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22 June 2010

Posted by DMC on 22 June 2010 in Diary |

Off to Cornwall, to see ‘my lovely’s’ sister Victoria (Tor), brother-in-law, Lawrence (Lol) and (almost) 99 year old mother, ‘ granny’,  driven by Barry and his partner Denise, riding shotgun. ’My lovely’ wanted the whole excursion  to be as comfortable as possible, and characteristically generous,  splashed out and hired Barry for the occasion

We stopped for lunch with our friends the WP’s. (William- Powlett’s) who normally reside at the other end of our village, and who will be familiar to the regular reader as friends, with whom one will always be ensured an excellent meal — Judith being a splendid cook. Where we stopped was Cadhay, Ottery St. Mary, in Devon, just off the A30 between Honiton and Exeter. This was the WP’s ancestral home, which I must say was quite handsome. It seems the first reference to it was in the reign of Edward I but the main part of the mansion was built around 1550. An Elizabethan Long Gallery was added in the early 17th century and formed a unique and lovely courtyard with a statues in little niches, high on each of the four walls, of Henry VIII and his three monarch offspring – Edward, Mary and Elizabeth. This, suntrap courtyard was described by Sir Simon Jenkins, chairman of National Trust, as “….one of the treasures of Devon” I wasn’t personally able to do the tour but ‘ my lovely’ said that she was very impressed with the elegance of the rooms. I was, however, able to see the dining room, on the ground floor, which I must say was extremely handsome and I can well imagine giving a dinner party there.

Having said that it was rather grand, with portraits of the  Lord Powlett and contemporaries, benignly beaming down from the walls,  but at the same time, with a relatively low moulded ceiling it felt quite homely, although  homely is not quite the word I should perhaps use for such a grand house.

As I say we had lunch in the courtyard and were joined by the owner, one of Barton W-P’s cousins of some sort -  I never did determine the precise relationship — and his partner, Caroline, a very pleasant and personable couple. Judith idea of a sandwich was laying on what was almost a full cold lunch. An excellent pit stop  and certainly several notches up from a Little Chef.

The house, surrounded by magnificent gardens with herbaceous borders and  yew hedges, looks over the original mediaeval river ponds. It is open each Friday from May to September and, being what has been described as ‘ a rare glimpse into the past…’ is well worth the short diversion from the A30.

‘My lovely’ had booked us into the Olde House resort  in Chapel Amble. close to where my in- laws, the Grands, live, at Lower Amble Farm (LAF). We were accommodated in Rose cottage – a two-bedroom, self-catering, spacious dwelling, which has been adapted for the ‘less able’ and was extremely comfortable and convenient. This is not the first time we had stayed in this charming complex of stone cottages and apartments, modelled out old farm buildings to which a number of new dwellings have been sympathetically added. Last time we were here, some years ago, it was for the wedding of one of the Grand’s nephews, when  our children were much younger. It is a favourite holiday destination for families as it has a number of facilities and attractions for young people including an indoor swimming pool. Children can safely roam around the grounds without fear of danger and I have no hesitation in recommending this resort for any young family wanting a holiday in  North Cornwall.

We threw our bits and pieces into the cottage and went straight to my in-laws where we sat outside in the brilliant sunshine enjoying a Cornish tea of scones, liberally coated in clotted cream and honey, before my brother-in-law Lol, produced a magnum of delicious cool sparkling burgundy – Cremant de Bourgogne – which was quite as palatable as a good champagne . My dear sister-in-law Tor, who always makes nothing of knocking up a meal, fed us some delicious  lamb chops, slightly later than we would normally be we sitting down for dinner at home.

Granny, seemed extremely pleased to see us and was having one of her ‘better days’. We  arrived back at our little cottage at around 11.30, around an hour and a half past our normal bedtime but having had a lovely day.

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