Clifftop drinks



When we walk down to the beach we often pass a patch of wild mint on our return and pick some for a hot tea. We do it in the knowledge that the mint, being invasive will not be reduced by our act in any way. The smell is so refreshing as we walk home and the tea we make is fantastic so when a colleague gave me some water kefir grains I thought I would make an elderflower fizz with them that I could serve with fresh mint. I kept the grains in a dormant state in the fridge until I had a couple of days at home to watch the fermentation. We picked some elderflower heads then I steeped them for a couple of days, strained them and attempted to activate the water kefir by dissolving some sugar into some hot water and adding the grains and the elderflower water. That was a couple of days ago and nothing happened just an occasional bubble on the surface  of the liquid but it is starting to wake up a little now.

Our neighbour came round with a bottle of homemade carrot wine, it was very old and he wondered if we wanted to try it as his wife doesn’t drink and it was too much for him. The wine was quite yellowy orange which we took to be because of the carrots and, knowing it was old, or rather vintage, we thought it tasted similar to a sherry – it was probably oxidised.

I used this link for the water kefir and I followed this recipe for elderflower champagne the first part of the elderflower water


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Cabin Envy Valdes Island



GSA_SmallWonder_Design_02 Lucas Findley

Image Lucas Findley


This tilted cabin is southwest of Vancouver on Valdes Island where there is no power, or water supply. Access is either by boat or a very long journey along dirt tracks, to construct the cabin containers were helicoptered in. The deck alongside has an outdoor tub and shower fed by tanks of collected rainwater and heated by propane.  The cabin faces the sea, the Straits of Georgia, across from Vancouver Bay. That tub looks very inviting with such a fantastic view.

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I saw this little chap through the kitchen window and realised a nest was in the process of being built. We have sparrows that come every year and nest in the overhang at the edge of the roof much to the enjoyment of our cat, who just tends to watch their comings and goings. It looks like a bit of wool in his mouth, the sheep in the field rub up against the edges to get at the juicer grass on the other side and their wool catches in the fence. Yesterday the farmer was hurding them together checking them over and once released out of their makeshift pen there was wool everywhere!


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mirror calm



Over the last few sunny days the sea has had such a calm quality about it, not a ripple or wave just the shimmer of sun, which gives the surface a lustre like a mirror.

Author Robert Macfarlane, [The Old Ways, Landmarks ] who posts ‘words of the day’ on his Twitter account tweeted that this mirror like quality is called  ‘rema’ – “of the surface of the sea; mirror-calm, smooth as cream” [smooth as cream comes from the Scots word ‘reyme’ meaning ‘cream’]. Cream also comes from the Icelandic ‘rjómalogn’ meaning ‘cream-calm’.

The replies under the tweet show other words from around the world to describe the same quality, ‘rimpelloos’ – literally ‘without wrinkles’ by @ElizabethK is from Holland; other descriptions describe the sea as oil…or cod liver oil.

I think I prefer cream over oil though.




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A walk to the pub



Yesterday was a busy day in England so we decided to head away from the pomp and circumstance and wander out for a walk, not far just a couple of miles, if that. We were heading for St John, a small village with a lovely pub and yesterday, to mark that someone was getting married they were having a beer festival. We had hoped to cut across the fields but every neighbour we spoke to remembered a route but couldn’t describe it to us, lots of  ‘I think you go alongside…’ or ‘you may have to battle with hedges at this point’ so we decided to stick to the back lanes. It seemed right to walk if there were beers to be tasted and it only took us half an hour even with stops at the entrance to fields trying to work out for ourselves how we could cut across. One stop was in a shady part of the road and we peered through the trees to the village beyond, it looked pretty sleepy.


We arrived just after lunchtime and as the festival was going on all day people were pacing themselves, as well as the beers on tap in the pub [guest beers change on a weekly basis] there was a large marquee in the garden with another 6 guest beers to be had. The village hall had the bunting up and tables laid out with a screen relaying wedding reports and football matches to the people eating their cream teas. Two hours later we set off back through the village and just as we were reaching the point where we were going to head off road to see where a footpath would lead us, our neighbour appeared alongside us in their car and we were taxied home.



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Baguette boxes


IMG_1721.JPGWe have a post box here at the chalet rather than the traditional English letterbox in the front door. Our postbox is attached to the outside fence of the garden and when the postman comes reversing down the lane to our chalet he stops, opens his window, lifts up the lid of the postbox through the open van window and puts in the letters.

A few days ago our friend in Hawaii sent through a link saying she thought we would like this article called The Bygone Baguette Mailboxes of French Polynesia.

What a great idea; because of French colonialism the French Polonesian islands used to have bread boxes that resembled American style mail boxes to get their daily french loaf. The idea that you would put your money in the night before and the grocer would deliver the bread the next day is so fab. When we lived in town we used to get our milk delivered, and there was an effort to deliver more than milk to your door but the bread that the milkman has is nothing like these baguettes. I also love this quote ‘Jean-Louis Delezenne, who previously lived on Moorea, says that he used to go out to his mailbox and pick up his baguette and coconut croissant daily—which was delivered rain or shine.’  I want a coconut croissant, not sure what it would be like, maybe an almond croissant, but boy it sounds good. Anyone got any ideas?



Why do all the good ideas die out, only to come around again when we realise that it was far better to do it the way it was originally done. It is such a shame that something like this is disappearing, as they say in the article “People are now always in a hurry!”

I checked out the island of Moorea, the island mentioned above, where Delezenne lived and I found another article that says it is the most beautiful island in the world. Scrolling down the photographs they are not wrong and there’s a definite cabin envy here. I mean what’s not to like.


Calle Montes via Getty Images


Marzo Photography via Getty Images

Maybe I will ask our postman if he could post a couple of loaves in the box while he’s at it, or better still ask the bakers in the local village if they can deliver.

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Morning Coffee


A very busy fortnight has just passed with our ‘production week’ for The Cause at Dartington and opening the tour in Cornwall. Our first performances were in a brand new theatre inside a brand new school, Callywith College, on the outskirts of Bodmin. It’s always difficult to raise an audience in a place where you aren’t a regular fixture but add to that a new venue and one not within walking distance of anywhere. The three shows we performed in Bodmin were facilitated by a new arts organisation called IntoBodmin which helped to attract a really nice audience, a mixture of locals, school students and women’s groups [interested in the subject of the suffrage movement]. Once the first performances were up I had the luxury of a morning off so I nipped along to the Cliff Top Cafe for a morning coffee. It was a glorious day weather wise and him indoors captured this image above from inside the cafe, you can just make out the words Cliff Top on the homemade bunting.

That bench looks very inviting don’t you think, here is the view you would see from it…


As most of the tour is in the south west of England and my start time is in the afternoon I am hoping for some more trips for morning coffee.


To find the Cliff Top Cafe, just head along Military Road on the Rame Peninsula and look for this [new] sign opposite the Whitsand Bay Holiday Park at Treganhawk.

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