Monday 25th Sept….to London for an event with my all-time favourite Nicola Benedetti….


I just couldn’t wait to get there! We had tickets for a Times event where Nicola was due to give a performance and talk at the Royal Albert Hall. But first of all we had time to kill in London, so we took our time ambling through the impressive Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens where we had lunch at the Lido cafe…..




We then admired the amazing Albert Memorial – who could fail to be impressed? And what a man, a man after my own heart in that he strongly believed in the coming together of Arts and Sciences for the benefit of all. I really must find out more about him.



And with all that thinking about Arts and Sciences we had a quick look through the windows of the Royal College of Art, and then proceeded to the Science Museum where we spent a happy couple of hours looking at things like the Apollo 10 module (which resembles nothing less than than a bathysphere from 50 leagues under the sea!)


various bits of steam and mining innovation, which linked us with Cornwall…and previous lives (we lived very near George Stephenson’s cottage at Wylam in Northumberland for instance)……odd things like the Wells Cathedral Clock mechanism of about 1390 (one of the oldest clocks in the world)….


and a fascinating exhibition on the ‘Secret Life of The Home’ which looked at the development of everything from pop-up toasters to horse-drawn vacuum cleaners.

After looking at some of the local architecture, we then proceeded early to our event. As it was in the Elgar Room, Nicola had decided to play the (apparently) difficult Violin and Piano Concerto by him which is in three parts and, because of her introduction to the piece, we knew what to look out for and when. It really was an amazing bit of playing and a great slice of music. Richard Morrison the chief music critic of The Times then interviewed Nicola…some fascinating things emerged including the fact that she owns no violin of her own. Pity F. sold her father’s Guarneri all those years ago (at a nominal price to the Head of Music at Cheetham’s College). Having read an interview with her in which she said that, as with being taught to eat broccoli, children should be taught to listen to classical music, I asked her whether it was broccoli broccoli broccoli from now on or whether we might look forward to some Tango (see her sexy Tango – For Una Cabeza on YouTube for my meaning). Personally I like broccoli. Anyway the question threw her (and the audience) until I had to offer a partial explanation. So much for my personal intervention. I apologised when speaking to her at her signing of CD’s afterwards. She signed ‘ Love Nicola Beneddeti’. Wow!



Saturday 23rd Sept…walking West from Readymoney Cove, Fowey…


From our usual starting point of Readymoney Cove, instead of walking straight into Fowey awe decided to have a look at yet another of Henry VIII’s defences – St Catherine’s Castle. A fairly steep climb brought us there. ‘The castle formed part of the comprehensive system of coastal defence begun by Henry VIII after his break with the Church of Rome resulted in England’s isolation from Catholic Europe. It is shown as part of the defences of Fowey harbour on a map of 1540 as ‘half-made’.

The building work was supervised by Thomas Treffry, whose family had played a leading role in the town for several generations. Treffry went on to supervise the building of Pendennis and St Mawes castles in the 1540s, and the design of St Catherine’s seems primitive by comparison.


St Catherine’s Castle takes its name from the rocky headland on which it stands. Its position, high above the entrance to the Fowey estuary, is spectacular: from the terrace there are superb views across the attractive town and harbour.

St Catherine’s Castle was kept in repair throughout the Tudor period and manned during the first English Civil War (1642–6), when Cornwall as a whole declared for the king, but by 1684 it was described as ‘ruinous’.’

It then was re-fortified during the Crimean War period and also put back into service during the Second World War.

There is a very good potted history on a Castles site.…..


The views seaward and of the Fowey estuary were very good indeed, and we stayed a while to admire them…



We then did a very short loop on the Coast Path. As often on the path there were some very conveniently located benches!


Heading back into Fowey we admired some of the races that were under way


and in the town centre we bumped into the German filming of another episode of their very popular TV series based on the works of Cornish Romantic author Rosamunde Pilcher. Apparently a quarter of a million Germans come to Cornwall each year to look for the locations.