So I think that I have finally had my last holiday of the summer. After a week in Tenerife, two weeks in Provence and, now, a weekend in Cornwall, I can't really complain that much (although I will obviously).
Last Christmas, my boyfriend was really struggling to work out what to buy me. I, liking surprises and being difficult, would only say that I wanted a pony. I wasn't interested in anything else. Of course, living in a garden-less flat in the middle of London is not particular conducive to owning your own horse. Bearing in mind the complete impracticality of actually buying me a pony, my darling boyfriend did the next best thing and adopted an Exmoor pony on my behalf.
Exmoor ponies are a rare breed (there are about 800 in the world) of ridiculously cute short and stocky brown ponies which were used as target practice by local American soldiers during World War II. My poor ponies. Even now, they are threatened with extinction and a charity, the Moorland Mousie Trust, has been set up to care for the ponies that are left and to ensure their survival. Part of my present was not only the pony but also a visit to the Exmoor Pony Centre where they look after some of the ponies.
We combined our trip to see the ponies with a weekend at my boyfriend's parents' holiday cottage near Looe, a fishing port on the southern coast of Cornwall. Hurrah for the seaside!
As Saturday dawned grey and miserable, we spent the day at the Eden Project. Just over 10 years ago, the site was an abandoned mining pit. Now it is home to the largest greenhouse in the world, beautifully landscaped gardens and thousands of varieties of tropical and temperate plants.
It was also, incidentally, used in the James Bond film, Die Another Day (which my boyfriend's father started acting out when I said I hadn't seen it).
Thankfully the sun came out on Sunday and I was able to spend a happy couple of hours playing on the beach and paddling in the so-cold-it-will-turn-you-blue sea. To warm up, a wander round town and the obligatory purchase of fudge was required.
We were just in time to see the start of the town's duck race. Witness 5,000 plastic ducks being released into the river with the chance for a lucky duck to win its owner a prize of £1,000 by floating down river fastest. Only in Cornwall...