A postcard from Cornwall

Over Easter, we were lucky enough to have some time off together as a family and hopped on a flight to the UK headed for Cornwall. We stayed in the beautiful seaside town of Padstow, where Mr Postcard and I last stayed the summer before we were married. I wonder what our much younger, unmarried selves would make of us, a family of five turning up all these years later…. Mr P reckons he would probably have broken off the engagement – the cheek!

Here’s a little postcard from Cornwall!

Our first full day was a rather damp and grey affair, but that didn’t put us off exploring Padstow’s quaint alleyways and streets.

Our second day, however, was beautiful. The sun came out, and so did hoards of visitors…

So we headed up and out of town…

…past the beautiful war memorial…

… and along the coastal path along the Camel Estuary where the open space and fresh air was so welcome.

There were people there, but it wasn’t quite so densely populated. Some were having sailing lessons, and these three little sail boats being towed behind a rhib made me chuckle. I thought they looked like three little ducklings following their mum!

We clambered down onto the beach and skimmed stones. It was lovely.

We headed back towards town and realised we were running out of beach we had to get a wriggle on and clamber over some rocks before the tide came back in forcing us to walk the long way round. We made it!

Our walk had made us hungry, so we stopped off at Rick Stein’s chippy for a portion of chips and sat on the quayside to eat them under the watchful eyes of these two….

Padstow is home to a lobster hatchery and we popped in to see it.

This chap is known as ‘Captain Barnacles’ and is thought to be between 40 and 50 years old. These lobsters though, are a tad younger and were swimming around in the lobster nursery.

We took a drive out of Padstow and to the bay of Trevone. What a beautiful spot.

We weren’t the only people to have that idea, but it was gorgeous!

The next day, we took a trip north to Tintagel, the home of Merlin’s cave and Arthurian legend. We were blessed with another beautiful day…

There was a lot of maintenance work being carried out on the ruins of Tintagel Castle so it wasn’t open to the public unfortunately, but we could still view it from afar.

It’s a very pretty place on a sunny day, but it must have been a bit bleak to live there on stormy days… very Game of Thrones.

Our walk back up into town was rewarded with a lovely lunch and then an espresso ice cream – it was amazing!

Littlest Postcard was incredulous when he saw this…

“I didn’t think King Arthur had a car!” No son, neither did I.

The drive back to Padstow took us through beautiful countryside and quaint villages and hamlets. This church looked so lovely.

We headed to Padstow’s stately home, Prideaux Place..

Used as a filming location for a number of films, including Twelfth Night starring Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant. It’s a family home still and sits in beautiful grounds.

We were very lucky to see it on such a beautifully sunny day and with many of the spring flowers at their best.

Living where we do and not having easy access to cycle trails etc, we aren’t much of a cycling family. But I have always wanted to go cycling as a family and we did it here in Cornwall. There are several bike hire places in Padstow and a fantastic cycle trail (The Camel Trail) along the Camel Estuary to Wadebridge (and on to Bodmin). So we hired bikes…

…and set off. It was hard work but lots of fun once we got into the swing of it. The views were fab too, when I was brave enough to look up from the road!!

We managed to cycle 11 miles in total – so that means we earned a reward don’t you think? 😉

Our last day in Padstow saw us hop onto the little ferry which takes passengers across the River Camel from Padstow to Rock.

We waited on the jetty by the harbour wall for it to arrive and for the passengers to disembark.

Once aboard, we headed across the River to the sand flats left by the low tide.

The Little Postcards loved the quick-sand and pools left by the low tide. They got a bit wet… so our trip to Rock itself was a little curtailed. It was fun though, nonetheless.

After a walk and a coffee, we headed back down the beach to wait for the ferry back home and some dry clothes for the Little Postcards!

Within moments we were approaching Padstow again, but to the beach this time as the tide was too low to reach the harbour.

We had such a lovely time in Padstow and the surrounding area. It’s s truly beautiful part of the world.

