“You’re just like the Presley’s. They cycle everywhere from Bovey Tracey,” says Anne, our landlady for the night, as we begin the long walk from the pretty guest house with flowers climbing up the wall, to the ‘annexe’ a quarter of a mile away that looks like a DHSS hostel. Securing the room had required some negotiation with the lady in the bling encrusted spectacles dressed in a yellow two piece. She had been reluctant to give us permission to take over a family room for the night due to the fact there were ‘shopfitters’ upstairs. When we established that she didn’t mean shoplifters and reassured her I had no problem with shopfitters we agreed a deal. “They’re actually no trouble, ” she whispers. “They’ve been with me for six months. But don’t leave your bikes outside, too dangerous!” She deposits me in a gloomy hallway in front of a payphone and hands over a key. “I have to give my shopfitters breakfast first in the morning. So you can’t have breakfast until a quarter to nine. And you have to ring me first. When I answer the phone I need you to ask “Are you ready for us?” And I will say yes or no. Can you remember that?” Anne enquires without taking a breath. I tell her I’ll be sure to handle the situation appropriately. “Here, have a practise,” she says, handing me the receiver. When she is satisfied I have understood the procedure she nods approvingly and gives me the key. “The Presley’s are mad too,” she sighs as she bustles down the hall back to her flower clad house. The kids are hungry so we pile out into the streets of Truro in search of food, heading for the cathedral, led by the sound of the bells.
In the morning we regret spending our money on an evening meal as breakfast is a production. About fifty cereal boxes line the windowsill, and Anne, still dressed in yellow, comes in to take our order while welcoming three German Tourists. They don’t speak English, but that doesn’t put our host off, as she tries to introduce us, trying out a few different words for trailers. The Germans don’t understand the words ‘pod’ or ‘bucket seat.’ When she gets nowhere she askes them if they enjoyed their night on the town. “An y girls?” she asks, as they look at her blankly. “FEMALES,” she shouts, miming an hourglass figure. More blank looks and she gives up. “Full english,” she says, ignoring the German’s attempts to point out they just want toast. “Where are you off to today?” she turns her attention to us. We tell her Camborne, and she nods. “The Presley’s from Bovey Tracey went to Dorset by bike once,”she cries, commanding someone in the kitchen to get on with the breakfasts.
Ten minutes later and two full English breakfasts come to the next table in the hands of her employee, then a third follows, “For the cyclist” says the waitress, plonking a massive mound of bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns and beans in front of the German who is still miming toast being spread with butter. A couple of minutes later and Anne appears at the Germans table and snatches the plate while the guest’s fork is in mid air. “I said for the cyclist. You’re not cycling to Camborne today are you?” The Germans catch on and announce they are off to Stonehenge. “You need a good breakfast,” she announces to Stuart.
His breakfast appears, piled onto his plate. The German whose breakfast was stolen looks over and make a noise into his serviette. “What is he saying about my beans?” says Anne, hands on yellow hips. “What are you saying about my beans? They’re good beans, from Sainsbury’s.” She whips away his plate and his toast and turns to us. “Good luck with your cycling. But don’t go on the main roads, will you? The Presley’s do and I worry so. It’s such a long road to Bovey Tracey.” “It’s even longer to John O Groats,” says Stuart. “Not after one of my breakfasts,” says Anne with a wink as she waddles out of the breakfast room with the German guest’s toast.