On Thursday, 10 of us visited Mike Johnson’s Copper Works in Newlyn.
Tucked away not far from Newlyn Harbour is Mike’s fascinating studio. The business was established in 2005, appropriately in the same workshop space as the original copper works set up in 1890!
Mike talked to us about copper’s important role in Newlyn’s artistic heritage, along with painting, pottery and textiles. Unfortunately, many of the skills, tools and facilities associated with a coppersmith’s workshop have been lost over the years. Mike and his colleage Shelley are now working to revive this wonderful craft.
The Copper Works has created pieces for Hampton Court Flower Show, Harrod’s, Claridge’s and, recently, Eton College. The project at Eton is an acroterion (a large roof ornament) at the College’s new lecture theatre, and has received quite a bit of press lately. Mike has also done work for film – the copper-studded belts worn by Johnny Depp et al in the Pirates of the Caribbean films were created in the Newlyn workshop!
Mike showed us some of his smaller pieces – beautiful copper leaves, little dishes, etc. – as well as some more sizeable projects – the beginnings of a water feature for a recent private commission.
We all left the workshop with an appreciation for the beauty of copper and a renewed respect for the skill and artistry of the coppersmith. And Val already has her ‘workshop organiser’ hat on and is planning to arrange some hands-on copper work for us!
Thank you so much to Kathy for setting up this wonderful day. You can some more photos here.
This week, a lucky 13 of us took a day trip to Scilly to meet up with the ladies of St Mary’s WI. What a splendid day it was!
The trip over on the Scillonian was beautifully smooth and we all sunned ourselves on the decks. When we arrived, we were met by Sue and Heather, two members of St Mary’s WI, who greeted us with a welcome sign. We then piled into two minibuses and were given a tour of the island – including the Garrison and Old Town, as well as the chapel hall where St Mary’s holds their WI meetings.
After our whirlwind tour, we were taken to Juliet’s Garden, a fabulous restaurant with enormous terraces overlooking the harbour. There, the rest of the St Mary’s WI members were waiting to meet us. I think there were about 25 of us altogether, all at a lovely long table!
I can’t put into words how wonderfully warm and friendly they all were. The conversations were noisy and full of laughter and it was as if we’d all known each other for years! Or perhaps that was the wine. 😉
After a delicious meal and more laughs, we set off on foot to return to the ferry. On the way, we stopped on the Strand for ice cream. There aren’t many things nicer than ice cream on a hot summer day, looking out at beautiful sea views!
After saying our goodbyes, we all boarded the ferry – and had a slightly chillier trip home!
What a fantastic day it was. Those of us who went certainly had a day to remember. We are so grateful to Sue, Heather, Peggy and the rest of the St Mary’s ladies for their generosity and kindness. They even put on some late summer sunshine for us! Best of all, I think we all made some really good friends.
Two of the St Mary’s WI members will be in Truro for the Autumn Council Meeting next month, so make sure you say hello!
And now we must put on our thinking caps and come up with a way to repay the ladies when they visit the mainland next year.
Click here to see more pictures of our wonderful day out.
On Friday, Charlotte, Gail, Pam R and Julie set off for a CFWI day out to Bodmin Plant and Herb Nursery.
They were welcomed by the owners Karen and Mark and served lovely fresh coffee and homemade biscuits. They then split into two groups and went to the potting shed where there was a beautiful display of herbs with which Karen and Claire (the young woman in charge of the herbs section) described a variety of potting options, explaining the herbs’ uses and how to keep them at their best.
Off to lunch now where they were served homemade soup and homemade cake!
Along the way, the ladies made a gorgeous new friend!
The afternoon was spent on a tour of the operation explaining how they water, propagate and care for the plants from beginning to sale.
It was a fabulous day with some super discounted shopping – it looks as though the ladies came home with a boot full of goodies!
On Thursday, a group from Crowlas & Ludgvan WI joined in the County Trip to Fowey. The weather was mostly kind so ice creams were enjoyed by those who braved the seagulls!
The day started with a meander around this ancient town which, thanks to its deep harbour, is still a commercial port as well as a safe mooring for many yachts. Along the way we saw the homes of Daphne Du Maurier (where she wrote Rebecca) and Kenneth Grahame. The Wind in the Willows started as a series of letters sent to his children while he and his wife enjoyed an extended holiday in Fowey.
The narrow, steep streets wind around the grounds of Place House, home for many centuries to the Treffry family. Although very little of Tudor Fowey survives, there are many old buildings which give the town charm and character. Fishermen’s cottages (well, originally) line the riverbank with their own moorings running down to the water.