Full of quaint little streets and alleyways…

Thank you for having us to stay Padstow!

Sunday Sevens #184 21.4.19

Happy Easter! Here’s this week’s special Easter Sunday edition of Sunday Sevens. Last week I promised you a more interesting one than last week’s and here it is…

Leaving on a jet plane…

Last Sunday we drove to Malaga airport to catch a flight to the UK. We were treated to a view of Gibraltar away in the distance as we took off…

…can you see here through the misty haze? Our destination was Cornwall, Padstow to be precise, for an Easter break – bliss.

Pretty Padstow

Our home for the week. Our first day was wet and grey, but then the sun came out and we had fabulous weather – it was utterly glorious and very different to the grey weather Gibraltar was experiencing.

Tintagel

We met up with a dear friend on our holiday who lives near by in Devon. Many years ago, shortly after graduation, we all visited Tintagel for the day while staying with him and his family. It seemed fitting to repeat the trip, this time with the Little Postcards. You can no longer climb down to visit Merlin’s Cave due to health and safety issues, but with the gorgeous weather, it was definitely a magical day.

Prideaux Place

Padstow has its own stately home; Prideaux Place. The house didn’t open for the summer season until today, but we still managed to enjoy the beautiful grounds. It has featured in several TV shows and films and is really rather beautiful. I took lots of photos which will appear in a longer blog post very soon.

An Easter treasure hunt

The rental company we used to find our holiday home for the week left 3 treasure hunt sheets full of questions about the town for the Little Postcards to complete. The prize being chocolate Easter bunnies. One of the clues had us hunting around for an archway with a significant name. It took a bit of finding, but I wasn’t going to give up! We, or should I say, ‘they’ completed the quiz and treasure hunt and got their choccy treats.

Bike ride

We hired bikes and rode along the Camel trail from Padstow to Wadebridge. It’s on a former train line and gave us fabulous views of the Estuary, and rather tired legs. It was a lot of fun.

Ferry across the Camel

We caught the ferry yesterday from Padstow to Rock on the other side of the Camel Estuary. We had been watching the little yellow boat going back and fro from Padstow to Rock all week and decided to make the trip on our last day. The five minute long trip took us the huge sandy expanse across the water and to the small town of Rock. I wish I could think of a witty line about living on the Rock, but it escapes me!

And finally, happy Easter. However you are spending this weekend, I hope it’s a happy one for you. I spotted this lovely Easter wreath on a cottage door in Padstow yesterday.

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

A postcard from Lagos

We’ve just had the midterm holidays and last week, we packed up the car and headed off to Portugal, Lagos to be precise. We’ve been to this part of the world a couple of times before but stayed closer to Portimão, this time we fancied a change of scenery and headed further west to Lagos.

We stayed in a lovely apartment on the western edge of Lagos. Sadly it was too nippy to make use of the outdoor pool (well for the softy grown-ups at least!). Can you see the Atlantic Ocean in the distance? It was a lovely spot.

Lagos has a rather pretty old town which is surrounded by city walls.

The archetypal Portuguese tiles are in abundance here.

Even the pavements are artistic…

And there are some gorgeous front doors too…

At the start of our visit to the city there was a craft fair going on in town. Housed in an old building which used to be a munitions store, it was the home for stalls selling needlework, jewelry, fused glass and cork items.

I was in my element and bought a few bits and bobs which will come in handy for Christmas presents.

Among the stalls was a marvelous collection of yarns and woven items.

The lady who runs this stall hand dyes all her yarns and weaves them into beautiful scarves and bags. She also sold balls of yarn…

She dyes the yarn using seeds, vegetables, bark (for the deep purple) and insects for the pink and red tones. I bought this gorgeous yarn which was coloured using tree roots.

If you would like to see more of her work, you can check out her Facebook page.

Another craft emporium had this fabulous window display;

It was run by a German couple who between them wrote books and poetry and whittled beautiful wooden jewelry. They had been living in Lagos for 20+ years and raised their children here. I bought some earrings made by the wife and a book of folk lore stories written and illustrated by the husband.

