Cornwall 2005, day two: In which things don't live up to their hype

Published August 4, 2005

Looked out the window in the morning, grey skies. Oh well.

Today we were scheduled to visit the Eden Project, something I’d been keen to see since it was created. Unfortunately, it’s not worth the entrance fee. The guidebook, however, is really good value. At £4, it was absolutely bursting with information and I have yet had time to read more than the first few pages.

I really like the idea of taking an old used quarry (read that in the guidebook) and turning it into something beautiful. I think the recycling image that the Eden Project gives out is perfect. Did you know that the rainwater that collects in the quarry is used to water the outside plants and flush the loos? (Again, the guidebook.) And the bubbles are the biggest greenhouses in the world. (Good god, is there anything this guidebook can’t tell me?) All of that stuff is brilliant, but when it comes down to it, we were there only a couple of hours before we got bored.

Eden Project sculpture

It’s easy to get lost there. There are a thousand paths that lead in many different directions, and I hated having to face a fork in the road and decide which way to go. Eventually, they all lead to the same place, but what if I missed something round the other side? I could have pottered around the outside biome (a posh name for the bit before you get to the bubbles) just checking each path to make sure there wasn’t a secret somewhere. However, it started to drizzle, and after we’d seen WEEE Man and a zip wire that was in progress, there wasn’t much else to be seen outside. We entered the bubbles.

They were alright. Despite the signs that lined the way to the entrance to the Hot bubble: “Warning: Hot”, “Note exits for your comfort”, “Drinking water provided”, “Remove coats”, etc, etc. People were still determined to be British and not be told how to dress appropriately. You can imagine the scene when the whooshy doors whooshed open and the humid stagnant air overwhelmed us, coats and jumpers were being thrown off and people were fanning themselves with their guidebooks. (Don’t do that to your guidebook, it’s a bible!)

I actually didn’t find it that hot, not until we were marching uphill to reach the top. And we did march. Everyone in front was oohing and aahing and taking their time and ogling the trees. I couldn’t tell what all the fuss was about. Our minds went something like “Ooh, that’s a nice bit of green. Wonder what’s next.” So, we were constantly squeezing through tiny gaps in the crowd and winding our way through the slow moving traffic. If I’m perfectly honest with you, that was probably the most fun bit of the whole experience (except for the guidebook), trying to get through all the people in the easiest possible route.

The cooler but still warm bubble was not much better. Lots of people, lots of green and nothing of note to take a picture of. I know that these are exotic plants that have no place being in Britain and I should be inspired and overawed at seeing them but honestly, do they have to be so green? I’ve never seen so much green in my whole entire life. I mean everything was green.

Eden Project leaves

Once we had escaped from the bubbles (seriously not a sentence I thought I’d ever write), we bumped into some people who were feeding ducklings. They were so cute, waddling around and chasing after the bread.

Eden Project duckling

Making our way back up to the entrance/exit, we managed to find some colour, at last!

Eden Project wildflowers

Next on our list of activities was something I was dreading. In order to get the man to agree to come to Cornwall, I had to promise that we could go karting. So, we drove for ages it seemed, down these roads that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, and I was praying that in fact, there was no karting track and it didn’t exist.

Well, we got there and we paid the extortionate fee and climbed into our overalls, helmets and gloves. We had a briefing and then we climbed into our karts. I wasn’t really confident with having the brake on the left foot… my left foot is not strong enough for that kind of responsibility. And the pedals were so much heavier than I’d expected. The parade lap started and everyone got away from me about half a lap round. When the lead kart went in and it was just the five of us, I was instantly overtaken and that set the standard for the rest of the fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of this, as both Mr C and I were in the karts, but it’s probably for the best to save me a red-face.

I got pulled over once and told that I was pressing the brake slightly and if I kept on pressing both pedals it would overheat. All the stewards were looking at me after that and I just wanted to be swallowed up. Mr C overtook some people, crashed into the tyres twice, skipped through the pit lane by accident and still managed to achieve the fastest lap of the session. I kept seeing the stewards picking up the tyre walls and wondered who it was - I should have guessed. When we were finished, we picked up our timesheets and left the track. Another new experience I didn’t enjoy then.

Holiday Ruin Score: Mr C - 2, Me - 3

However, Mr C was not to be deterred and wanted me to try something else new - eating in an Indian restaurant. Obviously the Mexican nightmare didn’t teach him anything. We went to the Indian we had spotted yesterday in Newquay but it was just endless waiting. The miserableness finally registered with Mr C and we left.

Holiday Ruin Score: Mr C - 2, Me - 4

We stopped off at a supermarket on the way home and got the correct ingredients and then I cooked us a curry at home instead. Mr C admitted that the meal I’d cooked was cheaper and probably nicer. So, I’m going to take that Ruin Point off again.

Holiday Ruin Score: Mr C - 2, Me - 3

Stuffed full of poppadoms and unable to move from the sofa, we came across All-Star Poker Challenge. Mr C was absolutely overjoyed when he saw it. Apparently he used to watch it when he stayed up till all hours and it taught him everything he knows about poker. (I have to be honest, I didn’t know he knew anything about poker anyway, but I had to humour him.) And he was even more excited when he saw that Vicky Butler-Henderson was presenting it. Because, you know, he doesn’t like Vicky in the same way that I don’t have a crush on Jenson.

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