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Friday, 1st July. As I was to be out that evening, I made plans just for the late morning/early afternoon. I had seen a walk on the National Trust website that rather appealed, not least for its (lack of) length.

But first just a couple of photos from my patio.

The Canada goose chicks. Its very easy to understand that birds evolved from dinosaurs…

But this bird, no doubt my previous visitor, obviously thinks he’s a human being. While I was having my breakfast he actually tapped on the windowpane several times!

Before setting off for my walk, a further visit to the very convenient Marks and Spencer was required. I had noticed the day before that my trainers were starting to come apart, in a manner which could be dangerous given my plans for the day. I found a pair not ideal but at least satisfactory. (The ones I liked most were only available online.) I would definitely not have chosen pure white had there been more possibilities.

The walk started at the village of Helford and took in a large stretch of Frenchman’s Creek.

Sadly the tide was out, so the Helford River was not looking its best.

But the estuary was pretty.

From Helford village, the walk went to Penarvon Cove and then across country to Frenchman’s Creek. (I must read Daphne du Maurier’s novel again.)

Penarvon Cove
The mouth of Frenchman’s Creek as it joins the Helford River. Not much creek, nearly all mud.
Because the tide was out, the creek was indeed very narrow

There remained more cross country walking to return to Helford. I was dependant on only a description of the NT walk, with no plan, so I was very pleased to have downloaded the relevant Ordnance Survey map to my phone, which, as it tracked my path, enabled to to confirm where I was. (I can really recommend the latest generation of OS maps, which give this right to download permanently when you buy the paper map. I had hesitated, thinking that looking on a small phone screen would be useless, but it’s quite the opposite and you can zoom right in to see detail which would be difficult for aging eyes on the paper map. Or you can spend £25 a year and have the whole country’s maps on your device for the year.)

The instruction was to cross the yard at Kestle Barton. It did not mention an apparently very recent addition – the possibility to buy icecreams and cake there. (There was an honesty box. I did not have change – so I bought both and enjoyed consuming them in the lovely garden there. That was my only lunch.)

The final stretch of the walk was described as very muddy, and it certainly was. At some points it was possible to ‘rise above it’, as in the picture below, but not at others. My ‘lovely’ new white trainers, not to mention socks and trousers, got pretty messy. I was very glad not to be wearing my leaky old trainers, and pleased to reach my car.

A backward look at the Helford estuary

The evening’s outing was a visit to the Minack Theatre, which I had seen from the air two days previously. I had booked my ticket from home, and the day before had seen this poster for the opera I was to see at St Erth station. A programme had been helpfully sent digitally the day before, and I had downloaded it to my phone.

Making our way down to the seats

A friend had told me that, when she went, she had seen dolphins while waiting for the start. No such luck this evening. Perhaps the chilly wind (note the sea below and the ribbons!) put them off. I certainly wished I had even more warm clothing with me.

It’s filling up behind me

The instrumentalists, mainly woodwind and brass, were in a tent just to my right. At times, they drowned out the singers. Catching the words in opera is tricky enough at times, but I knew theme of this ‘children’s opera’, and the spectacle and music were good.

Just five singers taking multiple parts. I felt so sorry for them – they must have been really cold!
The singing White Elephant and his keeper
Just look at those ribbons!

During the interval, I was privy to a delightful episode right next to me. A party of 12 was there to celebrate the birthday of a two-year-old. They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her, and cut a Colin the Caterpillar cake. The little girl was as good as gold throughout the full-length opera.

In the second half, three dancers from a local dance school were involved
Minutes from the end, a few fireworks – essential given the title of the opera, ‘The Firework-Makers’ Daughter’ (based on a story by Philip Pullman)
Singers and instrumentalists take their bow

There just remained all those steps to negotiate.