A fantastic road trip in Cornwall, England…

Arriving across the bay, we captured this view looking back to our house.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth

The town, which has a population of about 21,800, is one of the oldest and busiest ports in Cornwall, with a deep, sheltered, working harbor and docks which is one of the biggest employers in the region.”

Colorful series of apartments on a hilly road.
As often the case in many parts of the world, the day starts out sunny and a few hours later a cloud cover monopolizes the skies. Such was the case yesterday when after two days of blissful sunshine, the clouds rolled in no more than five minutes after we left the house.

Realizing that we were entirely out of photos, we knew we needed and wanted to continue regardless of the weather. We spent most of the afternoon, which was well-spent, as we often stopped on the side of the road to take photos and gawk at the gorgeous scenery.

Many roads lead down a steep hill to the sea.

We couldn’t help but be thrilled to see each sleepy beach town while on the scenic route following along the coastline. We’d heard about many of these particular areas and reveled in their beauty and uniqueness in each case.

Not all buildings are in good repair.

As we meandered the coastline on the easy-to-maneuver scenic route, we wandered off to many side streets and often were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous homes, neatly trimmed gardens, and ocean views.

When we reached a particularly scenic spot with parking space, we exited the car to savor the view. Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing our photos, albeit cloudy days photos, and plan to head out once again on Wednesday after the cruise ships will be gone.  

Utility boats in the harbor.

With a few thousand passengers disembarking the ships to explore this particular area, we’re better off to wait until the crowds thin out. Also, school starts the first week in September, resulting in less traffic on the narrow roads.

Cruise ships often dock at this port enabling passengers to visit the charming town and other points of interest.

Each time the sun peeks out we head out to the veranda to savor the sunshine, the warmth, and the views. Yes, there are some inconveniences here but the town and its surrounds, easily make up for them and we’re delighted to be here.

When we’d completed the scenic drive for the day, we drove back the market in Falmouth, located where all the action is. Parking is a definite challenge. Tom dropped me off while I shopped.  

Typical for most sea towns, every inch of space is utilized.

He’d taken off to find a parking spot and then joined me in the store to finish up the shopping and bag the groceries. We both walked up the steep hill to where the car was parked, and I surprised myself at how well I made it up that hill.

As far as my ability to walk, it’s still limited and quite a challenge. Today, I stopped the last tiny dose of bisoprolol. In two to three days, I’ll know if I weaned off it too quickly and if necessary, go back to a very small dose to start a new tapering over a slower period.

This style of house and grounds may be found anywhere in the US.

In the past six weeks, I’ve stopped three drugs that were causing me severe side effects and profoundly affecting my quality of life. No doubt, it will take time for the side effects to diminish fully. I’ve read it can take as long as a year. I must stay active, positive, and patient. I’m fully committed.

Thanks for visiting once again. Much more on this lovely area will follow.

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2018:
In Marloth Park, when it took a few minutes for Tom to mix up the bowl of raw scrambled eggs, the mongooses began walking up the steps to the veranda. For more photos, please click here.

Life as we know it has begun in Falmouth, England…Settling in…

The crowds were considerably less today than Friday night when we shopped for groceries at the “downtown” Tesco Supermarket.

It’s quite a comforting feeling to become settled into a new home, whether for weeks or months. In this case, renting a holiday home in the picturesque Falmouth, England, causes us to realize we won’t be here for long.

With only 12 days remaining (September 6, 2019) until we depart for the following location, we plan to savor every moment while living in this stunning seaside town, filled with scenes us ocean-lovers only imagine in our dreams.

The roads are narrow, especially between parked cars in the area of our holiday home. Parking is not assigned, nor is there a parking fee.  However, it’s not easy to find a parking spot nearby.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post (click here for details), we’ve encountered a few issues with the property that the owner had never experienced in the past…lack of attention to detail by cleaners. We tried to be patient.

Finally, two days after we arrived, the next-door neighbor dropped by with a stack of towels we could use during our time here. I suppose the owner called the neighbor (a friend), hoping she could attend to the towel situation. It wasn’t easy living without towels for two days. We’d never experienced such an anomaly.

