arrived yesterday I woud have had the entire day to unbox it and get it our on the shelf. Given that we were very busy today I congratulated myself on getting two of the big boxes emptied, the shredded paper into the bin an the cardboard flattened and out for collection in the morning.
We were so caught up in the whole shop type working thing that we completely forgot about doing something for tea. After we shut the shop we had a little panic and ended up with toasted ham and cheese sandwiches on our own, home baked bread. If you are going to have an emergency tea, you could do much worse.
The sea had provided some waves during the day and the combination prevented the fishing fleet from working this morning. However, into the afternoon, the new tour boat was plying its trade from the Harbour. In the early evening, at high water or thereabouts, the young and brave were lined up on the Harbour wall for a spot of jumping off. It must have been the girls who organised the synchronised jumping off I witnessed and it must have been the boy, fourth in line, who messed it up by going head first and with no artistic twist.
I was very pleased that our American friends, who asked directions to Port Isaac this morning, found the place with little trouble. The lady part of the partnership is an avid watcher of a certain television programme that is filmed there - no it does not involved tricorn hats - and was delighted to have been waved at by the star of the show.
She will also be lucky enough to have a guided tour of Boscregan Farm later in the week, with its Viper Purple Bugloss, provided I can find out where Nanjulian Valley car park is before then. Any information leading to its arrest and pinning down would be most appreciated.
July 11th - Tuesday
Our bread delivery man is a stalwart sort of chap. He has had a history of minor strokes but is obviously considered reasonably fit again by the medics, as he was back working again today, the first time in a couple of months or more. He said that he had his stroke just before Flora Day and, oddly, just before Flora Day the year before. He told me he was not looking forward to Flora Day next year and I can see how that might take the shine off it.
The rain took the shine off my day. I had managed to run the bleddy hound around the block before it started but it was well bedded in when the weekly grocery delivery arrived. It was an even chance on how wet I would get either wearing or not wearing a waterproof, as it was still quite warm for hefting heavy boxes. The rain persisted through the day, on and off, and effectively stopped play.
This gave me the perfect opportunity to survey our shelves and put out as much stock as I could. Last year our mug man came and did our restocking for us. Sadly he was not here today but the manner in which he did it showed us how the displays might be arranged and where we have always been reverent with the expensive bone china he piled them high and close on each other. I managed to empty four boxes, which shows just how much has gone out of the door in the short while we have been open.
So quiet were we that we managed to telephone three suppliers, which we had previously contacted, to cajole them into making the necessary arrangements to send us the stock we had asked for. Quite why it is necessary to cajole suppliers into supplying us is something of a mystery, perhaps they wish to see how needy we are. Whatever we did or said must have worked because our various items of stock are winging their way to us as I write, apparently.
The rain eased off sufficiently in the afternoon to encourage a few of our more hardy visitors out for a bit of a stroll. It was still not what we might call busy, even by the standards of early in the season, but it was slightly better than a poke in the eye with any kind of stick. I am rather hoping we do not get too much more of that sort of weather as I am running out of stock to put out.
July 10th - Monday
I cannot recall what the forecast promised us for today; I have given up looking to be honest. It was a bit grey and bleak first thing and I had resigned myself to a poor weather day but later in the morning it brightened considerablably and gave over to an extremely pleasant day. I may be judging unfairly but I am guessing that the forecast for today was not good as we were not as busy as I supposed we might have been with weather such as this.
If I needed consolation, and to be fair, this year has been very kind so far, we passed the PCIDSS scan this morning. They failed us last night and I just had one more change up my sleeve, which apparently worked. Just how it worked I have no idea. Last night we failed on two major points and about a dozen minor ones. On making one change to the SSL version (do not ask; it is technical) all the problems disappeared. This only served to convince me further that the whole PCIDSS gravy train is just smoke and mirrors operated by a bunch of charlatans. It is so contrived it is laughable. I discovered that my newly passed test could not be attributed until it had been approved. That does not sound unreasonable until you discover that the approving body is the same one that carried out the test. Still, I do not have to bother with it again until the end of October, which is something.
Do not think I am stopping yet; I still have my fit of pique to arrive at. You may remember the long and anguished problems we had with trying to bank our cash at the new, slim line post offices replacing the full fat, proper ones across the country. When we eventually discovered that we could bank at some of them I then found out that some of them would not take our Northern Irish bank notes and the whole experience was a tad tortuous. It has not been a happy journey.
