May Point to Point Family Fun in Cornwall

Posted on June 8th, 2018 - Fiona

On a lovely sunny day in May what could be better than a little fun and a flutter on the horses? We are not big gamblers but love the atmosphere, a good deal of family banter and the outside hope of possibly coming home up on the day with some winnings. It was with Ally, Theo and Guy that we set off for the May Point to Point at St Columb Major about 30 minutes from Coombe Mill.

May Point to Point Family Fun in Cornwall

 

The location was perfect, set high up with a great view from the fields around the course. We ended up parking in the centre of the racecourse giving us the option of watching from the boot of the car or up on the grassy hill. The first job was to try and glean a little information by purchasing a race card.

 

Buying race cards at St Columb Point to Point

 

A day out with teenage boys means food before they can think about anything else so we delved into our picnic. It was a rather unsophisticated affair compared to the family next to us with their picnic basket and champagne – next time!  

 

picnic at the races

 

Refuelled, and not much wiser from studying the race card, we trekked up across the course to the parade ring where the boys had me laughing so much with their banterful exchanges on why each horse should win.

 

Studing the horses in the parade ring

 

Decisions made we placed our bets with the bookies, a grand £1 on the nose from the boys and £5 from Nick for us. I did say we weren’t big gamblers! It is all about the fun of the day.  Watching the boys with Nick always makes me smile.  Theo towers over his Dad and Ally is much stronger, however they have a lovely relationship that is great to watch.

 

Placing bets at the races

 

We settled down to watch the race each with our hopes pinned on a horse. Everyone there had a great view and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

 

May Point to Point Family Fun in Cornwall

 

In total we stayed for 5 races moving between the parade ring, the hillside and the boot of the car. I haven’t laughed so much in ages as we each bigged up our horses to win, but actually lost on every race.  Thank goodness we really aren’t big gamblers!  

 

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If you are down with us it is worth looking into the local point to point races. They are very family friendly and a great day out. I may have teens now but mine have enjoyed the races with us since a young age. I couldn’t help but capture these girls who were having a wonderful time between races rolling down the hill.

 

Rolling down the grass slopes

Facilities at  May Point to Point at St Columb Major

  • Entrance fee £10. Under 16’s are free.
  • Field Parking
  • Hog Roast baps and cake stall
  • Ice cream van
  • Indoor shed for wet weather
  • Potaloos – basic but functional!

 

Top Tips for Point to point local country races

  • Wear wellies or boots especially if it is damp
  • Be careful where you park if the ground is damp, especially without a 4 wheel drive car, there was no problem when we visited.
  • Bring a picnic rug to sit on (we forgot)
  • It is a perfect picnic opportunity but take your wrappings home as animals graze the fields.
  • Never bet more than you are happy to lose!   
  • Take layers, even on a sunny day the wind up on the racecourse fields can catch you out.

Funnily enough I’ve just finished reading a book that takes racing to it’s highest level. It’s a great read if you have any interest in the sport,  horses in general, or love a good fiction book with some real twists in the story. It’s called Citizen by Charlie Brooks   

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Birthday Beach Day Through the Mist

Posted on June 1st, 2018 - Fiona

It was our eldest son Alistair’s 20th birthday and the bank holiday weekend. His favourite past time is surfing and the heat wave, the bank holiday and his birthday all fell on a day of great surf. It was pretty much a done deal that we would be a birthday beach day. There was only two flaws in the plan, one was that the temperature fell from a gorgeous 24 degrees at Coombe Mill to just 14 at the beach under the mist from the sea, the other was that we were far from the only ones heading to the beach.  In the end neither turned out to spoil our enjoyment.

 

Birthday beach day through the mist

 

In the end it was Ally, Clio Jed and I that headed out after the feed run in search of the surf. Theo and Felix have GCSE’s and A levels fast approaching requiring reluctant revision and Guy was exhausted from a sleepover. We have a well oiled routine at busy times of year where by the kids carry the stuff onto the beach while I go off and park the car.  I get the raw deal on this as they are always changed and heading to the waves as I arrive.

 

Surf boards and kids go into the sea

 

The sea mist was visibly rolling across the beach and the cliffs came and disappeared from view. It was very atmospheric and before going into the water I stopped to capture a few photos.

 

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Down at the water’s edge I tried to find the kids but there were so many in the sea all in wetsuits it was almost impossible. I came back with so many photos of kids surfing I felt sure I’d have one of them all but in the end it was only Jed I had correctly identified!  I suspect Ally was too far out for me to see but he assured me he caught some great waves and stayed in the longest.

