At last… the Moose (Yurt) is Up at Pengelly!

After a few final delays and hitches, the BIG Yurt-day finally dawned on 18 April 2018 and what a beauty it was.  After all the snow and rain we’ve had this year, our chosen day for yurt putter-uppering (technical term) was bright, sunny and warm with hardly a cloud in the sky.  Must be a good omen.

As you may have guessed, I’m not able to give you the exact technical details of how a yurt is put up. As far as I could tell there are lots of poles and beams plus a circle bit in the middle, all somehow held together with rope. Hmm. While that description was less than amazing, it is an incredible process to see, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Happy Yurt-Day

Jim and Pete & Co from Meadow Yurts up bright and early taking all the gear to the plot at the far end of the lake:


And before our eyes the frame work of the main yurt starts to take shape.  From just a base… to oh look a yurt!

Polished wood latice and beams framing the sky, lake and trees.  What a view.

They’re multiplying!  In the words of Aggie:  “A Daddy Yurt and a Baby Yurt”.

And the canvas goes on.  Ta-Daaaaa!!

The Boardwalk & Circular Deck

Wow, amazing to see how quickly our long-planned for Yurts sprang up.  And we are so pleased with the final result.  Since then, Jim and Billy have been finishing off the boardwalk across the lakes and adding on a beautiful circular deck around the main yurt.  And I can actually show you some photos of the finished result.  What a beaut!

Sneak Peak Inside

Inside there’s still lots of work to do of course.  Here’s a sneak peak of the underfloor heating going in plus electrics.  And we also have a rather beautiful oval bath sitting on the deck outside our house ready to be plumbed in to the ensuite bathroom.  Nope I’m not going to show a picture of a bath covered in plastic.

The interior of the yurt is lined with white to give it a lighter feel, we were impressed how light and airy it feels in there.  And so cosy too!  We almost wondered if we need underfloor heating as well as the log-burner that will be going in.  But flashback to our Easter weekend break where we stayed in a traditional yurt in Cornwall with just a log-burner and – YES we definitely need underfloor heating.

It was cold and rainy over Easter and our yurt hols were fun but blooming freezing.  Even Aggie woke up in the night cold – and she, like Jim, never feels the cold.  Actually even Jim was cold which is literally unheard of.  So we are really glad we’ve got the underfloor heating going into our luxurious yurt, no feeling chilly here.

The Outdoor Shower

Oh and did I mention, there’s also an outdoor shower complete with lake-view.  How cool is that!  These pics show the shower tray waiting to go in and then the very smart deck board over the top.  Admittedly there isn’t actually a shower there yet….but there will be soon!

What’s in a Name?

We love the way our yurts’ green canvas nestles into the landscape here, blending into the trees and grasses.  It really is a magical spot.  Next stage is to get the bathroom plumbed in, the flooring laid down and the interior furnished.  Yep I’ve already got the interior design all planned out!

We’re still mulling on the name, but because our Pengelly yurt is so different to the traditional yurts we experienced elsewhere we are thinking to call it The Sail House.  Ties in with the watery theme and is a little play on the canvas, ropes and oiled wood used in it’s construction.

Pengelly Retreat Website

Meanwhile I’m continuing to type away madly, creating the content for the Pengelly Retreat website, and attempting to take some half decent photos for it.  A challenge, with my point-and-click photography skills.  The grand unveiling of our website is due in the summer when we will start marketing and taking bookings in earnest. Plus we have plenty to keep us busy with the Boat House build about to start, a steady stream of guests to our Mill Annexe and the whole house rented out for several weeks over the summer.

And Finally

Phew.  After all that activity, here’s a couple of peaceful Buddha pics. And breathe….

More news to follow in my next Postcard from Pengelly 🙂

Spring has sprung… and so has the Yurt!

Spring is finally in the air here at Pengelly, the hedgerows and banks are full of daffodils and primroses, the birds are singing and tiny buds are appearing on the trees.  And exciting happenings are afoot with more than just flowers springing up here at Pengelly.

