Posted on July 1st, 2017 - Fiona
We love Coombe Mill; it is our life, our passion and our livelihood. However that doesn’t stop us wanting a holiday from time to time too. In the past this has been tricky, but as the children have grown up they can hold the business together for us, alongside our duty manager Amber, allowing us a few days off. Last week we took the opportunity to catch up with family in Athens before travelling south to Kyparissia for a few days holiday. What I hadn’t expected to see was a potential Coombe Mill in Greece for sale. We always have work on our mind, even when we are on holiday, and it certainly had our thoughts racing.
We made a few inquires in the town and it turns out it is an old German campsite with outbuildings that shut down a few years ago. The location is amazing just across from a lovely beach at the end of a little single track lane, yet only a 10 minute walk into the centre of the town.
Spotting the potential
I found myself rather excited studying the abandoned buildings and visualising them transformed into something quite Greek and traditional, yet family friendly and welcoming.
We saw goats, chickens and ponies nearby and the local cockerel woke me every morning so keeping a little farm would be realistic. With views out over the beach and Mediterranean how could we go wrong?
The sandy open beach stretched from the town right along to this quiet secluded location. There wasn’t another person in sight while we walked along.
Just a two minute stroll leads to the little harbour and a choice of tavernas. There is even a mini market at the harbour offering basic provisions. However the biggest treat is watching the sun go down sipping a drink.
Reality strikes now that we are home. Branching out like this would be a huge risk and the Greek property market is fraught with difficulties and uncertainty. This opportunity will slip through our fingers, but there will be others, and one day we might just take the plunge and expand further afield. Coombe Mill in Greece still has a real appeal to me and would be home from home to Farmer Nick, who is half Greek.
Posted on June 24th, 2017 - Fiona
As the saying goes the best camera is the one you have with you. Much as I love my DSLR I don’t always take it out with me, especially if I’m not expecting to be on a notable adventure. However I always have my phone and last weekend I was glad of it. After dropping Theo at Polzeath beach with friends, Clio joined me for a hike over The Rumps as her friend didn’t show up. I’m sure she was disappointed to be stuck with me but I was delighted to have some one on one time with her. In a busy family of six teenagers one on one time is rare, partly because the kids don’t necessarily choose my company anymore, and partly because time is always at a premium with the holiday business and the needs of a large family.
In the end it turned into a beautiful clear blue afternoon and a lovely girly catch up for us both. It makes me realise that time with just one child is every bit as important now they are growing teens as it was when they were young, they just don’t like to admit to that these days. The camera on my phone came into its own capturing some precious moments together.
The Rumps from Polzeath round towards Port Isaac form a stunning stretch of coastline, even though I have run or walked this stretch many times I have to stop and admire the raw beauty with every visit.
Panning across The Rumps to show off a stunning stretch of Cornish coastline
Looking out to sea waiting for me to catch up!
Running half into my photo for the most unusual capture!
A last look back at the seascape that makes up the Rumps before heading home
If you ever visit the beautiful beach of Polzeath, do make time to walk the coast path too, the views out to sea and back across the bay to Polzeath and Padstow are worth the trek.
Posted on June 2nd, 2017 - Fiona
The beautiful old market town of Lostwithiel is a tourist attraction all year round with its quaint train station, river, antique shops and quirky boutiques along twisted narrow lanes. Once a year the usual peace and quiet is replaced by LostFest, the Lostwithiel Festival held each year for just one day. We have been before and loved it, as it is only half an hour from Coombe Mill and fits nicely between the morning farm run and evening train ride here. A dry day makes all the difference and as the sun was shining we picked up a couple of Clio’s friends and Guy and set off.
I had forgotten how pretty Lostwithiel is in May with the wisteria draped over the old cottages.
Thankfully we had agreed meet up points as it was busy and the kids were off exploring while I was admiring the cottages. Delicious smells finally made everyone hungry and brought us back together after enjoying a good wander around the craft stalls with delicious smells from the pop up food stands around. Nick and I couldn’t resist buying the giant Greek olives and sweet deserts we love for supper and I fell in love with a printed reversible skirt that even came in its own pretty reusable bag.
Food is a big part of the Festival and we were spoiled for choice. Having older children with their own tastes and ideas we just sent them off with money to make their own choices while we enjoyed a Mexican feast watching the world go by down by the river. Here we reminisced on previous years when the children were younger and would play on the rope swing still hanging from a tree on the far riverbank. Guy caught us up with ice cream in hand and announced that he was going to go and join the kids in the river.
I barely had time to grab my camera and head up onto the bridge before I saw him taking over the rope and land in the river! I think at this point he wished his brother Jed had come along too; the pair of them would have been showing off for hours.
Without the girls wanting to go in he was soon out and swapping a t shirt for a hoodie and joining us watching a very clever crafter turn hazel sticks into flowers. Nick and Guy watched with interest as each flower was made in about 5 minutes. My husband is all charm and even bought me one for £2 to see if we could recreate them from our willow bush.
