Repairs and daffs

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What a month, him indoors reckons that the only way to get through January and February is to have daffodils inside the house and as you can see we have them inside and out at the moment. The indoor ones came from the local fields at 69p a bunch and they have brought some welcome colour to the drab days, although for the last week we have had record breaking days of warm sun. I’ve also got a small group of snowdrops, I planted them quite a few years ago and thought they had decided not to appear, they were my grandmother’s favourite flower, she always used to see if she could find some to put in a vase for her birthday which was today, the 28th of February. Some years it would prove difficult and she would get violets instead and yet, the snowdrops this year have been blooming since the beginning of the month, or maybe earlier and the violets have only just appeared. I am still going through boxes since our move and found some of my grandmother’s handkerchiefs and a lavender bag that she must have made, at the very least, in the 1970s, the lavender was still going strong!

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snowdrops growing in the field by us

I’ve had a couple of trips to Bodmin this month, a place I normally drive through to get to the north coast of Cornwall and it’s easy to bypass the centre. Driving in past four different supermarkets gives the impression of a large place to warrant so much choice, yet it feels like a small market town. Historically it’s had some fine moments and the buildings suggest a thriving past, including the old jail. One of these has just been turned into a new arts centre [I’ve mentioned this in passing before] by a company called intoBodmin and the old library, as it once was, will now host music, theatre, poetry and other community events. Normally when a venue is new it takes time to build up an audience where the community wait to see what kind of options you give them but it seems that the people of Bodmin are hungry for culture, when I went and performed one of my shows at the beginning of February we had a 94% capacity turn out. Incredibly exciting!

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I returned a week later for a Repair Cafe, where people will look at whatever you bring in and try to make it work. There was a joiner to repair furniture; an electrician; a wireless geek and a wonder with a sewing machine who turned out to have been a wardrobe mistress in a theatre in her past life. As I had worked for the same company we had a great conversation.  An antique musical box [above] got its tune back, radios worked again and many people had their coat linings sewn up. I am definitely going back because it’s just lovely to see what things come in and, you can also learn something whilst you watch the repairs.

 

Cabin Envy

Photo Kristian Septimius Krogh

Photographer: Kristin Septimus Krogh

A Scandinavian black and white cabin, what’s not to like. The garden looks very private with plenty of places to hang out, to eat or lie in the sun [or shade].

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weather, moons and root veg

 

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There have been some amazing January days, with warm sun and wonderful pinky sunsets but also torrential rain [that blotted out the view across the bay] and then the month finished with a smattering a snow. I say a smattering because it stayed for an evening but had pretty much gone by morning, not like last year’s Beast from the East yet inland, out on the moors that cross Cornwall and Devon, the snow was thick and in some places impassable.

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Our view has been a patchwork of green and brown fields, the farmers have trimmed the hedges and the council have cleared the verges and gutters so the said torrential rain wouldn’t flood or leave surface water and everywhere looks tidy and clean. The sheep have not been in their usual field nor grazing on grass but on, what looks like from our outlook, soil, a couple of fields away; on closer inspection they are actually grazing on root vegetable crops or ‘catch crops’. This is a feeding strategy farmers use for over wintering livestock and apparently this option is also happening more and more as farmers stop using pesticides.

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The sheep graze part of the field and then move down as they finish the crop – see the uneaten crop to the left of the sheep.

Talking of root crops these posters have been appearing around the area since before Christmas showing that local produce is being grown for the county’s favourite food, the pastie. Ginsters are a local Cornish pasty manufacturer with a national product based in Callington which is half an hour away and their ingredients are all Cornish, as the posters tell us. Stop at any service station and you will find a Ginsters pie or pasty, it even made it into Coronation Street dialogue last week [ the UK’s longest running television soap]. Mind you we have a pasty maker even closer to us – two minute drive or a 15 minute walk to Cornish Pod, bringing pasties and pies and other hot snacks to events and festivals in their trailer. That 15 minute walk takes us to their kitchens, so straight out of the HQ ovens for us…and they are good!

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Earlier in the month, on the 21st, we set the alarm for 4am to witness the lunar eclipse. We were really lucky to have a clear sky here in Cornwall and we wrapped up and watched for the last few moments before the total eclipse and then as the pinky glow started to cover the moon from the bottom – totally mesmerising! I took photos but they were, hazy, blurry and bloody awful, I decided to stop trying and just watch.

Next month there’s another super moon, the Snow Moon, the closest it gets to the earth so will appear huge, also no need to set an alarm for this one as you will see it from sunset on February 19th.

Cabin envy

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photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

The flag gives it away but without the flag the picket fence would be a good indicator of where this cabin is. It’s on Fire Island, an ocean barrier off the south coast of Long Island, USA. I’m on the fence about the fence but I love the black and white windows and the jetty/boardwalk path to the front door. If you want to peep inside the cabin look here

That’s my new blog post for January life on a Cornish cliff,  if you prefer regular updates which are mainly pictorial I have succumbed to Instagram – check me out and follow me here  yes, as always, late to the party.

