May Travels

I have decided to come clean about what I did during my hiatus in May: I went to Port Isaac where I had a walk-on part. Like Abby and Linda, I journeyed to Cornwall to see the setting and the filming for myself. I haven’t posted any pictures because it looked like so many others were already doing that. My day of filming was Wednesday, May 13th and I want to tell you all about it from a variety of perspectives.

My first post will simply make some observations about England and what I saw of life in that country. These are truly meant to be observations and should not be taken as criticisms in any way. Our daily lives are really not that different from the ones I witnessed in England, and we use many of the same expressions. Although there are many Britishisms and linguistic disparities, I think there are more similarities than differences. They may say “Give Way” when we say “Yield,” or they use “Sat Nav” while we use “GPS,” but I never felt like I was speaking a strange language. In fact, London is such a diverse city with people from all over the world speaking English with accents of all kinds, that my American accent just fit right in.

This was my 4th visit to the UK, but it’s been quite a while between visits now. I have never been to Cornwall before either. I have driven cars on the left side of the road while sitting on the right side of the car; nevertheless, I was not very comfortable driving in London, and getting on the M4 was quite an experience. The lanes are much narrower than I’m used to and I definitely had to pay close attention to my left side. We rented a Mercedes, which by the way, appears to be the most popular brand of car. From what we saw, the British like German brands the most: Mercedes, BMW, VW, Audi. We also saw a lot of Peugeots, some Hyundais and Toyotas, but surprisingly few British made cars and very few Lexuses (Lexi?).  This struck me as odd because of the notorious dislike of the Germans in England. However, you have to hand it to the Germans for making good cars!  A very difficult thing for us throughout the trip was dealing with the parking rules, if there are any. Unlike in the U.S., drivers can park in any direction in England and they can park on roadsides even if the street is very narrow. Therefore, trying to drive through a town can be like driving through an obstacle course. Delabole was particularly problematic. Every time we drove through that town there were cars parked along the main street on both sides in both directions. It was a challenge to figure out who has the right of way. (Instead of Main St. being their most common street name, I’d say Fore Street is.) Of course, the English love their roundabouts (known here as traffic circles). I got the feeling that they put them in as much as possible even when there was no reason. On the other hand, at least everyone knows how to drive around them!

The other thing that is curious is that they intermingle the metric system with the imperial unit system. (This is true for time, volume, and weight as well as speed.) When you’re driving, the speed limit signs are posted in mph even though the car includes both kmh and mph. Distances are measured in miles too. This was of some help to me since I didn’t have to compute anything. On the other hand, they use Celsius for temps, but I learned quickly how to convert those to Fahrenheit in my head.

The width of the lanes got somewhat better once we reached the outskirts of London, however, they got much worse again once we arrived in Cornwall. Those scenes of Martin Ellingham nervously watching the approaching pickup truck while driving around Port Isaac are something I can easily relate to now! For some reason the Sat Nav in our car loved sending us down narrow back roads rather than staying on the wider main roads. Eventually we became familiar with the area around Port Isaac and knew when to ignore the Sat Nav. It was pretty nerve wracking driving between the tall hedgerows on narrow two way roads, never knowing if there was a car coming from the other direction. If we did encounter a car, one of us either had to back up or hope there was a slightly wider space where we could move over to let the other car pass. Somehow we never had a very close call. I think that was pure luck.

The other thing is that in Cornwall the roads are extremely steep going into most of the towns. This is especially true in a town called Mousehole, although Port Isaac is right up there with some of the steepest. (Yup, the name of the town is Mousehole, but pronounced Mouseull.)  Thus, the streets are narrow and steep and then you have the trucks, vans, and full sized cars making their way through the towns. I never stopped being amazed that there seemed to be little hesitation in the drivers. It was tough enough for most people to walk up and down the street not that that stopped anyone. I saw people of all ages and abilities heading down to the harbour area in PI only to later have to climb their way back up. They usually had to take breaks along the way. In addition, there were many more people using walking sticks or canes than we see in the U.S.. Some were hiking with poles, but most needed help with walking in general. This was a pronounced difference from what we see here and may be a sign that they don’t do as many knee and hip replacement surgeries.

