Cornwall, with Caroline Quentin (2012) s01e08 Episode Script

Episode 8

Cornwall, an awe-inspiring canvas of natural beauty.
It is, I think, the best part of the British Isles.
It's absolutely stunning.
I'll stay here forever.
It's like being on holiday every day.
It's because it doesn't feel real.
But it's the people and communities that really give this county its endearing qualities.
(Gulls cry) I'm Cornish, not English.
That's the way it goes with me, I'm afraid.
MAN: I just love living here so much and it means so much to me.
It's awesome, isn't it? Look at it all.
I'm Caroline Quentin and I'm proud to have family roots in this beautiful part of the British Isles.
This summer, I'm heading back to join the throng of tourists and meet the local folk - Welcome to St Michael's Mount.
- Thank you, darling.
I'm so pleased to be here.
I've looked at postcards of this all my life.
as I explore this enchanting county.
It'll take your breath away.
So come with me, as I head west on my Cornish adventure.
Tasting wine at half-past nine.
A lot of people are still commuting, on the tube, going to London.
MAN: A lovely, sunny day, like today, get out on the water, peace and quiet - beautiful, priceless.
There's so much I want you to see.
Come on.
Welcome to Kernow.
That's "Cornwall" in the Cornish language.
1% of the Cornish people still speak the Cornish language.
Very few people understand it, so I thought I might be able to ingratiate myself if I learned a little and could speak to them.
I thought I might say, 'Thank you for your kind hospitality.
Thank you for looking after me so lovingly, with such affection.
' Let's have a look.
(Speaks Cornish) I think that makes me qualify as a Cornishwoman now, wouldn't you say? They'll be pretty impressed with that.
Well, as their exciting summer draws to a close, I'm sure the villagers of St Issey would welcome me.
Coming up: It's an anxious wait for Brenda and her team, as they hope to bring home gold.
The day is young.
Just wait and see.
And, elsewhere, some more familiar faces are marking the end of the season.
- The round-island swim, you're doing it? - Oh, yes.
You get a reward as you get out, you get a swig of rum.
- I'd want a bottle of rum before I got in, I think.
- Yeah.
(Birdsong) This summer, the Cornish village of St Issey has been transformed in more ways than one.
Not only has community spirit been re-ignited, but, thanks to characters like pensioner Brenda and pub landlord Chris, the residents have grafted hard to enter themselves into a regional village competition.
The villagers are still anxiously awaiting the results but, today, there's the perfect distraction and a chance to celebrate their efforts at the annual village fun day.
The pub is always at the centre of the action here, so with true Cornish logic, and the help of Chris's son Matt, it's going mobile to the masses - in a horsebox.
Only in Cornwall.
We moved back to St Issey five years ago.
Basically, had enough of London.
That's when Dad took over the Ring o' Bells.
It's just a great place for kids to grow up.
I think, sometimes, you do take it for granted.
You don't take advantage of what is around you.
It's only, like yesterday, I sat down on the beach.
All right, it was raining, but (Laughs) As the village green fills up, Chris is ready to serve the masses.
Funny how the pub's always the centre, isn't it? (Chuckles) Nothing captures village spirit better than a fun day, and, here, everybody is having their fair share - Go! from kids.
to parents.
But it's the village veterans who are having the biggest laugh and letting their hair down with - wait for it - mobility scooter time trials.
Canon Julia and the rest of the competitors are taking this all very seriously.
Can I cope with this? (Laughs) These pre-race nerves.
There's the start, slalom through there, right, round the bit that's cut out, round there back down the straight to the finish.
But I've only got a little scooter and the others have got big scooters, so perhaps there'll be a handicap system.
WOMAN: Reverend Julia, she's going round here somewhere, but I'm hoping the battery's going down, so I haven't used my battery, so I haven't seen anybody going round practising, but you never know.
Probably dead of night, they were there.
She's got a helper on her side, from above, so that should be enough.
I'm gonna have a pint now, and that should help me through it, I think, and I won't drive it home.
As the audience take their seats, the competitors line up, track-side.
WOMAN: All very keen? Who can complete a lap in the fastest time? (Revving engines) (Cheering) (Cheering) Oh, not Julia.
The prize goes to her arch-rival Tish.
It was your battery, you was going round too much.
Oh, yeah.
Poor old John had what he called 'wheel spin', I gather.
It's been a super day.
It's been an action-packed summer for the villagers.
It was good.
It was good.
I enjoyed that.
Next year, we'll have a bigger track, I think.
There's just one more event in the busy village diary: The much anticipated awards ceremony for the In Bloom contest.
We'll find out those all-important results later.
On the south coast, summer shows no signs of fading at Treloan campsite and Debs has begun the morning drill.
Animal feeding time! As soon as that bell rings, they come from nowhere.
Life at this campsite is a communal affair, and Debs likes to involve all the children in the chores.
Not much of a hardship though, is it? Pied Piper is what they call me.
Let's see if they've laid us any eggs this morning, shall we? - Three.
- Wow! Good girl.
Well done.