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New year new blog

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The bay looking towards Rame Head on Saturday 5th January

When I started this blog six years ago it was to get an online presence for a holiday let but since downsizing and living here full time it’s made me question what the blog and all other online activity is for, and I’ve been asking myself since the start of the year what I should now be writing on this platform. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy writing the blogs and love finding cabins that fulfil my cabin envy but I don’t need to send out as many posts to garner interest as a business. So in the future you may not get a post emailed as often as in the past but when you do, they may be slightly longer and more detailed and, hopefully, seasonal. I will still highlight the important stuff like plastic pollution and send through pics of wonderful cabins but the ‘lifestyle stuff’ that draws potential guests to your site, may be reduced.

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Cornwall Performance

I will be performing my first solo show that I made back in 2013 at the Old Bodmin Library. Coffee with Vera is a solo performance in the form of a coffee morning and the old library building in Bodmin is a perfect fit, the auditorium has both a performance area and a cafe so I will be preparing my brownies and blondies and heading 40 minutes down the A38. The library has just been turned into an arts centre for the community and I am so happy to be appearing in the first season.

Coffee with Vera The Old Library Bodmin

Thursday 7th February @ 3pm 

Tickets £7 [includes coffee and cake!]

More Info click here

 

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A chalet Christmas

 

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Everything Christmassy at the chalet gets downsized, the tree, the decorations and even the cards, which are less and less each year; the mince pies are bite size and the cake is small, partly because we have other goodies like panettone and German Lebkuchen which folk seem to prefer.  We will knuckle down with a jigsaw and switch the fairy lights on and if its dry on the day itself we will venture out onto the beach [low tide 13.30] and wish everyone we see season’s greetings.

I hope that 2019 will be more peaceful for all, here in the U.K  we will be starting the year with an almighty Brexit argument that will only get worse so I say make the most of the holiday and try to bite your lip when the family take sides. Wherever you are, if you receive this post by email or are reading it somewhere online have a very good time.

See you on the other side.

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Cabin Envy Great Lakes Cabin

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Here is a cabin that is a flat pack inspired by Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea. It’s called the Great Lakes Cabin and has been designed by Leckie Studio for the Backwater Hut Company and will be featured at the 2019 Toronto Interior Design Show. 

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What a thing of beauty, mind you the thought of erecting it sends shivers down my spine, I would find it hard enough to put together a Billy bookcase or an Ikea kitchen never mind a whole building. The assembly is supposed to be done as in traditional barn raising techniques which calls to mind that amazing scene in the film Witness where the Amish community build the barn together raising it in, what seems like minutes. That’s the power of film of course the reality could/would take much longer. The upside of all this is that the cabin can be built in remote areas with minimum environmental impact and I just love the colour of the trees in this setting and the reflection in the water below.

More information and image source from Design Boom 

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daily commute

Ferry: Devonport 17:31 Over 45min delay if joining lanes now

Ferry: The 06:30 service from Torpoint left early due to an emergency ambulance.

Ferry: 16:37 One ferry service due a mechanical failure, long delays at both sides, updates to follow.

In our forgotten part of Cornwall if you need to get across the water to Plymouth and the rest of south Devon via the A38 [and eventually the M5] you use the Torpoint Ferry. Usually three ferries run during the rush hours and then a two ferry system the rest of the time making availability every 15 minutes. It runs 24 hours 356 days of the year and is a life line for many particularly when in need of an emergency vehicle. Unfortunately since September one ferry has been away in Falmouth being serviced and we’ve had to rely on the two remaining which, when technical problems occur, means we can be down to one. This solo journey is normal overnight when one goes back and forth every half hour but it has been happening whilst one of the two remaining ferries has had some recurring problems. Its made the usual 8 minute crossing become a long commute with waits of up to an hour on both sides of the water.

 

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So we’ve been looking for alternatives, him indoors used to walk to work when we lived in Plymouth and is missing the exercise, so we looked at what we could do.

The Cremyll Ferry is a foot ferry from Mount Edgecombe which is ten minutes from us and crosses the water to Stonehouse, a couple of miles further into town than the Torpoint site. As it’s a foot ferry it means we park at Cremyll and have to walk into town, which covers him indoors’ exercise and… it takes pretty much the same amount of time as the Torpoint route, particularly at the moment with long delays. Only downside is the winter timetable is shorter, therefore less crossings so the last boat back is 6.45, but in terms of a daily commute it’s perfect and stress free.

 

 

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Field mushrooms x2

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Can I just thank followers Shazza and Rip, who contacted me to say the mushrooms highlighted in my last post should be edible and even included tasting tips, I am very grateful to them. Since that post I have noticed many more mushrooms sprouting up in the field outside the chalet and then I saw my neighbour passing by with a bowl, my neighbour who has lived all her life on the cliff.  I watched as she went into the field and started picking the mushrooms so I stopped her and asked how she knew they were edible, “I just know, I’ve always picked them, grew up picking them” and pointing to the fields beyond she said “they used to be covered in mushrooms until they were dug over for daffodil bulbs”. So there you have it, there have been mushrooms growing on the cliff fields for years so I just need to get out there with my bowl before my neighbours get them all!!

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