Walk around Huelgoat lake

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m writing this whilst sitting in my garden after a day of doing nothing. Our first week was about decompressing, the three middle weeks were about house renovations and the last week is all for us to just enjoy our surroundings.

Yesterday, we hosted afternoon tea, nibbles, home made food and a few drinks for guests and had a lovely time. This afternoon, we visited more friends and sat in the very warm garden and chatted and had a catch up. We had a leisurely home cooked supper and then took ourselves out for a walk around the lake.

We do this walk most warm evenings. It’s a bit long for our old dogs so we walk them before supper and walk ourselves afterwards.

It looks bigger than it is. It’s an hour’s walk and with the exception of our house being at the top of a hill; it’s mainly flat.

Back towards the village.

Tonight people were fishing on the lake although I’ve never seen any fish.

On the south side of the lake, up a side street is the abandoned isolation hospital which closed a long time ago. It’s beautifully creepy.

Back out into the golden light as the sun was setting.

The hotel is in front of our house. Look straight above the two right hand chimneys and there’s our house on the hill.

The lakeside.

Golden reflections on a golden evening.

We aim to get out and about and visit places. Of course, I’ll share it with you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx


Frugal Anniversary

Hello Dear Reader,

Dearly Beloved and I have been together for eighteen years but married two years ago. Here’s where I shared my very thrifty wedding with you. There was no decorating or curtain making today.

We went for a day out at Mount Edgecumbe where the house and gardens were open to the public. It is a very affordable day out. The grounds are free and it’s £2 to park all day. We even managed to pass our parking ticket on before we left so someone else got free parking.

The military vehicle trust were having an open day in the park land and that was totally free to go an see. I don’t normally like displays of vehicles but I really enjoyed the history of what some of these vehicles had seen. The owners really get into the spirit and dress up. They are very welcoming and let people and children climb inside the vehicles and have a good look.

Mount Edgecumbe country park is in Cornwall and directly opposite Plymouth on the river that divided the two counties. This wonderful building is the Royal William Yard if you get the chance call into the bakery for a really affordable lunch and coffee. There are all sorts of posh places in there to eat but that humble bakery really is worth the visit.

Here, I’m standing in Cornwall and the opposite side is Devon. Sorry about the light, but the clouds didn’t clear all day and there wasn’t much light.

 The garden are just delightful. The park is jointly owned by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council and the house and grounds are a credit to them.

 The hedges turn parts of the garden into ‘rooms’ these are great places for children (and Froogs) to play and are full of hiding places. Families come to the grounds, estate and gardens for a day out and bring their dogs, plenty to play with and picnics. If you ever go to Cornwall, then it’s really worth a visit. Other than paying to park, you can have a day out for free.

Me, just playing!

I loved the flowers.

I loved the sense of theatre about today. Here’s a bunch of chaps, who’ve set up camp and are dressed and acting as Germans. They were happily opposite a bunch, dressed up and set up in camp as if they were Americans. It’s a funny hobby but the chaps all seemed to be having a great time. They have original tents, camp beds and equipment including field wood stoves and the smell was really original too.

 Their vehicles and below ‘Camp America’. All around were buckets next to displays raising money for Combat Stress and Help for Heroes. With so many visitors, over the last few days, I’m sure they’ve raised plenty of money.

 These ladies were so entertaining. We sat outside the ‘tea tent’ with mugs of coffee and listened to them. As I approached, and before I could see them, I was convinced that the music was recorded as it was so good. It was just lovely to take a while over a coffee and listen to the songs of the 40’s

We had a good look around the stalls selling craft items and vintage clothes. I tried to convince Dearly Beloved to try on a Harris Tweed jacket, but he was having none of it!

Normally, the entrance fee to the house is £7 but it was only £3 today so we went in. It’s relatively small but it was great to see inside. We used to travel on the passenger ferry from Plymouth to Cremyll and take the children for a picnic in the grounds when they were young and we lived in Plymouth. We could never afford to look around the house then. It’s open to the public as a wedding venue and I’m sure it’s a lovely place to get married. 

