Thursday, 18 December 2014

Feeling Festive


Christmas window with tree made of knitting balls


Are you feeling festive? I'm starting to, although I still feel it's a little early when I see the decorations going up at the beginning of December, by now I've warmed up and am looking forward to it all. I just needed to shake off that cynical feel I get when viewing the aggressive show put on by the supermarkets. 

It really helps when you've got some great local traders who pull out all the stops to do something creative and unique. Every year in St Ives the shopkeepers take part in a window dressing competition (which I'm sure they all take very seriously behind the scenes). A recent trip into town by train without small ones in tow meant I had enough time to browse, take photos and even do some hand holding with someone who didn't have a snotty nose!

This fab tree in the Seasalt shop is one of my favourite places to buy good quality clothes with a coastal feel. I'd been buying their coats for years before I realised they're also organic.

St Ives poster print



There were a huge variety of window dressing styles, from the contemporary....



To the more traditional complete with its own choir!



Join in if you know the words to this children's song which normally features a scarecrow.



Not sure if they had snow in Bethlehem at the time but it looks good here anyway. 



I've tried to recreate this look back at home, sadly minus the lovely grey shutters. 



 This was such a great display outside a greengrocers and made me green with basket envy!



The small fisherman's cottages were decorated too.



 Maybe he's waiting for Father Christmas? 

Hope you all have a very relaxing, enjoyable holiday!

Antonia x

Monday, 8 December 2014

Winter walk at Kynance Cove

                   


At the weekend we made the most of the glorious weather and headed out to a favourite spot. Kynance Cove is a beautiful beach surrounded by the most stunning rocks and pinnacles. 

   

It is much photographed and very popular in the summer with visitors who can enjoy a secluded beach when the tide is out with delicious tea and cakes from a National Trust cafe (just pictured). 



This area is part of the Lizard Peninsula, the most southerly point in Britain. The name has nothing to do with its local wildlife and instead is probably how people misinterpreted the old Cornish name. However, thanks to a combination of unique geology and a mild climate rare and unusual plants and animals thrive here. 

  
The most famous resident is the Chough, a comical looking black bird with a long curved beak. It is a real success story, having died out in the rest of the country but retaining a small, closely guarded population on the cliff edges. It also enjoys views to die for.
  

                                         video

      
It was such an exhilarating walk which had me grinning insanely. Here's a video to show you what I mean, the sharp eyed amongst you may spot a small walk on part from my daughter. It was tricky trying to film and make sure we didn't fall over the edge at the same time!


Hoping you all have a great week ahead, Antonia x



Saturday, 8 November 2014

Autumnal


How are you all, good I hope? It's been a while partly because we've been out and about so much revelling in the mild weather, and also because my phone lost all my recent pictures. Oh well hey ho, maybe its time to finally move to a smart phone! 



These are some autumnal images that I managed to save from a sunny day. I love being close to water and luckily in south Cornwall there are lots of creeks, rivers and inlets as well as miles and miles of coast.



Aren't these branches great? These sessile oak trees are smaller and more twisty than the traditional English oak and look great when their leaves start to fall. They are more common in Cornwall and create a beautiful landscape. Oak trees also support more wildlife than any other native tree. 



Low sun, calm waters, it's getting chillier. Time to wrap up and head for home. Have a great week!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Poppies and Polly Joke


We took a stroll the other day on the north coast. We don't know this coast as well as the gentle south, with its heavily wooden estuaries and calm inlets. The north of Cornwall is by contrast all about high cliffs, wide sandy beaches and big waves. We followed a quiet footpath and soon found ourselves with this incredible view over the hedge. 



Poppies as far as the eye could see!



It's rare to see fields of poppies these days, and I could hardly believe my eyes. 



Up close they were bright and vibrant, showing off amongst other wild flowers. 



If that wasn't enough, we then came to the most beautiful cove called Polly Joke. It's not well known so there weren't many people around. 



We climbed down to the beach, and set up under these beautiful cliffs studded with lichen.







