Part Fifty

    The 1970s bought changes to our family life. Our eldest son Chris had developed an interest in motorcycles and wanted to buy one. His cousin Michael had bought a Honda CB125s model which Chris also yearned for. I wasn’t particularly interested in Motorbikes (not as good as a ‘Green Flash’) but after a lot of thought, and a test drive on Michaels bike I relented much to Chris’ delight, we followed Michael’s lead and bought Chris a Honda CB125s.

It was during this period of time that Chris had finished his normal schooling days and decided that he wanted to become a chef. He enrolled as a student and began a training course at Basingstoke Technical College in the Art of Catering. He worked hard and progressed so well that he won a heat of the Regional final of a cooking competition.  This led on to the National final which was held at Westminster College in London. Kathy and I attended this event and we were so proud to see Chris come 3rd in the country. After this triumph, he started working for Bateman’s Catering Company as a mobile relief chef.

Due to the Mobile requirements of this job it was very fortuitous that we had bought Chris his Honda CB125s motorbike.

Like most teenagers Chris loved riding his bike but, like most parents (particularly) mothers, there is always the worry of their child having an accident. We were no different. I remember we could never relax and go to sleep at night until we heard the sound of Chris’s bike coming down our road and we knew he was safely home. His love of motorbikes never left him. He, along with many of his friends travelled all around the UK and throughout Europe, on their motorbikes.

 During those days Kathy used a car for transportation to and from her workplace but even she, who had no great desire for a motorbike decided a small moped might be a more economical vehicle for her so she bought a Raleigh run-a-bout. This was a lightweight vehicle combining pedal power with a small petrol tank. Once you climbed on the Raleigh you pedalled away until a certain speed was attained and then switched over to the petrol option which gave you enough speed to relax, sit back and forget the pedalling. I remember there was one day when Kathy, for some reason, used the car to go to work and I rested my Green Flash bike and borrowed the Raleigh to travel down to Fleet Station. It was a frosty morning and the roads were a bit icy. As I approached a T junction intending to turn right I slowed down because of the icy road surface and rather than turn right and risk sliding on the ice I went straight across the road and up a dropped kerb turned right onto a pavement. I travelled along the pavement for a few yards to the next dropped pavement, that fed right again back to the road surface, turned left and continued my exciting journey to Fleet Station. It was a good job this pantomime took place around 6.15 a.m. and there was no one around to witness my run-a-bout star turn. Unlike the Green Flash, at least I didn’t come off or tear my trousers or hit the back-cluster lights of a stationary parked car. 

End of Part 50

This is a cherished favourite, previously posted. All past insights can be found on our website.

Cornwall, England's most Southerly county is a magical land of legends and tales of the sea, fishermen, pirates, smugglers and tin mines. With a population of over 500.000 at the 2008 census it has a coastline of 250 miles. Called Kernow in its own language it is fascinating to know that at their peak during the 1800's the Cornish tin mines supplied half of the world's requirements of tin. Although this industry has long gone it is still possible to see some working mines and learn a little of the important role they played in the life of Cornwall, the country and indeed the world. The Cornish people are of Celtic origins, fiercely independent, with their own flag called St. Pirin, the Patron Saint of Miners.


     Cornwall enjoys a very temperate climate thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream from across the Atlantic. Its rugged coastline and the picturesque villages and harbours are a magnet for thousands of visitors every year making it one of Britain's most popular holiday destinations.


Take a visit to Lands’ End the County's most south-Westerly point and see the many Bronze Age standing stones, relics from grave sites and religious buildings. It also boasts the 'First and and Last Shop' in England. The town of Penzance, made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan's pirates, is also worth a visit and from which there are transport links by air or sea to the Scilly Isles, which lie some twenty-five miles south-west off Lands’ End.


Other places worth visiting are Marazion where you will see St. Michaels Mount with its Castle and Heritage museum. The Mount is reached either by boat or at low tide by walking across the sandy beach. Sailing enthusiasts are well catered for in places such as Falmouth and Fowey, (pronounced Foy), whilst surfer’s head for the North coast where the Atlantic rollers come thundering in at Newquay and Polzeath.