Debs needs all the help she can get this morning, because she's got the villagers' end-of-season celebration to attend: The annual cricket match.
She's entered an all-girls team.
Well, sort of.
Oh, my goodness.
I've just thought, 'Who's that woman? ' It's Rido, dressed as a woman.
Thank you, my boy.
Six local teams have come together for one last jolly, but Debs'infamous competitive spirit can't be suppressed.
My two women are going on first: Nancy and Rido.
Adjust the gears here.
- (Applause) - Go on, Rido! Here we go.
Rido's out! What's he playing at? But it's not a good start.
With her star player out, it's up to Debs to get the scoreboard moving.
Go, go, go, go! A good effort, but is it enough? Wahey! Well done! Well done, girls! So the total was 48.
MAN OVER TANNOY: Royal Standard require 49 to win.
We're gonna win this.
I thought this was supposed to be a friendly.
Debs'team seem to be pulling it back, erm, I think.
One ball left.
If they hit a six, then it's a tie.
Yeah! (Cheering) (Thunderclap) Then rain stops play.
Time for a team pep talk, or skip that, a pint, instead.
The final.
I'm the first bowler on.
I shall be bowling dead straight on.
Six pints of Doom Bar.
Bowled over by the festivities, it's game on again.
Whoa! We need 48 to win.
Oooh! Ouch! Is that slippery grass or Cornish ale? - Come on! - Where's Dave? (Cheering) Six off the last ball.
They beat us by six runs, so that was a really good game.
Well played.
Well played.
It was a brilliant day today.
Really, really good.
Thank you.
This is why I love it here, the community, and it's all about having fun and having a drink at the end of the day.
Debs has had a fantastic innings this summer, working and playing hard.
She's shown the true Cornish spirit that I really admire.
I take my hat off to her.
They say the Atlantic is at its warmest at the end of the summer.
They also say a seaweed wrap is good for the skin and a swim is good for the soul.
I could test out all these theories for you, but I'm not going to.
I'm gonna have a pasty.
I'm not just eating my way around the county, you know.
I've also managed to tour some of Cornwall's most beautiful villages and landmarks.
One of my favourites has been here, St Michael's Mount, where I was given the insider's tour of this majestic place by customer services liaison manager Pete Hamilton.
Oh, what a view! Oh, Pete! 300 residents once lived on this little island, but now that figure has dwindled to a close-knit community of just 30.
Pete is one of the privileged few to spend a lot of time here.
It's where his mother-in-law lives too.
So you've known this place all your life.
I've been able to see it from my bedroom window for as long as I can remember.
- Is it odd now, to be here? - Yeah, it is kind of surreal.
I know that I always had a sort of affinity with the Mount.
You definitely get drawn to it.
If you go on holiday, it's not until you see St Michael's Mount that you feel like you're home.
So, now, to be part of the community here on the island, and to have been lucky enough to get married in the church at the top How does stuff come, like shopping, washing powder, things like that, how does that get over here? There's an underground tram system.
- OK.
- Yeah, it's amazing.
It was built by tin miners, around the Victorian times.
The Victorians, weren't they absolutely awesome? It's still used.
It'll be used several times today.
Do you ever feel claustrophobic by life on the island? No, the opposite, because it's so isolated a lot of the time, there's literally no-one here, other than people that live on the island.
There's plenty of space.
Some people have worked here and, on their first day, the tide's come in, and all of a sudden, they're on an island and that's is, they got panicky and didn't like it.
- They freak out.
- Freak out, yeah.
Do you think it's given you a sense of security and purpose perhaps that you didn't have? Yeah.
I've got direction.
I've got pride in what I do for the first time.
- Yeah, I can tell that.
- I love being here.
I love my job and I'll bore anyone who's prepared to listen about it.
I just love it.
Do you find it spiritual, as a place to be? Not in the religious sense, but certainly in the inner self sense, yeah.
- It's made you happy, hasn't it? - It's turned my life around, yeah.
I'm not leaving.
They've got to crowbar me out now.
I'm staying.
Come forward, folks.
During the average summer, Pete works his socks off, entertaining a quarter of a million visitors to the Mount.
But, as the season draws to a close, there's an annual tradition that takes place exclusively for the islanders.
CAROLINE: The round-island swim - Yeah? - What's your record? - 43 minutes.
- That's pretty good.
- Yeah.
My brother-in-law has the record.
He did it in 20-something.
No! What is he, super-human? He trained by swimming across the harbour, back and forth, with buckets tied to his feet.
- What a bloke.
- Yeah, it's just over a mile.
It's about 1.
1 miles.
- And you're doing it? - Oh, yes, and so are you.
Do you know, honestly, I'd probably drown, but I'd drown happy, I think.
If you do make it, Lord St Levan is generally at the end of the quay with a bottle of rum, and as you get out you get a swig of rum from the bottle.
- I'd want a bottle of rum before I got in.
- Yeah, definitely.
Pete can think again, if he's under the impression I'll be getting involved.
But I wish him luckhe's gonna need it.
