Eleanor and I have come down to Cornwall for New Year. Well really it's so she can do some research in the Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno and I've opportunistically tagged along to grab a couple of days holiday before the new semester kicks in. We're staying at Rockridge House a wonderful B&B run by the charming and informative Chris in the village, under the cliff from the Minack Theatre and out of mobile telephone reception range, which can't half cause a problem when you want to call friends and family to wish them a happy New Year.
Porthcurno itself has a fascinating history. From 1870 it was the hub of a submarine cabling industry that pioneered the first trans Atlantic telegraph links which for the first time enabled messages to be sent out to New York, as well as through a series of satellite stations to India and other parts of the empire. Even now signs on the beach warn bathers of the cables that lie barely submerged in the shallow waters of the bay.
Yesterday we spent the day knocking off the cobwebs with a long walk to Mousehole clambering along the clifftops past Logan's Rock, ducking into the seclusion of Penberth Cove before cutting inland at Boscawen to take in the Merry Maidens and a final descent into the village itself as night fell.
For many years Mousehole has put on a huge light display to commemorate Tom Bawcock's Eve on December 23rd the night when, local legend has it, brave Tom, a sixteenth century fisherman, sailed out in tumultous storms to bring in a catch and save the starving village.
The illuminations are still up, providing a warm welcome as we approached tired, hungry and ready for a thirst quenching pint and a portion of fish pie in the Ship Inn overlooking the sparkling harbour.