Rewind two weeks and it was quite a different story.  Cornwall was covered in a blanket of snow…

Da Beast hits Cornwall

Snow Far Snow Good

What the heck?!  Cornwall doesn’t do snow.  Like ever.  Well maybe twenty years ago or something.  So for three days we were thrown into chaos with cars slithering about on unsalted roads, all the schools closed and half the county stuck in their houses.  On the upside Pengelly looked beautiful, like a true winter wonderland.  The Buddha’s were covered in snow, the ponds froze over and we enjoyed a bit of sledging on a surfboard in the garden.


Snowy fun at Pengelly

We thought we’d seen the last of snow for the next 20 years.  But we were all taken off guard by yet more snow over the past couple of days.  Erm what??!!  Luckily Mini-Beast-From-The-East didn’t stick around too long in Cornwall and we can see the land, daffodils and primroses once more.  Good thing too, snow is so last season darling.

So now it’s back to business.  Never one to rest on his laurels, Jim is currently immersed in about 70 different building projects at the same time.

Project 1 – add a conservatory onto the house

We have already converted part of our downstairs into The Mill Annexe, a gorgeous holiday rental for two, available on Air Bnb.  So then we thought…wouldn’t it be lovely to create more sunshiny space by adding a conservatory onto the house.  Jim and Billy have worked through rain and snow to add the foundations on and it currently looks like this:

The new conservatory (imagination required)

As my mother recently commented “You really do need to get this finished off darling”.  Yes thank you, you are quite right it looks a bit of a shambles.  However it will be fab-u-lous when finished.  Hold that vision.

Project 2 – re-do the outside deck

This is sort of a side project to the conservatory as it’s doors will open onto our outside deck area.  But it did also need doing as the existing deck was a bit rotten and slippy.  Again Jim and Billy are on the case (how do they get time in the day), ripping up old deck, sanding, sawing, chopping and drilling to create a shiny new deck and pathway to the garden.   And here’s the completed deck, ta-da!!

What a lovely deck!

Project 3 – get the Yurts up!

Ahh yes, you were wondering are we actually doing anything with our holiday accommodation by the lake.  Well I can confirm that as well as everything else Jim and Billy have completed the ensuite yurts’ foundation and all the services for water, plumbing and electrics are in.  Phew.  Next step is for the underfloor heating to be installed.  And then finally in early April the yurts themselves will go up.  It will be a landmark moment for us when we finally see how they will look like in situ. EEEK!

The grand unveiling of the Yurts’ (base-bit)

Meanwhile we’ve been racking our brains to think of a good name for our Yurt.  Well it’s two yurts really;  the main yurt is home to bedroom, lounge and kitchenette.  While the second smaller yurt is adjoined to the main one and will have a luxury bathroom including actual bath.  Hell yeah, this is glamping but not as you know it!  There’s a lovely boardwalk area that leads from the door of the yurt across the two lakes to a sun terrace.  And on the bank alongside there will be an outdoor kitchen area and fire pit overlooking the first lake.

The view up towards the Yurt plot

It’s going to be AMAZING if I do say so myself.  So what can we call said yurt(s)?  The Yurt really doesn’t do it justice.  I’m currently thinking The Lake Yurt in a sort of does-what-it-says-on-the-tin approach.  But I’d love to hear your ideas… what do you think we should call it??

Project 4 – build a luxury lakeside Boat House

I know, there isn’t much to see above ground right now.  But the services are in, the ‘treatment tank’ (poo tank I like to call it) installed and foundations have been started.  I think you’ll have to hang on a bit till my next Postcard to see more:

The Boat House (a LOT of imagination required)

But just to say for now that this will be our more luxurious accommodation so it’s going to be pretty special and more accessible for those who feel that nights under canvas (even very luxurious canvas) are a step too far.

There are literally about another 67 projects on the go (at least) but there’s not space enough here to tell you about them all.

The Poxy Wife

So instead I’ll move on to some photos of our Feb holidays in Spain, where we smugly set off to avoid the wintery weather here.  All didn’t quite go to plan.  We did get some gorgeous (although chilly) sunshine and we enjoyed a good potter round Seville, Cordoba and Granada.

Hanging out in sunny Spain

And then I got chicken pox halfway through the hols.  Again – what the heck?!  Surely I’m too old for childhood viruses!!  Apparently not.  So anyone perusing our photos will notice that I don’t feature in any of them beyond Granada.  I was there.  Just a bit poxy and spotty.  One expensive trip to a private doctor and one even more expensive prescription later I was just about recovered enough 10 days later to get on the flight home without any problems.