Yes, that is a Spitfire behind me! 

Days out do not have to be posh, they don’t need a fancy meal in a restaurant and they can be a coffee whilst listening to songs from the 1940’s and walk around a beautiful park with a bit of recent history thrown in.

We came home to some ‘ding cuisine’ of a meal I’d prepared last night.

Oh, and guess what? We’re going out tomorrow as well!

Come back and I will share another thrifty day out with you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Walk with me?

 Hello Dear Reader,

Start your walk by heading to the Cliff path due north of Trevarrian, between Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay, when you get there…..head for Watergate Bay and be prepared for mud, sheep, steep climbs and sweeping vistas! 

We packed a picnic and coffee for three and headed off to spend a few hours and a walk with a friend and colleague who has a caravan on the north coast. We had a pot of tea and then set off.

The coast path is maintained by the National Trust and is open to every one. We exchanged cheery hellos with everyone we passed and walked far too close to the edge but couldn’t take our eyes off the views.

There wasn’t much surf today, what there was was blown out and no ‘clean waves’. 

I would like to report that we saw loads of bumble bees who love these flowers.

Believe it or not, people carry surf board down the incredibly steep slopes to get to this tiny cove. 

There were lots of places to sit, take in the air and get our breath back.

 This is typical of the gradients of the walk but the views are worth it.

See what I mean?

Views, views, views and more views. Above is the view from behind and below is what we could see as we walked towards Watergate Bay. We avoided Watergate Bay today, polo on the beach………….wall to wall designer wellies, Range Rovers,  Barbour jackets and Veuve Clicquot! I would have loved to have seen the polo ponies but could do without most of Kensington and Chelsea on the beach!

I had to share this sight with you and give you the full narrative. As you walk along the cliff path, you will pass barefoot, bare chested, running surfers who are trying to make it to the waves before they blow out, the tide turns or the wind gets up or dies down. They always run. On the one hand it’s a sporting warm up and on the other it’s a desperate need to make it to the best waves. I wanted to tell them it was messy and blown out and not to bother, but they ran off in a blur before I had the chance. 

They looked hard core with their retro single fin boards and if you look very, very closely at the picture below you will just see them clambering down the cliffs to get to the waves. We passed many more surfers/runners and watched some of the surfers catch some waves but mostly they spent their time paddling out to disappointment. 

This is a perfect day out for me. Lunch on a picnic table on a campsite with a friend, a long winding circular walk and perfect weather. We spent the afternoon in the garden and had tea on the patio. A perfect day out with no money spent!

Over to you Dear Reader. Any surfers or bodyboarders? (I’m one of the latter) Has anyone else been to or familiar with North Cornwall? Who else has had a perfect no spend day? I also thought I would share Dolly’s dirty face……she loves digging and snuffling……..maybe I could train her to hunt for truffles?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx

Spring Cornish Flowers

Hello Dear Reader,

Another day and another day out! I was invited by Radio Cornwall to the Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel. I’m not one to turn down a free day out so off we went. 

Boconnoc is a country estate close to us and it hosts a variety of out door activities throughout the year and this is the first time we’ve ever been. As I had an invite, I was able to bypass the queues and drive straight down to the house and walk into the show. We were able to get in by nine in the morning all in exchange for a bit of ‘meet and greet’ with the public. Thanks to everyone who came up for a chat and thanks to the Garden Society for allowing me to come as a guest of Radio Cornwall.

The flower show was a combination of competitions for amateur and professional horticulturalists and a garden trade show. There were a multitude of Cornish food suppliers, all of whom wanted to give free samples. Musicians were dotted around the show and there were plenty of seats to sit and enjoy the sun. As usual, the question I asked myself was why haven’t we been to this before?

Dearly Beloved and I spent an age drooling over some amazing plants which were on sale direct from local growers. They lavished us with time and attention and we were able to describe our hot, south facing, hilly and dry garden and let them know we wanted lots of colour, flowers and to know all we could about plants. Whenever we go to France, I’m amazed at Agapanthus growing in sandy soil right by the beach and wonder how they survive the wind, elements and stormy winters. We found some mature plants, grown in Yorkshire and brought to the show by growers who just specialise in hardy plants that will weather our winters and bloom again the next year. All the plants were far cheaper than I’ve ever seen anywhere before and we were happy with out plant choices and the advice we were given. 

