Tuesday, 21 June 2011


(Summer's Beach, St Mawes)

Finally I have found a little space in my day to share my little trip to Cornwall with you.  Oh friends, it was a wonderful week - I haven't been down in a good long while you see and it was heaven to see familiar places again after such a long time.  After those hectic, weary weeks beforehand too, it was a real tonic to unwind and not have anything very important to take care of or do, no real responsibilities...bliss.

We stayed in the little village of Portscatho, in this very cottage close to the square and a pebbles throw from the sea.  Just a short walk around the corner and you could be standing above the picturesque little harbour, or on the little beach...

...and we had a gorgeous view from our cottage window...

There is something very special about waking up to the sound of gulls calling, and then opening the curtains and seeing glimpses of the sea from your window.  I also managed to squeeze in a bit of al-fresco hooky time too, in the little walled front garden.

The first full day there, we awoke to heavy fog and torrential rain though.  Not a good start, but we found our waterproofs and headed out (typical Brits, going to enjoy it no matter what).  It poured down for most of the day and by mid afternoon it had turned to gales with intermittent showers.  We headed for Porthleven where the sea was wild and the waves were coming up over the harbour wall!

The next day couldn't have been more different.  In St Ives, the sun shone and our wee girl was in and out of the sea on Porthgwidden beach almost all day.

We finished a rather lovely day with a meal at the Ocean Grill, freshly caught fish and a chilled glass of wine...and what a view!

I really liked the decorative glass work inside the restaurant too:

Tired but feeling extremely happy, I walked back along the harbour to the car.  The tide had come in and the sea was that brilliant seaglass-green colour...

I could quite happily sit and watch the water and the waves around St Ives for hours, the colours are wonderful, and so very beautiful.  I find the sea to have a wonderful energy, it's constant movement, changing colour and moods...it's hugely inspiring and nourishing to be near to it.  Even on a rainy and cloudy day the sand seems to glow as if the sun shines upon it, and the sea has that bright gleam of soft creamy jade about it.  People talk about the special 'light' at St Ives, it's why the artists originally flocked to the place, and I can understand why they loved it so.

Later in the week, we went to Mousehole.  I love this tiny place, where old fishermens' cottages cluster together around it's pretty harbour, and wandering lanes lead to tiny galleries and cafes.

One morning, we drove to St Mawes, just a few miles from where we were staying.  Having not packed a picnic that day, we bought fresh baguettes at the St Mawes Bakery, a little building right on the harbour, and then nipped over the road to the deli where we stocked up on local cheese, pots of prawns, rolls of pink smoked salmon, and garlic and lemon mayonnaise before finally making our way to Summer's Beach.  What a treat!!
(Gorgeous coastal cottage at St Mawes)

A trip to Falmouth by boat in the afternoon was planned as we ate our feast.  The sun shone on the journey there and the sea was a deep jade green.  Carys and I went to see the Richard Tuff exhibition at Beside The Wave Gallery.  How I wish I could buy one of his paintings, alas they are rather beyond what my little purse can afford!!  

Waiting for the boat to take us back to St Mawes, I was rather taken with the harbour walls around Custom House Quay. I liked the way that different sized stones had been used in a rather pleasing way, and the ochre yellow lichen that had grown upon them contrasted with the grey of the stones beautifully!  I did a little sketch, just before our boat arrived, and then it was time to put the drawing things away and climb aboard.

The boat journey home was a cold affair and we had foolishly left our warm clothes back in St Mawes (Cornish readers please feel free to guffaw loudly at this point).  The weather had turned and a light drizzle accompanied us, along with a cold wind.  The boat bounced up and down on a generous swell, and a couple of our party alighted feeling a little queasy!  

Another lovely discovery for me this visit, was the Helford Passage.  I've long been a fan of Daphne DuMaurier books, and one of my favourite stories is Frenchman's Creek.  To be in the vicinity of where this woman took inspiration for her books was amazing, and although we didn't actually make it to the location of Frenchman's Creek, it was enough to stand down on the quayside at Helford Passage and imagine it all.  

There is a gentle drowsiness to this part of Cornwall which I find irresistible; it has a quiet charm that is far removed from the heaving bustle and busyness of St Ives, and you feel yourself relax in this quiet, pretty place.  As the tide lapped up the shore, and we retreated to the path (with a very annoyed four year old who can't quite fathom out why the sea has to eat her sand) we decided to have a meal in the Ferryboat Inn...local mussels for me, caught in Fowey that same day, with a nice bowl of chips and a cold glass of white!