Zoo Lagos

One morning we took a drive out to Lagos Zoo. I’m uncomfortable with the whole ‘zoo’ thing but at this one, the animals seemed well cared for.

It was a perfect small zoo for young children. In some areas there were no fences at all, and some of the creatures just wandered around at will.

These pelicans caused quite a stir as they just ambled along the path amongst the visitors. We even got to see them being fed a little while later…

There were plenty of primates, many of whom lived on this primate island. The noise of the calls and booming cries could be heard a good distance away in the car park!

This bird had a really funky hairdo…

I’m told that this Pygmy hippo bore a more than passing resemblance to me…

I loved the flying foxes, they were fascinating to see up close.

My absolute favorites had to be the rainbow coloured parrots (macaws to be precise) and this angora nanny goat!

Lagos fort

At the western edge of Lagos seafront/riverfront stands an old fort-like building. Rectangular in shape, with lookout towers at each corner and with a drawbridge on the land side, it caught my eye the first time I saw it.

On our first trip into Lagos, we had tried to get in, but it was closed for lunch sadly. I made it my mission to be back in town one day while it was open to have a mosey inside.

Over the drawbridge and through the old wooden doors we went to buy our entrance tickets.

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is a restored 17th Century maritime fortress. On the ground floor are a series of small rooms which were being used as galleries displaying a photographic exhibition.

There was also a very small chapel, dedicated to Santa Barbara. It may be small, but there was such a calming, yet powerful atmosphere in there, and as you can see it was totally covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.

Up the ramp, to the upper floor…

… and the many wind sculptures…

They were so striking.

In each corner of the fort, as I mentioned, there is a little lookout turret, and we were able to go into three of them.

The narrow slit windows perfectly framed the views they looked out on…

…. both inland….

….and out to sea.

It was such a lovely spot.

Back downstairs, we found another small gallery featuring more work from the artist who had created the sculptures on the roof…

José Maria Silva Pereira is the artist who created these installations and the sculptures on the roof are called Caminhos do Vento (which I think translates of Paths of Wind). They were specially designed to be moved by the north wind which is common in Lagos during the summer months.

And that, is just about it for this postcard from the Algarve. We had a lovely few days, and mainly good weather, if you’re ever in this neck of the woods I’d definitely recommend a visit.

Easter in England

Last Thursday we packed up the car and headed off bright and early to Malaga airport to catch a flight to the UK. This time we were heading for new territory, the Jurassic Coast on the South West Coast of England.

We were staying in a lovely house in Sidmouth in Devon.

We even had a ford in front of our front door…

How English is that??

Sidmouth was decked out and ready for Easter…

The shop windows in the town were lovely.

On a walk down to the seafront, the coastal erosion was very apparent.

Just 12 hours before our arrival, there was a major rockfall. Just check out this garden shed on the brink…

On our first full day we took a trip to Lyme Regis on the hunt for fossils…

It’s a rather pretty seaside town…

A place where even the street lights feature fossils!

The inclement weather wasn’t exactly suited to foraging for fossils on the beach, so we made do with a wander around the town. We could appreciate the beauty of the place in spite of the poor weather…

… that coastline must look stunning on a clear day!

The shops in Lyme Regis are dominated by the area’s rich prehistoric history. Fossils are all over, none made me smile though like these ‘ammoknits’! How cool are they?

We left Lyme Regis and headed next to Seaton, and Seaton Jurassic in particular. It’s an interactive museum perfect for children and even features a time machine…

We travelled back in time millions of years and learned lots of interesting facts about dinosaurs to earn this treasure…

We may not have made any major fossil finds, but it was a special day for Littlest Postcard who saw real snow for the first time on our drive home.

Exeter

Saturday saw us heading into Exeter to meet up with some old friends from University. We hadn’t seen them for a few years so it was wonderful to be able to catch up with them again.

