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Copeland/Spode China at Trelissick Mansion

8 Sep

Today I visited Trelissick Mansion near Truro for a viewing of the Spode-Copeland china collection.

Trelissick has been around since the mid 1700s, but the Copeland family didn’t own it until 1937. The house is now owned by the National Trust, although the family is still in residence.

The Copelands were Master Potters back in the 1700s when William Copeland and Josiah Spode were partners in the Stoke Potteries business. Copeland later bought out Spode and continued making china under the name of Spode right up until the family sold out to Portmeirion in recent years.

We were given a talk and tour by William Copeland, great-great-great-grandson of the original William Copeland.

The house is set in gorgeous grounds, overlooking the River Fal and planted with hydrangeas, rhododendrons and an amazing array of trees.

But the highlight, of course, was the china. There were cases and cases displaying spectacular pieces, all part of the collection accumulated by Ronald Copeland (the current William Copeland’s grandfather) at the Spode factory.

There were plenty of examples of the blue transferware that we’re all familiar with, but also stunning pieces of Parian ware:

… and lots of quirky little pieces, including items made for the royal family over the centuries, and a couple of these lovely little milk jugs:

I especially liked seeing things like these setters used for firing plates:

Even the gift shop was lovely, with big boxes of apples for sale from the estate’s orchard:

The gardens at Trelissick are open year-round, but if you want to see the china collection you’ll have to plan your trip carefully. It’s open by appointment, and only between 2 and 4pm on Thursdays from May through September. But it’s well worth a visit.

St. Michael’s Mount

10 Aug

Going over to the Mount is something we never seem to do, even though it’s right on our doorstep. But this week, I did go over and it was lovely!

We took the boat from Marazion:

And then had a good wander around the Mount. We discovered you can spend a happy couple of hours there without actually paying admission or going up to the top. And with the boat fare at only £1.50, it’s a cheap day out!

The café is rather nice, especially if you sit outside:

The island was quite crowded, so I think I’d like to go back in the winter when nobody’s around. Queen Victoria had the right idea in 1846. She came in September:

By the time we were ready to leave, the tide was out, so we were able to walk back over the causeway. Obviously a lot of others had the same idea:

I was quite taken with the  notion that we were walking on the seabed.

A lovely place which is definitely worth another visit.

St. Ives Food and Drink Festival

22 May

Between Friday’s farmers’ market and today’s trip to the St. Ives Food and Drink Festival, this has been an extremely food-ful weekend. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

It was great to see St. Ives buzzing and full of people.

And the weather couldn’t have been better.

We really only went to the food producers’ market along the pier, but that was enough to keep me dipping into my purse every minute or so.

There was local fruit and veg:

… delicious cheeses:

… smoked haddock chowder (which was scrumptious) and giant pans of paella:

…lots to wash it down with:

(The husband will report back with his verdict on the Boilers Cornish Ale later on, and I can already vouch for the yummy-ness of Polgoon’s Aval, which you can order online. It’s one of my very favourite tipples.)

…and plenty of sweet treats for afters:

I opted for Jaffa Cake which was homemade dark chocolate ice cream and orange ice cream swirled together with an orange reduction syrup type thing, and with chunks of Jaffa Cake mixed in. Heaven.

A splendid day. Shame we didn’t leave many crumbs for this fellow and his friends:

Hidden Gardens of Penzance

21 May

Today was the Hidden Gardens of Penzance, a wonderful opportunity to nose around some of Penzance’s loveliest gardens.

In spite of the spotty weather, loads of people turned out and the event was a huge success!

As well as seeing some fabulous gardens, I also discovered parts of Penzance I never knew existed – like the wonderful cottages on Penlee Manor Drive.

We walked to all 10 gardens, from Castle Horneck to the Promenade, and felt we more than deserved our cream tea at The Morrab Library at the end.

Here’s hoping next year marks the second annual Hidden Gardens tour!

A Trip to Looe

7 May

We finally had a rain-free day, so decided to head off to Looe. I’d never been before and I’m so glad we went – and doubly glad we didn’t go during the school holidays!

We hadn’t known that today was the second annual West Looe May Fayre, a small but lovely fair which is now back after a 70 or so year hiatus. There were stalls and crafty things:

And I was particularly enamoured of these green painted and upholstered chairs:

And there was music and the usual assemblages:

And a lovely exhibition of old photographs of Looe in the church:

Looe is actually made up of two towns, East Looe and West Looe, connected by a bridge:

I liked the plaque on the Old Looe Bridge, marking repairs made in the 17th century:

Looe has some remarkably old buildings:

and is a mass of hidden lanes and alleyways:

There are also some rather gorgeous shops:

All in all, it was a splendid day!

