Thursday, 28 May 2015

May Day Celebrations - Beltane, Wish Ribbons & Morris Men

May Day started with squeals of excitement coming from all the boys.  We were planning to go out into the garden in our pj’s first thing in the morning to soak up the May Day dew - for good luck and a year of good health.  Noah interpreted this as meaning he would be able to eat pizza every day for the year as his health was now a given – not the case!

It all started well with lots of running around. Then the shoes came off and the boys realised that the dew was actually very close to frost!  Beau wasn't happy and started crying to go back inside.  Noah for some reason started rubbing his face in the dew (maybe thinking about the prospect of all the pizza), and Cass just looked perplexed and hung to my leg whimpering, so within the space of about 2 minutes all the laughter had turned to tears – yay!

Luckily the rest of the day proved more enjoyable.

After school the boys helped me cut up all the ribbon to make wish ribbons to hang on our apple trees.  The colours were beautiful, and as each wish was made and a ribbon tied on to the tree, the garden was slowly transformed into a little pocket of summer. I find Beltane particularly energising as everywhere seems to suddenly be geared towards summer and the long warm days ahead, and the greenery is practically bursting out of the earth.

I didn't encourage any of the fertility rituals this year – I think we have enough on our hands at the moment without any of that flying around!

The day drew to a close with the obligatory feast and everyone fell into bed.

We celebrated for a second day at a wonderfully British May Day Fair in Aldbury Village.  The setting really is picture perfect, with thatched cottages hundreds of years old, stocks on the green and a duck pond.  This all made the perfect back drop for dancing round the Maypole, crowning of the May Queen and, of course,  Morris dancing.  It is a very local affair and we went with a group of friends and met up with lots more there too.  Weather was perfect and we all spent the day lounging around on picnic blankets with the kiddos flying around  us.

Friday, 22 May 2015

{This moment}

{This moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

~ Joining in with SouleMama

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Caves, Fairies and the Best Cream Tea in Cornwall

The Carnglaze caverns were only a five minute drive from where we were staying in Cornwall, but I am pretty sure we would have gone there regardless; huge caves, an underground spooky lake and fairy houses to find, ticks lots of our boxes.

We had a picnic before we went in - always a good idea to keep little boys tummies full before adventures. Then we went to get our attractive yellow hard hats, notice no pictures of me!  I don’t think I have ever seen anyone carry off a hard hat well, not even Kevin McCloud remains cool once he slips his hat on!  Cass was obviously feeling this too and kept his hat on for about 3 seconds, Beau slightly longer at 3 minutes, but throughout the cave exploring the silence was systematically shattered by one of them lobbing their hat to the ground.  We were the only people there that day, so luckily we didn’t have any awkward British-esq apologies to make.

The caves date back roughly 300 years to when the slate miners started to go underground and the result today is three hand created caverns of cathedral proportions.  The self-led tour takes you about 150m into the hillside and 60m below ground. The top chamber, known as the rum store (having been used through the Second World War for storing the navy’s rum) is now used as a concert hall, which must be amazingly atmospheric!  In the third chamber is the underground lake complete with crystal clear blue/green water.  It is dead still and eerily mesmerising.

We loved our adventure into the caves.  Noah at 7 was really interested in it all and very keen on answering the kiddies questions along the way.  The two little ones were impressed with the echoes, mannequins and lake lights - pressing the button again and again to illuminate the cave.

I had no idea how to take even half decent pictures in the cave itself.  You aren't allowed flashes or torch light (they would scare the bats) so I have added two pictures from the Carnglaze website rather than my awful attempts!

Credit Carnglaze Caverns

Credit Carnglaze Caverns

The adventure was not over because when we ventured above ground we then strolled through the enchanted dell.  The little ones were the perfect age for this and we spent the best part of an hour investigating the beautiful woods and hunting tiny houses, with each fairy find bringing more delight than the last.  The highlight was finding a perfect little hobbit hole house to play in, or stand on top of and shout, if that is your thing!

Then on to Cardinham woods for the rest of the day.  I really thought we must be going the wrong way to get here (as I do when trying to find the most interesting places!).  At the end of a winding steep single track road you come out in the middle of these beautiful ancient woodlands!  And the day was made perfect by the best Cornish cream tea I ever did taste at the Woods cafĂ©.

The scones were freshly baked and warm from the oven, and arrived complete with fresh strawberries perched on the clotted cream – mmmmmm.  All from a picture perfect Cornish stone cottage in the middle of nowhere!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Cornwall at its best - Fairy Houses, Surf Babes & Doc Martin

What a time we have had, we just got back from a glorious week down in Cornwall.  The sun shone brightly almost everyday so we packed loads in.

We stayed just outside of Lostwithiel in the middle of nowhere at a lovely 300 year old house - Clinnicks Farm.  It was the ideal base, perfectly positioned to explore, isolated enough to feel like a proper country cottage break, and beautiful enough, so that if the weather was not up to par we would be extremely happy to baton down the hatches.  As the weather was so good, we were very much the explorers.

First off we had the bay to ourselves at Ready Money Beach.  Then on up to Fowey, studying fishes, shopping, and reminiscing about childhood crabbing adventures off the quay.  Eating  delicious seafood at dusk overlooking the beach at Sam's in Polkerris, an old lifeboat station.

On to exploring cathedral size caves and searching for fairy houses at Carnglaze Caverns followed by walks through ancient woodlands and the best Cornish cream tea in the land at the Woods Cafe.

Next, a day skipping in the surf, building sandcastles and playing boules with new friends at Polzeath.

Charging around 13th century forts with wooden swords in hand at Restormel Castle and then building flower mandalas to restore the peace. Followed by our favourite find of the holiday - parking in the middle of nowhere having followed a grid reference for Lansallos Bay, then walking down a wooded path for 20 minutes to a secret secluded smugglers beach and cave, only to find about 80 film crew covering the tiny bay filming Doc Martin!!  It actually turned out to be quite entertaining, watching Martin Clunes jumping off a fishing boat fully clothed!

Continuing the Doc Martin theme we had a morning at Port Isaac which has to be one of the prettiest little ports, steeped in history, and full of local business at its best. Then on to Trebithwith Strand a favourite of ours, to watch the surf crashing on the rocks.

On the last day we ventured onto Bodmin Moors to find the Hurlers, 3 circles of Neolithic standing stones in a truly breath taking backdrop - moor land dotted with gorse and tin mines on the horizon in all directions.  Then on to the Golitha Falls a set of natural small waterfalls along the river Fowey, where the boys happily leaped over streams, paddled in pools and slipped off slimy rocks, ending up in pants and t-shirt for the way home.

We finished our holiday thoroughly exhausted, but very happy and the boys still have some sand clinging to their heads and behind their ears.  Noah is now sporting a pony tail - a surf dude in the making there.  Beau is full of stories and fiercely possessive of the crab shell and deadly looking claw that he found. While Cass has come on leaps and bounds, quite literally in fact, as he can now run, which has added a whole new level to my days, but may improve my dormant fitness routine!

Here's to Cornwall, raising a class of cloudy cider to you and a wonderful week, Kernowfornia indeed!

Friday, 24 April 2015

{This moment}

{This moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

~ Joining in with SouleMama