Friday, 27 July 2007

Isles of Scilly... part one!

Well I really don't know where to start with this post so I'm starting with the birds. On the campsite where we stayed we quickly made friends with the local birds who were very bold indeed. They even ventured inside the tent! At one point we had at least 30 sparrows around us waiting for us to finish cooking! Very cute watching them feed the babies. Birds in general are a lot tamer on Scilly than the mainland. They will take food from your hand.

I did have a bad bird experience in the first 5 minutes of arriving. We were starving so bought ourselves a couple of pasties and sat on the beach. The seagulls started circling and I swear one aimed right at my pasty and dropped a bomb. It missed and hit me on the arm. Now, some people would say that was lucky.

The isles of scilly are about 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall but they have such a different feel to them. For a start, there are hardly any cars there. If you want to visit you have to leave your car on the mainland and either get the ferry which takes 3 hours or the helicopter or skybus which take something like 15 minutes. We got the ferry and were very lucky to have a smooth crossing. The week afterwards we were told that a man had to take his little girl out on the deck to be sick and then proceeded to throw up himself over his child. Even the dogs were being sick! The ferry isn't nicknamed the great white stomach pump for no reason!!
The inter-island boats are much more fun! You can spend each day on a different island if you want to and they all have very different characters.

You see lots of semi tropical plants growing in the warm climate on the islands. These were in the famous abbey gardens on Tresco which I loved. So many beautiful views there.

It's safe to safe that we didn't have the best of weather and survived a couple of force 8 gales in our tent. You don't get much sleep when that's going on! We became masters at making guy ropes out of parcel string but the tent still rocked from side to side in a very alarming way. I realised after a few nights that earplugs were the answer. Ignorance is bliss!

The whole time we were there I was on the look out for turquoise water. I have an obsession! The beaches were really beautiful with sparkling white sand. When it was hot (a couple of times) it seemed like we were far, far away from the uk.

You have to be extra careful with the sun lotion. The man in the campsite shop told us that because there's no pollution the uv light is 10 times stronger so you can burn even when it's cloudy. I spent the whole time wearing factor 20 and still looked pink. Can I just say that Johnson's lotion for kids is lovely! The smell of peaches will forever remind me of Scilly now.

The only way to get around after you've got off the boat is by walking. We must have clocked up a few miles. There is a bus service on St. Mary's but the girl in the tourist info centre told us the bus driver had been done for drink driving and when someone had tried to fill in for him, he'd ran them off the road!

You see that light on the top of the hill? That's the star castle hotel. Our campsite was beyond there. We saw a couple of great sunsets walking up the very steep hill but they're for another post I think.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Come back summer!!

Summer seems to have gone downhill here. It's all grey clouds and rain. I'm sure you've heard about the awful flooding there's been recently. We escaped luckily but reading the headlines while we were away was really shocking. Those poor people.

I've given up sun dancing and have decided to get on with my latest lino print, hoping it will inject a bit of summer back into my life. Not sure if I've made it a bit too intricate but I'll soon find out when I start carving. It's one of the old fashioned ice cream vans. A Bedford van I think.

My blog break was... mmm... refreshing? ...different? ... definitely a challenge. We had a break from life in general and went to the Isles of Scilly for a couple of weeks. In a tent. Not the best choice in this weather.
But that's a whole separate post!

Hope the sun's shining on you wherever you are.