As I Was Going To St. Ives . . .

I had a bit of a stumble. About 30 miles from our goal, we had a blowout. I tried changing the tire myself and had major difficulty dealing with the lug nuts. I did not realize that most English (European?) cars have one lug nut that requires a special socket for removal. So after a frustrating time unable to get the normal lug wrench over one particular nut, I sought help by calling from a nearby emergency phone box. After a very long wait, a mechanic came by and explained the issue—I needed to use a special lug nut socket that is an anti-theft system. He quickly started changing but then stopped to tell me that the brakes for the wheel he was changing were very worn. He mounted the new tire but emphatically suggested that I slowly drive into St. Ives and have the problem corrected, really by getting a new car.

We made it into the town, settled into our hotel, wandered down to the port for a bit, and called it a wasted day. The following day, I drove to the rental agency in nearby Penzance to exchange the faulty car for another. The agency staff were accommodating but the whole transistion took up another day. From the start, our trip into Cornwall turned problematic.

On the trip, we had exchanged warm, bright days in Dartmouth for grey, misty days in St. Ives. The town is a charming warren of narrow cobblestone streets on hillsides forming a bowl around the harbor. Those streets are extremely narrow and often clogged with people strolling along; the sidewalks allow for little leeway, so people simple walk in the streets until nudged aside by approaching vehicles.  And sometimes, they won’t be nudged.

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The days were also cool and windy, churning up a bit of surf outside the harbor.

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Near one of the breakwaters, I came across a sign telling me to be careful of the seals. I saw no seals but did notice a lone surfer emerging from the water.

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But the weather did change and St. Ives assumed a brighter facade, less a bleak fishing port and more of a seaside resort.

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Nancy and I both like walking around in the slight gloom of a misty day. But as the weather changed, we were ready for the more dramatic spectacle of the rocky Cornwall coast near Tintagel Castle (where King Arthur is said to have been conceived).

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And we both like the local crows with their grey cowls.

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