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If you live in these parts, and are into such things, you will probably have heard about a little seafood restaurant down an alleyway in Falmouth called the Wheelhouse. Despite actively shunning publicity, it is booked for months in advance and seems to get choice mentions regularly in the media as a den of great awesomeness. Last week, finally, a table had my name on it*.

When restaurants become this desirable, a whiff of pretension can creep in – a subtle revelling in the lack of available tables, or complacent service, contributing to a feeling that we should be so lucky. But despite my tentacles being out, I found the mellow, candlelit scene to be a down-to-earth pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, the Wheelhouse is certainly confident – waitresses take a seat and chat assuredly about the merits of spider crab, the size of mussels and seasonality – but thankfully it is still eager to please.

So, you might ask, what’s the biggie? Well, the story is this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Cornwall cried when the beautiful Pandora Inn on the banks of Restronguet Creek was destroyed by fire last year, and cheered when it rose again a year later. The age-old pub looks only a little different for its ordeal I discovered and the pontoon is still an eye-wateringly gorgeous place for a pint on a sunny evening.

(It also has a golden letterbox! thanks of course to a certain Mr Ainslie.)

www.pandorainn.com

Paul Spooner at the Poly

A shout-out for two interesting things happening at the Poly in Falmouth. The first is a talk by very long-time pasties & cream friend Paul Spooner, whose career as an automata maker (“making mechanical jokes for people with short attention spans”) has included pieces for the Science Museum, Louis Vuitton and, er, me aged six – a wooden box that I still have and keep my drawing pins in. Takes place tonight at 8pm at the Poly; pay a little visit here for more information and tickets.

The second thing I’m giving you a fraction more notice for. Opening on 21st February, also at the Poly, is an exhibition of the sumptuous illustrations and photography that appear in the Parabola Project‘s second book, the beautifully designed anthology I blogged about the other day. Here’s a taster, reproduced here with kind permission of Parabola.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I got a little overexcited in Falmouth’s new ‘artisan coffee‘ café Espressini on Saturday. The coffee menu covers an entire six-foot-long blackboard and there are three types of sugar (including one with dried rose petals in, another with chilli).

The styling is also very neat. Your coffee is served in retro turquoise cups and saucers, there’s a centrepiece La Marzocco coffee machine, and piles of mags and papers – all nicely accessorised by the addition of artily dressed Falmouth students. Owner Rupert said he looked at some properties in Penzance but Falmouth won out… Ouch, that was hard to hear (what I wouldn’t give for a good hangout coffee shop in PZ) but it does at least now provide further motivation, should ever it be needed, to make the pilgrimage to Trago.

39 Killigrew Street, TR11 3PW, Falmouth, Cornwall. A website is on its way but in the meanwhile, there’s a FB page for interested parties: http://www.facebook.com/Espressini

I agree with the majority that Cornwall is a very creative place – partly by nature, also by necessity. But sometimes I find the same old coastally-inspired art and ceramics pop up time and time again in galleries, and I kind of crave something new and different.

Well, check out Falmouth-based Jonathan Fuller’s sea-glass sculpture for something fresh on the eye, as featured in coast magazine this month (he’s married to the head of design at organic Cornish clothing company, seasalt, so they are the perfect Coast couple).

I really love the washed-out pastel colours and the clean lines and shapes of Jonny’s artwork, and I feel quite inspired to start collecting and categorising glass in satisfyingly colour-coded jars. I wonder if, as in my childhood, finding a piece of soft blue glass is still the top trump.

www.jonathanfuller.co.uk; his work is showing at Trelowarren’s Christmas craft fair Shine, 9th-11th Dec, info at www.cornwallcrafts.co.uk. Prices from £250.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Falmouth gets all the fun. Literary types, here’s a date for your diaries: 29th November, Rum Bar, Falmouth, 7.30pm.

The Parabola Project – a not for profit creative writing and storytelling project – will be launching its second writing anthology, showcasing the talents of signed and unsigned creative writers from around Cornwall. The book is edited and masterminded by p&c friend and self-confessed ‘alphabet floozy’ Clare Howdle.

On the night, there will be the chance to hear the writers read from the new book – called Quickening – and other spoken word performances; buy a copy of the new book, priced £6; and drink Winter Pimms (and presumably rum).

The book is rather lusciously designed by Venn Creative.

www.parabolaproject.com

The Parabola Project Issue II: Quickening is available online from http://www.parabolaproject.com, in Waterstones Truro and from independent bookshops across Cornwall, it costs £6 – with all profits going back into the production pot for issue III.

