We purchased a jar of Thursday Cottage Vintage Seville Marmalade with Somerset Cider Brandy, and have eaten some with "99" Co-op brand tea for breakfast. Neither the tea nor the marmalade is readily available in the U. S. The tea is bright orange and smooth, the marmalade has wonderful large chunks of orange peel and is a rich red-brown color. We eat it on baguettes or yeast buns. The buns have had a Proustian effect on both of us; we both remember Elsa's mother and grandmother serving them.
We walk a lot, up and down the hillside, carrying our parcels, enjoying the people and buildings of Truro. We have reserved flats in Truro, London, and York which will see us through the end of May. Then we plan to head to Durham for a while, always seeking traces of our grandchildren's ancestors.
We ate one lunch on a bench on Lemon Quay sharing a baguette-with-gorgonzola and a bap (looks exactly like a hamburger bun) with oxtongue. We have eaten Cornish pasties and found that Pendleton's Potato Postulate remains unbroken: the best-known local food in any city is generally built out of potatoes. The bottle of Dandelion And Burdock Soda we found at the tiny Post Office and convenience store around the corner tastes like a super-sweet Coke, and is said to be an old-fashioned favorite. Today we ate fish and chips and a steak and kidney pie in a cafe filled with shopping families. And we have a couple of sharp cheddar cheeses in the fridge.
Many of the people crowding downtown were doing their regular Saturday shopping, and the teenagers were mingling and strutting as teenagers do everywhere. A crowd had gathered for the opening of Otakar's new bookstore. Otakar's is apparently a Cornwall chain, with a Tintin motif. John LeCarre was the special guest who cut the ribbon, a jazz band played Dixieland just inside the door, and champagne or orange juice was served. In Truro there are also a W. H. Smith and several used and rare bookshops.
The Truro Public Library reminded us of libraries in the U.S., with lots of books, lots of patrons, friendly staff, used books for sale by the Friends of the Library, and a computer room where we did a quick email check. The computers are a new addition to 31 libraries throughout Cornwall and have been partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is called the People's Network and eventually will include computers in every library in the U.K.
Spring has been going on in England for some time now; in fact even in London last week where it snowed, we saw bushes budding and early crocuses and daffodils out of the ground. Today we saw a tiny daffodil in a front garden.
The only things we've found that we'd call inexpensive so far are the railroad tickets. A 15-mile return (that is, round trip) ticket to St. Austell cost us two pounds forty per person with Senior Railcard discount. On the other hand, we paid two pounds to copy three local maps on 12 by 17 inch paper, and internet access is three pounds an hour.
While we are in Truro our email reports will be a little irregular as we have to compose them at home, copy the address lists, text files and pictures to a CD, bring the CD to the internet cafe, and reconstruct the messages. As a result you may not hear for a while and then get several reports at once. Things should go better in London and York, where we'll have a phone in the flat!