The Packet Quays, a holiday rental complex, crosses over the road creating an exciting scene.

Yes, we could have gone to a store and purchased towels, but that wasn’t our agreement. If we’d done so, we anticipated we’d have a hard time getting reimbursed for BPS $81.44, US $100, worth of towels.  

When we booked this property, the listing specifically stated: “towels not included.” We’d never heard of such a thing. Every holiday home has towels.
When we negotiated the rental with the owner, we asked that towels be included, and he sent us an email agreeing to do so.

I had no choice but to take photos through the windshield when there was no way to stop on the narrow road.

OK…enough about towels. It’s now resolved. As for the remainder of the challenges, we mentioned in yesterday’s post (found here), we’re adapting as we often must do when staying in a new location.

I’m making it up and down the stairs to the second level each time I need to use the bathroom. Ultimately, I believe this will be good for me, forcing me to get more adept at going up and down steps, of which there are many in every direction, including many steep roads.

The quaint and charming town of Falmouth is a visitor’s paradise.

Without having any laundry done while on the ship after they’d raised the price to BPS 28.51, US $35, for a relatively small paper bag, we each had no less than three loads to fit in the front-loading washer. Yesterday, we did all of mine, and today, we’re getting Tom’s three loads underway.  

Today, it was sunny until we went out for a drive, our first since our arrival two days ago. Cloudy weather is expected in England. It’s often cloudy and rainy. We’re savoring every moment when the sun peeks out, sitting outdoors on the veranda savoring the heart-pounding view. It’s cool, but when the sun is shining, we are comfortable.  

There is an endless array of shops and restaurants in this delightful area.

Now, as I write this, I see more and more clouds rolling in and imagine there will be a dark cloud cover by the end of the day. However, as we’ve often mentioned in past posts, we don’t mind bad weather as long as we get an occasional sunny day.  

Many shops and restaurants have interesting British names, often humorous and light-hearted.

There’s plenty to see and do while here. Today, after Tom watched the Minnesota Vikings football game last night, we headed out on a long drive searching for photo ops to share here. There are plenty! I’m particularly anxious to get out after staying in all day yesterday while we unpacked and started laundry.

Boats moored in the bay.

May your Sunday be filled with beautiful scenery and balmy breezes.

Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2018:
A massive old elephant was resting his trunk on his tusk.  We saw this only one other time in the Maasai Mara in 2013.  Here’s the link to that post where there are some shocking photos we’d taken at that time, including lions! Here’s the link to the year-ago post.

A few issues with our new location…

Gorgeous estates overlooking the bay.

We haven’t had any issues with a vacation/holiday home since we rented our first home outside the US in Belize. The city water only came on for a few hours a day, and we needed to stay around to fill buckets with water. Also, with no bug screens on the windows and scorching heat, I had no less than 100 no-see-ums (sand fleas) bites, making me miserable and unable to sleep.

We have breakfast in the tiny kitchen, but dinners will be at the larger dining room table.

Crazy! We found another place and moved out in a week, but the owners refused to refund our money. Now, years later, the rental website HomeAway would have been helpful to resolve this and get us a refund.  

I don’t know how we managed to fit all the perishables in this tiny refrigerator. This is the only refrigerator on the property. We’ll have to shop with this small space in mind.

This property in Falmouth certainly doesn’t have nearly as many nor severe issues as that house in Placencia, Belize. Overall, the problems are minor, except for one…we still don’t have a single towel in the house except for two kitchen towels.  

We couldn’t shower without towels, although I used one of our dish towels to dry off this morning. Weird! That was a first for me. Tom will wait until the towels hopefully arrive today.

The living room (lounge) has everything we need. We each sit on one of the two sofas when working on our laptops.  

In addition, the shower leaks onto the floor even when not in use due to a poor plumbing connection. The owner warned us to make sure the shower faucet is fully turned off when we’re done. However, there’s something wrong with the connection when we never used the shower yesterday.

