Saturday, 14 March 2015

Poldark and what Ross is missing

We were as excited , even more so than many perhaps, about Poldark appearing on our television screens once more. It is all based in this area of Cornwall and for anyone that has not visited Rayle Farm Cottages as yet, you will be relieved to hear that it is just as beautiful today as it was 250 years ago. Indeed we hear that clouds needed to be added digitally after filming the series because it was just too darned sunny for the more brooding moments in the series. Well there is no pleasing some people!

A beautifully filmed opening to the series and let us hope that this will continue. However, one slight issue that I did have with it was that the people of Illogan came across as, shall we say, a bit rough and in desperate need of a visit to the dentist, although Demelza scrubbed up pretty well without too much trouble. Illogan is our local village and although to my knowledge it does not have an orthodontist in residence, it has many fine attributes which Ross Poldark would probably have taken full advantage of. For example, the delicious pasties that we provide for welcoming supper for those guests staying for a week or longer – well they come from, you guessed it, Illogan.

If Ross didn’t have his hands full, sprucing up his rather run down residence, he might well have taken the opportunity to enjoy eighteen holes at Tehidy Golf Course, which again is to be found in Illogan. It is an attractive and indeed friendly club which welcomes visitors throughout the year. This is incidentally right next door to Tehidy Country Park, quelle surprise, which is very popular with dog walkers. However to my mind it really comes into its own in the spring when larges tracts are carpeted in bluebells.

Illogan Woods (guess where they are!) provides a lovely route to walk your dog, away from the roads all the way down to the sea at Portreath. In its day, this would have been a busy route for workers heading to the harbour as this was the principal port in the area for shipping out the tin and copper ore to the smelters in Wales. It is hard to imagine today how important this now, sleepy little cove would have been. Similarly though, if you head east out of Portreath and walk along the coastal path, you will walk towards St Agnes where the now derelict mine engine houses that featured Poldark are located. Perched on the cliff top, and striking in appearance, it is hard to grasp how important these buildings were in creating immense prosperity in the region, not that long ago. Ross Poldark seems none too impressed at this stage with the ones that he owns. With a bit of hard work though, I am sure that he will be able to do something with them although it might prove to be difficult given that they now have UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

For your information, Poldark Mine, does actually exist and is a tourist attraction but it is located over yonder at Wendron which is near to Helston, a good day’s journey in the saddle I would imagine. Certainly worth a visit I think but alarmingly I don’t believe that there is a dentist in Wendron either.

I am looking forward to the next episode, needless to say, if for no other reason but to get to the bottom of just where everyone in Cornwall went for their dental hygiene, back in the day.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Lost and found

Marli found an Easter egg today.  Not one that was easy to recognise as such and let’s face it, Easter now is a dim and distant memory.  A good idea with Easter eggs that are being hidden in the garden  is the same  one that I have rigidly enforced when distributing metal flatware and cutlery at picnics or taking children to Newquay Zoo to see the lions: count them out and count them in again.  This way we would never have left out this lone survivor to battle the elements - unconscionably high temperatures, for so long. The result of this neglect was that this once finely sculpted piece of confectionary had morphed into a rather unpleasant mess of soft chocolate and foil. Marli didn’t mind but I imagine that the wrapping must have played havoc with his fillings!

What is surprising about this whole sorry episode is that nothing else chanced upon the egg sooner.  I’m kicking myself believe me but the garden has been alive with any number of woodland creatures that have appeared from who knows where in recent weeks.  You have seen on Facebook I’m sure, the woodpecker, but additionally we have also had a chaffinch and a goldfinch, neither of which have been seen for a couple of years in this neck of the woods.  There was a  rather rotund hedgehog, spotted lumbering across the lawn behind the cottages and even a slowworm which amazingly, Marli left to  wend its way into the hedgerow, unmolested.  Had it been covered  in foil, I have my doubts that it would have been so lucky.

We have been enjoying some truly glorious weather recently which always helps make the spring flowers look even prettier than usual. It was been a wonderful year for bluebells in our woods and the garden has been awash with primroses.

