I thought I might use this seasonal challenge as a monthly wrap-up of life in my new county. It might be amusing to see how the year progresses and I’m taking a bit of a risk here. I just hope the Cardinal doesn’t object to my twist on the challenge.

It is very different living in the countryside, though we are not in the least ‘remote’ as it is only a 10 minute drive to the coast and several places with amenities like shops and petrol stations. It just feels remote I guess because we are used to a 5 minute walk to said amenities.

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It’s a lot noisier than I expected too and somewhat smelly. The cattle farm next-door is full of noise. Farm equipment reversing with the interminable noise of those beeps. Cattle lowing and the bulls – well I’m not really sure how to describe the noise they make, but one kept us awake almost the entire night only a few days after we’d moved in. Or perhaps it was a cow giving birth.

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Dairy cows in the field behind Alice. These are not ‘our’ cows.

And then there are the geese flying over at dawn, followed by the crows and a blackbird. I don’t mind the blackbird, I rather like him serenading us as we eat our dinner in the conservatory (if it’s not freezing cold that is) and he reminds me of the one we left behind. Or, maybe, as I have convinced myself, he IS the one we left behind.

Talking about the conservatory. After a dramatic thunderstorm with lightning and hail (yes, hail in Hayle), we found a small-sized swimming pool in the conservatory. As this followed smoke in the linen cupboard, we are now waiting for the plague of frogs. Actually we do seem to have an inordinate number of woodlice – mostly dead ones.

conservatory after

Most of the boxes are unpacked, just waiting for some work to be done so we can put up the bookcases which I have yet to paint. And then we can open all the book boxes stacked up in the dining hall which can then get a dining table! I hope you are following all this, there will be a test at the end. The lounge is a temporary office and the office is a store room at present. It will all come right in the end. I assure myself each day of that as I walk past the book box mountain. And then I can decorate, or get in a man who can. The last time I did some serious decorating (the whole of a Victorian villa) I ended up with a frozen shoulder for two years. And expensive chiropractor bills. Oh, and finally get to hang up pictures that have been stored for the past five years. I can’t even remember what they are now. Or even if I like them.

The weather has been changeable. Typical April showers. Sunshine which actually turns my face pink (how does that happen when the temperature is less than 11°C ?) and lots of rain. Different types of rain. One day we were living in a cloud, and then there is the horizontal rain, and the afore-mentioned hail. I can live with the rain though as the sunny days are superb and most of the time the rain falls at night or early morning and then the rest of the day is fine. Just as long as I remember to close the Velux windows.

A stone’s throw from the hill with a view – you might get sick of photos of this one and our own engine house, the lovely ivy-covered Wheal Alice (seen above with the cows) it is no hardship to actually stay at home. We have, however, managed to escape from the house on a few occasions. To a local pub where they serve very good Sunday roasts with not so good red wine. To St Ives where we parked at the ‘park ‘n ride‘ which is at the top of the town and involves many steps down to the town. Which means many steps back up at some point.

Harbour from above
Harbour from above

We took the shuttle bus, for research purposes naturally. It costs £1.50 return per person (or £1 single) and old fogies like the OH who have got a free bus pass can’t use them. I’m not at all bitter that I won’t get a concessionary bus pass until my state pension age, which keeps shifting ever further into the distance in the hope that I’ll shuffle off this mortal coil before I reach it. In St Ives we had lunch overlooking Porthmeor beach and bought daffodils in the harbour, a loaf of sourdough bread and organic free range eggs before heading to a supermarket (with a sea-view) to buy some more palatable wine.

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St Ives Harbour and Smeaton’s Pier – low tide

We also sought out a nearby farm shop where we spent a lot of money on steak, chicken, Cornish cheeses such as Yarg and St Endelion Brie (both excellent), salad stuff and other bits and pieces which simply leapt into the basket. Followed by a very good flat white coffee in their restaurant and a very nice, but way too sickly lemon pavlova.

After that we walked up the hill again!

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We also crossed country to revisit Godolphin gardens, a National Trust place near Leedstown, which wasn’t looking anywhere near as beautiful as it had last year, but the bluebells made up for it. Though the coffee was a disaster. £2 for a cup of instant tasteless hot water. We’ll stick to the Fentimans Ginger Beer in future.

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Bluebells at Godolphin estate

We then climbed another hill – Godolphin – which has the most incredible views east and west. I’m rather getting into this hill climbing thing, although my hips and knees aren’t quite as fond of them.

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South West towards Trencrom Hill (left) and St Ives (riight)

Looking out of the windows at twilight or dawn makes me realise how lucky I am to be living here. The light is just something else. Also watching a magpie attack a juvenile kestrel in the hedgerow was quite amazing too.