PI seems to be a tourist destination for many walkers, even those who have no idea that there is filming going on. In fact, there were many visitors to PI on the weekends when there is no filming planned. Some people would come upon the filming during the week and be thoroughly surprised. Of course, they would often become interested once they saw the crowds, but many just wanted to get through and on with their walks.

The weather was very erratic. One day we could have lovely sunshine and relative warmth (maybe upper 50s to lower 60s), and the next day we might have chilly temps and wind, and a third day might be utterly awful with wind, rain, and cold temps. This situation makes it hard to stay on the filming schedule and makes it hell to figure out what to wear! While I was there, episode 5 was being filmed and there were at least 2 days when the filming schedule was affected by extremely bad weather. Of course, this was disappointing for us, but it also played havoc with their plans. I think they filmed indoors during those days. We found some other things to do which mostly involved driving around to other small towns nearby.

Once they got back to filming, they spent the whole day filming some scenes at the beach at Port Gaverne, which is literally down another narrow, steep street on the opposite side of Port Isaac. Walking there couldn’t have been easier. They also filmed the police station scenes in Port Gaverne because that’s where the mock police station is located. We saw the BBQ scene with Joe, Al, Morwenna, and Janice(?) being filmed there. Although the heavy rain had stopped and the sun was out, the wind was still blustery and the temps were quite cool. I was very happy to wear my coat with scarf and other warm clothes while watching, whereas the cast and extras had to be filmed wearing light clothing and beachwear. The conceit that it’s always sunny and warm in Portwenn can be very demanding on the actors and is definitely NOT the case in Port Isaac!

There are also much nicer beaches elsewhere. St. Ives is particularly nice, for example. Even Newquay has a sandier and wider beach than Port Gaverne. I also felt sorry for the cast and extras watching them lie on very rocky spaces and act like they were having a lovely day at the beach.

Cornwall is known for its fish and seafood, particularly crab and lobster ( as the inn is called). Mussels are great there too. What they don’t have much of is vegetables and fruits. Although salads were offered at times in restaurants, it was often impossible to find any vegetables on the menu. The salads were generally not made with the sorts of lettuce we find plentiful in the U.S., but with mixed greens of mostly what I think is called Looseleaf type. Even the grocery stores in the area did not have the kinds of vegetable selection we have available here. Port Isaac has a Co-op grocery store that is adequate for small purchases, but on the limited side. Wadebridge is close enough to get to quickly and has a much bigger Co-op store. But even there, the selection of veg and fruit was limited and mostly prepackaged. (One shock we had was finding a Whole Foods Store in London. Who would have guessed that Whole Foods based in Austin, Texas has become international?) So the organic produce stand they use in scenes of Portwenn is a fantasy that we would have liked to have had as an option in reality. After driving around on several days while staying in Port Isaac, we realized we didn’t see any crops growing in the surrounding fields. Most of the area was composed of pastures for cows and lots and lots of sheep. Sheep are everywhere.

While I’m on the subject of animals, I want to also say that the British absolutely love dogs. We have our share of dog lovers here too, but I’ve never seen so many people taking their dogs with them wherever they go. They were all very well behaved and hardly ever barked or got into scuffles with each other. We have a sweet dog at home and many neighbors with dogs, some of whom take their dogs on trips, but the numbers pale in comparison to England. You might argue that people brought their dogs to Port Isaac because they know Martin Clunes is a dog lover and pets most dogs he sees, but most of the folks I saw with their dogs were simply there for a walk/hike. I also saw many dogs with their owners in other towns in Cornwall. The English just love their dogs and want to take them along. If Martin Clunes really didn’t like dogs, that would be remarkable.

Although this isn’t necessarily something I need to say, I wanted to mention that in almost every case, the people there were extremely nice and helpful. In general we expect service personnel to treat us well, but I’d say we had only one occasion when the service was poor and the people in the pub were less than friendly. This took place in Bath away from the downtown area.

