A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Cornwall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cornwall. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sometimes I pretend to be normal...

We were up at 4am and on the road by 5 the weekend before last. The journey to Falmouth is 250 miles from home and from experience, it's best tackled early in the morning. We arrive at our daughter's house by 9:30am, and we're on the beach by ten sipping much-needed coffee, devouring biscuits and slipping in and out of our waterproof jackets as the weather alternates between drizzling rain and blistering sunshine. It rains as we eat our picnic on the beach. We stay there anyway and make the best of it.

'Would it be OK if I invited a friend for dinner tonight?' Olivia asks as we drop her home afterwards.

'Yes, that's fine,' I add.

'I have something I need to ask,'she adds. 'Do you think you could pretend to be normal while we're out?' Her comment is a harsh one. Aren't all families slightly crazy with their in-jokes and unique perspective on the world?

I promise that I will behave, but feel well and truly chastised by my daughter.

It's always a pleasure to meet up with our daughters' friends from university and E is lovely. On Olivia's recommendation, we head to a restaurant in the centre of town that's popular with students and enjoy our evening meal.

Restaurants in Falmouth, Cornwall

As I was up early and it has been a crazy day, a single glass of wine intoxicates more quickly than usual, but I try to pretend that I'm 'normal' (whatever that might be) and remind myself that on a good day I can fake normality rather well. I stick to 'safe' topics such as plans after university, cats, (E has several) and hopes that she and Olivia will remain in touch. It's all gone rather well, but with tiredness comes the possibility of saying something daft. Olivia is looking at me with a look that says, 'See, you can do this when you want to.'

My philosophy is more along the lines of... 'life's too short to be normal, why pretend?'

Jools Holland is playing in town and we meander towards the music after enjoying our meal. The concert is screened off, but we hear perfectly and occasionally catch glimpses of what's going on behind the mesh fence. It's a delightful end to a tiring day.

Falmouth, Cornwall

We stand on the pier behind the shops and restaurants and the clouds are perfect for cloud spotting. I deliberate over whether or not my daughter would approve of this topic, but decide to go with it anyway. I spot a fish and a rabbit and Mr A spots a cloud shaped like a chicken drumstick. I snort with laughter and E finds it all rather amusing. I get the impression that we have wandered too far from the realms of normality as Olivia dishes out a disapproving look. As the concert finishes, Mr A and myself make our excuses and return to the hotel, leaving the students to party.

The following morning we meet up with Olivia and drive to Sennen Cove and Porthcurno for rain-soaked walks along sea-misted beaches. We do this a lot in the UK. If you stay in waiting for the weather to become less inclement, you'd spend most of your life indoors. The day feels more like November than June.

Over a lunch of carrot and coriander soup, while attempting to thaw and dry out a little, Olivia pipes up with, 'Well you've completely fooled E, she thinks you're lovely and wants to come and stay when she's doing her master's.'

'Oh, it would be a pleasure to see her,' I add.

'Would it?' said my daughter. 'I have no idea how the hell you'd pretend to be normal for that long,' she says.

My daughter may have a point.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Friday, 24 June 2016

The Week That Was... 24th June 2016

Always remember to plan aheadI'm wondering if there's any such thing as a normal week in the Anderton house?

Here, it's more a case of define normal, move the goalposts several times and just run with it. I've decided that it's good to find humour in the ridiculous. I suspect it's the only thing keeping me sane.  
This was my week...

Monday evening provided a welcome reprieve from the rain and we ventured out for a walk and came home via the pub. There is something rather indulgent about sitting in a beer garden on a Monday night and drinking Pimms in the sun. Life's too short not to enjoy a glass of something on a Monday don't you think? Note to self: make the most of the great British weather whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Why  I don't send Mr A into town all that often
On Thursday Mr A went into town to run a couple of errands. As I arrived home late that evening, I asked about his day and it transpired that as there was a queue in the bank, he promptly turned around and left again and instead of picking up the couple of items I'd asked for, this is what he bought...

                                                   2 French lavender plants
                                                   A bag of compost
                                                   Some rechargeable batteries
                                                  A thoughtful gift for the love of his life...

Abandoned cat toys on a wooden floor

In case you were wondering, this is the love of his life and here they are curled up on the sofa...

Man and cat curled up on the sofa
The cat has never ever played with anything that's a conventional cat toy. She prefers getting hold of things she isn't meant to have and fixating on them for days. She will sulk if you take it off her and so we've mostly given up. She looked at her gift on the floor, shot Mr A a withering look and wandered off into the garden for several hours.

Sophia arrived safely at Camp in Oregon and we managed to Skype on Sunday. The camp looks unspoilt, rustic and she is enjoying herself immensely. She won't be home until September. After last year's Camp America trip, followed by travelling around for 3 weeks, I am feeling more relaxed about her being away this time. If you love them, you have to let them go, right? Oregon is 8 hours behind the UK and I find thinking about what she might be up to at any given moment strangely comforting. I have no idea why this is.

Olivia, meanwhile has been on a work experience placement and arrives at home next week along with 3 year's worth of whatever it is they accumulate at university. 

