I have not got used to this watching films at home – it challenges my concentration, the phone rings, I get up and write a reminder note or an email, its definitely not the same as watching on the big screen, where your entire attention is captured. Being in the cinema is like being in a dream, you are taken from real life for a couple of hours and transported into someone else’s life. As the year seems to have flown by and all these films have been coming out, we really felt that we needed to watch some of the films. So last week we watched Minari , the Korean film about a family who have moved to Arkansas from California to start a new life – in a mobile home. its a gentle film that shows the struggle of married life with different aspirations, caring for a child with health problems and trying to make a living to just be able to eat . When the grandmother arrived, it made me sad, as she reminded me of my own mother with her odd ways and phrases – I won’t spoil the film, but you will understand why she made an impression on me. I thought it a lovely film, I think my husband thought it a bit sentimental.

I cannot wait for cinemas to reopen – that with galleries will be one of the things on my list to do in the next couple of months. I do hope that they all have survived this pandemic, especially the Curzon, and the BFI and my favourite Wiltons, which occasionally shows old classics with live orchestras. we also went to a Secret Cinema, which was great fun, especially if you are with a group of friends….. the nearest I will ever get to being an actor……

cornwall with a japanese flavour

a few years ago my friends took me to the japanese gardens at st mawgan – a beautiful bit of escapism in the cornish countryside – filled with zen gardens, azaleas, bamboo and bonsai trees – its worth the visit..  whilst you are in St Mawgan go and see the monastery there, it dates back from the 6C;  not sure if you can go in, but take a walk around it.  the village of St Mawgan is very pretty and there is also a good pub with big garden there.

whilst I am down there, I always try to make a visit to St Ives;  St Ives must have more art galleries and crafts studios per square foot than any other town I have been to.  I love its winding streets, up and down, higgledy piggledy , surrounded by the sea all round, its a really atmospheric town.  probably best to visit out of the high season and school holidays.   we usually pop into the Tate St Ives too.

i also pop into the barbara hepworth gallery, probably my favourite place in the whole world – the gardens, the house, the sculptures and the workshops are just inspiring.

we ate lunch on the terrace at porthgwidden beach cafe, which looks onto the  beach.   the only downside to st ives is the distance from london-  its even further than padstow!  I think you just have to take a good book on the train and see it as a way to relax and catch up on reading.  I am reading Remarkable Creatures at the moment, by Tracy Chevalier, which a friend gave me.  the film Ammonite is based on the main character, so interesting to see how the different adaptations of Mary Anning.

back to padstow – if you have had enough of the rick stein empire, try the basement restaurant, which actually have an outdoor summer house to sit in, despite its name – its forte is sea food and is of a very good quality. Paul Ainsworth has a good daily menu too.  I am really looking forward to getting down there this summer, not only to see the lovely coast again, but also to visit our lovely friends.

L. cornelissen

it must be one of my favourite shops in london, l. cornelissen stocks art materials, but not just like your regular art shop,  its a specialist in all types of mediums, from inks, to watercolours, to gouache etc….  there are bottles, jars, tins, tubes of everything that you would ever need.  the problem is that i didnt even know what you used most of the things for!  its definitely a place for inspiring your creativity – i have decided to buy some calligraphy pens with the beautiful shades of sepia ink (in gorgeous bottles of course) and try them out in the beautiful sketch books that they stock.  what a brilliant present to buy somebody interested in art, a starter kit in drawing or painting  with a lovely notebook – perfect for any young teenager or budding artist! its also such a beautiful shop to be in and the staff so helpful and knowledgeable. I hope it never changes, modernises – just stay as inspiring as it also has been to me.

I have been trying out Chinese brush painting with ink and watercolour – the right brush definitely helps as its about using your brush , turning and splaying out the hairs to produce the marks – watching a professional is fascinating and of course they make it look so easy. I started online with the Chinese Community Centre in Chinatown with zoom classes and not only do you learn a lot, but you are helping keep the community centre thriving. my teacher during those classes William Cai does the most beautiful paintings – one day – practice makes perfect. these were my attempts.

bluebells are the symbol of humility and gratitude

I love wild flowers and bluebells are popping up everywhere;  I even have lilac bluebells in my garden.   did you know that bluebells are the symbol of humility and gratitude?

gratitude is something that I am feeling at the moment – gratitude for my health, my family, my home, the food that we have – I felt ‘ how can we stay in for weeks on end’, but we have to just think that its a small part of our long lives which can importantly save other lives.  I cannot believe that a year has passed so quickly and yet so slowly…….

