Friday, September 19, 2014


We like to watch House Hunters International.  It shows people trying to buy or rent houses all over the world.  It makes us wonder what it would be like to move overseas and live a different life.  But it doesn't make sense to sell everything and go when you have never lived in that place to see if you would even like it.  This was the impetus to rent a cottage in England for a week.

We have a daughter who lives in England and it would be a twofer.  Try out a different locale and spend time with Trista.

A library friend introduced us to the TV series Doc Martin.  Although the series was completed in 2013, it can still be seen in the US on PBS.  The title character is a London surgeon who develops a fear of blood, gives up his surgical practice and moves to a tiny town in Cornwall.  His interpersonal skills are lacking and the town is chock-o-block with interesting characters. 


The scenery was beautiful and we decided to rent in a town in Cornwall.  Trista found a cottage for us all in Port Isaac.  Port Isaac is where they film the fictional town of Port Wenn for the show.  Doc Martin has become so popular, that they have even started filming new episodes for a final season.  Much of the town is given over to tours of the buildings used in the series and mugs and T-shirts featuring the star of the show, Martin Clunes.


Port Isaac is a very old fishing town.  The pier was built in the time of Henry VII and the city, centre dates from the 18th and 19 centuries.  It is old.  Old houses and towns in America are in no way comparable to old towns in Europe.

I am not too proud to admit that we went on the Doc Martin tour.  OK.  I lied.  I am a LITTLE too proud to admit it.  In order to salve my sensibilities I can tell you that the fishing history portion of the tour was the main draw.

The tide goes way in and then way out, stranding the boats for another 12 hours.

There is a life boat in a building opposite the bay, but it was not always so.  In the early 1900s the life boat was kept up the hill and had to be hauled up and down by the locals.  The hills surrounding the area are steep and so the houses are terraced up very narrow streets.  There are still scars on the walls of buildings from ropes used to haul the boat up and down the hill.  In places the road is only 6 feet wide.  These are two way streets. 


I mean it. The roads in and around Cornwall are all one car wide and are two way streets.  With lots of twists and turns and with rock walls on either side.  And 40 mile an hour speed limits.  In any of these places if you come up against another car, and you haven't hit them in a head on collision, one of you has to back up to the random "wide" spots (three feet, maybe)  placed there for this purpose.  Then the other car squeezes past you.  You may have to pull in the side mirrors.  And then you must wave a thank you.  Different areas have different finger numbers waved.  Port Isaac seems to be four fingers on the hand that is clutching the steering wheel.  I know a single digit is used in some areas, but it is the pointer finger.  Not the other one that you are thinking.

All of this is done with great good will and smiles. 

A classic telephone booth updates for emails and texts!

We drove through the village once.  There are areas where you can reach out and touch the buildings on either side of the car.  A small car.  People have to stand in doorways to let you past.  We only did this once.  The rest of the time you park at one end or the other of the town and hike in to your house.  Nothing is very far, but it is very steep.

Even the stairs in the house we rented were steep.  The bathrooms and kitchen were an afterthought, although adequate.   As long as you can shower without bending over and don't wave your hands around when washing your hair.

And I would show you the pictures, except I took them on my iPad and I can't get them resized without losing picture quality.  I'll work on that and get back to you.


  1. This was such an interesting post. I would love to visit Cornwall after reading of your experiences.

  2. Sounds very interesting and quaint... and not terribly comfortable! Fun post!

    1. It's fun to step outside the box of your normal life. It's also great to come home.