When we were young, my sister and I were obsessed with the movie Quest for Camelot. It had fun music, great voice actors, an exciting story line, an attractive (to our strange, little girls’ minds) cartoon hero, and a sweet romance to top it all off. There was one thing, however, that I really did not like about the movie, and that was the two-headed dragon(s?) named Devon and Cornwall.
I hated those dragons for reasons I cannot remember nor fathom, especially the short, plump one named Cornwall. I even hated his name, so annoying I found him, so when I later discovered there was a place in England called Cornwall, I instantly turned my nose up and decided I would never see, nor have the desire to see, the place that inspired that terrible dragon.
Fourteen years passed by, and after our first year of marriage, my husband and I scrounged up enough money to take our first trip to England together. (Since moving to America from England, my husband had only been back home only once in nearly ten years, so he was ready to return!) We brainstormed a long list of places to visit during our holiday, wanting to see as much as possible, but when my husband suggested Cornwall, I protested the idea, ridiculously prejudiced as I was, and pushed to see other places instead, mostly locations related to Jane Austen and/or Harry Potter.
Our trip rolled around and, as luck would have it, I did not have to go to Cornwall, nor did I have to during our second trip to England. Despite reasonable pushing from my husband for me to feel otherwise, my unfair judgment of the county, it would seem, would stay the same.
That is, until I came across a TV series that would finally and forever change my opinion.
Watching Poldark, seeing those first few images of Cornwall on my TV, I was speechless. How could such a beautiful place exist? My husband and I watched the series together, loving the characters, the stories, the horses charging across the cliffs, but most of all, we marveled at the scenery. How could those sights, the sparkling sea, the pink wildflowers along the cliff’s edge, the glowing sunsets over the countryside, how could they have escaped my attention for so long? I was astonished and ashamed that my stubborn, childhood opinion had prevented me from experiencing the otherworldly magnificence of Cornwall firsthand, and I determined then and there to rectify my mistake.
For months I planned out our next trip to England, including a solid week in Cornwall. I had our itinerary planned out to the minute, wanting to make up for lost time and to see as much as humanly possible. When the time finally came to see the county, my beloved Cornwall exceeded even my incredibly high expectations. As can be read from my other (many) blog posts, I fell in love. I fell in love with the seaside, the coastline, the accent, the Cornish Pasties, the sunsets, the towns, the history, the windy weather, the pathways along every cliff. I even fell in love with the miniscule, no-lane roads lined with tall hedges and sharp rocks that seemed to scratch our rental car at every turn.
As we walked through small port towns and across vast moors, explored historic mines, and marveled at sunset after glorious sunset, I could not believe I had been so ridiculous as to have prevented myself from seeing Cornwall sooner, merely because of a cartoon, two-headed dragon I didn’t like as a child. I suppose all I can do now is make sure I never judge a place by its name again…that and make sure each future visit to England is filled with as much Cornwall as possible.
Each time we've been to England, we have gone during the month of May, so every May that rolls around and we are not in England, I start to have withdrawals. To satisfy my desire to go, I decided I could pack my bags and throw the money for the flights on the credit card, or I could go the more sensible route and write a few blog posts relating to England to hopefully mollify my insatiable desire to go back. I can only hope it works!
Some of my fondest memories of my trips to England are the times I have spent in the pubs, eating delicious food, conversing comfortably with family, and enjoying the lively, cozy, environment. Each of the three times I have been, I have a new experience with eating out at a pub, and each time, I find myself enjoying it even more than the last.
My first time in England, we ate at a pub in York after working up an appetite, wandering the streets all day. I ordered half a chicken, not expecting the literal half-chicken they brought out on my plate, accompanied with a hearty helping of beans and chips on the side. I felt like I ate so much, but I hardly made a dent in the meal. The pub was loud with chatter and laughter, but I loved every moment of it, especially when the burly, dark-bearded waiter called me “love” while taking my order.
Another pub I loved was in Bath. My husband, his aunt and uncle, and I were searching out food later one evening, so we walked down a small, country lane just near our hotel and decided upon eating at the Hop Pole Inn. The pub was heaving, but we decided to wait anyway, being shown to a quiet sitting area in the back. That is where I had my first orange and passion fruit J2O, the most delicious fruit drink I’ve ever had in my life. We had our drinks behind the pub, a soft breeze keeping us cool, the sinking sun causing the world around us to be covered in shades of purple. Kids played football (soccer) in the small grassy area next to us, their laughter causing us to smile as we spoke comfortably with one another. Soon, they cleared a table just for us, and we ordered our food. Again, they brought out hearty helpings. The lasagna and salad I had was enough for four people, not to mention the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. I only wish taking a doggy-bag of the food home was a common practice in England so I could enjoy it time and time again!
While in Stratford-upon-Avon, we were fortunate enough to go to a cozy little pub on quiz night, and though we didn’t participate, it was fun to see how the locals answered the questions and laughed with their teammates as they tried to win the evening’s quiz. Afterward, we walked behind the pub down a tree-covered pathway with bunnies hopping in and out of the holes in the field next to us. We loved our time there so much, we returned on our next trip to England and had another wonderful experience there.
Our most recent trip, with a wonderful week spent in Cornwall, we were able to eat out in more delicious pubs. I ate my first Cornish Pasty while there, as well. I am so precarious when it comes to trying new foods, as I’m not a fan of anything new or different, but the pasty was absolutely delicious, and I ordered it every chance I got. One of my favorite things about pubs? The amount of beans and chips they give you with nearly every meal!
Writing and thinking about the food and pubs of England unfortunately has done nothing but cause my desire to return to burn greater within me. I suppose I’ll just have to have some beans on toast for dinner tonight and work more on my latest edit for my upcoming regency romance, all while I spend a ridiculous amount of money on an order of J2O from Amazon. Bon appetite, to me!
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