At least I got to see the Alhambra!

So, my top tips for any adults with chicken pox are:  (1) Don’t catch in the first place. There is a vaccination you know.  Ahh the benefits of hindsight…  Ok too late, in which case:  (1) See the Doc asap.  (2) Stock up on bucketloads of tea tree oil. (3) Make sure you are located in nice Spanish apartment with sun terrace where at least you can languish about in style.  Big thank you to Jim for putting up with the “poxy wife” while I was ill.

On that spotty note, I wish you all a healthy and happy springtime.  No more bugs, colds or viruses!  More (germ-free) news to follow in my next Postcard from Pengelly…

Ohh just look at that deck!


Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time

Feeling Festive in Cornwall – It may not be Christmas quite yet but it’s certainly feeling festive down here at Pengelly.  Cornwall goes in for Christmas in a big way and our calendar is choc-a-bloc with christmas markets, events, shows and light switch ons. In fact there’s so many festivities it gets a bit stressful trying to choose which ones to go to.  Yup #firstworldproblems!

Who IS this strange man?  I’m keeping a safe distance…

The Christmas tree and lights are up in the house, while outside Jim has hung our decking and a nearby tree with long strings of twinkling fairy lights.  An operation that involved him perching precariously on a wobbly ladder while poking at the lights with a broom handle.  I know, sounds ominously like the start of an episode of Casualty but luckily all ended well.

Oohhh snow!

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it very rarely snows down here in mild Cornwall so we had big snowman-jealousy seeing everyone’s photos on Facebook recently.  The closest we get to snow is a snow-dome at our local garden centre and a festive snowman made out of rubber tyres in Porthleven.  Hmm, not quite the same.

The Grand Designs Emerge

Meanwhile work carries on a-pace at Pengelly Retreat and so much has happened since my last post in October.  Jim has been working like a madman, digging, rollering, dumpering (is that a word?) and laying the foundations for our ensuite yurt and wood boat house.  So YES at last we are finally seeing our holiday houses begin to emerge from the ground.

Child Labour

Driver who knows what they are doing (kinda)

‘Begin’ to emerge is the operative word here as putting in foundations is not really a thing of beauty.  What with the combination of wintery drizzle and heavy plant vehicles our land is returning once again to a boggy quagmire.  So it requires a bit of imagination to picture the final results.  We’ll get there!

Just De-Yurts

Up at the yurt site, the circular wooden framework is now in place.  Billy has constructed a stonework retaining wall by the bank and all services are in situ, waiting to be connected.  There’s also a beautiful zig-zag boardwalk beginning to take shape.   This will connect the yurt to its sun-terrace on the opposite side of the lake.  And there’s a little pontoon jutting out into the lake; the perfect spot to sit with your toes dangling into the water on a sunny day.

And the guests are sleeping where exactly?

A small witch inspects progress

Yurt deck frame and boardwalk beyond

Digging for Australia?

Meanwhile down at the Boat House end of the lake, foundations have just started to go in.  The site has been staked out and 4 holes dug for the supporting pads.  Things are never straightforward though.  The pads by the lake are sitting in firm ground only requiring small holes of about 1-2 feet to be dug.  However, the ground towards the back of the building is lot less firm.  In fact Billy was beginning to disappear down a hole of over 7 feet before striking hard ground.   So while it looks a bit like we’ve decided to dig a mineshaft in our garden, the firm ground is there!  Phew.

The Boat House site

Hole for foundation pad at front

And at the back… hellooooo down there!!

Complications continue however as being classed as a ‘new building’ the boat house has to meet strict fire and access regulations, just as though we were building a new house for permanent occupation.  Something of a challenge when it’s a wood cabin in a wild and remote lakeside setting.  At one point we thought we might have to scrap plans for our lovely cabin as costs were beginning to spiral.  But we are hopeful we can come up with some solutions that will satisfy buildings control without us going bankrupt.  Nothing is ever easy is it!

The Long and Winding Road

Meanwhile mountain-loads of gravel have been arriving to allow us to create pathways to the both the yurt and the boathouse sites.  Initially we’d just planned to have a gravel path snaking up to the Boathouse.  We’ve now added a gravel path up to the yurt as well, running behind the bamboo, to allow vehicle access without creating muddy ruts in the land.

