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 completely out of photos, we knew, regardless of the weather, we needed, and wanted, to continue on.  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 special 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 special area, we’re better off to wait until the crowds thin out.  Also, school starts the first week in September which will result 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 on 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 small 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 serious side effects and profoundly affecting my quality of life.  No doubt, it will take time for the side effects to fully diminish.  I’ve read it can take as long as a year.  I must stay active, positive and be 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 as opposed to 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 it be 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 next 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 finding a parking spot nearby.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post (click here for details) we’ve encountered a few issues with the property that apparently 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 can 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 interesting 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 we’re 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 up 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 from 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:
An old massive elephant resting his trunk on his tusk.  We saw this only one other time in the Maasi 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 bugs 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 in 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 issues are minor, except for one…we still don’t have a single towel in the house except for two kitchen towels.  

We weren’t able to shower without towels although this morning I used one of our own dish towels to dry off.  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 obviously 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 outrageously dirty 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 meticulous.

A little messy with our stuff cluttering the dining room table but this space will work well for dinners after we’ve since 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 the appropriate converted 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 grocery shop to be able to eat dinner in.  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 located on the second level, requiring us both to go up and down several times a day.

Rolling greens hills at a distance.

My feeling at this point is 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 certainly 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 absolutely 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’re 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.

Have I died and gone to heaven?…Hippo pool…Meet “Wart Face”…

We could watch for hours and rarely see more than a hippo taking a quick breath of air.  We were lucky to get this shot.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We call him “Wart Face” who has the biggest warts of any warthog in Marloth Park and is known by many.  Most nights, he visits us after dark.  His mouth is like a vacuum hose sucking up pellets and only certain veggies.  No carrots for Wart Face!  Apples? Yes!

We apologize for the late posting.  We decided to go shopping in Komatipoort early in the day when it would be less crowded on a Friday.  The morning shopping worked well to our liking but, by the time we returned and put everything away, I’d yet to prepare the first word or photo. 

The long dirt path we walk to get to the river to the hippo pool.  We walk gingerly checking for snakes as we bat off the flies and other insects flying around our heads. 

What occurs in a mere 24 hours is often astounding to us.  Living in an environment such as this fairy-tale place is truly a breeding ground for one adventure after another.

Hippo viewing at this location changes from day to day. 

As I sit here on the veranda on yet another scorching hot day without a hint of the slightest breeze coupled with outrageous humidity, I often ask myself, “How am I able to do this? How is Tom so tolerant of doing this?  How do we do this with nary a complaint from either of us?”

Geese and other birds are always at the shoreline at the hippo pool.

Is the uniqueness of this special place enough to distract us from any potential discomforts to make us so accepting and tolerant?  I suppose in a way its an accumulation of things over these past years of world travel that has changed us so much. 

Stunning!  We spotted this sausage tree at the hippo pool area.  From this site: The sausage tree of sub-Saharan Africa is beautiful in flower. The blood-red to maroon flowers hang in long panicles. The fragrance of the flower is not pleasing to humans but attracts the Dwarf Epauletted Fruitbat (Micropteropus pusillus), its pollinator. As the flowers drop from the tree, animals come to feed on the nectar-rich blooms. Impala, duiker, baboons, bush pigs, and lovebirds all feed on the flowers of the Sausage tree. Grey fruits grow out of these flowers. These grey fruits resemble sausages and can grow for months to become over a foot long and weigh over 10 pounds.”

The other part is trade-offs…a little discomfort from time to time in order to reap the excitement, not unlike riding on a roller coaster…the fear and the uncomfortable feel in one’s belly is compensated for by the thrill.  Will this ride ever stop during this next year until we again fly away?

We don’t think so.  We see people like Louise and Danie who after living here for years took off before 6:00 am yesterday in search of the seven hyenas spotted by the rangers not far from here.  We did the same hours later.  It was an unlikely, needle-in-a-haystack kind of thing, neither of us having any success but the adventure of it all…breathtaking.

At a quick glance, one could mistake this for a crocodile.  In either case, “STAY AWAY!”  They are both dangerous animals.

Pinch me.  Wake me up.  Have I died and this is what my form of heaven looks like?  I’ve never known happiness like this before; interminable and uninterrupted pure bliss. 

As we approached the hippo pool these past two days in a row, we encounter a scene such as this.

If only we all could find comfort on this earth, in this life, that heaven truly is being with someone who loves you unconditionally, in a place you only imagined in your wildest dreams, totally nourished and surrounding by that which makes your heart sing, your pulse racing with excitement and your mind flooded with knowledge and experience.

It appeared there were two hippos at this specific spot but there were more only a short distance away.  The views were obstructed by foliage.

And so it is…forever how long it lasts, it lasts, and we’ll move on to the next leg of our journey, remembering and perpetually searching for an experience, however different may somehow match the depth and meaning of our time spent here.

The people?  They nourish our souls as an adjunct to that of the wildlife; comforting, enriching and meaningful.  How grateful we are when serendipitously another event stumbles our way like last night’s invitation from Louise and Danie to join them at Ngewenya Lodge, located on the Crocodile River for “sundowners” and Thursday night’s buffet dinner.

Regardless of the obstructed view, we were thrilled to see them and will return several times a week.

When the text arrived at 4:40, we promptly responded with an enthusiastic yes.  We’d be ready at 5:00 pm for their arrival to pick us up.  Both hot and sweaty after sitting outdoors upon returning from the hippo pool after more heat and scorching sun, we hurried, showered and dressed and were waiting outside when they arrived.

We had leftovers planned for dinner.  No problem.  We’ll have that dinner tonight.  Off we went on the short drive outside the park to the lovely Ngewenya Lodge, a massive complex of time-shares, condos and hotel rooms with one of the finest river views in South Africa and, like Marloth Park, an abundance of wandering wildlife. 

Last night’s sunset at Ngwenya Lodge, a beautiful resort about 10 minutes outside Marloth Park.  We enjoyed happy hour and an excellent Thursday night buffet dinner with Louise and Danie.

We hadn’t been there in over four years and it was fun to return.  The evening was exceptional, as always, the buffet food superb, and the drinks flowed with ease along with the conversation.

After only a few photos, darkness fell.  We dined outdoor with few mozzies, good service, enjoying the pay-for-what-it-weighs buffet concept.  This time it was our turn to buy after considerable effort in convincing our friends.  The total bill including drinks was a paltry ZAR 470, (US $39.63) for the four of us, drinks, dinner and tip!

Moments before darkness fell we observed these four waterbucks at the river.

Back at home, we hunkered down satisfied over another memorable evening with friends.  Tonight, we’ll stay in, dine on good leftovers and take a breather since both Saturday and Sunday nights are busy with other friends.  How did we get so lucky?

By the way, in this past 24 hours, we booked our trip to Victoria Falls, Zambia.  We’ll post he details tomorrow.  Please check back.

May your day bring you good luck and heavenly experiences!


Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2017:

Tom, Forty Bean’s owner Rebecca and Bob in Fairlight, Australia.  For more photos, please click here