You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘penwith’ category.

It is sad but universally true that you only really appreciate a) your health and b) your local health services when they are in peril. Having had a crash course in the past few years in the immense value of both those things, I went along to the Hands Off Our Hospital protest yesterday against cuts to services at West Cornwall Hospital.

With the increasing centralisation of services to Truro, people living in West Penwith are having to undertake a 40-mile round-trip, sometimes for routine appointments (even, once, in my case a 5-second MRSA swab).

One area for protest is the lack of a 24-hour doctor-led casualty in west Cornwall (nurses only at night-time) – again, I’m sure that particular outrage only really comes into focus at 2am when you badly need a doctor.

Thousands of people turned up, the Golowan band and Penzamba were there (of course), there was a little chanting, and then the crowds joined hands in a huge circle around the hospital. The main thing is that Spotlight were there – hope WCH got its close-up.

Advertisements

a new dawn for pz seafront?

There’s been a bit of an atmosphere of ‘don’t mention the harbour’ ever since the potent and divisive controversy surrounding the proposed Option A development for Penzance Harbour.

The Council’s plan, known as Option A, was to seriously compromise an area of historic beauty and build a coach park in one of the most scenic parts of town – which they tried to push through at all costs without adequately consulting members of the local community. Thanks in part to protest but in reality mainly due to the recession, this pricey project was overturned.

The aim now, though, isn’t to rake up old bitterness (though if you want to read my feelings about it at the time, you can here) but rather to celebrate a promising new forum for development along the seafront, planning close consultation with local people. It goes by the name of the Penzance Seafront Forum, and it is organising its first public meeting for next Thursday, 17th November at 7.30pm in St John’s Hall. Spread the word.

If you can’t attend, but have thoughts to air, you are encouraged to email ideas@pzharbourfutures.org. http://penzanceseafront.com

Sorry for being a slack blogger lately – I’ve been on holiday. As in an actual holiday in a different country. Cornwall really is a comfortable hole isn’t it, and it’s hard to leave – not least because it takes a day just to get to your mode of transport.

In any case, what better tonic for the post-holiday blues than a stay at Salt House last night; at the moment, I’m writing some updates for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall and this haute-design B&B in Carbis Bay was high up my list of must-check-outs (feel I must add the obligatory travel writer’s aside: ‘hard job but someone’s got…’).

Sink all thoughts of nautical themes or fishermen’s cottage chic. This is real-deal modern luxury – a stunning, wood-clad cube of a building with omg views from each guest room’s private terrace over the full golden sweep of St Ives Bay through the monterey pines. I always try and use my own pictures on pasties & cream but it’s just so horribly dark and cold and grey this week that my iphone couldn’t handle it, hence the sparkly official photos, which do it greater justice.

In the white rooms it’s all about careful editing – an Alessi bottle opener here, an Orla Kiely mug there, glossy flat-screen telly, homemade coconut-flecked cookies. It’s the work of owners Alan and Sharon, both graphic designers.

There are only two rooms, so unsurprisingly they’re a hot booking.

www.salthousestives.co.uk; £170-£190 per night, including (amazing) breakfast, mine pictured below.

Newlyn Harbour like a pane of glass this morning, and a very large pile of seaweed dumped on Wherrytown Beach by the considerable ‘weather’ that rolled in last week…

I think few would deny Cornwall this honourable title, such is the quality of the mizzle the county produces. Many people make the mistake of classifying it as rain, but this is incorrect. It’s a refreshingly mild offspring of rain and mist – I barely notice it.

I took these pictures of the first mizzle of winter up on Ding Dong Moor at the weekend. I think you’ll agree there’s nothing for it at this time of year but to embrace it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shocking-quality phone vid for you of Dartmoor dweller Seth Lakeman’s sell-out show at the St Ives September Festival last night. You know you can rely on me for plenty of distortion on the sound, and erratic framing. Still, hopefully this snippet conveys something of his electric performance of eerie, insistent ‘Kitty Jay’ – in my view his finest song.

Btw, if you missed Botallack O Clock the other night, fret not: the excellent Third Man Theatre are performing their ambulatory show ‘The One that Got Away’ this week, meeting at the Guildhall: details here. Am hearing great, often surreal things.

PS I feel duty-bound to point you to the full version of Kitty Jay with crystal-clear sound.

The Cornish sardines stacked on counters in Newlyn fish shops at the moment are a spectacular bargain: five for £1. Fresh, meaty, good for you, supplies not about to expire. Pan-fried, slice of lemon, sprig of parsley – delicious.

That is all.

Bon weekend!

www.cornishsardines.org.uk

venton vean penzance cornwall

It’s always a pleasure when I get an email from a pasties & cream reader, even if it’s just to complain about my lack of captioning (full-time job alert). But it’s particularly nice when I get an email about something as eye-opening as this beautiful new boutique b&b in Penzance – opened this week.

