We visited the World Famous Minack Theatre at Porthcurno this week on a glorious February day that felt like summer – maybe that is where the phrase “summer in February” came from. The Cornish have a name for these special days – they call them “a day lent” and we took full advantage of the gift, as the car nosed its way between the tall Cornish banks, already laced with daffodils, deep into the wilder countryside of the West Penwith Peninsula.
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Rosamunde Pilcher is something of a Cornish icon these days, bringing the fans of her books and films to the south west every summer to soak up some of that special “Pilcheresque” atmosphere. Throughout the winter in Germany the tranquil days of a Cornish summer have been translated into the setting for the Pilcher films leading to the expression that Sunday night is “Pilcher night” or as one of our German bed and Breakfast guest put it “you can sometimes see the same film three times in one year” I gathered his wife was a big fan!
We were thrilled last year when scenes for “Fast Noch Verheiratet” were filmed here at Ednovean Farm and we had the chance to meet some of the cast and crew at work. Our heroine’s bedroom was the Pink bedroom complete with its hand carved four poster bed although she magically walked out through the Blue Bedroom’s French doors, to stand on the terrace gazing at St Michael’s Mount
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It is extraordinary how very often it is those sudden unexpected glimpses of the sea that are the most exciting – particular markers in our journeys and hints of a day to come. Rather like the tantalising first ones I used to have on a tediously long childhood car journeys chanting “are we there yet!” until my beleaguered parents set me to scanning the countryside for the first tantalising glimpse of a blue, the first glimpse of the sea is somehow rather special. This week two although we live within sight of it these days two special glimpses of the sea have stayed in my mind to share with you for this week’s blog
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I spent a happy hour or so walking under the ribbon of lights that canopied Fore Street in St Ives and made a lasting memory of Christmas magic on an evening spent with friends!
We parked above the town and took one of those mammoth runs of granite steps that snake down to the sea guided by and ex-st-ives-ite who knew the footpaths well and we emerged seamlessly quite near to the town centre to follow a single line of lights as it lead towards the harbour, just as the lightest of drizzles started to fall.
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We looked back to Cadgwith with the fishing boats pulled up just below the cottages at low tide
If you are planning to visit just one fishing village in Cornwall then make it Cadgwith sheltering in the lea of the most southerly point of The Lizard.
There is a timeless air about the glorious jumble of thatched cottages hugging the slipway to the sea where the fishing boats lay on the shingle beach waiting for the tide, just as they always have been over the centuries.
Two rough hewn granite posts topped by jaunty ovoid boulders mark the entrance to Cadgwith giving it a sense of stepping back in time to a carefully guarded community unchanging with the centuries.
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The vast stretch of sand in St Ives Harbour
We visited St Ives at last this week and found summer seemed to linger on within the bustling streets and thronged harbour even though it was late in October.
The bustling tourist destination of St Ives is so different from the quiet, laid back, world of Mounts Bay and so we eased ourselves gently into the visit by taking the Train from Lelant Saltings. The train runs from here about every thirty minutes so there is never long to wait and the ten minute journey has spectacular views
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We made a long planned visit to St Michael’s Mounts this week, finally taking advantage of the gentler pace of life that arrives with autumn in Cornwall. Autumn is such a special time of year – the days are still warm and those special spots are far less crowded – just right for a visit in fact!
St Michael’s Mount has an ancient Cornish name – “Karrek Loos yn Koos” referring back to a time before the swampy forest in what is now Mounts Bay was submerged under the seas. The journey to the St Michael’s Mount today encompasses the long history beginning with the pagan legends of giants, with a causeway at low tide that follows a pilgrim’s path towards a monastic island where the archangel St Michael’ was said to have appeared to the fishermen.
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St Michael’s Mount from the coastal footpath around Mounts bay
Autumn days brings those glorious days of bright sunshine and cool clear air, days of racing waves trailing plumes of vapour and the thoughts of cosy warm suppers tucked beside the ancient inglenook of a pub high on the moors.
The country lanes are filled with tawny leaves drifting underfoot, the high warm banks dressed in russet bracken now with rich red berries spangling the hedgerows occasionally I meet the occasional walkers clasping an Ordnance Survey map in lanes softly enveloped by autumn at its best.
The changing pace of life of the autumn has finally given us a chance to purge the debris generated by “The Beast from the East with bonfires sending lazy plumes of smoke up into the air.
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The harbour at Lamorna – notice the winter storm damage that sent granite blocks tumbling to the sands
“Away down to Lamorna” is chorus of a famous Cornish song and I had forgotten just how beautiful Lamorna Valley was, until we drove down through the valley to the harbour again this week.
The tinge of autumn was yet to touch the luscious green of the all enveloping trees in this sheltered valley and summer lingered on for a perfect late autumn day.
We had planned a lunch at the Lamorna Wink before a visit to Chygurno Gardens on one of its last open days before the winter. As the season slips from summer to autumn we’ve already revisited several gardens this year – gardens that we first visited when planning our own gardens and we previously visited the terraced Gardens of Chygurno back in about 2000 just as the first Tree Ferns were planted.
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Perranuthnoe’s sandy beach flanked by smaller coves
The sea has never seemed bluer than this month as the heat wave changed our lives to a Mediterranean rhythm, as day after day of endless sunshine spread before us. We abandoned work in the afternoons to settle at the seas edge below the red baked clay cliffs of one the little coves that flank the sand of around Perranuthnoe Beach. The tranquil rhythm of the waves slipping idly on to the beach and slight breeze from the sea has been blissful this month in Cornwall with the delicious promise of a swim in the evenings in the mirror calm waters.
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