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'No Sun Hats Required' - AKA Cornish Delights 2016

Saturday 18th June - Saturday 2nd July 2016

We arrived on site to a warm welcome, but over cast skies. Those with awnings to erect got on with the task with the minimum of marital stress, even though we had recently heard the process described as “a divorce in a bag”.

The journey to the Looe site had been quite stressful for some rally members, as numerous traffic jams had been encountered on route. All were pleased that an early evening, hot buffet had been laid on for us in the campsite’s restaurant. This was a very enjoyable and plentiful meal cooked by the campsite’s chef. This occasion afforded the opportunity for everyone to catch up with old friends or make the acquaintance of members they had not rallied with before.

After the usual briefing by Mike of the planned events for the coming two weeks, we were all happy to return to our vans for an early night, especially those that had long and tiring journeys.

We awoke to a very wet Sunday morning, and this continued for the next 36 hours, with very little let-up. No ‘Happy Hour’ was possible on that day. By Monday morning, although still wet, it was decided that with the aid of weather proof clothing, a walk into Looe through fields, woods and along the river bank would banish the tedium of sitting in the vans for another day. By the time we set off at 11.00 am the weather had improved, and the rain had stopped.

It was wet and at times slippery under foot, so the walk was taken at a leisurely pace. On arrival in Looe we found a café that could seat all 10 of the party, so in we went for sustenance. However, when we tried to order a Cornish pasty, we were told other establishment sold those, but not this one. The word ‘superior’ was not voiced, but that was the inference. However, the food we were served was indeed of a high standard.

With the weather still not too inviting to explore Looe in depth, we all decided to catch the bus back to the site. Not that the bus company profited by our journey, as we all flashed our bus passes at the driver as we got on.

Happy Hour was possible on the Monday evening, and during this get together it was decided who would play who in the Petanque Tournament in the coming days. We were also issued with subjects for a Caravan Windows Quiz, the theme being song titles.

Tuesday was a free day, but by mid-afternoon, several of the members had played their Petanque heat and this was followed by Happy Hour, when Mary Wilkins taxed our memories with a quiz about Leading Men in films of the past.

Wednesday was another free day, and dawned misty, which made a change from the rain, but this cleared quite quickly. Wednesdays is the day the campsite owner puts on a BBQ, so although we had to hide away inside, it was a very welcome early evening get together for us all.

The coach trip of the rally was planned for the first Thursday, which just happened to be the day of the Referendum, so no guesses for what was the topic of conversation on the coach.

Only in England could you have two days with such opposing weather conditions. The day started and remained absolute perfection. Our destination was St Ives, and the improved weather conditions and the prettiness of the small town appealed to all.

Friday 24th ‘Referendum plus one’.

In our van and I am sure many others, the TV was on at 6.30 am to see if there was any news of the Referendum results. Later that morning a local historian came and gave us a talk on travelling in Cornwall since the seventeenth century. Her talk was based on the writings of three different rural travellers, one a lady, Celia Fiennes who had written a book, ‘Riding Side Saddle around England’, which she urged us to read.

In the afternoon, several more couples took part in round one of the Petanque Tournament, by the time they had all played it was time for 5.30 Happy Hour, which lasted just the hour before the chill of the evening sent us back to our vans.

Although the weather could have been kinder to us, most people seemed to get out and about either by car or on foot and visit places on their ‘to see list’. One venue, always a draw for those who like shopping, was to go to ‘Trago Mills’ shopping centre. It seems the owner was all for coming out of the EU and promised if he had his way he would sell everything in his store for 20% off of its ticketed price for a short period of time. Some of our
members made good use of this offer.

Another popular venue with both the car drivers and the serious walkers was Mount Edgcumbe, an attractive house and gardens on the Rame Peninsular. There is a regular foot passenger ferry from here to and from Plymouth.

Although most rally members used their own transport to get out and about, a few members put their bus passes to good use. One member, now sadly a Solo Rallier, was up and out early most days and travelled quite long distances all with the aid of his bus pass and once with his Senior Citizen Rail card. Several members have encouraged him to write his own account of his Cornish Travels for the ICA magazine!

As we were in Cornwall, it was marked by the usual cream tea, in other years this has been an outdoor event, but this year it took place in the campsite’s games room, just as enjoyable though.

Due to the more than average wet days on the rally, our rally officers thought we may be getting tired of just sitting in our vans, so an impromptu game of Crazy Whist was suggested by Molly. Having checked to see who could supply playing cards and with Molly and David drawing up score sheets for all 29 ralliers, we spent a very enjoyable time playing the game. Even those who had not played before seem to soon get the hang of it. The half time break with tea and cake was also a very welcome addition to the afternoon.

The final heat of the Petanque Tournament was played on Thursday afternoon, what a difference in the weather from the previous Thursday when we had all enjoyed the St Ives sunshine. The game was very close fought, and although those who were watching from underneath their umbrellas appreciated the skill of the players, all were pleased, including the players when the final score of 21 was reached.

Sandy and Jo Sanderson were very narrowly beaten by Marie and Don Bird. The final boule was played an hour before the usual start of Happy Hour.

However, as the weather showed a slight improvement we stood around in true ICA fashion and had our wine and nibbles while still garbed in our waterproof clothing.

The rally area offered walks of various lengths and gradients to suit the serious and not so serious walkers in the group.

One attractive place to walk to for coffee was the very smart Talland Bay Hotel with beautiful laid out gardens and overlooking Talland Bay. This is obviously a beautiful setting for weddings etc. I wonder if ‘Richard and Judy’ (of TV fame) pop in from time to time? I understand they live nearby.

The rally finished with a meal at the Old Sail Loft in Looe. The meal was preceded by glasses of Pimms. Those of us who had been there before knew we would have a very enjoyable evening with excellent food. All made more enjoyable by the transportation to and from the restaurant by coach.

The evening finished with the usual votes of thanks to our Rally Leaders and their Assistants, and the presentation of the prizes for the quizzes and Petanque Tournament, which this year had its own special trophy.

At least the weather was consistent, and we left the site in the same weather conditions as we arrived in.

Like all rallies Mike and Heather and John and Mary are involved in, it was well planned and very pleasurable to be part of.

Julia Barfoot

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