Padstow Obby Oss 2016

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Every year Padstowians return from all over the world to participate in their annual celebrations. With the event falling on a public holiday this year it seemed too good an opportunity for me to tick this event off My Bucket List.

As with any long weekend the weather forecast was rubbish! However, with clear blue skies and full sun promised by the afternoon we decided that we would try and catch some of the afternoon celebrations.

Having struggled in the past to park in Padstow we also took the option to tick a second item off My Bucket List and decided to cycle the 6 miles along the Camel Trail from Wadebridge. This ended up working really well and added to the whole day out.

After arriving into Padstow around 2.30pm we set off to try and find one of the ossess – this is no easy task. As the route isn’t published it is a matter of either watching them enter or leave their stables, asking someone dressed in white whether they actually have any idea where they are  or stumble across them by accident.

The parades are not just limited to the harbour area and although slow can travel to the far edges of the town so it took us quite a while to locate the Blue Oss which had headed up to Prideaux Place. The processions are accompanied by drums and accordions and led by “Teasers”. The tune is catchy and was in my head for the rest of the day.

In the evening the two ossess come together around the May Pole. By this time we had already left but I can imagine this must be one of the highlights of the day and something we could try to see in the future.

As the weather had been miserable around the middle of the day the crowds were smaller than they would have been had it been dry and this meant that it wasn’t horrendously  busy so it was easy to find a spot to watch.

Apart from the processions there was a reasonably sized fairground and of course the normal wide range of food offerings throughout the town. There isn’t however any of the normal event markets or much else. It does seem like a wasted opportunity but the celebrations bring in big enough crowds without the organisers needing to put on anything else.

I certainly would recommend that everyone visits Obby Oss once in their life and if the weather gods are good next year we might just go again.

 

 

 

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Porthleven Food Festival 2016

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Events held in April always run the risk of being ruined by the wind and rain, but this years Porthleven Food Festival was blessed with near perfect weather. The festival hadn’t made my bucket list because I had visited four years ago, but watching from a distance it was growing into one of Cornwall’s must do events of the year with over 30,000 visitors making it worth another visit and therefore had made one of my Things to Do in April.

There have been a number of improvements since my last visit, including an extra tent for the food demos and this year a new literary element and extra stage showcasing local chefs. The town was busy, but not rammed and there was a great buzz around the Harbour. In fact I would say that the organisers have got the balance absolutely right and have somehow managed despite the growth over the past seven years, to retain a real community feel to the event.

With nearly 100 stalls showcasing foods from all over the world your hardest decision of the day will be what to have to eat! I had a Morocon Chicken Curry with coconut rice from Kaites Cornish Hot Pots (£6 per portion) – it was a lovely warming dish full of flavour.  We also treated ourselves to some chocolate covered marshmallows from Chocolate Kisses (£1 each) – yum yum!

I was a little disappointed with the childrens area. I know that food festivals are generally targeted at adults without children but there seemed from the pre event marketing to be enough to keep my two engaged. Apart from the circus tent manned by Swamp Circus the only other activities were charged fairground rides, even at the “Free” craft session we were asked for a donation (but there didn’t seem to be much option not to donate the requested £1 which seemed a little steep for the mask making on offer). There were no children related food elements that we came across such as make your own pizza or potato printing. I don’t mind paying for things but I’m not a huge fan of fairgrounds and there was little else on offer.

This was my second visit to the festival with children in tow – next time I will leave them at home – therefore I can’t classify the event as Family Friendly – its not that you can’t take them its just they do feel a bit of an after thought and tucked out of the way. Saying that the organisers have developed a festival that is well worth a visit and you certainly don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy it.

Have you been before? Did you go? I would love to know what you thought?

www.porthlevenfoodfestival.com

 

Kennall Vale

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I love Facebook. I love how I can keep in touch with people who I don’t get to see. And I love discovering new places recommended by friends. Cornwall is the most beautiful part of the country and there are so many hidden gems, but despite being less than 15 minutes from home I had never visited Kennall Vale before. The woods made my bucket list because I had seen so many pictures of my Facebook friends enjoying walks and the stunning setting.

After an abandoned attempt to tick this off my list in the Easter Holidays (as part of my Things to Do – March 2016 post) because the weather was sooooo bad, we had a near perfect set of conditions for my first visit. Although sunny and dry on the day, it had absolutely tipped it down the day before and the run off from the rain meant the rivers and man made waterfalls were fast flowing.

The reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust is the site of  the old Kennel Vale gunpowder factory which closed in the first decade of the last century. The ruins provide stunning interest points and places for children (and adults) to explore. There are bridges over the streams to play pooh sticks and plenty of places to get close to nature.

We will definitely go back. The first bluebells were starting to show and I can only imagine how beautiful they must be in full bloom.

There isn’t a car park and you have to park in the nearby residential lanes – but at least that means no car park charges!

When I got home I posted some photos of my visit on my own Facebook page and guess what …….. A friend commented that it looked so amazing she was going to visit – I love Facebook!

www.wildlifetrusts.org/reserves/kennall-vale

 

 

 

 

Ben Anslies Gold Post Box

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To commemorate the gold medal winners at the 2012 Olympics, various postboxes around the UK, were repainted from their traditional red into gold. Originally intended to be a temporary measure, it was later decided the colour change would become a permanent tribute, with boxes additionally receiving their own special plaques. In Cornwall there are two boxes including one of the first to be painted in Penzance for Helen Glover, to commemorate her medal in the women’s coxless pair rowing alongside Heather Stanning, the second is in the wall of the Pandora Inn and painted in honour of Ben Ainslie. I love this legacy from the Olympics and I can’t believe that I have only just managed to see one of them with the next games nearly upon us. An added bonus for Ben’s post box – it’s the perfect excuse to visit the Pandora Inn!

Note to Royal Mail – it is looking a bit rusty and could do with a touch up!

Mousehole Lights

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After weeks of bad weather the Mousehole lights switch on had a perfect forecast and so we decided to check out the display and sing some carols at the same time (the only trouble was nearly 5,000 other people had the same idea!). It was too busy – the queues to get food were over an hour – you were squeezed in around the harbour and there were delays getting the lights switched on. So it wasn’t really the best experience however, the lights were impressive and it will certainly be worth a return journey in the future – we just might avoid the actual switch on!

Padstow Christmas Festival

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Food, markets, Christmas what isn’t there to love about that combination! I managed to get to the festival early and was lucky to get a seat to watch the amazing local boy Nathan Outlaw open the 8th Padstow Christmas Festival alongside the lovely Daphne Skinnard from BBC Cornwall (I would love her job she just seems to get invited to all the fun things). It was busy and the weather was rubbish but there was a lovely atmosphere and I would totally recommend a visit (but perhaps don’t do your shopping – the prices seemed more expensive than other markets selling the same products). Oh another thing – they empty the Chefs Theatre after every demonstration and you need a ticket to get in – just make sure you plan who you want to see before you get there.