At last, we remembered to pre-book a slot to accommodate the time we wished to visit. It’s only taken us a year to become accustomed to the National Trust’s system for keeping people Covid safe at their outside venues.

After writing the Lostwithiel blog and making connections with Lanhydrock – one of my favourite places, we decided to make a reservation well in advance, instead of the day we fancied going that ended in disappointment.

I felt excited as we drove to the stately home, and spoke enthusiastically about a mooch around its shop, cups of tea, and scrumptious National Trust cake. I’ve missed using our membership regularly and felt life was a little closer to being normal.

The lawns and neatly kept gardens seemed greener than usual as we walked towards the gatehouse of one of Cornwall’s grandest houses and looked longingly towards it. It’s sad, but understandable why it’s out of bounds, even though I’ve been inside before. And on each occasion, I discovered something new about the building and contents, as well as the Robarte family, their servants and tenants.

Further into the grounds, precise flowerbeds crowned with yellow and cream tulips growing in front of the 15th century St Hydroc’s Church are a hint of the colourful floral arrays in the gardens ahead, enhanced further by fallen petals adorning grass – like special potpourri.

The show of magnolias is breathtaking. Varied shades of pink, white and cream blooms add charm and warmth beside other twiggy trees, not fully awake after winter, and evoke thoughts of filigree and lacework.

Soon we heard trickling water and saw a small stream meandering in front of Joseph’s Cottage; its thatched roof flecked in the sunlight. It’s so picturesque that I photographed our small grandson sitting in front of one of its lattice windows on a previous trip there.

In the past, it was a dwelling place and in the 1960s, a head gardener’s wife ran a tearoom there. Before restrictions, the information displays and vintage telephones with old recordings within were fascinating. It was lovely peeping through the windows though and hopefully, we will be able to go indoors in the future.

One of the best views of the estate is from a steep pathway running behind the house built late 19th century, with parts dating back to 1640. Gazing over the rooftops, the 900 acres of woodland and parkland, from a distance, appear like an idyllic model landscape. It reaches down to the River Fowey, but we left that walk for another day. It was nearing the café and shop’s closure and we didn’t want to miss either.

Until next time.
Sue. X