The National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, at Falmouth, is excellent. I’ve wanted to visit for ages but it’s never really worked out whenever we’ve been in Cornwall. Today, however, a dream became reality when I managed to drag Denise through the whole place. From the lookout to the shop, we did it all.
I particularly liked Viktor Wynd’s UnNatural Museum; his cabinet of curiosities. The unicorn skeleton, the mummified mermaid, the cask containing some of the original darkness that Moses called down upon the Earth. Genius.
Viktor Wynd is amazing. Denise bought me the book, The Infected Museum, which goes with the exhibition at the Maritime Museum and it seems to suggest that he doesn’t exist and yet, he has a museum of curiosities in London which I now, really, really have to visit. There’s an excellent piece about him here.
Is Viktor real? He may be; he may not be. Whichever way, his collection is truly extraordinary.
But that is but a rather long term temporary exhibit in the museum. There are, of course, many ship models. I particularly liked the infamous Boaty McBoatface.
How well I remember the furore surrounding the decision in 2016, to ignore the choice of the people when it came time to name the new research vessel; when they decided that the people who democratically voted were wrong in choosing Boaty McBoatface so they ignored the people’s choice and called the boat the Sir David Attenborough instead. If only that had happened with that other vote back in 2016.
Of course, I was instantly transported back to Stockholm and a certain train.
But the museum is more than strange curiosities and misnamed research vehicles. There’s mail packets, full size boats and a fishing room. There’s the view from the lookout, a very nice cafe and monsters from the deep.
The latter had a rather frightening effect on a little girl visiting with their parents. She was standing, mesmerised by the strange creatures. She was much happier a little later with the remote controlled yachts. Though, personally, I think her father enjoyed the yachts more.
The whole place was a delight. It didn’t take me long to want to return and that’s the biggest compliment any museum can get. But, of course, that wasn’t possible because we were going for pizza and the very handy Pizza Express situated directly in front of the marina. Pizza with a view of boats. How is that not Gaz heaven?
Of course, I knew exactly what I wanted before we walked in the door (Fiorentina pizza and beer) but Denise took a little longer to decide what she’d actually like to eat. I managed to talk her out of ordering a Marguerita which, as anyone knows, is the base of many a great pizza but a base nonetheless.
Of course my pizza was perfect but I think Denise was a little surprised at the size of what the British call king prawns. She was expecting proper, Australian ones. She was surprised that the British have no idea what a real king (or any kind, really) prawn is like.
Suitably stuffed to the gunwales (I had to finish the last quarter of her pizza), we then went for a staggery walk up the high street of Falmouth.
Being a Sunday and not raining, the high street was full of people and the occasional car. Everything had a feeling of sunshine and seaside. People in beach type clothes, kids screaming for attention because their parents were doing something they didn’t want to do, dogs on leads everywhere. It was lovely.
The last time I was in Falmouth, back in 2013, when I had to buy a fleece because it was cold and I stupidly forgot to pack anything besides shorts and t-shirts, I remember popping into a Peacocks and buying one for about £6. I can easily remember it because I’m wearing it now, as I type this post. I didn’t see the Peacocks this time so can only assume it’s gone the way of most things mercantile.
In fact, looking on the Peacocks website, the closest Peacocks to Falmouth now is either at Newquay or Cambourne. They are both a long way away. I guess I was very lucky, back in 2013.
To be fair, we weren’t after buying anything this trip, though Denise did go into a tourist shop which, as anyone knows, guarantees some money is going to be spent. We emerged with a few things for the kids (her) and a rum taster set (me).
Actually, I bought the rum because Nicktor insisted I try rum. I didn’t want to buy a huge bottle, in case I didn’t like it. I thought two little bottles and a special glass, were perfect.
I was right and, it turns out, I like rum after all.
Talking of alcohol, we also discovered a wonderful little pub, hiding away up a nondescript alley. The pub was, mysteriously, called Beerwolf Books Freehouse. It is amazing.
You climb the stairs, heading towards the shelves of books in the back room and emerge in the bar. At the bar there’s a plethora of beers to choose from and two jolly and knowledgeable barmen. I was very happy.
I think today was, basically, Gary’s Happy Day. There were so many things I loved. Boats, pizza, beer and a wonderful, quirky pub which sold a wonderful wheat beer I’d never tried before.
And, best of all, after yesterday’s almost continuous rain, today was dry, sunny and gloriously warm. Well, until we were back in the cottage and all tucked up, away from the world. Then it rained. But that was just fine.