Tour de Reino Unido – parte once (“Mi Chele is now off the market, bitches”)

Dear readers,

Tuesday 15th July 2014

Yes, today was the day that I became owned. Pamela has been pressuring me for weeks to stop writing about the other days and just concentrate on that single moment of today. She also suggested that I put the title of this update too.

The day started with a small hangover, but having a full English breakfast helped aplenty. For once, it was nice to have a bean on my plate that wasn’t brown and refried: baked beans ruled that morning, the plate and my gas emissions. The owner, originally from near Bodmin, continued to fascinate yet confuse Pamela with his strong Cornish accent as he slurred out happy thoughts and recommendations for the day, as any host would. His Welsh wife was a bit easier for Pamela, she too wishing us great thoughts for the day with smiley glee. We left for the day with full bellies (and me with the ring in my bag, my brother and sister having knowledge of my big announcement).

Our first stop was Portowan, where my grandmother had a summer chalet for many years. I can’t remember her selling it as I was very young, but I do remember watching 70s/80s American TV shows about cops on motorbikes, while I was sitting on the floor eating yogurt. The chalet was on top of a hill and the holiday community had a swimming pool. It was many moons ago, and I remember being very fond of the place. I remember the cove being more vast than it is today. Nostalgia playing mind games. We stopped off anyhow and saw a digger ploughing sand. It’s turned into a bit of a surfer’s beach, not that I’m complaining. I remember going five years ago by myself during sunset and I felt I was abroad on a paradise island. The beaches in the British Isles don’t always get the credit they deserve. I do prefer beaches a little untouched, left to the elements of nature and not touched by man. I hope the digger was preserving the beach, rather than building an unnecessary complex. The below picture was taken five years ago. Pretty much untouched since then.

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And today….

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We then hopped along the north coast to another beach of special significance to the Rogers/West family; Portreath. This beach is a little more developed. It was known for tin mining and having a small fishing harbour, which is still used today. The tin mining tunnels sadly not, but the dangers for miners were immense, with tunnels going for miles out to sea. Explosions and drowning were a constant threat (I have a feeling that Portowan was better known for the mining though). There is a small island (I can’t remember it’s name) not far from shore which is a little cold and choppy for the likes of me to swim there. Nan told us that some had made it, others had not. She told us this at a young age, which left it engrained in my head that it might not be a good idea to attempt it. I’ve always wanted to go to the island. There’s nothing much there, just a large piece of mystical rock sitting there. It used to fill me of fantasies of caves full of pirate treasure. Maybe I shouldn’t go. Maybe I’d be disappointed. I’ll just keep my smugglers stories to the smuggler’s cottage tucked in at the corner of the beach.

The amusements that sat behind the car park, which I remember from a young age looked very sorry for itself, is now a nice looking chippy. The pub is still there. A pub that holds funny memories. It sits in the hill right close to the car park. I remember the Rogers and West family stayed in Portreath back in 2002 to spread Nan’s ashes. We stayed in a strange little hotel near a train tunnel, which seemed to be a spiritual retreat (the hotel, not the train tunnel). I liked the place, with its prayer rooms and aviaries and peacocks running around. Ben, Sam and I got a little rowdy in our room one night and started pelting a football at each other. We were all adults. Our parents or hotel owners were not amused. The pub though. On this particular trip, we all went for a drink at this wonderful establishment, which I think is called the King’s Arms, and there was a pub quiz taking place. Of course, we felt obliged to take part. There were many locals and it seemed to be taken extremely seriously. The family formed two teams; one of youth and other of wisdom (a tactical way of saying older members of the clan and the kids). The kids straddled behind, but my parents and Uncle Pat and Aunty Gill absolutely tore the competition apart. They broke out the gates into a lead, so cold and focused, like a Jose Mourinho team, with the same arrogance and swagger, leaving the poor Cornish country folk looking a bit, well, like poor Cornish country folk. They needed help from the younger members on the contemporary entertainment round of the quiz. Some answers we gave, others they just copied us. At the end of the night, our parents walked away with the prize (a free meal I think) and a record number of points, which left us getting furious stares and few slightly racist comments about bloody northerners. Never mind the fact that we too are very much Celts, they didn’t like other more intelligent (and better looking and slightly more healthier) Celts stealing their very proud thunder.
We all sat there smug, which may have wound them up more.

We walked around the promenade and round to the harbour while sharing stories, like the pub quiz, and things that embarrassed me in front of Pamela, the chief aim of my brother and sister.

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We then went to Camborne where we went lay flowers at my Nan’s graves. Nan remarried after her first husband Arthur died. I was five or six when he died, but I still remember him. He was a serious man. I think I used to annoy him, as I used to roll around on a furry rug in front of him. The rug is on my bedroom floor in Brum, but my imagination turned into mass waves or antartica for my toy helicopter. I remember watching athletics on his lap. I seem to remember it being the 1984 Olympics. Nan then married five years or so later who was also called Arthur. He too was widowed but he didn’t have grandchildren. His daughter Jennifer lived in the US but we lost contact with her. The last I heard she lived in state Washington with her husband who had some right of centre views that might have made him feel a bit left out in our family. This Arthur loved his bowls. The president of the club for many years, I seem to believe. A great walker too. Every evening without fail, while in his 70s and 80s. He’d tire us all out if we went with him.

Nan’s wish was to have her grave stone placed with both her husband’s graves. We went to the grave of her second husband first, which is close to the Camborne centre. It’s not the best kept graveyard, I must say, but I like going back.

We then went to her first husband’s grave in Beacon. We drove past the bungalow, which had a path beside the house that lead to a meadow of cows. I used to love that as a kid. So exciting. The smell. The noises. I was fascinated. Aunty Olli lived there too. I can just about remember her. She was blind or deaf, but on one party occasion, no idea what age I was, my mother still reminds me, I kept feeding her peanuts. Unfortunately, I fed her too much this time and she began to choke. I don’t know how the story ended but I’m sure I didn’t kill her. We drove on from the bungalow, past the gingerbread house whose owners got rid of the giant gingerbread man statue in front of their house (shithead gingerbread man murderers), and up to the grave. It has a sweet little chapel and is surrounded by misty meadows with disused mining buildings dotting the landscape, as welly as the beautiful Victorian folly that is Carn Brea. The yard is well looked after. I could see Dad getting emotional being there. It’s a special place for all of us.

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At this point, I must apologise to Pamela and say she might need to wait for the next update for the moment I proposed. My eyes are sore, as well as my fingers, from typing loads. I’m going to leave you with some Cornish Celtic music. Lovely views of Cornwall too.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=phpvylKuMM8

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About Nicholas Rogers

I am an English journalist/copywriter living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I have been here since 2011. I originally came to work with Casa Alianza, which supports street kids and vulnerable youths. I then stayed on, after meeting Pamela Cruz Lozano, who calls me her adopted Catracho. I work freelance journalism and I have my own translation business. Why did I come here? For the challenge, to open my mind and get out of my comfort zone. I love literature and I've written a book with street kids. I write novels, short stories and poetry, all of which you will find on this blog, as well as a lot of information about Honduras. View all posts by Nicholas Rogers

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