Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Olley the office Cat hard at work

Everybody needs an office assistant and I don't mean that rather annoying hyper active paper clip that infests the computer, bouncing gleefully at significant glitches and remaining enigmatic in the sight of complete failure.

Well, we have Olley, as chief supervisor, here at Ednovean Farm, a calm purring presences that remains unruffled throughout the worst computer crisis and is of course, completely unfazed by the dreaded words "programme failing to respond"

Olley has defined his key role in life, as general hospitality, organiser and of course calming presence. His main problem each day is to secure a pole position to watch - hmmmm....or should I say observe each activity. He is quite capable of shinning over the keyboard if ignored, enormous white paws wreaking havoc and completely without a sense of guilt, in pursuit of his aims or that uber comfortable cat bed, before at last, attempting to install himself on the flimsy printer shelf that sags and groans under the strain. So care must be taken to meet Olley's expectations at every turn or there will be consequences to pay.

I chose this box after much deliberation, at the local Cash and Carry, as the perfect computing bed for a cat. True I tossed up for some time between it and a Tate and Lyle box but the natty Hydro cool(led) won the day. Result one happy cat and I've just about finished this summers guest information, which is starting to approach the dimensions of War and Peace. Charles proof read it for me and pointed out I'd forgotten the Doctors number and where the washing line is though - so Olley will be here for a while yet.

And the Apricot room renovations? - perhaps tomorrow!

Very relaxing - the right spot

Monday, 30 March 2009

That Cushion thing

Window seat in the Apricot room

I can't exactly trace when the cushion affliction first occurred - that strange desire to possess samples of modern fabric designs and display them about my home. The trouble is, you see that whilst I enjoy collecting the plump decorations, I always fail to cull the rejected specimens, leading in some cases to cushion overload. Sitting down these days, can need some forward planning.

I'd spotted these gorgeous examples, on a trip to Next in search of the perfect loo brush - not those nasty plastic things on offer locally but something of good design - neat - slick........"You went to Hayle to Buy a loo Brush" Charles asked, slightly taken aback, as driving about is not really my thing in life - far too impatient to grip a steering wheel for hours on end...........but I digress. I had duly noted the fabrics on offer and returned again to acquire them, another stage in the Apricot rooms face lift for Summer in the spirit of 2009.

The Apricot room is in for another "treat" today the plumbers have just arrived to change the fittings -at the same time as the guys that are going to put up the back stable (that we got permission for last year). Every one arrived early of course so we gave the Plumbers and emergency Tea break until our weekend guest had departed. But it's nice and peaceful here in the office with Olley snoozing in his new box for his computer moments - he's snoozing nicely at the moment. Ah to be a Cat, as feet tramp passed busily to and through and the water has just been turned off.............I think I'll go and look!

Friday, 27 March 2009

A Garden Fox

A garden fox came to call just outside of our bedroom window

I had a surprise yesterday afternoon when I looked out of my window to see this little chap snuffling out some old cat biscuits I'd thrown out for the birds. If you read Stray Cat Cafe in the February blog you'll already know I'm a sucker for feeding all stay thinks furry and lost - Mr Fox must have been a particularly discreet member of my clientele.

By Quickly calling the long suffering Charles away from the office he managed to get these pictures through the window without disturbing foxy from his business of snooping expertly about the parterre.

We used to keep chickens at Ednovean Farm of course, for their beautiful fresh brown eggs for Breakfast but after daily disasters and mourning sad little piles of feathers We decided it was easier to give the chickens away and keep our well established fox population. The hen house is still an empty lonely reminder now parked beside some vintage apple trees in the back field waiting..........

So here he is about his business

Down the side

Double back


Exit across the terrace

And depart along the side of the hedge!

The Apricot room

Who could resist! My wall paper reflected in a mirror with the bed caught in another mirror.......does this say something about reality or how I spend my time (pleases don't take me too seriously!)

So time and i are never comfortable companions, reading a clock accurately is not my strongest attribute but I should have it fairly well cracked with a digital display? Nope!! Read on, it will become apparent later.

