Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Last Friday Angela and I decided to have a day out. It was typical Cornish weather - mizzly but warm - and I thought the perfect day to take the coast road between St. Ives and St. Just on the north Cornish coast. The mist was rolling off the hills and stoney outcrops, and the derelict engine houses loomed out of the whiteness, so atmospheric. Our first stop was Zennor, a tiny hamlet which has become famous for two reasons. During the war D.H.Lawrence and his German wife retreated here for peace and security. And have you heard of the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor?

Inside the ancient granite church dedicated to St. Senara is the 'Mermaid Chair', a simple wooden seat with the carving of a mermaid on one end, holding a mirror. 

Legend has it that a local lad heard strange and beautiful singing whilst attending service in the church, and so intoxicated was he by this otherworldly voice that one day he followed the sound down to the cove and walked down underneath the waves, for it was a mermaid who lured him to his death.

From the church we walked down the track leading to the cove, passing this farmyard with its ancient granite posts.

Spiky gorse, moss and ivy, typical of the granite walls in this part of wild Cornwall

So bleak, no trees; but the landscape has a raw beauty all of its own

Then the cove, quite a precipitous drop, and no beach at high tide

Angela is a textile addict like myself, and since I had my camera with me I asked if I could take some pictures round her home.

This is one of her oil paintings, a work in progress. Aren't the colours beautiful? It is definitely an interior, but I love the way everything remains in soft focus.

On her living room floor, about six work baskets overflowing with fabric snippets, including a lot of gorgeous vintage Liberty Tana lawn.

Upstairs on the landing, a veritable cascade of vintage clothing that Angela wears on a regular basis

This skirt has the most divine print and colouring

On her bedroom wardrobe doors hang yet more delicious vintageness; some of the clothes she made for her daughter when she was small

A Liberty lawn summer dress, very faded at the top,

and a knitted cardi with little stitched flowers and this divine Julie Arkell brooch pinned to the hem!

A raspberry red velvet bias-cut evening dress with petals decorating the neckline

Oh so glamorous!

And this wee jacket that Angela made for her baby daughter,

such a pretty fabric and quilted with a contrasting pinky-red stitch.

Going down the stairs, which I have done many times before, only this time I spot the little shelf 

with its little family of cuties! Just look at that darling velour elephant!
Thanks Angela, it's always a joy coming to your home x x x


  1. Christine what a fascinating post.
    The Mermaid's chair is breathtaking as is the church and everything that surrounds it.
    Your friend's painting is beautiful!
    Really got a jolt of Cornwall in this visit.

  2. Oh what a lovely 'ride'! I so enjoy your visiting your blog. The mermaid chair is certainly unique! The cove hit the spot (I am homesick...again) and Angela's taste in clothing is delightful! Thank you for sharing and God bless,

  3. What a nice post. Cody inside after that walk. My children and I adore Zennor

  4. Oh goodness what fabulous pictures...I love that part of Cornwall and Zennor, the Mermaids chair is beautiful and the story inspires like all of Cornwall inspires. When I was 18 (a long time ago) I spent the whole summer working in Penzance swimming nearly twice a day and living on virtually nothing after breakfast time as you do at that age ...your post bought back some fabulous memories..
    Hugs Lynn xxx

  5. Thank you for sharing yur visit to Zennor. We were there once again last month. I love the beauty of that wild coast. Such a contrast to St Ives where we visited the same day, but left after a very quickly as it was so crowded.Of course, Zennor has a wonderful tea room, which is always an incentive to visit.


  6. Thanks for sharing your day out with us, your friend's house is a real treasure trove of goodies.

  7. Breathtaking scenery Christine... Cornwall's unspoilt coastline is magical.

    I adored seeing Angela's treasures too...The little woollen cardi and the printed dress have so much charm.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Niki x

  8. Hi Christine

    I love Cornwall and remember going to Zennor but sadly don't remember the legend of the mermaid.
    It is a very atmospheric place. You are so lucky living in Cornwall. I find Cornwall is good for the soul. There is no place like it on earth.
    I like Angela's taste in clothes!
    Isabelle x
    Have a lovely weekend
    Isabelle x

  9. Such a beautiful post. In the Church, it looks like those are needlepoint pillow on the pews!

  10. its all so gorgeous, wish i could have come with you!