We went to Cornwall for a couple of nights in April,
taking advantage of a cheap rate hotel package,
like all the other pensioners!
We stayed in St Ives
which is a lovely, characterful town
and a delight to wander around out of season.
The beaches are excellent
but it wasn't the weather for swimming.
Instead we walked across Porthminster Beach to the beach cafe
where the food is delicious, and, this being an artists town,
the walls are decorated with colourful abstracts.
It's a great place to sit and gaze out to sea and there are cheerful red blankets to wrap yourself up in if the weather feels a bit too English.
If it isn't time for lunch you can always fill in with a coffee and a slice of carrot cake!
There is a good choice of eating places in the town
and St Ives is full of art galleries, both large and small.
We went to Penzance to see an exhibition at one of my favourite regional galleries.
The temporary exhibition was "Summer in February,' the title taken from a book by Jonathan Swift about the lives of a group of artists living in the secluded valley of Lamorna. Many of the paintings in the exhibition, by these artists, are in private ownership, so it was a treat to see them gathered together. A film of the book has been produced, to be released next month. The story is of a doomed love affair and Dan Stevens, who shot to prominence in 'Downton Abbey', is the male lead. He plays the part of Gilbert Evans. Handkies out ladies, and prepare to weep, there will not be a happy ending!
The exhibition included letters and personal effects. When Gilbert left Lamorna to work in Nigeria a friend sent the following letter to his mother.
April 1st 1914.
My Dear Mrs Evans
I feel I must write you of our sadness at losing Captain Evans - though it is hard to realise that he is really gone. He is such a dear, isn't he? Everyone loves him and we can ill spare such a good friend from our midst, though of course we are pleased for him to have a chance to get on and all wish him every success.
Major Gilbert Evans (1883-1966) retired as deputy surveyor general in Nigeria in 1933 and returned to Lamorna where he lived with his wife, Joan and their two sons, Tim and David.
'The Morning Ride', portrait of Florence painted by Alfred Munnings.
I bought the book at the gallery but really wish that I had read it before visiting the exhibition.
I bought several postcards of the work on display, this one, from a private collection, is another painting by Munnings, made in 1912, of Florence at sunset.
The self-portrait with nude, painted a year later by Laura Knight was on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, my favourite London Gallery.
And a painting of Lamorna Cove by Samuel Birch.
After which we drove out of Penzance to Lamorna Cove,
which I have to say looked rather bleak!