Emmet Elena’s Guide To Cornwall

In Cornwall, an “Emmet” is an individual who is visiting from outside the region, or has moved to the region from outside of it. Although ‘Emmet’ is typically derogatory in nature, most Cornish people are lovely, warm and welcoming, so ‘Emmets’ can be sure of a friendly welcome, provided that you treat the locals with respect.

As an ‘Emmet’, I’ve found a number od things to be true of Cornwall, compared to my home in Bristol. I’ve visited Cornwall every year for 22 years now, and no, I’m still not bored!

Below is my list of 20 points. If you’re thinking of visiting this spectacular region with it’s own culture, language and extensive history, be sure to sit up and listen in!

  1. Cornish miles are longer than they are anywhere else

Maybe it’s all the hills, but 4 Cornish miles feels like 8 back in Bristol. I’m not sure if they’re measured differently, but they definitely do feel longer!

2. Cornish people have their own version of the highway code

Sorry folks, but it’s true. Sometimes, the Cornish people walk on the opposite side of the road to oncoming traffic on beach roads, which causes havoc for motorists. On other occasions, I’ve seen horse riders riding side-by-side. But hey, it’s their streets and roads, who can blame them for rewriting the rules?

3. If you don’t drive, buses are one an hour in some places (if you’re lucky)

In parts of Cornwall (Truro, Redruth etc), buses are pretty regular and you can get around pretty easily. In the more coastal areas, buses are one an hour during low season, if you’re lucky. Taxi firms do exist so you can still get around, it just might not be how you’d imagined.

4. Cornwall isn’t quite as caught up as more urban parts of the country.

On one of my earlier visits to Cornwall, we encountered some roadworks. The lights seemed stuck on red, and my Mum joked that in a few moments, a man would come down and flick them onto green. A few moments later, and sure enough, a worker actually did come down the road on a quad bike and pressed some buttons on the back of the light set which made them complete their sequence. On the back of his quad bike was a plyboard sign that read “traffic control”. Nothing is to be unexpected in Cornwall!

5. Holding your mobile phone in the air can mean signal, or not

On our most recent trip, if I sat in the lounge of our chalet, I got no signal. If I sat facing the corner of the dining room, I could get 4G. Back in Bristol, I can get 4G anywhere in my home. Because of the hills and cliffs, mobile phone signal in Cornwall can be patchy at best. Always check coverage before leaving.

6. The Cornish people are a very talkative lot

The Cornish people are a lovely bunch but my goodness they know how to chat. I went into a fudge shop for some treats and ended up having a twenty minute chat with the assistant about Camborne. If you find small talk difficult or painful, know that in Cornwall, there might not be an easy escape!

7. Cornwall is both liberal and conservative

Cornwall is as much surfer central as it is farming and agriculture. Near the coast, surf shacks and quaint fishing harbours rule supreme and yet in land, farming accounts for a huge portion of available work. For the surfers, peace, love and acceptance make them largely Brexit Remainers, and yet for farmers and fishermen, Brexit is largely regarded as a good thing as it protects their businesses from cheap, European produce. The angst between Remain and Leave is quite apparent on the south coast, although the Cornish seem to rule against any physical altercations.

8. Dogs are welcome nearly EVERYWHERE

In my home village, you wouldn’t dare to take your dog in the butcher’s shop. In parts of Cornwall, it’s seemingly perfectly normal. Nearly every pub is dog friendly and many many shops allow man’s best friend to enter, too.

9. ATMs are in the most obsecure places (and sometimes aren’t ATMs at all)

Amusement arcades, Poundsaver stores, on the side of a tepelphone booth on the corner of a busy junction.. One of the things my times in Cornwall taught me is that ATMs can appear almost anywhere. Also, the ATM in the Post Office actually wasn’t. When I asked the cashier where the ATM was, she told me to insert my debit card into the card reader and let her know how much I wanted withdraw. I was a little disappointed when she didn’t beep profusely at me at the end of my transaction like the ATM would have done!

