Saturday, 28 June 2008

Padstow turns it on

Crawling out of bed in the dark reminds me of going to catch a flight. It's exciting and I fairly bounced up and at 'em when Adrian woke me. No tea for this chick - get me to the beach and that chilled champagne! We drove quickly along the lanes, trying to make it to St George's Well before 5.08am and the shard of dawn that would surely greet us...or would it be horizontal rain? The dingy morning brooded overhead, giving little away. I grabbed my shades from my bag just in case and down we marched to join the party, headed up by David of Bin Two; wine shop par excellence of Padstow.

Coolboxes bulged with iced champers, paper bags brimmed with boxes of duck eggs, bacon was being parted and placed on the grill and activity was all very hive like. I met all sorts of fun individuals - Padstow stalwarts imparting tails of rollicking good parties and magical sounding houses. I sipped on. Sometimes allowing a spot of Tropicana to enter my glass but generally going a pelo. We ate strawberries and cream, barbecued bread, played with the dogs, louched about, rain came in fits but by 7 the sun charged through the clouds and gave us a heck of a gorgeous day.

Later we went mackerel fishing (organised by super host Adrian). I declined motion-sickness pills on the grounds that I should have better sea legs than anyone, given my time on yachts. After an hour or so I was ready to hurl great Bucks-fizzy chunks and pined for the tourist thronged streets of Padstow. We returned, fish-less and opted for Rick Stein's Fish & Chips instead. I went for grilled mackerel with a battered oyster chaser. Delish. Even though seconds before my mouth made contact with it there was a hug gust of wind that sprinkled dock grit on all the food in our pavement picnic. It didn't effect my enjoyment - might even have given the whole thing a touch more authenticity.

We finished up and set off to leave, but not before witnessing one of the most revolting things I've ever forced myself to absorb. This huge great seagull came sweeping past the crowds, over the dock and nose-dived perilously close to me. He had his eyes on half a giant sausage roll abandoned by one of the kids. Off he went with his beak wrapped round the bounty. All his crew came squawking over, desperate for a bit of twos-up. No way yer bastards, he seemed to say as he threw his head back and swallowed the thing whole. He stood there for a few moments, his white neck bulging with this meaty lump. It stuck out like a goitre; a great writhing, living goitre that he gurgitated down until it was gone from sight; no doubt landing amongst all manner of other horrors in the pit of his trash-compacting gut. Gross.

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