beautiful umbrellas

there is something lovely about umbrellas, they are such a simple classic design that has never changed through the ages….  there is the beautiful umbrella shop, James Smith and Sons,   that Robert always insists on buying his umbrellas from and then there are parasols that are for gardens.   my friend Jac had this really enchanting parasol in her house in Sardinia, which is an art piece in itself.  not sure where she bought hers from, but I know that she brought it out from the UK.   but somebody recommended this company, sunbeam jackie. and they have some really beautiful ones but they really are a super luxury item – there must be something more affordable on the market similar to this.  I managed to find these Indian embroidered ones,  but not as beautiful as the others.

dog days of summer

did you know that july and august are known as the dog days of summer, hot, sultry days!  we have definitely had a long hot summer here……

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.

a brief encounter

trying to keep out of the mid day hot sun, I spent an afternoon watching an old black and white movie – something I rarely do.  I remember sat and sun tv always threw up old films, but this seems to have been replaced by constant sport…..  Jon has joined the bfi player subscription, which gives you a choice of movies to watch – very handy if you live somewhere like Cornwall, where there are very few local cinemas.  so he suggested ‘A Brief Encounter’, which I had surprisingly never seen.  what a classic, romantic, stylish and full of social graces – it reminds us how very different life is today – social attitudes  has really changed the moral certainty of marriage.    set around a train station cafe, it was directed by David Lean and is definitely worth seeing.

there is something about railway stations that are a design wonder – i love to gaze at the geometric patterns and wonder how in the 19C they managed to build them with the little resources that they had then.

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I just returned from a few days  in padstow to see my good friends Jon and Kim – and the weather has been considerably more tolerant than in london;   each time i come, there are new enterprises popping up;  we passed by hawksfield, a recent enterprise of vintage furniture, health food and deli products, flowers, homeware by Jo and co.   the cafe there is also a fun place to meet – its more informal, but also does breakfast.   hawksfield is just outside of wadebridge.

wadebridge is a town to get your shopping, but it was lovely to discover a vintage shop Cornish Vintage selling 1970’s home stuff – really took me back to my childhood.  I managed to buy a few fun things for the kitchen, including some pastel coloured pyrex bowls .

a new stopping place, just outside of Padstow is Margo’s – a restaurant that opens from breakfast, right through to dinner; the food is locally sourced and seasonal and you can also find local products for sale – chocolate, gin, wine and preserves.  there is also a garden centre and flowers shop selling locally grown flowers.

a great place to eat is  appletons, a very tasty rustic italian style food restaurant at trevibban mill.  the food is locally grown and raised, with some of the vegetables grown on site.   this is a local cornish vineyard that produces its own wine and cider,  you can  have wine tasting tours which sound fun – if only i drank wine!  i noticed that you could buy home spun wool too. its always lovely to see new places opening up – i realised that we have been coming to padstow for over 20 years now as my friends have always had a place there.

there is also a new coffee shop in town that specialises in just coffee, some special blends named after the local padstow beaches – you can buy the coffee, the coffee machines and filters and buy a cup of coffee too.

we walked up to the nearby granite obelisk which was built in 1887 to commemorate the jubilee of queen victoria, offering stunning views and quietness from the busy centre of Padstow.



world in 80 trees

if you have to buy a present for somebody who loves nature, trees in particular, then this is the book to get.   its beautifully illustrated by Lucille Clerc and tells the stories of extraordinary trees – world in 80 trees by Jonathan Drori.   I am starting to do more leaves with my botanical watercolours now and really enjoying the wealth of choice  – nature really is unbeatable for design and colour.  you can buy some of my botanical watercolours from Vanil in Woodbridge.

king lear and mama mia

so in the last week I have seen 2 contrasting things – King Lear at the theatre and Mama Mia 2 at the cinema;  they were very different, both appealing in their own way.  I don’t think that I had ever seen such strong and bold acting and the longevity of stamina was just amazing – 3 hours plus;  Ian Mckellen really excelled, but i also loved the actor who played  Goneril, Claire Price, she was both evil, sexy and naughty….  its a stunning production, great set, but definitely long and difficult to understand all of it.  I also find some parts a bit gruesome, but thats the wimp part of me.  on the other hand, I accepted that Mamma Mia was going to be cheesy and purely for its entertainment and lightness, it just took me away into another world temporarily.  its definitely nowhere as entertaining as the first one;  the shock is how unreal Cher looked, the surprise is how sexy Andy Garcia still is.    it really is cheesy and unmemorable, not a great script, but Lily James is actually quite fun to watch.  take it as a bit of fun and nonsense…..

one of my favourite places to see events is wilton’s music hall I haven’t been for a while, but I remember what a special place it is – its one of our oldest theatres and like all theatres and venues needs much help in raising funds for restoration.

if you miss the evenings, there is a lovely bar where you can get some food, the mahogany bar dating back from 1725, that you can visit daily.

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