Thursday, 6 August 2009

Shark! Shark! Shark in the Trash!

Sunday 6 August 1989 - to quote The Beatles, "it was 20 years ago today"...

We spent a day in Newquay having walked from our campsite in Porth over the cliffs.

The cliff scenery in Cornwall is stunning. I never get tired of it. In fact every time I've gone I've taken the same photos from the same spots... I could probably tell you the rate of erosion by studying them carefully. But I won't...

Instead we'll just admire the view and then in a while I'll come across a different year's holiday photos and scan those in as well. So you can see the difference on a sunny day or an overcast day. A Thursday or a Sunday...

Did I mention the cliffs were spectacular? Newquay has a series of beaches divided by jutting cliffs that make a procession of small bays that provide fairly safe bathing so long as you don't get whacked against the sharp rocky bits that the cliffs are made of and you don't get eaten. Oops... moving too far ahead... We'll come to the shark later.

In the midst of all these sandy bays is a harbour, set in the corner where a headland juts out further than most of the cliffs. Around the corner is the best beach for surfers - Fistral Beach. We shall see more of that towards the end of the week. The 1989 week that is - the rate I'm going we might not get to it for months...

As much as I like cliffs I like harbours as well. Boats puttering about, fishermen mending nets and laughing at holidaymakers trying to fish off the jetty on the harbour side where the water is hardly conducive to the well-being of fish. Kids with staring eyes, too busy watching elsewhere to check their ice cream for seagull poo before having another suck... "Dad it tastes funny..."
"There's nothing wrong with it, let me taste it..."

Mothers, pulling kids away from the edge of the drop off the harbour wall and tying headscarves around their hair, wrinkling their noses against the fish smell that goes with a harbour.

Older kids with a bucket full of crabs, picking them out and thrusting them at each other to see who gets scared first.

We spent most of the day on the beach and even I had to stop taking photos after a while... I have no records of what I was reading in those days. I kept a diary for a while around 1980-82 but it started getting very hit and miss in '83 and by 84 had stopped altogether. Only when I started creating web pages on the Internet in 1994 did records of my life start to contain words again instead of just pictures.

What? You want to hear about the shark? Are you sure? There's a gory end... but only for the shark.

We made our way back to Porth as the sun was starting to set. It's a few years since we went back to Cornwall but I always still remember the sheer volume of the crickets chirruping along the hedgerows of the walk back from Newquay down onto Porth Beach and then round to the cafe.

There was a bit of a pong outside the cafe, rivalling that of Newquay harbour.

One of the dustbins had a 3-foot dogfish draped over it. The small shark had been washed up by the tide and collected off the beach.

Jaws it was not - but I've never seen a larger one outside of an aquarium and whilst you would have to wait patiently for a while for it to take your leg off, a toe might have made a tasty snack for it!

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