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.
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.
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!
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”