Farewell to the Sea

Dynnargh dhe Logh. Welcome to Looe. I didn’t see this sign until our last evening. But I did feel very welcome.

Our last night in Looe was just about as perfect as it could be. The previous days had been stormy, but massive rains left everything feeling clean and fresh (and flooded – there were floods throughout the area).

The early evening tide was very high, the fishing boats were coming in laden with mackerel and accompanied by masses of seagulls.

Fishing boat, surrounded by gulls

We walked up the cliff for pre-dinner drinks at our “lounge” in Hannafore, overlooking the sea. A last talk with the friendly bar tender (who is writing a book called “My Life Behind Bars”) Then as the sun was setting, we went down to East Looe for a dinner at Papa Ninos –  a little restaurant that has only 5 tables and makes everyone in the room feel connected to each other. As a starter, we had the best mussels we’ve ever eaten. They were fat and flavourful with a Marinière sauce of white wine, cream, garlic, onion and parsley that was sublime. I’ve had this dish in a number of restaurants in the area, and I would have to say it was the best at Papa Ninos. I’ve included my Moules Marinière recipe if you want to try and make them at home, although I can’t guarantee that they will be as wonderful. Fresh mussels have been a revelation.

I had red mullet that was grilled to perfection, and Tim had Turbot in a pernod sauce that was exquisite. In our 12 days in Looe we had, between us, 18 different varieties of fish and shellfish. This dinner was certainly the cap to an extraordinary seafood adventure.

The Harbour at night

The harbor was dark and misty as we crossed the bridge to go back to West Looe and finish the evening singing with the locals in The Jolly Sailor. We’d been there the week before and were welcomed as old friends. The songs poured out, accompanied by guitar, bodrun, accordion, harmonica, banjo, recorder, penny whistle and that wonderful bottle cap rhythm stick instrument that probably has a name that I don’t know.

(sung to a rolling beat)

“It’s all the young fellows have gone to the city.

All the young fellows have gone to the town.

And soon they’ll be earning there double the money

Than they ever earned on the harrow and plow”

(sung to a sad and mournful tone)

“I asked them who

I asked them how

They answered you

They answered now”

(sung wistfully)

“For Cornish lads are fishermen

And Cornish men are miners too

But when the fish and tin are gone

What will the Cornish boys do?”

We drank local ales and Cloudy Cider and bid a fond farewell to Cornwall.

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