The Missus had some success the last time she went and reported that the staff had become much more adept at note counting, although Northern Irish notes were still taboo. However, she went again to the same post office, which will remain unspecified for now, and was told that they had been castigated for taking such a large amounts of cash and they were now limited to taking only cash amounts of seven shillings and sixpence, or thereabouts. I would have thought that such a restriction would require even the most modest cash business to have to visit two or three times a week. It is like having a newsagent shop and only selling The Dodo Keeper's Gazette. Fortunately, the Missus had a chat with the postmistress and discovered that it was a bit of a misunderstanding. We can deposit cash there and we have agreed some changes that will make it easier for all concerned.
There, that is much better, as indeed was the weather for most of the rest of the day. We were moderately busy and it was a pleasure to entertain some happy and easy going customers. We have one customer who arrives in the morning and is so happy that he brings me a joke every time he comes in. They are the sort of man-goes-into-a-bar type of jokes and mercifully he only comes in once or twice a day. I just know by the end of the week I shall have to acquire an electric hand shaker or one of those flowers in my lapel that squirts water just to get him back.
A chance conversation with one of our delivery drivers revealed that he does a spot of moonlighting in the evening - when else would you moonlight - which involves delivering Chinese meals for one of the restaurants in town. We bemoaned the fact that these services did not reach the remotest parts of West Penwith to which he replied, "au contraire", alright, he did not; he does not talk Italian. He did say that he regularly delivers into the village, suoyi zai nali (so there), he said in heavily Cornish Mandarin.
So, we had Penzance Chinese for tea. Right on.
July 9th - Sunday
I will grant those who complained about today's weather that it was not everything it could be and, perhaps, it was not the most inspiring weather we have had of late. However, it was largely dry, apart from the wet bits, and it was still warm and unfortunately quite humid. We were covered by a duvet of cloud all day, sometimes bright and sometimes dark and laced with mizzle.
For all that, business was steady and often busy. It is not the sort of day that I would complain about, that is for sure. Even in this mugginess, our hooded sweatshirt continue to sell extraordinarily well. Clearly, dear reader, should you wish to secure yourself one from the pages of our online shop, now is the time to do it before your size and colour sells out.
Of course, it is possible that you are feeling a bit off colour in your home, far from the healthy environs of the Far West. Here we are in the rude of health; we have never been ruder. We completely understand the effects of motor fumes, belching factories, cholera infected water ways and miasma laced smog you have in your cities. I know, too, the brave face many of you put on when you visit, with your tales of contactless payments, buses enough for one for each person and railways that serve even the smallest of suburbs, often more than once a day. Please do not tell me it is not true; there were three of you here this morning asking for your multi-vitamins and your immune system boosting health drinks. Luckily I have a good supply of Cornish snake oil that is good for everything from headaches to haemorrhoids and applied with a good handful of wire wool. Ask anyone here if they are in need of the remedy and they will tell you that they are hale and fit.
I was grievously disappointed this morning to discover that my PCIDSS scan did not pass muster again. My shiny new SSL certificate, purchased at great expense was not recognised for some reason and I must return to the drawing board. I know that it installed correctly so I have no idea why it is not recognised. Some more tweaking is required, then I shall sally forth and do battle if I continue to have problems. The SSL system, as I understand it, is to assure web browser users that a website is secure, despite fraudulent companies and individuals being easily able to obtain one. The only people likely to approach my router from the other side are criminals and I cannot see them worrying whether I have a valid SSL certificate or not. I find this process unnecessary and irritating.
Fortunately we have a shop, an afternoon that blossomed into bright blue skyness and a number of happy customers. Tis enough to make the problems of a couple of little people not amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. I will settle for that.
July 8th - Saturday
Well, it was definitely warm again this morning. There was not much in the way of sunshine, though, unless you were up at dawn when it poked through, underneath the low cloud. Later, the mist played silly shape games in the bay, once on top of Cape Cornwall, then below it with the Cape and Brisons poking out above and at the same time sitting in a lozenge shape over Carn Gloose. We had thick, brooding clouds above us, too.
