King Arthur, Keira Knightley and F1 seen from Tintagel

The north coast of Cornwall is a dramatic part of the world and a great place to take a holiday if you have kids who like to mess around on beaches, in rock pools, in rivers or generally anywhere where there is a chance to get dirty. Going on holiday in Great Britain may not be very chic in F1 circles but my view has always been that it is much nicer to holiday away from those one works with, rather than meeting them again on the beaches of St Tropez or in the nightclubs of Sardinia.

My idea of a good holiday is to go to a Cornish farm where the locals say "We have got transistors these days" when you ask about wireless Internet.

I have written columns from some very unusual places over the years. Regularly an aeroplane will serve as my office but I have written on ships and trains and filed copied from both. My favourite adventure involved filing a story from a bottle shop (the Australian equivalent of a liquor store) but Cornwall provided me with the chance to write and send my story from a pub. The Baker's Arms in Launceston was chosen because it offered a wireless network. Concentrating on the job in hand was not easy in the saloon bar as one was forced to listen (unwillingly) to incessant rap music and the ready supply of alcohol was a splendid idea but did not really help the creative process in the middle of the afternoon, a time chosen because the pub was quiet apart from the local drunkard who passed by from time to time to mutter about strange people with computers in bars, a criticism one was forced to acccept.

Still, a holiday was much-needed after the midsummer rush of Grands Prix which had us doing four races in five weekends, not to mention all the races and political kerfuffles in June. Real life was rather left behind by it all and by the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix, there were a lot of very weary people wandering around the F1 paddock. When I got home from Budapest my pile of mail had reached 14 inches in depth, as I had only opened things that looked ominous or threatening of had the word "Tax" written on the outside.

I must admit that before the holiday I did not really stop to think about what had been a quite extraordinary month in Formula 1 with the battle between the F1 teams and the FIA suddenly going into reverse, leaving us all a little confused. Both sides seemed to think that the other was backing down, which is amusing in itself, but that was really not the important issue because what the sport needs more than anything is stability.

Once on holiday I did not think too much about the sport until one day, lying on the soft grass on a gorgeous day, in the middle of an ancient ruin at Tintagel Castle, it did finally cross my mind. There is nothing new under the sun, I thought (under the sun) and what was good in the times of King Arthur is still good today.

Legend has it that King Arthur was born in the splendour of Tintagel, a most unusual fortress in that its walls are cliffs and the inside of the castle sits atop a huge and very dramatic rock, which sits off the Cornish coast, linked to the mainland by a single bridge. Tintagel is open to the winds, but almost completely protected from the human world. In medieval times one would not have found a safer place in the world.

King Arthur is a name associated with wisdom and fairness. The names of his wife, magician and knights are widely known. His capital city - Camelot - is synonymous with earthly perfection. And yet there are some who argue that the man never existed at all. Scholars are still arguing all this but it seems that the person on whom the legends are based lived sometime in the late 5th century to early 6th century and fought against nasty pagan Saxons who wanted to rule Britain (and eventually did). Arthur's power base was probably in the west, either in Wales (as the Welsh believe) or in Cornwall. Beyond that little is known of him except that for more than 1500 years he has been known as a great leader, with a beautiful queen and a following of noble knights, who sat at a round table. The Arthurian legends are safe and well and continuing. Only last year Hollywood threw up another version of King Arthur's story, featuring the delightful Keira Knightley (playing Guinevere rather than Arthur).

Legend has it that the greatest knight of all was called Sir Lancelot and that in the end Arthur's empire collapsed not because of attacks from without, but rather because of rifts from within, not least because Lancelot was having his wicked way with Arthur's wife Guinevere - and if she looked like Keira Knightley, well, who can blame him? Anyway, it all ended in tears and bloodshed.

The stories may or may not be true but they have been used through the generations to inspire acts of courage and chivalry. King Arthur has served the generations well. When Britain was at war with France (there were a number of different occasions) Lancelot was a devious Frenchman and so on.

But the important point is that the legends taught sound principles. The strength of Arthur and his knights lay in their unity and their downfall came because of Lancelot's passion for Guinevere.

In Formula 1 circles, passion is generally reserved for that wicked mistress called Miss Money and usually the knights of the F1 circus (although aristocracy ill-becomes a number of them) manage to end up split by disputes which all boil down to the favours of the lady in question. This year, however, they have learned the value of unity and perhaps even a little chivalry, despite the best efforts of those around them to break up this alliance.

And, as I lay in the grass in Tintagel, I wondered if they will remain as resolute in the months ahead.

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