Paths across the field

And on towards the yurt plot

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s certainly not all been plain sailing this month, we’ve all been hit with never-ending colds and the worries about costs and meeting regulations on our minds.  Actually, to be honest Aggie’s not be too troubled by costs, just a pesky ear infection.  But despite all the mud, puddles and pits of doom, the land here at Pengelly retains a strange beauty and magic.

Walking around the lake today, the sun glinting through the heavy clouds, there were pockets of wintery loveliness to make me smile.  Pink campions keep on blossoming, there are buds on our magnolia tree waiting to burst into purple blooms in early spring, and the bull-rushes and cow parsley skeletons have a regal beauty of their own against the ripples of the water.

Contemplating the wintery loveliness

And on that peaceful note, I’ll leave you for now and wish you a fantastic Christmas.  There’ll be more postcards to follow in the new year.  Meanwhile love and festive wishes to you all 🙂

Festive Porthleven Tyre-man – “Noo we don’t get snow round ‘ere”

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness at Pengelly Retreat

Happy Autumn from us at Pengelly!  It’s the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness as my Dad used to say and we’ve certainly had a few misty, mizzly days here.   Apples and leaves are falling onto the dewy grass and the nights are drawing in.   X Factor and Strictly are back on the telly and party plans are afoot for Aggie’s 3rd birthday.  All of which means October is definitely here.

Season of mists…

In my last post we were giddy with the success of getting a yes for our holiday houses from the Council Planning Committee.  However we still had one last hurdle to jump.  We needed a flood risk assessment and a thumbs up from the Environment Agency.  After various delays and a lot of ‘that’ll happen dreckly’ we finally heard that the EA are happy for us to go ahead.  Great news all round as this means (a) our house and land aren’t about to be washed away in a flood and (b) our full, official planning permission for our Pengelly Retreat is now in.  Hooray!

Cow parsley seeds

Sh*t just got Real

Now that we have our official go-ahead, Jim has gone into overdrive in planning out the exact dimensions and details of our lakeside cabin and en-suite yurt.  We have some beautiful architect drawings which helped us to get planning permission.  However translating those into a structure is a much more technical matter altogether.  We now need a structural engineer on board to help and have been busy mapping out on the ground where everything will go.

New bridges to the lagoon island

There is also the not-so-glamorous (but essential) matter of the services: electricity, water and sewage treatment .  I won’t thrill you with the ins and outs of poo treatment, although it’s given Jim a few sleepless nights going through the options.  Our vision for Pengelly Retreat is luxurious glamping in the Cornish countryside, a cut above the usual bog-standard (excuse the pun).  We don’t want our guests to have to trek across a field to get to a chilly bathroom block.  So our cabin and yurt will both be en-suite with running hot water and flush toilets.  Sounds straightforward but involves hundreds of metres of cables and pipes and a network of underground trenches.

Pengelly Retreat Branding & Website

On a more artistic note, we have also finalised our beautiful Pengelly Retreat branding, inspired by the lakes, land and wildlife here.  It’s been created for us by Jim’s very talented (and patient) friend and designer Rich,  We’re thrilled with it and will be unveiling the brand when our website holding page goes live later this year.  Watch this space!  Our full website will go live in the first half of next year designed by another talented friend Helen at  Aren’t we lucky having all these talented friends!

Red campion flowers

Spooky Party

It seems only 5 minutes ago that I was writing about Aggie’s 2nd birthday.  Now here we are just 1 week away from her 3rd.  Amidst the plans for our holiday houses, I’m also planning the very important business of her birthday party.  We are having a spooky theme which means Aggie gets to wear her favourite witch’s outfit and Jim and I have to dress up like loons.

Spooky-party ready

Aggie has decided that I should dress up as a spooky bride and wear my wedding dress.  She’s very opinionated about clothing and fashion for a nearly-3 year old (no idea where she gets that from).  I’m not sure I want to get my wedding dress covered in cake and mud.  But I do like the spooky Miss Havisham bride dress-up idea!  Jim’s costume is currently tbc although he says he is going to dress up as a Dark Lord.  What this means is anyone’s guess.  The spooky theme also gives us a great excuse not to sweep away the spiders’ webs on our outside deck area.  Lack of cleaning?  No, those are  natural ‘spooky’ decorations. Photos to follow (of the party, not the spiders’ webs).