Misty mountain top
This did not seem to bother one family who came in, early doors, for wetsuits, flip flops and windbreaks, which made me wonder whether I might retire early. We love the smell of filthy lucre in the morning ...
Despite the performing mist we did quite well in the morning. It would appear that we had quite a few early arrivals. This year we seem to have more and more people travelling overnight to get here and who could blame them. The road works at Bodmin on the main road have caused calamity for travellers for the past two years but it would appear that there is light at the end of the tunnel, which is odd as there are no tunnels on that section.
I caught a whisper from somewhere that the road would be completely closed overnight for the next week. This was entirely relevant for my enquirer who planned to miss the traffic on his way home by leaving late in the evening. To ensure that I was providing the latest and most accurate information I consulted Internet and was immediately directed to the much maligned council's website. I made a mental note to remonstrate with the provider of the search engine I had used because I had specified 'latest' and 'accurate' in my search.
Lest you think it be a sleight on the much maligned council and my comments cynical, sarcastic and unfair, dear reader, allow me to reveal that the latest update on its dedicated page to the project carried a date of June 1st; it did not state which year. Instead, I cast my attention to the website pages of the contractor, which was most informative and bang up to date. It explained that the overnight closures would last from tonight until the night of 13th July and then, the following day - [FX: Royal fanfare of trumpets] - the road will be fully open with no road works. Traffic will, no doubt, flow like a river - until the tarmac rolls up in the next heatwave or the drains block and flood the carriageway. Cynical? Me?
Later in the evening, in the placid water of the bay, a group of surfers performed a paddle out for one of their number who had shuffled off rather before his time. We have only seen this once before in such numbers, at the start of our tenure thirteen years ago. It is quite an emotional thing to observe; a large circle of surfers paying their respects.
Later, as I had nothing better to do, I completed the second step in trying to get my router ready for another scan by the new scanning company, to ensure that I attained their stricter standard of security. The measure, installing a security certificate that cost £100 and which is utterly pointless as no one routinely attaches to our router with a browser, took ages but is now successfully installed. If my scan fails again you will hear my screams from where you are.
At near to last knockings, I ventured to the F&L, a sojourn that I have long since ceased on a regular basis. Tonight, I heard on the grapevine, the rather good Sinpusher were playing a set or two and it would have been rude to miss them. As it turned out it would be very rude to miss them as they were very good and the place was filled with pals who I now only see from time to time including McCloud, who I had not seen for more than a year.
I left a little bit ahead of the field; I have responsibilities, you know. I had expected some mizzle on the way home and I was not disappointed. Up through the cloud somewhere, a moon was beaming down as I had no trouble picking out the path without recourse to my torch. It was not until I had to illuminate while walking alongside Esther's Field cottage - as I had noticed on the way up, some unspeakable eejit had let their dog foul the path - that I saw in the torchlight the mizzle had become much heavier. I slipped on my hooded sweatshirt - I have no idea who left it there - and immediately wished that I had not as it was ever so warm and uncomfortably humid.
The Missus had seen to it that the bleddy hound was headed off at the pass and did not need me to run her around the block. We all understood this apart from the bleddy hound who looked keen, then disappointed when she realised I had, with some finality, closed the front door.
Last of all, I should make it clear that performing planned events in the shop, such as provocatively removing one's clothes when trying on our new selection of hooded sweatshirts, is not a guarantee that you will find yourself mentioned in these shoddy pages; they are not that shoddy. Alright, they are, but it still will not work if I think you are doing it on purpose. Brown envelopes stuffed with wonga - or cake, perhaps not in envelopes - are much more likely to win over a shallow and grubby Diarist. Oh, begger, I have mentioned you.
July 7th - Friday
It looked a bit of a tricky morning as there were broad areas of blue sky and just as broad areas of cloudy sky and, just to add some intrigue, a big lump of fog that sat over the top of Gwenver and closed the Land's End Airport down. In short, today's weather could have gone in any direction but happily we ended with a warm, bright day with high level cirrus clouds and a thicker bank of cloud that held off to the north.
The Missus was concerned about the weather because she wanted to spend some more time gardening. Since we do not have a garden, other than the Astroturf roof garden, which seems to have taken a back seat more recently, the Missus takes care of the Mews gardens to the back of us. So, she asked me if the sun was going to shine and given that I do like to tease every now and then I told her that the sun ain't gonna shine any more. She looked sad and asked, what about the moon. I told her the moon ain't gonna rise in the sky. She then asked what would happen to her tears and since I would have had to look that bit up I changed the subject.
