A Memorable Occasion


We finally found The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We recently returned from a very enjoyable holiday to Cornwall in TVWNN*.

This holiday was most unusual because the sun shone for most of the time we were away – not something we are used to when we go away in TVWNN.

The first weekend fell over the early May bank holiday, when the weather was glorious – the hottest early May bank holiday since records began or something.

We had booked a few nights at a campsite near Mevagissey, right next to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which were the main purpose of this part of our holiday.

This was the first time we had visited the gardens, but not the first time we had tried.

I can tell you exactly when we last planned to visit: it was a very memorable date.

We had stayed right in Mevagissey on that occasion, in a very nice bed and breakfast just back from the harbour. We had already been to The Eden Project: it was still fairly new then, but impressive despite the fact that the planting had yet to fill out properly.

We were having a day off to relax around the village before embarking on our second horticultural exploit of the holiday, a visit to the Lost Gardens the following day. In the early afternoon we returned to the bed and breakfast – I can’t remember why – and were met by the owner in some state of agitation.

“Turn the telly on,” he said.

“Which channel?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

And so we witnessed the unbelievable footage of aeroplanes being crashed into the Twin Towers in New York. It was 11 September 2001**.

We spent most of the rest of the afternoon sat on the bed in our small room watching the tragic events unfold on the television, dumbfounded.

Despite the horror of the situation we decided we would still go ahead with our planned visit to Heligan the following day. In the meanwhile we went out to dinner and I enjoyed a delicious meal of shellfish at a local restaurant. That didn’t go well.

I spent the whole night being sick and things didn’t improve the next morning, so we decided to cut our holiday short and head for home. The M5 was closed and the journey took over 6 hours. I had a plastic bag with a hole in it. It was not a good journey.

So, all in all, an occasion memorable for all of the wrong reasons. The Gardens of Heligan remained lost to us for almost 17 years.

Having now finally visited, I have to say it was worth the wait: The Lost Gardens of Heligan are brilliant. I’ll share more once I’ve managed to sort through the several hundred pictures I took.

*The Van With No Name

**Apparently there are a generation of UK schoolchildren who believe this terrible event happened on 9 November thanks to our adoption of the American term 9/11


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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