At the end of a busy year of digging, pruning and weeding, the villagers of St Issey have downed tools and are hoping for a stroke of their own luck.
Having entered their village into a county-wide Cornwall In Bloom contest, Brenda and her team have made it through to the Southwest In Bloom awards, here in Newquay.
The who's who of the horticultural world is in residence.
Brenda and her neighbours Stephanie and Marjorie are rubbing shoulders with them.
The competition is very, very high.
The group that St Issey are in, they're up against some stiff competition.
But they are first-time entrants, and there are nearly 50 other hopeful towns and villages, so expectations are modest.
We've got to accept that we are only beginners and the people in the village realise that, so they're not expecting great things from us.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my home town of Newquay.
God bless you all and God save the Queen! Yes, indeed.
With formalities out of the way, the awards begin, and there's no mention of St Issey.
(Applause) If I'm absolutely honest, a couple of times I've thought, we've done better than that.
The day is young.
Just wait and see.
As the guests reconvene, the finalists for the next award are called to the stage.
Our winner for 2011 is St Issey.
(Cheering) Yes! They've done it! Fantastic.
I can't believe it.
And the good news doesn't stop there.
into Southwest In Bloom.
And the winner is St Issey In Bloom.
(Cheering) Five awards - yes, five awards - later, Brenda is gobsmacked.
Really, really fantastic.
- It was like going to the - Oscars.
the Oscars, wasn't it? Yes.
I feel like Helen Mirren, without the posh frock.
With the swag in her bag, there's just one job left to do, fittingly, back in the pub, where the story began.
Hi, everybody.
It's been quite a day and we got gold.
(Cheering) - Then there was another award - (Laughter) for exceptional community effort and the children at the school won it for their garden.
Incredible and we've done it together.
Everybody's put their bit in, so it's a huge, community superglue.
It's really good.
It just proves that, you know, with a village community working together, it shows it in what we've come up with.
It's like Christmas Day all in one.
Absolutely brilliant.
For a village that had lost its community spirit, this is an incredible achievement.
What a fitting end to a brilliant summer here in Cornwall.
Over the summer months, St Michael's Mount has transformed from an intimate, island community into a bustling tourist attraction.
But it's the end of the peak season and things become a little calmer for Pete Hamilton, and the 30 or so villagers that live and work here.
The end of the summer is signalled by a very special occasion and it's taking place today, with a difference.
PETE: Today's the day of the annual round-the-island swim.
It's certainly something that's synonymous with the end of the season and, in the last five or six years, it's become an actual annual event.
We've had an official timekeeper and there's been a swig of rum for the swimmers as they get out.
But, due to the sea conditions, we're not gonna be able to go right around the island today.
It's too rough at the back.
The plan now is to have a swim from the island here, towards Chapel Rock and back again.
In terms of distance is about the same as around the island, but it means that we haven't got to swim over the dangerous rocks, in big seas.
So a little bit disappointed, but quietly relieved as well.
There are nine brave souls taking the plunge in today's swim, an old tradition hailing from the St Aubyn family, who have occupied this island for centuries.
It's an occasion that brings the St Aubyns and the villagers together, not least because of the tempting slug of rum that James St Aubyn is brandishing.
(Feedback) Swimming round the mount has a long tradition.
I've been told that, in the 1930s, my father's generation had to do the swim before they were allowed out in a boat on their own.
Whatever your motivation, I hope you enjoy the experience, - so the very best of luck to you all.
- Good luck, folks.
If I can get there and back in less than an hour, I'd be happy.
40 minutes is the target.
Yeah, a little bit worried today, actually.
Three two one go! It's not an easy swim, by any stretch, which is why the RNLI have volunteered to be on hand.
In just 22 minutes, the first man touches land - (Cheering) so Pete's not this year's winner.
Nor is he second.
Or third.
(Laughter) And that's before he's even had any rum.
So where does Pete come? And, finally, last but not least, of course, Peter Hamilton! Well done, Peter! It's a lovely afternoon and we all had some fun, and there is handing out the rum, so, yes, it's it's a very good feeling.
Cheers, guys.
Cheers, guys.
The healing properties of the rum are softening the blow of defeat but, Pete, you've smashed your personal best, by 10 minutes.
We'll start from ninth, shall we? Peter Hamilton, 32 minutes.
(Cheering) I'm privileged to be able to do things like this, really, it's not everyone that can go to work and, as part of their working day, take part in an event such as this.
It feels good to be part of the island community.
I wouldn't change a thing about my life, no.
Let me think about that.
No, I really wouldn't.
I wouldn't change a thing.
It's perfect as it is, thank you very much.
(Laughter) It's been a really good summer, and, yeah, roll on the next one.
Can't wait.
Until then, life will continue to ebb and flow on this little island, and Pete and his community can take a well-earned rest, after an eventful summer.
I've had the most extraordinary time here in Cornwall, exploring the length and breadth of this beautiful county.
I've met some amazing people and seen some really beautiful sights, but don't take it from me.
Why don't you come here and see for yourself? March 2017