I usually go to Cornwall to see my friends at this time of year,  and I am missing those visits so much – its strange how the simple act of seeing friends in other parts of the country can bring so much pleasure, something we just took for granted; these bluebells were growing wild on the slopes of the coastline of Rock.  I look forward to being able to do those simple things again……


watched this film last night about the amazing resilient woman, Mary Anning whose passion for fossil hunting discovered one of the most important geological finds on the Jurassic coast, but she was not acknowledged for her accomplishments. fortunately she is now being recognised, alongside a whole array of other women in the world, who may have been dismissed because of their class and gender. We went to this beautiful coast last year for the first time and fell in love with it – seeing them walk the Cobb wall in Lyme Regis just brought the lovely memories of the window of freedom we were allowed last year, fingers crossed that we are allowed a little more this year.

feria in vejer de la fronterra

I am so missing visiting spain with its wonderful traditions and colour. its about this time in Vejer de la Fronterra that the annual  april feria occurs 10 days after Easter.  Easter, or Semana Santa as it is called in Spain is such a big occasion , more important than Xmas, with its evening street procession carrying the statues of Jesus  on Good Friday and  Easter Sunday bull run in the narrow streets, it is a sight that you never forget. The feria, that follows is a mini version of the seville feria, which if you have never seen is just spectacular, horses and carriages,  flamenco dresses and full of colour and splendour;  vejer’s feria is held in the new town, which is only 15 mins walk from my house, but mainly consists of a few casitas (tents for eating drinking and dancing) and an enormous fairground!  but for 4 nights there will be numerous flamenco shows and horse riding events.   the local school children clamber on their floats and there is a procession through the old town to the new town – there are so many festival days in spain, you need to check the calendars before you go so that you can watch them – there is a feria in almost every town in spain at some time of the year – its what makes Spain a wonderful country still steeped in tradition and fun.  sadly due to the pandemic, it will have been more than a year of disruption – so I am not even sure what celebrations will be happening;  I am so hoping that by the end of the year, life will resume as it used to be……

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i have a beautiful new tulip growing in my garden, not sure what type it is, but  the edges are dipped in a lilac pink – tulips are a definite sign of spring, i love the way they push their way up from the ground, opening their feather like petals announcing the arrival of the warmer air.

In Victorian times, certain flowers had specific meanings because the flower selection was limited and people used more symbols and gestures to communicate than words;  today there are so many varieties that the simple gesture of giving flowers is a sentiment;  however white tulips signify forgiveness.  here are the meanings of the other colours of tulips;  pink – caring, purple – royalty,  red- declaration of love,  white – forgiveness,  yellow – hopelessly in love.





magic hand

a few years ago we had a  bad accident when stoking up  the wood burner stove – which resulted in a wood ember falling onto our lovely rug – exactly in the part where there was a small section of white wool.  fortunately we were recommended magic hand, a specialist company who will  not only clean, restore and repair your rugs, but will pick it up and re deliver it and find the wool to match.  it came back within a week and you cannot even notice where the burn was.  it was not cheap, but considering the cost of good quality rugs, it was well worth it and a fraction of the price to buy another replacement.   we have now learned to roll back the rug when using the wood burner!

money can’t buy anything

Some people believe that happiness
can be found by
the amount of money you have.
But, money can not buy everything.

Money cannot buy
the feelings that I get
when My love kisses me gently
with her sweet lips.

Money cannot buy the way I feel
when I hold my love so close
that it feels like my heart
is beating for the both of us.

Some people think being rich will make you happy
because, you have money to go anywhere in the world.
But, I- myself, do not need to travel far
for, my place is with my love.

People think money can make you happy
because, you can afford expensive clothes and jewlery.
But, all I ever do is put on a smile when I’m with my love
because, that is all I need to wear.

People count on money to go on exotic trips to the ocean
So they can explore beneath the sea
and see things many poeple never will.
But, the sea of love, I am treading in is much deeper than any other sea.

People think money can bring happiness
because, the rich get better seats at restaurants.
But, my seat is always the best
when I am beside my love.

Poeple think money can buy happiness
because, they live in large houses.
But, the house I live in is always the most special one
when My love is with me in it.

Some people think being rich can buy you happiness..
sure, it can buy you some
but, the love I have brings me more happiness
than all the money in the world could.

Some people think being rich makes you better than everyone
They think they have a place reserved in heaven.
But, that’s not something I worry about
because, with my love, I am already there.

In this world money can get you things
and it can make you happy
but, the love I share with My angel
is more valuable than anything.

by Dennis Justin Fontaine

mothers day

to all you wonderful mothers – have a relaxing and lovely day!

did you know that we have been celebrating mothering sunday since the 16Century?  in the UK, mothers day always falls on the 4th sunday of Lent, which is why it never falls on the same day each year.

Mothering Sunday was also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday‘, ‘Pudding Pie Sunday’ or ‘Mid-Lent Sunday‘. It was a day in Lent when the fasting rules were relaxed, in honour of the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’, a story in the Christian Bible.

today, it feels like another form of commercialism and something that you ought to do because everybody else does it – i think that every day we should remember how special mothers are – their job at times is a thankless task that we all take for granted.  my daughter Maude is away on a university internship, but she sent me the most beautiful flowers – a friend set up this amazing business Filth during lockdown and delivers flowers personally on a friday – what enterprising and inspirational youth we have!  


in chichicastanago, guatamala the flower girls strewn their flowers for sale on the famed church steps – the petals were used as part of the religious thanks.  it was such a memorable place – its somewhere i would want to visit again.

whatever you are doing, have a lovely day!

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i still remember these lovely flowers that  little maude picked from our garden and sweetly put them in a egg cup – such a precious little thing and such a good idea for putting your flowers in!