“What shall we do for your birthday?” I was asked, so I deliberated about a place with a lunch venue to suit all of our six ages that range from four to sixty-five.

“How about Mount Edgcumbe Country Park?” I replied, and everyone agreed it was perfect.

As usual lunch at the Orangery was exemplary, the wholesome food was served efficiently by welcoming staff, but there had been a rush on cakes for dessert. No problem, we decided, pleased to spread our custom between businesses within the grounds.

With a book bought from the preloved bookshop safely under my arm, we headed off. The sound of my grandson’s toy scooter hooter merrily pierced the air as we marched behind him as he wheeled along.

Uphill, set in the old stables behind Mount Edgecumbe’s stately home is another café. The array of homemade bakes on offer was amazing, including individual and innovative cheesecakes, and my slice of Bakewell Tart was most flavoursome with its layer of tangy raspberry jam.

In need of exercise after eating lots of goodies, we trudged down to the duck pond. It’s a good stopping-off point before reaching the pebbled beaches; popular spots on the estate with views across Plymouth Sound and the River Tamar with modern and historical architecture prominent on Devon’s landscape. The Cremyll Ferry left waves in its wake as it ferried passengers across to Stonehouse, an ideal shortcut or taken as a jaunt to enjoy the scenery from a new perspective.

Camellias are budding everywhere, and several are flowering. Although pretty at present, the National Camellia Collection with hundreds of flowering plants in varied colours and varieties will be glorious in the forthcoming weeks. Introduced to the West in 1692, and named after the Jesuit Priest, Joseph Camel, it’s difficult to now visualise how dull the terrain in winter would look without them.

Flowers, exquisite food, and precious company in beautiful surroundings – all the ingredients for a marvellous birthday – lucky me!

Until next time,
Sue. X