So, off we set in torrential rain, the roads are flooded and we make our way to the border, some four miles away, down the pitted, pot-holed lanes that Devon calls roads. With barely any suspension left on the car we make it to the bridge over the mighty River Tamar (well, not much more than a ditch up here) and in to Kernow with its smooth well-maintained roads. As we do, the rain eases off and we head deeper into uncharted territory.
We are on our way to Padstow, or Padstein, as it is affectionately known, via Wadebridge and then on to Polzeath. By the time we reach Padstow the sun is shining brightly and the aquamarine waters sparkle in the harbour. We wander along the quay and through the narrow streets of this old fishing port. There are lots of lovely quaint shops, pubs, galleries and restaurants clearly helped by having a celebrity chef patronise the area. There are even three pasty shops side by side, all in a row, no honestly... only in Cornwall!
Now, it may be a bit of a busman's holiday but we couldn't resist checking out the numerous art galleries whilst we were here. And a fascinating and diverse experience it was, it obviously does you good to see how other people do it, I must admit, I found it quite an eye-opener. From galleries with about five pieces of artwork, all at around £10,000, to ones doing cards, prints and tea towels. Then there was the sort of modern day Athena with what I call wall fillers, hotel artwork. And then you had the smart, slick gallery, all bling, you know the one you see in every high street in the country, with the same old stuff from the same old artists where a print will cost you two grand. Not very intellectually demanding but ideal for footballer's wives and Xfactor runners-up with more money than taste.
Having said all that, there were a couple of good galleries showing talented local artists at realistic prices. I may be biased, and I am sure there is room for all of them in the marketplace, but it made me think that what we do isn't half bad. But then, that is for you to judge.
Anyway, on to Polzeath, a few more galleries, check out the scenery, have a pasty (obligatory), do some sketches and take some photos. An increasingly popular little village frequented by prime ministers and royalty alike. It is clear that the Padstow, Rock, Polzeath area is becoming quite affluent. I was even told that the local Spar shop in Polzeath, (population 1,449) is the busiest in the country and sells over £100,000 worth of chocolate a year! Now there's either a lot of fat people in Polzeath or it gets an awful lot of visitors.
So, homeward bound after a charming break with lots to think about. Cornwall is a certainly a beautiful place with charming people and they don't have two heads, six fingers maybe, but I won't hold it against them. In fact, in the spirit of equality and diversity we do allow a few Cornish artists here at West Gallery, and very good they are too.
Leun a sylli yw ow skath bargesi!