Talking of which, sadly, on one of the few less than perfect days of late, Trevithick Day took place in Camborne. As always, the magnificent steam engines took centre stage and paraded down Camborne Hill and up again!  Puffing Dragon, a replica of Trevithick’s original engine, headed the procession driven by a crew in period costume.  Happily, in the brief respite from the rain, I was able to enjoy the wonderful spectacle of many of these beautifully preserved pieces of engineering as they chugged by.

Another relic from the past that I have enjoyed this past weekend was a trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  My daughter and I found them easily enough but the name actually refers to the fact that early in the twentieth century, the gardens became sadly neglected and overgrown.  In 1990 they were rediscovered and brought back to life by Tim Smit, the man behind the Eden Project, among others.  What we found were some truly wonderful gardens, bursting into bloom for the spring time.  It really is a magical place – testament to the hard work that has taken place over the past two decades and which continues today.  I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Cornwall and maybe plans on going on to the Eden Project which is quite close by.   You do need plenty of time, though, if you hope to get the most out of these two Cornish gems.    Actually, some graffiti written by one of the workers in 1914 is said to have inspired the work at Heligan: “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”.   Ezzett says that it sounds lot like working at Rayle Farm! Rest assured we toil tirelessly to make your stay with us a memorable one and we look forward to seeing you here at Rayle Farm soon.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Speaking with the natives

When you go on holiday, I am sure that like me you feel that it is important to immerse yourself in the culture of the local community.  Rare is the person to leave Scotland without a Tam O’Shanter with obligatory tufts of acrylic orange hair attached.  Similarly, so many people that I know have returned from Central America sporting a sombrero, doing Speedy Gonzalez impersonations that I can only surmise that Mexico has remained more or less unchanged for the past century.

Cornwall, though a proud Duchy with a rich heritage, it is difficult to actively slip under the radar because props are few and far between.  If you wander around Portreath with a pasty, you’ll not be fooling anyone and besides, many authentic, albeit small pasties are available across the nation. 

One exception perhaps though is when venturing to St. Ives from Rayle Farm, it is easy to distinguish who the visitors are.  The locals have a wariness about their demeanour and more often than not hold a rolled up newspaper (only the West Briton will do), if they happen to be eating an icecream cone.  A true sign of a rookie is someone who has shopping or a beach bag in one hand and a 99 in the other.  How these people hope to swat away an opportunistic gull is beyond me.  Take my word for it, these critters will leave you with no more than an empty cone if you give them half a chance and the only satisfaction that you will be able to derive is that your avian mugger is suffering from one almighty brain freeze.

So with this in mind, I think that the best way forward for assimilation is through conversation.  I am sure that you probably saw a recent news report stating that the Oxford English Dictionary contained few Cornish words.  Twerking however made an appearance which to my mind speaks volumes.

Now of course everyone knows that Dolly Pentreath who died in 1777 was the last Cornish speaker.  What a lonely old lady she must have been with every one else banging on about twerking, gangnam style and the like and poor Dolly was quite unable to shove her two penn’or   th in or if she did, everyone was rather mystified as to what point she was trying to make.  But I digress, although, pure Cornish fell by the wayside over two hundred years ago, certain phrases that are used on a very regular basis have survived and you would be well served by learning them and using them at every given opportunity.  I don’t have the space here to give you a comprehensive guide but I hope to provide you with just about enough to wing it.

“All right me ‘ansum”   A standard greeting similar I suppose to “Good day stout yeoman”
“Av e gotten”                            “Did you find what you are looking for?”
“Bin un dunon”             “Sorted”
“Cane telly”                              “I haven’t a clue”
“Diddy abum?”             “Were you able to get what you were looking for?”
“Elly doinov?”               “I wouldn’t do it that way if I were you”
“Evy izza?”                              “That item is pretty weighty, I imagine”
“Fariza?”                                  “Is your destination quite a way off?”
“Furcrysaik”                             “Goodness me”
“Goynary?”                              “Do you plan to visit[a previously discussed destination]?”
“Mygar”                                   “Golly”
“Piddle down didda”                 “Was it raining?”
“Proper job”                             “Nice one!” And you can add a “me ansum” to the end to mean “Kudos!”
“See you dreckly”                     Mañana

On reflection, it seems unlikely that you will be able to use all of these phrases in one single conversation but if you put them all into a bingo card or two, you will fill a fair few rows during your Cornish holiday I feel sure, not to mention, it might be a way of keeping the kids quiet!

