Spare a thought for Charles Rashleigh. He was a very successful businessman who realised how important the trade in China clay was to Cornwall. He stepped up to the mark and provided the funds to build a massive great harbour, where once there’d been just beach. In fact, they would load tall ships, straight from a cart onto the beached craft. Very dangerous and annoying, to say the least.
Charles was very much a visionary. He poured a lot of his own money into the venture which not only included the harbour but also two great ponds of water to top up the inner harbour. Everything was brilliant; they even named the harbour and village that grew around it, Charlestown (pronounced Charlie’s Town) after him.
And that’s where we went today. It’s no longer used for exporting China white clay but serves as a set for many films and TV series. It’s been used for two versions of Mansfield Park for instance (standing in for Portsmouth). It is an amazing place.
Today they were working on something unknown. An old tall ship was out in the bay with lots of people on it and a couple of modern boats at a distance. I assume they were filming or shouting orders. It was all too far out for us to see what was going on.
Not that it was that easy to get there. I don’t think I’ve mentioned how narrow the road is, leading to the cottage that we’re staying in. There’s even a sign at one stage saying the road is not usable by motor vehicles. Still, we’re not the only ones who drive on it, as evidenced today when Bob not only had to somehow navigate around a Fiat parked opposite the cottage but also dodge a couple of vans and a Tesco delivery. It’s all a bit dodgy but Bob manages it every time…he even managed it perfectly in the dark last night.
And then Linda had a bit of a spack attack. We were waiting for a couple of guys to finish loading their truck and Bob had stopped the car. This wasn’t obvious to Linda who had us still moving, at speeds approaching 10mph, across land, and towards the river. It was exceedingly odd.
Then, a little later, we were happily driving along, chatting about potatoes, when she freaked right out. She had no idea where we were or where we were going, what was up and what was down. We were driving blind…well, not exactly, we did have an A-Z which came in rather handy.
She did eventually calm down a bit and return to the straight and narrow of road navigation and we turned up at Charlestown. And what an amazing place it is! From the strange little house with the suspension bridge at the beginning…
…to the ship out in the bay, it was all completely magical. It’s a World Heritage Site as well, something we are always happy to visit (we’re unconsciously collecting them…obviously), which lends it another level of wonder.
After a lovely wander and wonder, we popped into the pub for a swift and nourishing pint of beer before heading up to the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre, above one side of the inner harbour. This place was incredible. Lots of maritime stuff from shipwrecks to the development of the diving suit. Actually, there’s some odd stuff as well. A massive display on gas and how it was introduced into Britain. This was partly demonstrated by this mannequin, which Mirinda claimed was a transvestite.
Having managed to do everything there was to do at Charlestown, we decided to head to Fowey for a lovely lunch. We fell in love with Fowey the last time we visited Cornwall and, I reckon, we’ll always try to visit when we’re near. We also rather liked showing it to Bob.
So much so that we all went on the tourist train through town, squeezing through the tiny streets, avoiding squishing the tourists, as we learned things two of us already knew. It’s still a lovely drive and perfect to just sit back and enjoy. Even with an annoying child sitting (occasionally) behind us. His father clearly had no control over him at all.
Which brings me back to Charles Rashleigh. He came a-cropper when he fell in with an employee called Joseph Dingle. Poor Charles had no control over Dingle and he ripped Charles off to the tune of £25,000 (a lot of money in the early 1800s). This sunk Charles into bankruptcy and he died, penniless, suffering from, among other things, severe gout. (I’m amazed that it can actually kill you! I’m hoping mine isn’t severe.)
Oh, and Linda had no problems getting back to the cottage (apart from suddenly deciding she wanted to use voice activated commands) where we enjoyed a Bob barbi for dinner. A splendid day.