Charles has laboured for two afternoons and evenings re wallpapering the Apricot rooms two papered walls, in a Laura Ashley paper that I consider beautiful and iconic but he has his reservations about. Alarmingly I met a fellow B&B hostess in the cash and carry who had just decided to paint over her expensive repro eighteen century paper. With the memory of my sleek washable paper nestling ready for use on the bed i kept quiet and promised afternoon tea to Charles when i got home at three o'clock, in exchange for his labour. The afternoon crept on and i watched the time carefully on a digital display on the computer and at four provided a now irate Charles with his three o'clock cuppa. ........Perhaps i should explain that the digital clock in the landrover remains on Summer time and we have never bothered to change it - we just deduct one hour from the displayed time ..........and so absent mindedly I had been doing the same through the afternoon resulting in three o' clock, being four o'clock. But looking on the bright side we change to Summer time this weekend so if I can retrain myself to accept what I see I'll know the time! I just hope the file of guest information I've been working on is more accurate.

The Laura Ashley paper

A view towards the french doors

Working from home has a lot of advantages and if you can settle the cat comfortably it is possible to work comfortably with a purring feline companion at your side. Olley this morning has finally been rebuffed from the computer keyboard and headed off from trying to sit inside the printer, before I folded the natty little shelf up to make him the perfect space for supervising me. He had spent some time earlier with his nose mournfully pressed against the guest sitting room doors but was told "No way Jose". So i was interested this morning, when a good friend who came to stay with us originally as a guest, sent through a link to her new web site. With lots of information about time management, feelings of isolation, setting up a business, in fact working from home - all though she doesn't mention cats. I enjoyed the web site Judy and hope you don't mind me posting a link here along with my day:- http://www.workfromhomewisdom.com/

We were surprised yesterday to see a police car scorching out of the village sirens wailing - our sleepy hamlet is not exactly a high crime area. Dogs walk, church bells ring, horses whinny but definitely no police cars but all was revealed by blogger this morning in the shape of the Perranuthnoe village news http://perranuthnoe.blogspot.com/2009/03/one-that-didnt-get-away.html So now we know. Come to think of it I didn't think to include the words "Do not drive on to the beach" in my information pack. Drat back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A visit to the Victoria Inn

We rewarded ourselves with a visit to the Victoria inn in Perranuthnoe last night. Why? Well two afternoons of bathroom showrooms, clasping my trusty tape measure, wasn't the best was to spend a sunny afternoon. It's the Apricot rooms turn for my scrutiny and the time for procrastination is soon passing with the approach of the Spring.
We eventually struck gold at Bathroom Solutions, an enormous show room in Pool Near Redruth http://www.bathroomsolutionscornwall.co.uk/main.htm

They were recommended by our plumber and had a super selection of funky through to traditional china ware but we were restrained by my tape measure and perhaps the AA inspectors insistence that an en suite sink should be reasonably practical! We eventually hit on a sleek modern design and we are going to try to modify the wall to fit - watch this space for mortified wailing.

So with bathroom suite and wall paper (another story!) secured we felt ready for a bit of pampering at the Victoria Inn that evening. Glittering and welcoming with the log burning stove and chic reserved signs sailing reassuringly over the waiting tables. A smiling Anna soon had us comfortably ensconced in the snug with nothing more worrying than choosing from the well considered "House" menu or the short flamboyant Specials board over a pre dinner drink. My all time favourite starter of prawn tempura didn't feature last night so I had to branch out and eventually settled on Potatoe and Artichoke soup, drizzled with truffle oil and cream followed bu Cod in a wine and cream sauce. Charles went for the Chicken Liver Pate served unusually with raisin toast i think and followed by Steak and kidney Pudding.

Order taken, we settled to wait and nibble the warm seeded bread brought by a waitress and admire the witty selection of pictures on the old stone walls, of impossibly plump boats decked in bright red fenders.

My soup was extraordinary the smoked chiritzio sausage infusing the liquid with an intense dreamy flavour offset by tiny slivers of potatoes at its heart. Charles, a pate aficionado munched his pate happily and found a small nest of delicious chutney artfully concealed under his pear. My Cod was cooked to perfection and retained a freshness of flavour difficult to achieved in a creamy dish and Charles reports his suet pudding was "to die for" Sadly, no room for pudding I'm afraid - or coffee but we lingered over our bottle of wine with all thought of bathrooms forgotten before heading for home and settling the horses to late night stables.