We spent a few hours here, but the tide was on the turn and you could see that soon the narrow bay would be under water so we headed back. 



The youngest dude caught a ride on the boogie board!



A great day well spent, with a sprinkle of serendipity about it. 

Here's a lovely video I found of this spot with skylarks singing - 



Thursday, 21 August 2014

Traditional celebrations

One of the things that I love about living in Cornwall (as a former townie), is that people here aren't afraid to embrace the traditional. I've been delighted to hear my daughter singing old songs in Cornish that she learnt at school, and ones about miners going away to America. 

The other day I was invited to go along to a summer party near the Helford river. 



It was a beautiful day, and there were glimpses of the other side of the river. 


Finding the event was a bit tricky, it was somewhere down a lane.....


Soon we came upon some signs, this one reads 'It was a beautiful afternoon with fleeting clouds and a clear blue sky'


Nearly there!


That led to a field with straw bales and bunting, it looked so lovely and yet so simple.


The children from the local school had dressed up and were taking part in Cornish dancing, which was great fun to watch.


There were old fashioned games to raise money for the school, including a coconut shy.


The prettiest lemonade stand.


And of course a traditional cream tea (scone with jam and clotted cream on top), so we lowered ourselves in.


 Well, nothing for it but to sit back and enjoy!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Super skies

The Red Arrows came to town....




....and boy were they good!



Considering these photos were taken on a simple Nokia phone, it just goes to show how amazing they were on the day.



 We watched from the shore in Falmouth, but I bet the view from the boats was amazing.



Wait for it....


Not finished yet...


Isn't that great?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Summer froth



The hedgerows and lanes are so frothy at the moment, with tons of cow parsley and lots of beautiful pink and purple flowers. Everything is growing as though it's on steroids, and this ancient signpost is in danger of being swamped completely!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Gig rowing

I've finally fulfilled a dream I've had since moving to Cornwall, and tried gig rowing. It is the fastest growing sport in the South West, and probably the only one where men, women and children can all take part in the same boat!




A Cornish pilot gig is a six oared rowing boat that was originally used to rescue people who were ship-wrecked, or to guide a ship into port. Today, there is a growing sport associated with it and the World Championships are held every year in the Isles of Scilly. 




I joined the Helford Gig Rowing club on a lovely sunny evening. The river is a beautiful place that is worth the effort just for the views of the wooded banks, herons and sandy beaches. 



We set off from outside the Ferryboat Inn, two boat loads of mainly amateurs plus one dog called Ruby who came along for the ride. Although I often 'caught a crab' by dipping my oar in too deeply,  I wasn't made to feel awkward or embarrassed. The cox was kind and there was a lot of laughter on the water. I'll definitely be back. 


Friday, 23 May 2014

Flora Day

Cornwall is a land of ancient stones, myths, legends and traditions that go back hundreds if not thousands of years. The Cornish people do their best to keep these alive, and prepare for the festivities all year.

Flora Day is a Spring festival in the Cornish market town of Helston that takes place every May. It is designed to welcome in the Spring, and celebrate the season of renewal and vitality.


 The townsfolk decorate the outside of shops and houses with greenery and wild flowers, which creates a beautiful backdrop to the traditional dancing and music.




Windows adorned with the Cornish flag



Wild bluebells decorate doors


The mayor is there to welcome everyone



The day starts very early - with a big drum at 7am kicking off a series of dances that last for hours and brass bands playing the Flora Day song. 


I love the fact that everyone who takes part dresses up, so the men wear traditional top hats and tails and the ladies wear flowery dresses, wide brimmed hats and gloves. Even the children look fantastic all dressed in white for both boys and girls.

There are adult and children's dances which tell the story of Hal an Tow, with the participating characters singing about the challenge of the Spanish Armada, the English patron saint, St. George and the fight between St Michael and the devil.

My son was born in Helston, and I was hoping that this would mean he could take part in the dancing when he was older but apparently you need to live there so instead we'll just enjoy watching everyone.