Got my wand, got my purple mobile phone..

Chicken Farm Petition

Some of you may also have seen on Facebook that Jim and I are now campaigning against an industrial-size chicken farm which has been proposed close to our neighbouring village of Nancegollan. The plan is to build 4 huge multi-tier barns with over 110,000 hens all packed into a small sloping area of land with a watercourse at the bottom.  This watercourse feeds both our stream and ultimately the whole River Hayle system.  The potential pollution impact to air, water and land doesn’t bear thinking about.  While the proposed farm is called ‘free range’, it’s uncertain how much freedom to range the hens will in fact have, making it completely unethical too.  If you have a spare minute, we’d really appreciate your support by adding your name to the petition against it.

Staying zen..

Fancy a holiday?

While our gorgeous holiday homes won’t be unveiled till late Summer/early Autumn 2018, our lovely Mill House Annexe is already up and running and ready for holiday rentals.  This is the new section of our house which we converted when we moved in.  It has it’s own private entrance, a lovely spacious bedroom and living room, cute shower room with Cornish tiles and petite kitchenette complete with microwave, fridge, toaster, kettle and washing machine.  It’s very cosy and comfy, perfect for a couple and we are also doggie-friendly.  Although Chigley still isn’t that keen on visiting dogs…

We were pretty much booked out in September, but we have availability in October, so please recommend us to your friends and family.  Here’s our link on Air BnB:

Autumnal blooms

More Postcards to follow 🙂

The Man from the Council… he say YES!

Hooray. Woohoo. Back of the net. Get in. In yer face!!!  And any other expressions you can add to that list. At long, long last, after over a year, we have planning permission to put 2 lakeside holiday homes onto our land.  HOORAY!!!!

Whee!! Splash…

It’s been a long journey, but we never gave up the faith.  On Monday, Jim and I had a nerve-racking visit to Penzance to put forward our case at the West Cornwall Planning Committee.  The Council’s Planning Officers were firmly still saying no to our application.  But luckily we had great support locally which gave us a “second chance” with a spot at the Council’s Committee meeting.

It was indeed squeaky bum time as we had just 3 minutes to present our case to the Committee of 15 Councillors in an alarming room full of microphones and serious people in suits.  I spoke on our behalf. Apparently being a female speaker in a room full of gents of a certain age can get you a sympathy vote. If it helps our cause then whatever!  And we were also very lucky to have representatives from both our parish councils and our two local Councillors speak for us as well.

With all that support, the Committee voted in our favour 14 to 1.  Which means that YES we finally have official planning permission for Pengelly Retreat.  Jim and I weren’t sure whether Committee meeting protocol allows jumping up and down and shouting “GET IN”.  So we sat quiet, grinned a lot and jumped around afterwards.

I’ve got a digger and I’m not afraid to use it..

We still have a few hurdles to leap.  We now need to get a Flood Risk Report for our land and ensure that the Environment Agency are satisfied our plans comply with their regulations.  That’s underway and we are anticipating some to-ing and fro-ing before we can finally begin the build.  But still, this is a massive step forward.

Grass not mud!

Nice neat borders

And on that happy note, I’ve leave you to enjoy the above photos of progress made on the gardens at Pengelly.  We have grass in our back garden, not mud, hooray.  Work has started on neatening the front gardens with edging and flowerbeds ready for plants to go in.  And Jim with help of (Zoe’s) Jim and many wheelbarrows of clay has fixed the leaky weir so the lake is filling up again and perfect for swimming.


Happy Day-sies at nearby Godolphin

More Postcards from actual “Pengelly Retreat” to follow 🙂

The Best Laid Plans of Ruth & Jim…

It’s been a beautiful April here at Pengelly with sunshine pretty much every day this month. Hooray. At last some good weather after a gloomy winter. The garden is beginning to look lush again and once we get the lawns reseeded it is going to be transformed from muddy puddle to lovely garden. We also had our first official holiday-makers come and stay at Pengelly as we rented out our house on Air Bnb in the Easter holidays. Luckily the guests loved it. Phew!


