Saturday, 31 January 2009

I should be sleeping, I'm so damn tired, and have been since getting back to Milton Keynes. It's silly, but I feel that if I go to sleep now, I might miss something. I don't know what, but you never know. I'm listening to Kate Bush, thinking of a Dylan Thomas book of poems, and well, just...I dunno. Ya, it was a good day.

I like the word 'smitten', it makes me smile. I've been doing a lot of that.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

I was let out...

After five weeks 'held hostage' on the farm it was great to be let out in the city! I just wasn't there for long enough, that was my only complaint. This was my time in London...

After five hours on the train, it was really good to be met at Paddington. Once I'd dropped my bag off at the hostel and checked in, Paul and I went to the Tate for a quick dose of art and culture. Since it was closing time, we didn't have long there and I met Bron in Camden and we got some Moroccan food for dinner followed by some beer and some Paul. Next morning was wasted in a bit of a blur really, until lunch time and a lovely walk in the rain in the park by Russell Square. I got myself a travel card and got onto the underground and wasted some time going around on the trains feeling smug for a good part of the afternoon before heading to China Town and Soho for a night of pubs and clubs. My night included sharing my beer whilst sitting on a wet pavement outside a Soho bar with a Big Issue man, watching some live music, drinking wine at The French House (previously frequented by Dylan Thomas) and feeding coins into the jukebox and singing along to the likes of Regina Spektor, The Libertines and the Strokes. I checked out early this morning, had an enormous fried breakfast and got a taxi to Euston. Now I'm just thinking of how I can incorporate this quote...

'I lied, there are no taxis here, I just wanted to kiss you by the pretty buildings'

...and this one...

'this is just like the movies'(...only in the movies, the leading lady has better hair...) 'well then it's some super cool indie type movie!'

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A night and a day in Devon

A slight change of plans has seen me staying on in Cornwall for another week. I couldn't exactly abandon Tim and Harry right now. I did say that I'd stay, but on condition that I get a night out and away from the farm.

And so on Tuesday Tim and Harry took me to the station at Truro where I got on the 15h09 train through to Exeter St Davids. After three hours on the train, I finally arrived where I was met by Alex. We went to Wetherspoons and had some dinner and met two of his friends from work there, Liam and Majek. After supper and some vodka, we walked down the road to the Exeter version of Liverpool’s Cavern Club. We had some beer, chatted and listened to the live band playing before heading off to another club called Time Piece. Things turned more interesting there after been told off by some Polish girls for drinking their drink…really, it was an honest mistake and I did offer to buy them more drinks! And not long after that we were politely asked to leave the club because a friend of Alex had poppers and a burly bouncer came and escorted us out. The Cavern Club in Exeter - Majek, me and Alex

On Wednesday Alex drove us to Dartmoor National Park where we walked up to Hay Tor and Hound Tor and took a look around. We drove through Widecombe in the Moor, got some postcards, took a wander about and then headed back to Exeter for a quick city tour. I picked up another Pete Doherty book at Zavvi for only £2 because they’re clearing everything out. And then it was all over and Alex took me back to the station again. It was a good little trip and it was really nice of Alex to take a day off work to drive me around and play tour guide!

I was met on the platform at Redruth by Stan the taxi driver who drove me back to the farm, chatting to me non stop in a heavy Cornish accent which made me strain hard to understand and hear him. When I was getting out of the car, he shouted through the window to Tim who had come out to pay him what a pretty girl I was! Haha!!

A church and a Big Issue man

Exeter cathedral

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Haggis...and other nasties.

On Monday Tim had to go to London to sort out some business. He was away until Thursday night, leaving me on the farm with Harry. Roger and David came every morning to feed the cattle and make sure the farm side of things were running smoothly. Harry was mostly an angel the whole time his dad was away, and we had a pretty good time, the two of us. I made pancakes and chocolate milkshakes for lunch and came up with interesting mince combinations for suppers. I took him to play in the ‘castle’ at Gweek and to Goonhilly (but mostly because I wanted to go myself). I realized that you cant see or do much when you have an impatient three year old with you, and left Goonhilly, uninspired and with very few pictures.

When I went downstairs on Friday morning, I found a worried and ill-looking Tim by the aga, he’d been up all night with some nasty chest pains and coughing up blood. I spent the day with Harry, while Tim lay in bed waiting for his doctors appointment…and I waited for him to have a heart attack or stroke and shout out at any moment. Needless to say, I was tense as hell and ended up with sympathy chest pains for most of the day. Tim came back from his appointment with fish ‘n chips for us all and not great news from the doctor.