 

Jed surfing at Polzeath

 

I couldn’t resist a little stylised shot of my drained coffee mug before heading in to the water myself.

 

Coombe Mill Holidays mug at beach

 

Usually I like to hang around on the beach and warm up but it was too cold for that when we knew Coombe Mill was most likely still in full sun and anyway Jed had left the football he brought in the car. Using my coffee mug for a game of catch was not going to end well so I soon called Clio and Jed over as I saw Ally finally emerge from the water.

 

Teens on the beach

 

Driving back inland we soon left the sea mist behind and watched the temperature creep back up again. Sure enough it was still 20 degrees and beautiful back on the farm. Clio and Ally flaked out on the trampoline making up for the sunbathing time they missed at the beach.

 

Sunbathing on the trampoline

 

 I caught up with Guy and the guests over at the train and they all confirmed it had indeed been beautiful all day on the farm and they had enjoyed paddling in the river here.  It is hard to believe it was just gone 6pm at the start of May and everyone was in short sleeves.

 

Coombe Mill Train in the sun

 

A family meal with everyone back home and of course a homemade birthday cake for Ally made the day just perfect.

 

Happy 20th birthday Cake  

 

I do hope the gorgeous bank holiday weekend was just a taste of what’s to come this summer. I never tire of beach days.  

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Embracing my midlife crisis

Posted on April 28th, 2018 - Fiona

This time of year is birthday season in our house. My triplets have just celebrated their 14th birthday and my eldest is about to turn 20. We spent a lovely day in Plymouth with the triplets last weekend having lunch out, shopping and them ice skating for the kids and car shopping for Nick and me. It was a beautiful day and we walked to the car showroom round the Barbican and harbour soaking up the sun and the boats. Why the midlife crisis you may ask. Well that’s what my kids have dubbed it since it is a soft top I’m after as a late 50th present to myself. The weather the past couple of weeks has really pushed my soft top craving up the agenda and on Thursday evening I took ownership of an old SAAB convertible. Despite laughing at me and telling me SAAB is a real old persons car, my two eldest couldn’t wait to give it a spin and Theo has declared it perfect for him to learn to drive in. I know I will be fighting to drive my own car on a sunny day from here on in. Fingers crossed I haven’t put a curse on the summer weather now for everyone! I have checked my golf clubs fit in the boot and even my body board and beach kit so I am all set as a middle aged poser.

Nick and I are off on a little weekend away right now in my new car complete with twin sets of golf clubs while our kids manage the business. I have to say if this is having midlife crisis I can thoroughly recommend it!

Plymouth Barbican seafront in the summer sun last weekend.

Plymouth Waterfront

The end of a beautiful day on the golf course.

Golf course at sunset

Driving out in my gorgeous new car dubbed my midlife crisis.

My new car

 

All the photos this week are simple iPhone snaps out and about. I’ll return to a more farm focus next week which incidentally is looking wonderful, bursting with summer colour and new born animals.  Here is a little taster:

Rhododendrons in the cottage gardens at Coombe Mill

rhododendron at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays

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Orthodox Greek Easter 2018

Posted on April 27th, 2018 - Fiona

Farmer Nick is half Greek thanks to his father. This has come with many benefits to me over the years as I adore our Greek holidays, meeting extended family out there and here in the UK and the wonderful tradition of celebrating Orthodox Greek Easter. If I’m honest the only downside to our Greek heritage is our Greek surname of Cambouropoulos which most people understandably struggle to pronounce and spell! As an English person learning the Greek language I can honestly say that is very hard too. Anyway back to Greek Easter, the Orthodox Church sets its calendar differently to the Anglican one and we usually benefit from two Easter celebrations as a result. We had a wonderful time here on the farm for English Easter with our Easter egg hunt and activities, then the following weekend we travelled with Clio and her friend to Seaford to family friends hosting Greek Easter in the UK this year.

 

Orthodox Greek Easter 2018

 

We are lucky enough to have Nick’s Mum living close by and we were able to stay there along with Nick’s brother and his girls. This alone was wonderful for Clio, being surrounded by teenage girls for the weekend instead of all her brothers, who had opted to stay home and run the farm for us this year. If you have ever watched my big fat Greek Wedding, then there is a certain ring of truth to it about every good Greek gathering. Food and socialising is everything. The day starts early for the host who has to prepare and begin to cook the spit roast lamb from early morning. Having hosted it ourselves in the past I know this takes plenty of skill and patience. By the time we all arrive armed with designated plates of food the lamb is well under way. Clio and her cousin took their seats by the BBQ to share lamb turning duties. 

