Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Happy times

Isn't this a beautiful place? We stopped off in Gweek on the way home, it was early evening and the sun was dipping low behind the wooded hills. The tide was high and we enjoyed a cloudless sky with not even a breeze to make the water ripple.

This a working boat yard, but all was quiet as everyone had downed tools and was relaxing. We watched as a pair of swans drifted passed, pausing by the boats hoping someone might throw them some scraps from supper. 

Gweek is a small village on one of tributaries of the stunning Helford River with a pub, shop/ post office and a boat yard. It's been a port since Roman times and in the past has seen hundreds of small boats sailing up and down the creeks with cargos of oysters, copper ore, pilchards and limestone. It's also home to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary where they look after and rehabilitate sick, injured and stranded seals. 

Well could you resist? Sid's Fish and Chips has been visiting Gweek for years, he knows all the regulars and it only takes one visit for him to recognise you again. After working up an appetite on the rope swing, we took our take away and sat down on the bench overlooking the river. 

There followed the sound of happy munching and the relief of no washing up!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Last hurrah

I thought I'd share a picture of these beauties, there is a whole field of sunflowers nearby that just shouts 'summer' and looked fantastic in the early evening sunlight. You can definitely feel a nip in the air, especially in the mornings but just when I start thinking about packing away my summer clothes the afternoon brings bright sunshine and warmth.

September is traditionally the month when Cornwall relaxes, the visitors head home and as soon as school starts you can almost guarantee the weather will be dry and sunny! This is when I really appreciate just how lucky we are to live here, as we're able to head for the beach after school and enjoy having lots of space without tripping over someone else's bucket and spade.

This summer has been a real knock-out, the first proper one since we moved here over four years ago. I know it's what will keep me going in the winter when the mizzle descends. Until then I just want to enjoy its last hurrah for as long as possible!

Sunday, 18 August 2013


There's no other way to describe it - the 'whoo hoo' feeling you get from being immersed in the sea. Waves crashing about you, salty mouth, stingy eyes and sunlight sparkling everywhere. We're heading to the north coast, every chance we get to swim and boogie board. The waves here are much bigger than the gentler south coast of Cornwall, hence the need for Lifeguards on the beaches. 

Chapel Porth, near St Agnes is a favourite destination. You drop down into a steep winding valley, with sides marked by industrial spoil. Old engine houses stand out from the cliffs and at the bottom is the start of a beautiful wide sandy beach. 

Rockpools and pirate caves abound, and when we visited recently there were dozens of small purple jellyfish washed up, luckily non-stingers. 

Chapel Porth is also home to the World Belly Boarding Championships. I think anyone can enter and there are even categories for Best Swim Cap and Best Costume, so I could be in with a chance!

Friday, 2 August 2013

If you go down to the woods today....

We have a beautiful beech woodland in our village, and the sad thing is we rarely go there. It's not far to walk but when you've carried two children back up the hill more than once, you tend to look for your adventures elsewhere. 

It really is beautiful though, with a rushing stream, quiet pools and dappled light. It has a timeless quality that makes it feel as though it has always been this way. 

There are hints though, that once this was a place of industrial work. 

Hidden amongst ferns and mossy logs are the remains of large stone buildings that formed part of copper and tin mining works. One hundred and fifty years ago, the woods would have formed a backdrop to a noisy, dirty, sweaty landscape.

Which just goes to show, that sometimes nature can re-claim our work for her own.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Lazy days

Wow! Aren't we lucky with this beautiful sunny weather. I just keep pinching myself when I wake up to yet another day of cloudless skies and light breeze.

I think Cornwall has more than its fair share of rain or 'mizzle', so I'm very grateful for a chance to enjoy the best this special place has to offer.

If you're visiting the far west of Cornwall, then I recommend a visit to the beaches near Sennen and this little gem, Porthgwarra.

A rock arch cut into the cliff leads the way. Apparently it was dug by tin miners from the nearby village  to give farmers access to the beach with their horse and carts. They would come down to collect seaweed to use as fertiliser on their crops.

Today, it's the perfect place to relax and let your thoughts drift away.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside....

Now, I don't want to make you jealous or anything *cough* but the weather is forecast to be gloriously sunny and warm for the next week down here in Cornwall. As this is quite a rarity I am going to try to eek out every last ray of sunshine and get my shoes well and truly sandy. 

We'll be dipping our toes in the water....

Exploring what the sea has washed up.....

And collecting all manner of interesting finds (alive and dead!)

Hope you get to enjoy the sun wherever you are too.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Hidden Gem

Sometimes you discover a place that is so fab, that you immediately want to rush out and tell everyone about it. Then you stop, and wonder whether that will spoil its very special 'hidden gem' quality.

Well, I'll let you in on the secret......

There is a beautiful garden tucked away in the south west corner of Cornwall that if you are lucky enough to stumble upon will make you feel as though it's your very own.

Potager Garden and Glasshouse Cafe is a firm favourite with our family and we often hold birthday parties here come rain or shine. The garden was rescued from an overgrown nursery and lovingly brought back to vim and vigour, it features soft drifts of flowers, natural pathways, games of boule and badminton.

The Glasshouse Cafe is run by a lovely couple called Arwen and Tanya who use the freshest produce straight from the garden itself. We treated ourselves to a delicious tagine, decorated with colourful flowers. 

We left with full tummies and smiles, the perfect antidote to stress.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Summer fair

Today the sun shone and we all headed off to a traditional country fair in Mawgan. The fair is part of Feast Week, where everyday for a week this small Cornish community pulls out all the stops and puts on a variety of different events and entertainments. 

There was a bouncy castle, face painting, hook a duck, coconut shy, hoopla and the slightly bizarre 'bowl for a chicken' which was hotly contested by some local professionals. We had a go on most things, strolled around the car boot sale, bought a raffle ticket (and won a book on the local 'Pirates' rugby team), ate pasties and devoured cream teas. I even got to ride a beautiful Shire horse.

We got our beloved Morris Minor car into the vintage section, it's there on the left next to the rather stylish Lee Francis.

Finally, the day was made complete with a tub of famous Roskilly's ice cream - delicious!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Messing about on the river

I'm no sailor, but I love messing about in a canoe on the nearby Helford River. Our family shares a Canadian canoe which is pretty sturdy. Although I did embarrass myself once in front of a group of friends, by falling out of it just as we came ashore. Let's just say it wasn't my greatest moment!

The Helford is a stunning river estuary south of Falmouth that runs from Gweek in the east to the open sea. It is totally unspoilt and feels like stepping back in time with thickly wooded banks, small hidden coves and wading birds looking for treasure in the mud.

It is home to a wide range of wildlife, both on land and under the water including little egrets, bass, eelgrass beds, and the famous Helford oyster. Oysters have been harvested here since the 3rd century BC and are said to have been a favourite of Turkish pirates!

Here was my favourite find of the day - what a whopper!