It was a day of leavers and joiners, which led to some fluctuation in the busyness of the day. Nevertheless it was busy enough with the weather holding out and driving many to form a small village down on the big beach. At high water there was a concentration of people, in some sort of shanty town, underneath the Beach restaurant. With the waves lapping at the rocks there was no way of getting further down the beach without getting your feet a bit wet - other than the path above the rocks, of course. The latter option was clearly not more attractive than bunching up with about twenty other people on the rocks around the concrete path.
As business slowed in the later stages of the afternoon I managed to set about some of the stock still sitting on the store room floor. I managed to squeeze the last of the new hooded sweatshirts away in the existing boxes. The Tarquins gin, including a rather larger supply of the navy strength, world champion version had to be crowbarred into the beer cupboard. There, I hope you are all now fully up to date with the things you can buy when you next visit - you did not think I was just waffling, did you?
Towards evening there was rather more cloud about than earlier. There were also rather more hopeful surfers out in the direction of North Rocks catching what little there was in terms of waves. The only wave in this direction is me waving goodnight.
July 6th - Thursday
Yesterday's Lifeboat launch confused me utterly; I spent the day thinking that it was Friday, which caused all sorts of consternation. It did not help one iota that the boat was called out for real this morning at half past seven to assist a yacht. The sailing vessel had been becalmed and its engine did not work. A tow was set up once the Lifeboat had found it, buried in fog up by Crown Mines.
The fog was a major issue for us in the morning. Earlier, I had taken the bleddy hound around the block under a blazing sun and it was roasting even before seven o'clock. She found her pal on the beach and, since it was still legal, I let her off the lead for a romp and chase. This perhaps was not the best plan for an already hot dog but she enjoyed it at the time.
It was shortly after we launched the boat that a wall of fog moved in from the north west, across the bay and very quickly enveloped us all. The temperature dropped like a stone and we could not see anything much beyond the sea wall. The ensuing questions of when was the fog going to lift were to be expected. Two forecasts showed it likely to persist for a couple of days and that would not be unusual. It very possibly made up people's minds to seek enjoyment elsewhere, although I believe the fog was not just on the north coast on this occasion. It was sunny in Penzance, I was assured on more occasions that you would like.
The Lifeboat called into The Cove to drop off a crew member to one of the local fishing boats. We would never have known it was there if it were not for the chatter on the VHF radio. It towed the yacht the rest of the way to Newlyn and returned to The Cove around quarter to midday, by which time the fog had retreated to the northwest where it hung menacingly.
There were just three of us to bring the boat up the long slip in what was, almost certainly, an exemplary textbook recovery. We are, after all, a very small but inwardly beautiful, very excellent Shore Crew.
I suspect our early fog kept the full force of our visitor numbers at bay today. We were not half as busy as yesterday, at least in terms of customers. The amount of deliveries yesterday and some additional ones today kept us busy breaking boxes and filling shelves. I got around to bringing out the new flip flops, at least the sizes that we needed. The remainder have now joined the sizes we have not used from earlier in the year and the ones from the previous year and have made a large box up all their own. We are considering a shoe size sale later in the year where only people with the appropriate size feet are welcome.
The Missus fancied fish and chips for the first time in ages. Do not worry; the Missus does not count fish and chips as fish; the Missus hates fish. I was sent thither to the excellent chippy at the top of the hill where I availed myself of a geet lump of hake, perfectly cooked. The Missus and the bleddy hound both had cod and were equally satisfied. While I was waiting I overheard the new chief fish man telling a customer about his homemade tartar sauce. It sounded pretty good so I bought a couple of pots for myself. He said it was good and he was not wrong.
The Missus stayed home this evening as she did not fancy the quiz, mainly as we have struggled to get a seat in recent weeks, which makes it difficult with the bleddy hound in tow. With no Lifeboat training we were short of additional numbers but we made a decent fist of being useless once again. The only dim light in the darkness was winning a meal for two on the chase the ace raffle.