This morning is bright and sunny again but with a wicked breeze gusting from the sea, sending Ollie racing in circles tail kinked over his back, in pursuit of leafs and games of his imagination. We dressed the Thoroughbred brood mares in their light weigh rugs as their short glossy coats were no match for the chilly wind and they sauntered off this morning looking ladies twitching their cashmere cardies tighter around their shoulders. But with the white horse already flecking the sea this morning I wonder where the week will lead us?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Love from Olley!

With love from Olley in Cornwall

Olley was a little indiscreet this weekend I fear. We had noticed that he wasn't about as much as usual but put it down to the wonderful weather. "He's gone mousing" we told each other at intervals throughout the day...........imagine my surprise then upon swinging open the door of the Blue room for our newly arrived weekend guests only for Olly to trot briskly out, tail imperiously raised.

The salon sofa in the Blue room, a lucky sales room find at David Lay's, but it took three whole bags of horse hair to restore it before recovering, the upholsterer told me.
The blue room sofa had proved too much of a lure for poor Olley and he must have nodded off unnoticed, in the sunlight on Friday morning. I'm sure he was planning to watch the world through the french doors in his supervisory capacity before overcome by the need for a small nap. Apologising profusely I wielded the hoover and cursed my lack of "cat management" but we've got a close Eye on him from now on!

Our departing guests said they would like lots of pictures of Olley as they are owned by his namesake so here they are.
Cue Olley - carrying him is a two handed job!

We waited for dusk before carting Olley down the garden in penance to pose against the sunset - now the script might have read "cue Cat" but Olley hadn't read it so he does look a bit morose or perhaps he's just checking out the prospect of St Micheal's Mount for mice. But Olley does send his love and apologies
This morning we again woke up to brilliant sunshine and as i crept out across the gravel on the way to the village shop in Goldsithney for more porridge supplies i noticed the sun just touching the lovely primroses and daffodils that have naturalised over the years on the side on what was the old farm yard. They looked enchanting this morning in the dappled light, scattered with dew drops - for me a moment of magic in the dawn.
Primroses and Dafodils on the edge of the Courtyard - the Fig Trees will sheild them from the sun later in the summer.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Tonight in Marazion

How curious the evening after a day of sparkling light and crystal clear skies. But as the day wound to its inevitable conclusion an icy chill replaced the warming sun and a ethereal mist shrouded the landscape with only the round disk of the sun, faintly glimpsed, still sailing tantalizingly behind the enveloping cloud.

We'd planned a picnic at Marazion overlooking the beach at the end of the day but instead of the anticipated, vibrant sunset, St Micheal's Mount lay eerily in the gloom. The mysterious light was stunning though - quite magical. We contentedly watched couples walk passed hand in hand some with dogs gamboling at their feet others with spinning children scamperng in circles around them, along the newly emerging giant arch of beach. Slowly as the dusk fell, the lights of Penzance came on reflected across the water and the still wet glistening sand, the evening was lent a different enchantment, that is always the mystery of visiting the sea.

And for us - no picnic could be complete without a Sea gull enigmatically perched in unmoving contemplation - tonight with the faintest suspicion of a sunset reflected in the sky behind him. And that was our visit to Marazion this evening

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A secret bench and Ollie

Well this morning a complicated system of codes have appeared on the sceen instead of my photo's but they seem to be photo's upon publishing so perhaps blogger's got a secret too!

Ollie this morning was enjoying one of his favourite corners of the Courtyard at Ednovean Farm, when Charles snapped him - surprisingly, our guest seldom find this granite bench, which is a shame as it enjoys an intimate, comfortable view down over the village with the sea behind it.

The box edged enclosure, tucked into the far side of the courtyard, was designed by Ian Lowe, as a viewing area for the garden and for Ollie that does just fine. A cat would need a good view out to sea and back to the house, for his morning ablutions after all!

