And Poppy Came Too

by Charlotte Fosbery | Monday 17th September, 2012

And Poppy Came Too

Hooray – we’re off again! This is the fourth time we have been lucky enough to hire a camper from O’Connor’s, and this time we went for a new boy (for us), Max Cherry. With the weather looking somewhat “unsettled”, we crammed the estate car to the roof with our bits and pieces, most of them belonging to the smallest member of the party (Poppy, nearly 3), and set off down the M5 on the now familiar journey to O’Connor’s. We arrived and rushed in to meet Max, nearly forgetting the toddler in the rush to meet the new man. One of the lovely things about the vans is that they are all similar, but all so very different. Where in one there might be a cupboard others have a space, and where in some there might be a gap on the dash, others might have a clock. A CLOCK?? Yes, but it’s OK – Max’s clock doesn’t work – and that is just absolutely as it should be. We set it to one of our favourite times and left it. Perfect. After a while sorting out a few bits and pieces, we loaded up and headed off to Padstow. This meant crossing Bodmin Moor- and that’s when the unsettled weather became very settled, right into a gale and torrential rain. At least that’s how it feels at the wheel of a camper van with its laid back windscreen wiper action and vulnerability to side winds. Up and down over the hills felt a bit like a white knuckle roller coaster ride but we made it, found a campsite, sorted ourselves out and headed into Padstow. At Rick Stein’s we pressed our noses up against the windows whilst wishing we were dressed up a bit more and weren’t pushing a loudly humming toddler in a bicycle trolley. We found a decent local pub and ate there instead. Next day we drove around a lot, encountering some bends near Newquay that I could hardly believe, and I wasn’t even the one trying to get up them… We stayed for a while at Porthcothan, and discovered a beautiful bay, where Poppy got her first real go in the sea ever, and had a lovely time. We settled on Court Farm Campsite as where we would pitch up for the night, as it was a Tuesday and on Tuesdays, being the HQ of the Roseland Observatory, there is an astronomical evening, tour of the stars and telescopes in use around the site. We pulled up, and met up straight away with an astrophysicist who also knew VW campers inside out – what a find! That was the tone set for the evening – and it was fantastic. We saw the Sun complete with solar flare, craters on the Moon, binary stars, the Milky Way and so much more (when the clouds parted for a few moments, that is). Well worth a stay if you are interested, and a lovely open well run camp site as well. As a result of this visit, I am now doing a GCSE in astronomy – a source of some amusement to the younger family members. The next day, after heavy rain overnight, we trundled off to see what we could find. We had a stop at Par Sands, but since I am prone to get irritable in the wind it was a bit of a flying visit. We ate lunch in the van, and I felt vindicated by the number of people we saw optimistically walking over the dune to the beach wearing wetsuits and carrying beach items, only to return shortly after looking like bedraggled wrecks. We drove on via Roche, where the enigmatic church built on top of a rock was worth a gorse bushy climb to investigate. We found a pub for dinner – and then realised we had left it far too late to find a campsite. Oh dear – whatever would we do..? Go to the top of Bodmin moor in the mist and the fog and the dark, drive down a little lane, pull over and just make that home. Wonderful! We awoke in the morning, free from encounters from the beast and instead surrounded by cows, ponies (the former bigger than the latter) and sheep. Idyllic! We breakfasted, and Poppy, dressed in her waterproofs, had fun sitting in puddles. We visited The Hurlers (windy again!), had headed slowly and scenically for Fernworthy reservoir, where we know of a beautiful spot to spend the night but which is near enough to O’Connor’s to avoid a morning panic. Sitting there under the totally clear skies, the trees lit up almost as brightly as if it were the dawn light coming through and not the full moon, we felt absolutely content. And our trusty home on wheels was right there when we felt ready for sleep – perfect… So – we liked Max, but did he like us? Max has a gap where others have a cupboard at the back, which gives just that little bit more room for sleeping, and that was well appreciated. He has the cab bunk fittings we need, providing a perfect snug sleeping cave for the little one. She found him very easy to drive as well, as you can see..! As per campervan norm, he had the cheeky way with gear hiding, revealing third to me easily but keeping reverse a secret, and vice versa for Adam. He played a bit of an indicator trick on Adam too, resulting in some muffled swearing and a brief but distinct cooling of their relationship. He also developed a “pulling to the right when braking” trick on our last day, but all in all we all gelled beautifully, purring up (most of) the hills, creeping down the narrow lanes and loving the whole laid back, who cares about the snake behind us feel that comes with campervan driving. And we always love the flashing headlights and waves from other VW drivers. We also delight in discovering the quirks of all the vans, and my decade or so of Beetle driving comes rushing back to me when I drive, with sudden flashes of driving insight and recovered memories of places where I have stuck blu-tack or paper clips in “temporary” repairs. As O’Connor’s veterans now, all I can say is “We’ll be back – but who for this time..?”


Posted in Experiences
on Monday 17th September, 2012
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