I’m a fan of this poster for the Cornwall Film Festival. It’s the wunderbar work of Cornwall-based illustrator & animator Darren Whittington, and is inspired by the Cornish national [sic] emblem, the chough, which is of course making an exciting comeback on the cliffs of the Lizard. And, no, non-Cornos – it’s clearly nothing like a boring blackbird.

The 10th annual Cornwall Film Festival will be Read the rest of this entry »

falmouth_dinner_cornwall_charlotte_tangye

Couldn’t help but notice that a Penzance designer had landed a full-page shoot right at the front of glossy coast magazine this month with her chic ‘Falmouth lampshades’ – pictured bottom. It was the 01736 code that gave it away.

The designer in question, Falmouth graduate Charlotte Tangye, has also created this covetable range of bone china tableware in the same minimalist theme, featuring line drawings of classic Cornish vessels on a totally clean white background.

Must say, it’s nice to see Cornish ceramics break out of the rustic, organic style every now and again… Could this be Cornwall’s answer to people will always need plates‘ urban tableware (below)?!

people will always need plates: 1930s modern london homes

The question is, of course: when’s the PZ range coming out? Charlotte told pasties & cream, ‘I have recently taken photographs for a Penzance panorama – the view from the rotating bridge of Abbey Warehouse, St Marys Church, harbour and St Michael’s Mount…’ Excellent.

Falmouth lampshades £45; plates £25, mugs £10.95; see www.charlottetangye.co.uk for more details. You can check out Charlotte Tangye’s new work today and Saturday at University College Falmouth’s MA show. Open this evening until 9pm.

charlotte tangye falmouth lampshades cornwall


As I spend so much time trawling the net, often chancing upon interesting articles about Cornwall, I thought I’d attempt to justify my Mon-Fri journey into the time-management black hole that is the internet by starting a Friday digest. So for this week, we have:

The Geek Guide to Cornwall Tips from the Times for a total geek-out of a holiday in Cornwall, including Read the rest of this entry »

With the fight to save the Poly in Falmouth just a few months ago (now reopened as the Falmouth Cinema) and the ongoing battle over the harbour, it came as a blow to find out yesterday about yet another struggle: to save the Acorn Arts Centre in Penzance. It will be closing its doors after the summer if it cannot find more funding to become economically viable.

I feel passionately about the Acorn – not only is it an incredibly atmospheric old building, with an unusual and intimate auditorium, but it’s also got some of the best arts programming in Cornwall. It was just the other week that I was raving about seeing the Portico Quartet there (twice) – it was a privilege to see this sort of serious act from just a few metres away, with a nice cold bottle of Corona in hand and twinkling tea lights all around.

It is testament to the importance of such a venue in west Cornwall that within hours of the news breaking, people had started signing petitions, and joining Facebook pages. Let’s hope it works – here are the links to support them (but buying tickets for shows this summer will also help):

Facebook:

http://tinyurl.com/39ofewf

Petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/theAcorn/

Acorn Arts Centre, Parade Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4BU, http://www.acornartscentre.co.uk

stein fish & chips

gold standard - stein's fish & chips in falmouth

The Guardian made a splash in G2 on the launch day, and the Falmouth Packet also got pretty excited, but it’s been three weeks since it opened and I don’t think anyone’s actually reviewed Rick Stein’s first foray into the Falmouth dining scene. The venue in question is a high-flying fish & chip shop, judiciously placed Read the rest of this entry »

world have your say at gylly cafe, falmouth cornwall

bbc world service at the university of falmouth

Readers are warned that this post may contain trace elements of editorial bias, as the presenter of the BBC World Service show in question just happens to be my brother Ros Atkins.

The World Service’s daily interactive news show ‘World Have Your Say’ will go out live at 6pm from the terrace of the Gylly Café with the help of  University of Falmouth journalism students. Guest speaker on the show is Harvard philosopher and all round brain Professor Michael Sandel. Click here to listen to the show live at 6pm.

the jam falmouth cornwall

the jam, falmouth

Today I’m blogging from the Jam, a vintage-chic record/book shop-cum-coffee shop in Falmouth from the comfort of a bashed-up chesterfield armchair.

Good coffee. Tightly curated stock: Susan Sontag, Julian Barnes, New York style bibles (intrigued by ‘Rebel Style’; must remember to be more rebelliously stylish) and black and white postcards of Jubilee Pool share the book tables. Great for the sort of record-geek chat lacking in the Amazon age. Tiny wish: the Italianate cakes and biscuits were good but packaged – a fresh chocolate cake would have been nice.

(PS Can someone open somewhere like this in Penzance please?).

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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