Not sounding very frugal? All of us who save money and are careful with our budgets have a reason to save money and reasons when to spend. They were frugal purchases as they were quality hardy plants that won’t die at the first frost and they were cheaper than plants I’ve seen anywhere. We take great pride in our gardens here in Cornwall and a well stocked garden adds to the value of a property.

The competition flower displays were not at their best. They were set up last night and a hard frost swept through the valley and many of the flowers froze as did the water in their vases. In spite of that, I had ample opportunity to swoon over some very needed colour. I’ve not one flower out in my hilly garden yet. My Camelias and Rhodedendrons are in in bud but they are late due to the really cold weather.

I’m wrapped up in all the photos but the day just kept getting warmer until we were walking around in shirt sleeves. We took a picnic and found some grass and ate our lunch in the sunshine.

We left at one and came home full of enthusiasm to get on and do some work in our own garden. I had to move some plants around as some borders have become crowded and we’ve hard pruned a lot of shrubs as they have become ‘leggy’ and we can do without them this year so they are healthier in the future. After much digging, shifting and weeding, I now have a flower border of Agapanthus and Peonies with taller shrubs (though much pruned) at the back, corners filled with Hydrangeas, a border of lupins with a back drop of towering bamboo and mature Camelias. You’ll have to wait until mid summer to see the benefit of our work today. 

No Vegetables? I hear you cry. My garden is on a hilly slope and gets a lot of shade from neighbouring trees, doesn’t have anywhere flat or easy for veggies and I have to spend hours carrying water to plants so I’ve decided to focus on making the garden beautiful instead of edible. Not frugal, I hear you say. Don’t forget I want to sell my house one day, so an established and visually pleasing garden will make it more appealing to buyers. Also, I’ll admit, I need colour and beauty in my life as it feeds my soul.

We’re not going anywhere on holiday this year so days out to local events like this are a great alternative. We’ll be working in our garden for the next few days and hope to have it ready to bloom soon. I’m also going to make sure I go to more local events and I’ve convinced myself that they are worth the entrance fee. I’m shattered from two days of walking, looking, oooing and aaaahing at beautiful and lovely things. I have no nails left from gardening but I know the effects are going to be worth it.

Over to you. Who goes to the local events? What happens in your area? Any keen gardeners? I’d love to hear from gardeners around the world and find out what grows in your gardens. Anyone a member of a garden society (never heard of it until today). Who else wants to admit that flowers lift their soul?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxx

Golitha Falls – Free Days Out in Cornwall

 Hello Dear Reader

You’ll not be surprised to know that these are my favourite shoes. I hate being motionless or trapped indoors and feel that part of my day should always be spent being physical and even better so if that’s outside. A good pair of walking shoes or boots are an essential part of my ‘wardrobe’ and if you are looking for some cheap but good walking shoes then Lidl have THESE on sale this Thursday with shoes from size 4 upwards.

As I like to encourage people to get out and get active, my recommendation for another free day out in Cornwall is the nature reserve at Golitha Falls near Dobwalls in Cornwall. Some of the paths are flat, some hilly and some are a hands and knees scrabble. My inner child loves to climb mossy banks and scramble down almost impassable paths or even skid and slide to the bottom and just remain up right when I get there. It’s a short walk along the River Fowey as it descends towards Two Waters Foot. It’s deep enough for swimming in the summer but always remains icy cold.

The woodland has suffered over a very wet winter and many trees were down and being cleared. Tree roots are exposed to the point that it looks as if the trees are about to pull themselves out of the ground and walk away.

You’ll need proper walking shoes if you’re tramping about in woodlands. 

Typical of me, I always have to lead from the front and expect everyone to keep up with me!

The ‘falls’ are further on but I decided to sit and feel the spray of the water.

It’s a magical place.

