Anglotopia Article (world wide web)
I have just got back from five days camping in Cornwall during the hottest week of the year, in fact one day was the hottest day ever recorded, and I had a fabulous time. Cornwall is beautiful, captivating and culturally rich.
Camping is one of those activities where you give up your luxuries and survive on your essentials, but the campsite I stayed at had chosen to add some unexpected luxuries which made it one of the loveliest campsites; there was the usual toilet and washing facilities (people and pots) which were very well maintained, free showers that you could access day and night, a herb garden that you could help yourself to for your cooking needs, free charging of any electrical item (phone/iPod/camera) and free freezing of your ice packs (all they asked for was a donation to charity – raising over £2,000 for the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust last year), there’s an onsite café that served excellent food, evenings and mornings (at the weekend only out of season) and the staff were all relaxed, helpful and genuinely friendly.
When you then consider that Tollgate Farm Caravan & Camping was one of the most economical sites I could find, located in a lovely part of Cornwall on the North Atlantic Coast, above the Bay of Perranporth, it makes it even lovelier.
My plan was to do nothing, well almost nothing – paint, take photographs, write poetry, swim in the sea and stroll along beaches was the sort of nothing I had planned and it turned out that camping in Cornwall was exactly what was required to enable me to do pretty much ‘nothing’ all week.
I went in the Sea at a number of beaches (Perranporth, Porthtowan, Portreath, Godfrey) but my favourite by far was at Gwithian, St Ives; the sea was clear and the waves were exhilarating, the beach is very wide and the fall in the shallows very gradual, subsequently the waves were pounding, rolling and kept both catching me off guard and keeping me on the edge of my senses. I loved how it kept me thinking (how to stay upright, above the waves, alive) but also how it allowed me to think of nothing in particular – very meditative, I relished the rolling surf.
My least favourite dip in the water was at St Ives beach, below the Tate, where I had pitched my blanket below the high tide mark and had to relocate seven times after getting my feet and blanket wet from the rising seas. I really enjoyed that too, I kept challenging the sea not to come any higher (like King Cnut/Canute) but I was surprisingly unsuccessful.
My favourite beach was at Morgan Porth. The sand was gorgeous (every beach I went to had very different sand constitution, even though they are just a few miles apart – I did find that rather fascinating; to the amusement of those around me), slightly less crowded as it is a few miles north of the main beaches in Newquay, with long gradual shallows, the sea went out for miles, exposing acres and acres of beach that fan out from the lovely cliff enclosed cove.
I apologise now for the quality, I haven’t painted for some time, but what I can tell you is that I really enjoyed doing it.
Art – I only did two pieces, I thought about it a lot but it was too hot, too lovely, too many other things to be doing ‘nothing’ with. Well, those were my excuses anyway.
I drew Portreath Beach using Pastels, for the first time I think. They kept melting and I ended up using a stone from the beach as my tool of choice to rub or smear the colours back into place as my thumb and fingers were a rainbow coloured stain making machine after about ten minutes.
I painted Morgan Porth Beach using Watercolours but only had a small brush so my technique is a little naïve. I should have stopped 10 minutes earlier than I did but I enjoyed every second, it was my first watercolour for more than fifteen years, so I love it.
Photographs were all taken early one morning on Portreath Beach – it was just too hot and sunny to have my face in a camera and unfortunately it didn’t come out of my bag again all week : (
I wrote a poem about Cornwall too:
Sun, sea and sand,
British Summer Time,
shit, shower and shave,
under canvas in Cornwall, I craved,
in a place that is mine,
compromising the latter with a warm pasty, scrumpy and cooled wine.
Finally, one positive and two negative things about the eateries…. The best Cornish Pasty I have ever tasted was from the St Ives Cornish Bakehouse take away window on the harbour. The Crab & Ale House pub in Truro had run out of Crab which was very disappointing and Rick Stein’s Fish & Chip Shop in Padstow shuts between 2:30pm and 5pm every day – even though there were loads of people wanting to eat there, which was also very unfortunate for me as I got there at 2:45pm : (
If you want to see more of my photographs, art work or even my poetry visit my personal blog Extra X-Wide P or if you fancy getting your creative juices flowing in Cornwall try the official tourist board VisitCornwall.
Nice watercolours… the most difficult medium when it comes to painting.
the pastels were more difficult in the heat, they were melting in my hand, on the paper, I had to use sand like blotting paper in the end.
Its a long time since I’ve used pastels. In fact I don’t draw so often these days. My last effort was for the managements 40th last year, using Caran D’ache pencils…
It was my first drawing without the aid of a computer in 9 yrs.
thank you for sharing your art, your trip and your relaxation 🙂
I have loads of friends & family down in Cornwall and I apologise profusely for not letting you know in advance or for visiting whilst in your neighbourhood but I really did need to do ‘nothing’ for a week – I hope you understand and can forgive me : )
I am always looking for a reason to come back to Cornwall!