Since I had an opticians appointment, off we went on the train to Plymouth, and immediately afterwards we walked down Armada Way to the Council House to see the Beryl Cook exhibition again. As we had plenty of time we were able to see the half-hour film about her life and work, and very interesting it was too. It gave a real insight into how she worked and what made her paint the way she did. Plus we learned some interesting things such as the fact that she once lived in Looe. We also viewed the paintings and the display again, which was well worthwhile. Her objective, she said, was for someone to say ‘well that made me laugh’ or ‘that cheered me up’. She achieved it in spades with us.
Mentally refreshed we proceeded past a group playing boules to the Hoe where I went up Smeaton’s lighthouse. This was free to us as Friends of Mount Edgcumbe, but F didn’t accompany me as she knew that the staircase and ladders would spell trouble. They certainly were difficult. There is a narrow circular stone staircase to begin with but
from the Lantern Room upwards another three or four floors it was all more or less vertical wooden ladders. And when I got to the top I couldn’t bring myself to go through the door onto the outside platform…vertigo struck again. That’s not to say I didn’t get amazing views …..I did. Of Plymouth, Bodmin, Dartmoor, west and east along the coast, of the beautiful sea-water lido tucked in to the cliffs underneath. All spectacular on this warm day. But it was the inside of the lighthouse that was just as interesting, seeing the conditions in which the keepers lived…furniture lined up with the curved walls, a stove, beds in cupboards. A fascinating visit and to think this lighthouse originally stood on Eddystone Rock which we can regularly see 14 miles out in the wide wide ocean from Hannafore or Looe.
We then ent past the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club and seeing the lunch menu ventured inside (not so exclusive as Fowey where you have to be a member). We had lunch on the terrace overlooking a busy seaside scene what with the yachts and
speedboats and kayaks and fishing boats and ferries and cruise ships. Not bad.
Leaving the Club and walking towards the Barbican we made our great discovery – what a wonderful area this is. On a sunny and hot day like today it was no exaggeration to say that it was equal to any Mediterranean port with its marina, ferry terminals, cafes,
historic buildings, pubs, seafood restaurants, shops, cobbled streets, gardens and goodness knows what else. After strolling enjoyably around we then made a beeline for The Dolphin Hotel which I had always wanted to visit…Beryl Cook’s ‘local’ and the setting for many of her paintings some of which hang there. A real pub, no food, beautiful real ales, characterful locals. Brilliant.
We will return hopefully to take one of the many possible trips by boat e.g. up the Tamar or up the river Realm……another great thing to look forward to.