Looking along a long straight road amidst lush green farmland

Home Travel StoriesStatic Caravan in Cornwall 2005 - By Ren Withnell

Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 5

Wednesday morning I wake up and take a look outside. It’s a grey day and it has obviously been raining. This is just fine. Today we are going to ride across the peninsular from the north side to St Austell on the south side. I’m going to see an old friend of mine, MQ. I’ve known MQ for 14 years now, since I joined the bike club soon after my son was born. Back then he was a big scary hairy biker, riding a Harley.

As I got to know him I learnt he had terrible arthritis all over his body. As the years rolled by this started to get progressively worse and finally he and his partner moved to Cornwall for the warmer climate. This was 10 years ago. We’ve sent the odd e-mails and met up at various events and I visited him 5 years ago. Brief communications gave me his address and some reminders for finding his abode.

We kit up after breakfast and set off for the 40-mile trip. Along the way the rain comes down from time to time but the riding is easy and I’m in a gentle sort of mood. We get into St Austell and after a few stops to check my directions I arrive at the gated house. All seems normal here, a ford pickup truck rusting on the driveway, new garage doors, debris from yet another building project and cats in the garden giving me the evil eye.

A voice from behind shouts a familiar “Hello!” and MQ comes ambling stiffly from the side of the house. He looks well enough, his ungainly walk and twisted hands being the only sign of ill health. We shake hands politely yet somehow I want to hug him. I introduce the gf and we step into the kitchen.

We talk for a while in the kitchen then move to the comfort of the living room. We learn he’s looking well today because he’s pumped full of steroids which he needed to make a 700 mile trip to Scotland for a wedding. He tells us about failed operations, side effects of sinister drugs and of different doctors giving him different stories with different treatments. He also tells us of being bed ridden and unable to move. He does this without moaning and allows the gf and myself to relate our ailments and woes.

He then tells us of the 700-mile trip to Scotland then 700 miles back. He tells us about the work he’s done on the garage and his bikes and the trike. He tells us of roller coaster rides and about plans for more work on the house. His ability to carry on and do things even when every joint is crumbling inside his body is fascinating. He admits he needs help with almost everything, but he refuses to give up.

We look around the house, look at the garage and the new remote-controlled doors and the granny flat. Time has flown by but it will be another 3 hours before his partner, A, is back from work. We decide to go out for a short ride and let MQ get on with his day, we will return about 1800.

Back on the road I ask the gf if she is ok. She’s starving! She’s was too polite to accept MQ’s offer of food and now she needs feeding. We find a café next to a supermarket and go in to eat. The gf gobbles her way through a full all-day breakfast while I eat sausage and chips. One thing has been difficult on this trip. I worry about the gf too much. I worry about if she’s enjoying herself, I worry about if she’s bored, I worry about if her back is ok and I worry about what she’s thinking about me. It’s becoming tiresome for me. I decide I need to talk about it.

I don’t. We get on the bike and ride to the harbour of Charlestown. It is only a short hop and we ride down another of Cornwall’s tiny little back roads until the masts of 2 tallships peer out from between the hedgerows. Charlestown is a tiny place with a large harbour and remnants of a once thriving ship building community.

The good ship "Kaskelot"

The first ship is the Kaskelot. I wonder if this is some play on the words “Cask” and “Camelot”. The second ship is the Earl of Pembroke. We ponder if we should pay the fee to get onboard and look around, but I am far to mean with my money so we wander along the harbour wall instead. On the far side of the harbour are small little terraced cottages in bright pastel colours. We discuss which we like and look out over the walls to the sea and the bluffs. Again we sit and chat about everything and nothing before we get back on the bike for the 10-minute ride back to MQ’s. I’m still aware I’m worrying about the gf.

Colourful houses in Charlestown

Back at MQ’s we talk some more then A arrives home. A is a crazy and loud woman and arrives like a whirlwind. She’s not changed I’m glad to say. A flurry of greetings and introductions follow then it takes a while until we decide to go for a pub meal in Mevagissey. We follow MQ and A down to the ship in and decide what to eat. After ordering we talk some more. A is working for a dry cleaning chain and relates the politics and shenanigans that are afoot. The talk carries on but the meal is taking a long time to arrive.

The bar staff apologise for the wait. It would appear the normal chef is off and the replacement is slow, very slow. Finally we eat and the meal is nothing special but satisfactory. All this waiting though has taken its time on the evening and I am getting tired and thinking of the 45-minute ride back to the campsite. We say our goodbyes about 2200.

On the way home I think about MQ and A. I think of how MQ struggles with his arthritis, of A and her frantic energy and of the gf and how she always seems ok no matter what’s going on. And of myself, how I worry about everything and anything rather than just enjoying myself. For the one-thousandth time this trip I lean around and ask her “Are you ok..?”

Back at the caravan I am tired. Tired physically from being out all-day and tired of worrying about worrying. I need to talk. We settle into bed and I manage to bring the conversation out of myself. The problem is the gf treats me right, what an odd problem. She treats me right and this causes me to worry about if I’m treating her right. I’m afraid I’ll mess up and repay her kindness with unkindness. I’m afraid this girl I respect will no longer respect me when I inevitably upset her. I’m afraid of being the guilty party yet again. I’m afraid I cannot sustain being nice all the time.

It takes a while to get her to understand, it takes longer for her to reassure me I’m alright and she’s not perfect. The conversation rolls on for an hour or two, we eventually fall asleep, exhausted from talking.

Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 1
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 2
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 3
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 4 Just a lazy day at the beach with nary a motorcycle in sight.
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 5
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 6
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 7
Static Caravan In Cornwall 2005 - Day 8

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Home Travel StoriesStatic Caravan in Cornwall 2005 - By Ren Withnell

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