Cornwall is cold in summer. In fact, Cornwall is cold all the time. Even when it tries to be hot, it actually only looks warm, the wind has a bite fresh off the North Atlantic.
Newquay, in the south west is all headlands. Point after point jutting into the bright blue sea, patchwork fields framing villages nestled into the hillside, houses that all look the same - white walls, brown triangle roofs. Hotels that look like castles, or perhaps castles that are hotels, protrude intermittently into the grey skyline. The streets are narrow, it's like somewhere along the line someone thought it would be hilarious to make the two way roads only wide enough for one car and then build walls on either side, so you have neither room to move or views as to what you might be about to hurtle into head first around each corner.
English summer is strange. Even though the word summer is very misleading, people still flock to the coast like maybe this summer, this one, will be different. People getting drunk in the perpetual daylight, dancing to Drake in seedy clubs before the sun has even gone down and then spilling into the narrow streets to wander around like its a warm summers night, eating cheesy chips and taking selfie videos for snapchat.
Everyone so badly wants it to be real summer.
I walked a lot. Just walked and walked, over one hill and then the next. There was no swell the whole time I was there and even if there had been, I don't know if I would have gone in. The water is ice-cream headache material and unless it's corduroy lines to the horizon, that kind of low temperature exposure is not worth it to me.
People were nice. Except for the one's that stole my wallet in the bathrooms of a club the first day I arrived. Seven months in Africa and my stuff got stolen in England.
Even the cops were nice, the ones that pulled me over and seized my friend's car I was driving, because apparently it's illegal to drive without insurance. They followed me from when I pulled out of my park, I wasn't sure if it was the police, they didn't flash their lights at first, but when they did, they took me into their car, read the "you have the rite to remain silent..." spiel and proceeded to question me as to every detail of my life in England. "You're not arrested," one of them said, "so you're free to leave at any point," "really? that's great, what will happen if I leave now?" "We'll arrest you."
That makes perfect sense.
Eventually, after failing to flirt my way out of it, I convinced them to give my surfboard and I a lift home, seeing as it was the middle of the night and if I got mugged they'd have to drive out anyway. My board wasn't going to fit in the car so they called in the police van and we put my board in the lockup in the back. "I like this brexit thing," the officer in the drivers seat said, "I don't want all these foreigners here, except for the Poles." "Why the Poles?" the other guy said "because I want a Polish wife". This night just kept getting weirder and weirder. The same officer carried my board into the house for me, telling me that my best option was to leave the country and never come back. Is that official advice?
A few nights later, the owner of the house I was staying came into my room to ask if I was using the room to do live sex chats online. I wasn't, but come to think of it, maybe it's a good idea. I could make them art housey with the ginormous seagulls outside the window as the soundtrack, like a classic grey schemed awkward British movie.
Anyway, I decided that it was all too much and got on a plane out of there.
Now, Alicante, Spain. It's hot and I can't understand a thing, but at least the water is warm enough for me to dive into without my brain contracting into a shriveled walnut and there is cheese everywhere.