Today has been rather uneventful, except for the lunch of boil-in-a-bag haggis that Tim thought would be amusing to watch me eat. After the limpet debacle I thought that it would only be polite to try a bite of the offensive dish. I did. I chewed probably more than I should have done, but I found it difficult to swallow. I’m now contemplating a life of vegetarianism. I’m beginning to see it’s virtues. Haggis makes me sad…just like lung cancer, irritable bowl syndrome and lemon grass. What also makes me sad is the pigs head that Tim has in the freezer. Every time I open it to get some peas, there it is, staring at me. I had two nightmares about it the other night. I dreamt I took the lid off the pot on the stove, and there was the head, bubbling away…creeped me right out.

I’m getting back on the London bound train on Tuesday morning. I have two options, I can stop for a night out in Exeter on the way, or I can stop for a night out in London…OR…I could choose BOTH. Hmmm…what will I do??

Monday, 12 January 2009

A good Sunday

I got to sleep in until eight o’ clock! When I got up, I went downstairs, made myself tea and sat in front of the aga with the newspapers and a bowl of rice crispies. All was quiet except for the keystrokes of Tim upstairs on the computer. After reading the papers and Tim had come down, I asked him to get the chickens ready for me and I went outside to where he’d tied them up to the tractor and I stripped them of their earthly adornment. I plucked my first chickens. I have to say that I did an excellent job and Tim was hugely impressed at my first efforts. It felt like quite an adventure, standing outside in Cornwall in January, quite possibly zero degrees in the wind and ankle deep in cow dung ripping the feathers out of chickens. Later, Tim showed me how to gut them and we roasted them up with potatoes, swede and broccoli. Tim thinks I’m 'bohemian', he can’t really back it up apart from my hippie hair style and my apparent bohemian attitude. Whatever that means. I don’t think he meant it in a particularly positive way, but still, it conjured up delightful images of girls in flowing skirts, rosy cheeked and lipped, cigarettes, opium dens, poets and artists drinking absinthe in seedy Parisian bars…anyway, it made me smile.

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks here already, and in just over a week I’m headed back to London and Milton Keynes.

While I was having my great day, Tim was having a less good time of it. Things are going a bit pear shaped for him. So this morning saw us headed for Redruth and the train station. I drove back to Constantine to pick Harry up from school, got only a small bit hopelessly lost in the never ending winding country roads, but eventually found the school and found my way back to the farm with Harry in the back, talking a hole through my head asking endless questions about why we were going to Gweek instead of the farm! I told him for a bit of a change of scenery and to see the boats. Anyway, it was all rather stressful, especially considering it’s the first time I’ve driven in the UK, haven’t driven for 8 months and didn’t have a CLUE where I was going and had a deadline to do it all in too! After a lunch of pancakes and several cups of hot tea…attempting to wash my clothes I’ve discovered that the farm has no water again. So yay, the next day or two should be lots of fun.

Harry and his pigs - Jacob and George
Buttercups twins - less than a day old!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

I love Britain

I do. I love the cities and I love the countryside. I love the quaint old pubs, inns and country houses, the narrow cobbled streets and the hedge-lined country roads. I love the people, the foreigners, the travellers like myself, the bohemians, the punks and the Goths of Camden, the professionals, the people on the trains, the OAPs, the pretty girls with facial piercing and the young blokes with beards. Pale people. I love the high streets and their shops, the markets and the gift shops selling over priced key rings, fridge magnets and Union Jack underwear. I love roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with gravy and boiled veggies, pints of local ale, pints of lager and shots of tequila. I love the trains, buses and taxis and the people who use them. New Pound notes spent at H&M, HMV and New Look. I love Waterstones and the free wi fi while eating bacon and cream cheese bagels. I love the queen and I love Pete Doherty. Carl Barat is gorgeous too. I love old timber framed buildings, ancient bridges and green fields. Summer festivals, Pimms, concrete animals dotted throughout cities. Swans on canals and lakes. I love the various accents, the pretty people and the more ‘colourful’ people. I love London, York, Liverpool and Bath…Belfast was good too, coastal towns, the North and the South. Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Top Gear, Mock the Week and QI. Jeremy Clarkson, Stephen Fry, Simon Amstell, Chris Addison and John Cleese. I love Black Adder and Monty Python. Colin Firth and Richard Armitage. Shakespeare, Blake and Wordsworth…