Because my husband is a doctor and he’s interested in medical practices everywhere, and because this show is about a GP and the functioning of his surgery, we visited the actual surgery building in Port Isaac. It may surprise you to learn that Port Isaac’s surgery is in a large, modern medical building just a short distance away from the center of town. There are four GPs who practice there. They have specific parameters to follow, e.g. you should be seen within 15 minutes of your appointment, the doctor has ten minutes to examine you and determine what to advise, they may have some meds right there, but you may have to go to the pharmacy. (We saw a reality show on TV about doctors practicing medicine and the ten minute limit is strongly imposed. So much so that one of the doctors on TV was watching the time and neglected to ask pertinent questions as a result. When a patient was kept waiting for a significantly long time, he complained to the doctor. The doctor was extremely apologetic. I was hoping to see him tell the patient he was an idiot and throw him out, but was disappointed!) Also, the NHS is very concerned about which meds are prescribed and how often antibiotics are chosen. We are all concerned about antibiotic resistance, but they seem to have a very heightened awareness.

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Going to the the pharmacy was interesting too. Of course, it’s not at all like Mrs. Tishell’s store. In fact, we had to go to Wadebridge to find a pharmacy because PI doesn’t have one. Anyone living in PI has to find a way to get their meds out of town or hope the doctor’s office has what they need. The largest chain is called Boots but there are smaller vendors. Still not as small as Mrs. T’s. They sell many of the same brands and types as we have in the U.S., e.g. Sudafed, Benadryl. The difference was in the dosing. We usually have Sudafed in 10 mg tablets. In England the choice is between 3.5 mg and 60 mg. Quite a jump! My impression was that they have more essential oils and vitamins for sale.

I hope I haven’t bored you with all of these facts. I was very interested to learn how closely the show represents the real world in that area and found some of the differences rather impressive. I definitely need more than three weeks of driving on the “wrong” side of the street and car to feel comfortable with it! I plan to write next about my day on the set.

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2015-06-13 17:19:51.

20 thoughts on “May Travels

  1. Santa Traugott

    Hah! I suspected as much, Karen.

    I’ve spent a good bit of time in England because my daughter went to school there and now lives there with her husband and three daughters. I love being there, but don’t dare to drive. My husband, though, is fearless and he drove us down to Cornwall from Cambridge a couple years ago.

    Our “SatNav” directed us first to Tintagel, and then via a truly hair-raising “back road” over to PI. We enjoyed ourselves even though a) there was no filming and b) it was so cold and windy in May that we had to stop to find my a wool hat.

    I know what you mean about roundabouts — there are so many between Oxford and Cambridge that my granddaughter used to get carsick going round and round!

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences on set.

  2. Santa Traugott

    One more thing about driving: there is a very definite etiquette about who gives way when the road or passage between cars is too narrow. My son-in-law explained it to me once, but of course I have forgotten.

    English drivers, though, are very skilled at navigating their roads. Their driving examinations are very rigorous — my daughter, who drove just fine in the U.S., failed her exam 3 times before she passed it.

  3. Abby

    What a wonderful surprise to read about your travels to PI! And to be an extra to boot! My son drove when we were there and did a great job. He loves roundabouts. Says he wishes we had more of them here in the States. I’m not so sure about that.

    I too noticed the dearth of fruits and vegetables. It is interesting that they portray the doc as such a health nut and show abundant produce stands in the village, given what the reality is.

    I am so looking forward to hearing about what you saw and experienced at the filming. So far, from what I’ve gleaned from the FB groups, I’m a little depressed about the way things are going. It looks as if M and L may not get back together until the very end again. I hope that’s not the case as that plot has gotten old and tired. Is it okay to write about spoilers here?

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Yes, you knew all along, you sly fox! If there are road rules, I wish they would have told them to me when I rented the car. They just handed me the keys, showed me how to use the Sat Nav and a few other car specific things, and off we went. I love the story about your granddaughter and can visualize it. Crazy!

  5. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I will write more soon. I’m actually visiting my mother now and really tired of traveling. The rest of the summer will be spent at home, although we’ll have lots of visitors as usual. We live at the beach…we expect that!

    I don’t mind spoilers at all, although I am so skeptical about what people think is happening. When I was there I saw lots of filming yet could not really put it all together accurately I’m sure. For one thing they film out of sequence; for another intermittently they film indoors where we can’t see anything. Even if someone from the show told an onlooker some tidbit, I would question it. They try very hard to not let on what’s happening exactly, and I don’t blame them. It’s like a good book…you can’t wait to find out what happens while hating to get to the end. That said, please feel free to write whatever you like.

  6. Mary F.

    Wow, lucky you to be in Port Isaac and be a part of the show! So many interesting obsevations too about life in England and the coastal towns. It has added a whole new dimension to what I already know about the show and its location. Perhaps the dearth of veg can be attributable in part to the fact that PI hasbecome more of a vacation spot than where real people live anymore, and that is rather sad I think.
    Looking forward to your next post.

  7. Linda D.

    Amazing! What fun Karen! I am wondering if you, Abby, and I were there at some of the same times -maybe standing next to one another and not knowing it!

    This was a wonderful post! You have pointed out so many interesting things you observed on your visit! For sure, there was “sameness” but also some differences which had us chuckling at times.

    We noticed the parking “rules” too and often wondered which was the right way to drive on narrow streets with cars going both ways. Were they one way streets or what? It was quite confusing. Travelling those roads, especially if in the right front seat was quite terrifying for a Canadian! I was gripping my imaginary wheel and applying my imaginary brakes, whilst trying not to SCREAM too much! I must say, we did not drive and think anyone who does must be brave indeed! We did REALLY enjoy taking the train to several places and found it a convenient and relaxing way to travel – once we were on the right train!

    Indeed, the streets and pathways are VERY steep in Cornwall. In London, the stairways down and up from the tube are very long and steep and/or they have the most terrifying escalators I’ve ever seen! I should tell you that I am not a fan of escalators of any kind – even the level moving floors that carry you through the beautiful Vancouver International Airport. My sister, with bad knees and no stamina was hugely challenged by the tube and the hills. Some tube stations have an elevator/lift but not many. We commented that it must be impossible for people with walkers, canes, and wheel chairs and noticed that we saw hardly any of those. It is very different in Canada where we see disability aids everywhere and where the rights of the disabled are enshrined in the Constitution. Access to EVERYTHING for all citizens is mandatory. We asked a few people about the houses which all seem to have steep stairs and often the toilet is upstairs. We were told that people are just used to stairs, hills and the like and they make their way as best they can for as long as possible. You may be right Karen, that they have better knees and hips! We noticed smokers outside restaurants and on the. Where I live, smoking is not allowed ANYWHERE- not even in your car if you have kids in there with you. People cannot congregate in doorways or their offices and certainly not anywhere, in or out, in a restaurant. It is quite a challenge for smokers but the rest of the citizenry love it, of course!

    May and early June weather was indeed a challenge although we only had one really rainy day. Our dollar store umbrellas and rain ponchos came in handy and were tossed out on the last day. It was always chilly and windy by the water and I regretted not bringing my toque, mitts and scarf quite a few times. We were travelling light, necessitating some choices. I felt so bad for the cast and crew on the windy beach at Port Gaverne. There was so much standing around wasn’t there? It is easy to get chilled when you aren’t moving about Caroline Catz was clutching a hot water bottle and wearing a down coat while others wore blankets. Happily for us, it was the very BEST day to get pictures as there was both time and space there. When I see the pictures outside the Slipway this week, I just know good pictures and conversations with the cast would be difficult.

    We noticed dogs everywhere too and also noticed that they were welcome in shops and pubs! It seemed to me that many of them were King Charles Cavaliers or spaniels of some kind! I guess they are dog friendly because there is nowhere to park in the village and one would not want to leave a pet way up the hill on a hot day ,nor to have to go up and down to check on them. The presence of dogs didn’t seem to make much difference I thought. They were very well behaved and I suspect many people thought it might encourage a conversation with Martin Clunes. We thought about bringing stuffed dogs but threw that idea out pretty quickly, because of space considerations AND not wanting to be seen as NUTTERS!