A week goes far to fast, and before we knew it we were saying our goodbyes to our quiet little village, and it's tranquil surroundings.  Heading inland for home always makes me feel slightly flat and wistful, so I promise myself to come back again.

In the meantime I have a memory full of inspiration, a sketchbook full of new drawings (more about those next time) and ideas which I'll be sharing with you all soon.

Thanks for dropping in to see me, looking forward to catching up with all of you soon.

Julia x


  1. Afternoon. Those wee cottages are just amazing, aren't they? I'm in need of a bit of sea air, gull call and a plate of mussels and chips. Can't wait to see what sketches you've done. Have a happy week, Ax

  2. We spent a lot of time around that area when the kids were little, infact we stayed in a boathouse behind the ferryboat inn once - it is really lovely. xx

  3. What a glorious break away you hae had Julia, the sea is just so bautiful as you say with it's changing colours and moods. Cornwall really is a special place and I must make a plan for my little family to go back soon xox Great that you feel inspired and well rested.

  4. Big Ahhhhhhhhhhh sigh. Wish I was there too. I have never been to Cornwall. Yet. x

  5. What a beautiful place to have a holiday. it's looks wonderful.

  6. I love the sound of gulls and the sea - I'm in need of a trip to the coast! Where you stayed looks so pretty.

  7. Beautiful photos of that splendid scenery - I look forward to seeing your follow-up work.

  8. Hi Julia, I loved sharing a little glimpse of your Cornish visit! You certainly got about didn't you? I also like to pop over to Mousehole when I'm down there. St Ives for me in August - Yay I can't wait! I'm looking forward to seeing your sketches too. :)xx

  9. Julia -

    Cormnwall looks utterly lovely as usual, will try & sneak a peek when we go back in August

    I hope you feel refreshed & revived,


  10. Ahhhhh. Thanks for the little cyber vacation, I feel better now. Cornwall and Mousehole (I love the name!)are on my life's list of places to visit... assuming we get back to England again one day.
    I'm looking forward to seeing your sketches! :))))

  11. Julia, Your images are beautiful...I feel as though I've been on a little trip myself after reading this post. Thanks for sharing your little bit of heaven! x&o, Annette

  12. OOOh I was close!
    Looks so beautiful (already on my list for holidays of the future but moved up thanks to your beautiful pictures...particularly loving the wall and the shadow on the green sea)

    Bet you were super inspired - can't wait to see what you come up with
    fee x

  13. The photos are all lovely, real food for thought and fodder for the sketch book. I've looked (online) at the beside the wave gallery exhibitions, they have some amazing artists there. Cornwall looks lovely, but I wouldn't be true to myself not to sell Pembrokeshire, if you ever get the chance......you must visit. The sea, the light all perfect, I paint a little and it is so inspiring......I challenge you not to be inspired! Right now I am off my soap box. Enjoying your blog, love what you do.

  14. OOh a glimpse of sea...always makes me happy!
    Glad you had a relaxing time Julia.
    Ali x

  15. Beautiful pictures - thanks for sharing :-) I have a longing for the English seaside at the moment...if only it wasn't half the world away!

  16. Such a treat to see Cornwall through the eye of your lens, with your commentary..thank you. I feel as if I've been on a five minute holiday myself. I love the seaglass colour of the water.

  17. Julia you have just made me smile at the sight of all those so familiar places. I visit most of them so regularly and know how lucky I ma to live here. How lovely that you popped over to Falmouth too x

  18. Julia,
    Your photographs look like paintings already and your writing makes me feel that I was there with you. Thanks for the vacation!
    Oh my, it all looks so very lovely.

  19. Almost as if your paintings and photography run together... all inspirational and LOVELY

  20. I really really enjoyed reading this post, Julia. I love Cornwall too and it was wonderful to go there with you, your pictures and writing captured it all so perfectly. Someone once said to me 'It's always sunny in St Ives' and it does seem to have its fair share! We've been to the Ocean Grill too, we met up with friends there last time we went and I just loved looking out over the harbour - bliss. Some of the other places you visited we haven't yet seen, but will do next time we get the chance! Lovely! Thanks for sharing.
    Helen x

  21. Wow, looks like you had a fabulous trip. I love Cornwall too.


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