Thursday, 15 June 2017

Falmouth Classics and Sea Shanty Festival

This weekend it's Falmouth Classics weekend, when masses of beautiful vintage sailing boats come to Falmouth from all over the world to race in our lovely waters. Well, Falmouth Bay and the Carrick Roads. I shan't be out on the water this year, but will be watching from the shore, and meeting the editor of Classic Boat tomorrow night as well. He's having a few trips on board various boats, but I was invited on one on Sunday which I can't do as this weekend also coincides with the Sea Shanty Festival, and I'm singing on Sunday afternoon.

I don't know how many different sea shanty groups will be singing this year - each year it gets bigger, with more and more venues - so I shall be singing a lot, and on Sunday afternoon, the Suitcase Singers will be singing outside Roly's Fudge shop (!!) from 3-4pm - just before the festival winds up at 5pm.

So if any of you are in the Falmouth area, come along and see us. have a pint or two and listen to the hundreds of different singers in our town.
And this is a picture from the woods near St Nectan's Glen - a walk last Sunday for the new book....

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Great Estate

This was me, taken by my very talented friend Carol, reading out a bit from my most recent book, Walks in the Footsteps of Poldark, at the Great Estate festival at Scorrier last weekend.

This was a new festival and although I hadn't seen that much publicity about it, there evidently was more than enough, as all the car parks were jammed, including the overflow ones and those for campervans and motorhomes - overall they had over 13,000 people, many of whom weren't even from Cornwall.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and met some fellow writers on the Saturday to see where we'd be performing that afternoon and, in my case, Sunday morning - in the Dead Beat Poet's Corner, next to the Secret Gin Garden. The picture taken above was me reading on Sunday when I sold some books, inspired others to read the Poldark books, and was delighted by the dear mates and strangers who turned up. Even better, I've been booked in for next year, so looking forward to that...

After that, myself and two other friends did some busking and really enjoyed that - one fellow stopped to listen to us and said, "I got some second hand clothes, and now hearing your beautiful singing, that's made my festival!" so we're on to do some more performing when Heather gets back from her travels.

On Monday we were hit by gale force winds and torrential rain and I did an interview with BBC Radio Cornwall (by phone thankfully) to promote the reissue of my first book, Discover Cornwall, which sold out the first print run. It's now got a much brighter cover, updated walks and new pictures so we're pleased with that.

Apart from a really sore back - I'm sitting here with a bag of frozen spinach pressed against my lower back - I'm now trying to get some other work. And preparing for our gig at the Sea Shanty Festival in 10 days time..... in between showers!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Last Friday we sweltered in the most glorious weather, walking at Loe Bar near Helston, then froze on Sunday, but in between we did a gig at Truro cathedral which is such an amazing place to sing - the acoustics are superb, and it was a real honour to sing there.

Tonight we're singing at Trebah Gardens and next weekend I am giving a talk at the Great Estate Festival at Scorrier, and am also doing some busking with two other friends. None of this is paid, but I do get free tickets to the festival which is worth a lot, and it's all about getting my books out there and making friends and meeting people.

Heather and I went over to Scorrier yesterday to check out the gardens and see where we're going to be performing, and it's just how you would imagine a huge, rambling, secret garden. Perfect!

Last weekend, as I was asked to review a hotel, I took a friend who's just celebrated a special birthday, and organised a secret party for her which, I'm relieved to say, went very well. You never know with surprises!

Pictures to follow, but in the meantime here's another...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Insurance


Above picture of Moll on a staddle stone near Castle an Dinas.

Last year my kitchen flooded in those flash floods we had in September, and a friend suggested I claim off the insurance. So a very kindly fellow came round and said they couldn't pay more than £300 but it would help with the cost of a new carpet or flooring, so I said yes thanks. And now I really wish I hadn't. My insurance has gone up from £300 to £800 - that was the best quote. The others were over £1,000. And all because of a £300 claim???

I'm still arguing the toss, of course, but am reeling from shock.

Apart from that, life is busy doing another walk for the book, preparing for the Great Estate Festival at Scorrier the first weekend in June(doing a talk/chat and singing), and then singing at the Sea Shanty Festival the following weekend. All a lot of fun and will hopefully sell some books, but not bringing much money in. Still, life has to be enjoyed. I must just try harder to earn the insurance money....!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Altarnun

I’m anxiously scanning the forecast to see when I can do the next walk…… whereas Madam is just rearranging her profile...