We look forward to seeing you at Rayle Farm very soon and even more so if you speak the lingo!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Marli and Me and our trip down to the mineral tramway, Portreath

As Marli and I sashay nonchalantly down the mineral tramway to Portreath (me rather more than him), I for one am always struck by the beauty of this path that follows the valley towards the sea. Depending on the time of year, there are any number of wild flowers to be seen – honeysuckle, red campion, celandine or bluebells for instance and of course, in the summer there is the ever present coconut aroma of the gorse. This is a popular path although there is plenty of space for cyclists, horse riders, joggers and indeed dog walkers like me, all happy to share in the relative peace of this trail.

Marli and I join the path at Bridge which is just a tennis ball’s throw, or two from the beach but for the more intrepid, if you were to turn right instead of left, you would be able to enjoy the changing landscape as you go through the old industrial heartland of Cornwall to Devoran on the south coast.

Indeed it is not that easy to envisage this area when it was the centre of tin and copper production in the world. The leafy path that we use today was at one time, the main route from the mines, carrying ore to Portreath where in turn it was taken to Wales. The trail would have been choked full of mule trains - imagine the pong of such a dense population of hard working equines, with the sea breeze ensuring that the only fresh air would ever have been beside the harbour! I suspect that with this in mind, traffic jams could well have been invented in Cornwall although unlike other parts of the country, I like to think that we have rather outgrown those now! And the fact that this activity has captured the imagination elsewhere in the country paradoxically is I suspect one of the reasons that brings people down on holiday to Cornwall these days. Here at Rayle Farm we cater to those people keen to recharge their batteries and get away from the hustle and bustle for a while. And although it is peaceful, this does not mean that there is little to do. Obviously, a great many visitors use us as a base to try out the various coves and beaches in the immediate vicinity of the farm for swimming and surfing. However, at the other end of the tramway, around Devoran and beyond, the south coast of Cornwall is more closely associated with activities like sailing or fishing. Located close to us at Cambrose is Elm Farm Cycle Centre that hires bicycles to the more energetic of our guests who then can explore south of here.

Remember on a hot summer’s day, if you are tempted by this, you are likely to be a bit hot and sweaty. You will however be positively fragrant compared to any fresh fish you might purchase in Falmouth, place in your backpack and want to bring back with you. You know who you are Simon and Laura! Not even Marli would go near your purchases but I am hopeful that this year’s roses just might benefit from your folly!

But I digress. The mineral tramway and indeed the coastal path is all close at hand and if you can avoid being either downwind of mule trains or the Pattersons, it will be memorable outing for all the right reasons!

For more information on Holiday Cottages in Cornwall, visit the Rayle Farm website.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Rayle Farm latest Article

Sooooo bored!  Don’t get me wrong I realise that I am fortunate to remain here when all my doggy friends that I have met this year have left and gone back home.  Sometimes if I am honest, I am actually rather pleased to see their little faces peering forlornly out of the rear window of their cars, crammed in with surfboards, beach paraphernalia, pushchairs and the like.  And it is not because I have not enjoyed their company.  Its just that some of them are way too boisterous.  Clearly not used to having quite so much fresh air or opportunities to nose around somewhere with so many unfamiliar smells, they are unrelenting.  And then guess who has to then go round finding out just where they have been and marking the territory all over again?  Muggins here of course.  I have badgers, hedgehogs and deer to contend with and frankly, what are they going to think if it looks like I am neglecting my responsibilities?

I think what brings these buddies down is their owners searching for dog friendly holidays,  Portreath and that certainly does the trick but they should understand that this is my manor so, my rules – yes?  Apparently not.  Basic canine etiquette goes out the window on a holiday and get this, they treat the place like their own.  Not on, I think you will agree but I do like the company.

But for a few weeks now, we haven’t seen that many people and very few dogs .  Something to do with the temperature apparently.  Even if I did not have this thick coat, I still don’t see this as a very compelling reason for not coming down in November.  We have what is known as a ‘mild climate’ which sounds a bit indecisive I know but it means that I am sweltering and hey, just last week, I was down on the beach at Portreath (one positive is that I am allowed there at this time of year) and there were people swimming!   And surfing which to my mind looks way more fun!

