UK Tour 2002
Today the honeymoon period feels like it's beginning to come to an end. Possibly it's because we were all very tired after last night's escapades. None of us, except Colin, had gone to sleep before 5am. Helen came in at about 8.15 am and asked me if I wanted to revise today's early start as Nikki was out of it still. I was also shattered and was quite happy about that. We finally got out the flat at 11.40am. The point of me telling you this is to absolve myself of the sole responsibility for making us all late. Not that I'm being paranoid or anything!
The computer school (move your mouse over it)
First stop, the local computer school which is called "This is IT". It's here that we were able to connect to the the Internet.
A bit later I was talking to a group of local people, some of whom had read the diary and I asked them if what I'd written about the issue of local house prices being too high for locals to afford was accurate . Everybody in the room turned around and became involved, it was clear that this is a big issue here. On one side are the families who've lived here for some time and see the new comers as outsiders whose influence is an interference to a way of life that has worked for them for a long time now. On the other side are people who may have lived here a long time as well, or are more recent inhabitants, and they feel that they're trying to drag Looe into the 21st Century. Well it's not for me to get involved in the whys or wherefores, but it's interesting to see a glimpse of the reality behind the "romantic" image of this little port and probably many others around the country. I leave the debate I've started mid flow, before I get engulfed in the flames I have so abley fanned.
In a way the issue of "progress" is one that effects us all and has been argued over the centuries. As we're just about to enter another massive leap in technological advancement, possibly far greater than most people are expecting, the arguments will come and go again as they always have done. Recently one of the initial developers of the Internet wrote a paper with regards not putting too much power in to the hands of artificially intelligent systems. He made his point by using a scenario similar to that portrayed in the "Terminator" film, where computers control the defense systems and within seconds of becoming self aware see humans as the enemy and attempt to destroy their "creator".
A few months ago I watched an educational film about robotic legs that could walk, run and even do somersaults. At the time the film was made the legs were attached by cables to a computer and power supply, but in time (possibly a very short time) we will see robots that are able to move independently on fast moving legs. Coupled with this the recent development in nano technology that are 5 years earlier than expected and the future is bright ............ but scary.
In my opinion the dot com boom was not single event that would jolt everyone back into the real world, but one of many technology driven boom and busts to come. Within the next 5 years silicon chip technology will be superseded by nano technology which is far smaller, and cheaper to produce. When that happens computers will start to look very different, in fact often you won't be able to see some of chips as they could, for instance, be integrated in to the very fabric of clothes that you wear. The article which I got most of this information from appeared on a Yahoo scientific news page and was discussing the implications of Nano technology in relation to Terrorism. Developments in technology are going to be very exciting but will also be tempered by concern of regarding its misuse.
It seems apt to be discussing this in Cornwall because the "Ludites", a group of people who smashed up some machinery a few hundred years ago as a protest against progress and its negative effects on their lives, were from Cornwall too.
For us as well though it was time to move on, we had a dead line to get to Lands End by and according to the people in the computer school we weren't likely to make it. I had not eaten anything today so Nikki fed me a Cornish Pasty as I drove. "Here comes the choo choo train" she joked. "Here comes the police car" went through my head.
At one point we took a single track short cut. This became one of the highlights of the journey. As soon as we ever come off the main routes a whole mysterious world seems to open up to us around here. This time we had to negotiate rock fall debris and flooded fords, as well as traveling through dark tree tunnels and negotiating fast moving locals coming in the opposite direction . It's like riding a fun fair ride through fairy tale land.
Once we hit the main roads we made good progress (Magic versus speedy progress seems to be the theme today). As we approached the most Southerly point of the British mainland, Lands End, my brother, Stephen, called me to wish me a belated happy birthday. Later in the day as my tiredness made me feel a bit down his phone call touched me because even if it was done mainly out of duty the sense of someone thinking about me gave me some buoyancy.
We got to Lands End in good time, though I won't be so cocky when I get the speeding tickets. As I stepped out the car I realised that all that dancing last night had sprained my ankle so I could barely walk. Another Steve, not my brother, but a guy who works for / set up the organisation who got this project started, had organised free admission to a museum at Lands End which I hobbled around. Steve had canoed from John O'Groats to Lands End around the UK coast, so Nikki who works with him was interested to see the Canoe he used which is exhibited there. At the entrance to this section of the museum there's a wheelbarrow, someone had pushed one around for 2000 miles in the 1700's. We're taking 21 days, he did it in 25 days by foot.
Lands End despite being one of those places people visit primarily just to be able to say they've been there, is dramatic and inspiring.
Nikki, who had questioned me earlier as to why we were bothering to go to Lands End, enthused over it's beauty, and snapped pictures frociously. A purely satisfying moment for me I can tell you!
After Lands End we went to St. Michael's Mount which is an island just off the coast which can be walked to or from when the tide's out. I was unable to walk so I sat in the Cutty Sark pub and drank Earl Grey Tea. Yesterday, when we were at Robbie and Judy's, Robbie had said that an Earl Grey (not the original one) had lived in his house and had been quite a drinker (Not Earl Grey tea). When he drank he used to throw his empty bottles all over the place when he'd finished with them and Robbie was still digging them up occasionally. Now as I said yesterday Robbie's a great story teller but I reckoned it's the truth, he had us all convinced anyway. Hehe ........... he's not on the internet yet!
Whilst I sat in the pub a young woman walked in and started telling someone else of a dungeon that had just been discovered in one of the local buildings and in it was found a skeleton. She said she's gone inside the room, seen it for herself and described its shape and dimensions. Is it something about Cornwall or is it just that Disney have turned it into a theme park without letting us know?
Earlier in the day Helen had received some very upsetting news and it's hard to bounce around having fun with such a backdrop. This coupled with our tiredness made for a quiet journey home and once back at the flat a sense of detachment from one another.
Everyone was too tired to cook so we went out in search of Fish and Chips, but unable to find anywhere that we could afford (Fish and chips used to be poor peoples food), we ended up having "Roast Pig" in a pub. Bloated and tired we went back to the flat. Nikki and Helen went for a walk on the beach, Colin took in the sea air and a cigarette or two and I wrote this.
Tomorrow is our last full day in Looe. Then we'll be traveling North 350 miles.