How to (nearly) miss a train
This is our last day but our train is not until 5:35 pm. so we want to make the most of the day. We arranged to leave our suitcase at the hotel and took the double-deck bus to Land’s End. The journey was reminiscent of some of those we enjoyed in September with the bus bouncing along narrow roads where it hardly seemed to fit, tree branches rattling along the roof and windows.
Buses back from Land’s End were every two hours so we decided to stay with ours and come straight back. As we had a front seat on the upper deck, Tigger clamped her video camera to the handrail across the window and filmed the journey. We await the results with interest.
We broke our journey at Newlyn so Tigger could film some birds we had seen on our previous visit. Comparing them with the picture in my pocket bird recognition book, I think they are common sandpipers. They run hither and thither in a busy and comical way.
We next took a bus back to Penzance to explore a street called the Causeway that we had hitherto neglected. We visited a crystals shop where Tigger bought me a bracelet of small fragments of tiger’s eye stone. I am writing this in a cafe called Waves as we drink “Milkshakes made with Cornish icecream”.
After milkshakes we took a look in Silver Witch. I bought a silver dragon ring. I had been thinking of a dragon ring and this one fitted exactly then refused to come off so I bought it. It’s a so called “worry ring” whose outer part rotates independently of the inner part so you can twiddle it while worrying about something. I’ll be worrying about how to get it off my finger.
We are now in a cafe restaurant called the Causeway, like the street, waiting for them to serve our lunch.
After lunch we continued our wandering and went along Bread Street. There were two cats sitting at a large upstairs window, one pale ginger, the other a tortoiseshell with unusual pale eyes. Further along we met a black cat with blue eyes and a surprised expression. After overcoming her nervousness she was very friendly.
We now have over two hours to wait for the train but feel we have walked and bussed enough. What to do? We have come to the Renaissance cafe bar to drink tea and look out over the bay and watch the sea and the changing light. Clouds sweep across a blue sky and ever and anon a shower splashes the windows while Marazion is sunlit or Marazion grows dim and the sun shines here brightening the wet tarmac of the street below.
Pleasant as it was sitting watching the sea, Tigger became restive and decided to go for one more bus ride. It was now 3:45, our train was at 5:35 and we had to collect our suitcase from the hotel. Not a tight schedule until you add the Cornish bus services into the equation.
We boarded a bus for Porthleven. “That’s the next stop after Marazion,” said Tigger confidently. “Should be plenty of time.”
It was a pleasant ride along bouncing Cornish roads with changing scenery and weather. I kept an eye on the time. Villages came and went, Marazion came and went. No sign of Porthleven. At 4:15 the bus stopped at a pub, the Ashton Lion & Lamb. We got off and crossed the road to the stop on the other side. The timetable told us there was a school-term-only bus due at 4:16 then nothing until 4:45. “Uh-oh,” said Tigger.
You have to realize that Cornish buses run to their own time which isn’t necessarily the same as the time on your radio-controlled watch. And they often leave early. We had no idea whether we had missed the 4:16 or whether it was even running today.
It was with a feeling of relief, therefore, that we saw the dark blue double-decker approaching. Suddenly, everything was all right again!
We reached Penzance station with 35 minutes to spare, enough time to collect the suitcase, buy sandwiches for the journey (the train buffet always runs out, if it has any to start with), and sit for a while at the round table where we saw and photographed “Pen’s ants” last September.
The train arrived; we climbed aboard; and the long journey back to London began.