The Last Dahlia- a pondering.

Yesterday was a day of garden clearing and tidying ready for winter. The last Dahlia was picked.

Google is a wonderful thing, we needed to know how to overwinter the dahlia plants. The trouble is, with Google, it doesn’t just stop there. Once I had discovered that a thick mulch of bark would do the trick, I set off on other Dahlia related adventures. Goodness there was a lot of sadness. The National Trust property, Baddesley has reluctantly decided to give up having a Dahlia border due to an infiltration of pests. 20 years of gardening tradition gone only moments after I had first discovered it.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/baddesley-clinton/features/the-dahlia-border-at-baddesley?campid=SocialShare_Central_MainSite_Email_1431758463791

Worse was to follow, Black Dahlia was the name ascribed to a murder victim in Los Angeles in 1947. Elizabeth ( Bette) Short was found dead in a parking lot. Her body dismembered and eviscerated and her face disfigured by something described as a ‘Glasgow Smile’, her mouth was cut from ear to ear.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38513320

Away from Google and still pondering Dahlias I remembered that while we were in Hong Kong ,in June, the very early style of the protesters was not only black clothing but also each protester carried a white flower, very often a Dahlia. Why did I not take photos? There was ample chance, peaceful protesters with flowers filled our trips to the city .Sadly things have escalated and the flowers have a different purpose now.

Photo from Sydney Morning Herald

Dahlia pondering, sadder than you might expect.

Saturday Walking at Kingsand and Cawsand

Kingsand and Cawsand are coastal villages in the ‘forgotten’ corner of South East Cornwall. Every bit as beautiful as other, more famous, villages in Cornwall they remain largely undiscovered . They were a big part of our lives when we rowed for the local gig racing team. Our walk on Saturday took on a familiar pattern. The beaches are available for dog walking now the summer season is over. This was our primary reason for going as well as a birthday lunch. Gig rowing reared its head, or more accurately its bum almost the minute we arrived in the village. We stopped just by the Rame Gig sheds and a familiar voice shouted out. ” Look who it is, we were only talking about you a week or two ago when we were at Port Isaac ” We stopped gig rowing ten years ago so it must have been something memorable. ” We were at Port Isaac and talked about the time you had terrible trouble with your bum” Not for us the glamour of a memorable race, cleaving through heaving surf, oh no, memorable because a nasty blister gained in a 23 mile London River Race had impacted, in all senses of the word, on a performance more than ten years ago at Port Isaac. Obviously this was all said with love and humour. After hugging sweaty rowers fresh from a training session we moved on to the first of the days beaches.

http://www.ramegigclub.com/

Cawsand beach, where the Rame gigs are launched.

Hugo and Lola love this beach, twenty minutes of scampering and eliminating and they are ready for a walk. Quickly up The Bound past the gig shed with no further mention of bottoms.

Rame Gig shed

We followed Garrett Street keeping the Sea to our right. Beautiful coastal cottages line the street as we climbed a gentle hill.

This lovely gateway gives the perfect opportunity to look back over Cawsand.

Our destination today is The Devonport Inn on The Cleave , Kingsand. This portion of the Cornish coast overlooks Plymouth Sound. Devonport is the location of Plymouths Naval Dockyard it is also the name of one of the original towns that were merged to create modern Plymouth.

http://visitrame.org.uk/

We were a little early for our booked table so the dogs got another scampering session on the second beach of the day.

Now this is not a food blog but today’s destination was chosen because the food served at The Devonport Inn is fabulous. We had Skate Wings and mussels both served with super chunky chips deep fried in beef dripping. All properly lovely. The Devonport Inn is an unfussy but really comfy place to enjoy food and drink.

http://www.devonportinn.com

A cosy corner

Replete with good food and conversation we retraced our steps towards Cawsand, one more beautiful sunshine shot to complete our afternoon.

Plymouth, quietly, having a moment.

