Sunday 16 December 2018

Poldark Country

We have just been away escaping the Christmas hustle and bustle. We always enjoy spending a few days at Carbis Bay in Cornwall which is the next beach along from St. Ives. We learnt that the hotel where we stay is also the one used by several of the Poldark caste whilst on location. Apparently they were down earlier in May making the latest series but the skies were too blue, and the seas too gentle, so they abandoned the task and left. The film makers like the skies and the weather to be dramatic and moody for Poldark. They try to capture that special unique quality of light found in the area in much the same way as the St. Ives and Newlyn colonies of painters did at the dawn of the c20th century. 

There is nothing we enjoy more than a December morning walk along the cliff top footpath that leads from our hotel to the small town of St. Ives. On arrival we tend to have the town almost to ourselves, unlike the summer months when it is thronged with tourists; like the artists and film makers we too enjoy the special light which highlights the landscape in rather unique ways constantly changing throughout the day.

We always enjoy the particular moment when we round a corner on the cliff top and St. Ives suddenly pops into view. The first reason is because the views are rather special, and secondly we have successfully managed to negotiate the sometimes tricky pathway. 
'Epidaurous' by Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth lived for exactly half of her life in St. Ives. When she arrived just before the outbreak of war in 1939, she was a rather unwilling visitor. However, she found it impossible to leave, and when she acquired Trewyn Studio ten years later, Hepworth had an ideal environment in which to work. 
We bought ourselves the obligatory cornish pastie, just one between us, not wanting to spoil the prospect of our evening meal. 
He is pretending to look out to sea but has his eye on our pastie!

As the sun starts to sink, and for the first time ever, we decided to catch the little scenic railway back to the hotel. It must be one of the loveliest and cheapest railway rides in the country - just £1 each for a single ticket to ride back. 
The video below shows the whole train journey from St. Ives to St. Erth, in total only four stops, but we alighted at Carbis Bay which is just 50 seconds into this video. 

Saturday 8 December 2018

The Lady is Unpredictable

Paphiopedilum insigne
I was immediately attracted to this Lady's Slipper Orchid when I spotted her at Funchal's exotic Christmas fruit and flower market on the beautiful island of Madeira. It was over 20 years ago that I carried her home on the plane with great care just before Christmas.
Years past by and no more flowers appeared. Periodically I would peer into her foliage, and wonder whether she should be kept or discarded. Her 8th year without flowering was on the horizon when suddenly I noticed a small bud poking out through the leaves. It was late summer, but as the weeks rolled by I came to realise just how long it takes for her to develop and reach her full flowering glory. She tends to be at her best in time for Christmas.
Is she beautiful? I am not sure that she is! Her appearance, if I am honest, is rather anatomical, but she fascinates and intrigues.
This is a special moment for me as she has only flowered four times in all of those years, but happily this time she has deigned to bring a friend along too.