Peaceful Protests in Falmouth while the Politicians Chat in Carbis Bay
Protests, Parades and Pints of English Beer
And a Boat with a Teapot on it
It was a busy, colourful and typically welcoming Falmouth we returned to just two weeks ago today, 26th June, with the G7 summit being held at Carbis Bay on the other side of the Lands End Peninsula and by happy coincidence the banner wielding visitors from home and abroad enlivened the streets while many gorgeous small (as opposed to square riggers) traditionally rigged yachts graced the expansive waters of the Fal Estuary, evocatively named Carrick Roads. Sadly, we missed the parade of sail by a whisker, but you get the jist from the photo of the odd tan-sailed beauty and the cluster of like-minded sailors in their boats moored together, their ‘overall flags’ fluttering in the perfect sailing breeze.
Dutifully we dedicated our first two hours ‘at home’ stripping Zoonie’s genoa and mainsail off (the mainsail seams had started opening again, and the genoa had a chafe hole where the Diva’s sheet had rubbed during her rendition of ‘Air on a slightly tight G String’) ready for the sailmaker/repairer, moving all the gear off the aft berth back into the fo’c’sle so we would have our double bed back in use, and completing other little chores, including doing more Covid Tests as required by current rules, which is an excellent way to prepare one’s thirst for a pint of the local brew.
Buzzzzzzzz, a drone was hovering over Zoonie’s masthead, admiring the beauty of her lines, the elegance of her sheer and the cut of her jib, oh no that was in the bag wasn’t it, and I guess the drone was checking to see if we two ancient mariners resembled terrorists. Apparently we didn’t, so we wandered along bright and stony hard paths, so different to the liquid beauty of the ocean, and had a chat with a nice lifeboatman who had some time to waste. He told us the nickname for the moored alongside cruise liner which had become home to 1000 young police officers from all over the country on duty here in beautiful Cornwall for the Summit; M/V Chlamydia!
The tubby red postbox gobbled up the Covid tests outside the corner shop, which itself proved an excellent source of basic foodstuffs. We needed passes to get through the Museum, shops and restaurant area of Pendennis so, instead, we walked the longer quieter way to the road that, in the opposite direction, leads up to Pendennis Castle.
Within minutes of our wandering in the general direction of The Chain Locker Pub we were amongst the melee of very relaxed and sociable protesters adding an international flavour to the streets of Falmouth, quite in keeping with the history of this attractive town as a welcome place for mariners from the world over through the passing centuries. Clusters of visiting police folk were armed only with smiles and one revealed his regular inland origin when Rob asked, “Where’s the nearest chandlery?” and he replied “What’s that?!”
The blend of old and new architecture, and the keeping of stone harbour walls and the steps worn down in the centre from thousands of bare and booted feet is not only a daily window on history but also suggests a council which understands the on-going value, durability and versatility of buildings set in place hundreds of years ago. Far from being ‘old fashioned’ this place is right up to date technologically without the loss of the ‘olde world character’. Love it.
I wondered what the visitors thought about our Westcountry town, bathed in overall sunlight and very much ‘open for business’ as usual and despite Covid.
I mentioned, many tides ago, looking forward to a pint of Doombar Beer at the Chain Locker, being thwarted the last time we returned from the Azores, when it was ‘Orf’, well my dream fizzled out completely this time when we were told “We don’t do Doombar” so, thinking I was doomed to disappointment, I settled on a pint of Mena Dhu brewed for the last 170 years at a nice, smelly factory in St Austell founded by a local named Walter Hicks. My hat off to his memory, it was delicious.
Fortified, we wandered in towards Falmouth Town Centre along the narrow ancient street and found ourselves contra-flow to the peaceful protesters with their various causes; Genocide in Ethiopia, the anatomically accurate White Elephant of HS2, if only, Nature’s green clad supporters, promoters of a Myanmar National Unity Government with a released Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at its head to name just four. I hoped they were satisfied with their efforts: one thing about the UK that is a credit to it is that we have such freedom of _expression_, generally speaking without the fear of being tazored or shot. Maybe I am being naïve but I didn’t sense the protestors had been infiltrated by extremist or fundamentalist groups, they were small groups and had put much careful thought and preparation into their banners, costumes and effigies.
Our first busy day home had started with the low-lying Lizard ahead of us and just a few miles to go. A Warship passing and a handful of fellow sailors out on the briny and soon we were chatting to the locals, mingling with mindful visitors, supping lovely ale and finally, back on our lovely Zoonie, the Red Arrows flew overhead to acknowledge our return, how very thoughtful of them!