Friday, 6 May 2016

Wildflowers on the Helford River

“It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened- Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.” 
― Mark TwainThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I live somewhat impulsively, 
I wouldn't be able to exist any other way.

I find it difficult to get through life with expectations, and preconceived notions and fixed ideas. 
Sure, I have goals. 
Feats I'd like to achieve.
One day, I will to publish a book,
One day, I will to see the Northern Lights,
One day, I will sit in a bubbling spring of a national park, far off someplace else,
They look sort of like that.
There will be lots of one days and they might or might not happen. 
These days I try not to obsessively look towards the future, but still hold onto the things I might like to do and the places I might like to see.
I bookmark those things but then I try not to get hung up on them.
Today is today and there will only ever be one today but also a hundred other todays. But it's important that today is full of joy, and warmth and discovery. 
It's okay if sometimes that discovery is found in a book, indoors in a particularly cosy chair. 
It's okay to talk to your plants. 

I live somewhat impulsively - It means that I wake up in the morning and I'm not always sure where my day might take me. 
I like to think that seven pm isn't too late for an adventure.
I can still take a walk up the creek.
I can still pick a posy of chamomile and fern. 
I can still climb a tree. 

This weekend, I finished the last of my university assignments - there was nothing to keep me in the city. 
By Monday morning, I was on the train southwards, home.

We parked up in the countryside near Kestle Barton and took the sloping path down to the bluebell woods that led to the creek. 
Spring came late this year and although the wildflowers are beginning to rear their sleepy heads and the bluebells have become a blanket, draped across the woodland floors, the green trees are still patchy and the cow parsley is only just beginning to sprout down our parts. 
May is my absolute favourite month of the year. As I've mentioned before on this blog, growing up in Cornwall gives you a very romantic impression of May. It's the month of festivals, of Beltane, of flowers and freshness; it's a month of welcomed warmth and new life. Some of the celtic and traditional festivals are still going strong here and May is the month of folk tales, bare feet and white dresses. Maizey day & Glowan festival in Penzance celebrate the arrival of summer and the St. Agnes Bolster festival celebrates the folklore of Cornwall's giants.
There is something quite unplaceable in the air - not a smell, not a breeze, not a bird song, but something almost magical. There's something about May that makes you keep a watchful eye for the hopes of spotting the little people who are rumoured to inhabit this ancient land, and smile at the  passing flutterbys and bumbling bees. 

This is the Helford Village, not all that far from where George's family live. We'll be living with them over the summer when we move home in a few weeks, until around October when (fingers crossed) we can move into a little cottage owned by family friends. The Lizard has always been George's home and has become my adopted home over the last few years. I originate from Illogan, a village about fourty minutes away, towards the North Coast near Portreath. The Lizard is an isolated and extremely rural peninsula, but it's my favourite place in the whole of Cornwall. I've come to know the place like a book I've read fifty times. I love every hidden fishing village, every remote cove, every creek and barrow. It's a truly enchanting peninsula that never stops taking my breath away. I cherish my life here - the community, the summer parties at the pub on the river, the open air gigs and church fetes. I love being a part of a place where you know everyone, and if you don't - then they definitely know somebody related to you and you can strike up a meaningful conversation with just about anybody. 

To get to the Helford river, you must navigate the tightest of country lanes that snake through the dipping valleys and over ancient stony bridges past bubbling brooks. 
Alex and I both live on the Lizard Peninsula and are extremely fond of its landscape. It's not often we'll bother venturing past Helston if we're looking for a relaxing day to spend together. On this particular Tuesday, Jess was with us (Jess and I actually planned to surprise Alex as it was a secret that I was coming to visit!) and after meeting with a very bewildered Alex, we decided to head back Southwards to show Jess (who hails from Penzance in the West) our neck of the woods. 

Gosh that was a mouthful. Have I lost you? Still with us? Okay, let's explore! 
Ps. I hope you're not one of those people with a fear of bare feet, because if you know me well by now, you'll know I don't like wearing shoes and there is going to an abundance of foot bareness. If you are one of those types, then I am probably the last person you ever want to hang about with. I take my shoes off the moment I get to class, sit down on the train or somewhere where bare feet are publicly acceptable (Ie. Most of Cornwall.) My redeeming quality is that I've never suffered with smelly feet, so I hope that makes it better? 

We meandered up the familiar lane to the Shipwright arms. We passed the village's only store with its merry signage advertising local produce. Most of the Helford village consists of holiday lets and second homes these days, so it's dead throughout winter and quiet in the off season. It was particularly quiet, being May and the bank holiday had just ended - but we were thankful for the peace, for the Helford is best enjoyed for its peace and tranquility. The fact that not a lot of locals are able to live here anymore doesn't deter it from being a hub of community activity - all the local children who attend the schools on the Lizard Peninsula get to enjoy sailing lessons for PE. That's right, you heard me. SAILING FOR PE. Going to a school on the North Coast suddenly seems like a raw deal, all we got was Rugby and Rounders! (How ungrateful I sound! shuh, I am glad to have an education at all) We used to come down here a lot early last summer when George's brother was doing his P.E lessons here and I was green with envy at what awesome activities these kids get to enjoy here on the Lizard.
As well as groups of parents watching their kids sailing about in the river, you've got the Helford river sailing club which has events and is a popular social spot. Nothing quite compares to the Shipwright arms however, it's one of our most frequented pubs ever and I really can't quite explain what a unique space it is. Perched on the side of the river, there's tiers of outdoor seating that look right over the water. It has its own pontoon and it's not unusual for people to rock up in their boats, moor up and enjoy a pint. In the summer, they throw a bunch of parties and gigs, and all the locals from the area come on down, get covered in UV paint and party till late in one of Cornwall's quirkier pubs, right on the river side. It's getting more and more on the expensive side these days but you can opt for a pizza or paella from their outdoor grill on a hot summers day which is a little more affordable. My personal favourite thing to enjoy here is a Gin & Elderflower, specifically a Helford Creek Elderflower, which is a delicious homemade presse, made with love by our dear friends Sarah and Jem Trewhella at their farm, Mudgeon Vean! Their Helford Creek juices are AMAZING and have won lots of wonderful awards, so if you're ever in the area, keep your eyes peeled for their juice. Always buy local and support the small businesses :D You won't regret it, the products normally taste a zillion times better because they're made in small batches and crafted with care.

