Every year in June John and I pack our bags, find someone reliable to look after our three furry feline friends (Tony, my brother in law did the honours this year and he loves the kitties) and set off to Paddington to catch the train to Saltash, just across the River Tamar in Cornwall. We are not “holiday folk” – we don’t “do” holidays as such; just our annual visit to Saltash to visit John’s Mum (now 94!) and his brother Robert and his family to whom we are very grateful for inviting us and driving us around and being the perfect hosts. His son Rupert and partner Nicola come down with their two babies – handsome Cole and absolutely scrumptious Maisy who is a bundle of baby-joy!
Every year we look forward to the trip and are never disappointed – Pat, my sister in law is adamant that we bring the sun with us and judging from our recent trips, she may be right! We mostly got away with it again – it usually poured at night and the days were glorious. The heavens did open for a short while when we were at the Warren Inn on Dartmoor but that was not enough to deter the hardy brigade! We managed to miss the downpour on our way back from Dartmoor to the coast as we were nicely tucked in the car and then the clouds drifted away and the sun shone again – how lucky is that?
John and me on Dartmoor in the rain – magic!
Every year it is the same – we leave on Thursday morning and head back on Monday afternoon – always Thursday and Monday…… that’s the way it is. We love Cornwall and although we have been on this pilgrimage for many years now, it never loses its magic. Traditionally we go for a pub lunch on one of these days to the Warren Inn in Dartmoor and come what may with the weather, we look forward to it and are never disappointed.
This year Robert drove us to Millendreath – a small seaside resort not far from Saltash. He said he hadn’t been there in many years and it was a bit run down when he last visited. Imagine our surprise when we arrived there to find that Millendreath was in the process of a huge regeneration programme which would transform this run down little resort to a haven for holiday makers. As a huge bonus we discovered the only café on the beach was truly out of this world of usual beachside cafés – excellent food, tastefully selected wines and a friendly and willing staff. The Black Rock Café made our day perfect – the memory of that day, basking in the hot June sun, sipping an excellent glass of rosé, looking out to Looe and Looe Island will be something to cherish for a long time and I am already looking forward to our next trip to Millendreath.
John doing Tarzan
Black Rock Cafe
I got chatting to the young chef Matt and told him of the struggling vegans who could barely find anything on menus which catered for our dietary requirements. The day will come when vegan food will be a regular feature on restaurant menus as awareness is growing, and with it the vegan population is on the rise. I was very pleased that he showed an interest and even took details of my blog and said he would check out the recipes. He also promised to produce an excellent meal and cater for vegans provided he was given 24 hours’ notice – isn’t this the attitude you expect from a forward thinking entrepreneur running a business? Well done Matt, and thank you James for serving us with a smile on your face despite the fact that you were extremely busy!
I must tell you a little about the fascinating story of Looe Island – a dream come true for those fearless few who venture forth when most of us can only dream. I was told by my brother-in-law Robert that two adventurous and brave sisters, Evelyn and Babs, bought Looe Island in 1965 and lived there for many years, making it their home, far from the madding crowd. I couldn’t take my eyes of Looe Island from then on, seeing the sisters pottering about in my mind’s eye and thinking how I would love to have the courage to follow in their footsteps. Robert let me borrow the books Evelyn, the elder of the two sisters, wrote called We Bought an Island followed by a sequel Tales from Our Cornish Island. I got half way through We Bought an Island on the train back to London – the sisters were not only heroic, impetuous and simply loved islands, they were almost reckless! But the gods were on their side and eventually their dream became a reality and they bought Looe Island! You can buy both books from Abe Books if you’re interested and I have linked the titles above accordingly. I am sure if you ever dreamt of buying an island, or at least living on one, you will love these books and the intrepid Evelyn and Bab Atkins.
Looe Island on the left and Looe to the right
Another beautiful Cornish holiday stored in our memories to reminisce in years to come. We got back to London and home around 7ish Monday evening. Come Tuesday and I could think of nothing else but a luscious rice one-pot dinner – something tomatoey with potatoes and aubergines? Yes! Luckily the aubergine in the salad drawer was still useable, just, and there were potatoes and rice so the scene was set for a one-pot rice dinner with frills. It took a little longer than most one-pot rice dishes but it was well worth it – the pot was wiped clean by John who is the best person in the world to cook for – always cleans his plate and the pot!
Do give this a go and let me know how you get on. If you have any questions I am happy to help out – honest it is pretty easy, and once you’ve done it, you’ll be throwing one-pot rice meals together like an expert. Bon appétit!