As I write, there is a steady and persistent drizzle that has now turned into a deluge, but for most of April the weather was beautifully sunny, so I’m hoping that once the much needed rain has gone through, we will resume the cheerier weather.

I’ve been able to get several walks done for the Daphne du Maurier book, which has been lovely - in particular a walk at Tywardreath a month ago, with Deb and Rich. I’d originally done this walk years ago on a freezing, March day and what a difference, doing it in spring sunshine! We ended up at the New Inn at Tywardreath where we met a geocaching friend of Rich’s who told us some fascinating historical facts about the area.

Last weekend I did a review up at Doublebois where we explored the area - not one I know at all - which provides some fascinating and diverse walking. On the Sunday we headed up to Altarnun to do a walk for the book and were blessed with sunny skies by the time we got there, and did the entire walk in shorts and t shirts.
Even better, I went into the church at the end of the walk and found a brass plaque dedicated to one John Kittow who had donated the pulpit in the church, apparently.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Reviews

I’ve done a few reviews recently which has been wonderful and unexpected. Several years ago I used to review dog friendly accommodation for Your Dog magazine for a supplement they ran, but they’ve stopped doing that now. I had some terrific mini-adventures, as we never knew where we would end up, what it would be like, who we’d meet and where we’d go.

So it was a shame that came to an end. By the way, I don’t get paid for reviews - the deal usually is that you get a free meal/stay somewhere and in return you write a glowing account of their pub/restaurant/hotel/cottage and organise some stunning pictures.

Nowadays I write occasional reviews for the website www.feetongtheground.holiday which is for people who don’t want to fly when they go on holiday - an excellent idea, not only for the environment but for those who (like Peter de Savary), hate flying.

But a few weeks ago I was asked to review some pubs/restaurants for a Cornish publication, and had a brilliant meal over at the Traveller’s Rest at Trevarrian, near Newquay airport. Even better, it was a fabulous day so Viv and I had a wonderful two hour scamper over the coastal footpath there in Mediterranean sunshine - see picture above.

I was then approached by the PR of a hotel group asking if I’d like to review a few hotels - one night in each plus dinner, B&B, so Deb and I headed off to Padstow last week for a night in the Metropole hotel which was fabulous. We - by which I include Moll - were given a friendly welcome, had bags carried, a special dog pack in the room, and fantastic food and walks.

I’ve got another review coming up near Liskeard, in a chalet near Bodmin Moor, and another possible hotel one coming up. As I’m not likely to get a holiday this year - or at least, not until autumn - these mini breaks are a really lovely way of breaking up the everyday.

So I count myself very lucky - as do the friends that accompany me!
Enys Gardens, by the way - not on a review, but with my Meetup friends.



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Good times and bad times

Well this Easter has just been fabulous. I had long walks every day, the first being over at Helford where Carol and I went to see some friends of mine there for a trigging party at Gillan Creek. Trigging is an old Cornish practice of collecting cockles on Easter Friday, and the creek was full of people raking the river bed at low tide, others lighting fires and everyone having a brilliant family time.

On Saturday a group of us went up to Luxulyan, organised by Rich, who is very into his geocaching. It was a great walk, despite the cold wind, and we got all the caches apart from one - though as Rich said, it’s a good excuse to go back. After a pint in the King’s Arms afterwards, I was good for nothing except food and a quiet evening in, but Deb and Rich are made of sterner stuff (despite being older) and went on to carouse at the folk and cyder festival…

Easter Sunday saw me tackling a car boot and then heading down to Penwith Moors where we found a walk which turned out to be near Castle an Dinas, which is where I need to do a walk for the book, so that was a fantastic coincidence. Once again, by the time I got home I was so tired I had to go to bed for an hour, but the walking was superb.

Easter Monday brought another car boot then going over to see some friends who are having a really difficult time. Life can often take us by surprise (always) but this one is a particularly heart wrenching and they need all the support they can get.

And yesterday I went over to Carbis Bay to give a talk at the hotel there - what a lovely audience they were, and bought lots of books too! I then went to help another friend going through a horrible time, and went for a long walk afterwards, thinking, I’m really glad the weather’s so good. It helps lift all the horrible stuff.

So here’s to spring, and good mates.