I come from a traveling family. When my sister and I were younger we would all pile into our Caravan (sans DVD player, game console, or any other built-in electronic luxury that wasn’t a radio) and head out on the road. My sister, being older, would get the seat in the way back while I got the slightly shorter and less cool seat in the middle. While she would listen to her cassettes, I would ask my mom to entertain me. She would create connect-the-dot puzzles for me. Other times she would tell me tales of two bearcub sisters Shmushky and Bushkie.
Two Christmases ago I thought I would write down some of my favorite family travel memories from our post-caravan years as a gift for my mother. Though it has been years since she told their adventures, I decided to continue in her tradition and write them from Bushkie’s point of view. Who was Shmushky and who was Bushkie in the stories has been highly contested over the years, but as I had authorial power and never wanted to be Shmushky, I took Bushkie. Below is one story that falls under the chapter heading “No Need to Panic, Folks” and is about when my mom (Lynnie) came to England and we went to Cornwall to see where some of her family had once lived.
At the end of Bushkie’s Master’s program in London, Lynnie flew over in order to help her move home, but not before a bit travel, of course. They were headed to Cornwall, the county of Lynnie’s ancestors. They were to stay in Camelford, a town in which family had married and resided. Upon arrival, they stopped by the tourism office and asked about the church where the wedding was held. They found out it had been converted to a private residence. After finding accommodations above one of the two pubs in town, Lynnie and Bushkie boarded the trusty Western Greyhound bus to Tintagel.
Tintagel Castle has connections to the legend of King Arthur and is situated almost on its own island in the sea. The fields they walked through to reach the castle were separated by stone fences, which had built-in “gates” to walk through. One such gate was the inspiration for a piece of Lynnie’s artwork.
The schedule said there was a five o’clock bus. They made their way to the high street in time to wait. When the green Western Greyhound bus did not arrive as its timetable indicated, Bushkie asked the local bear in the off-license if the bus had already arrived. She scoffed and said the bus had come and gone and it was the last one of the day. Eek! Lynnie and Bushkie were not prepared to stay over in Tintagel.
After the initial panic subsided, Bushkie started mentally preparing for the potential of having to walk back to Camelford. Desire for a bit of seemingly harmless adventure was gaining momentum. She knew it was summer and the sun wouldn’t set for a number of hours yet. Little did she realize it was almost 17 miles back to Camelford. Lynnie, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen on the idea.
Lynnie and Bushkie were contemplating finding a taxi. Neither was really sure how to go about this. All the shops were closing in town and they didn’t know whom to ask for the information. They decided to wait and hope for a bus for another 30 minutes incase the bear in the off-license was incorrect. At just the moment they were going to start walking, a green bus did come. Though not heading to Camelford, the kind driver did agree to drive them there if they didn’t mind that he had to stop for petrol. Heaving a sigh of relief, Lynnie replied, “That’s no problem.” Bushkie felt a hint of disappointment that her mom and she didn’t have the greater adventure of walking back to Camelford, but was thankful for the green Western Greyhound bus.