Meanwhile we are having some ups and downs with getting planning permission for our holiday boathouse and lake-side yurt. We’ve had some really nice support from majority of the consultees, including the local Parish Council. But unfortunately Cornwall Council have told us they are likely to reject our plans because of (a) visual impact from the footpath and (b) transport sustainability issues as we are in the countryside. Yes. That is correct. They are concerned about the visual impact of a yurt and a cabin. From a footpath. Which no one uses. And sustainability of having two cars coming to our property. Two cars. They also don’t believe tourists would want to come to this part of Cornwall. I mean, who would want to holiday in beautiful countryside close to amazing surf beaches on North and South coast?

I am really, really, really trying to understand Cornwall Council’s viewpoint. But really struggling.

We also have had objections raised by the Environment Agency who have concerns about flooding on our land. At least we can understand their objection. We do have a lot of water here and obviously don’t want to do anything that wouldn’t be safe. But we are hopeful we can find a way to work with this by raising up the yurt and boathouse higher or moving the plots a little.

So the planning process continues! Next week, I’ll go to another Parish Council meeting as our neighbouring Parish have just been added on as a consultee. We also await more news from the Cornwall Council and hopefully will get a chance to discuss their concerns. And if all fails with this application, we do have the chance to appeal and/or put in a modified application.

So while we are a bit glum on the prospects of our planned accommodation becoming reality, we haven’t given up yet. And it’s hard to be sad for long when the sun is shining and we’ve got beautiful places like Godolphin woods and St Michael’s Mount close by. Who would want to visit this gorgeous area… I can’t imagine!



Spring is, Spring is, Spring is here at LAST

Anyone with kids obsessed with Charlie and Lola will probably recognise the title – it’s the song which Lola and Lotta sing in the episode about hiccups. Aggie is a big fan and likes singing this at the top of her voice, which seems appropriate as Spring is indeed here at LAAAASST.

Spring in the garden

Blue skies in Spain


Since my last Postcard at the start of the year, we battled through a grey and chilly January, escaped the winter doom for 3 weeks in sunny Southern Spain and returned back to Cornwall in early March. Everything was still very “brown and grey” when we got home but at last the flowers are coming up, trees are in bud and Cornwall is waking up again with loads of festivals, events and activities for families starting up from Easter. Made us realise just how quiet things do go here over the winter.

Beautiful magnolia tree buds

Meanwhile it hasn’t been completely quiet here at Pengelly. Things are progressing gradually on the land and in the house. After getting rid of the gloomy line of leyland firs on our border, we have planted a small woodland of around 200 rowan, willow, hawthorn and holly trees. Just tiny whips of trees at the moment but they’ll grow. Jim and Ian have bashed in around 70 wooden stakes to create a new fence. Matt, our landscape gardener, Jim and Alex have been moving trees and shrubs around the 4 acres of land and planting has begun around the house. Billy has also finished some lovely stonework over the culvert which provides the new road access to our land.

What a lovely fence… oh and some new trees too

New stonework on bridge over the culvert

Inside the house, I’m still on a de-clutter mission to get our endless amounts of stuff under control and we’re painting the new annexe to get it ready for renting from May. Carpets and flooring are on order and the annexe wet room is complete with funky Cornwall tiles. Oh and we have a sofa. After sitting on an Ikea chair and a dodgy office chair for 9 months we decided it was about time.

Painty, painty, painty…

New annexe wetroom

Planning permission for our boathouse and ensuite yurt is now in with the council.. at LAAASSTT. So we’ll hear back by end of April whether we’ve got the go ahead to create our holiday accommodation. We’ve decided our yurt is going to have 2 rooms: a main bedroom/living yurt and smaller ensuite bathroom yurt with it’s own bath and tiny log burner. Bath in a yurt – amazing! Fingers crossed we get the permissions we need.

I’m also planning our next holiday. You can take the girl out of travel… We want to go to Isles of Scilly. Seems silly (no pun intended) not to as they are practically on our doorstep and look beautiful. Unfortunately accommodation seems to either completely booked up or crazy expensive: £250 a night for a safari tent. Really? That’s nearly Africa prices – but without the safari.

Chigley models/dents the new sofa

We’re also looking forward to having more friends and family visiting over the next couple of months. And who knows we might even get a bit more sunshine over the next few weeks. Yep Spring is definitely here at last.

Cornwall tiles in the wetroom

Happy Spring to you all. More news in my next Postcard 🙂

Happy New Year from Pengelly!

Welcome to 2017 everyone! 2016 was our year of big changes. We left our jobs, moved to Cornwall and began to set up our new business. And this year the changes are continuing as we move ever closer to opening the doors to Pengelly Retreat.

Meanwhile, back to the mud….

The diggers had just arrived when I wrote my last Postcard back in November. They were with us for 4 weeks in the end and we became very attached to our muddy crew. During that time they achieved loads:

We now have a wider driveway entrance and parking area. Which means I can drive out of Pengelly without scraping my car. And no matter how many builders/gardeners/vans/lorries/skips arrive I can get my car back in again. Hooray! Plus we now have a designated parking area for our holiday homes.

The widened entrance and new parking area

We have our own road access to our property. Double hooray. There’s a lovely culvert and bridge over the stream, just right for a landrover or ride-on mower to go across.

The new road, culvert and bridge

The water now flows through all our ponds rather than being stagnant. This involved laying a pipe underground from our lake to the lower ponds so that the water rushes through pulled by gravity. We also filled in a shallow pond and replaced it with a flowing ox-bow shaped pool with an island. This will make a magical pathway to the Boathouse when covered with plants and connected by bridges (some imagination required here I know).

The ox bow pool and island

We had several large clumps of bamboo taken out, service trenches put in for the holiday houses and a new levelled out bit of land created. This bit will eventually be transformed from a muddy patch to a lovely lawn for our back garden.

Muddy patch that will be a lawn!

It’s really satisfying to start blitzing through the to do list. But the land looks pretty dreadful at the moment. There is mud, mud, mud. But we can see it taking shape- and it will be beautiful. Planting begins next week.

And there’s exciting news about our planned holiday homes too. After looking at various designs and costs for our Boathouses we have decided to build just one deluxe Boathouse in a great spot looking over the Lake. And our second holiday home will be a bespoke Yurt complete with woodburning stove, it’s own boardwalk over the lake and stand of forest behind. Something for everyone whether our guests crave a more traditional house or a wilder option. But both with plenty of creature comforts, privacy and an a-mazing lake views.

The Boathouse Plot – just to the left of this pic

Peter our architect has come up with a really great design for the Boathouse which we love. Hopefully the planners will love it too… it’s due to go in for planning permission this month. For our Yurt, we’ve chosen Meadow Yurts to build it for us: This is a fab company run by Pete and Laura who having lived in yurts for many years themselves know what works. They make bespoke yurts to withstand the British weather – and conveniently are based literally 10 minutes up the road from us. Perfect.

The yurt plot – where that big muddy patch is!

Weatherwise, we’ve been blessed with some incredible blue skies and crisp winter days over Christmas and New Year. We had a very festive first Christmas in Cornwall and were lucky to have family with us on Christmas Day itself. We also managed to cook a tasty Xmas dinner for 9 without mishap. Apart from a slight panic when Jim thought we’d bought a turkey with hardly any meat on it… it turned out he was trying to carve it upside down. Apparently all the best chefs cook their turkey upside down :).

Boxing Day at Gwithian

The rain is back again today, but that makes it a good day for paperwork and blog-writing. It’s also Aggie’s first day back at preschool after the Xmas holidays which means I can squeeze in a bit of time to write before I rush off to pick her up. It never stays quiet for long around here. Today the tree surgeons are here to chop down the line of conifers on our boundary. We’ve also got work going on in the house again. Following a friends’ clever suggestion, we are making the new section of our house into a rent-able annexe with it’s own private entrance, wetroom and kitchenette. We will complete this ready to rent out from Easter and it will make a really nice purse-friendly option for holiday-makers.

So ultimately we’ll have 3 holiday homes at Pengelly (if we get planning that is). All at different price points and offering something slightly different. Can’t wait!

And finally, on our visit to the Winter Wood show before Christmas:

What’s Jim got on his head?!?