The modern-classic chairs, blue accents, amazing garden, period detailing, rainforest showers… you don’t find all of that for under £100 a room very often. I know this because I drove round the whole of Cornwall a few years ago seeking out special places to stay for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall – and gems are few in this price bracket.

It is also on one of my favourite streets, leafy Trewithen Road, next to Penlee Park. Best of luck, Venton Vean – if your website is anything to go by, you’re going to storm it. Oh and can you open a little tea shop in your garden too, please? That would be most handy.

www.ventonvean.co.uk

Get an eyeful of this!

venton vean, penzance, cornwallventon vean, penzance, cornwall

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few ale-addled snaps from Mazey Day in Penzance last week. It was my first and I loved it – the chaotic anything everything goes atmosphere is pure Penzance. One couple had dressed up as hippies – which is akin to dressing in camouflage.

I want to get more into top-five lists on pasties & cream, so I’ll kick off with my top five Golowan festival highlights:

1) The DJ in the Arts Club garden dropping Black Box ‘Ride on Time’ at 3 in the afternoon. Not only did he get away with it – people went crazy.

2) Singer Dom Youngman at the busk-off at Zero Lounge’s alfresco bar on Mock Mayor Wednesday (incidentally, was anyone else confused by the brisk trade they were doing all week in Veuve Clicquot??! Do these people know of a secretly booming industry in Cornwall that I don’t?).

3) Pondlife ska at the Dock (listen here) – young and old dancing in the streets and things starting to get messy.

4) Mr B’s new vintage ice-cream van’s first outing.

5) Of course, Pirates on the Prom – 8,734 pirates and a real pirate ship. Rad.

Till next year…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In case you can’t wait for the splash in the Cornishman on Thursday, here’s a quick post to bring you news of our great victory: Penzance now holds the world record for the most amount of pirates in one place. The title is in its rightful home! We beat Hastings by several thousand, with a total of 8734 Cornish pirates, most armed with cutlasses, lined up on the prom.

It was a truly uplifting event, with communal ‘oooo-arrrrrrrghs’ encouraged on the sound system – and, of course, the mother of all ‘oggy, oggy, oggies’ when the winning result was announced.

Some people looked like they had hardly needed to dress up – what with the prevalence of beards and unruly, salty hair. And one pirate had a real parrot on his shoulder, which was causing mass piratical hysteria.

Unless you actually are a pirate, and therefore a bit off-radar, you will probably have heard about Penzance’s forthcoming attempt to beat the world record, currently held by Hastings, for the number of pirates in one place.

Hastings managed just over 6K but surely, Cornwall, we can pound that – we are in a piratical class of our own. Many people do actually wear kerchiefs in their daily life, after all, not just on pirates Sunday.

Read the rules on costumes here. £1 to enter. 1pm. Sunday, June 26th, 2011. Penzance promenade. Be there or be, well, a massive spoil-sport.

Bandanas are de rigeur for the event – pantaloons also welcomed with open arms.

Pirates on the Prom (www.golowan.org)

…make it the Anchor in Newlyn.

Open to the public for the first time this year as part of the Open Studios event, this wildly atmospheric studio in Newlyn was once the workplace of 19th-century Newlyn trailblazer Stanhope Forbes and has, it would seem, changed brilliantly little since. It’s all overgrown outside Read the rest of this entry »

newlyn art gallery

These are pics of a specially commissioned installation at the Newlyn Gallery at the moment by Phoebe Cummings (recently artist in residence at the V&A) in response to the Cornish landscape.

People (myself included) tend to bang on about the colours of Cornwall, don’t they, so there was something interesting and different in her intricate, clay-grey mini Cornwall.

I attended a workshop on Saturday morning with Phoebe, in which Read the rest of this entry »

I am photo-rich (cheers, Jen) and time-poor this week, so without further ado here are a few picturarios of the reopened and tweaked Exchange gallery. I am a fan of the cafe (in particular, the strawberry in salad policy, which I hope still stands!) so I approve of the expanded space and more bar-like feel.

Ahem, not forgetting the art amid the lattes, the opening show of the season is an exploration of printmaking – check it out here.

Seeing as it’s scorchio outside and I’m feeling more deckchairy than bloggy, I’m going to be brief and post some pictures of sunset from the Porthmeor Beach Cafe at the weekend – all in all, a pretty smug-making Read the rest of this entry »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The last time I went to St Michael’s Mount was circa 1986, which is a poor state of affairs when you actually live in the same bay. The trouble with living locally, I suppose, is that there is always tomorrow…

Most locals Read the rest of this entry »

What can I say? This pasty speaks for itself. It is a standard ‘large’ pasty from Lavender‘s, which measures in at 30cm long. Twice the length of my hand. Look no further for a recession-busting family meal.