Perhaps it wasn't quite fair to include the last photo as Ollie has over indulged this winter whilst waiting for the weather to improve and it is comforting to know that even a cat can have his bad side - perhaps I'll prop a copy up by his dish...........or maybe my own biscuit tin!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Ednovean Farm this spring

Please join me for a journey through the gardens at Ednovean farm this spring

The informal gardens

Naturalised Daffodils under the Olive trees

I've started the journey in the far reaches of the garden in a wilder naturalised area behind the Italian Garden. There, over the last few years, the spring bulbs have gently spread under the Olive trees with relaxed abandon, to make a delightful secret corner for my guest to discover as the explore the gardens. The grass will be left for some time until the daffodils have faded and then the area will be returned to lawn - hopefully just as the Irises come into flower there.

The quarried granite stone a focal point at the end of a serpentine walk

This lovely old stone is in fact a reclaimed gate post but makes a great focal point at the end of one of the walks that lead to the Olive trees.

A group of Cordylines and Phormiums at the edge of a lawn

One day I'll develop the path behind this urn that leads into our shelter belt - but not yet if I want to avoid divorce!

An "Avenue" of cordylines underplanted with daffodils

Leading to the Olive trees

The Mediteranean style border in the gravel garden

The sheltered gravel garden tucked beside the Italian Garden

Our gravel border to the inland side of the Italian garden is in complete contrast to the rest of the garden, relaxed and sheltered it is always a few degrees warmer than the rest of the garden. It has survived the coldest winter for a decade quite well although we did loose the Aoniums. I've placed solar lights in places here so that guest can wander in the twilight brushing against the rosemary as the go.

Returning to the Courtyard

The Date palms Phoenix Canarias in the Courtyard

After spending time in the informal gardens with their sudden expanses and enclosures the Courtyard gardens are another complete contrast. One photographer who visited the garden for Gardening news commented "I didn't really get the garden until I went our into the wilder areas and then came back into the courtyards"

The Parterre and Fountain

The higher terrace beside the House

The small formal herb garden beside the entrance path

And that was Ednovean Farm yesterday, scorched in places by the Winter but embracing the spring - see you soon!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Tiling a floor

The shower room floor

Did she fall or was she pushed? That is the question!

Called upon to host a family gathering of twenty to thirty people I was overcome by shame at the appearance of our Shower room/Loo floor. Slapping the only private sign in the house on it and shutting the door quickly has served us well for years but the inevitable question was going to arise "Where is the Loo?" and as they say one is never enough.

Now I had a very nice stale floor, spotted at a bargain price and hoarded behind the horse's corn bin for many years - alright since the yer 2000 to be precise but you can't rush these things and somehow the guests maintenance always come first. But last Monday saw me frantically scanning the adds in the Local Cornishman newspaper to find a tiler - a kind tiler who would come at short notice. BINGO - I found Mike of Stonemoor Tiling and he kindly fitted me in on Thursday. By dint of laying flat on my stomach I was able to extricate the heavy boxes of tiles from behind the even heavier (and firmly jammed in corn bin) and aside from putting my back out a bit, I was on schedule for a new floor. The results are stunning, as Mike worked neatly and professionally over the next three days the floor magicaly took shape and he even completed the pipe boxing for me. He suggested this pavement design to lead on from the riven state floor of the hall - how he made this stunning floor from the mucky collection of tiles I provided is a mystery but I'm really grateful............and the answer to "Can I use the Loo?" is now a serene smile and "last door on the left!" Thanks Mike

Mike suggested an informal, pavement design, as more suitable to the spirit of the old building

Flowers on a window sill

These lovely old variety's of daffodils were a gift from a friend - perfect to display against the ancient stones of Ednovean Farm

Charles took these charming shots this morning of the sun streaming in through our lovely old windows. I often look at them and reflect on how many generations have stood, as I have stood and and watched the sunlight casting shafts of light across the old barn floor. Interestingly, I manged to salvage the wood for the sills from the existing but sadly incomplete original, old floor boards upstairs and spent many hours with a belt sander working on the surface whilst my father who must have been eighty at the time told me to "hurry up Christine" as he could fit them faster than I was working!

