Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Our day on Monday in Cornwall

Now to yesterday! Our day started in a very relaxed manner yesterday morning. We had our breakfast of blueberry pancakes a little later than the previous two days and then headed off for the Lost Garden of Heligan. This garden was one that had been maintained by a group of gardeners before the first world war and as a consequence of most of them losing their lives had become incredibly overgrown and forgotten until the remnants were rediscovered about 20 years ago. A group of local people then decided to rebuild them to something resembling their former glory. ...The same group of people later went on to create the Eden project that we visited on Saturday.... The gardens are stunning with some incredible installations.

This is the Giant. He was made around the stump of an old tree and then built up using mud and clay. His eyes are old china plates and the the plants were selected for effect. His hair is apparently orange in summer and silvery grey in late autumn.

The Mud Made was made from a metal and wood frame, which was then plugged with mud and clay to create her. She was then planted with ivy to clothe her. Her face is incredibly beautiful...almost buddha like in many ways.

We spent several hours in these gardens firstly wandering through the woodland where we came upon the two installations above and then into the rainforest area which is built around several ponds that are stepped down a valley. It would be astounding in a few months. The Gunnera are just starting to get their leaves again and when they do so properly each leaf will be over 2 metres across ... they are stunning plants. The rhododendrons and magnolias were stunning. Sorry we have no photos because they just could not do justice to the vision! The final area of the garden was the old formal garden area. There were some flower gardens, but the majority of the garden was a vegetable garden and orchard. There was also an environmental area with a wonderful bird hide. It was wonderful!

After Heligan we went to Mevagissey for lunch. It was quite disappointing as the shops were filled with tat! All the really naffy cheap tourist fare. Really quite tacky so we didn't stay long. We next headed to Polperro a gorgeous little seaside village. We walked for miles around the harbour there and it was stunning. Again this village has lots of narrow windy streets and lovely galleries, pubs and cafes. The wind while we were there was blowing an absolute gale again, but that somehow added to our walk around the harbour and up onto the headland area.

Some views in and around Polperro

After Polperro we came back to the pub just up the road for dinner. We made friends with the pub dog ... an English Springer. He is just beautiful and greets every person as they come through the door. We found a table near the fireplace and he came and sat with me for a while. What a pleasure! After that it was home to write the blog last night.

Looks like I am going to stay a day behind. We go home tomorrow for a couple of days so I may be able to catch up then.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Day two in Cornwell

.....OK I will see if I can get today done too, but let's deal with yesterday first.

We started the day by heading to a little village called St Ives. It is absolutely stunning. It is a fishing village with tiny narrow and often very steep, streets. It has the most gorgeous shops, cafes and galleries. We spent a couple of hours just wandering. The photo above is the view we had when we stopped in one of the cafes for a drink.

We then went to an old tin mine site to see a steam engine , but it wasn't running so we moved on through a little town call St Just (lots and lots of 'St' places here!) and then onto Land's End. Land's End was quite disappointing as it is very commercialised (so commercialised that they can't get their signage right...check the two photos). We spent long enough to get the obligitory photos and then decided to get out of there and look for more interesting, less commercial places.

Harvey hitching a ride to Land's End in my handbag.

Harvey and I at the Land's End signpost.

We decided our next stop would be St Michael's Mount. We needed to visit this in the afternoon so that we could get there. St Michael's Mount is a castle on an island that you are able to walk to at low tide across a cobbled causeway. It is actually quite a pleasant walk and as the sun was shining yesterday it was lovely. It was still really windy and we still needed our layers on but the sun was out! The castle and the church on the top of the mount are medieval. It was quite a steep climb up, but well worth the effort. The views from the top were stunning and the castle and church fascinating. We did manage to get back down to the cafe on the site in time to have a cornish afternoon tea of scones, jam and clotted cream...double yum!!!

The view from the mainland to St Michael's Mount.

The view from St Michael's Mount back to the mainland.

After our visit we backtracked a little to another fishing village called Mousehole. If we thought the streets in St Ives were narrow this village gave a whole new meaning to the word! It is absolutely gorgeous and again full of pubs, cafes and art galleries. Unfortunately a lot of the galleries were closed (by this stage it was about 6:00pm on Easter Sunday), but the pub was open so we stopped so Richard and I could have our respective beer and cider. The pub was chocker block, but we did manage to squeeze into a corner table and be amused watching some of the locals....a guy and girl on an obviously first date (we suspect it won't work!) and the local fisherman getting cranky with the local taxi company over the phone because the taxi was going to take a while to get there!

Dinner last night was in a gorgeous old pub. I guess old is a bit of an understatement as it was built in the fourteenth century. It is one of those wonderful buildings that you often need to duck as you move around in it and it has the chocolate box look of a thickly thatched roof. It is just stunning.

Ok looks like I am going to have to tell you about today another time it is nearly 11pm and this little black duck needs some sleep. Take care and hopefully I will be back to add more very soon.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter from Cornwall

We have been here for the past two days and have been having a wonderful time, even though it is freezing!

We left London on Friday morning and were lulled in to a false sense of security by the first hour of our drive. We thought at that stage the drive going was to be easy, however as we moved out of London the traffic became heavier and we slowed to a crawl. It took us about 8 hours to travel just over 500 km ...not like travel in Australia. Not to worry, we got here safely and did have lunch in a pub on the way. 'Here', is a B&B called Spring Cottage in Probus. It is about 300 years old and lovely. It is also quite central to a lot of the Cornwall area.

On Friday night we went to St Mawes for a drive and had dinner in a pub. As we sat there it seemed all the neighbourhood and their dogs came in for a visit. It seemed very friendly and the food was reasonable too. It made sense that they all wanted to be indoors, as outdoors was freezing. The wind was incredibly strong and went right through you, but even so the village is gorgeous.

This is the old castle in St Mawes

Yesterday we started our day visiting The Eden Project. This is the most amazing thing. It was originally an old mine pit until a few local people got together just over 10 years ago and turned it into a major showcase for what is possible environmentally. They built two huge biomes, creating a mediterranean biome and a rainforest biome. These are massive greenhouses and provide brilliant resources for environmental education and research. They are astounding! There are also outdoor gardens on the site, a huge stage area and a massive education centre.

The view from the top of the old mine pit.

An inside view of one small section of the mediterranean biome.

The facts for the rainforest biome..it is the bigger of the two.

A sculpture made from electrical goods. They say this is the equivalent to the goods that one person will throw out in their lifetime!

After this we visited a national trust home. We joined the national trust on Thursday night and have already visited three sites. The first was Lanhydrock a beautiful 17th century country house and gardens. (It was raining a lot yesterday so we decided to try to be indoors as much as possible). The house has fifty rooms that are open to the public and we loved the quote that the family designed and built it as a 'modest family home'!

Just oozes modesty doesn't it!

We spent several hours at Lanhydrock, (poor Richard!) and then went to visit his holiday stomping ground when he was a child. His family spent seven or eight years visiting the town of Newquay. We went to the beach they used to go to and he was amazed by how small it seems now compared with his childhood memory of many hours spent there. The wind at Newquay was incredible. There were times when it was literally blowing us along! It was absolutely freezing and incredibly strong.

The little beach on the left is the one Richard played on as a child.

Sunset over Newquay

I need to download some photos from today so that I am able to share them here so I will try to add more to my blog soon. In the meantime...I hope you all had a wonderful easter. We have been thoroughly enjoying ourselves here.