….new bar-restaurant Untitled – the work of chef Robert Wright of Gurnard’s Head fame – is surely the most exciting thing that has opened in west Cornwall for ages.

In the interests of hype limitation, I hadn’t dared to get too excited about it beforehand but I went last night and it was all pretty fabulous. Saloon-bar chic downstairs (the sort of low-lit ambiance that makes you involuntarily order a Disaronno on the rocks – ok maybe that was just me). Terry Frosts and fresh white linen upstairs. Prices feasible. Steak gorgeous. Full of locals. The stuff of PZ dreams!

More, and better, pics here.

www.untitledbyrobertwright.com

Sorry for the long radio silence. I’ve just been in for another round of hip impingement surgery, this time involving some gruesome bone-cutting and slicing (gross). The list of post-operative restrictions is five pages long – and has a scary bullet-point heirarchy – but nowhere in there does it say ‘thou shall not blog’, so expect special attention to west Cornwall venues furnished with comfortable chairs standing at exactly 19 inches in height.

There’s a charming photography exhibition on at the moment at Penlee House Gallery called ‘The Marvellous Everyday’ – a celebration of Penzance’s long-standing quirkiness. Read the rest of this entry »

pop up lime tree cornwallpop up lime tree cornwall

Restaurants have been ‘popping up’ for a while in London and other metropolitan centres but I believe I attended Cornwall’s very first pop-up restaurant at the weekend – a collaboration between Gallery Latitude 50 on the Penwith moors near Cripplesease and Lime Tree catering, the people behind the much-loved Lime Tree restaurant that once occupied Trevelyan House on Chapel Street in Penzance.

In my (female) party there was a flurry of excitement on arrival: our prettily dressed table Read the rest of this entry »

newlyn cornwall

Like hundreds of thousands of others, judging by the rocketing sales of sustainable fish species this week, I found the points made in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight programme very compelling.

So compelling, in fact, that I didn’t even mind him repeating them a billion times in the space of half an hour (sign of bloody good point)! In the notoriously complicated territory of fish and seafood – where ‘the right thing to do’ is an elusive concept to anyone who isn’t personally monitoring fish stocks – keeping it clear, simple and repetitive seems crucial to the campaign’s success.

So for this cause, I didn’t mind being a cliche and trotting off to sunny Newlyn this morning in search of an ‘alternative’ species of fish for dinner. I came home with a fillet of coley for £2 – an alternative to the over-fished cod to which the Brits are so attached.

(Oh and if you’re looking for Read the rest of this entry »

bens cornish kitchen -bens cornish kitchen

… make it the twice-baked cheese soufflé with fig, chicory and caramelised pecan salad at Ben’s Cornish Kitchen in Marazion. OMG it was nice.

It was my first visit, but I’d been hearing good things (from some stringent sources) about Ben Prior’s newish restaurant for a while. As with most things in life, attention to detail is a good predictor of quality – so I settled in for a comfortable ride when the perfectly spongy homemade bread came out with a dipping dish of super-smooth olive oil and balsamic. The menu could be described as creative modern British.

Talking of new restaurants, I’m looking forward to the opening of the unusually named “untitled by Robert Wright“, which will occupy the premises of the old Abbey Restaurant, previously decorated with a Michelin star. It’s opening in Feb with a tapas-y bar downstairs (and carafes of wine – joy!) and more formal dining upstairs.

men an tol penwith cornwallmen an tol cornwall penwith

Sunday was a surreally calm and sunny winter’s day in west Cornwall, so ideal for my first outing to Men-an-Tol – the iconic stone monument half a mile off the drop-dead-gorgeous Madron to Morvah road.

In the presqu’île of West Penwith, we tend to all get a bit blase about prehistoric sites – they are everywhere, in the shape of quoits, remains of Iron Age villages, standing stones and stone circles. Save for a few – like Chycauster village, which is National Heritage – they form a natural, integral part of the landscape. There’s no entrance fee or brochure or fence and sometimes not even a sign, which is just the way I like them!

Among these granite antiquities, Men an Tol is unique for its polo-like circular form with a hole in the middle (beloved of many an artist, including Barbara Hepworth, as James Fox was telling us in his recent docu).

Historians don’t seem to have an especially firm grip Read the rest of this entry »

I know this is old news now but: Happy New Year all!

I have only just emerged from the self-inflicted carnage of a St Ives New Year, which I spent dressed in some high-waisted snakeskin trousers and a blond wig – and in the company of a womble, Big Bird, two shepherds, Dr Zoidberg, a carrot, a robot and a crocodile.