    We went to the Co-op too, in search of fresh fruit and found nothing really appealing at all. There WAS a lot of pre-packaged stuff. I snatched extra fruit at our daily Full English Breakfast at the Slipway. Everything came with something called “Rocket” which was sort of an herb/lettuce thing. Salads were almost non-existent on menus and if it was on the menu, it was mesculine, (another unknown), and rocket! We tried pasties twice and loved them. They seem to be the big sellers at lunch. Cream teas were also very widely included on menus. I was not a fan of clotted cream which seemed to be in a lot of things – ice cream, fudge, and of course on scones. I did ask how it was made and then was REALLY not a fan! We flew British Airways and of course had cream tea on the flight home!

    I enjoyed your comments about the real surgery. I passed it but did not go in.

    I think aside from the breathtaking scenery, I was most taken by the architecture in England. The buildings are breathtaking and marvels of skill. Everything is made of brick or stone and we didn’t see many new builds except for some that look exactly the same as the old ones. Houses and yards are miniscule by our standards. Towns, villages and neighborhoods are more compact and I thought them very quaint. Many of the buildings are centuries older that Canada itself! But, even in Port Isaac it seems, the village council wrestles with many of the same issues as in bigger places. There are fights about preserving historical buildings, and about renovating them. There are fights about rhinos on the hill. Wait till the see the zebra that is coming! John Brown even told me they are fighting over who gets what from the percentage of profit made by Doc Martin which Buffalo Pictures has donated to the village.

    All in all though, it is a dream vacation location to visit. It is a bit far away for us on the west coast or North America but certainly worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every day and each day brought a new surprise. I’m so glad you were able to go Karen!

    Now, you MUST tell us about your walk on! How did you achieve that? Did you meet Martin Clunes or other members of the cast? Where did you stay? And, REALLY, we’d LOVE to see your pictures!

  8. Linda D.

    Forgot to ask if you found it quite expensive? Our dollar was worth about 50% of a pound which meant doubling the prices. Fish and chips at 12 pounds 95 was $26 bucks Canadian. The meals were not great but prices would be on par at home, except for the very WEAK dollar. We had a taxi from Paddington to Heathrow that was 80 pounds or $160 dollars plus a tip. Yikes! Some places have value added tax built into the price but figuring out if that was true was a mystery for sure. If it WAS built in, we will be remembered for being pretty generous tippers because we gave tips everywhere.

  9. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Just a quick note to say that I’m pretty sure Abby left by the time I got there since she went in April, and that you hadn’t arrived yet. We were there from May 11-23. We were there at the same time as several other American fans, however. I’m beginning to think there are American fans there all the time!

    Your observations about people walking with assistance actually are quite different from ours. We felt we saw way more people walking with the help of canes than we see here in the U.S. So our thought was they needed knee or hip replacements but the NHS is not willing to allow those so quickly, whereas here people get them all the time. I can’t tell you how many men and women I know who have had total or partial hip or knee replacements and are now walking around without pain or difficulty. On the other hand, we often hear there are perhaps too many done in the States. The fact that the English continue to manage without much help with the aid of ramps, elevators, and other forms of disability aids is remarkable, as is the fact that they don’t have to provide those. I didn’t think of that and thank you for pointing that out. In the States they are considered essential and must be added to most business entries, etc. The American Disabilities Act makes that law.

    I think another problem is their diet. Obesity is a concern in your country, our country, and in England. We tried the pasties too, and we liked them too, but the traditional ones are dough filled with steak and potatoes. The other typically Cornish foods are fudge, breads, cream teas (as you mentioned), and ice cream was hugely popular. Their diet also includes lots of pork, especially at breakfast. If they eat very few fruits and vegetables, drink beer, and eat a lot of the above, their diet is pretty likely to lead to obesity and diabetes, heart disease, etc., etc. Hopefully they will stick to the fish and seafood as much as possible!

    I guess our dollar is a little stronger against the pound than yours is; the exchange was more 1.3:1.

    I will write about my excellent adventures of a day on the set very soon. We were lucky enough with the weather to see 6 days of filming and I will add some things about those days as well. It was a once in a lifetime event for me and I enjoyed the experience and being in Port Isaac tremendously. It’s kind of neat to now feel like I know Port Isaac and Cornwall pretty well too.

