Monday, August 30, 2010


The thing with traveling is that it seems to magnify everything. The highs are ecstatically brilliant, but the lows seem to hit just that little bit harder.

It's been a rough week or so, with bad news winging it's way to me on tarred feathers, leaving dark, smeary blemishes on my doorstep. I have been struggling a little with the news of not one, but two family members being hospitalised recently, and although I have been told they are both fine, I cannot help but worry about them and mourn the fact that I cannot see them in person, or touch them to know they are real and warm and ok.

Compounding the issue is the fact that I cannot talk to those I feel closest to, those I would normally confide in, because none of them are close to me at the moment. So, I'm feeling a little disconnected, and a little lost, and a little alone.

His Travel Romance tells me that I need to tell people how I am feeling, so that they know, and so they can respond. I have a problem with this because it's not about me, and I feel selfish by feeling sad because I'm not the one that was, or is, in hospital. But, in case he's right, just this once, this is how I'm feeling, so if you'd like to email me to say hi and tell me about your boringly amazing and normal day, to let me in and let me feel a connection with you, well, that would be nice. I'd appreciate that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A weekend in Cornwall in three parts... Part Three!

On my way home to Diptford on Sunday, I called into a little town called Marazion, home of St Michael's Mount. I just love how in England, a family can live somewhere that was built in the 12th Century... I think the house I grew up in was built in the 1960's!

To get to St Michael's Mount, if the tide is out, there is a path you can walk along.

If the tide comes in however, the return journey is a boat ride - just as much fun!

I arrived at the Mount at around ten in the morning, so by the time I wandered around the castle and arrived at the church, the morning's service was about to commence. Having not attended a church service since I was about four or five years old with my grandmother, I thought it would be lovely to experience one in such a lovely setting, and I was so glad I did. To take time out to reflect, and think, and on a solo journey to not feel alone for a little while, was such a nice feeling.

Whilst I was at St Michael's Mount, I decided to join the National Trust - 48GPB for free entry into any National Trust Building and car park in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland? Deal! I'm already a third of a way to it paying for itself - especially since my second stop on Sunday was worth a tenner.

Lanhydrock is a beautiful country estate house and garden and I was just blown away by how ridiculously rich some people were/are! This house had a huge main kitchen, a smaller kitchen, a bakery room, a dairy room for making and storing cheeses, a meat hanging room, plus a few kitchen essentials storage/standing rooms, and these were, of course, all located within the staff's section of the house - the residents wouldn't even see these rooms!

I spent hours just wandering around the beautiful old house, imaging what it would have been like to live there, to spend afternoons reading and eating cream teas in the ladies sitting room, evenings in the drawing room, or in the billiards room...

Oh, I could do this life!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Although it's still the 24th here in sunny SW England, it is now officially (by around four hours) my youngest brother's birthday in Australia, which is where he is, so that's what counts!

On a river winery cruise in Perth, March 2008

Now when I say youngest, I mean he is the youngest of my two older brothers... Just to clarify... I am clearly the younger and better looking one!

Boy, so named by toddler-me when I couldn't pronounce his real name and which thereafter stuck, is the best whistler I know. He has an amazing ability to produce a warbling whistle that I have never heard anyone else do. You know when there is a change in tone or a pause in the lyrics of the song when most people would break off the whistle and start again? He doesn't do this. He warbles the sound so you know the break/change is there, but he keeps going with it... Oh, for an example to play you so I don't have to try to use words to describe a sound! It's brilliant. It's one of those little things that I absolutely love about him, and it's one of the things that I try to do myself and never can. It's a Boy thing, and it makes me smile whenever I think about him doing it.

When I was a toddler or thereabouts, and he still lived at home, I remember Boy taking me for a ride on a motorbike. I remember trips with Mum and Dad to visit him in Adelaide after he moved away and started playing footy for the SANFL and I used to squirm with impatience when Dad made a million kazillion stops to talk with people before we'd finally arrive at his house! I remember trips made on my own, when I was older, and him driving me around in his super-speedy red car and me wishing that I would be as good a driver as him when I got my license. I remember him coming to watch me in a swimming competition once, and making me feel like I was awesome even though I sucked incredibly (I came last) and had a ridiculous bathing suit on that was not made for a race meet. I remember when I was older still, and we started having adult to adult conversations, and I was so proud and happy that I was a grown up like my brother.

More recently, I remember the support Boy gave me when I was going through a really tough time personally, and whilst he has always been there to support me, I didn't expect my sporty, blokey, ocker Aussie brother to show such a sensitive and insightful side of himself. I feel so blessed to know him and to be his little sister. Although he doesn't know it, this time last year, pretty much to this very minute, he saved me, just by being him... and for that, I could never love him more.