 

Cousins turning the lamb at Orthodox Greek Easter

 

Let the merriment begin.

 

The day rolls by in a blur of socializing, mouth watering Greek delights, wine and music. It is wonderful seeing all the generations mixing together with the younger children enjoying the day alongside the teens, adults, and grandparents.  

 

 

The smells of food waft from the BBQ and kitchen making everyone hungry. I think starters may be my favourite part, there are so many to choose from though Kokoretzi has few takers so I get more than my fair share (all the bits of the lamb you would probably never use like liver, kidney, tongue etc on a big BBQ skewer – look away now if you are vegetarian).  

 

Greek Easter starters

 

But filling up completely is a mistake with Greek style roast to follow.

 

Spit roast lamb at Greek Easter

 

Play time and cracking the red eggs is always the best part for the children

 

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A welcome pause in the food allows just enough of a gap to tuck into puddings.

 

Greek puddings

 

We left late afternoon full and happy while Yia Yia brought all the girls home later. Phone games and bubble blowing kept the cousins busy while the little ones played and the more senior generation took 40 winkes! 

 

Relaxing at Greek Easter

 

Celebrating Orthodox Greek Easter in Seaford

 

 

Next year Orthodox Greek Easter falls at the end of the English school holidays so we are hosting down at Coombe Mill, be warned if you happen to be staying that week, you may just get an unexpected invite to join our festivities.  

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Port Isaac is more than just Doc Martin

Posted on March 30th, 2018 - Fiona

Port Isaac is a traditional Cornish fishing village just 25 minutes drive from Coombe Mill. It is picturesque and surrounded by countryside in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the North Coast of Cornwall, almost directly out to sea from Coombe Mill.  The village is characterised by its steep narrow lanes, old whitewashed granite cottages and slate fronted Cornish houses leading down to the old harbour. It is a notable tourist attraction not least as the setting for famous TV series like Doc Martin.  However while tourism is the big employer today, fishing was once a significant industry and a few fishing boats still use the port today. If you dig back further in time cargo ships came and went from Port Isaac carrying coal, stone and more from this Middle Ages until well into the 19th Century.  While I was tied up at Coombe Mill waiting for guests to arrive, my niece and her family went off to explore the quaint little village armed with my camera. It is their photo adventure I’m sharing.

Port Isaac is more than just Doc Martin

 

You can’t park down by the harbour but there are car parks up on the headland with stunning coastal views.

 

Views from the cliff tops out to sea at Port Isaac

 

It’s a steep walk down but not too long or busy

 

Walking the steep street to Port Isaac Harbour

 

Once at the bottom it is clear why you can’t park there, there isn’t even room to turn the car but it is very pretty to walk though.

Narrow streets of Port Isaac

All roads lead to the sea

Whichever way you walk down you will find yourself in the little harbour front. At low tide there is enough beach for a little play and it is easily accessed via the boat slipway. Space and freedom was just what was needed for these little ones and an eager puppy. Wet paws and wet wellies were inevitable but worth every minute.

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The handy slipway wall is a good chance to sort out soggy wellies, sandy hands and catch your breath.

 

Slipway at Port Isaac

 

If you are after a bite to eat or a drink there are a handful of shops, pubs and cafe’s to revive you. 

 

Taking a break in Port Isaac

 

After which a wonder through the town brings plenty of excitement for little ones from cottage railings to the old water pump.

 

Fun in the streets of Port Isaac

 

A last look out to sea through the harbour walls is a must before the long trek back to the car park. A heavy trek for some and a cosy carry for others!

 

Waling back up to the car park at Port Isaac

 

Apparently the car engine was hardly turning before this was the scene in the back seats.

 

Asleep in car seats

 

Half an hour from drive from Port Isaac is just enough time for a power nap before the evening Coombe Mill train ride!

Tips for visiting Port Isaac

  • Park at the car park at the entrance to the village before driving down into the village where you can’t park or stop.

  • Wear sensible footwear for walking.

  • Have some cash for a local tipple and a treat in the town or pack some snacks and drinks in a ruck sack.

  • Take advantage of a play on the beach at low tide.

  • In summer and weekends the local fish shop sells excellent fish and seafood from the local fishing boats.

  • Look out for Martin Clunes! 

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