The forecast had threatened the mist returning in the evening but there was no sign of it on the way home. There was no fog to dampen the bleddy hound's shouts as she ran around the block, either. There was a bit of moon and a few stars to be getting on with, though, and still light out in the north west. That sun is supposed to set and go away, not hang around all night; it is due back again tomorrow morning.
July 5th - Wednesday
Now, that is what you call a rip gribbler. It was warm from the day's outset and just got hotter as the day progressed with a full blue sky and consequently lots of brilliant sunshine. There was some mitigation from a cooling easterly breeze that held in there all day long.
With our full on sunshine came a cove's worth of full on visitors. We were busy from the start of the day and all the way through to the middle of the afternoon. I had assumed business would tail off a little in the middle of the morning but the Missus told me that it remained busy after I went to the gymnasium. So busy was it that breakfast last through dinner time and was abandoned.
Into this chaotic environment was thrown a handful of deliveries the first of which were a couple of sizable lobsters which were less than happy about their situation, despite having a handful of wet weed to keep them cool. The last delivery was four very large boxes of our logo hooded sweatshirts. If you have been waiting for one of these in your size, we now have it in stock, though I doubt you will need it for a day or two.
I had only just remembered that I had an appointment with our accountant in the afternoon. I almost cancelled it on the basis we were so busy. However, I reasoned that I could book it for any time between now and the end of September and could be equally busy on that day too. The roads are summer busy but I had left plenty of time, which is just as well. It is the first time that I have spotted an error in the accounts, which rather means that they should have spotted it first.
I was still sorting out the hooded sweatshirts when the Lifeboat was launched on exercise. Clearly a Wednesday launch was designed to keep us on our toes but since I was already on mine it was other toes that had to be involved. I told the boys that I would not be coming over for recovery, either, and it was about time that they learnt how to do it for themselves. They told me in return that they fully understood and agreed, employing several hand signals to underline their happiness with my assessment.
The boat was not out very long and surprised the attendance watchers by arriving home early. While this, naturally, would not have happened on my watch, I understand that it was very much akin to a textbook recovery up the long slipway. They are, after all, a very fleet of foot, very excellent Shore Crew.
July 4th - Tuesday
It was a bit of a blinder of a day. There was some cloud about and, to start with, the mist played about in the bay, making up some weird shapes as it clung to the cliffs. The skies were relatively clear overhead when I took the bleddy hound around but when we returned, the cliffs at Escalls had a blanket of cloud resting over them. It was warm and humid, like we had a duvet over us all night.
The day developed into something of a corker, bringing out the great and good as well as the poor and wicked. There were moments of brilliant sunshine and there were moments of just bright but largely it was just a very good day. The bay might have been filled with the oil from one of those 1970s wave boxes; the sea was so smooth with its movements slow and ponderous.
I was feeling a little weary this morning as I had spent until reasonably late trying to explain to a very pleasant young lady on an Internet 'chat' session - no, a proper one - how terribly flawed the PCIDSS concept was. I have waxed on a bit about the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which is anything but and they continue to add unnecessary bells and whistles. If they stopped printing the full card number on our payment card machine and encrypted the data across the computer line to the bank, half of it could be thrown in the bin.
The latest debacle started because the company I am with decided to do its own compliance checks and dumped the previous company it used, with which I have also had a battle. One test that is carried out is a scan of my IP address to make sure my defences against attack are sufficient to stop anyone naughty breaking in and stealing lots of card data. The last company scanned my ports on a monthly basis and could find nothing wrong.
With the new company I have to set up my scan and schedule it, which, despite the inconvenience I was happy to do just to stop the insistent electronic mails asking me to do it and the large monthly fine if I did not. Next, it asked me to open a port for their scanner and to disable my Intrusion Protection System. Now, first, I would not have the first idea how to open ports and disable protection systems and, secondly, the whole point is to prove I can repel hackers by demonstrating my closed ports and the prowess of my protection system, I would have thought.
I reserved my second point for another time but the page I was being asked to complete insisted that I certify that I had opened the port and disabled my protection system. I explained this to the very pleasant lady at the end of the chat line. It took a very long time to whittle down her resolve and get her to instruct me, in writing, to lie on the form that I had not done either request so that I could complete the scheduling of my scan. I shudder to think what dread will be wrought upon me when the scanners discover my closed ports and active protection system but at least I have a piece of paper which proves I was only following orders. I am sure that will be a valid excuse when I am held to account.
