Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Listen to your body

This picture was taken on the Lizard - Moll admiring a very lovely stone sculpture, before having a wonderful game of chase on the beach. Dogs are particularly good at listening to their bodies - which is what this post is all about.

Would you believe I’ve been doing another dog review? And just in case you think I’m leading the life of Riley, I don’t have any other reviews coming up. So that’s the end of my gadding about. Back to walking around Cornwall again…..

Talk about it never rains but it pours – and there was plenty of that on Sunday when we set off, in torrential rain and gale force winds, stopping to see my mum on the way. We headed onto Dartmoor by which time the fog descended and you could almost hear the wolves howling over the tors, but we finally found the hotel (which took a bit of finding) and had a lovely few days. Despite the weather.

The place is called Cherrybrook and has 7 rooms, all with lovely bathrooms and incredibly comfy beds, and the most wonderful views over Dartmoor. At 7pm each night the bar opened and we cracked open the wine, then had a 3 course dinner. Well, I couldn’t quite manage 3 courses but Viv valiantly struggled through, and we took the dogs for a quick walk in the dark, crashed into bed and slept as if drugged.

The first morning I was so tired at breakfast all I could think about was going back to bed. So we gave the dogs a run and as Viv had to finish her German OU coursework, she made a coffee and did that while I pushed aside any feelings of guilt and snuggled under the duvet. It felt so decadent it was blissful. And, I knew, just what I needed.

I dozed for a bit, read for a bit, then slept for an hour. I woke up and hugged myself, sent a friend a text and dozed a bit more. I felt as if I was playing truant – going back to bed is something I’d never do at home, but we felt so removed from real life, it was just the right thing to do - and all the better for the autumn gale howling outside our window.

I got up later, by which time I needed to eat again, and set off in search of food and a post office so Viv could post her coursework and I could send a postcard. And after refuelling, we set off through Bellever woods and had a wonderful walk through the trees.

We both felt incredibly relaxed afterwards, and it made me realise that sometimes we have to go away from home to realise just how tired we are. I said to a friend last night that the next review I have, we must do that – go away, and sleep all morning if we need to.

A lot of us have very busy, stressful lives which means that often we don’t listen to our bodies.

It’s about time that we did.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Another review

View from the barn we stayed in.

Last weekend I did another review up at the most gorgeous converted barn in East Devon just outside a remote village called Plymtree which is the sort of place you only go to if you’re looking for someone – or you’re lost.

The barn had been beautifully renovated with fabulous oak doors and furniture and was very light and spacious, looking out over sheep filled fields and orchards filled with ruby red cider apples, and in the far distance, Dartmoor lay shrouded in mist.

We had to visit the local pub of course – the Blacksmiths Arms – where Moll roamed happily off the lead, eating crumbs off the floor, before we went back for our supper – a Flowerpot special that went down very well, washed down with Lidls Chardonnay. Very good.

The next day we did the review with the farmer’s wife, Sue, and Mike the farmer came over and asked if we’d like to stay another night as it was empty! We said YES! before realising that we had tickets for the St Ives festival on Sunday night so had to get back.

We stopped off at Okehampton railway cafĂ© for huge burgers that were grilled on a barbecue at the station by a friendly fellow who gave us extra onions and cheese on top – no extra charge. Suitably refreshed, we chanced upon a car boot then headed back via Bissoe to give Mollie – and us – a run.

Deb and Rich had saved us seats at the Guildhall in St Ives and despite being tired by this time, it was a really lovely end to the weekend.

Always difficult coming down to earth after a few days away like that, isn’t it?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Radio interview and Terence Coventry

The radio interview with Source FM went very well apparently, according to those that listened. I certainly enjoyed it, though there were a few hairy moments for which I was unprepared, such as talking about my anorexic years, which is a period of my life I try and forget about. But apart from that, I enjoyed it. And had various comments, such as, “you have an addictive voice on radio – you should do more of this,” and, “you’re better than Jenni Murray,” – but the latter was somewhat biased…..

Life has been busy as ever – we had another lovely boating trip on Friday night though the second outboard gave up the ghost in St Mawes harbour just as the sun went down, so we chugged back on the Suzuki, arriving back in the dusk having watched the sky turn a kaleidoscope of pinks, purples and the palest grey. It really was the most stunning evening, and we repaired to the pub to warm up.

On Saturday we went down to the Lizard to meet the sculptor Terence Coventry who has to be one of the most talented, focused men I’ve ever met. He’s been a pig farmer much of his life but went back to sculpting in 2003, in his early 60s, and now sells his work all over the world.

We had a fascinating hour and a half talking to him and admired his sculptures in the fields near his workshop. He isn’t keen on publicity – his gallery in London sells everything for him – so I may not be able to use the material I’ve got, but it was an incredible privilege to meet such a driven, dynamic artist.

We all know we should ‘live in the moment’ and make the most of the time we have, but it’s rare to find someone who actually lives like this. He’s a true inspiration.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Radio Star and Boating

I saw this when we were on Exmoor and had to take a picture...

I’m sitting here with a gurgling stomach, going over and over my choices and notes for a radio interview this afternoon. Before you get too excited, I should say that this is Source FM, Falmouth’s community radio station, (96.1 FM), not Radio Four. Even so, I’m due to be on air for an hour (gulp), from 4-5pm today, talking first about my walks book, Discover Cornwall, then my life and my six favourite records.

If you’re not in the Falmouth area you can still listen to me and highly edited extracts of my life via broadband on

Luvitt made me read my intro several times last night (though a glass of wine helped) which was really helpful, and I was able to make notes (and laugh a lot) but even so, today my stomach is plummeting every time I think of it, as if I was in a high speed lift. Deep breathing, Jane has just texted me, and a big smile. Remember you have friends rooting for you – how lovely is that? Even so, I am wearing lucky knickers, lucky earrings and - anything else I can think of?

And another bit of news – after a lovely day out on Saturday, I am officially in love with boats again. I had a long period of being frightened of being on the water, but as of Saturday – and again Monday afternoon – that is now over. I’d forgotten the exhilaration and freedom that boats can bring. The way my mind empties of everyday worries, and I just concentrate on steering, constantly checking what other boats are coming up, and looking at the way the wind ruffles the water. Even Mollie took to it like a – er – dog to water……

Cue one Flowerpot with a very, very big grin.