Port Eliot

Robert was invited to Port Eliot to speak about his book – it was his first time ever to a festival;  Port Eliot is not your typical music festival – its set in beautiful grounds around an old Manor House and church and river;  it started in the 90’s as primarily a literary festival, but expanded to become a great all round family outing with music, arts, crafts as well as the books.  sadly it seems that this will be the last one for the foreseeable future due to financial feasibility (this was one of the reasons given)…..  its a lovely gentle introduction to festivals for those who hate crowds and queues, as this one seems very calm, great food and drinking spots and all in all actually relaxing.  fingers crossed for more in the future!  this was actually my second time to Port Eliot and fortunately it didnt rain – the first time it poured non stop and was a mud bath and not a great introduction to festivals…..

to make it worth the long journey down to Cornwall, we decided to visit our old friends Jon and Kim, who now live in Padstow for a few days;  we caught the Great Western train from Paddington and although we had managed to get a great deal on a first advanced ticket, we wished we had reserved the pullman dining car.  it looked so Agatha Christie with table cloths – being served a 3 course meal is definitely a stylish way to pass the 4 hour train journey.  fortunately we missed the heatwave in london to arrive to a comfortable 21C.  we did a day trip to Fowey, ate delicious tapas lunch at Pintxo, picked up great sourdough bread and cake from Quay bakery and popped into any old lights, which has a great selection of vintage style lights. Fowey has lovely meandering streets with a lovely view down to the harbour and is where the renowned author Daphne du Maurier resided – Rebecca is one of my favourite books and films.

Padstow is renowned for Rick Stein, who seems to have taken over the whole town with various eateries, delis and gift shop, but Jon booked well in advance lunch at Paul Ainsworth’s restaurant.  its Michelin star, but at lunchtime there is a set 2 or 3 course lunch menu for each season.  it is very reasonable, beautifully presented and delicious – without being too rich and heavy.  I rarely eat in such restaurants – I much prefer home cooked style food, but its nice for a treat now and again.  it appears that you have to book several months in advance to get a table in July!

another day trip out worth doing is to see the  japanese gardens at st mawgan – a beautiful bit of escapism in the cornish countryside – filled with zen gardens, azaleas, bamboo and bonsai trees .  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 garden to sit in.