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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.



23 Jul

Today we took our brand new kayak – Elsie, as I’ve named her – out for her maiden voyage.

We didn’t go very far as our fitness levels are … well, let’s just say neither of us is all that athletic. We strapped ol’ Elsie to the roof of the car and set off from Porthminster Beach in St. Ives. We paddled round to Harbour Beach where we stopped and gave Elsie a chance to rest in the sun.

We did the same, too.

After a pasty and some Willy Waller‘s ice cream (lavender & honey and Ferrero Rocher), we set off back for Porthminster.

Along the way, we saw these paddle boarders, who made me very grateful for Elsie’s comfy little seats.

It was wonderful to see St. Ives from the sea rather than the usual beach or town vantage point.

Finally, we had some last minutes in the sun on Porthminster Beach before heading home.

Where to tomorrow, I wonder?

For Luna Swimsuits

10 Jul

I’ve recently discovered the stunning swimwear sold by For Luna and designed by the one and only Esther Williams! It’s all vintage-inspired and is absolutely amazing to look at and to wear. I have the cherry one-piece halter pictured above and am already contemplating investing in this beauty as well:

(Thanks to India Knight for the tip!)

Roger Williams Park and Zoo

9 Jul

While back in the U.S. recently, I spent quite a bit of time at Roger Williams Park. Back when I lived in Rhode Island, I worked at the zoo (which is in the park) as a docent, so this was definitely a return to my old stomping ground.

It’s a lovely zoo. Big enough so that there’s plenty to see, but not so big that it’s overwhelming.

Because one of my very best friends is the zoo’s Education Director, we were given a personal tour. A lot has changed since my days, so it was great to get the inside scoop!

Every summer, the zoo holds a big fundraising event called Zoobilee which is an evening function with food and drink from over 40 local restaurants, along with live music and dancing.

It’s always great fun and I’ve volunteered at it often in the past – so this year, when it turned out that I’d be in Rhode Island that week, I helped out again.

This year there were also some ‘living art’ characters, including this fabulous plant woman who emerged from a giant flower pot:

The zoo is in gorgeous Roger Williams Park, a 400+-acre park in Providence.

With lakes, a boathouse, a Temple to Music, a carousel, a planetarium, the Museum of Natural History, a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and so much more, the park is a great place to visit.

It really is one of my very favourite places.


20 Jun

It’s that time again!

Who’s your favourite this year?

I’m not sure I have one. I haven’t had one since my beloved Marat Safin hung up his racquet a few years ago.

How is it possible not to love a man who said:

I am not a singer or a rock star. Tennis is tennis. If you want to see a clown, go to a circus.

I do quite like Marcos Baghdatis, but I’m afraid none of the top-seeded players really excites me these days. I suppose it would be good if Andy Murray won.

Tennis is more than just a sport. It’s an art, like the ballet. Or like a performance in the theater. When I step on the court I feel like Anna Pavlova. Or like Adelina Patti. Or even like Sarah Bernhardt. I see the footlights in front of me. I hear the whisperings of the audience. I feel an icy shudder. Win or die! Now or never! It’s the crisis of my life.

~Bill Tilden

And are you one of the lucky ones who’ll be there in person? If so, I do hope you get some good weather. The forecast isn’t brilliant, unfortunately.

If you haven’t got a ticket, you’ll be like me – having your strawberries and cream in front of the television. One of these days, I’ll get there in person. ¬†Until then, enjoy!

P.S. Those bookish tennis fans among you might enjoy this literary tennis quiz, courtesy of The Guardian.


Trevoole Farm

19 Jun

Today was one of the three days during the year that the gardens at Trevoole Farm are open to the public. As part of the National Gardens Scheme, the privately-owned gardens charge a modest admission and all the proceeds go to charity.

Despite another wet day, we set off for Trevoole in Praze-an-Beeble and had a jolly time. The gardens are truly beautiful, with a cottage garden, a herb garden, a bog garden, a rose walk, a Victorian greenhouse and a potager.

As well as the gardens, there’s a lovely shop selling bunches of flowers, vintage china, jams and marmalades and lots more.

