The end and the beginning

Being on or near the western tip of England has provided some interesting strategic advantages. 

First of all, there is the opportunity to brand yourself the “first and last” place in England. For the owners of Land’s End, this is no small feature. For some reason, they felt that opening a small amusement park on this historic promontory would be just the ticket. One assumes that lovers of Shaun the Sheep flock here just for the “experience.”

They might also check out the view, which was spectacular today.

We waved to New York across the sea, and then – have to admit it – ducked into the Shaun the Sheep gift shop, bypassing the “Experience.” It was nice to reunite with some familiar scenes from Wallace and Gromit land.

But now back to the scenery and the importance of the coast of Cornwall.

Our next stop was the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, which reveals what an important part this tiny village played in world affairs. It is the beginning point from which the undersea cables that connected the globe with England were laid, making it the communications center of world for many years. It was important well beyond the days of the early telegraph, now into the digital age.

During the WWII years, the operations were moved into tunnels next to the main offices, making them secure from bombing raids, which would have crippled Allied communications. Everything we saw was original, from samples of original cables, to wireless machines, and the tools that took us up to the digital age. Fiber optic cable has replaced copper, but this is still the place where a lot of what we depend on goes into the sea to connect us all.

I still think the internet works by magic, but it seems a lot of the magicians involved passed through Porthcurno. Amazing.

Don’s Food Corner

Lunch today was in the cafe at the Telegram Museum.  A modest menu. But they promised a “proper” Cornish pasty, so I went for that.  I think this one, which had what I assume was a traditional filling, was somewhat better than the one in St. Ives. The crust was lighter and the filling was richer with actual noticeable bits of meat. Don’t think I’m softening on this regional favorite. (I haven’t asked for any recipes.) I think it should remain a regional treat. I must say, however, those pasties are filling. One can keep you going all day, which meant there was no room for a cream tea later in the afternoon. Knocking out an opportunity for a cream tea is, I’m afraid, another strike against the pasty.

Jo had a leek and potato soup, which was excellent, and a Cheddar cheese and chutney sandwich. The cheese was shredded and the chutney was nicely peppery. It was a comfy lunch for a day that was sunny but windy and rather cold. When I mentioned the wind to the ticket taker at the Telegraph Museum, he replied that people in Cornwall would consider it simply a mild breeze.

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