Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Wells Cathedral

When you step inside Wells Cathedral for the first time, it is easy to see why architectural historian Alec Clifton-Taylor once described it as "the most poetic of all English cathedrals." You can wander as if lost under the rows of proud arches and find yourself staring at the intricate details of centuries-old stained glass windows, open mouthed, for minutes at a time.

Built between 1175 and 1490, the Medieval colossus houses the second-oldest clock face in the world along with the splendid 14th-century stained glass Jesse Window, mason William Joy's steadfast 'Scissor' Arches and heavy marble tombs, still holding their strong colours, built for a number of figures important to the church. 

For me, the stunning facade of the cathedral beats that of Bath Abbey and York Minster – it even comes close to the Notre Dame in Paris. Next to the cathedral is the visually arresting Vicar's Close, which was founded in 1348 for the 42 vicars of the Vicars Choral to live communally. When we visited, a slate sky made for a dramatic backdrop to the row of neat buildings. 

Elsewhere in Wells, fun can be had visiting the various independent cafés and pubs, and popping into 'Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe' to choose your favourite guilty pleasure from the rows of sweetie jars. There is no train station, but the bus ride is more than worth it for the breathtaking views of rural Somerset.

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath


© Rosie Pentreath


The cathedral cat warms herself by an iron radiator © Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath
Wells Cathedral © Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath


© Rosie Pentreath

Vicar's Close, Wells © Rosie Pentreath


Visit: www.wellscathedral.org.uk



If you like this, why not try:

Porth-an-Alls, Prussia Cove
A photowalk through Paris



Rosie Pentreath



Friday, 13 February 2015

Porth-an-Alls, Prussia Cove




If you're lucky enough to have spent time at Porth-an-Alls in Prussia Cove, Cornwall, you'll know what I mean when I say it's not quite like any experience you'll have elsewhere. The location of Sándor Végh's International Musician's Seminar and several film sets (Ladies in Lavender and Summer in February were both shot here), Porth-an-Alls is a stunning historic house surrounded by traditional Cornish cottages hidden away in what feels like a forgotten part of Cornwall.

After squeezing through winding and increasingly narrow roads, the peace you find at Prussia is whole and uninterrupted. The lack of modernisation allows the stars to reign the night skies, the sea to remain clear and inviting, and the air to reach your lungs new and untainted.

Porth-an-Alls is surrounded by turquoise sea and generous beaches where you can clamber across rocks to survey pool life and delve in the sand for precious cowry shells. 

The houses – including Porth-an-Alls itself, The Lodge and Willy's Cottage – are gorgeously eccentric, all largely untouched by modern convenience, open fires still the primary source of heat, candles a legitimate source of light. Hammocks hang from stone arches; marble pillars support fireplaces; roll-top baths sit in the centres of rooms or beside frost-bitten windows; ornate friezes adorn bedroom walls. There's no wi-fi here.

Last weekend (6-8 February), my auntie and her partner got married in this Bloomsbury Group-esque setting. I stayed with my family in The Lodge, which is right next to the main house and enjoyed catching up with friends and relatives from around the country while sharing this most romantic – and beautiful – of occasions with my nearest and dearest.

Now, Prussia Cove is somewhere you want to spend your time outside as much as possible, so a February visit promised to be a very chilly one, but we were incredibly lucky to be graced with mild temperatures, warm sun and azure skies. An extra blanket or two was adequate protection against those old cottages. Even the ceremony itself took place in the fresh air!

Here is how it all looked through my little Pentax MV1...

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath






Visit: prussiacove.co.uk



If you like this, why not try:

Cape Cornwall
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Home Truths


Rosie Pentreath



Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Cape Cornwall

Cape Cornwall | Photo: Rosie Pentreath



It's difficult to explain the feeling you get when you return to a place you know quite literally as well as the skin that covers the back of your hand. It's an ecstatic feeling, but one infiltrated by an enigmatic melancholy. The outlandish shape of Cape Cornwall's headland is one such place for me: a sight beheld all the way through childhood's play, grappled with and translated in numerous scratchy sketches and paintings – one as natural as the ceiling above a well-warn bed – it exists as an almost visceral memory in my mind.