I can’t think of anything I don’t like really. I’d say I’m pretty happy to be here…and God save the queen.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


I wanted to make curry yesterday, but on discovering we had no tomatoes and no cream, I decided to set off to the nearest village to buy my ingredients. I walked 2 miles to get to Gweek, spent a little while looking around and then followed the brown signs to the nearby seal sanctuary. After an hour or so of looking at the baby seals and otters, I headed for the shop, bought what I'd come for as well as a bottle of wine and some postcards and headed back to the farm, uphill the whole way. I was pleased to see Harry, asleep in his chair by the telly when I got back, so I got to make the dinner in peace and quiet :) Pretty white-washed buildings in Cornwall.
Baby seals at the Gwek Seal Sanctuary.
The small harbour on the Halford River at Gweek.

I'm totally getting in to this whole country life thing. I collect eggs in the morning, help herd the cattle after breakfast and play with the calves. I'm baking cakes and biscuits in the aga when I'm not cooking up curries, lasagnes and stews and later, I'm going to pluck a chicken! My days are mostly spent playing with Harry, preparing food, poking the fire with a stick, throwing back large volumes of tea and Harry's pink milkshakes whilst sitting either by the fire or the aga and helping out with various farm related duties.

Harry and I are also getting along a lot better this past week and we've been making play-dough, reading stories, singing songs and making houses out of his bricks. He's a sweet boy, and oddly, today I rather miss him now that he's gone to his mothers flat in Truro.

Photos will follow later. I've been snapping away as I usually do.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Cornish coast and creepy crawlies

Tim decided it would be fun to go to the beach with Harry, so we all got into his muddy Audi and drove through Gweek and Goonhilly towards the seaside. Gweek is a pretty little village, exactly how I imagined a Cornish village to look - all pretty cottages, the Helford River running through with boats all lined up in a small harbour. Goonhilly is an enormous satellites site. After Goonhilly and a stretch of wooded area along the Helford the Cornish landscape starts to look positively African, flat and dry and you almost expect to see a herd of wildebeest or some kudu grazing amongst the sparse trees.

Once we got to the beach we spent the next 30 or so minutes scrambling amongst the rocks looking for limpets and cockles, gathering them up in our jumpers to take home ‘for our tea’. The beach was nearly deserted, probably because it was so cold and nearing dusk, been half past three! Harry spent some time ‘digging for treasure’ with his hands in the sand and then we headed back to the car because it was getting dark. When we got back to the farm, Tim began to cook up what we had battered off the rocks in a creamy garlic sauce while I set the table. I never did have any intention of eating the grisly find, but Tim looked genuinely surprised when I emphatically refused and ate a buttered sandwich instead! The limpets had FACES for goodness sake, and little feelers like snails. The cockles were just as ugly, sea snails!

Gathering things that shouldn't be eaten.
I'm looking forward to exploring some more of this area. And with any luck, with Harry going to school tomorrow, I'll have some time to go off on my own for a while!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year...2009 begins

I went to bed an hour before midnight. Before that, I’d been sitting in the drawing room by the fire with Tim, the dogs and a bottle of red wine and port, Radio 2 on in the background playing 50s rock ‘n roll music.

I got up late again this morning, and Tim and Harry were both up. I drank several cups of tea by the aga before putting on some wellies and going outside to help with the cows. I helped Tim separate a calf which needs to be weaned, got the cows into the yard for their breakfast and then collected fresh eggs for our breakfast. I’m slowly getting into the whole country life, but I do think I’m more suited to the city!

As is customary, I have compiled a short list of resolutions for 2009. It didn’t go so well with them last year, with I think me breaking each and every one, but hey, who knows, it might work out this year.

And so, here is my list:

1) Apply for British ancestral visa
2) Get a year long Schengen visa so as to visit Europe
3) Conquer my fear of the underground
4) Get a proper job (at least for a few months)
5) Forget about colourful items of clothing as it’s clearly not me
6) Watch some bands (Yay for Isle of Wight Festival!)

Ya, so I’m unimaginative right now, I’ll add more as I think of them.

Happy 2009 to you all, I’m off for a walk in the woods.