Enjoying Cornwall….in 2018

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Well, having weighed up our time so far, we have managed to do an enormous amount of walking, visiting houses and gardens, visiting favourite locations, finding lots of beaches, and lots of reading too. So that’s the formula we want to continue….there is so much to do, so many places we haven’t been yet. At the start of the year it has been quite wet but there are always opportunities to get out…..in 10 minutes (or half an hour on the bus) we can be at Hannafore and do our regular walk above…..even when there is a high tide and it is raining it is still something we like to do. Today 9th January it was the highest tide we have seen so far…rough seas and the water creeping high up onto Looe bridge….

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Over the weekend we  decided to look into the Morval Estate which is in between us and Looe……a negative notice at the start, but it is a private estate after all!

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We were hoping to do a round walk via St Martin’s church (which is Looe’s church but high on the hill out of Looe). However, the terrain which is laid out for pheasant shooting purposes, defeated us unless we wanted to take pot luck on various tracks (which owing to the mud we didn’t!). We must approach the estate another time and visit the old fifteenth century church attached to the manor – St Wenna’s  and have a look at least at the outside of the house itself.

Our local wars around ‘our’ lanes have continued…..the hotel at the bottom of the hill is still not open despite looking to have undergone a superb restoration. And we are starting to see signs of growth….snowdrops peeping up near St Keyne’s Well and we did see the very first primrose in the hedgerows in the first week of January…which isn’t bad going. Fine growth in our own garden with daffodils and other bulbs making themselves visible – much to look forward to (as long as we keep on top of the bamboo!).

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Christmas 2017 No. 1….in Edinburgh

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Two Christmases for the price of one for us this year…first to our daughter’s in Edinburgh. Lovely flight up this time with clear views, spectacular over the city itself. When in Edinburgh we are never short of things to do with our granddaughter…the nearby children’ playpark on the Meadows is always a good start….

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and another thing Edinburgh is not short of is good coffee shops. Here we warmed up after our playpark adventures, and met Mum and Dad…

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We were treated to 3 evenings out to view Christmas lights in incredibly different guises….here is a little princess at the start of our first evening which was a bus-ride out of Edinburgh…….. Archerfield Walled Garden lays out a fantasy fairy trail at Christmas….

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and we wound our (cold) way through the woods stopping to examine lots of little fairy houses in the trees

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and to watch a magical meeting between our princess and a real-live fairy (we think!).

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It was all very well done and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Christmas treats went on and on as next day we were treated to a Christmas performance by our granddaughter and friends…

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I really really liked the snow machine (and so did the children!)……

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On this particular evening we went to a quite stupendous light display at Edinburgh Zoo. Chinese lanterns made with thousands of yards of silk, and fashioned by Chinese artisans into the most wonderful images…

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The detail was amazing. We were also treated to a staged show of Chinese jugglers and acrobats who in themselves were very skilled indeed. A terrific evening.

Next day was Panto (Little Red Riding Hood, Scottish-style) and ‘Christmas’ lunch (the date of 17th December didn’t stop us in any way)….. and opening of presents. The cheapest (vile pink unicorn slippers from Lidl) went down well – as expected!

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On our last evening we took Aiisha to the Fair in Princess Gardens which has a lovely atmosphere and gets better each year

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Luckily we had a responsible adult with us….

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and if all else fails it’s good to settle down to a quiet read of the newspaper!

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A lovely early Christmas then in a lovely city with our lovely family…

 

 

 

 

 

More reading…

When F. said I would enjoy Agatha Christie’s ‘The Pale Horse’ I was dubious, its 08f0d27b7580e1fc23e6e233bb66926f--pale-horse-pocket-books.jpgunderlying theme being Black Magic, not one of my favourite subjects. However, she was proved eminently right – it is, for my part, one of the best Christie novels. Exciting, believable, good despite Poirot’s absence…a thoroughly entertaining read. The characters are more strongly drawn than usual with her (this may be due to there being no Poirot and Hastings), and the plot moves along at pace whilst maintaining interest at every step. A really enjoyable read. I should take my wife’s advice more often perhaps.