Gotta love a good gargoyle…

Exeter is a very pretty city. I would’ve liked a look around inside the Cathedral, but unfortunately time didn’t allow on this occasion, perhaps next time…

I spent a good bit of time wandering around looking up at the old buildings with their wonky windows and charm.

Our friend who lives locally took us on a mini Harry Potter tour. Apparently JK Rowling studied at Exeter and while she was there found inspiration for her books. This road, Gandy Street, was the inspiration for…

…Diagon Alley.

And this pub entrance…

… Gringott’s Bank.

There was even a Cauldron Inn…

Or at least there was a sign for one above a doorway.

How about this for an Easter chick?

On Easter Sunday we went to Greendale Farm Shop outside Exeter. I’m not sure that this counts as breakfast, but it was Easter Day…

The Little Postcards loved the farm animals…

… I did too 😉

Then back to Sidmouth for a stroll along the prom and a visit to the town’s independent lifeboat.

The Methodist Church had a beautiful display for Easter Sunday.

In spite of the weather, I was rather enamoured by Sidmouth.

The rather circumspect weather meant that we opted for a trip to the cinema to dodge the rain.

The independent Radway Cinema is really lovely. It was spotlessly clean, the staff were great and it was so reminiscent of our local cinema when I was growing up. We enjoyed Peter Rabbit very much!

However you spent your Easter weekend, I hope it was a good one for you.

Sunday Sevens #129 1.4.18

Happy Easter and welcome to this Easter Sunday edition of Sunday Sevens. Last week we were on the slopes, skiing in the Dolomites. (If you missed my Postcard from the Dolomites, you can find it here.) This week we started off back at home in Gibraltar but once the Little Postcards broke up from school for the Easter break midweek, we found ourselves heading back to the airport to fly to England.

Back in Gibraltar

Ah! Look at that sunshine breaking through the clouds. After the wettest March on record in Gibraltar, it was so lovely to see the sunshine at Catalan Bay on Sunday.

Back in training

Monday morning and I got my first chance to climb the Med Steps since 27th January! Bronchitis and then very wet and windy weather rather got in the way of my training for the Med Steps 5 in May.

I went up alone on Monday and managed it ten minutes slower than on my last attempt, partially due to my decline in fitness, and partially because of the copious amount of apes which were sitting in the way on the steps. There were lots of baby apes and some rather fearsome parents so I wanted to give them a wide berth!

I have a lot of training to do before May!

Happy birthday Grandma

My parents left Gibraltar mid week, but before heading back home, my Mum celebrated her birthday with us. It was lovely to be able to spend it with her as most years we are apart. We had a birthday meal out to celebrate the occasion, and this was my dessert – a panacotta which tasted as good as it looked!

On the road again…

Bright and early on Thursday morning we hit the road again, with children this time, bound for Malaga airport and a flight back to the UK for an Easter break…

Hello Jurassic Coast!

We flew to Bristol, then drove down to Devon, to Sidmouth to be precise so we could visit the Jurassic Coast. Living where we do, means that we don’t really ‘holiday’ in the UK. We visit at least once a year but the main purpose of the trip is to visit family and friends. This trip though, was mainly for sightseeing with a couple of visits to see friends.

Snow!

Before Friday, Littlest Postcard had never seen snow before. Driving between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth, the wet weather took a rather colder turn and the rain turned to sleet, then snow. Such excitement! It didn’t stick unfortunately as the ground was too wet, but it still counts I reckon!

Hello Exeter

Yesterday we travelled to Exeter to meet up with a couple of old friends from our university days. It was so lovely to catch up with them after many years. It was my first time in Exeter too (if you don’t count traveling through the station). It’s a beautiful city, very reminiscent of Norwich and a bit like York too. I would’ve liked to have explored a bit more than we did but time was against us.

However you are spending your Easter I hope you are having a happy time with your loved ones. Take care until next week. Here’s a few photos from this last month – as always, it’s been a busy one!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.