The house wasn’t entirely clean or organized when we checked it. It wasn’t filthy but things like messy bed-making, dirty rags lying around, etc., made us a bit frustrated. Since that time in Belize in 2013, we’d never encountered any issues. The holiday rentals were always meticulous.

A little messy with our stuff cluttering the dining room table, but this space will work well for dinners after we’ve removed everything.

Some owners leave us a variety of converters and adapters to use for plugging in our digital equipment. Alas, none were here, and we headed out to town to buy what we needed. As it turned out, the grocery store, Tesco, had everything we needed, and we were able to recharge all of our equipment.

This seagull perched on the fence post, asking, “Ya got any pellets?”  We did not, and he later flew away.

While we were at Tesco, we decided to go grocery shop for dinner. We were both exhausted, needed showers, and didn’t feel up to going out. Instead, we made a quick and easy dinner, as mentioned in yesterday’s post found here.

As it turns out, the house has an odd configuration of steps on the second level where the three bedrooms are location requiring us to be extra careful when going from the bedroom to the bathroom.  

The oceanfront houses, some large and others small, present an eclectic look along the coastline.

The steps leading to the second level are otherwise straight up and not excessively steep, compared to the spiral staircase in the house in Ireland. Also, there’s only one bathroom on the second level, requiring us both to go up and down several times a day.

Rolling greens hills at a distance.

I feel that the steps to the bathroom will be a good form of exercise, and so far, I’m doing ok with it. But, the parking situation, with no assigned parking, requires we scramble to find a spot, and then once we do, the hilly roads present a challenging walk to get to the terraced house overlooking the bay. Tom suggests he drop me off at the gate to the house, but I insist on walking with him.

From there, we have to walk up or down 25 uneven stone steps to get to and from the back of the house to the terraced level where the house is located. I’ll undoubtedly be getting much-needed exercise while here, which ultimately is a good thing. See the photo below for these steps, taken from the bottom. There is a handrail which helps.

Twenty-five uneven stone steps to get from the house to the road and then on to where Tom’s been able to find a parking spot.

Otherwise, it is beautiful here with stunning views of the bay, the smell of fresh sea air, and access to many restaurants, pubs, and shopping only minutes away. The downtown area is unbelievable. I can’t wait to take photos and share them with all of you.

The bed and bedding are comfortable, and last night we both had a good night’s sleep. Today, Tom is catching up on missed Minnesota Vikings preseason games while I work on some financial tasks, leaving us free to embrace this exquisite town and all that it has to offer.

The view is astounding in each direction.

A special thanks to our friend/reader Liz, from Bristol, England, whom we met in person in London in 2014 when we stayed in South Kensington for two weeks, and she came to meet us. She took the train, two hours each way to meet us, and we both had a fabulous day with her, staying in touch all these years.

This view takes our breath away!

Yesterday, when we arrived at the house there was a piece of snail mail for us.  Liz had handwritten a welcoming letter on a pretty card, making suggestions on what to do while we were here in her ancestral town.  

Whoever handwrites letters these days? We couldn’t have been more appreciative and impressed. Hopefully, we’ll see Liz again when we move up the coast for these four properties as we get nearer and nearer to her home in Bristol.

Have a beautiful day! We’ll be back with more tomorrow!

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2018:
This young male’s horns have started to sprout.  He was mature and experienced enough to know that looking into our eyes would reap some rewards. How right he is! For more photos, please click here.

Sightseeing venue in Phuket…Visit to the Phuket Sea Shell Museum…A rare treasure

Most sightseeing activities in Phuket revolve around the ocean in one way or another, including snorkeling, scuba diving, speed boating and visiting various islands all of which are out of the question for me.

The Phuket Sea Shell Museum is easy to spot from the highway.

Getting on and off boats and bouncing in rough waters is definitely not logical at this point as I continue to heal from the spinal injury of June 1 in Bali. Even the slightest movements can send me into a tailspin as I diligently avoid bending at the waist.

The entrance to the museum.

Yesterday, when I was feeling considerably better in the morning, I  mindlessly did a little more around the house only to find myself struggling from 4 pm well into the night. Today, I’ll proceed with more caution.

