IT WAS, to say the least, somewhat surreal, strolling around my pet West Country resort in garb more suited to June or July.
February was still with us, let us not forget, yet such was the power of the sun from a supremely azure sky that every rule in the seasonal textbook was broken.
And that resort. It’s got to be Bude, my favourite piece of Cornwall and not because it’s only 25 miles from home but for a whole variety of reasons, including some fabulous floral displays dotted about the town. I even place it one rung above St Ives and Looe, two other helpings of Cornish cream.
When the mercury is so high, you expect to be greeted by beds of roses, petunias, alstroemerias, dahlias and a host of summer-blooming shrubs. But daffodils, crocuses and the fading beauty of snowdrops? What’s going on?
Rewind to exactly a year ago and the conventional floral fare is what we got – and in those deep-freeze temperatures even the daffs were nearer to dying rather than dancing!
I like Bude because it’s clean and sparkly, it’s got the lovely canal and its neighbouring river – some call it the Neet, some the Strat and others the River Bude – there are several streets of high-quality and family-run shops, you can walk to two separate beaches, Summerleaze and Crooklets, take the high road along the clifftops which are studded with wild flowers in spring and summer, wander along the canal-side and watch the swans and ducks cavorting, you’ll notice many fascinating buildings and you can pop into no end of eateries to while away an hour or so.
For a small, unpretentious holiday town, Bude seems to have everything. And I haven’t even mentioned its castle and museum, a major garden centre, a popular sports hub and some fine-looking hotels and guest houses. Oh, and the locals are a friendly bunch too!
Despite the calmness of today, the surf was roaring along, its white spray thrown high into the air at Summerleaze, though, as a canal expert told me, the tide was outgoing so things would eventually calm down.
Yes, Bude is my kinda place. Yes, it’s Cornish – they sensibly put jam first, then cream atop the scones! – and yes, I’m from Devon, so let’s be buddies!
I had to smile at the name of one homeware and art deco shop in the town centre. It’s called simply Budeful.
Clever, that. Says it all, really.
⏩⏩➡» Budeful: Top – Daffodils and hyacinths adorn the banks of the River Neet; next down – elegant swans, mix with geese and ducks on the Bude Canal; above – a cloudfree sky at Summerleaze beach as February becomes summertime.