Sunday, 25 September 2016

Brittany

Have I really not blogged since July?  That'll be because I've been struggling with my poorly foot and I've stayed fairly close to home during that time.   I finally got to see a podiatrist who set me on the road to recovery so we were able to go on a planned holiday a couple of weeks ago.

Many years ago when I was a mere schoolgirl I had a French pen-friend who lived in Brittany and I spent 3 weeks enjoying all the beautiful country and culture that Brittany had to offer.  This month we went back courtesy of our local coach company and were able to visit Concarneau, Quimper, Benodet  and Pont Aven.  En route to our hotel at Concarneau we visited Mont St Michel, the sister to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall.


The last time I was here you could walk across to the Mont but recently a footbridge has been built across the sands and access is by foot, push-me-pull-you bus or horse drawn cart.

Looking back from the Mont to the mainland the footbridge feeds thousands of people across the sands.  The tide here moves at an alarming rate when it comes in and you wouldn't outrun it if caught out.  I heard that it comes under the sand and saturates it to the point where it breaks the surface and rushes on.

After a security check by police we had a bit of a wander.  We didn't get far because of my gammy foot but enjoyed this amazing structure.

I have my DH to thank for this photo of the beautiful turrets atop the abbey and the following ones too.


You can't see from this photo but the streets go up very steeply.


 We gave up trying to walk on cobbles and took to the walls for a short walk.



Our base for the week was the Hotel de l'OcĂ©an at Concarneau.  It is placed right on the bay and we were lucky to have a sea view.



We were treated to some lovely sunsets


Our first day was spent in Concarneau and we rode a little road train to get to the old town.



Behind the town walls are beautiful gardens, cobbled streets, town walls to walk round and interesting back yards.







Going back on the little train (let down by my foot again for a longer visit) I took a chance pic of the beautiful flower beds in the centre of the road,


My pen-friend came from Quimper and we paid a visit here the next day.  Blustery showers took us into the cathedral which had some amazing stained glass, some of it from the 20th century.



 This building above is the Cafe Des Cariatides with its beautiful stone carvings.





I'll have to come back and add links for the glass artists.

It was lovely to be in Quimper again and the area around the cathedral certainly brought back memories.  It was lovely to be able to speak some French for a while too and mostly I was understood and understood what was said to me.  I'll be back with the rest of the trip in a few days.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Poldark Country

While we were staying in beautiful Cornwall we took the chance to do a tour with Chris and Carolyn Barnard aka Magic of Poldark on Facebook.  Chris and Carolyn picked us up at our holiday flat on a less than wonderful morning weather wise and we were soon on our way to our first destination, St Agnes Head.



I don't think Chris will thank me for this very wet photo of them but it just shows you can have fun regardless of the weather


Above, looking north towards Perranporth through the rain.  Below, looking south towards St Ives, just beyond the shot.


By the time we got to Charlestown the rain and eased off a little.

This quay has been used in various dramas as its quayside sheds and warehouses can still provide a realistic backdrop.  The ship in the harbour has actually been used in the filming of Poldark.  

My artist's eye was attracted by this bollard on the pier and its frayed rope.



From Charlestown we moved onto Dollar Cove at Gunwalloe where the wind was whipping the sea up and the rain was still being a nuisance but not enough to spoil things.

This beautiful wall took my eye in the carpark.  Click on for a closer view. 




There is a beautiful little church of St Wynwaloe at Gunwalloe which dates from 13th century.  It is unusual in that it has 3 aisles which were built as designed and not as a result of additions made later. The church sits pretty much right on the beach.   It is a simple little building and has a great sense of history. 


By the time we had had lunch the weather started to brighten up and became positively balmy.  Next stop was Porthgwarra and Gwennap Head.


