Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cordial & Grace

Moseying about Clifton village and its assortment of fancy restaurant come bars, antique dealers, scotch egg shops and glittering jewellers is always a pleasant way to dispose of a Saturday afternoon. Tucked away down The Mall we stumble upon Cordial and Grace. I say stumble upon, it was an entirely planned visit, but it has the sort of unassuming, lilac frontage it would be very easy to totter past on your way to the Clifton Sausage.

Normally I am averse to the cup-cake vintage set. I just don’t like icing that much, preferring my baked goods rustic and lightly burnt around the edges. For Cordial and Grace I am happy to make an exception. Pretty and polka dotted it may be, but there is an edge of practicality to the set-up. We are here for a sewing lesson, something the majority of us haven’t attempted since our last home economics class ten years ago. 

Maria, our tutor for the day, possesses an air of Kirsty Allsopp about her: well-chosen prints and floral sophistication, coupled with a firm but jovial teaching style. Introducing three complete novices to the ins, outs and back in and round agains of a sewing machine isn’t an easy task but she manages it with aplomb. By the end of our two hour session we've three respectable attempts at pin cushions to carry home.

 Cushions in hand we are then treated to a glass of very gulpable Prosecco and a selection of perfectly formed cakes. As aforementioned I am not the easiest to please when it comes to cake but here once again they were spot on – the flapjack being particularly superb – and I am now set upon trying their entire menu.

Cordial and Grace run workshops for all sorts of sewing enthusiasts, from the complete beginner, which I can assure you we certainly were, through to groups of more experienced seamstresses that like to get together for a natter over their needles.

 If you’d like to book yourself in there are Christmas sessions coming up that sound most exciting. After all, who wouldn’t want a homemade stocking to stuff?

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Night Owl

Across the middle of the field the white flat shape of an owl swooped down. I heard the air in front of her wings scooped up by a soft cup of feathers. Talons outstretched she ambushed her prey amongst the dark grasses. I watched her circle once, twice more, scouring for the slightest movement amongst the night-kept borders and then off she flew, silent into the river of stars that, on this clear night, flowed thick over the sky.

Friday, 4 October 2013


Last week I came back, 
to the platform by the sea,
to salt bitten air and familiar paths.
Fog lay settled in pockets,
held by the crevices of hills.
The sea waited, flat, grey, level,
bordered by its own small ghosts,
that stirred quietly about us.

We used to swim off the rocks here, 
in a deep inlet past the headland.
I remember the first rush of icy water over the hollow of my back,
transformed, our human shape discarded on the sand,
we were small silvered fish,
snatching at sunlight that broke
and sparkled over the surface above,
splintering to nothing between fingertips.

I would like to gather Cornish light,
heap it up in buckets, swilling, overflowing,
stagger home under the weight of it,
spill it through rivers and into the Thames,
illuminating a floor of multicoloured pebbles, 
the bed of the Helford.
I'd bathe in it, soak it in so that it ran gold
through my veins and there I could carry it with me forever.