“Good idea.” With grey clouds circling, I readily agreed to Mr Word Loft’s suggestion of visiting Cotehele. Whatever the weather, the house and grounds have much to offer, including The Barn restaurant. The parsnip and apple soup served with a chunky homemade triangle cheese scone was most satisfying, especially on a cool blustery day. Also, I made a mental note to return for a tiramisu latte later, which we did, and rather delicious it was, too.

The Tudor Hall is grand and homely, all in one hit. Medieval weapons and armour adorn the walls, but the furniture and fireplace, although sizable, give a comfortable atmosphere. A return journey will be necessary for the end of the month as the hall will be decked with Cotehele’s legendary and spectacular Christmas Garland.

As in all notable manor houses, there is a chapel. At the back, a clock from the Tudor period stands in a cupboard. The mechanism hasn’t been converted to a pendulum and is a rarity that, over the years, must have become very precious to the Edgecumbe family.

Other rooms are fairly dim, the charming lattice windows being light restrictive, but wall tapestries brighten, and help keep rooms warm. Each has appealing features, from a compact and convenient wine cellar in the dining room to the bedrooms cosy looking four-poster beds. I think the occupants, including some royalty, must have been lithe as the uneven mattresses are very high.

In part of the building facing flower terraces, the artwork of Rena Gardiner (1929 -1999), is exhibited. Examples of the process called auto-lithography, favoured by her, can be viewed. A picture is etched onto plates or printing surfaces, the copies reproduced will have a fresh, definite appearance and the style of numerous historical guidebooks created by the artist.

Thankfully the weather stayed dry and we enjoyed a wander outside without getting soaked. Impressive in any season, the gardens are now a floral and foliage autumnal array, with pops of summer colour here and there. I must mention some pure white fuchsias, delicate as lace, which I don’t recall seeing anywhere else.

Cotehele is renowned for its orchards. A sign told us there was mistletoe growing there. A parasitic plant, it is easily recognisable. High up in the fruit trees boughs’, round clusters of leaves with berries, not yet white, shone like peridot.

The sun started to go down. Water reflections would be at their best. So armed with our cameras we trudged downhill to the River Tamar. There were only a few people up and down the quayside. With the sound of reeds and bullrushes shushing in the breeze, we found a bench to sit quietly and appreciate the scenery.

Until next time,
Sue. X