Last Easter we headed north east for our spring getaway but this year we’ve chosen to go in the opposite direction. Our country cottage is in North Cornwall in the village of Metherall, nestled on the edge of the Tamar Valley. We decided once again not to drive but rather we caught the train from Bristol to Plymouth, then along the Tamar Valley line to Gunnerslake. From here we walked the half an hour or so to the village along winding country lanes. Friday was a beautiful sunny day so the walk from the station was lovely, daffodils and primroses dotted the hedgerows all along our route.
‘The Lantern’ is a modern, but sympathetic addition to a much older house. The single storey building comprises two gables that mirror the main house. A kitchen/dining/living room is filled with light from two large windows/doors that open onto a small patio. The lounge is clustered around a log burning stove, whilst the kitchen is well fitted with everything you’d need. The bedroom leads off the lounge with a small but comfortable shower room/toilet off that. There’s a washer/drier in a separate cupboard – just the job after the muddy dog has greeted you a little more enthusiastically than you’d like.
Saturday was our first full day but the weather was dreadful (heavy rain and cold too) so we took the bus into Tavistock to get a few supplies. Most of our shopping had been pre-ordered and delivered from Waitrose on Friday evening, but Tavistock has a nice market (the Pannier Market), and as it was Easter the traders were getting into the spirit of things with an Alice in Wonderland themed egg hunt. There were quite a few mad hatters, white rabbits and some Queen of Hearts who it appeared had eaten rather too many tarts!
Before catching the bus back I popped in the co-op and stocked up on a few bits I’d forgotten to order. On reaching the checkout I rather too enthusiastically lifted my basket onto the conveyor belt (the gym visits are clearly having an impact) and in the process I sent a bottle of elderflower cordial flying out of my basket in the other direction. Smash! It left a rather sticky mess, but the staff didn’t seem too phased and soon had it cleaned up. A sweet lady in the queue behind me offered me words of comfort to ease my embarrassment. ‘At least it wasn’t olive oil’ she said, apparently her kitchen floor had never been quite the same since she dropped a bottle of virgin olive oil onto her tiles ‘it still looks oily’ she informed me.
The return bus trip from Tavistock was uneventful and we dried ourselves in front of a log fire (which took all of Mike’s fire lighting skills as we’d forgotten to buy fire lighters in Tavistock). I made a ratatouille for our dinner, accompanied by some rice/quinoa and French bread. The nice Waitrose man had given us two complimentary bars of dark chocolate when he dropped off our shopping, so I broke into one of those even though it was not quite Easter yet. Chocolate before Easter seemed to be just one more rule broken – I’d already received frowns from Mike for putting up the Easter decorations a day early!
Our Easter Day has been mostly spent enjoying a long dog walk. We’ve dodged a few heavy showers, but have also had our fair share of sunshine too. Aside from the sight of the sun, another pleasant ray of light was the sight of not one, but two posters advertising a resurgent Tamar valley Labour Party. Heartwarming though this might be, I very much doubt the Corbyn effect is likely to result in a socialist revolution in north Cornwall anytime soon!
Our walk today took us along a footpath through a beautiful wooded valley. Moss covered trees, ferns and bright yellow daffodils adorned the damp valley sides. The path led us to Calstock Quay with the impressive Railway viaduct towering over the river. We did a loop through the village (picking up some curry powder for the dhal we’re making for tea), then along the river, a quick detour through the remains of Okel Tor Mine, then we climbed the valley crossing the railway line and taking a look around St Andrew’s churchyard (disappointingly the church was locked – on Easter Day too!) before we dropped back into Calstock to have some of our picnic lunch beside the quay.
Our return trip took us on a detour to Cotehele Quay, mill and bake house. We had a cup of tea at the quay before strolling through the woods to the mill where we saw the flour being milled and the hydro electric power turbine. Cotehele was much quieter than I’d expected, no doubt the showery weather was partly to blame – not that I minded, it was nice not having to compete with large crowds and it meant we were able to let Zoly off the lead quite a lot. There was one amusing scene where a little girl was sitting on a log whilst her mum too her photo. Zoly (never known to be camera shy) decided he wanted to be part of the action so duly ‘photo bombed’ the shot by rushing into the background and sitting down behind the little girl.
The walk back from Cotehele Mill only took about twenty minutes across a footpath up to the village. We called in at the pub next door to the cottage to book a pizza for tomorrow night. It’s a dog friendly pub so we shall all three of us be going (but only two of us will be having Pizza!). The rest of today will be spent slumbering with maybe a bit more chocolate consumption – well that is what Easters all about surely!