Me, needing to run around a bit!

Me, needing to climb a bit!

And yes, that is the path out of the valley to the top of the woodland. It isn’t as steep as it looks.

When you visit Cornwall, get off the tourist trail. Get to the nature reserves, moors, cliff paths and find the real mossy, dark and mysterious Cornwall. It isn’t to be found in a tea room or gift shop.

Over to you. Who else got out and about on Bank Holiday Monday? Who else put some miles on their books? I’m a great believer that any problem can be rectified with a good walk? Anyone in the South West up for a bloggy meet up and ramble of a few miles?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxx

Free days out in Cornwall

 Hello Dear Reader,

Mercifully, there has been a break in the weather today and we went out for a walk on Bodmin Moor which is a ten minute drive from our house. We headed first to the Hurlers (ancient monument 1500BC) and then on to the Cheesewring. From Minions car park to the Cheesewring is a slow 25 minute walk but we pounded the trail in 15 minutes. We’ve both got long legs.

Standard shot of Froogs on one of the Hurlers.

It’s an easy walk and the moor is bone dry and easy to cross at the moment. It’s like a sponge and can hide ankle sucking bogs.

Froogs on top of the stones taking in a view as far as the eye can see.

Ever the poseur.

Open moorland is common land and anyone can walk on it.

Don’t let the sunshine deceive you, it was seven degrees in the wind out there. We kept moving to keep warm.

Descending the stones and looking up. The shape is just from wind erosion that has exposed the stones and then sculpted them with weather.

The moor was a working quarry until the first world war (my dad’s grandad worked there) and all around are decaying ruins of building that were once industrial.

The tracks across the moors are routes and the only access to isolated farms. I would love to live out here.

 We crossed the moor from the Cheesewring (the rocky outcrop in the distance) to the quarry on the other side.

Rods of irons can still be found poking out of rocks where man power was used to break the granite apart. 

Almost back again and I opted for a moment of ‘sunbathing’. The circular walk, starting from Minions car park (free), to the Cheesewring, over to the Quarry and back again took us a very leisurely 90 minutes. Anyone can make it to the top of either. Lots of elderly people do it, babies in back packs and toddlers clambering with fierce independence make it up there. If you are in Cornwall, shun the expensive tourist attractions, get as map and get walking. There are plenty of days out without a gift shop in sight. Here’s a great link to some more walks in my area. 

If you’re my way, just email me before you come down and there will always be a cup of tea for you at my place. 

Finally…………..this will test if people read to the end! I’ve cleared out and tidied my sewing room. I have a box of off cuts that any one can have. There’s more than enough here to make a completely random scrappy quilt. Keep sewing random shapes together and then use a 10″ template to cut into squares and then sew together. I’ve included practise blocks where I’ve learn a new block, orphan blocks that were surplus to requirement and a few odds and ends. I don’t want this to go to landfill so if you want it all and you’re in the UK (sorry peeps – it’s heavy) then leave a message and I’ll enter you in a draw and pull a name out of something hattish on Monday night. Oh……and if you’re not a follower then you’ll need to be to be in the draw. I’ll keep filling the box right to the top too! Good Luck!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Blog Awards goodie bag giveaway and cheaper train fares.

Hello Dear Reader,

What a night! The best bit was meeting some lovely people who also write blogs. I also discovered many blogs which are really interesting and inspirational. I didn’t feel out of place and felt glamorous and ladylike.

It was a difficult night as my hearing can not cope with a fog of voices and in the end, I just had to sit and smile in my own little world of semi-deafness. It’s always good to see people enjoying themselves!

I came away with this lovely trophy and we were all given a goodie bag. I’ve kept the rubber gloves, candle and shower gel but the rest, including the Parentdish bag is up for grabs in a give away. Here’s what I’m giving away in an attempt to share a bit of the Blog awards with everyone: Make up primer, a child’s animal headband, toddler toiletries, multi-vitamins, a child’s stationery set, a cool bag and an animal print scarf.  Please sign up and become a follower and/or leave a comment and I will draw a name out of something hattish on Sunday night and get it all in the post as soon as I can. 