A Plymouth Mackerel- Juliet CornellPlymouth was quietly having a bit of a moment in the National Media this week. Firstly the Eddystone Lighthouse was a google doodle. Strangely to mark its 321st anniversary of the first time it was lit.https://www.google.com/doodles/321st-anniversary-of-the-first-lighting-of-eddystone-lighthouseThen The Guardian ran an article about the city centre being designated as a conservation area.https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/nov/16/plymouth-city-centre-designated-conservation-area?CMP=share_btn_linkThis could be a coincidence or a sign that the City PR team are ramping up the pressure now Mayflower 400 is just edging into view. Commemorating a 400 year shared history with what is now the USA and the sailing of the Mayflower , Mayflower 400 is a multi location celebration. Plymouth was the port the Mayflower successfully set sail from to reach America.https://www.mayflower400uk.org/2020 also sees the opening of The Box, a long awaited reincarnation of the Museum and Art gallery. Reimagined and re-engineered to bring contemporary, world class exhibition space to the West Country.A Hard-Hat tour of The Boxhttps://plymhearts.org/thebox/An earlier article in the Guardian puts into perspective the struggle the city is overcoming to grab some headlines. The actual amount of war time damage was so shrouded in secrecy that it is rarely mentioned in the way London or Coventry are. Without proper mention of the damage it is difficult to then applaud the regeneration.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/post-industrial-plymouth-business-social-enterprise?CMP=share_btn_linkIt’s good to see Plymouth getting some well deserved positive press.Time Out , the London listings magazine is even getting in on the Plymouth Love, featuring Illuminate as a ” Great Escape”

First paintings of the summer, finished and ready to go to their new homes.

Two paintings, inspired by an early morning walk, were finished yesterday. Back in May I took an early trip to the Barbican in Plymouth. The early sky was, an impossibly clear, Klein Blue. The colour was reflected in the waters of the harbour. As usual the harbour water was full of the detritus of a busy fishing port.

In Barbican Detritus II the wake of a boat washes into the harbour and breaks on a roll of fishing net. 50cms x 50cms  £300

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Barbican Detritus I

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Barbican Detritus I,  has a super-shiny resin coat which makes photographing it impossible. The shine gives immediate impact but closer inspection shows the texture and detail. It is a macro landscape of a corner of the harbour where rubbish, oil and paint gather.

50cms x 40cms £300

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Travelling with a Coffee Addict

For a variety of reasons we are doing a lot of travelling this year. Good coffee is the fuel that gets Hannah around the world. In an effort to make mornings more calm regardless of our location. I bought this little device from China

Smugly , I relaxed on our latest outing. Happy in the knowledge that a hand grinder was in the case. What I had not checked was that the beans were packed. Thank goodness that on this occasion we had only travelled to the depths of Crystal Palace. Once again the morning plans developed with a central coffee searching scenario.

IMG_0704Crystal Palace , thank goodness, is not a coffee shop free zone. Quite the reverse.

Dalhousie had recently followed theoldmortuary.design on Instagram so with an embarrassment of choice on the Triangle we hastened to them to “wake up and smell the coffee” and in fact buy the beans.

Dalhousie is super stylish , the coffee is great as are the cakes. Furry coffee hounds are also welcome.

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The Dog ( Crown and Greyhound)

IMG_0459Ten years ago when we left Cornwall , Dulwich Village became our London home. Serendipity took us here and we have stayed within a couple of miles and have home and family here now. For the last couple of years the local pub has been closed for refurbishment and the addition of hotel rooms. The Crown and Greyhound is named after an amalgamation of two former Dulwich pubs and was built in 1900. Known locally as The Dog it has been greatly missed during its closure. Much has been written about the charm of London pubs, and as the grandchild of publicans I am particularly charmed. I have a love of pub aesthetics and the smell of them that I can’t really put into words. I’m all about the place rather than the drinking .

As an aside, in my mind, the bar mentioned in ‘Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran is exactly the ‘shape’ of The Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village.

Trepidation was, I suppose, the feeling I felt on walking in to The Crown and Greyhound on my first visit in June as it re-opened.

The refurbishment of the Crown and Greyhound is a triumph. All my favourite corners and spaces seem unchanged and the parts that were formerly a little awkward have been reworked into great spaces that look every bit as genuine as the original. A new bar and bar-b-que area in the garden is a great addition

I didn’t stray into the hotel area on my first visit. We had lunch, the food was fabulous as it has always been. Despite being very busy it was served promptly by very attentive staff.

On a lovely Saturday lunchtime the pub was heaving with people having a great time.

In common with many pubs in this area the Crown and Greyhound suffers, a little, from irresponsible families imagining that the pub is an informal play school and buggy park with a bar. Just a few feral children can be a big pain in the arse , ruining everyone’s enjoyment . Especially the families who have busy happy children who are a pleasure to share the space with. I’m sure this is a tricksy problem to resolve.

http://www.thecrownandgreyhound.co.uk/

Congratulations to the team at the Crown and Greyhound for a job well done.

 

 

 

A Planter, or not?

IMG_0655.JPGOh dear, yesterday, we popped into Stax Reclamation to buy a door to turn into a garden table. Barely 5 seconds in, we were seduced by this old water tank with printing on the side. Only there for a few minutes we could have bought loads of things. I particularly liked the old dentist chair with clamps to hold the patients head still. We didn’t buy the door though, a fine excuse to browse again.