After my slightly disappointing visit to Tintagel Castle, I hitched a ride up the hill on the mini bus they provide (thank heavens, one less Cornwall hill to negotiate) to the village. While waiting for a bus to take me back to Port Isaac (I was never quite sure, while in Cornwall, whether or not a bus was going to come), I wandered up the main street and came to a 14th century medieval hall house. It has the most gorgeous undulating roof and walls, and I absolutely had to go in for a look.
It’s been named The Old Post Office, because for a short time during the 19th century, one of its rooms was used as a ‘letter receiving station’, the forerunner of a village post office.
Medieval hall houses were built for yeomen, men holding and cultivating small landed estates. It was renovated in the 16th century, its thatched roof replaced with slate tiles, and bedrooms and fireplaces added. The National Trust have taken it over, adding 16th century furniture and bit and bobs to recreate how it would have been for the families living here.
I just love those old winding stone stair cases, with their wide window sills and tiny windows.
The bedrooms are extremely comfortable-looking, large and with fireplaces to keep them warm and cosy.
An interesting discovery was a set of slate steps leading to a sleeping platform. This is where the unmarried women and girls slept, to separate them from the men and keep them safe. This is where we get the saying, ‘left on the shelf’, once the girls were thought to be too old to marry.
I sat for a while in the cottage garden and soaked up the serenity, before heading up to the bus stop.
A bus did come, eventually, only it was 10 minutes late and so by the time we reached the depot at Wadebridge (you have to go to Wadebridge, even if your town is just down the road), I’d missed the connecting bus to Port Isaac. The bus driver was also upset because he was heading home and had missed his connection, as well.
After lengthy discussion and various phone calls, it was decided the same driver would take me (by this stage I was the only passenger) the rest of the way to Port Isaac. All in all, it took two hours to go eleven miles and was dark by the time I got back.
I was exhausted, not to mention wet from walking down the hill in the rain, but it was good because I decided, for the first time ever, to forego my first night in Penzance and stay in Port Isaac for another day, which was exactly what I needed.