The Missus dashed off shopping in the afternoon and our visitors did much the same, except they stayed here and did it. We are running out of some key shelf fillers such as Mr Tarquin's top gin, Tregothnan's finest tea and the surf jewellery, which we have already done something about. Scarily we have not much time left to cram all these last minute orders in; it is a bit like shopping in the last week before Christmas. I feel a spending spree coming on.
In our broadening blue sky I noticed a strange craft floating about in the later afternoon. It looked like a biplane but was far enough away for my eyes to deceive me. These are a very rare sight in these parts. It took a minute to get the binoculars onto it and it was indeed a biplane which looked very much like a First War replica, though that detail of observation even with binoculars could have been fanciful. There were a couple more aeroplanes of similar form later in the afternoon but I was busy at that time and could not get a proper look. It makes a change from the normal Isles of Scilly flights unless, of course, they are upgrading.
July 3rd - Monday
We were mizzled in to start off the day. It was a bit on and off but by lunchtime it had thinned to a haze. This came and went for the rest of the day giving us hints of sunshine and the day we could have had.
Nevertheless it turned out to be a busy day with many visitors passing through and milling about in The Cove. Many of our visitors today appeared to be of foreign origin which made me remember that I should have ordered international stamps earlier in the day. By the time we got around to it they probably will not arrive tomorrow so I shall prepare my excuses.
I did manage to get an order off to the people who supply us with surf jewellery, although I had to use another mail account. I thought that I had a breakthrough on our electronic mail front in the morning when the new hosting company support man told me that our account had not been set up properly. I was a little miffed as I have been waiting the best part of a week for it to be resolved. I then discovered that, while everything else worked I could not send mails to anyone other than myself. I spent a fraught half an hour on the telephone with the support chap while trying to server customers at the same time. It was less than ideal.
With all the standing up that I do I try and make sure that I have good supportive footwear on my feet. During the summer months flip flops are de rigueur but they do have to be good ones or back problems will ensue. The ones I used last year, while still comfortable are wearing a bit thin in the heel so I ordered another pair. This year I chose another supplier which promised orthopaedic quality shoes. They arrived at the back end of last week and I have been wearing them on and off since then - mainly on. They are a tad tight across the top band, although the soles are perfectly sized. I surmise they were designed for someone with flat feet but expected them to stretch. I do not know if they have stretched or whether I have just become accustomed to the pain. Fortunately I have a ninety day satisfaction guarantee, which means I can send them back for any reason - until I read the small print which probably excludes toes falling off through lack of blood supply.
It all turned out a bit pleasant by the end of the day, it must have been because the Missus resumed her gardening. The bleddy hound quite likes to be out at the back of us there, as it is reasonably cool and there are places to explore should she desire. She probably deserved a bit of peace; if our neighbour depositing a bunch of sweet peas in her downstairs water bowl did not put her nose out of joint, the veterinary nurse prodding fingers where they were unexpected probably did the trick in the afternoon. She was still walking like John Wayne when I took her out last thing.
July 2nd - Sunday
What a pretty little day we had. There was bags of sunshine and blue sky and a hint that the temperature was rising still more from yesterday. There was also a bit of swell in the bay, enough to give the surfers something to play with. It felt good to be selling sun lotion and beach mats again rather than rain mackintoshes, although a few people bought them 'just in case'.
Despite it being slightly more inconvenient, I elected to go to the range in the afternoon today. I had missed the clay pigeon event for the last three months due to Easters and bank holidays and since I will also miss the next two, today was the day. That was the cunningly derived plan, at least, but it was scuppered at the last minute by a lifeboat shout and over zealous shoppers.
The Missus had gone over to pick up Mother from St Buryan ahead of my range visit. It was not so long after this that the pagers went off indicating a call for the Inshore boat. Some helpful soul on the Coast Path had seen a punt out towards Land's End, apparently drifting. It was drifting because it was fishing and it also contained a member of the very excellent Shore Crew. It did not take long for the Inshore crew to establish that very excellent Shore Crew, even afloat, are probably beyond help and swiftly returned to the Harbour.
Having shut the shop to launch the boat, and not locking anyone in, I left it to other people to recover the boat. In my absence our shopping community had built up quite a head of steam and were keen to get on with doing what they do best. It was this that swayed my mind not to depart for the range after all.
