On the second day of my trip, I went to the railroad station in Truro and picked up a nice little blue Audi and drove off.
US people often wonder whether driving on the left in the UK is difficult. I didn’t think so. Of course, if you’re tooling around country roads between Cornish hedges, there’s often little or no difference between the left and right sides of the road. It turns out that my chief problem was believing all the speed limit signs were in kilometers and not miles. I think this was highly annoying to people on the highway, but once I got off the main roads, it wasn’t bad. There seems to be a reluctance to tool about in Cornwall, some of which is cultural and some the price of gas, so no one was following me for long enough to be bothered.
I decided to do a northeast coast run on my first day, so my first stop was Tintagel, the medieval fortress and supposed location where King Arthur was conceived. It’s an impressive site, especially if you’re up for a scramble or two up and down the sides of hills. There’s not much left of the castle at all, but the views more than make up for it:
Here’s a shot after climbing the cliff into the castle proper:
You can’t see Merlin’s Cave, the tunnel that runs through the head of the peninsula, save at low tide. I hadn’t checked the tides beforehand, but I managed to luck out.
I didn’t cover the whole site, because I had a more important goal: the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle, where I wanted to view a few books in their small but excellent library. In particular, I wanted to view their photocopy of Lenciewicz’s manuscript that we published in Oberon, to see if the earlier reproduction was in better shape. (It wasn’t, but I did get a reading or two out of it.) The staff was quite helpful in getting me set up and helping to guide me around the collection (Dewey system, for any curious librarians), as was Tom the Dalmatian. After that, I partook of the museum collection, of which I’d heard a great deal over the years.
A shelf of magical ingredients!
A reconstructed cunning woman’s hut.
Is this Austin Osman Spare’s scrying crystal?
Here I am, massive-humidity hair and all, with the museum’s famous goat mask.
…and now I’ve realized this post is far too long without getting into the rest of the day, so I’ll cut it off here.