Before I went to stay in Bude, at the top of Cornwall’s north coast, I looked up things to do in the area. Top of the Trip Adviser list of 10 Things to Do In Bude was the Bude Tunnel, described as: “One of Cornwall’s finest attractions – a FREE walk-through, sheltered, perspex wind tunnel with peerless coastal views. Entry next to Sainsbury’s car park.” It was only when I sought out the tunnel near Sainsbury’s that I realised I was (like many people before me) the victim of a practical joke. The tunnel was in fact a covered parking place for shopping trolleys!
Despite many people having been tricked, the tunnel stayed at the top of the list for months. Everyone who had been duped enjoyed the joke and kept it going by posting, witty and widly exaggerated 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor. Sainsbury’s staff remained po-faced and complicit as they obligingly directed tourists to the tunnel/trolley park, and roared with laughter as the same people shuffled away in embarrassed realisation.
Some tourists, the staff told me, came back into the shop to say how much they enjoyed the joke – just as I did. I really hope the person who started it was someone at The Cornwall Tourist Board, but I don’t think he or she ever came clean. The joke only stopped when it was covered on a regional news bulletin. It was picked up and repeated on bulletins for other regions, including mine in the West Midlands, which I saw, and enjoyed the cracking practical joke all over again. Who couldn’t love Bude after that!
It’s not as if Bude has to invent attractions – it’s a modest, but proud Cornish seaside town, nestled around a wide bay and river estuary, at the heart of a protected coastline with towering clifftops and miles of sandy beaches. It has welcomed visitors for 200 years or more. It has quaint and cobbled bits; cream tea cafés; Cornish pasty purveyors; pubs and gin bars; modern bistros; fish and chip shops and shops selling all manner of tourist paraphernalia on streets that slope up the side of cliffs and down to the sea. As well as beach and clifftop walking, Bude offers riverside and canal-side strolls. Plus it has, of course, a salty breeze and lots of sunshine – once the mist has rolled away from the coast.
But Bude and bonkers stuff are never far apart, at least when I’m there. I’ve already blogged about the fiasco with the hot tub when we didn’t have instructions on how to (safely) take the lid off and operate it (Hot tubbing – this is the life! May 2018). When I went back for a week last September, with 5 guests at various times over the week, I had an hilarious taxi booking incident in town, and then, back at the lodge, a herd of cows invasion! Let’s do the cows first.
White-robed, relaxed and more than likely enjoying a late afternoon Prosecco after the hot tub, myself and 2 girlfriends were chatting on the terrace when a group of beautiful dairy cows came round the corner of our lodge. Some headed out towards the putting green a few yards away, others carried on to look at our neighbours. Realising that they must have escaped from a nearby farm, I phoned Reception to alert them. Almost immediately two members of the small onsite team (with responsibility for maintenance and IT/Digital comms – note no experience with cows), came rushing onto the scene trying to shoo the poor animals away or into a manageable group !!! It was frankly hilarious as the cows couldn’t have been more uncooperative, racing back to try to climb onto my decking and/or eating the foliage in the border containers, while the guys tried to avoid the fresh cowpats. Eventually, the guys appeared to have the cows under control, and holding our stitched sides, we went inside when we knew the farmer was coming to collect them.
About an hour later, as we sat down to dinner in the room that led onto the deck, one of my guests exclaimed at the sight of a cow looking through and pushing at the half opened French doors! The herd had escaped again and was enjoying a return visit to the putting green (lovely yummy grass) and, this time, a sojourn on my deck. One of them was nearly having dinner with us!! Another phone call to Reception, and our dinner was interrupted to join in the cow herding fun. We enjoyed the mayhem of both distractions, which had, apparently, never happened before. Well we shall see if it happens again.
There’s a taxi rank sign by a small green with seating in the town centre. After walking into town across the golf course and eventually enjoying a wine-too-many lunch, a friend and I waited there for a taxi home. It was early evening. After about 20 minutes we got fed up of waiting and I asked a passer-by if there was a taxicab office nearby. He indicated the kebab shop across the road. I checked my understanding: “That is where I can get a cab?” “Uhuh.” I went in and queued. When it was my turn, I asked the server if he could book a taxi home for me and my friend. He appeared surprised at my request. I explained that I had been told I could book a taxi here. I soon realised that I’d been misinformed, apologised, but asked if he could do it anyway. With good humour he softened and rang a cab for me, and we joked with the whole team about the mischievous passer-by who deliberately misdirected me.
I can’t wait to be back in beautiful, bonkers Bude for another eventful stay.