Based on what I’ve described, our readers can easily see how sightseeing has not been foremost in our minds with most of it requiring activities I don’t dare undertake at this time. 

How I ever got through the river cruise tours baffles me. I guess it was the case where many of us just “bite the bullet” and carry on when we have chronic pain or conditions. I have no doubt many of you have done the same on many occasions.

When I think back to the cruise, I realize some of what we may have done further exacerbated my condition extending the recovery time which I’m paying for now. In any case, this is the way it is for now.

When we were running low on photos of Phuket to post each day, we decided to embark on the easiest possible outing, a trip to the Phuket Sea Shell Museum as described here at this site:

“The Sea Shell Museum near Evason Resort in Rawai contains and displays valuable seashells from all over the world. Many are among the most sought-after by collectors and are from Phuket and Thai waters. It’s a perfect attraction to keep kids and adults entertained on a rainy day. 

The museum is very well put together and is located in the basement of the large building. It has four main exhibitions, all information in both English and Thai. The entry fee is reasonable.”

The entrance fee for both of us was US $11.50, THB 400. It certainly was worth this reasonable cost when we easily spent a few hours perusing the enormous displays, reputed to be one of the largest and most comprehensive seashell displays in the world. 

With rave reviews at TripAdvisor we knew we were in for a treat finding the collective opinions of many tourists generally as “spot on.” The only challenging aspect to the venue was walking down a few flights of stairs and standing on my feet for so long. 

We were the only tourists on site during the entire period we spent in the air conditioned facility. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with one another as we perused the breathtaking displays as we shot many photos. Tom, with his good eye, often spotted photo ops I may have missed making the experience all the more meaningful.

I apologize for not explaining the source and technical descriptions of each type of the shells of the photos we’d taken.  Although there were detailed descriptions on signs near most of the shells, the time it would have taken to take double the photos would have been difficult when I knew I could only stand for so long. As a result, we haven’t included captions on the photos.

All of the displays were encased in clear glass making photo taking challenging when reflecting light made it nearly impossible for a good shot. None the less, we took over 100 photos saving the best to share here over the next few days.

Little did we know, as we wandered about the facility that only hours earlier 11 bombings had occurred in Thailand, two of which were nearby, especially when after the museum we headed to the Makro superstore to shop for the upcoming week. 

It was only after we’d returned home, put everything away and sat down to relax and read news on our laptops, did we see what had tragically transpired here in Thailand in the prior 24 hours. 

So far today, thank goodness, everything is quiet. Yesterday, (Sunday) three un-exploded bombs were found in shopping areas in Phuket. See the news story here.

We remain cautious in everything we do and everywhere we go during our remaining 18 days in Phuket never foolishly putting ourselves in public arenas that may be targeted.

You stay safe as well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 15, 2015:

There were several bodies of water along the edges of the rain forest we visited in Queensland, Australia. For more photos, please click here.

The vast difference in the tides in Bali…Two “Bali Sightings on the Beach” photos today for a good reason…

Photo taken from the second floor veranda at high tide.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

Look carefully at this photo we took yesterday. This kid is burying his dog in the sand. We were shocked to see this and wondered why he was doing this.  The dog yelped a few times.
We were relieved to see the dog was eventually released from being buried in the sand and seemed OK.Note tongue sticking out. We see this boy and this dog daily when he brings the buffalo to swim in the river next door.  More on that later.

Most of us beach lovers have some perception of high and low tides along with the fact that it “comes and goes four times and day” and that the “moon and gravitational pull” also have some sort of bearing. The specifics on this are vague for many, including us.

It’s surprising how close the high tide comes to the houses along this beach.

Since we arrived in Sumbersari, Bali ten days ago we’ve had the opportunity to spend considerable time observing the tide “coming in” and once peaked, “heading back out again.” In this location, which varies all over the world’s beaches, we’ve observed enormous differences between high and low tides.

From the main floor veranda at high tide. There’s only the small distance of grass separating the pool from the ocean.

As a result, we started taking photos of this natural phenomenon, finding ourselves in awe of this daily event we may have taken for granted in the past. Our world is amazing in so many ways.

