West Cornwall’s summer season ends today.
It’s the last day we’ll be able to get Jelbert’s ice-cream in Newlyn; museums, gardens and some tourist-focused shops are switching to winter hours or closing altogether; and, most importantly from our point of view, many pubs are suddenly empty.
Pubs which are designed for the hot, heaving days of August — huge buildings with multiple rooms, beer gardens, play areas and several bars — are partially closed. As the rain and fog settles, the lights are going out, and people are retreating to the log-fire in the saloon.
We visited a pub yesterday which, when we last went, was so busy every table was reserved, all day. Yesterday, the barman looked startled when we walked in. The clock was ticking, the fire was crackling, and he had been lost in thought, chin in hand.
We sat in the corner of a pub designed to accommodate more than two hundred people and had it to ourselves. The Overlook Hotel came to mind.
Our first winter out west is going to be an interesting one.