So, on his birthday, although his present is already there with him wrapped, and awaiting his drinking pleasure, I send my youngest brother all the love and best wishes in the world, because he means the world to me... Even if he does sometimes have squid ink on his face...

Squidding on our Christmas break, Port Lincoln, 2009

Happy birthday Boy! xx

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A weekend in Cornwall in three parts... Part Two!

Treen, along the coastal path to Lands End. Approximately five miles each way. Beautiful cliff top views, being swept sideways off my feet, sea cows, hovering-mouse-slash-lizard-catching birds, life savers, slugs and snails, walkers, rabbits.

At Lands End, Cornish pasty, not a fan, cream tea, Dr Who, big fan, and no return buses... hence the 'each way'.

Return journey via the road to avoid traversing the coves, up and down, until Porthcurno where the coastal path beckoned again. Land cows walking home, feet and legs aching, messed up hair, rained on, warm, clammy, tired, happy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A weekend in Cornwall in three parts... Part One!

On Friday night I had an absolutely brilliant night at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno! The entire outdoor theatre is carved out of stone and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in all it's glory. Quite easily the most spectacular stage I have ever seen (Mr Best, you would die!). Rowena Cade built the theatre herself, with some help, over many winters, so that arts lovers could see live performances in a most spectacular setting.

One pound hires you a cushioned chair with backrest that makes the stone seats comfortable, and the smell of Cornish pasties and coffee fills the air, mingling with the sea mist and the sounds of gulls patrolling the cliff face below.

Gortex, gum boots, my hip flask, and a huge, folded over blanket ensured a warm, dry, and comfortable performance on my part, and I could not more highly recommend seeing a show, any show, at this theatre. Just being there made me want to flail my arms and run around in dramatic grandeur!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eating adventures with Max

Yesterday, from about midday onwards, was a brilliantly fun day, spent eating everything in sight with my friend Max, who was down in the countryside for less than 24 hours before his flight back to rainy Adelaide.

We spent a great deal of our time at Sharpham Winery - a beautiful spot with tasty wines, delicious cheeses, and a mouthwatering menu at their cafe, where Max shouted me to a scrumptious three course lunch of pate, crab, and creme brulee!

After stuffing ourselves silly, we took a little walk down to the river by the winery, found our summer holiday house by the banks, and managed to avoid falling over any stiles!

The winery was followed by cream tea in Totnes, and fish and chips and glasses of scotch by the seaside. So much food! Good times to the Max :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A room with a view

With such a gorgeous view from my room, it seems only fair that I share it with some of my favourite things.

A warming glass of 12 year old Caol Ila late on a cool afternoon...

My runners after a record beating 16:43 Diptford circuit...

An afternoon pot of tea with a country chicken tea cosy...

And a glass of French red (chosen for the cat on the label) at sunset...

FYI - choosing wine based on it having a cute cat on the label seems to be an excellent indication of the quality of the drink. I recommend using this selection criteria.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Her Chefy Romance

On Thursday I had the most fabulously fun day! Stella, who I am working for here at the Old Rectory, also happens to run the Ashburton Cookery School - one of the best cookery schools in the world as stated by the Waitrose Food Magazine - and I was lucky enough to get on one of their one day Modern Vegetarian courses!

The day starts off with a hot cup of coffee or tea, and introductions to the lovely staff, before heading into the kitchen and getting straight into it. We started off preparing our take home dish, a creamy parsnip, lentil and cumin soup, before going on to prepare our snacks which were to tide us over until the main meal was ready.

Our snacks consisted of celeriac, carrot, and feta cheese fritters (one of which had already found it's way to my stomach by the time I remembered to take a photo!) and baked courgette, mozzarella, and pesto rolls, served on a drizzle of balsamic. Oh heavens were they divine!

Our chef for the day was the lovely Joe Bartlett who was brilliant at what he did, making amazing food and making everyone feel so comfortable and happy to give everything a go at the same time.

Joe demonstrating the preparation of our main course

Next on the menu was a filo pastry tart filled with creamy leek, apple, wild mushrooms, and tarragon, with a soft poached egg.

This dish was just mouth-watering and I learned some handy little tricks when it comes to washing a cutting leaks and mushrooms - I can't wait to make this dish again!

Our main course was stuffed aubergine with griddled halloumi cheese, roasted vegetables, pumpkin seeds, coriander, and sweet chili sauce, served with a dressed watercress salad.

I am a huge fan of halloumi so anything with this on the plate I am guaranteed to love but putting that sentiment aside, this dish was just amazing! It's almost enough to make a girl give up meat... Almost!

Her Other Tales

Related Posts with Thumbnails