Albatross on a Plaque

Today began as yesterday ended – with hole in my right lower molar and rain. We have an as yet untried travel dental repair kit which might help fix the first issue so I set about trying. Actually, Carol volunteered to attempt the filling but very quickly decided that she couldn’t hold my tongue out of the way whilst trying to cram temporary filling material into the cavernous hole in the rear inside edge of my very rear tooth. Peering into a mirror in this dimly-lit 15th century pile of stone trying to cram emergency filling material into my own tooth remnant, I saw her point. After several minutes of gagging with a mouth full of fingers grasping a wooden stick containing some weird consumer dental material, I managed to get my own emergency repair in place. Elegant it was not but it did seem to be somewhat effective. My tongue breathed a sigh of relief.

Regrettably we could do nothing about the rain. It wasn’t particularly heavy but it did seem to be persistent. Living in one ancient manor, we chose to visit another ancient manor: Cotehele House. I say “we” but really should say “they”, by which I mean the National Trust members of our group. The NT members were in a large majority. I don’t normally “do” large baronial mansions. To be frank, they bore me witless. They are usually full of dark old antiques that I dislike and have walls covered in oil paintings of po-faced, long-dead family members that I didn’t know in the first place but, hey, it was raining so why not?

One advantage of the NT members greatly outnumbering the heathens in our party (me) is that I could get in for free. Excellent! Cotehele House proved to be largely as expected. Actually, this baronial pile was darker than I’ve ever seen before because, instead of the po-faced family members, its walls are nearly all covered in very dark, very old tapestries. It did, however, have an entrance hall crammed with a fascinating collection of ancient and very brutal-looking weaponry. I never cease to be amazed at the inventiveness mankind displays in designing and developing terrible new ways to inflict excruciating fatal tissue damage on his fellow man.

Rather less expected was the trophy mounted on one of the walls of the entrance hall. Was it perhaps a stag? No. Was it perhaps a boar? No. A bear, then, not that bears inhabit this sceptred isle? No, it was the head of an albatross; it looked quite bizarre and, frankly, a little grumpy. Come to think of it, we don’t get many albatrosses in this sceptred isle either. So much for the Ancient Mariner, then.

We had a very pleasant homemade Cornish Pasty for a late-ish lunch overlooking the river Tamar and very nice it was, too … until my temporary filling came out.

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