Monday, September 20, 2010

How do fire trucks find them?

I spent an hour today searching for the house of two acquaintances who tell us they live “right on the Coast Path,” in a house called Dabbers Den on Porthminster Point. That may have been a figure of speech, since there’s no Dabbers Den on the Path as is winds around Porthminster Point, or anywhere else on the Point that I could find (it’s a small neighborhood, so looking around was not that big an exercise).

But, as elsewhere in England, all the houses are lovingly named – Pleasant Cove, Atlantic View, The Haven, etc. The houses aren’t numbered, however, and only about half the streets have name signs, and those usually only at one end of what may be a street of several blocks.

Which make me ask: How to fire trucks find them, if the only address is “Dabbers Den in Porthminster Point”? In the U.S., fire departments go bonkers if people put their street numbers in script, since they say that makes it hard to find “Forty Nine Ought Six” Tilden Street compared with a sensible, crisp “4906,” and reasonably so. But are English firefighters like London taxicab drivers, required to memorize where every Dabbers Den and Atlantic View is within a 10-mile radius? Seems improbable.

Apart from mulling this question, I had a quiet, unexciting day. Walked around the Hayle Estuary, which let me take another estuary picture, this time to show that boat owners need to plan ahead, since at low tide their boats are very high and dry.

At Porthminster Point, I took a picture of the lighthouse in the bay. Lucky people to have the view. I don’t think it’s Virginia Woolf’s lighthouse of To the Lighthouse, although that is somewhere along here.

Finally, a picture of St. Ives harbor from my hotel window. A pretty seaside town with a supposed tradition of being an artist’s colony. That must have some truth, since there is a branch of the Tate Museum here. But the 47 art galleries in the tourist section of town are no great shakes.

P.S.  While posting this in my hotel sitting area overlooking the harbor (since wi-fi doesn't reach my room), the hotel owner popped in to tell me that General Omar Bradley had his headquarters in this building in the run-up to D-Day.  (We agreed that American generals certainly knew how to pick out their GHQ's.)  And the church outside the window is called the "New Church," because it was consecrated in 1487.