We spent most of the evening in the throng outside the Sloop and then, as is traditional, Read the rest of this entry »

As some of you will know, pasties & cream – as well as being the name of my humble blog – is the title of a seminal Cornish folk album (and song) by the late, great Brenda Wootton.

A folk singer from Newlyn, born with an extraordinary, pure voice, Brenda is to the county of Cornwall what Edith Piaf is to France, or Mercedes Sosa to Argentina. Clearly Cornwall is, ahem, a lot smaller, and those singers are infinitely more famous, but the stories and music share a number of similarities.

Brenda has been gone some time – she died in 1994 – and fans like me had to make do with her old, classic albums, most no longer even in production. Until, that is, a sound engineer in Porthleven unearthed a box of previously unheard, master tapes in his loft of a concert Brenda Wootton gave in the Bobino Theatre in Paris in 1984.

Against the odds, the tapes were in amazing condition and, after being remastered, have just been released as a new album entitled ‘All of Me’.  I got given a copy for Christmas and… Read the rest of this entry »

On account of semi-comatose stints by the wood burner, brought on by the repeated appearance of a family-sized tub of Rodda’s and vats of egg nog, this video of Montol is going out a week late.

As in previous years, it was a suitably elemental, quirky affair up on the beacon: full moon; big fire; masked people; music in a minor key; person dressed in horse skull.

And with it belated happy festivities from pasties & cream!

www.montol.co.uk

botallack picture sam carnell

Warning: this photo should only be viewed full screen! (Click on the image to make it bigger.) This amazing image was taken by Hayle-based master thatcher and photographer Sam Carnell. It captures the unreceptive cliffs at Botallack getting an extreme battering in the storms of 2008.

Sam entered it in the Lloyds TSB Insurance Weather Photographer of the Year competition, along with 10,000 others hopefuls, and made the final twelve. I couldn’t help wondering what conditions the valiant photographer was working in to get that shot: ‘That day the wind was gusting at around 100mph at exposed spots,’ he told p&c, ‘and the sea had over thirty foot of swell, so not the most pleasant of conditions. But worth it!!”

Reckon so – very cool.

Check out more of Sam’s shots at www.samcarnell.co.uk.

lunar eclipse penzance

They were sounding so chirpy on Radio Cornwall about the lunar eclipse this morning – the first total lunar eclipse to take place on the winter solstice since 1638 – that I felt spurred to get out of bed and try and catch it. It was cold and I couldn’t see no bleddy moon but it was an incredible sunrise all the same. Anyone else have any lunar joy?

Today is of course the shortest day of the year and in Penzance that means everyone goes a bit pagan and marches up to the beacon with lanterns to stand around a large bonfire and sing. Montol as a festival was revived here four years ago – it’s devoid of bells and whistles (burger vans, candyfloss etc), but I think that’s the idea. Procession starts from St John’s Hall at 5.45pm this evening.

More deets at http://www.montol.co.uk/

lunar eclipse penzance cornwall

acorn arts centre penzance

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it emerged that the Acorn Arts Centre building had been ‘saved’. The venue as we knew it has closed for now – it’s looking sorry for itself – but the trustees are currently in discussion about how to secure the Acorn’s future and, crucially, how to make it more financially viable. After the Poly’s rebirth in Falmouth, I feel more hopeful!

I was a regular at the Acorn before it closed – in the past few years I’ve seen the Portico Quartet twice, Brother & Bones, Hedluv & Passman at the cabaret, Mark Steel is in Town, Patrick Gale giving a talk, singer-songwriter Jenny Bishop, superb comedians Robin Ince and Dan Antopolski – so I feel quite alarmed at the thought of west Cornwall without this intimate cultural venue, the only dedicated arts centre in the far west.

Rightly, the trustees are keen to find a formula for the Acorn that makes it financially sustainable, and to that end they are seeking the opinions of their audience. My god, I couldn’t click on the link to the online survey quick enough!

“Question 2. The Acorn has presented a varied programme of professional theatre in the past five years but I would have preferred a more popularist/entertainment programme.” STRONGLY DISAGREE!

Please not another Hall for Cornwall-type programme of expensive, mainstream acts. I know it’s all very well me throwing my hands up in horror but they must of course find a way to make money – maybe the key is in making the atmospheric basement bar into a standalone arty bar-bistro? I’ve happily sustained a number of San Miguel hangovers after drinking in there.

Be sure to have your say by clicking here (it only takes a few minutes).

Some one-off performances are taking place and Miracle Theatre’s ‘Beauty and the Beast from Mars’ is playing the Acorn tonight, Wednesday 15 December, and Thursday 16 December at 7.30pm; call 01872 262466 or book online at http://www.miracletheatre.co.uk

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

pasties & cream tweets…

Enter your email address to subscribe to pasties & cream and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements