When we were driving back on wednesday afternoon, I got a phone call from the owner of the house telling me that they would not be arriving until the following week, so we could stay on if we wanted. I didn't fancy the idea of turning the car around and driving for another three and a half hours back to Cornwall, so we just carried on into Bath. Now that the Bank Holiday weekend has turned out to be scorchingly hot, I am glad we did - it would have been murder trying to find a clear-spot on that beach now.
The work of the Devil?
No, just the remnants of a game of bowls as played by giants a few years ago. This rock is huge - about 8 or 9 feet high - and sits incongruously beside a little stream which is close to a road leading to town. I suppose it is a glacial rock, but it is the only rounded one around for miles, so I don't know how it ended up here, where it has obviously been revered and cherished since pre-history. Maybe a giant picked it up to use for a game of bowls with his mates, and maybe it rolled down Trencrom Hill and ended up next to the stream where the local humans found it?
The Cornish have been deliberately trying to confuse outsiders for countless generations. Sometimes this was for a reason, and other times it was/is just for the hell of it.
A London antiquary would turn up in the 17th century and ask the locals what they knew about strange objects such as these, then they would just make up a story on the spot to see if the townie would be fooled by it. The notion that cunning outwits intelligence was probably invented by the Cornish rustics who - lacking the education of their oppressors - took great delight in showing them up as fools and laughing at them behind their backs.
There were many occasions when - on a moonlit night - local smugglers would be caught by government Excise men, fishing about in ponds to recover weighted kegs of brandy which had been hidden in them a few nights before. When asked what they were up to, they would point to the reflection of the full moon in the water's surface, and explain to the officers that they had spotted a large cheese floating there, and were trying to drag it to the edge so they could eat it. I expect they would put on as stupid a voice as they could muster as they waited for the officers to leave, thinking they were deranged. This is where the 'Moon-Rakers' came from - so they say!
On the way home last wednesday, I ended up going round the same roundabout on the A30 three times, because a local wag had turned all the road signs about by 90 degrees. They're still up to their old tricks.