I've recently finished reading To Be Continued by James Robertson. This will be reviewed at a later date on the blog, but was a thoroughly enjoyable, slightly surreal read. Thanks to Penguin for the advance copy.

The week ahead...
If I'm not around much over the next few days, it's because I'm in Cornwall collecting Olivia from university and will be staying for a few nights. Beloved daughter has already made plans and we're off to the local rum bar for cocktails and maybe the gin palace... as well as packing up all of her belongings ready for the move home.

Gin Palace in Falmouth

Have a fabulous weekend. See you when I get back x


Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Durgan and Glendurgan - The Best of Both Worlds

I've been meaning to visit Glendurgan Garden for some time and during a recent trip to Cornwall I tentatively braved the Cornish lanes and somehow managed to arrive in one piece. Fortunately, the gardens were breathtaking and the journey soon forgotten as I headed off into the valleys along with my camera.


Glendurgan is a National Trust garden located above the hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River, not far from Falmouth in Cornwall. Originally laid out in the 1820s and 1830s by Alfred Fox, his vision was to provide fruit and vegetables for the family and space for all twelve of his children to explore. Acquired by the National Trust in the 1960s, descendants of Alfred Fox still live in the house and the family continue to play an active role.
The garden has three valleys and features a selection of subtropical species and a bewildering cherry laurel maze that took me some time to fathom out. Words to the wise: take a bottle of water if you plan on attempting this on a sunny day.

The Cherry Laurel Maze

The Old School House

Cala lily and Irises
Under the palm

Monkey Puzzle Tree

Leaving the garden, it was time for the unspoilt hamlet of Durgan and making the most of the beach. The opportunity to visit a garden and end up at a beach isn't something that happens all that often and for that reason, it was the best of both worlds.



Chance of a cream tea from The Tea House: 100%
Dipping toes in the sea: Yes, if you're feeling brave.
Getting hopelessly lost in the maze: If you have no sense of direction then yes, you will get lost. It's all good fun though.
Plant spotting opportunities:  Too many to list. I'm only sorry that I don't know more of the names.


I'm left wondering why life isn't like this more often and why Tuesdays can't be more magical every week of the year. Here's to the great British summer and finding plenty of opportunities to get out and explore.

Glendurgan Garden Info

Glendurgan Garden website

Opening times: July, September and October 2015: Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10:30 - 17:30.
August: open every day from 10:30 - 17:30.

Admission:  National Trust members: Free, Adults: £8, Children £4, Under 5s: Free, Parking: £2 (all-day). Dogs are not allowed into the gardens.

Address: Glendurgan Garden, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, TR11 5JZ

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My Kind of Tree...

Having made an enthusiastic start on the Christmas shopping back in October, I was quietly optimistic that everything would be sussed before the onslaught of festive chaos. Although tempted by the possibility of having everything bought, wrapped and getting to sit smugly nibbling on dark chocolate gingers while sipping sherry in front of the fire for most of December, that option relied on two things...

1. Knowing what the heck to buy everyone in the first place and
2. Sustained effort and summoning the energy to actually go shopping.

This is what actually happened...

After two consecutive Saturdays of shopping in October, motivation was in short supply and my mind started to wander to more interesting thoughts instead. November saw me taking my eye off the prize and I was fooled into thinking that Christmas was actually celebrated sometime in January. Occasionally I'd pop something into the supermarket trolley and congratulate myself on being clever but on the whole, I was in denial. Oh and we also spent a relaxing week in Cornwall, where time was spent mostly on the beach in search of treasure...

And that is how it's December already and there's still much to shop for...

When everything starts to go pear-shaped, I drag Mr A along on extended shopping trips in the hope that he'll be more inspired than me and have some inclination as to what to buy everyone. Often he's just as clueless and after a couple of hours of uninspired shopping yesterday, we ended up in Bill's Restaurant in Worcester. I was quite taken with my Blueberry and Buttermilk Pancakes and amused by the fact that Bill's also sell sticks of rock... I was tempted by the possibility of hampers filled with summer goodies and thought it might make a change. Having beach combed in Cornwall for most of the previous week I have an assortment of shells and sea glass that would make tasteful decorations. I also asked Mr A if he'd make me one of the fabulous trees (below) that I spied in a shop window in Truro.

We arrived home with a few presents... mostly books, a diffuser and an unwelcome headache. Last night I spent most of the evening chained to the laptop. This time I'd actually written a list and managed to order several gifts online; naturally, there's one thing out of stock which is likely to stay that way until well after Santa's been. Although initially pleased with my efforts, since crossing each item off the list at least two more have been added for every one that's been purchased.

And what's the bet all of the parcels turn up while I'm not home?

Somehow Christmas will unfurl - it always does and if anyone's presents are going to be missing from under the tree they'll be mine. I'll have completely run out of steam and make plans to shop when the memory of all that shopping is in the dim and very distant past.

Don't you just love Christmas Eve when the shops are closed and you know you can do no more? For me, that's the most magical part of the holidays.

Meanwhile, do you think the shop where I spotted this would sell me their tree? I'm really rather taken with it...

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton

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