After a picnic lunch for some, and a pub lunch for others, off we went on our 45-minute boat trip up the river, down again to its mouth and then back to the harbour. The boatman’s commentary added to our pleasure, reinforcing what we had learned either during our walk or on the trip on the land train.
A few of us finished the day by having a rollicking good time scoffing scones and cream in a tea garden.
We all had a great day; Fowey has a laid-back atmosphere, lots of cafes and interesting shops, wonderful views and lots of history. Definitely a day out to be recommended, so thank you to Pat Gloyn for arranging this wonderful outing!
Click here to see some more of Ruth’s fantastic photos of the day.
This year’s annual Twinning event with Camelford WI was hosted by them, and they gave us an absolutely wonderful day out to Wild Futures, the monkey sanctuary in Looe.
We arrived in the morning and all had coffee together (Camelford’s treat) in the Rainforest Cafe.
After that, our trusty guide Paul took us all over the sanctuary, telling us about the history of the place, as well as about the monkeys and their lives and habits.
We were all smitten with little Lily – a seven-month-old woolly monkey – and watching her clinging to mum Maya was a joy. However, Paul made sure that we understood that the sanctuary does not intentionally breed monkeys and that Lily was the result of contraceptive failure. The sanctuary doesn’t have room to take all the monkeys in need of a safe place as it is.
Paul explained the sanctuary’s efforts to campaign to change the pet trade laws which currently allow people to keep wild animals, such as monkeys, in their homes. People who keep monkeys as pets often hold them in cages, usually on their own, resulting in both physical and psychological damages to the monkeys.
In spite of some of the sad stories we heard, we all saw how happy and healthy the monkeys were in the sanctuary. It was great to know that they’ll live out their lives in such a good place.
After our tour, we had a delicious lunch, after which some of us sat in the sun eating ice cream while others walked down to see the gardens at the sanctuary.
On top of all that, it was lovely to spend time with our Camelford friends. Next year is our turn to host, and we have a tough act to follow!
Click here to see more photos of our day at the monkey sanctuary.
Twenty-eight Crowlas & Ludgvan WI members and friends travelled to Exeter last Thursday for some Christmas cheer and retail therapy.
The weather was mostly kind, despite some heavy rain in the early afternoon. Serendipity played a part; some members met old friends by chance and lunched with them; others of us had a clearly mapped-out plan which included (surprise, surprise) a visit to John Lewis. I think all of us strolled around the Christmas Market, held on the Cathedral Green. On offer were saucissons from France and bratwurst from Germany, pastries, mulled wine and crafts ranging from ironwork, woodwork and leatherwork to beads and candles.
Visits were paid to the library and the Cathedral itself, these provided a welcome physical respite as well as a bit of mental stimulation!
After a late afternoon departure from Exeter, we had a speedy journey home, thanks to Robin Tweed, our able driver.
It was a splendid day. “Didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went to Ex’ter?” Although there was no cuddling with Jack on the way back and cider consumption just didn’t happen – we are the WI, after all!
A few weeks ago we were treated to a fantastic afternoon at lovely little St Hilary Church.
Husband and wife team Owen and Carrie Baker, who volunteer at the church, spoke to us about its history.
We heard about the colourful Rev Bernard Walke who was parish priest at St Hilary from 1913 to 1936, and who was responsible for bringing the glorious Newlyn School art to the church. Walke’s wife, Annie, was an artist and counted among her friends many of the Newlyn artists we all know and love. In the church are works by Ernest and Dod Procter, Norman Garstin, Harold Knight and, of course, Annie Walke herself.
After our tour of the church, we moved next door to the tearoom above the new St Hilary Heritage Centre where we had a sumptuous cream tea. After our tea, we explored the wonderful collection of documents in the Heritage Centre.
For anyone who hasn’t been, the Heritage Centre is open on weekdays during the summer and the tearoom is open on Wednesdays. Both are well worth a visit!
Before heading back home, we all had a wander around the lovely old churchyard, examining some of the fascinating stones. Norman Garstin and the Procters are all buried here.
A big thank you goes to Kathy Merrett for organising such a fantastic day for us!
(See a few more photos of the day by clicking here.)
On Thursday, some of us went on a lovely CFWI outing to Tavistock and The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum.
Our coach arrived in Tavistock in the morning and we had time for coffee, some window shopping, a look around St Eustachius Church and an al fresco lunch.
We then travelled on to Buckland Monachorum for a tour of the gardens at The Garden House. Head gardener Nick walked us around the whole garden, telling us about its history, his work and future plans for the garden.
It was a full day but a very good one! And we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather!
If you’d like to see more photos of our day out, click here.