Tuesday, October 15.
Lovely, lazy day. Didn’t leave the cottage until 11:30, which gave us an hour go go 19 miles to the farm where we were having lunch with Nigel, our guide on our Africa trip, and his mother, Sue, at 1 o’clock.
Using the postal code of our accommodations and that for the farm, the AA route planner on the internet told me that it would take only 32 minutes to get there. Great, plenty of time even over unfamiliar roads! And, it would have been great if we had just followed the instructions a bit more slavishly. We got to their village with no problem and, in fact, were so early and so smug that we took a bit of a drive around to kill some time to avoid being too early.
Okay, I admit that was mistake number one. Mistake number two was thinking that our last turning couldn’t possibly be where the instructions indicated because that was in the middle of the village and was so inconsequential that we missed it. Fast forward two miles and I got to meet the lovely people at Humfry’s Farm Shop who gave me directions for approaching the turning in the reverse direction. Mistake number three was going past the tiny turning, which was tucked in between two buildings and a bunch of shrubbery, not really convinced that it could possibly be correct. That resulted in getting to meet a lovely man in the village square who finally convinced us that the tiny turning was the correct one.
Sure enough, that turning developed into a delightful lane that wound down and around and down some more before revealing the even narrower driveway up to the farm. We arrived in the nick of time as Nigel was just getting into his vehicle to come look for us. Search and rescue duties suddenly called off, he and his mom became excellent hosts and we had a wonderful afternoon with them.
Not wanting a good day to end too early, we decided that this would be the day to go out to dinner at a pub that had been recommended to us. The Smugglers’ Den is near the village of Cubert, a very few miles from our cottage. The pub was charming: Ancient, creaky, thatch. The dinner was delectable: Roast lamb, fresh veggies, braised and spiced red cabbage and something called “fondant potatoes” that were fabulous.
It was a delicious meal and it seemed that we had made a good decision . . . right up to the moment when we got into the car and pulled out of the car park in the pitch black of night. We knew, of course, that it would be dark when we left the pub and we did remember our experience of the evening before but we really thought that it would be different if we had to drive only four or five miles in the dark. And that was the final mistake of the day. It wasn’t different, only shorter but still long enough for me to develop another mantra “hug the left, hug the left, hug the left.” When combined with Michael’s mutterings of “never again, never again, never again,” we were beginning to sound like a Cornish choir.