In line with my policy of reading something more serious at the same time as my bedtime reading I chose another of my Folio books….‘Hannibal’. While admittedly dated, being first published in 1981, it is a goodhannibal-ernle-bradford-folio-society-2004-1.jpg traditional historical ‘Life’. The author Ernle Bradford does draw on a wide range of sources and research but at the end of the day he has to rely largely on Polybius writing 50 years after Hannibal’s death, and Livy writing another 150 years later. This then is a classic case of history being written by the victors. In actual fact virtually nothing at all survives of the Carthaginian civilisation either in writing or on the ground, which is astonishing considering at one time it controlled a large part of the Mediterranean and its capital held half a million inhabitants. So Cato’s much repeated ‘Delenda set Carthago’ turned out to be really what happened. But at the time of the Second of the Three Punic Wars with Hannibal in charge of Carthage’s Italian army, things were very different. It could so easily have been Rome that was the loser. Hannibal’s magnificent battlefield victories at Trasimene, Cannae and at the siege of Capua absolutely devastated the Romans, and Hannibal at any of these junctures could so easily have marched on Rome itself and with some siege equipment (which he never had) have taken it. Perhaps as his cavalry commander Maharbal said Hannibal knew how to win victory but not to use it. This then is the story of a great general and at the same time a story of how Rome came to be the astonishing conqueror of virtually the whole of Western civilisation. A gripping read.

Into Devon for the day….1/12/17

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Buckfast Abbey is becoming one of our favourite places to visit. Why? Could be the quality of the food in the exceptional cafe with a view (as above). Could be the setting, right in the heart of a bowl of hills and trees and adjoining the River Dart. Could be for the atmosphere which is calming and lovely. Or it could be that there is so much to admire in this amazing, amazing story of an Abbey re-founded and built by a handful of monks, mainly just half a dozen, who had no previous skills apart from one who knew some masonry. As I have said before, I just find this quite the most astonishing thing I have come across. The interior with its wonderful craftwork, stained glass, beautiful masonry is as impressive as the exterior….

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We made a point this time of seeking out the video introduction which we missed last time which gives a nice background to the place and as it is in the Guest Hall we went upstairs to marvel at that renewed structure….first-class craftmanship.

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Our next destination was Dartmouth but to get there we took the back roads which we know quite well from of old. We passed through ravishing countryside down deep Devon lanes with views of the Dart from time to time as well as the backdrop of Dartmoor all picked out clearly on a crisp winter’s day…..

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passing The Watermans Arms with its lovely riverside location….

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and we made  our way to the pretty riverside village of Dittisham, famous in times past for its plums (which we used to sell in our greengrocer’s shop in Dartmouth). Dittisham is yet another place with a churchyard overhanging the river, rather like St Just-in-Roseland or Mylor Bridge in Cornwall…

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We also passed Fingals country house B+B which we supplied sometimes with their fruit and veg. It always brings to mind one particular dinner we had there. Everyone sits around a long oak refectory table whilst the host acts as a superb host should, filling you with great food and drink. I would normally hate this kind of social eating but Richard is such a natural that even I fell in with the idea. Anyway it was at the time of the Falkland War, and who should we have sitting at our table but an Argentinian businessman and his beautiful wife! And who should Richard ask to give a short speech recognising the basic underlying friendship of our two countries than me?!! Enough said. A night to remember…I think I lost at snooker afterwards to our new Argentinian friend.

Dartmouth was, as usual, captivating. We couldn’t resist calling into the shop of Simon Drew  9feeee_7f15ab41a746c5d746f097232c301125.jpgour old neighbour and friend…..our shop was next door but one, now a Weird Fish opposite the Christmas tree. We caught up with a bit of news, had a good chat to Sue who joined Simon immediately after she and we left our greengrocers, thirty-odd years ago as she reminded us. We also had a brief chat with Caroline (Simon’s wife) and to Kayla, Sue’s daughter, and generally enjoyed our reminiscing very much.

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After a tour of the town and all the lovely independent shops, and a quick coffee and cake in one of Dartmouth’s delis, we returned for one last look at the beautiful lights in Fosse Street and the boat float before hitting the road home. In a historic town like Dartmouth (and Warwick where our bookshop was) plain white lights seem to suit and give a classy feel to Christmas…….

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We drove home on the back roads and it was very atmospheric to see the lighthouse shining away incessantly at Start Point and to see the moon reflected on the waters at Blackpool Sands….20171201_164629.jpg

Using our National Art Pass….The National Maritime Museum Falmouth 30/11/17

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Making a conscious decision to use our National Art Pass we took the two trains to Falmouth. Knowing it was late night shopping we took a slightly later train than usual which meant that we caught the Inter-City rather than the little local one. So a more comfortable and quicker journey. On arrival we went straight to the National Maritime Museum. We had been a couple of times before but it is large, has excellent exhibitions and there is always something new to see. Having had a good look at local boy Ben Ainslie’s craft, the one he retrieved from the museum to race in his second Olympics, having decided it was better than the new boat he had had designed and built(!), and other beautiful things on show, we went to the Captain Bligh Exhibition which proved fascinating. There wee got talking to one of the Volunteers and the one thing I remember vividly is him telling us that he was a veteran (as are all the Volunteers apparently), and that, serving in the Falklands, his ship had a hit from an Exocet and he spent 9 hours in the water before being rescued – quite incredible. When eventually he got home and had recovered from the smoke damage to his lungs etc etc he then became a Commandos trainer….not one to shirk from Duty then. One can only admire such as he. Almost as incredible a story as the plight and survival of Captain Bligh and his loyal men.

We then had a quick trip to the Tower which we had not seen before. First of all descending we went underneath the harbour and gazed around through the windows (no fish today), we then ascended to the top of the Tower and were brought to a standstill by an absolutely breathtaking 360 degrees view – the photos of course do not do it justice….it would be worth any visit and entrance fee for that view alone….20171130_141620.jpg

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One last look along the balcony, and passing what looked like a great cafe with its own marvellous views, we decamped to Rick Stein’s Sea Food Restaurant across the square where we noticed they had cod and chips and a glass of prosecco for £8.95…who could resist?

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The quality of the food was amazing, the batter was light and crunchy, and the mushy peas were scrumptious,  a very enjoyable experience. Plus we noted for the future that on Tuesdays they have a special offer for OAP’s (i.e. the likes of us) of cod and chips for £5.95…..he calls them ‘Vintage Lunches’ (a nice touch). We shall return…….on a Tuesday.

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Rushing back for our train after shopping, we caught the Christmas procession and some hearty brass band playing. A nice end to our day.

 

August Is A Wicked Month….and more

side-11.jpgIt certainly is, in Edna O’Brien’s hands! I wondered whether this might just be too dated but I found O’Brien’s powerful writing was for the ages. I remember reading a few Edna O’Brien’s in the Sixties. This novel is redolent of that time. Although London is supposed to be swinging, for many it was a placeof loneliness and frustration. The ‘heroine’ has a complicated personal life but seeks solace in the Med…it was ever thus! Things happen, good and bad, and then there comes tremendous, overpowering guilt (an Irish writer, so inevitable?). Not only is this a story you want to get into but the writing is terrific…she’s really good on location character, plot and sex, and there aren’t many writers you can say that about. Really enjoyed it ad must see if I have any more O’Briens.

