Peter and I went to Cornwall this month for a much needed break, we booked a cottage for a week. In September Peter is planning a long cycle journey, 70th Birthday Challenge to himself, so part of the holiday was to test out various starting routes so the bike came too! I’ve put a link below so you can get an idea of the perfect place we based ourselves at for the week. Our cottage was called Spring Water Barn, formerly used as a pumping station for the natural spring water on the Bonython Estate. Sadly a phone/washing machine incident has prevented me showing most of the photos I planned to show you from Peter’s phone! No explanations required I am sure!!
Bonython Estate is a 20 acre estate with beautiful gardens which are being restored. Set on The Lizard in Cornwall, the southerly most point in Britain, it proved to be the most relaxing place I have ever visited. Our luxury cottage was surrounded by woods in a private garden with sun most of the day, perfect for evenings sipping wine and bird spotting. In fact most of the time the only sounds we heard were birdsong as the other two nearby cottages were empty all week. Although it was difficult to leave it we went out each day to visit the beautiful coves and small towns in the area. The first day we did a 3 mile walk to a cove called Poldhu, great walking down but luckily regular local buses ensured I didn’t have to walk back up the very steep hill back. We had lunch at a beach cafe watching families enjoying themselves on the beach. The sea sparkled and it was wonderful. Lunch finished with a scrumptious Cornish Cream ice cream cone – perfect. We had intended to visit the Marconi Monument marking the spot of the first Morse code communication with America but the thought of another steep climb up and down made me change my mind. I thought of how easily we “chat” with each other so quickly today which started from this small point.
Next day we drove around the coast to Mousehole, where we stayed in November and unfortunately Peter had taken ill. This time we managed to walk two miles back to Newlyn a centre for artists since the turn of the 18th Century. A small gallery enabled me to view local art students’ graduate work with sea views through the windows providing Nature’s art work. Lunch in a local cafe of fresh crab provided a welcome break and revitalised we walk along the seawalk back to Mousehole. It felt a bit emotional as Peter has recovered well and is dealing with his condition amazingly. My big pleasure was the next day when we went Park and Train to St. Ives and the Tate Gallery. Traffic is so awful in the narrow streets of this popular seaside town that measures are being taken to restrict the volume of cars. For a small charge it was possible to park all day at Lelant and catch the regular train to St Ives, this branch line is one of the most profitable routes in England. £10.80 for two adults all day (not worked out dollars sorry) but cheap. I had two hours of art whilst Peter searched out a lunch spot and explored the town. A Patrick Heron exhibition was interesting, but my favourite works are by Barbara Hepworth. Barbara worked and lived in St, Ives with her husband Ben Nicholson and their children. Her house is a wonderful place to visit too but sadly I was too tired to climb the hill up to visit this time. I have seen it several times and love the mix of her works and plants in the garden outside her studio. No room to talk more about her but please look her up.
A wonderful quote by her about her aim as an artist: “…to infuse the formal perfection of geometry with the vital grace of nature.” (Ref. Barbara Hepworth’s Sculpture Garden by Miranda Phillips & Chris Stephens).
The visit was completed with crab sandwiches and a glass of Rosado blush in a cafe on the Porthmeor Beach below the Tate. As we walked back to the station Peter treated me to another gorgeous Cornish Cream ice cream, I couldn’t understand why he’d just bought one for me – but his chocolate cone had been snatched by a huge seagull before he even managed a lick! Gulls are a bigger problem for St. Ives than traffic, despite copious signs and warnings people will feed them titbits. They are becoming a danger as they fly down and steal whatever they fancy. I did share mine with him!
On our last day we visited Porthleven, a small fishing port where the catch is landed daily and then served in the many cafes surrounding the harbour. Our lunch was in Amelies, next door to Rick Steins, where I had Crab Soup followed by Moules served with home-made bread. Half a carafe of Provence Rose Blush – heaven. My photo doesn’t do justice but suffice to say one of the best meals I have had, do check out the website. I hope to return to Porthleaven for a few days In October. The day ended with a walk around Bonython Gardens, one of the treats of staying there is free access and after the public leave it’s one’s own secret garden for a few hours. The highlight for me was the Yew Chapel shown at the start of my blog. Yew Trees have been trained and trimmed to form a chapel complete with alter and pews with a cross above the altar. I found it so spiritual, surrounded by beautiful woods and utterly peaceful. So many Cornish Pleasures.