10. Most beaches have lifeguards. Respect them. ALWAYS.

People, a lot of Cornwall’s favourite surf beaches have dangerous undercurrents and you absolutely can be washed out to sea. During the dangerous times, the lifeguards put up flags to indicate if or where it is safe and not safe to surf. They are there to protect and save your life, so listen to their advice and watch out for their flags, please.

11. If you want to tombstone, expect to pay for the privilege

Under much of the sea lies fallen craggy rocks. If you’re not too careful, you can end up hitting them. Many watersports centres offer coasteering trips so you can fulfill your tombstoning dreams with a hard hat, a safety instructor and a safety jacket. It’s better to trust the knowledge and know-how of someone who knows what they are doing than end up being plucked unconscious from the sea in front of thousands of onlookers.

12. If it’s windy in London, it’s blowing a gale in Cornwall

On all sides of Cornwall lies the Atlantic ocean. Unfortunately, being on the Atlantic ocean means Cornwall experiences some nasty weather that has had chance to build up its strength. We have had winds that were so strong, they rocked the static caravan and we had to tuck ourselves in at night to avoid being rolled out of bed. I’ve also encountered winds so strong; they lifted my then twelve stones self up. Cornwall is beautiful, but do be aware of the weather.

13. Not all Cornish pasties are created equal

In any part of the UK, you can pick up a Ginster’s Cornish pasty and be fairly confident that you are getting the real and authentic deal. However, traditional pasties contain chuck beef steak (not mince) and are hand crimped. If you want a Cornish pasty, you really do need to be in Cornwall. Fortunately, if you’re worried about running out then you can take home a box of 10 for around £30.

14. Don’t litter the beaches and expect the surfers not to notice

Littering Cornish beaches is a big no-no. This year, I saw some young boys part-bury an empty packet and a surfer noticed and called them back. The surfers run down the beach at quite some speed to warm up before they hit the water, and the last thing they want between their toes is your dog’s mess. The Cornish are proud of their beaches and if you disrespect them, they will notice.

15. How you treat the locals will decide whether they tell you the best places to fish

Make no mistake, the locals know the best places to fish. If you’re friendly to them, they’ll be friendly to you. If you’re abrupt with them, they might recommend a spot where you’ll come up a dud. Cornwall depends partially on fishing and tourism for the economy, so they won’t want to give away the best spots too easily.

16. There is more to Cornish cuisine than Cornish pasties

Cornish pasties are wonderful, warming and filling, but they aren’t the be all and end all of dining in Cornwall. From Atlantic prawns to hevva buns and yarg cheese (covered in cooked stinging nettles!), be sure to give everything a try!

17. Owning a car really DOES make a difference

Many locations are so quaint and remote that the nearest bus stop is a mile or two away, and at the top of a steep hill. There may be a car park closer to your chosen attraction which you could have used, if, you know, you had a car.

18. You may see seals, but you may see dolphins, sharks and whales, too

Like I’ve said before, Cornwall is on the Atlantic, so what you can expect in the Atlantic, you can expect to see in Cornwall. Fortunately, sharks are usually deep into the sea and unprovoked attacks on people are almost unheard of. The seals like to bathe in the harbour though, and won’t mind stopping for a photo!

19. Beaches can be full of nasties, so please be careful

Even if the sharks don’t come near the beaches, the weaverfish and Portuguese Man O’ War do. Always pay attention to local news, and wear footwear on the beaches if you aren’t sure. Although neither sting is guaranteed to be fatal, they both have stings that are guaranteed to be very painful if you step on them,

And finally..

20. How you assemble your scone DEFINITELY matters!

It’s a long-standing debate and something many people find ridiculous at best, but in Cornwall, how you make your scone really does matter! Nobody will correct you for putting the jam first, but you can expect a few unsettled looks from the locals if you do!

That’s my 20 points. Have you been to Cornwall? What was your favourite memory of this wonderful county? Let me now in the comments!

Hugs & kinky cuddles,

Elena xx

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