I was determined to get to the Blog awards and I’m really glad I did. If you shop around travel can be affordable and here’s how I saved money on my travel and accommodation. I started with the usual internet search for advance train fares and found nothing cheaper than £47 for one way from Plymouth to London. It didn’t matter who we bought it from, that’s what it cost. With that in mind, I just bought it at the station a few weeks in advance. I was offered first class for £18 extra  if I travelled at 3pm, which was the cheapest time to travel that day. I decided to use that option as first class comes with lots of extras. To start, there are 25% fewer seats per carriage so the seats are bigger, they recline and it’s quiet. You also get certain food and drink for free. I milked that one! All soft drinks, fruit, sandwiches, crisps ect were complimentary as were newspapers. I had lunch! Sandwich, yoghurt, tea and a cake. She came back every half hour and I had the same again………..that’s all in our fridge for lunch today! (Just imagine Peter Kay at the wedding buffet……..you’ve got to get your money’s worth). If you were going to London for the day and used this service, you could get all your food for the day! I know it doesn’t amount to the extra £18 but it was a very comfortable journey. If I had bought the First Class train ticket on the day, it would have cost £185….I think £65 advance fare was a good deal.

The return journey was a total bargain. I could have stayed at the hotel and the cheapest price was £99, which is quite a good deal but the Saturday train fares were very expensive. I came back on the Night Riviera Sleeper train. The compartment is a tiny tiny room! It was perfectly adequate for what I paid. I paid the full price of £51 for London to Liskeard. I got the train ride home in my own little room with a TV and a comfy bed with crisp cotton sheets and wool blankets. This also gave me drinks and papers on board,  a morning wakeup and breakfast in bed in the morning. Single travellers might have to share with someone of the same sex but I banked on there not being many single women travellers using the Night Riviera and I got the room to myself! I had a room next to the loo which was handy for the morning. The atmosphere on the train was lovely and there was a special car just for the sleeper passenger where the staff brought hot drinks. When you are in your cabin, you can press a buzzer and they will bring you a hot drink (soft drinks were in with the price) to your room. My breakfast of a bacon roll and a pot of tea was brought to me in the morning. I thought the service was brilliant considering how little I paid. My journey up in First Class and back in the Sleeper Service, which is also First Class, including my accommodation came to £116. That’s a lot of money but I felt the train company did a very good job to look after us. 

I had a great night out and didn’t let myself down in my charity shop dress and didn’t break the bank with travel costs. I’m totally indebted to a dear old friend from Cornwall, who lives and works in London as a cabbie who transported me to and from Paddington station at no cost. Most of all, I’m indebted to all the people who voted for me – many, many thanks xx

Love Froogs xxxx

Tour of Britain – Barnstable to Dartmouth.

Hello Dear Reader,

Above is Froogs on the look out for the Tour of Britain. We met up with friends and their children and walked out of their moorland village to find a good vantage point to watch the tour. 

The boys had great fun waving at the police and support vehicles.

 Even the safety bikes gave up a wave. As the race came nearer, we could hear the helicopter filming the race approaching and knew they had made it up the nine mile climb across Dartmoor. They were on their way. We had chosen a narrow spot with high walls to sit on to get a good view.

The speed they travelled and the ‘whoosh’ as they went be was amazing. First, came ten break away riders.

Then their support vehicles.

More friendly police as they escorted the pelaton.

I love to see the film crews hanging off the back of motor bikes.

In a blink…………..they were on their way across the moors as they headed south to Dartmouth.

We cheered on the back of the race. After all, they’d cycled from Barnstable. We cheered for everyone, no favourites, just wanted to wish the athletes a happy passage through Devon.

We drove across Dartmoor from Tavistock and by ten o clock this morning, the moorland route was lined and I’m glad we found our small patch without crowds to be there to cheer the cyclists onwards. I was exciting to see the race and now I’m just looking forward to next year.

Sporting events are normally beyond our budget (I used to enjoy watching Plymouth Albion and Plymouth Raiders) but this was free and certainly exciting to see.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx