november in Cornwall




Cold November Rain and a Yurt
Looking out to sea, I could imagine Axl Rose sipping Earl Grey and a munching on a biscuit as he wrote "Cold November Rain'... then again, maybe not ! You know Axl Rose, he's that bloke in Guns N' Roses with the red, spotted bandana who wears cycle shorts.

I wouldn't want you to think I'm some sad, wannabe, old rock chic who thinks it's cool to know a few heavy metal tracks; my information is purely by subliminal infusion by association from my sons who played this kind of music relentlessly, and without being deaf, some of it had to permeate.... Blind Melon, Soundgarden, Fishbone.. 'it's all rock and roll to me'!

November harbour

November has a singular beauty. If you're not living In Cornwall, it is almost certain that the picture postcard image will be one of bright blues and views, but it's not always like that. Vicious rain, slashing from the south-west, straight from the Channel is hard and cold, as the horizon focuses the sun tries to break through the cloud and spotlights of brilliance beam onto the sea like the lights of an alien mother ship searching for a place to land.

The vibrance of summer has faded, giving way to the taupe, moss and grey palette of autumn. The cottages are mistily indefinable and the village a de-saturated silhouette with the headland and lifeboat house, darkly etched against the sea. Lustrous bands of pewter, silver and mercury flicker and interchange. amalgam like, across the sea's surface as the sun feebly attempts to break through the clouds as the white, ocean-reflected light bleaches everything with diffused filters.

The days are shortening with the onset of winter, but then, as Axl warbles, ' nothin' last forever, even cold November rain', we ended the month with an 'up- country' treat; an evening at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's, River Cottage. It's been a long time since we've had such a fabulous eating experience: it was like being at a party with people you've never met and will never meet again, with the prerequisite that you'll have a great time as everyone was there to celebrate a special occasion.

On arrival, a covered tractor transports guests to goodness knows where into a deep valley and it all kicks off with canapes and cider brandy, around a roaring fire in a yurt.... a very chic, canvas yurt. not sewn together skins where you might imagine spending time with Genghis Khan sitting on a steppe slurping borsch. The evening's menu is explained; not just what we will eat but the sourcing, growing and production of the food. It all came together with informal, unpretentious perfection.

A month that started with cold, November rain, ended with canapes of hot smoked trout with horseradish!

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