But all this mild weather is all well and good but as I do my daily rounds – more out of habit than necessity, there are all these pesky bulbs  and flowers popping up everywhere.   To my untrained eye, they all look rather different but apparently are all from the same genus.  I know this because I am constantly being berated with a ‘Marli! – get off the bloody daffodils/bloody crocuses/bloody primroses/bloody snowdrops’ And so on.  You get the picture.  These blighters are sprouting up everywhere and frankly, I’m getting a bit hacked off with them all.

 I worry that I am coming over as a bit whiny which I don’t think is fair, In my view this is a case of cabin fever, just without the cabin.  Can’t be it I suppose – I’m lonely then, simple as that.  Susan does her best but can she really throw a stick that far for me, that often?  The clue is in the name.   So please come back to Rayle Farm – Christmas is a good time – loads of food and Susan does seem rather too preoccupied with presents and the like to mind too much about the bloody snowdrops for a day or two anyway!


Monday, 25 November 2013

About cornwall and Rayle Farm

Cornwall has some of the mildest winters in Britain.  I can’t actually provide any empirical evidence to support this audacious claim but I have friends the length and breadth of the land and generally those not in this neck of the woods do seem to bang on a bit about the cold .  While I can express some sympathy, the solution is clear to me.: a) put on a jumper or b) come down to Rayle Farm!
I won’t pretend that it does not rain in Cornwall because that isn’t the case.  However, once many of the visitors have left, after October, there is lots to do here and armed with a raincoat, the world is your oyster.  For starters, if you are interested in pet friendly holidays, Portreath has a great deal to offer as indeed does much of the coastline in Cornwall.  You see, out of season, dogs and their responsible owners are allowed onto the beaches to frolic, run and catch sandy tennis balls in their mouths  although, it is mainly the animals that indulge in this last activity, needless to say!  My visitors enjoy the walk down the old tramway to Portreath and then home again through Tehidy Woods where a delicious bowl of soup or a cake can be enjoyed.

Of course it can be a bit blustery sometimes and a really nice, but sheltered walk can be had in Jericho Valley, near to St. Agnes.  This walk culminates in a lovely view of the sea as well as glimpses of Cornwall’s mining past.  You won’t see many people on this walk but it was no more than 100 years ago that the cove that you arrive at would have been a hive of activity with pasty wielding miners  going into the pits some of which had tunnels that stretched for miles under the sea.  Indeed if you want to experience the whole subterranean work environment thing and Snow White’s seven dwarfs have not given you your fix, then do go to the Geevor Tin Mine.  There is an underground tour as well as a restorative cream tea available afterwards for when you resurface again.

Rather you than me and indeed if you can think of nothing better than loafing around on the rocks, enjoying the sight of the waves crashing down around you, you would be considered a little foolhardy but would be able to keep the seals company.  They congregate near to Godrevy lighthouse each winter, perhaps not drawn by the hearty breakfasts in the Café but more likely the balmy weather.  Indeed I myself have had a picnic on Godrevy beach on Boxing Day and although we had by then had our fill of turkey and the like, the gulls seemed to have left some room to chow down on a few left-overs,   Much to the delight of Marli of course who has more of a chance of catching an over indulgent bird than he might otherwise have.  I have no idea what he would do with it if he were to catch a gull incidentally as to date he has been unsuccessful, but enthusiastic nonetheless.  Marli by the way is my dog and not one of my offspring, perhaps I should mention.

This time of year may be an ideal time for you to go and see the Minack Theatre which is quite close to Lands End and rather more interesting if you want my opinion.  This is a lovely cliff side theatre which unless you have the presence of mind to book tickets for well in advance, you will have little chance of enjoying a performance here.  However, it really is quite magical and even if no one is treading the boards when you visit, there is nothing to stop you delivering a soliloquy or two.