Porthgwarra Cove provided the swimming scene for Ross Poldark in the 2015 version of the story and is a beautiful spot.  The slipway to the beach is extremely steep and not for the fainthearted or wobbly footers but there is an alternative route down. (We didn't bother). Our route took us up and over the headland, except for my Dh who unfortunately lost his footing and had to take a rest.  I manfully walked on with Chris to get some photos from the top but sadly by this time my own foot problem was making my life difficult too.  The climb was worth it for the view of the Scillonian III coming back from the Isles of Scilly.



The sun was beginning to get a bit lower in the sky by now so it was difficult to get a shot of the amazing foxgloves on the headland.




Happily we had arrived at Porthgwarra in time for a cakey tea, a trademark of Poldark tours.


Rounding off a long but totally enjoyable day we were taken to Botallack, the reason I booked the trip, and arrived as the sun was going down, sadly not quite low enough to get a sunset.


Stewart and I were both feeling our ages by the time we got to Botallack and Stewart's leg was causing him some bother but I am so glad we made the effort.  The Crowns engine houses are so iconic and I am delighted to have seen them and the amazing light on the water.


Finally back to our retreat and relaxing with the resident kitties who took to DH straightaway.


Meet Jake and Elwood.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A Very Special Day

Back in March my dear hubby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  When we were thinking about it coming up Stewart suggested that we mark the occasion by renewing our wedding vows in St Ives which has a special place in our hearts.  We had found out during the Arts Festival last year that the little chapel on the island is available for hire for wedding blessings so where better to have our ceremony? 



The so-called 'island' dominates the lovely town of St Ives,





and Porthmeor beach sweeps away below it,



Fittingly, the tenth wedding anniversary is 'tin' and Cornwall is the home of tin and tin-mining and as my family roots are in tin-mining in Cornwall everything seemed to fall into place.  We were introduced to two wonderful ladies who make up Cornish Celebrants and they stepped us through the construction of the ceremony.  We were able to meet up with them the week before the ceremony at the Royal Cornwall Show where they had a stand.

 

Meet Nicola and Denise, two warm and supportive ladies.  They took all the potential worry out of the day and conducted the ceremony with sincerity but also joy and warmth.  We had about 20 friends and family to share the occasion and we had so much fun, along with a few lumps in the throat and a tear or two. 



A few mementoes to remember those who couldn't share the day with us.



Notice the chairs that the Council very kindly supplied for us poor pensioners to sit on; we both had poorly legs and thought we might find it uncomfortable to stand for half an hour.







I had read about hand fasting online and wanted to include this ancient symbol of binding us together as a couple and made a woven sash inspired by the beautiful colours of the sea and shore.





Stewart was dancing with joy by the end of the ceremony (to Dance the Night Away' by the Mavericks), despite having a torn muscle in his leg.



I'm not sure what he had said to Nicola but she obviously enjoyed it :-)  All too soon it was time to go back out into the glorious sunshine.







All our lovely friends and family who had either made the trip to Cornwall or live there already (lucky devils!).  Not least my lovely stepson Jamie who made a holiday for himself round our event.

Keeping with the informal tone we adjourned to the pub, The Lifeboat Inn to be exact, and I was completely overwhelmed to find that they had set up an area of the bar especially for our party.  We had asked them if they could cope with us bringing 20ish people for lunch as we knew they didn't take bookings but we were prepared to wait if they could just accommodate us.  It was just wonderful to find they had gone to so much trouble for us.



We had a lovely relaxed late lunch and everyone got on really well, considering most hadn't met before.  

The photographs here were mostly taken by a St Ives resident, Steve Lynton, who we've met through a Facebook group and who has become a very dear and warm friend.  


Thank you Steve.  I know there are many more photos to come from other friends so I'll share a few of those when they arrive.  We felt like we were being 'Papped' with all the cameras going off.  That's what happens when your friends are keen photographers :-)

Our special friends Carolyn and Margaret gave us a little tin mine made from the last of the Cornish tin to remember the day by,






Thank you Stewart for 10 busy, happy, wonderful years, for all your love and support.  You're one very special man xxx



This one's for you Mum xxx