Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Fowey Festival and Little White Alice

First of all, the talk at Fowey Festival was fabulous. We had a great audience - full house, which amazed and delighted us. The whole thing was brilliantly organised, from the sound system, to the stage, lighting, book signing, microphones for Q&A - everything was extremely professional and worked extremely well. And having done a few festivals, it very rarely does go so smoothly! The audience were great, too, and we had several people tracking us down later - and the next day, in my case - saying how much they'd enjoyed it, and how interesting it was. So that was a huge boost to our confidence - as well as selling some books and Waterstones have asked me to do another talk in August.

I was pretty shattered after that and had a very busy week, as well as a fascinating meeting with St Petrocs on the Friday for a project I'm working on with Andrew. So come Friday afternoon I was in dire need of some R&R, so Moll and I set off with Viv and Titch to Carnmenellis where we were to do a review at the beautifully named Little White Alice. Arriving on a drizzly Friday afternoon in May wasn’t perhaps the best start to a weekend, but this once-derelict farm is now a haven of peace and solitude. “Almost spiritual,” said Viv, and that was before she’d had a glass of wine.

We were staying at Uath, one of several eco Arks made of timber, which is rather like a tardis - from the outside it looks like a small wooden chalet but inside was everything we could possibly need. A double bed was built up against the wall with a child’s bed at its foot. Next to that was a small sofa, which doubled as a sofa bed, another chair and a bar type table with high stools for eating. The kitchen area is small but well fitted out with sink and a full size oven with hob. The living room area even has a mini wood burner!

Next door is a snug pod with two single beds which meant that despite being good friends, Viv and I didn’t have to share a bed! All bed linen, towels and materials are very high quality and the beds incredibly comfortable. All the fixtures and fittings are wooden and ecologically sourced, and despite the ark being small, it in no way felt cramped inside.

We spent the evening watching a dvd and sampling the welcome pack provided - Cornish shortbread biscuits and home made brownies that melted in the mouth. For breakfast, we looked forward to sampling a large sourdough loaf, Cornish butter and four freshly laid eggs.

Uath means hawthorn, presumably because of the bushes of that name at the bottom of the neat grassed garden that is enclosed by a secure wooden fence. Outside is a large, sturdy picnic bench and tables with another table and chairs on the verandah which has a glass canopy, giving us the equivalent of another outside room when sunny.

The next day we spent several happy hours exploring the 28 acres consisting of a small holding with alpacas, lambs, ponies, chickens and goats as well as the residential very friendly dogs, all of whom are fed each morning at 9am. Simon and Rosie have planted over 2000 trees, we discovered, walking through the nature reserve, then later we sampled the beautiful little oasis of the Wild Spa where we enjoyed a sauna and hot tub, and you can also book a massage. Tea that night was provided by their own sausages, and we bought local honey as well - both delicious.

Judging by the exuberantly filled Visitors Book, this is popular with families but would also be perfect for anyone wanting a quiet spot - and particularly if you need time and space to paint or write. Carnmenellis is well situated for exploring all parts of Cornwall - in other words, it’s perfect for a get away from it all holiday.

We were very sad to have to leave after two nights but discovered that their off peak tariff is good value so we can’t wait to come back and stay for a week to completely unwind and explore properly.

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