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These little Alson Hodge books about all aspects of Cornwall and Cornish life are generally excellent and this one ‘Exploring The Camel Estuary’ is no exception. Written by experts – in this case a naturalist and a bird sanctuary warden and professional photographer, they are fully illustrated in colour and give you an itch to get out and go to the places covered. We often go to Padstow but I really had no idea there was so much of interest in the whole estuary and that particularly applies to the countryside and the wildlife. Can’t wait to explore!

I have taken to reading Agatha Christie again for light bedtime reading. Ok her characterisations are a bit wooden but we can still add in our own details, for Poirot and Hastings anyway, from the TV series and fill out their characters a bit (which is what I inevitably do). It was lucky that I had ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ as this was her The-Mysterious-Affair-at-Styles.JPGfirst published novel and introduced those characters plus Japp who develops into an interesting addition to most Poirot stories. She also sets her story in a country manor house which of course becomes a recurring theme as does the means of death – poison.  Agatha was a pharmacy assistant during the Blitz and gained an extensive knowledge of poisons which she puts to good use in her novels. The plot is not straightforward especially for tired nighttime reading, and I found I had to keep going back and then didn’t totally understand the final denouement! However I console myselfDead-Mans-Folly.JPG with the fact that F. had to read it twice. I may read it again…..‘Dead Man’s Folly’ holds a particular fascination for us as it is ‘set’ in what was Agatha Christie’s holiday house (mansion) on the River Dart near where we used to live in Dartmouth, and the murder takes place in the boathouse which we know well. Again a bit convoluted at the end but most enjoyable……
 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 14th November…to Trelissick for an Oxford Society lunch and talks..

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In search of a little intellectual stimulus and a good lunch, we decided to go to our first Oxford Society meeting. We knew the location was great, having been twice to Trelissick recently. Having not looked up the times carefully enough beforehand we were just about last there and only just in time. We sat at our lunch table and were introduced to the first speaker retired Oxford academic Fenella Wojnarowska who explained how our immune systems can become misdirected so that, instead of attacking cancer or other negative cells, they attack our own proteins, causing autoimmune diseases. She had a clinic where she examined patients with serious skin diseases, being a dermatologist. And over time she noticed that quite a few of her patients also had something wrong with their brains….memory oss, Alzheimers or strokes of some kind. This led her to investigate the connection between the two. Well, eventually as it took her ten years to persuade people to give her funding. This led her into this whole area of how our immune systems work and how they can be ‘trained’ onto targets. The research was, as she said, ‘very promising’ but as the grant was coming to an end, and she retired, so did the research end. How unfortunate and how typical!

The secretary of the branch, Richard Cockram,  who is a retired Oxford mathematician, then talked about the quantum world of the very small and how quantum theory is being applied to a potential new generation of computers. This like the previous talk was exceptionally interesting and given in a very unassuming way. Richard explained that all the big companies, Google Apple, IBM etc are trying to develop quantum computers but that it may be a start-up company such as Rigetti that comes up trumps. Unlike regular computers, which store information in bits made up of either zeros and ones, quantum machines can use both zero and one at the same time in what’s called a “qubit.” It sounds like a small change, but it enables computers to run more tasks at once. Just 50 qubits can represent 10,000,000,000,000,000 numbers, a scale a regular computer would need petabytes of data to hold. What is difficult to get hold of is that a quantum computer will be built ‘within the near future’ that has the same computational power as every computer on earth today combined. Of course this has all kinds of implications, but the talk was too short to enable us to discuss this angle.

Basically here’s the underlying rationale…see ‘Futurism’

‘While a classical computer works with bits as information placeholders, a quantum computer works with quantum bits (qubits). While bits carry information in either a 0 or 1 state, qubits can be 0s and 1s at the same time thanks to quantum superposition.

Meanwhile, entanglement allows particles to be manipulated despite the distance between them — anything that happens to one particle will instantly be reflected in the other. Information can, therefore, be sent across greater distances far more quickly than with classical computers.’

