Sunday, 21 August 2016

Capital

Carenza and I were leaving Mum and Dad and moving on again.
There is a Norman Castle from which, for a while, Cornwall was ruled.  Beneath it, an ancient town where government moved later.
The castle is Restormel, the town Lostwithiel.
We planned to park at Lostwithiel and walk to the ruins of Restormel.
But we hadn’t taken into account the wet-morning high-season traffic, which was vile.  It was lunch time by the time we got to Lostwithiel and we had to “invent” a parking space at the far end of the car park.  The single public toilet was so popular that a queue stretched across the street.
Sometimes I wish I still lived in Cornwall – sometimes not.
As we strode out into the countryside, things got better.  At Restormel Castle, we discovered that the Black Prince had once been the first Duke of Cornwall and had resided there. 
It was hard for us to visualise the former grandeur of the castle.  But it might have been even harder for the Black Prince to imagine the castle as it is today – a tourist attraction.  Alongside us, several Asian women were exploring, their peach and pink headscarves and salwar kameez providing welcome colour as they walked the grey-brown battlements.
Back in Lostwithiel, the crowds had abated and we drifted round several of the antiques shops.  Lostwithiel had once been an administrative centre – the tin that was mined was assayed here for tax purposes.  But the fate of Lostwithiel seems symbolic of the rest of Cornwall, forced to live off its past for the tourist market.
The part of me that was a tourist adored Lostwithiel: the part of me that is Cornish hopes for a better economic future.