Godrevy Lighthouse and the Hayle estuary
Godrevy Lighthouse and the Hayle estuary

And I have yet to make a start on the garden…

(Above: Some things growing in the garden and many more yet to be identified!)

The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2016 – a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.

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60 thoughts on “Monthly Photo Challenge: April

  1. I will never tire of looking at these wonderful views, and that includes Wheal Alice. I’m surprised to hear that a free bus pass doesn’t necessarily mean you get free bus travel. That’s a rip off! I hope the book box mountain becomes smaller soon.

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  2. I love this post: a real insight into your new life, and magnificent images to boot – especially the expansive ones. You describe everything lovingly (except maybe the boxes of books). The conservatory looks very inviting and the garden area is definitely set to give you (and us) a lot of pleasure. I like your familiarity already with Alice: Wheal has faded. And I don’t mind how many photos of her you take. Pity about the noise, especially the backing bips; and the expensive food that wants to come home with you. I look forward to the monthly update.

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    1. The conservatory is a bot of a pain actually, but I’m sure I will get it sorted and it is a lovely room to sit and ponder in. I find myself watching the birds in the garden for hours! My intention is for it to be my posh potting shed and grow tomatoes and chillies there. We shall see how that progresses!

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  3. Oh my Jude, there is so much in here and I think this might be the first time I’ve discovered your wonderful sense of humour!! 😀

    I’m not even sure where to start with a comment, except that I’m insanely jealous of this new adventure you are on. To be in a new city, new home, on a constant adventure of discovery for the next couple of years! Wow!

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    1. Well Jo, this is part of the risk I was taking with this post. I am not usually so personal in my blogs, but I felt like the new adventure allows me to be a bit different. As for my sense of humour, I am a Yorkshire lass, so it is very dry!

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    1. I think we women of a certain age have been very badly treated. I knew of the change to my pension age when I was about 53 I think, but then when I was 59 suddenly the goal posts moved again by another 18 months so now I’ll be almost 65 before I get a pension. That’s OK if you know and are able to plan beforehand, but this was very sudden and they also changed the number of years you paid NI from 30 to 35. Needless to say I stopped paying at 30 years so stuffed yet again!

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      1. Like you I have known for a few years that my state pension age has gone up, and now I am going to have to wait until I am 66 (however I will not be in the least surprised if that increases again!). I do understand, partly, why it is being done – people are living longer and are fitter and healthier for longer so can have a longer working life, but it does seem wrong that we are losing out. I will also have a teacher’s pension (probably enough to buy me a loaf of bread a month because I have done a lot of part time and supply work!) and I am lucky that for me it has stayed at 60 (although you can still keep working for years and years after that), but that is all in a state of flux too with different arrangements depending on when you started teaching. It’s enough to give you a headache, just thinking about it.

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      2. I have a couple of private pensions, one from the NHS and one from teaching which I received at 60, but they are very small. I couldn’t even pay the council tax bill with one of them! Fortunately the OH is still working and can keep me in the style I am accustomed to – for now 😉

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  4. Jude this is a lovely post, it’s great to read what you’ve been up to and you really made me laugh. Yarg is one of my favourite cheeses, and personally I’m very bitter about not getting a bus pass.
    It looks like your patio is a fair size, what about beyond? I hope you’re recording before and after you start on the garden, even if you don’t post it?

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      1. I’m fairly livid about the fact that my pension age has been changed twice! I am pretty much resigned to the fact that I won’t get a free bus pass. But the fact that someone only 6 months older than me can get her pension 18 months earlier is VERY annoying.

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    1. Thanks Gilly, I am glad that everyone seems to be having a good old giggle over all my traumas! I dare say it will be funny to me in the future, but at the time… anyway, yes to the recording of the garden. I have things sprouting that I have no idea whether they are weeds or flowers so I am keeping an eye on them. The OH has a bet as to how long I go before I buy a plant. Today I bought compost to sow some seeds in, so I reckon it won’t be long, especially as I have now found out where a very good nursery is!

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      1. Close to home or Duchy? I’ve just had a look at their website, hope they haven’t turned themselves into a ‘shopping venue’ type place, it didn’t used to be as manicured as it looks on their site.

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      2. No, though I do want to visit that one too. Burncoose – which also has a garden you can visit. Though there is a nursery even closer, but more like a chain place. I did see several plants I liked at the NT place yesterday too. How I found the will to turn away I shall never know!

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  5. Your new surroundings are beautiful and I’m glad you are settling in. If you’re like me,when you finally get to the book boxes you won’t do anything else because you’ll want to look at them all!

