Tuesday 7 May 2013


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!


  1. I went to st Ives but in summer but it seems busy all year round! Still looks lovely though!

    1. There is something to be said for popular places out of season. We could saunter uninterrupted down the streets of the town, often in the middle of the road, in a way that would be impossible in the hight of the season. There was no problem getting a seat in the harbour-front restaurants either. This retirement lark is a bit of all right!

  2. Cornwall comes with so many beautiful motives. I could probably hardly ever move on, I would have to stop at every second corner to takea picture.

    Nothing beats cheap packages. I guess the visitors were all on the same wavelength. Did you have to fight for bench-space? *giggle*

    Have a nice "Spring in May"!
    We are heading East and spend some time at the Black Sea. With Puschkin, Rilke, Tolstoj and plenty of bling-bling.

    1. Dear Paula, how good to hear from you. Surely a trip to the Black Sea will be worth a blog write-up? I look forward to hearing all about it!
      I've got my in-flight case looked out ready for a bit of nifty packing. We are going to search out some sun (I hope) and shall post when I'm back home.

  3. Cornwall looks a bit improved since I was last there in the 60's

    1. Yes, Doc, I think that the British seaside has improved over the last few years. It used to be pretty grim, by and large, but standards have risen and it is not quite so tacky. Certainly the food on offer is far better than used to be the case. In the 60's Britain was only just coming out of post-war austerity. When I see films of that decade I'm amazed at how un-swinging the 'swinging 60's' actually looked!

  4. So pretty. I love seaside towns off season when you have more of the town to yourself.

    1. Yes, it's standing on heads in St Ives in the summer.

  5. How lovely. We honeymooned in St. Ives so this post brought back fond memories.

    1. Ah, Miss J. Hunter Dunn, it will be just the place to bring baby!

  6. How have I been following only one of your blogs? Where have I been?? Cornwall is so pretty. I have wonderful memories of the one trip I took there many years ago. The people were so sweet and easy going. Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. I'm encouraged by the story of your own foot adventure. I will be chanting your mantra ~ all will be well..all WILL be well! Much Love,

    1. We also found the local people extremely pleasant and had lovely conversations wherever we went.
      Do take a peek at my third blog of my life in one hundred objects, it is very nearly complete.
      My mantra works!

  7. Lovely photos - St Ives is great, isn't it? I like those hotel deals - we did one a while ago in Stratford. I'd like to see that exhibition - and looking forward to the film. We saw an exhibition of Dame Laura Knight's work a few months ago in Worcester.

    1. Do read the book, Laura Knight features prominently in it. She isn't described at all the way that I imagined. I love her big self-portrait.

  8. Summer in February sounds intriguing. I am going to check to see if it is still in print. Your trip sounds lovely. I think I would enjoy the carrot cake please. Bonnie

  9. I imagine the book will be widely available once the film is released, if it is a success at the box office, that is. I enjoyed it very much, knowing the story to be factual.
    My father would have enjoyed the exhibition as he admired the paintings of both Munnings and Laura Knight. He is very much in my thoughts when I have these pleasurable experiences.
    Himself ate the carrot cake, but I stole a mouthful! It had the addition of pumpkin seeds and tasted delicious!

  10. Love St Ives (and Lamorna) too, when the time comes that we are able to go away in term time I will be there in quiet times like a shot. Look forward to checking out that book - and the book.

  11. What glorious photos of St. Ives. and especially the lovely beach and all it special places that make it St. Ives. I have never seen blankets to keep you comfy at a place to eat. Neat. I will have to see If I can find that Book. I am a big fan of BBC and hopefully one day I will be able to find the movie. Have a lovely week. Oh, I am your newest follower. Hugs Judy