  10. Laura H

    It is such a treat to hear the three of you give inside information about PI! Thanks for sharing your travels and the real life background. I couldn’t figure references to miles per hour in the show and wondered if they were possibly pandering to a large North American audience? 🙂 I’m curious, Karen, if your physician husband watches the show and if so, what his reaction is as to the authenticity of the medical parts, procedure and whether doctors are convinced by them? Of course, it would be interesting to know whether viewing doctors can laugh at it or if ME’s gruff dealings with patients jars? I’m on the edge of my seat, anticipating the next entry about your experience of being on set…please post it soon, and tell Everything!

  11. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Laura, I have previously written a couple of posts about how ME’s patient care coincides with that of my husband’s. You can look in the category of medical practice to find them or check posts called “Doctor, Patients, Stalkers” and “Doctors and Medical Practice.” My husband got me started on watching the show after his sister introduced him to it. So he definitely liked it and enjoyed the gruff treatment of patients even though he would never act like that. I think it may be a doctor’s fantasy to be able to tell patients that they are idiots if they don’t follow the advice they were given. Instead, they usually have to deal with the consequences of their patients being resistant.

    I think my husband has generally been impressed with the medical coverage with a few exceptions. When I ask him if a certain situation could actually happen, he most often says it could, although many would be rather outrageous, e.g. relieving intracranial pressure with a workman’s drill.

    I will write more very soon. Promise!

  12. Linda

    Oh, how lucky for you! One thing about them not shooting was that I covered way more ground! I’d have been drawn to watch the shooting by the hour otherwise!

  13. Gabriele

    I enjoyed very much reading your remarks about England and Port Isaac, Karen. My husband and I know England very well, in fact our week at Port Isaac this year, from April 17-25, was my 30th trip to England (starting with a school orchestra trip at the age of 13!). By the way, we never experienced any dislike of Germans. On the contrary, we had only lots of positive reactions when people learnt we are from Germany. And we had countless nice chats with very nice English people in pubs, on the street, in church towers (where we were invited to watch the bell ringing practice) or wherever.
    Your description of the narrow lanes of Cornwall between hedgerows is very graphic, and driving there is a challenge, but a nice challenge because you are sort of part of the unique landscape…
    Port Isaac is one of the most beautiful spots in Cornwall, the cliff scenery is breathtaking, and you can take long walks on both sides of PI on the cliff path that surrounds the whole Cornish coast. So it is really worth a journey. One of the cliff paths takes you to Doyden Castle, where the final scene of series 5 was filmed. (You can rent Doyden Castle as a holiday accommodation!)

    We were lucky because we had a week with lots of summer sunshine, and they were filming on two days. We watched how the fudge shop was transformed into Mrs T.s pharmacy, we watched how Martin Clunes had to stumble over a souvenir display stand when leaving the pharmacy with his parcel (and this was rehearsed and then filmed many times…!), and I watched how he inadvertently tore the sleeve of his suit coat on the door handle of the pharmacy door (and spent the next quarter of an hour in shirt and braces until it was sewn).
    I was really surprised about the relaxed atmosphere during filming and the friendliness of everybody of the staff. Like the scenes on the slipway, the “pharmacy” is in the very heart of the narrow old part of the village, it is like a needle eye where everyone wants to linger or to pass on the way to Roscarrock Hill. And the one or other resident’s car or business van wants to pass, too… No problem, everything is possible, with a smile and a friendly gesture. You can stand and watch absolutely close to the filming scene, and only when they are shooting the “real thing” those who would be seen by the camera are politely asked to move a bit further away.

    Another day they were filming at Port Gaverne, where BP had declared a building near the beach to figure as “Radio Portwenn”. Martin (Ellingham) seemed to be quite agitated during his radio interview as far as I could see from outside, through the window. During a break MC came over to the few people who were standing outside the premises because he had spotted a lady with a dog. There was a group of Americans, too, from Kentucky (one man and five or six ladies), and the man, who was a chiropractor, gave Martin a massage of his neck because MC had problems with his spine. And then it was photo time: lady number one, number two, number three etc with Martin Clunes. He is such a nice chap, very friendly towards everybody and happily laughing most of the time.