The lunch? Not great unfortunately. I for instance had a quiche which was a ‘mush’ in a pot with a pastry topping (quiche?!), and a sponge pudding which was supposed to be ‘clementine’ but had no taste. With all the intellectual activity going on I could perhaps have found more than a small glass of wine acceptable too! However, I now know a lot more than I knew before about matters which would not necessarily have concerned me but which proved fascinating……

Monday 13th November…a strenuous walk at Crackington Haven

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We decided on a very fair morning with cloudless skies to take ourselves off to the North Coast to Crackington Haven where we had not been before. A very pleasant drive to get there through some pretty countryside. The tide was in when we arrived so no beach to be seen, and the sky had clouded over, but a very atmospheric cove it was. I had seen a walk on the NT site which indicated it was ‘3 miles moderate’, the IWalkCornwall site said ‘4.3 miles moderate-strenuous’, and a book of walks we have in the car said ‘5 miles moderate-strenuous with some difficult bits’!! I set out on the walk without F. who decided it would be a bit much, and I can confirm now that the latter description fits the bill. With my bad knees it was strenuous, very very up and down.

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The compensation however was that the views were amazing….back towards Crackington Haven with gorse framing the picture (always in bloom in Cornwall they say)………

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and forwards towards Tintagel where I counted at least 10 headlands in view….

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The path was eroded in places and repairs were under way and this necessitated some zigzagging. The path was also quite ‘exposed’ in places, necessitating me to lean inland, as I am not great with heights. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed my walk to what is called ‘The Strangles’.

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Some quite spectacular mushrooms were in evidence, and I know from seeing pictures that there are many many wildflowers in evidence in Spring and onwards, so I must return….

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Apparently too this is quite a spectacular place for geologists and there were certainly some interesting views of the eroded cliffs. The Soay sheep which live in these parts were nowhere to be seen, however.

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My return leg started with a longish downhill stretch to end up in the picturesque Ludon Valley where I followed the stream enjoying various little cataracts along the way through Autumnal splendour back to my starting point.

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There, having joined forces with F. again, I was more than ready for my pint and we adjourned to the Coombe Barton Inn, and a very warm welcome we had there. It seemed excellent all round including the ale, the location, the view and the charming lady in charge.

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We decided to drive back along the coast and we had a little tour around Tintagel. No time for an exploration of the National Trust Post Office which is famous or the castle which we saved for another time. But we had a very favourable impression indeed of the place itself which was bigger than expected and surprisingly unspoilt>

 

Friday 10th Nov…another Abbey….this time Torre Abbey in Torquay…

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A bit of an effort to get there….car, walk, bus, bus…but it was certainly worth it. We seem to be making a habit of visiting abbeys these days. Anyway we were here to make first use of our new National Art passes which I had worked out would save us money just by visiting about five local attractions (but giving us so much else besides…..). Torre Abbey sits in parkland, just outside Torquay, on the so-called English Riviera. Today it didn’t look anything like the South of France, but did it matter? No, it didn’t. The bus driver made sure we got off at the right stop, and we walked up to the Abbey through a beautiful garden by the side of a stream and overlooking a cricket ground, a rugby union ground complete with dinky stand, and the bowling club.

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As we approached our destination, the first thing we saw was the tithe barn, impressive in its own right and, as we learned, with an interesting history…The tithe barn, built along with the abbey in the early thirteenth century, is known as The Spanish Barn after it was used for fourteen days to hold 397 prisoners of war from the Spanish Armada in 1588…..’

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The Abbey itself consists of the rather grand house built out of the ruins after the Dissolution and extensive ruins….these are all extremely well signed with excellent information boards.