Pretty fishing harbours such as Boscastle, Polperro and Mevagissey bring many visitors, as does the Eden Project, a relatively new attraction located near St. Austell.  It is a massive geodesic domed structure housing flora gathered from around the world. Equally, another nearby popular horticultural site is the reclaimed Lost Gardens of Heligan.


The city of Truro is the only city in Cornwall and as fitting with its attractive cathedral is the county's capital.  Another interesting and very popular spot is St. Ives, the Mecca for all painters and artists who flock here every year to paint and soak up the creative atmosphere.


Talking of art, I recommend a visit to the Minack Theatre located near Porthcurno. This amphitheatre, cut out of the rock and overlooking the sea is very unique. Weather permitting you can have the unusual experience of watching a play performed whilst seeing and hearing the sound of the sea crashing on the rocks below.   St. Mawes, Bude, Padstow, Looe all lhave their own attractions as does Tintagel with its connections with King Arthur. . Head off to the most Southern part of England and you will find The Lizard Point with its two lighthouses towering above the small sandy bays below.  Another attraction is the harbour of Port Isaac which shot to fame in the UK as Port Venn, when it was used as the setting for a television series starring Martin Clunes as Dr. Martin. Talking of harbours Falmouth has the third largest natural harbour in the world and also worth visiting.  If it’s quiet coves you seek have a trip to Mullion Cove and Sennen Cove where you can relax and recharge your batteries.


History was made at Poldhu, also on Cornwall's south coast back on December 12trh 1901 as the place where Marconi became the first person to successfully transmit a radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean when the Morse code letter S was heard in St. Johns Newfoundland. 


If you visit Helston at the right time of the year you will hear a familiar song, known worldwide as 'The Floral Dance' but referred to here by its original and true title, 'The Flurry Dance'. Visitors come every year and watch the residents of Helston dance through the streets of the town celebrating this ancient ceremony.



One of my favourite spots is St. Enodoc with its pretty church which nestles with Daymer Bay on one side and the golf course on the other – what more do you want? - Have a wander around the graveyard and you will see the grave of one of my favourite’s poets, the late John Betjeman. Look further and you will also find the name Harold Smart on another headstone. Does anyone, like me, remember him, the Organist of that name from around the 1950's time?


There are many moorland regions throughout Cornwall which come alive in Spring and Summer with wonderful displays of wild flowers. Probably the most famous being Bodmin Moor. This is where you will find Jamaica Inn immortalized in the novel, and film, by Daphne Du Maurier who incidentally lived for many years at Fowey.


Other well-known people form Cornwall who made their mark on the world include the remarkable seaman  Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the  Bounty Fame,  Bob Fitzsimmons, Britain's first World Heavyweight boxing champion, Sir Humphrey Davy, who discovered sodium and potassium and invented the miner's safety lamp and Richard Trevithick who in 1801 became the first man to build a steam locomotive.


   No history of Cornwall could be complete without reference to the Cornish Pasty. There are many variations about the ingredients for this delicacy. The main ones are chopped meat, usually steak, one or two chopped potatoes. After this it varies, some people put half a turnip, others half a swede or even carrot. There should then be some onion, salt, pepper and water.  All of this is enclosed in a short or flaky pastry casing and cooked in the oven until golden brown.


Originally ate by Cornish fishermen, tin miners and farmers it is still extremely popular today and synonymous with Cornwall.  To me one of life's simple pleasures is, at the end of a summer's day sitting on the wall of a pretty Cornish harbour and watch the colourful fishing trawlers returning with their days catch. Overhead the ever-present squawking, and always hungry seagulls circle ready to swoop down for any tasty morsel that might suddenly become available. On the horizon the setting sun is bidding us good night and ever so slowly dispersing from view leaving you sitting there with a 'tattie oggy'  (what the Cornish people call a Cornish Pasty), in one hand and a cool glass of beer in the other it’s time for me to say 'Cheers my hearties'  from all of us who love and enjoy that old British Touch. 


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