Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Day Two: Bodmin to Padstow

'Obby 'Oss

Pikey Funfair

Day Two

The Number 555, 556, 556 and 556

Andrew shepherded me back to Bodmin in the morning (right, I'm dropping the Christian theme now). I asked a woman at the bus stop whether she was going to the May Day celebrations in Padstow. She looked at me without hiding distaste. 'I've never had the slightest interest,' she said. Oh. In my head, I had built this festival up to be of great importance, both locally and to my trip. After this little exchange the reality struck me. The enthusiasm for the 'Obby 'Oss is not as universal as I thought. And why should it be? It's similar to what that bloke said in that thing that time, once: 'Even before the revivals, folk music was never something that everyone participated in; it has always been something for the enthusiasts and die hards.' I guess it's the same with folk festivals too.

Once in Padstow, I took the 556 out to Treyarnon. The YHA is situated there, looking out over Constantine (?) Bay. I looked at the footpath round bay and, sucking my teeth, considered staying here and forgetting the 'Obby 'Oss: it's so much easier to let negativity persuade you than optimism. It's a stunning location, although to get to the beach you have to walk through a field of identical holiday cabins, all of them with fearsome TV aerials sticking out the top. I wondered what they were trying to get away from.

Back on the 556 into town. Padstow looked spectacular. The entire town decked out with flags. I managed to catch a glimpse of the owd 'oss before I turned around and completely coincidentally bumped into Joel and Gen, two of the Norfolk crew from home. We mooched about, ducked into a pub with a catch of owd sea dogs having an impromptu sea shanty sing along, and finally parted ways after a look round the pikey fun fair on the harbour.

The 556 was becoming a favourite of mine. Back to Treyarnon. Having not found Rick Stein's fish shop in town (and being worried that it constituted a chain), I instead took a stroll to St Merryn to Fryer Tucks. Superb work. It took me back to my trial run and Peter the Pleater. Good bit of fish, chip, mushy pea and battered sausage. Lovely. It didn't seem to matter that it was raining on the way home.

In my dorm I met an American whose favourite shop in England, he told me, was Picnic Fayre, my Stepdad and Mums' delicatessen in Norfolk. How queer. It was a nice night at the YHA. But I didn't see one cop, american indian, builder, sailor or biker. I don't know what they're talking about in that song.

Padstow is smart.


  1. First battered sausage of the trip. I'm getting excited now. Feels like it has really begun.

  2. Alan and I went to the 'Obby 'Oss many years ago - I thought it was great! Looking forward to keeping up with your progress now I've found your blog Oli (courtesy of article in 'Lambeth Life')