    We get bus passes at 60 here. John, who is working, is now eligible but I’m not till next year even though I’m retired. I suppose it makes sense to someone.

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    1. Oh, Anabel, it took me ages to pack them as I kept looking at books I haven’t looked at for years. The only reason I keep a lot of them is because they are travel books and I figure that when I am too old to travel or visit the library at least I have lots to read!

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  6. Hooray for rule breaking Jude! I hope Cardinal loves your twist on his challenge. It’s a kind of Mrs. Harley’s Diary crossed with The Archers. I love it! 🙂 🙂

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  7. Right. As soon as your guest bedroom stops being the kitchen (or whatever), I’m coming for a visit. I’ll bring a walking pole and good boots.

    This is a wonderful post, Jude. Fab photos and I laughed like anything. Is the farm shop owned by New Zealanders?

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  8. My bus pass doesn’t work on the park and ride either. It is operated by the city, not the bus company, which is the reason. The pension age thing is very annoying. I just scraped in, so will get the ‘revised’ pension next year. Just as well, as I paid NI for over forty years! Julie has to wait until she is 67, so done out of a full seven years!

    Your surroundings are lovely of course, and the ten minutes by car to everywhere is very familiar to us in Beetley. We also hit the farm shops when we moved here, but the silly prices stopped us ever going back. My books are still in boxes after four years, and like you, decorating is now almost beyond my physical capabilities. At least you can still walk up and down the hills. We don’t have any to test that on.

    Carry on discovering and enjoying, rain or not. (Light snow and hail here this morning. I’m not surprised…)
    Regards as always, Pete. x

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    1. I may be able to get up and down the hills, but crouching down to photograph from below is proving a challenge, my knees are not happy so I think I shall have to start taking more landscape photos!

      And yes, some of the prices in the farm shop are higher than the supermarket, but I’ll probably go back for some of the fresh produce, until I find a more local butcher.

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    2. Oh, and thanks for explaining the park ‘n ride thing too. That’s rather annoying when they want you to park outside the town – the fare should be free for everyone I think or included in the parking fee.

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      1. Norwich park and ride is free to park in, but the return bus fare to the city is £3.50. It works out a lot cheaper than parking in the multi-storey, but I tend to get the bus all the way, from Dereham. I agree that park and ride should be free, or at least subsidised by the businesses that attract those using it. But in this commercial climate, that’s unlikely to happen anywhere. x

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  9. Wow what a magnificent place you have moved to Jude. Well save for the agricultural opera going on day and night. I think you shall be getting lots of exercise gathering magnificent photos for us. Sending hugs across the miles and sedatives for the livestock. 🙂

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  10. Lovely shots and it’s so nice that you’ve got your own house. I’d love to have a house and a garden where i could fix this and that. The weather has been changeable here too, but since I’m living close to the city center I don’t have to deal with cows giving birth. I have, on two occasions the last month, dealt with some noise neighbors that were partying… I guess the cows don’t party that much.

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    1. I think I prefer the cows to noisy neighbours who party all night long. And at least now they are in the fields and it is lovely to see the little uns running around and chasing each other.

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  11. Wow…those views! I would love to have those, so beautiful. It is wetter in the West Country, living close to the Somerset Levels I can testify to that! As for Cornish Yarg, one of my absolute favourite cheeses. What a gorgeous place you’ve found, the long wait was well worth it, leaks or no leaks 😉 So when can I come and visit you Jude, LOL 😀

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    1. The views are wonderful Sherri, I am loving watching the clouds and the sky! Hadn’t realised how much I missed seeing the sky. I’ll let you know when the room is ready for you 😉

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  12. I’m so pleased you have given us this insight to your little piece of paradise Jude. I would happily house swap with you and being a Yorkshire lass and worked on farms for many years the back ground noises would make me feel right at home. The conservatory looks so light and airy it would be ideal for growing tomatoes. The view out to the garden looks as though you will be busy for a while getting it into shape. I was fortunate they moved the pension goalposts back just after I got to the required age. It changed 2 months later…

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    1. You’d love it here PP. Feels very New Zealand to me with the green, green grass and gentle hills, the cows, the sheep, the clouds, the light on the sea (though the colour of the water is not that cloudy, milky turquoise). I might try tomatoes and peppers inside, but it gets very hot! I’m already making lists of plants for the garden, but this year is mainly going to be watching what comes up and where the sun shines.

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  13. Glad to hear you’re settling in Jude. A few teething troubles that I’m sure will be sorted in no time at all but there’s always something isn’t there?. Superb images! 🙂

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