A tea cosy?  Answers, more news and photos in my next postcard 🙂

A Massive Muddy Patch

At last the diggers are here! And work finally begins in earnest on the land at Pengelly to get it into shape for our holiday houses. The Muddy Crew aka Jim, Matt our landscape gardener, Billy the digger driver and Gary the dumper driver have been working for three days now at Pengelly. Shifting earth about, withstanding torrential rain showers and basically making a lot of massive muddy patches.


It’s great to get things moving though and they’ve achieved a lot already. Our aims are to widen our driveway entrance, create a car parking area, build a new vehicle access to our land, fill in one of the ponds, take out unused decking and the out-of-control bamboo and to put in some of the service trenches for the holiday houses. Phew. A long list of stuff.


Meanwhile we are due to chat to Pete, our architect, tomorrow about the designs for our two ‘Boathouses’. So far we’ve agreed that we will stick to just two plots, one on each side of the large lake looking out over the water. And our two houses will be designed to make the most of the beautiful scenery with substantial ‘outdoors living’ areas. We’ve been inspired by the large covered deck area we have by our house which we use all the time – even when the weather is rubbish (like now!).

Winter has really set in here with heavy rain this week causing flooding on the roads. Oh right, now I get why you might want to have a 4×4 down here.. The Polo will have to do for now. Aggie is settling into her new preschool and seems to be enjoying it. She is also the one person who isn’t bothered by the rain as she gets to do more of her favourite activity: splashing in muddy puddles. As for me, I’m finding the time just flies by and I seem get about one ‘thing’ done a day. How on earth did I manage to fit in a full time job?


It’s feeling festive already in Cornwall with lots of the villages and towns switching on their Xmas lights this weekend. Can’t wait! The little village with Aggie’s preschool is particularly well known for it’s amazing Christmas lights. They’ve started going up but the big switch on isn’t till early December. So we’ll have to wait till then to see the slightly random ‘Christmas Cow’ light display in all it’s glory.

A Moo-ry Christmas to you all

More to follow on muddy patch progress & Christmas festivities in my next Postcard 🙂

Birthday fun, fizz and sunshine

The big news this week is that Aggie turned 2! Thank you very much for her lovely cards and to everyone who came along for her birthday tea on Saturday. She had a great day opening presents, eating far too many crisps and playing/fighting over helium balloons with other little ones. The oldies meanwhile drank champagne, ate cake and explored the Pengelly gardens in the autumn sunshine.


Birthday present from granny

Today is Aggie’s first day at her pre school today which feels very grown up. She’s got her own little rucksack (thank you to Auntie Emma & family) and lunch box to take with her. She will be learning a whole new world of things including what shoes to wear indoors and outdoors, how to sit in a circle nicely and how to eat her lunch properly, not just the raisins. I felt sad dropping my little girl off this morning. But she was fine and got straight on with the important business of playing with a tea set and creating works of art with the paints. While no doubt firmly refusing to put on an overall…

We’re also recently back from a week in Alicante in Spain, making use of the handy direct flights from Newquay. The weather was fab, sunny with temperatures in the high twenties, and our flat was right by the sea. Aggie’s highlights were having the beach next door, swimming in the sea with Daddy and a pirate ship in Alicante marina. Lowlights would include Aggie doing a projectile vom in a restaurant and a poo on the floor of a play park. Sorry residents of Alicante!! What would we do without wet wipes?

Back in Cornwall it’s all go again at Pengelly. Ant our tree surgeon friend has been busy taking down and pruning trees. Wow what an incredible skill that is! The most striking change is that the large but rotten ash tree by the gate has come down. Now we can open up the driveway so that cars can come in and out without risk of a scrape. It was sad to see the old tree come down but it’s great to have more light and room.




Meanwhile we’ve been looking at possible designs for our tree houses. Unfortunately, like many a client I can think of, we have ‘champagne tastes and a shandy budget’. We want our tree houses to be amazing! But we don’t want to bankrupt ourselves. The initial design we’ve been given was rather more basic than we were hoping. Probably not surprising given the budget we said we wanted to keep to. But I’m convinced that something beautiful, unique and creative doesn’t have to cost the earth. We’ve another architect coming round this weekend so we’ll wait to see what he can come up with for us.

More postcards to follow…