Monday 10 June 2019

First Class Dining On The Cornish Belle Steam Train From Bodmin & Wenford Station

Cornish Belle train, Cornwall

It was a damp, rainy night and we had been given a booking for first class dining on the Cornish Belle. The 75178 steam train was scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. and the rain didn't put us off. We passed though the booking office and made our way to the platform.

Vintage luggage at the Bodmin and Wenfold station

The Bodmin & Wenford station is very much in a 1950s style, in keeping with the heritage trains which run from here.

The Bodmin and Wenford Station, Cornwall

My gosh, it was pelting down with rain as we made our way along the very wet platform.
Cornish Belle train carriages
We jumped into the carriage at the first opportunity and wandered along looking for our table number. Not many tables were taken as yet - as usual we were early.

Cornish Belle train of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway

The tables were neatly laid out ready for the diners.

First class in the Cornish Belle train

Looking through the window the rain was still in full flow.

Looking out of the train window on a wet, rainy day

Luckily the menu had vegetarian options for me, while my wife chose Cornish beef for her main course. 

I didn't snap any photos of our meal as we just wanted to relax and enjoy our evening - while the steam train chugged along its journey.

Menu of the Cornish Belle train

It was after 10 p.m. when we arrived back at the station after our meal - and very nice it was too. 

The rain was still pouring down so I didn't get the photos I had hoped for. Nevertheless I managed a few shots of the Cornish Belle.

75178 steam engine train at Bodmin and Wenford station, Bodmin, Cornwall

Steam train in the station at Bodmin and Wenford

I snapped one photo in sepia as it seemed to portray a whole different era - a gentler, more polite era perhaps.

All in all, despite the rain, it was a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday 8 June 2019

A Trip Around Port Isaac, Cornwall - The Home of Doc Martin's Portwenn

Harbour walls at Port Isaac, Cornwall, England

This is a visit we made to the lovely Cornish village of Port Isaac. It has become quite famous since the Doc Martin television series, starring Martin Clunes, was filmed and based here under the name of Portwenn. It is also the home of the Fisherman's Friends singers. 

Approaching Port Isaac, Harbour, Cornwall

We parked the car at the top of the village and walked down to Port Isaac harbour. The sea around Cornwall seems quite magical as it changes to various  shades of colour. Houses are perched on the hillsides

Houses on the hillside at Port Isaac, including Doc Martin's house

By the harbour there are a few shops ...

The harbour area at Port Isaac, Cornwall

... and The Krab Pot cafe.

The Krab Pot cafe at Port Isaac, Cornwall

The harbour has a small beach dependent on the tide. Looking upwards, it's possible to see Doc Martin's house. I have put a red dot on it's roof.

Port Isaac harbour, including Doc Martin's house

Looking out to the Port Isaac harbour walls and ...

Small stony beach at Port Isaac, Cornwall

... now looking inland from the beach.

Looking back from the beach at Port Isaac

There's a path leading up to the cliff side houses and a walk beyond.

Houses by the side of Port Isaac harbour, Cornwall

There are lovely views over Port Isaac from the path and ...

Port Isaac, Cornwall

... you pass Doc Martin's house (photo below).
Doc Martin's House, Port Isaac, Cornwall
After walking quite a way, we retraced our steps going down the path - with those lovely views.

Port Isaac, Cornwall

Reaching sea level again we meandered through the village cottages.

Cottages at Port Isaac, Cornwall

Cottages at Port Isaac, Cornwall

There's a lot of up and down in the village. The photo below shows why it's advisable to park cars at the top of the village - the roads are very narrow ...

Narrow roads at Port Isaac, Cornwall

... and can be quite steep.

Cottages and narrow road at Port Isaac, Cornwall

A last look at the harbour before making our way back to the car. Always an interesting place to visit but it does get busy in the main season because of the popularity of Doc Martin. We saw many people visiting from other countries.

Port Isaac Harbour, Cornwall

Thursday 6 June 2019

The Owl Sanctuary and Reflections Of An Owl's Eye

Owl photo
A while back there were owls in our local town. They were from the Screech Owl Wildlife Park near Indian Queens, Cornwall. As I had my camera with me I snapped a few photos and put some money in their bucket. 

One of the photos really caught my eye - as I saw my own reflection in the owl's eye! Not a very elegant pose.

An owl's eye

The Screech Owl Sanctuary isn't some sort of zoo for birds, they have admirable aims. To quote from their website:

# To provide care and rehabilitation for sick and injured wild owls in Cornwall. To ensure their safe release into the wild on recovery or, if permanently disabled, to provide a comfortable home in a suitable environment.
# To promote awareness of the conservation needs of owl species and their natural habitats by working with schools, youth organisations, groups and individuals of all ages.
More information on their website.
Indian Queens
The name Indian Queens, for the local village, is named after a picture which was once in an old Inn or Pub which stood beside the road leading to Goss Moor.
Some say the Picture was of Pocahontast, others say it was of  Queen Victoria - who was Queen of India. But, whatever. you'll find the Screech Owl Wildlife Park at Goss Moor, near Indian Queens.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Growing Apple Tree From A Pip - Plus Cornwall's Eden Project

Oh, me of little faith! 