Meanwhile the girls had found the face painting tent and all came out with glittery moonshine faces.
However they were less than impressed when Guy took to bashing them all over the head with his newly purchased inflatable hammer!
We stopped to watch the classic Morris Dancing in the street before winding our way home after another lovely LostFest day.
Thank you all at Lostwithiel who work to bring this day together. It was a great atmosphere with some really interesting stalls and wonderful live entertainment. We are looking forward to LostFest 2018 already.
Posted on May 27th, 2017 - Fiona
Last week I couldn’t wait to share our exciting new family holiday lodge, Polzeath. A week on I am proud to say our first holiday makers have rebooked to return again next year. This is the best sign that we really found the perfect holiday home design in there. Following all the hard work of building Polzeath, my promise on Monday’s post was to try to spend more quality family time over the summer months at our holiday lodge namesake, Polzeath Beach. What I didn’t realise was that my first opportunity would roll round so fast. It was the end of a busy changeover day here at the farm and with all the guests in, and the family fed, I donned my “Mum’s taxi” hat to drive Theo’s girlfriend home. The evening sun had already left the valley when we left but was now dazzling me as I drove towards the coast and I had a sudden craving to breathe in some sea air. When I suggested to the pair in the back seats I extend their time together watching the sunset at Polzeath they were quick to agree. We parked up on the cliff top for our impromptu visit where I filled my senses with sea air and the beautiful setting sun while they playfully strolled ahead.
Polzeath Beach on a Summer’s Evening
What none of us knew as we wandered carefree across the beach were the horrors waiting to unfold at Manchester Arena. Theo’s two older brothers were at the Arena for a concert just a few weeks ago. It feels like everyone has some kind of connection, even me from my quiet corner of Cornwall. My heart goes out to all affected by events that Monday evening.
My thanks go to my lovely models who agreed to feature in my photos. Trust me there is no taking this for granted with teenagers.
Posted on May 7th, 2017 - Fiona
This is the 6th and last post in my Greece series from summer 2016. The trip was a “well done” to our older boys following the end of their GCSEs and A levels. We began in Athens, Explored the Acropolis, headed down the the Peloponnese staying at Kantia where we visited Nafplion and Epidavros before heading right back to the earliest days of Greek civilisation in the Myceanaean era with a trip to Mycenae itself.
Background to Mycenae
The Mycenaean world dominated Greece between the 16th and 12th Century BC. I can’t even get my head around how long ago that is and how life must have been. However the ancient remains of the old city at Mycenae can still be seen today.
What to expect at Mycenae
Visiting on a hot July day I was rather glad of the elevated position to pick up a little breeze and make our sightseeing bearable. Parking like a true Greek under the shade of a tree in the car park, we headed up though the famous city gates with its impressive Lions overhead set into the stone. How back then they constructed and carved such things is quite beyond me; however it is wonderful to saunter through and marvel at the possibilities from this ancient civilisation today.
To be fair, the city gates to Mycenae are the most impressive structure still standing. There after there is much left to the imagination with a selection of crumbling walls, passageways and tombs remaining. There are some helpful reading signs along the way to give you a sense of direction and history. The excavations continue today but life is believed to date back on the hill to the 3rd millennium BC.
The Mycenaean acropolis dominates the surrounding area of the Argive plain and controlled communication routes in and out of the Peloponnese into mainland Greece. The views from the top are quite spectacular reaching right down to the sea near Nafplion.
The flood plain below must have been a source of food for the ancient city and olive and almond trees are still prevalent right up the hillside.
The Lion tomb is still intact with a vast entrance you can walk down to. This was separate from the bulk of the tombs though I failed to establish why.
We finished our trip with a visit to the museum sharing more of the artifacts that had been recovered and replicas of what would have been used. This was beautifully clean and modern thanks to EU funding and well worth a look around.
I was struck by how few tourists were visiting given the size of the car park. The new town below was packed with inviting yet empty looking tavernas and I worried for their business. It rather feels although touring as we did is becoming a thing of the past and that local business is beholden to the larger coach trips choosing to make a stop at their destination.
Tips for visiting Mycenae
Prices were very reasonable to enter at 12 Euros for adults and 6 Euros for children.
I would say this is a trip for a half day only which suited us perfectly.
The entrance fee covers a separate treasury and tombs as a nearby site which we missed out on. As the boys had had enough and were in search of lunch by then.
Fresh water taps to refill bottles are provided so no need to carry too much
There are clean and well kept toilets
Sensible footwear is recommended as they steps are uneven and worn making them slippery in parts.
Be careful following a map or Sat Nav as the Greek translation into English is spelt in several different ways; we found ourselves heading to the wrong place a few times and having to turn around.
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