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After looking at an exhibition of finds on entry we were informed that we should start on the top floor of the Abbey house and work our way down through the four levels. There is a major exhibition on the history of the Abbey on the top floor and very enjoyable and interesting it proved.  As usual, the Historic England entry has as much detail as you would wish about the history of the abbey. Suffice it to say that it was founded in 1196 as a monastery for Premonstratensian canons, and is now the best-preserved medieval monastery in Devon and Cornwall. In fact in 1196 six Premonstratensian canons from the Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire founded Torre Abbey when William Brewer, lord of the manor of Torre, gave them land. By 1536 the Abbey’s annual income made it the wealthiest of all the Premonstratensian houses in England. The canons surrendered to King Henry’s VIII commissioner in 1539 at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and immediately thereafter in 1539 a 21-year lease of the site and demesne of Torre Abbey was acquired by Sir Hugh I Pollard (fl.1535,1545), lord of the manor of King’s Nympton, Sheriff of Devon in 1535/6 and Recorder of Barnstaple in 1545. In 1543 Pollard acquired the freehold from John St. Leger (d.1596) of Annery, who had himself acquired it in 1543 with other lands from the king in exchange for other lands and payment of a cash balance. Dissolution resulted in a widescale demolition of the church and east range, and all items of value, including the lead from the roofs, were taken. The south and west ranges were mostly unscathed and, in 1598, were converted into a house for Thomas Ridgeway. After a succession of various owners, the house became the possession of the Cary family in 1662. It stayed in the family until 1930 when, during worldwide economic crisis, financial difficulties forced Commander Henry Cary to sell it to Torquay Borough Council. It has since been used as a municipal art gallery; the mayor’s parlour and, during World War II, it was used by the Royal Air Force.

There is quite a good section on Nelson (who visited his boss who based himself here), and on Napoleon who ended up in Torquay of all places after defeat at Waterloo.

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Following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, surrendered to the British and was brought to Torbay on board HMS Bellerophon. This famous picture, which is part of the exhibition, shows the scene in Torbay on 7th August 1815, when Napoleon was transferred from the Bellerophon to HMS Northumberland for transportation to exile in the island of St. Helena.

The Bellerophon is to the right and the Northumberland, under the command of Captain Ross, is to the left; the central man-of-war being the Tonnant, flagship of Admiral Lord Keith, Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. To the right of the Northumberland, the Tonnant’s barge is conveying Napoleon, Count Bertrand and his wife, General Gourgaud, Count de Las Casse and Admiral Keith to the Northumberland, which sailed for St. Helena at 6pm. Luny knew a number of naval personnel who were involved with this operation, and ‘The Exile’s Departure’ was doubtless painted from their accounts.

Obviously it was all of tremendous public interest, and Torquay became the centre of the universe for a while….

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The exhibition occupied quite a lot of our time, and we adjourned for a bite to eat….as the cafe had just closed we went to the large leisure centre in the park. Next time we plan to visit the Grand Hotel which we found out later is just as near for a cup of tea and a sandwich. Returning to the museum we found we had no time to view the other floors, as we wished to look round the gardens. The Abbeys has a terrific art collection…….we just glimpsed some paintings on the stairways

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‘With over 600 incredible works of art from the 18th century to present day, the Abbey’s collection includes Pre- Raphaelite works including Holman Hunt’s ‘The Children’s Holiday’ and Burne-Jones’ drawings of ‘The Planets’. Highlights are the watercolours by Thomas Luny and FJ Widgery and a rare proof set of William Blakes’s Book of Job…..there are also various other galleries…the Frederick Thrupp Gallery, Battle Scenes, Green and Pleasant Land, The Call of the Sea and Seaside Fun for instance. Next time for all this.

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Even at this time of year the gardens were beautiful, and the glass houses amazing….

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and we had a very interesting chat with the gardener in the hot house who was explaining how quickly the plants grew. Next week scaffolding would arrive to enable them all to be chopped down to near ground level ( a job he used to do on ladders before the strict emphasis on Health and Safety ), and within weeks they would be soaring up again. He showed us, and told us about, some of the exotic blooms on display….magnificent they were too……

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A very full three or four hours, and we certainly look forward to returning.

