Hope you enjoy the fragrance of some moments from Autumn 2017, as we colourfully walk into Autumn 2018.
Love Alison. x
Are you a regular Hotel goer? Is fine dining, napkins laid in your lap, wine placed in a cooler on the table and poured by an Italian looking waiter part of your regular yearly routine? Or are you like me, and the nearest you’ve come to this over the years is a night on the sofa with Julia Roberts as she plays ‘Vivienne’ in the film “Pretty Woman’. Oh how I love that film.
If you are one of the lucky ones then I would advise a night on the sofa with Julia, it’s a great film if you’ve never seen it, but if you are like me and summers as a single mum meant a paddling pool in the garden and an Ice pop from the fridge, then don’t be too surprised when the waiter pulls out a chair. It’s not because he’s noticed that the chair leg is wobbly, and doesn’t want an accident on his hands, hes doing it for you, Just for you!
The Headland Hotel has been the most iconic of Cornish hotels for over a century. I think the word ‘Grand’ goes someway to describe it, especially for a hotel virgin like myself. The staircase leading down to dinner in the evening seemed to arouse a floating feeling and I had to be careful not to trip on my dress as I did my best ‘Meghan Markle’ impression. I certainly felt quite the royal as I made my way down those stairs each night. I wonder if anyone could tell? Its strange to think that I was walking in the footsteps of Princes Edward and Bertie who stayed in the hotel as teenagers being among the early guests.
In the late 19th century the building of this hotel wasn’t welcomed by all. Local fishermen who claimed that it was being built on common land where their nets had been dried for generations, even went to the lengths of pushing the foreman’s hut into the Atlantic. I’m hoping the foreman was out on a tea break at the time. During the 2nd World War it was used as a hospital and there are many unproven claims of ghostly sitings, nurses in uniform wandering around at night. Thankfully I slept very peacefully apart from the odd snore which definitely wasnt of a ghostly nature.
Some of you may recognize it as the filming location for ‘The Witches’ , written by Roald Dahl, and released as a film in 1990 with Rowan Atkinson playing the hotel manager.
The hotel is so welcoming with a really relaxed atmosphere. There are an array of lounge rooms to choose from whether you’re wanting a meal, a drink, a game of chess or just a bit of quiet, and although beautifully decorated it still maintains its original charm, giving you a taste of history wherever you choose to sit. When you are lucky to have wall to wall sunshine as in the last few days there is a lovely decked area where you can sit and watch the tide rolling in and out,
Or just watch in awe as the sun sets in the evening.
Of course nothing beats waking up to the sound of a seagull swooping above you, the fresh smell of sea air and the gentle sound of the waves as they crumple onto the shore. What could be more perfect and rejuvenating.
I think my summers past, with one hand holding an ice pop and a foot in the paddling pool have only served to increase my appreciation of a few nights spent in such a special place….and I can’t help but be thankful.
Love Alison x
Its time to don the wellies and..
take a walk on a snowy day.
You never know, we might get lucky
and meet a wise old friend along the way.
Or just a friend who wants to play.
When furry paws get cold, home is never far away!
Love Alison x
The world outside my window is getting noisy again, and that can only mean one thing. Spring is around the corner. These little guys are chirping away every morning, flitting happily between their home under the eaves, and the magnolia tree in the garden. It’s a welcome sight, and I love waking up to their sweet happy voices as they go about their business.
The house sparrow mates for life and never goes far from home, choosing to return to the same nesting place year after year. This means that I get to enjoy them at close hand, as I have a nest right outside my bedroom window. Apparently, they use a set of postures and behaviours to communicate with each other. I wonder what this chap is trying to say! Come on girls I’m waiting!
I caught this one nest-building last year and thought that she had the look of a certain favourite detective of mine.
Breeding starts in may, although I’m sure my sparrows start earlier. They will have 3 lots of chicks, laying 3 to 5 eggs each time.
In years gone by ‘Sparrow Pie’ was a delicacy known for its aphrodisiac properties but I can’t imagine this chap on my dinner table, even with the prospect of an added promise! I think I would much prefer to just enjoy him in his natural state.
Spring is coming…
Love Alison x
Love Alison x
I couldn’t help but feel pleased and a little camera happy when this little chap made a come back to my garden the other day. I’m not totally sure that it’s the same Robin who sang at the top of his voice, at the top of the tallest tree, first thing in the morning and last thing at night throughout the spring and summer months, staking his territory by showing off his fine red breast, but I guess it could be. Although some robins migrate, the majority will stay within a short distance.
There is something so comforting about this quintessentially British little bird. One of my earliest robin memories is of the one that used to happily hop around in the garden whenever my mum started digging, eagerly awaiting a juicy worm as she turned over the soil. In fact, when I saw my Robin in the garden the other day there was a brief moment when I felt like it was the same one, but perhaps it was just the memories that it invoked and a reminder of the circle of life both in the natural and the human world. My Mum loved Robins and after she died I found quite a few of her own robin memories tucked in various books, some of which I kept to continue their journey as I continue mine.
When the first Christmas cards were sent in the mid 18th century they were delivered by postmen wearing bright red jackets and these postmen were nicknamed Robins or Red Breasts. Robins soon appeared on Christmas cards representing the Posties doing their seasonal round. The Robin is really more orange breasted than red but the word orange didn’t exist in the English language until the 16th century when the fruit (and the word) were introduced to the country.
There are a few different fables as to how the Robin got its red breast but this was my favourite: ‘When the baby Jesus was lying in the manger, the fire that kept him warm began to burn too hot and fast, a brown Robin noticing that Mary was distracted, placed himself between the fire and the face of baby Jesus. He puffed up his feathers to protect him but in so doing his breast was scorched by the fire. This redness was then handed down to future generations of Robins.’ An interesting tale.
In the 1960’s the Robin was voted Britain’s favourite bird and in 2015 he found himself alongside nine other finalists as they competed during a poll for the title of ‘Britains national bird’ and I think we all know who claimed the crown. The lead up to Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a few Robins appearing here and there, whether on a card sent or received, a decoration on the tree or just as a friendly welcome visitor in a snow-covered garden.
Look out for a Christmas Robin and see what memories he brings for you, oh and don’t forget to put some food out for the friendly chap.. life can get quite tough during the winter months for this little Christmas Bird.
Love Alison x
As I start my car,
a warm smile of contentment
travels from my face to my heart
as I envisage the morning ahead.
My spirits lift as I drive through scenery
reminiscent of a huge, soft green eider-down
creased and bumpy
from the gentle tossing and turning
of the previous nights’ inhabitant.
Winding my way along the silent,
familiar road, I think to myself
that life can’t get much better.
Ensconced between tall regal hedges
like a row of soldiers on guard
my car travels safely, eagerly
towards my destination.
Turning a corner I see the familiar
grey sliver of warm smoke,
swirling its way
into the cold sky above.
I’m sure I can smell a freshly baked cake
or is it just the scent of friendship?
Stepping out of my car
I breathe in the fresh country air
and listen to the array of nature
that surrounds me.
As I walk through the heavy wooden door
the smell of the stove entices me in and I
settle myself in front of its warmth.
Wrapped in the arms of country life
and the heart of a good friend.
Love Alison x
Poem: ‘My friend Sue’. by Alison Fielding.