Knit Wits

27 Apr

Knit Wits is my favourite wool shop. And this week, Julia (she of the world’s largest knitting needles and Britain’s Got Talent) and the gang have done themselves proud with a window display featuring an all-knitted Royal Wedding.

So if you’re in Penzance, take a stroll up Causeway Head and have a look at the window. I’ve been told there’s now bunting as well!

The Portscatho HOMESPUN Fair

25 Apr

Today I tootled off to lovely Portscatho for the HOMESPUN Fair, a glorious mishmash of vintage things, homemade things and recycled things.

There were vintage clothes, jewellery, quilts, tablecloths, china and so many more delectable temptations.

I particularly loved the toys and children’s books and very nearly came home with a bundle of Enid Blytons.

Look at these fabulous 1930s German sewing boxes:

There was so much to tempt me …

Even the ‘dressing room’ was in keeping with the homespun feel of it all:

Still, I managed to exercise reasonable restraint – reasonable being a relative term, of course.

Oh, and did I mention the cakes? There were cakes! Such splendid cakes! But sadly I neglected to take any pictures of them.

I’m already looking forward to the next HOMESPUN Fair … Christmas, perhaps? A big thank you to The Sea Garden and Jane and the Happy Crow for putting together such a fantastic event.

Seasalt Cornwall

6 Apr

Seasalt makes some of my favourite clothing around. Relaxed and sporty, yet always stylish and pretty – what I generally aspire to, while usually falling short and winding up slightly scruffy.

At the moment, I have my eye on this season’s jute bags. Their whimsical designs really appeal to me. Just perfect for going to the beach, doing a bit of shopping or just carrying around waiting to be noticed.

At three for a tenner, they’re completely affordable. Why not pick up a few?

This skirt has also grabbed my attention:

… mostly because of the ‘Mallows Mist’ print which I think is lovely and old-fashioned:

If you have a look around the Seasalt website, you might also come across their excellent guide to Cornwall’s gardens.

Good stuff.

Sunday Afternoon Walks

9 Jan

It was a gorgeous, crisp, sunny day today so we set off for Bodmin Moor. Our first stop was Dozmary Pool.

Some people claim that Dozmary is the place where Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur and the home of the lady of the lake. I expressed my doubts, and a great debate about Cornwall vs Wales as the home of King Arthur ensued. I don’t think we’re likely to settle that one any time soon.

Here’s how Aubrey Beardsley depicted the mysterious arm receiving Excalibur from Bedivere:

And here’s N.C. Wyeth’s interpretation

What do you think?

Unfortunately, we were only able to walk around part of the pool because it was so wet and muddy. I was up to my ankles in squoodge and the squoodge was threatening to pull off my boots, so we retreated. From there, we went to nearby Colliford Lake, actually a reservoir, to continue our walk.

The walk was absolutely lovely and relatively dry, which is always a plus in my book:

Then, to top things off, we met these beauties on the way home:

We finally got home, tired and muddy and well-deserving of a roast dinner and a relaxing night in front of the fire.

Newlyn Cheese

14 Dec

I had my first visit to the new Newlyn Cheese shop today, and what a treat it was!

It’s very small, but perfectly lovely and filled with the most delicious cheeses, biscuits, bread, chutneys, etc.

And who could resist cheeses with names like Miss Muffet and Ticklemore Goat?

I came home with wedges of Miss Muffet, Rachel and Cornish Blue. Miss Muffet is soft and mild and I bought it for my Gouda-loving husband. Rachel is quite possibly the yummiest cheese I’ve ever tasted. My mother-in-law thought it smelled of goat, but my sister-in-law and I were smitten. It was apparently named for an ex-girlfriend of the cheesemaker and is described as “sweet, curvy and slightly nutty.” Hah! I had to buy some of the Cornish Blue because last month it won top honours at the World Cheese Awards, the first time in a decade that a British cheese has won. And it beat 2,600 other entries!

World Cheese Awards … now why aren’t those televised?

I very nearly also bought some of the Yarg wrapped in wild garlic leaves, but decided to leave that for a future visit. And I’m confident there’ll be plenty of future visits.