Today was not all fun, I shall have you know. I have been trying to fix my unworking electronic mails for the best part of a week now and they are still broken. I can receive mail on some of my accounts but I cannot send any. The irony of it all is that we moved website host companies because the website could not send electronic mails. Now it can but my normal mail system has stopped working. On the bright side you can now send me electronic mails from the contact page on the website that is now functioning once again, despite the awkward 'captcha' anti-spam feature.
Every now and again we come across an interesting bit. This is normally triggered by something quite ordinary, as in this case, someone buying a tide times book. The question he casually threw in just before he left was how long would it be until the 2017 book would be useful again. I guessed he did not mean useful as a firelighter, perhaps, but rather, useful as a tide times book again.
Not knowing the correct answer off the top of my head rarely prevents me from providing some sort of relevant answer, even if I have to made it up on the fly. This was one of those times and I reasoned that since the tides are largely driven by the lunar cycle then it would resolve over the same period, which I thought to be 13 years but is actually about 33 - when I had looked it up. However, this is not the only influence on the tides and is therefore a red herring, I discovered later. I asked the customer to call back when I would have a complete answer for him.
I do hope he comes back a long time from now, as it is likely to take me some time to understand the data that I came across in my search. The very short answer to the query is that the tide times will repeat, in an approximate sort of way, every 54 years and 34 days. Also it repeats even more approximately every third of that at 18 years, 11 days and 8 hours which is called the Saros cycle - they even have a name for it! Of course, this is not exactly the question that was asked because even after the 54 years, your 2017 tide book would not start until 5th February 2071 or thereabouts, which means the days and dates would be all wrong. That £1.40 is looking better and better value all the time.
The article I read to extract the aforedetailed information went into far greater depth about repeating data, geocentric coordinates and conducting Fourier analysis. I would take you through the calculation step by step but I fear I might well run out of electronic ink and not least be prone to fall asleep before I got to the end.
We lost our sunshine to cloud as the day progressed. This did not stop the warmth increasing but I suspect that it would have been much warmer, else. A bigger camp of happy beach dwellers grew up on the big beach below the Beach complex and Vellandreath Valley entrance. I lost count of the number of people all geared up with their tents and mats stuffed into back packs and over large carrier bags. This is far too organised and not on at all; they are supposed to buy it when they get here, darn it.
The bleddy hound is in clover. Her favourite walker arrived this weekend and she reserved her special howl for her when they first met. The walks used to be long and serious but in recent times they have been toned down to suit both party's reduced needs or, perhaps, capabilities. Therefore, today's walk was a mere two hours or more and the bleddy hound was only mildly completely exhausted when she returned. She still needed some encouragement to complete her last walk of the evening and she has a week of this to come.
July 1st - Saturday
We had much better weather today; we even started the day with blue skies and sunshine, which gave us the warmth we were definitely missing all day yesterday. In fact today was so different from yesterday it was easy to believe that the previous day was at some other time entirely and I rather wish it had been.
Conditions could not have been better for the third, I think, annual Sennen Sprint. Created by some local fitness enthusiasts, it involves a bit of a swim from the big beach to the Harbour, a race up hill to Land's End and back along the cycle path for a glorious finish back in The Cove. I suspect that it is not very difficult judging from the runners I saw who looked like they had just had an afternoon stroll. Perhaps the others just could not crawl as far as the shop.
Earlier in the day another race had been run but it took me until late in the day to find out what it was all about. A bunch of runners came past the shop from the direction of Land's End, many in fancy dress, but where they were going I had no idea. They were gone for a while, then all came running back in the opposite direction. I discovered later that it was a charity run from Land's End to Cape Cornwall and back, which was some feat. It did not seem that they were gone that long, either. All in all it must have been the right day for lots of running.
Along with the better weather came a glut of happy visitors. Things became busier in the afternoon as the new arrivals started to trickle in. The consensus must have been that it was a beach day and we sold some beach mats and wind breaks along with the regulation buckets and spades for the youngsters. It was good to see a small camp down on the high water line again.
Just as I was congratulating ourselves on a bit of a better day, the mizzle swept into The Cove. We were only half an hour off closing so it was not a disaster on the scale of the last few days. I can handle it raining overnight and when we are closed.