Eight years ago my wife planted an apple pip in a small pot. 

"Why?" I asked. "So we can have an apple tree," she answered.

"Yes, but couldn't we just buy one?" 

"Ah," she replied, "but I like the flavour of this apple."

"Okay, okay!"

Over time the pip began to shoot and became, what I called a twig." 

"No, no!" she said it's an apple tree."

And so it went on year after year, but I had to admit that the bush or tree, or whatever it was, gradually got bigger - but not a flower or an apple did it produce.

Last year I threatened to dig it up. "No, no!" she cried." Okay, there weren't actually any tears but I did say one more year and that's it - full stop!

This year all was silent in the house when I heard much excitement, "It's got flowers, the apple tree has got flowers!" 

"Oh, great," I mumbled with as much enthusiasm as a damp squid. "It doesn't mean that there will be apples," I said in my best know-it-all tone of voice.

But now, today, I have to admit that there could well be apples growing on the pip tree - at least a dozen or so - the photo at the top of this post shows some of the evidence.

Now I know that Aristotle said that:  "One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy."

I told my wife this but she said, "What on earth are you rambling on about, what's that got to do with apples? There will be apples on the tree, just you wait and see."

So I'm waiting to see. The proof will be in the eating of the apple pie!

And there's more:

Thought I'd better add a few photos to this post, so here are some flower pics from a visit to Cornwall's Eden Project a few days ago.

On the approach to the car parks there were beautiful fields of wild flowers.

Fields of wild flowers at Cornwall's Eden Project

Once inside the Eden Project we walked round the gardens to see some of the various flowers on display.


Flowers at Cornwall's Eden Project

Flowers galore at the Eden Project, Cornwall

Flowers at the Eden Project, Cornwall

After meandering through flower gardens we headed for the Mediterranean Biome - can just see a glimpse of it in the photo below.

Colourful shrubs at the Eden Project

We only had a quick walk round the biome as there were so many people everywhere - children were on half term, so lots of visitors to Eden at such times. Just a couple of quick photos from the Mediterranean Biome.


The Eden Project's Mediterranean biome

And finally a few people below getting their first look at some of the biomes - always an impressive sight.

A glimpse of the biomes at the Eden Project, Cornwall

Luckily we have annual passes, so can often visit the Eden Project, preferably when it isn't quite so busy.

Also see:
Flavour of Cornwall's Eden Project - 15 photos
More Flavour of Cornwall's Eden Project - 14 photos

Sunday 2 June 2019

Walking to Gribbin Head Cornwall - Daphne du Maurier Country

Green fields leading up to Gribbin Head, Cornwall

A visit we made - well, one we do often - to Gribbin Head with it's Gribbin tower. This is such a lovely stretch of coastline and one which inspired the writer Daphne du Maurier to write books such as Rebecca.

Polridmouth Beach

We parked the car at Menabilly and walked through the fields to Polridmouth - the beach above - and also the ornamental lake as below.

During the second world war Polridmouth was used as a decoy site. Lights were placed around the ornamental lake to lure enemy bombers away from nearby Fowey harbour, particularly during the build up to the D-Day invasion when 2,000 American troops were stationed in and around Fowey town.

Ornamental lake at Polridmouth, Cornwall

I digress! We were actually walking to Gribbin Head and to Gribbin tower - that's the tower in the photo below.

Looking up to Gribbin Head, Cornwall

It's a bit of a hill to climb but worth it for the views.

Walking to Gribbin Head

Gribbin Head has been an important lookout for many centuries. Iron Age people and medieval farmers settled on this viewpoint. 

In Elizabethan times the Gribbin was a beacon site which, in 1588, helped carry the news to London of the approaching Spanish Armada.

Since 1832 the Gribbin (tower)  has been an 84 ft. daymark to enable ships and other craft to pinpoint the approach to Fowey's harbour.

The detail below is over the door into the Gribbin.

Inscription on Gribbin Tower, Cornwall

There are lovely views and it's possible to continue walking along the coast path for many miles.

Cliffs on Gribbin Head, Cornwall

The photo below shows the entrance to the Fowey River and the harbour beyond. This is the entrance often missed by ships prior to the daymark being built.

View of Fowey River from Gribbin Head

Walking down the hill the views continue.

View from Gribbin Head

It's interesting that prior to 1988 the brow of the Gribbin was covered in dense scrub. Since then cattle grazing has been introduced and the grassland is now herb rich. In summer there is a variety of wild flowers and plants to be found.

Cows on Gribbin Head, Cornwall

I love this stretch of coast, such wonderful views and it's an essential place for any Daphne du Maurier fans to visit. The area brings her books alive.

See Also:
The Wonderful Coastline At Menabilly - Daphne du Maurier Country
Daphne Du Maurier Featured On Large Cornish Mural
Beyond The Beacon Near Du Maurier's Manderley / Menabilly


A Walk to Pentewan Village, Beach and Harbour

It was a sunshine day so we decided on a walk to Pentewan along the Pentewan Trail starting from the bridge as shown above. ...