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Scaling down ambitions with fish

June 5, 2013

“Get your rod out” was the exhortation from Peter Blue Water Bennett yesterday morning. My first thought was that I could make a joke about this being precisely what I plan on most mornings, but then realised that was beneath me as a successful author. It seems he was referring to the fact that the stream which runs through his stunning mill near Blisland in Cornwall, where we are staying, had been recently stocked with 5000 spawning salmon.

Now I have an aversion to fishing due to my Uncle Les, who, when I was 5, gave me a piece of string tied to a stick to dangle in a paddling pool. Two hours out of my life wasted and dreams of catching dish in tatters. A poorer writer than I might suggest that I had scaled down my ambitions. That does not mean that I hate fish, far from it and so, upon discovering that famous fishy restaurateur Rick Stein has a pub near Padstow at St Merryn called The Cornish Arms, we set off for a walk on the way in order to build up an appetite for lunch. The planned itinerary was to explore the Camel River estuary near the obelisk overlooking Padstow, and so we set off in absolutely stunning weather as my picture today shows. England at its unsurpassed best, and if it was guaranteed to last I would even consider eschewing life in Valbonne for life in England again. But we all know that is not going to happen.

picture of Camel River

Camel River estuary

That Nice Lady Decorator is an excellent map reader and takes it upon herself to commandeer the Ordnance Survey maps and generally take charge of walking proceedings. Anyway, the map was clearly inaccurate because one of the paths we were following came to a dead stop thee quarters of the way around a circular walk. This elicited a stream of abuse aimed at farmers, the local council who are responsible for public footpath signposts, the idiot cartographers who had compiled the map, and of course myself for making (un) helpful suggestions along the lines that perhaps the map had been misread. After a couple of these, she spotted that I was smirking and from that moment forward, I dare not even utter any sound that might have been construed as helpful advice, or the defence of anyone she was insulting. Suffice to say that she was questioning (although this is a rather to gentle adjective) the parentage of most of Cornwall. Our 3 mile circular walk became a 6 mile walk, which I would have enjoyed even more had the snorting of derision,aimed at all things map, subsided a little earlier.

Arriving at The Cornish Inn calmed her a little, a pint of Tribute more so, and then some sublime mussels in a wonderful onion and parsley sauce completed the rehabilitation. The best food we have had in Cornwall. Sitting outside in the warm sunshine under blue sky in England and eating great food and drinking great English beer is one of those moments I shall take to my grave.

Another was, after the traditional siesta, and after an idyllic walk up through the meadows and lanes festooned with bluebells, sitting with a pint outside overlooking the village green in the sunshine at the Blisland Arms. Then another, sitting outside the mill as the sun went down, with a glass of a very decent 2007 Medoc smoking a Monte Christo No 2. All very satisfying.

I have been lucky enough this week to have stayed in one of the best houses in Gloucestershire and one of the best in Cornwall, and both are owned by Currencies Direct clients. Clearly, they are both delighted about the savings they have made as a result, and in their own ways are rewarding me for the introductions. I think I have got that foreign exchange message cross quite well today.

Chris France

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