    Another day we looked out of the bedroom window of our cottage at half past eight in the morning and saw them filming on the meadows on top of Roscarrock Hill (the hill behind DM’s surgery). Our binoculars helped us to see Bert Large sitting solitarily on a bench and reading a paper (a letter?), then crumpling it. Half an hour later everything was over and the whole filming crew had disappeared.

    As for supermarkets, Karen, the next time you are in England watch out for a Tesco or a Morrisons. Those are the big supermarkets, and they even sell lots of fruit and vegs… 🙂
    There is a Tesco at Wadebridge.

    To conclude I only want to add that every afternoon we had our own cream tea in the garden of our cottage in the sunshine, with partial sea view. Happy memories…

  14. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you very much for your remarks Gabriele. I never witnessed any bad treatment of anyone while in England. I was surprised, however, at the preference for German made cars. I would not have guessed that the top choice of cars, from what I observed, is Mercedes. But we love Mercedes here in the U.S. too, so why not?

    Thank you also for your recollections of PI and the filming. I am still trying to find time to write about my experiences, and will over the weekend for sure.

    As far as other markets in which to find more choices of fruits and veg. We did see the Tesco in Wadebridge, but did not go in. But on the whole, in restaurants all over the area we visited and as a general observation, vegetables and salads were rarely on the menu as a side dish selection nor on roadside stands. The one veg that was offered regularly was mushy peas, which looks just like it sounds and was not appetizing.

    One of the great things about living in Europe is how simple it is for you to travel easily to so many countries. My daughter-in-law is a lovely young German woman and she lives in America now with my son and their two boys, but they fly to Germany once a year to visit friends and family. They always take trips while they are over there and the kids have been to many countries already (they are 9 & 7). They are also bilingual. They plan to make a stop in London this year on their way home. We have a big country with lots of unique cities, but it’s not quite the same as traveling all over Europe!

  15. Gabriele

    Yes, Europe is wonderful with all its different nations on such a small part of the globe. We are just back from a week in Stockholm. Another new country, language and culture. And in September we shall explore the coast of Croatia.

    I agree, mushy peas are not looking appetizing. They usually accompany fish and ships, and I never would order them. But I must defend the British regarding their meals with vegetables: we had a wonderful “Sunday roast” in the Pub “Bettle and Chisel” in Delabole. Accompanying vegetables: cauliflower, brokkoli, carrots, green beans and red cabbage. All cooked al dente – delicious! And in a pub in Hythe, on our way back, I had slices of chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce along with carrots, brokkoli and cauliflower- yummy! “Pub grub” is not only a non expensive way to find a meal, but you often get a variety of really good meals there, prepared by skilled cooks.

    Now I am very much looking forward to your account of your filming experience as an extra, Karen. How did you manage to get this role? It was fun to watch the extras in our little pharmacy scene. They had to pass by as pedestrians, chatting and pointing at the sign “PORT WENN FISH SELLERS” above the Port Isaac fish cellars. Of course, most of the time consisted of waiting, and the whole scene was rehearsed and filmed over and over again… But then that is the same for Martin Clunes & Co… What must have been really thrilling is to be together with the crew and the actors. I guess, everyone will envy you for that, Karen.

  16. Santa Traugott

    Some of the best food we have had in England was in pubs, some of which are gastro-pubs, that take pride in their food. And I have to defend, sort of, mushy peas. Certainly to an American eye, the dish looks very unappealing, but not all that different from pureed pea soup, I guess.

    Of the supermarket chains in England, I think Waitrose has probably the best produce.

    Gabriele had kind of a throwaway line in there, about Bert crumpling up a letter. Some have wondered why his fiancee, Jennifer, hasn’t yet appeared on set. We must now surmise that the engagement has been broken, pretty devastating to Bert, after also losing his restaurant.

  17. Linda D.

    Mushy peas! I tried them a few times and was not really a fan although I found them different in every restaurant.

  18. Amy Cohen

    Wow, I am envious! I hope to get to Cornwall eventually, though your description of the roads and the food makes me wonder! I can’t wait to read about your filming experience. Guess I have to wait for that post to appear.

  19. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Or just look up Walk-On Part. It’s all there, including some pictures.

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