With a welcome sign like that, how isn’t Plymouth more popular?
Just kidding. Apparently a ‘hoe’ is a thing – a large south-facing public space, my research tells me. Not a timeless name though, but well in keeping with England’s tradition of refusing to rename things that become funnier/more inappropriate/super rude with age and time (see also: spotted dick, Cockfosters tube station, the town of Shitterton in Dorset, the town of Titty Hill in Sussex, a pub I had lunch at once called The Black Boy Inn).
On our long drive back from Cornwall to Brighton we stopped off for a few hours to check out Plymouth, home of Jon’s alma mater and another seaside city that I’d yet to visit.
We were only there for a few hours, enough to shoot the loop around the hoe and the docks, along the coast eating some ice cream on a day that was much too cold for it, while Jon shared stories with me from his misspent university days.
It seems like a cool city, although one that is best served in the summertime, when you can really make the most of those rare beautiful sunshiney days by the seaside. It seems like it would be very cold and windy the rest of the year, what with all the flat plateaus looking out to sea – Jon confirms this! Meaning going to uni there was a bit of a downer since you’d be leaving just as the school year comes to an end and the city comes into its own. I’m pretty sure people who actually live year-round in Plymouth won’t agree with this assessment. Which is fair.
One of the most interesting parts of being in Plymouth was actually going to the place where the original pilgrims – you know, the ones who left England and “started up” America by stealing it from the native population – set sail. I stood where they stood, where the Mayflower took off, leaving England forever and changing the course of history. I felt a weird sense of historical symmetry, standing there where my far off ancestors (maybe?) once stood. Now to go to Plymouth Rock in America and complete the circle!
When we hit the road again we made one final stop to pick up some Cornish specialities – specifically I was on the hunt for some scrumpy cider (Scrumpy is cider originally created in the West Country of England, particularly Devon, Somerset and Dorset, and the term is used to separate locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities while using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders like Strongbow, Rekorderlig, etc).
I was also on the hunt for some clotted cream to take home, and once these delicious items were obtained (and one fiendishly large bag of fresh scones too), we finally, truly got back on the road and headed back to our Sussex home. I love making the most of living in this beautiful country, and I think a trip to the Southwest should definitely happen again, sooner than later I hope. You don’t really need the sunshine when you have those beautiful coasts and lush greenery everywhere you look. (I mean, I want the sun too, when possible, but if we have to negotiate….).