The Tate Gallery in St Ives is well worth a visit as well.  It is a lovely building with delightful views out over the sea.  Some of the art may not be entirely to your taste but  I am sure that you will find at least something there that you like.  Failing that, the town itself is terribly quaint with a fine selection of shops and galleries to explore.  Be warned though that if you do succumb to a delicious cone of Cornish Icecream, some of the gulls that can still get airborne after Boxing Day and have been known to make off with some unfortunate’s treat.  The one consolation of course has to be that the ensuing icecream headache has got to be unbearable, all things considered!

Cornwall has many activities to enjoy during the winter months, whether it is a visit to an historical mansion like Lanhydrock that floats your boat or maybe you would prefer to mosey around the gardens at Trelissick, which more often than not has daffodils and Camellias flowering as early as December.        

I’m really just scratching the surface here but if you are at a bit of a loose end this winter and fancy heading to warmer climes, we look forward to seeing you here at Rayle Farm.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A little about Cornwall and Rayle Farm..

Cornwall is well known for some exceptionally good restaurants run by some of the country’s most notable chefs.  However the chances of you getting into a number of these without foresight and preemptive planning some six months in advance, is slim.  Luckily though, Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages are well placed for a great variety of good eating places locally, some of them dog friendly which does complement our dog friendly holiday cottages at Portreath.  

We are based at the top of the hill and 200 yards from the farm gate in the village, our local village pub The Bridge Inn offers a friendly welcome and traditional pub food with the occasional Quiz Night.   Carry on down the road to Portreath and you will find good fish and crab at the Portreath Arms Hotel.  For the big sporting events too, they cater to the fans who need to keep up with their teams activities.  Also in Portreath, the Bassett Arms  near the beach offers a good Sunday Lunch as does The Waterfront.   Actually, rather incongruously for a small Cornish coastal village there is also a Chinese take away, the Tung Sing which is surprisingly good.  However for an article about places to eat, perhaps it doesn’t count.

Heading left out of the farm gate and about half a mile away is Illogan where Richard Trevithick was born.  Known more for his high pressure steam engines than his interest in gastronomy but no doubt, were he alive today, I am sure that he would have enjoyed passing an hour or two at the Robartes Arms.  This pub has recently been refurbished and offers an excellent all-day menu ranging from breakfast, to morning coffee right through to evening meals, although Illogan is a large village now it is not well served by places to eat.  Therefore it is no surprise that the the Cornish Arms at Sparnon Gate, is always busy.  This is a lovely old traditional pub open in the evenings with an extensive menu of locally sourced food.

For our guests that visit Rayle Farm for family holidays in Cornwall, many of them come here to surf and naturally gravitate towards Porthtowan, just a few minutes up the coast.  Once they have worked up a decent appetite, most make straight for the Blue Bar  this is a rather chilled hangout for the young which does excellent food.  Although my presence impacts seriously on the mean age of the patrons, I can’t stay away too long because I really do like this place.

Cornwall as you probably know is becoming very well known, not only for its restaurants but also for some really delicious produce.  Therefore if you fancy a Cornish Brie, rocket and onion chutney sandwich head for the Godrevy Beach Café – a perfect way of rewarding yourself after a decent walk along one of my favourite beaches in Cornwall.  Alternatively, a steaming bowl of fish chowder at Hells Mouth Café is simply brimming with locally caught fish.

Pubs in the area that are keen to source their ingredients fresh from local farmers include.Tricky’s at the Tolgus Inn near Redruth.  Put aside any preconceived ideas that you might have about anywhere with this name and you will be rewarded with a large, welcoming pub with a good choice on the menu and heroic sized portions for Sunday lunch.   Additionally the Treleigh Arms near Redruth is a very well run pub providing excellent and imaginative food.  

There are many things to do in Cornwall but for a number of people eating out is an intrinsic part of holiday enjoyment.  When you visit us at Rayle Farm, you are very well placed to enjoy some truly special places to eat.  I have mentioned a number here already but the list is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination.  Because we are pet friendly at Rayle Farm, I do appreciate that many of our guests need to know where they will be able to take their four legged friends.  Next time, I will be outlining which restaurants I can recommend to you where Lupo, Bo, Sunny or one of their brethren will be welcomed

 I look forward to telling you more about our dog friendly holiday cottage other things to do in Cornwall soon.

This article was brought to you by Rayle Farm Holiday Cottages