In many locations we’ve lived near the beach, but too far to notice these changes. On six occasions we’ve lived on the beach, some sand, some rocks and some, where the tidal changes were less evident.

The highest point of the tide with only the narrow strip of grass separating us from the sea.

The most dramatic tidal changes we’ve seen in the world have been here in Bali, which inspired us to share these photos and information with our readers today.The best information we could find online was at this US Nasa site

Not only did we like the clear and concise description of the world’s tides, but the included photos offered an opportunity to put this phenomenon into perspective. See below for details as we’ve included some of this information. For more details, please click the link:

Another high tide view.

“Tides and Time

High tides and low tides come and go, as the level of the sea goes up and down. This cycle of two high tides and two low tides occurs most days on most of the coastline of the world.

Why is that?

Tides are really all about gravity, and when we’re talking about the daily tides, it’s the moon’s gravity that’s causing them. As Earth rotates, the moon’s gravity pulls on different parts of our planet. Even though the moon only has about 1/100th the mass of Earth, since it’s so close to us, it has enough gravity to move things around. The moon’s gravity even pulls on the land, but not enough for anyone to really tell. When the moon’s gravity pulls on the water in the oceans, however, someone’s bound to notice. Water, being a liquid and all, has a much easier time moving around. It bulges toward the moon, and that bulge follows the moon as Earth turns beneath it. That explains the first high tide each day, but what about the second high tide? The ocean also bulges out on the side of the Earth opposite the moon.

Wait, what?

If the moon’s gravity is pulling the oceans toward it, how can the ocean also bulge on the side of the Earth away from the moon? It does seem a little weird. Gravity is the major force causing tides, but inertia is playing a part too. Inertia is matter’s resistance to change. It wants to keep doing whatever it’s doing, whether that’s moving in a straight line or staying still, until another force acts on it. While the water closest to the moon is getting pulled, the water farthest from the moon is staying right where it is. Both sides are experiencing gravity and inertia, but one always overpowers the other. On the side of the moon, gravity wins. On the side away from the moon, inertia wins. These two bulges explain why in one day, there are two high tides and two low tides. 

Are these high and low tides the same height everywhere on the planet?

No.  If Earth were perfectly round and completely covered in water, then high and low tides would be equally proportioned everywhere. But Earth is not a perfect sphere, and there are big continents getting in the way of water flowing and bulging in the direction of the moon. That’s why in some places, the difference between high and low tide isn’t very big, and in other places, the difference is drastic.

The tide had started going back out.

Does anything else affect tides?

The sun has a part to play in tides as well. For instance, when the sun’s gravitational pull lines up with the moon’s gravitational pull, the tides are more extreme.  Wind and weather patterns also can affect tides. Strong offshore winds can move water away from coastlines, exaggerating low tides. Onshore winds can push water onto the shore, making low tides much less noticeable. High-pressure weather systems can push down sea levels, leading to nice sunny days with particularly low tides. Low-pressure systems that lead to cloudy, rainy days, often cause tides than being much higher than predicted, so watch out!”

These descriptions are exactly what we needed to further explain the tides. We hope this information has been helpful in clarifying it for our readers as well. Today, at almost 11:00 am, we see the tide rapidly moving closer to our villa. 

As the tide begins to recede.

Its expected to be at its highest around 11:30 am, the time of day we took the high tide photos we’re posting here. Six hours later it was at its lowest as also shown in our photos.

After the tide recedes at the end of the day.

Have a beautiful day, hopefully with an opportunity to observe one of nature’s magical phenomenon’s whether it’s the full moon rising, a sunset or a changing tide.

Once the tide recedes, we can see the sandy berm once again where most of the activity of humans and animals takes place at varying times of the day when the tide is low. We’ve yet to see any activity during the high tide which convinces us that locals pay special attention to the tides.

Photo from one year ago today, May 10, 2015:

Tom waited with me in the exam room at the urgent care center in Kapaa, Kauai when I was having lower abdominal pain which later proved to be nothing worrisome after I had a CAT scan in Australia in July. For more details, please click here.