And there’s a gorgeous tea room if you’re feeling peckish. The owners had gone to a lot of trouble setting up tables and chairs outside, but it was really raining quite heavily by the time we got there.

However, we Brits are hardy. A little rain wasn’t going to get between these ladies and their cream teas!

The grounds were cleverly decorated with little seating areas tucked away in corners.

If you live locally, Trevoole is open again on Sunday 3 July from 2-5pm. And, if you’re lucky, you may even get some sunshine! If you don’t live locally, have a look at the National Gardens Scheme website and see if there’s an open garden in your neighbourhood this summer.

Morrab Midsummer Fair

18 Jun

In spite of a rainy start and definitely not feeling like midsummer, the Fair went off really well.

We sold bric-a-brac (I was on the bric-a-brac stall) in the library, along with cakes, crafty items (including gorgeous printed works by the library’s own very talented Alex Higlett) and, of course, books.

In addition to all the stalls in the library itself, there were stalls around the fountain in the Morrab Gardens:

There was lots of food, including these oh-so-pretty cupcakes:

And delicious treats from the lovely ladies of Ottoman Kitchen:

And stunning wrapping paper and cards by Desert Rose, which I couldn’t resist:

At the end of the day, a drawing was held for the BIG RAFFLE we’ve been running for the past months. Sadly, I didn’t win either of the prizes I had my eye on. This John Piper painting:

… or this Anne Bull painting:

Despite not winning and although my feet are killing me, it was an excellent day and lots of money was raised, which is the best part of all.


Penzance Farmers’ Market

20 May

Today I helped out at the farmers’ market on a stall for The Morrab Library. We sold some books, some sandwiches, tickets to tomorrow’s Hidden Gardens of Penzance and raffle tickets. This is the fabulous John Piper painting which we’ll be raffling later in the summer (sorry it’s propped up at a funny angle):

And, of course, we all had time to wander around and do a bit of shopping as well. The food on the stalls was all so tempting.

How did I manage to miss taking pictures of all the lovely cakes, brownies and meringues? And the pasties and pies? And the gorgeous veg?

Ah, well. The plants and flowers will make up for it:

I came home with a bag full of asparagus, broad beans, peas, flowers and two of the biggest most luscious meringues I’ve ever seen.

Our Royal Wedding Do

30 Apr

Yesterday we had some family members round for brunch. It was a lovely day and we all ate and drank far too much.

I made goodie bags for our guests, complete with commemorative chocolate bars and replicas of Kate’s engagement ring:

I made smoked salmon quiche with goat’s cheese and dill, ¬†mini cheese scones, Ina Garten’s sticky cinnamon buns, sausage rolls and fruit salad. And we drank Bloody Marys, using Nigel Slater’s amazing recipe.

We all watched the wedding which was gorgeous from start to finish. What a happy day. And it was a nice for the rest of the world to see how well we do pomp and pageantry!

After the wedding, we lounged in the sun in the garden with a few special guests.

After multiple glasses of Pimm’s and a good old basic barbecue, we set off fireworks and floating lanterns. It was lovely to hear fireworks going off all around us from all over the village.

Congratulations to the happy couple, and thank you for giving us such a joyous day of celebration!

Antique Fairs

22 Apr

Today we trotted off to Wadebridge to the Antique Fair. It wasn’t as big as some of the fairs I’ve been to in the past (oh, Builth Wells, how I miss you!), but it was still very good. Good enough for the BBC to send Tim Wonnacott to film an episode of Bargain Hunt, at any rate.

I managed to resist the temptation of the lovely suitcases in the top picture, as well as some gorgeous vintage clothes and art deco cocktail bits and bobs.

But I still came home with a few purchases. I bought this etching:

I’m not sure where it’ll go yet, but I loved it too much to leave it behind. Then I picked up these amazingly ridiculous knitting patterns:

The husband needn’t worry. I won’t be knitting him a ribbed jumper. But I will be doing something with the pictures. How could I pass them up? 20p well spent.

And, finally, I bought this set of vintage glasses in a wire carrying tray:

If it hadn’t started raining this afternoon, we’d be sitting out in the garden using them with something Pimm’s-y at this very moment.