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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday 16 May 2024

It would be a puzzler for a monkey

 Almost to the minute of 9.30 am our taxi arrived. Well, actually it was Ian's brother Alan that found us ready and waiting to be taken to their cabin. The drive was along more windy and narrow lanes, and this time it was Alan that had to reverse when a lorry was met.


No photos of the cabin because I forgot, but needless to say it was lovely and exactly what we would have chosen had we been coming off the water and leaving FS for good. After a quick catchup during a cup of tea, Alan drove us all to Pencarrow House and Gardens.


On arrival, we were informed that the next house tour was in 10 minutes time. Unfortunately, Alan had to stay outside because also with us was their lovely flat coat retriever, Sky. So while he went off for a very long walk around the grounds, Angela, Ian and me, along with another 8 people, waited for our tour guide to arrive.

Now, which way have I to go, Ian?

So the tour begun outside, our guide happened to be an American now living in the Cornwell. In fact, she was the wife of the second brother James Molesworth-St Aubyn, the first being the 16th Baronet William Molesworth St Auybyn of Pencarrow.

Her name was Gilly Molesworth St Aubyn, and never was there a more knowledgeable person about the history of this house. I wondered about a title, but she humorously mentioned that the title of Lady can only happen if she 'does away' with the in laws! She is a hoot and this from Cornwell Live where she talks about a silent house and children is a  'must read

Never have we had such a memorable hour in her company and I would highly recommend this property for a visit, Click HERE for the history. It makes good reading. All the rooms were presented beautifully and the fact you could walk around the rooms and have a close look at all the objects within, was something I love about Historic Houses. 

Once the hour was up (in fact we did go over the time, it was because Gilly was very pleased to answer any questions) it was a walk to the café where we met Alan and Sky. Lunch was had, mushroom and tarragon soup with half crusty baguette and butter, and as the rain kept away, it was time to walk through the gardens.

On this estate, a row of Monkey Puzzle trees had been planted along the long drive down to the house. This time of year Rhoderdendrems lined the length and a colourful display had greeted us on the drive down. The Monkey Puzzle trees were still quite small and on the tour Gilly told us the history of these trees.   

I have taken this excerpt from Country Life  (https://www.countrylife.co.uk/gardens/curious-questions-how-the-monkey-puzzle-tree-get-its-name-211369

 On a late summer day in 1834, a house party gathered by the rock garden at Pencarrow, the Cornish seat of Sir William Molesworth MP. The guests were there to witness the planting of a young Araucaria araucana, the first to be grown at Pencarrow.

As a rule in tree-planting ceremonies, the planter is more celebrated than the tree, but not so on this occasion. Ever since the arrival of the first specimens in Britain in 1795, this extraordinary Chilean native had been an object of wonder and longing. Sir William paid the Chelsea nursery Knight & Perry a princely £25 for his new prize — the equivalent of over £3,000 today — aware that its advent at Pencarrow would be a spectacle to delight and fascinate the most distinguished of guests.

One of these, on that day in 1834, was the starry barrister Charles Austin. Testing the apparently tactile quality of the young tree’s branches, he received a sharp rebuke from its hard-pointed leaves. ‘Climbing it,’ he quipped, ‘would be a puzzler for a monkey.

The gardens were a delight, especially the walk through the rockery to the lake.

Ian with his plant identifier app

Just before we left and seeing several people with cameras pointed at a window ledge, I think we all did a double take. This is the photo. Can you see what it is. Answer at the bottom of the blog.

It was a fabulous few hours spent and so glad Alan and Angela took us to experience the history of this Historic property. That evening, dinner was had at the Coombe Barton Inn overlooking Crackington Haven Beach. The tide was in and the surf high. Watching a surfer trying to catch the waves passed the time nicely.


Taken on our way back to MB this morning

Back to MB this morning (15th), farewells said and time for us to return to Langley Mill. Next outing will be after our nieces wedding in June. Till then, Ian will be busy trying to address all the problems MB has thrown up.

And on the window sill

And wildlife

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