 

Mon 6th November…in search of the Giant’s Hedge….

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After a quick look at the OS map, we thought we would have a nice little walk around Lerryn on the south side of the river which we have not explored before, and I have to say we were really looking forwards to visiting the brilliant shop and having one of their excellent pasties. As soon as we arrived in the pretty village we were shocked to find that the shop (which was the best local shop we have ever seen) was permanently closed. A notice in the window addressed to the villagers said something about they would know what a lot of messing about they had been subjected to. We were none the wiser – presumably something to do with a rate or rent increase (we have plenty of experience of those ourselves!).

Anyway off we went past an old tarred boat hut and into the woods.

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and of course it was lovely and Autumnal, just as it is everywhere….we are so lucky to have four seasons in our country.

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……we went as far as we could but we came across a bit of a steep drop which we decided F. wouldn’t want to negotiate, and returned along a slightly different route lower down. Just as we were coming into the village again, we made a totally unexpected discovery. There was a wall with various arches which I assumed was some kind of industrial structure such as you find all over Cornwall. However, to our great surprise on  going to its far side we found it was a very large and ornate fountain with the wall being obviously part of a pleasure garden of sorts. Research showed that it was indeed just that……

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‘The Lerryn Regatta was a popular annual event and at one time it was called The Henley of the West. It was mentioned in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 1870. There was a break for the first World War and the regatta restarted with a Peace Regatta in 1919. There was a second break for the second World War and the regatta restarted in 1953 and ran until 1968 when four thousand people attended.[17]

Frank Parkyn, one of the members of the regatta committee and a successful miner, bought some woodland on the south of the river from the Rashleigh Estate in 1911. In about 1920 most of the trees were cut and started construction of a pleasure ground named Tivoli Park after the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen which Parkyn had visited. The park featured fountains, a pond, a cascade, obelisks plunge pool and bandstand. The park played a central role in subsequent regattas housing a fun fair, field sports and a pavilion. The park has now become overgrown but remains of the plunge pool can still be seen.’

I must say that all of this is quite incredible. Little did we realise that this, our favourite peaceful little village in these parts, was once quite famous! Having said that, it should come as no surprise in one way as the villagers remain incredibly enterprising….the events going on at the Red Store  are wide and varied and out of proportion for a hamlet of this size.

Shop closed, we went into the great pub the Ship Inn for a pint and a bag of nuts to help

20171106_134034.jpgus on our way. I noticed then on our OS map that a short way out of the village the so-called Giant’s Hedge was indicated. Having seen reference to this in Looe we decided to explore. It was a bit further than we thought (and more hilly!), but we persevered and eventually found it. The walk to it was picturesque.

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I thought it might be difficult to recognise but it was indeed a prominent feature in the landscape, quite wide and bulky…..

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A rhyme  goes as follows….

“Jack the Giant having nothing to do built a hedge from Lerryn to Looe!”

Other versions attribute it to the Devil, who also found himself with nothing to do one day.

The bank stretches some nine miles, from the Fowey Estuary to the Looe Estuary, and it is one of the largest ancient earth banks in the UK. In places it is up to 15 feet high and 24 feet wide, and parts of it are stone-faced. It represents the northern boundary of a territory defined by south flowing rivers on its eastern and western sides, and by the ocean on its southern side.

It is thought to date from the Dark Ages, and historians think that it was probably the boundary of a tribal chief’s petty kingdom (one of many small kingdoms around Britain before the tenth century creation of the kingdom of England). Another theory is that it may have been a “last-ditch” defence of the Cornish against the Saxon incursions of the ninth and tenth centuries.

All very interesting. As we wound our way back to Lerryn, we chatted to a farmer who had lost a sheep, and saw an amazing zip wire crossing a whole field……they obviously know how to enjoy themselves down here.  A very interesting trip indeed…….we hope the shop re-opens.