Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lobsters and religious volleyball

There were two attractions I had to bypass on my recent holiday in Cornwall.

The first was The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, which advertises among those quaint racks of tourist leaflets you still see in hotels. The promotional material shows a little kid holding a baby lobster on his finger and suggests families might while away a happy hour staring through glass portholes at giant specimens. The immediate reaction of the female contingent of the Woodford clan was no, NO, NOOOOOO!!

What? You don't want to meet the 'resident giant lobster' and lots of his other 'crab pot friends'?

You're not interested in adopting a lobster?

The fact that the Hatchery had featured on The One Show, Autumn Watch and Three Men in a Boat didn't cut any ice, I'm afraid.

We headed off to sunny St Ives instead.

As we arrived on the beach, we were greeted by uniformed staff who were handing out sweets and magazines to kids and teenagers. There was a whole raft of free entertainment on offer on the beach. In the distance, we could see groups of youngsters playing volleyball, ably supervised by red-shirted youth workers.

It all appeared to be highly sophisticated and looked as if it were probably sponsored by the local authority or regional tourist board or something.

It was only later - while having a sandwich in a local tearoom - that I glanced at the magazine we'd been given. Beach Special 2014 was actually produced by a Christian missionary organisation, which is dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus among the sandcastles. According to the blurb, the project is over 60 years old, although I have to admit that I had never heard of it.

Flicking through the pages, we learn of people giving up their jobs as doctors to become missionaries in Papua New Guinea, kids who have died contented knowing that they've found Jesus and offers of free DVDs covering topics such as 'Life and Death', 'Right and Wrong' and 'Miracles and Faith'.

Funny how the girl who gave out the sweets didn't mention anything about the religious angle, isn't it? But a beach volleyball court with no players would probably take up too much space on the sand.







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