We rested on the pontoon for a while and watched the boats pass us by. It was a calm and the pontoon swayed rhythmically with the water. We bathed our feet in the cool water, chatted and took in all of the spring smells around us. In Bath, I never really notice smell all that much - it's mostly a mingle of  strong, chemical perfumes, vehicle exhausts and dust. Coming home was an assault to my senses, especially since it was spring. Everything smelled so powerfully and it filled up my soul like a glass of water. Fresh, new flowers in the hedgerows, salt water, tossed earth in the farm fields and damp wood. I took it all in, delighted by my freedom. Feeling fulfilled and confident that my decision to move home was the right one. I almost didn't want to go back to Bath to fetch all my things and make preparations to move home, it was tempting to just stay and be selfish by leaving it all to George to arrange. But I knew that the final journey, with the car all packed up with our things - that would be the most fulfilling and joyous one.

Botanist's Smock: Olive Clothing (Current)  |  Boyfriend Jeans: Cath Kinston (Old) 
Tortoise shell sunshades: New look (Current)  |  Leaf Bangle: Accessorize (Current) 

We watched the tide ebb and flow, creeping in around us and filling the belly of the river until the Ford became too deep for the cars to pass through. After a long while of frolicking, we decided that ice cream at Roskilly's and a trip to Coverack to look at the turquoise bay and having a peep at one  of my wedding venues was in order. I suppose it would be allowed to leak a little information about our wedding next May. It's a whole year away, but I am one of those people that likes to get things sorted early because then I've got all the time in the world to take things slowly and easy and not fuss. 
We're holding the wedding celebrations at our local fishing villages and following a theme of 'Merry month of May in Cornwall' - so think folktales, wildflowers, seashells and herbs. We want to capture the essence of our heritage and home and we're forgoing colour schemes, standard wedding formats and chic themes to pick something of a Lizard-inspired medley that reflects us best of all. Not real scaly Lizards of course, I'm talking about the name of our area. The only kind of reptiles we've got down here are Sea Serpents and Dragons. 

Here's a little peek of the breathtaking blue of Coverack bay. There's something in the water there, that no matter the weather the colour is always just incredible. We put away the cameras for our ice cream and the rest of the day so we could just savour the moments uninterrupted. I love taking photographs and I was keen to try out my new 85mm lens. I haven't quite got the knack of it yet, but so far I love it ^_^ It's a portrait lens and being a prime, it's so crisp. I'm still experimenting and trying to find a happy place with my editing but my mood changes like the clouds.
I'm typing this from my couch in Bath, having submitted my very last assignment today and rewarding myself with Chinese food. Over the next few weeks, I start the moving out process. I've got a few photoshoots to do and I'll be working on improving and developing my photography whilst trying to repair my diminished fitness levels. Deadlines and third year really do kill your personal fitness level when you're sat on your butt all day writing thousands upon thousands of words. I've never been one for the gym - I much prefer to exercise through bike rides in the countryside, wild swimming and climbing (says she, eating Chinese food.)
Over the next few weeks, I'll be reflecting on my last four years spent here and sharing posts about experiences, lessons learned and advice for prospective students. I'll probably finally get round to doing that flat tour too, just before I move out :P
The best thing about having a blog is to be able to look back so easily at these landmark chapter ends and beginnings. It really does illustrate your life like a storybook for you to read and re-read again.
I'm already excited for the next chapter and to see where it leads me. Maybe I'll go to Japan one day, maybe I'll go in a hot air balloon and maybe I'll see the Northern lights.
Just maybe.



  1. Can I have your life please? Imagine living there!

    Becky | accoohtrements life, travel + design blog

  2. I love these pictures, Sarah! They definitely capture the vibe of early spring perfectly! :) I also love how you describe life on the Lizard - I unfortunately missed visiting this part of Cornwall when I traveled there a few years ago, but your words and pictures have certainly convinced me that I need to make the treck back to the UK to pay this peninsula a visit soon! Hope you're enjoying beeing done with all your university assignments! :)

  3. This is so dreamy! I want to move to Helford! It looks amazing.

  4. Ah, you never fail to make me drift off into another world where fairies flutter freely about and where every detail is beautifully magnified.
    I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award over on my blog, if you'd like to take part please head over to see the 'rules'.
    I hope you are enjoying the sunshine!

  5. Your words and photos are so beautiful, i'm in more than half a mind to run away from city life right now...

  6. Everything about this post makes me long for May days on the Helford Creek. I spent so many lovely hours wondering through the woodlands and around tiny villages swimming through crystal clear water and just enjoying Cornwall at its very best. There's something so magical about the county that unless you spend a significant amount of time there, you'll only ever glimpse briefly. Even just looking through these photos have made me want to jump in the car and drive down straight away! So beautiful Sarah! Alice xxx

  7. Continue the good work; keep posting more n more n more.
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  8. Wow! Such a perfect place :)


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