WALKS DRIVES Enjoying an oldfashioned thriller in Christie Country
*** & Sunday SUNDAY DRIVER During a surfing break in Newquay, Daniel Pembrey relishes the elements in an open Morgan sports car that’s at once retro and thoroughly modern A GOOD SPOT FOR A WALK: NEWQUAY’S COASTLINE
You couldn’t imagine a more fitting corner of the capital for a Morgan showroom than Astwood Mews in Kensington, one of the last working mews in London. Approaching it, the anticipation of something tucked away, waiting to be discovered, builds. The flower boxes and discreet sign evoke a lost world, yet the gleaming Morgan Roadster nosing on to the cobbles could not be more special – only six of them will be made.
It looks fabulous in dove grey with vivid red accents. Based on the classic Morgan Roadster, it houses the lively 3.7-litre Ford Mustang Cyclone V6 engine and yet, with its ash-wood frame, it weighs only 950kg.
With the low seating position, view down the long louvred bonnet, the mounted headlamps and sweeping wheel arches, it calls to mind the world of an Agatha Christie story. Indeed, Christie was living just around the corner in a cottage in Creswell Place between the wars – the era this car evokes.
In a highly competitive sports car market, Morgan negotiates its tightrope well. While this model evokes a lost world, it came from a Morgan design team whose average age is 27.
There is a kit car-like feel to the way the door window panels can be removed, which belies serious refine- ment. The sparse interior features Mulberry red leather, chrome and a wood-rimmed Mota-lita steering wheel. It has its quirks. The speedometer is banished to the left side of the dash – almost in front of the passenger seat. But as I burble out of London along the M4, the key test of ride quality feels promising.
With the low centre of gravity, it sits on the road with a pleasing sense of solidity for such a light vehicle. The power is readily available, yet the delivery is measured; the six-speed gearbox means that the engine never need feel strained. The suspension is firm but not uncomfortable – certainly not on the M4 or M5, nor indeed the A-roads approaching Newquay. The miles vanish.
And with a coat on, the window panels in the doors removed and the top down, there is a real sense of openness to the chilly coastal winds and the sound of Atlantic rollers, not to mention the attentions of onlookers.
Soon I am negotiating the long driveway towards a monumentally alone, red-stone and grey-rendered building above the sea.
The Headland Hotel could itself be the setting for an Agatha Christie Christmas TV drama special. Opened in 1900, the Headland was the height of fashion and elegance during the interwar period. The busy maple wood dance floor was cushioned by 2,500 coil springs; orchestras came regularly from London to perform. The hotel
This five-mile walk of moderate difficulty is suggested by the curators of the South West Coast Path, and starts and finishes at Newquay’s railway station.
From the station, go out on to Cliff Road, turning left to cross the road and bear right to join the South West Coast Path on the Tram Track. Carry on along Bank Street and turn right on to Fore Street, continuing ahead on to North Quay Hill and the harbour.
Take the steps on the north side of the quay to follow the Coast Path waymarkers to the Huer’s Hut.
In the 14th century the Huer’s Hut was a hermitage, where a monk kept a light burning to warn ships of the rocks below. Some centuries later its vantage point over Newquay Bay made it the perfect location for a huer’s hut. Here a lookout was posted to watch for the arrival of the massive shoals of pilchards arriving in the bay in the late summer. When the huer spotted the fish in the bay he would “raise a hue and cry” – the origin of that saying – and directing the boats to the spot by means of hand signals.
Take the footpath to the right of the road to carry on around Towan Head to Fistral Beach, detouring to the tip of the headland for stunning coastal views. The path goes through the dunes behind Fistral Beach. At the far end of the beach continue along the path to the right.
The path continues alongside Esplanade Road, pulling out around the cliffs below the houses to round Swimming Cove and then climbing steeply uphill to rejoin Esplanade Road just before it hits Riverside Crescent.
Turn right here to detour along Pentire Point East; or turn left and left again to continue the walk along Pentire Avenue. Carry straight on ahead along Pentire Road and take the footpath along the edge of the golf course, just after the bus stop, coming out on Atlantic Road. Follow Atlantic Road around to the right and cross Tower Road, ahead, to carry on along Crantock Street.
At the end of Crantock Street turn right on St George’s Road and then left on Manor Road. Keep going ahead as it turns into East Street, which will bring you back to Cliff Road. Keep going forward to return to your starting point at the station.
How to play Basics: Griddlers are solved using number clues to locate solids (filled-in squares) and dots (empty squares) to reveal a picture.
Each column and row has a series of numbers next to it. These refer to the number of adjacent squares that should be filled as solids. If more than one number appears, that line will contain more than one block of solids.
The solid blocks must appear in the order that the numbers are printed. For example, a row that contains the numbers 11.5 would contain, somewhere, a block of 11 adjacent filled-in squares (solids), then a gap of one or more empty squares (with dots in) and then a block of five adjacent filled-in squares.
Professor Nageswara Rao, vice-chancellor of Andhra University, told an audience at the Indian Science Congress Association that the ancient demon god Ravana operated what? (a) An air force with 24 different types of aircraft (b) An early version of Google (c) A dating service for other gods