A Cornish Christmas

As I get older I think I enjoy Christmas more and more. When I was in school and university Christmas was a given, all your friends would be around free to do as they please. As I’ve grown older and moved away from home and joined the, ‘real world’ it’s so rare that everyone is available at the same time. So maybe my enjoyment for it comes from the appreciation of how hard it is to get everyone together and how everyone always makes that effort at this time of year.

So I spent Christmas back in Cornwall, without a doubt the most beautiful place in the entirety of England. These photos make it hard to argue!

the views around the north cornish coast

I took the remaining 6 days of holiday I had available from work to allow me to have 10 days at home. I left London on a train at 2pm on the 17th of December, seemingly an age away now. First class tickets were readily available and exceptionally well priced, a no brainer. First Great Western have even improved their service and offered free beers to people in the carriage, either that or a new food carriage employee had no idea what they were doing or perhaps just spreading the christmas cheer, needless to say I had a speedy, pleasant trip home. I saw a field for the first time in 5 months! Something I never thought I would cherish so dearly, being stuck in an office for 40+ hours a week does take it’s toll.

I arrived back in Truro just before 7 where I was whisked off to The Alverton to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. The Alverton has recently been refurbished and upgraded, a massive improvement from what I remember when visiting it 10 years ago. For starters I had the Confit Duck Leg Hash, Black Pudding Puree, Braised Apple and Salad, an elegant sounding dish but lacking in taste and visual appeal. For mains I had a fillet steak, with triple cooked chips and side salad. This redeemed my experience, it was cooked to perfection, incredibly tender and the chips mighty crispy. You’ll see a very indulgent trend appear throughout this blog as my usual healthy eating habits went out the window! This was accompanied by a few bottles of Chataeu Neuf du Pape and Bollinger. I woke up with a mild headache, but nothing to deter me from what was about the ensue.

The Christmas Build up

Christmas for me is all about the build up, the anticipation, choosing and buying presents and meeting up with old friends. I was very prepared this year and I used my Amazon prime membership to it’s full potential with gifts being done and dusted a couple weeks before christmas.

The weather was the biggest limiting factor to enjoying any outdoorsy activities Cornwall is famous for. We had howling gales, torrential rain and cold spells which mean’t most activities were confined to bars and homes. It didn’t stop me from catching the latest premiere of Anchorman 2 mind. If you’re a thoroughbred Anchorman fan you won’t be disappointed it was hilarious, albeit having a slightly unnecessary third quarter the film was very funny and worth watching.

On Friday night I went to a school reunion and took advantage of the free food and beer. I held myself together while saying hello to teachers before heading to Truro. Most of the night was a blur, I do remember seeing old school friends and ordering shot after shot at the bar with some hefty £40 rounds. Arhh well  you only live once, as much as I hate spending money on alcohol when it could be spent on a spa day or trip down to the Cote D’azur, they’re well worth it occasionally.

On the Sunday my friends and I had our annual Christmas lunch which started off with secret santa. I was given an umbrella, new socks, and a selection of speciality beer. We were then informed that the gas wasn’t working so we had to find a new venue. Walking through the middle of Truro in a three piece will make you stand out like a sore thumb. We decided we wanted to eat a hell of a lot of food as we intended on spending the afternoon in the pub, and making it a boozy occasion. Mustard and Rye was the place for us, an American Style establishment with large portions, I ordered two main courses (Pulled pork sandwich and brisket) and a side of fries. This and a Samuel Adams made it feel as though I was back in Savannah.

Christmas boozing

The day after the storm came, 80mph winds and 10cm of rain overnight, I thought it would be wise to make a trip, again into Truro. I was there for perhaps 40 minutes before driving home to find all the roads had flooded. I was in a 4×4 but it was the small hatchbacks that kept getting stuck. I took a back road to avoid the main road congestion and came across a car floating and the driver in despair. Thankfully I had a friend who lived close to where I was stuck and so I stayed the night with him. Eventful to say the least.

Then came the family Christmas time which included carolling, dining, champagne, arguing etc.

Food as I’m sure it is with most people was very much the centre point of the Christmas celebrations. We had a fillet of  beef on Christmas eve that weighed over 1.5kg we even had to curl it in our roasting pan so it would fit in the Aga.

curled beef fillet

Then on Christmas day with had a three bird roast consisting of Turkey, Duck and Pheasant that was 5.4kg of pure meat.

Three bird roast

Christmas morning was rather special. I was lucky enough to have two stockings one courtesy of my family and one from Emily who sadly couldn’t be with me as she was visiting her family in the states. Traditions never change and after a huge smoked salmon, scrambled egg, croissant and bacon bagel breakfast it was time to open the bubbly. You’ve got to take advantage of the only time of the year when it’s socially acceptable to drink before 12 o’clock. Cally my dog certainly did so!

cally our dog drinking champagne

We then opened our presents at a very leisurely pace, it’s funny how everyone once they’re past the age of 16 wants to be the last person to open all their presents. I was blessed to receive a Luxe Travel world map with pins to track and plan our adventures, an iPad, aftershave and pots and pans (much needed for when we find our new flat).

In the afternoon before our very late Christmas lunch we had a small poker tournament, using the set I bought my dad. Recently I’ve taken a dive into the world of online poker so I thought I knew what I was doing. I got wiped out, twice by none other but my Dad, I’ve still got a lot to learn. Lunch was served at 630, by which time I was so hungry I could have eaten a Horse, good job we had pretty much that. I gorged, and then gorged some more until I couldn’t move. Mission accomplished. This was the peak of my Christmas indulgence.

Boxing Day Walk

Everyone goes on a family walk on boxing day, and we decided to head up to Harlyn Bay on the North Coast and walk around to Trevose head. Harlyn is a wonderful place, a protected surfing beach that gets decent waves when all other beaches are blown out. It has a coast path that is utterly mesmerising, I don’t want to say too much about it as I will not do it justice I’ll just let this sequence of photos do the talking.

Harlyn Bay

side shot of rolling waves

rolling waves

the family on the cliff top

That pretty much concludes my Christmas experience for this year. I am now back in London looking for a new flat to live in and preparing for work tomorrow but I have memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to everyone for such an amazing Christmas.

How was your christmas? Did you get the experiences you wanted?

Will, over and out.

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