Situated around four miles north of Land's End, it is reached by a winding road, which is carried by protective stone hedges past the granite house I grew up in. From the top of this thin tarmac ribbon, you can look out across a horizon that stretches from the mysterious Brisons islet to Kenijack Castle atop a headland peppered with other old buildings abandoned along with the entire Cornish tin mining industry.

Built in 1864, the steadfast stack on top of the Cape was part of Cape Cornwall Mine, which closed in 1883. Now it's known as the Heinz Monument, named and maintained to commemorate the purchase of Cape Cornwall for the nation by HJ Heinz Co.

During the summer season, Apple's Kitchen serves all kinds of snacks to chilly tourists looking for warmth after their dip in the granite seawater-filled pool or a windy ride beside rugged cliffs in a bobbing fishing boat.

Just right of the Cape sits Wheal Call cottage where my sister and I spent two summers playing while our parents freshened its old interiors. As you can imagine, the views from those windows are spectacular on the right day.

On Monday I was lucky enough to return to Cape Cornwall – it was like I had never left; nothing had changed – and show my favourite place in the world to my favourite person. The weather was gorgeous, the views utterly breathtaking and the air unbelievably fresh. It's difficult to explain the feeling you get from something like that. These moments are to be cherished.


Cape Cornwall, overlooking the golf course | Photo: Rosie Pentreath


Wheal Call, just north of Cape Cornwall | Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Cape Cornwall, winter light | Photo: Rosie Pentreath




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Rosie Pentreath



Sunday, 1 February 2015

A day at St Werburghs city farm

St Werburghs city farm hosts an annual wassail. Sporting plenty of layers under snug coats against the cold and trusty wellies against the mud, a group of us went along on Saturday to take in the music, hearty hamburgers, warm cider and ceremonial blessing of the apple trees it involves.

St Werburghs is a very special part of Bristol. Arriving at the city farm, just twenty minutes from the city centre, you can hear the crow of roosters and snort of little piglets while gazing across dozens of vegetable plots tended to lovingly by keen city smallholders. A walk through the long tunnel to Boiling Wells can bring you face to face with street artists in masks working on their latest mural, with the thud of house music to keep them company and the smell of stale weed in the air. Boiling Wells Road takes you to a neat collection of eco-houses, designed and built carefully by a conscientious and considerate community before another tunnel spits you out at the well-kempt Boiling Wells Orchard. The site of celebration and festivals throughout the year, it is often full of the sound of small children's laughter and the music of the latest underground folk artists to be circulating Bristol.

Saturday's wassail was one such event. The smoke of a small fire embedded itself, uninvited, into our clothes and we joined a throng of cider-drinking hipsters to encourage the apple tree to bear plentiful fruit through the year ahead. An infectiously wholesome afternoon, it left us with a wassailing song circling our brains and the warm feeling of having paid some respect to the spiritual natural world that we so often take for granted.

Photo: Rosie Pentreath
Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath
Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath

Photo: Rosie Pentreath


If you like this, why not try:

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• This is the city in which I live





Saturday, 31 January 2015

Theatre: Little Room Productions presents Arcana II



It's interesting to imagine how a series of opera shorts based on the figures found on tarot cards could play out. This is what made Little Room Productions opera company's Arcana immediately intriguing to me.

A collection of ten short scenes exploring the human psyche which included 'The Devil', 'The Hanged Man' and 'The Sun', Arcana delved into the deepest of human struggles. Specially commissioned pieces of modern opera by young composers articulated complex emotions, from fear and addiction to plain indifference, and were framed by a thought-provoking monologue given in a rather rudimentary performance by Harry Benfield.

Highlights in the series included Chris Pelmore's witty performance in 'Temperance' – "I just don't care" – and William Stevens's dark and broody exploration of all kinds of addiction in 'The Hanged Man.' Often the libretto referenced up to date cultural trends, like the proliferation of digital communication and technology – James Black and Harry Benfield's 'Strength', for example, featured a lone female protagonist (played somewhat unconvincingly by Marienella Phillips) whose experiences closely reflected those of gameAnita Sarkeesian who received death threats and abuse after she called the industry out on sexism.

There were some interesting musical ideas, such Jacob Bright's use of an off-stage chorus to create a sense of space in the score for 'The Devil' – and profound points were touched on, but these were rarely realised convincing in the performances themselves.



If you like this, why not try:

Music: The Madness Game, Bierkeller Theatre
Theatre: London Road, Bristol Old Vic