I found the holed stone now beside the flowers on the window sill on top of a bank in the old farmyard as I was weeding - it is thought to be an old rick stone, that would have weighted down the rick covers in the old Mowhay (every farm had is Mowhay a sheltered place for storing ricks) and our barn has been refered to in later deeds as the "barn known as the Mowhay" although on the old Perranuthnoe tithe map it was listed as Cot House Town place - which the county records librarian thought might have stemmed from a West Saxon term.

The holed stone that has a new life now indoors after many years hidden in the hedgerow.

Good by to the day

Well not quite the shot i wanted but good by to a bitter sweet day for us of my brother Malcolm's funeral in St Piran's and St Micheal's church. The old church looked wonderful as it always does and the sun streamed in through the stained glass windows. We must thank the wonderful people that keep up the church to such a high standard in the village.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Spring Daffodils

After months of promise, spring has definitely leapt into life, carpeting the garden with Daffodils, old friends that return each year. We've planted species varieties in the borders and mixed bags in swathes across the lawns. The example shown around the stone may not be the most abundant growth but here must be some very happy mice somewhere because I definitely remember planting two full bags around the lovely old granite stone. Never mind, today was blessed with the lightest whisper of a breeze and balmy sunshine into which the day crept and slunk, until St Micheal's Mount was only a hazy outline, shrouded in a mystery of the spring that has come at last to Cornwall.

".......the lightest whisper of a breeze and balmy sunshine"

Happy mice perhaps know the secret to "where are the rest of my bulbs?"

And tomorrow if the sun shines perhaps Charles will capture some more - daffodils that is not mice! And then I'll post them on here - witnesses of spring.

Fire regs and all that

An unwelcome new addition has come to reside at Ednovean Farm in the shape of Fire regulations. In this new "walk, don't walk" society, we have been designated as low risk but we still have to have smoke alarms in every room in the building and these rather nasty fire extinguishers prominently displayed. Very sensible you might think but as only two guests sleep in this building and that's our bedroom door right beside the front door I think we could probably rescue them along with the cat - but no we must have a sign beside our bedroom over our front door reading fire escape, presumably in case a sudden burst of senility should set in over the course of the night and we would no longer be able to find an aperture that resembles a door. Now I do understand that people can become disorientated in large rambling buildings but the humble small B&B is usually rather easier to navigate particularly if they have ground floor rooms two of which have additional french doors leading into the garden.

I fear the construction does not quite complement the vintage Lionel Edwards prints or the flagstone floor where our maximum of six guest will check in, nor do I doubt the sanity of my guest at Breakfast in my Dining room in which they spend the maximum of two hours eating Breakfast to be unable to locate the stable door right beside the Dining Table that is usually open for most of the summer....Alas the government doubts the ability of the British public to find a door and this also although patently a door must bear the sign Fire exit without further ado.

But not to worry if we have a sneaky bedtime smoker (boo hiss) the whole house will be roused by the wonderful relay alarm system that would do credit to a nuclear submarine in dive mode. Happy Bunny - NO but don't forget "Walk - Don't Walk" and follow all instructions.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Dining room at Ednovean Farm

The breakfast table with a hand thrown fruit bowl bought when walking from a potter near Carn Euny

Each morning we lay breakfast for out guest in the Dining room at Ednovean farm around our refectory table. I like to decorate the table with seasonal flowers in the morning if possible and of course at the moment there are plenty of daffodils. Not that i could contemplate picking my own of course so I diligently buy them from Morrisons and drive them home passed the blooms in dizzy rotation in the farm lane! In fact today has been a rather good day for indoor blooms and the Sunday papers in the unseasonal (?) icy gusts of driving rain and gales. Still, each morning the mellow wood of our table gives me great pleasure to polish , with it's warm reflective surface, it remains witness to our daily lives, a veteran of many a Breakfast!

The dining room is an irreverent mix of old and new as I think you shouldn't take yourself too seriously and I fell in love with the witty carved cats that stand sentinel to the table, beside our old pine sideboard. They came one at a time a presents - one for my birthday, one for my anniversary and one for Christmas, hand carved in Banu wood or at least I think that's what one of my guest said they were made of...............I've probably got enough now though.

My carved cats in Banu wood

Oscar the smallest cat

A more formal corner