Well, I could bang on about how bad my dystonia symptoms are today, but this would be a drag, so I won’t. Instead, something far more enjoyable. Glendurgan.
Pardon? No, this is not a throat clearing exercise, but the name of a beautiful National Trust garden near Mawnan Smith (A close neighbour of another famous garden, Trebah), laid out by the Fox family, sometime between 1820 and 1830.
Glendurgan is billed as “a heavenly day out” and it’s not far wrong.
We started enjoying ourselves the moment we got out of the car, by heading straight to the cafe. With gloomy, rain laden skies overhead and the prospect of mouthwatering cake and a wood-burning stove inside, can you blame us?
Suitably refreshed, we marched into the gardens. And into another world.
A treelined pathway meanders around a beautiful valley filled with ferns and the best that Victorian plant hunters could purloin. A stream runs down through the whole, setting off the woodland views perfectly.
The density and maturity of the planting successfully screens visitors from each other, allowing a relatively private enjoyment of this idyll.
The shouts of children filled the garden, reminding the visitor of the original owners’ purpose in building this place, inspired by the “peace of heaven”. Entertainment.
Alfred and Sarah Fox had twelve children and obviously thought that the best plan for the young ‘uns (and themselves) was to “get them outside”. Quite right. Screaming and shouting is always more bearable when it’s in the garden, rather than the drawing room.
Our own Offspring set the pace and we galloped along, past the “School Room”, the “Bamboo Bridge”, through Durgan village and out on to the beach.
We spent a happy half an hour here on the Helford River, skimming stones, paddling in the icy, clear water and gradually getting wetter from the gently falling rain.
Next stop? Back through the village and into the garden and off to the Glendurgan‘s USP – a large, clipped cherry laurel maze.
At this point, my husband went to shelter under a tree.
The Offspring shot into the maze like a steam train and the poor old cripple (me) staggered in after her.
I can definitely report that people with bad symptoms of neck dystonia should not go into a maze. This requires you to see and remember where you’re going.
Having no sense of direction and no bread crumbs or string, I was soon hopelessly lost. The Offspring didn’t fare much better and was quickly in a total muddle. Then the rain really started. Oh blimey.
After steadily plodding around and around, I actually got to the middle, but frankly I didn’t much care, particularly as I was trying to get out. Geez, I hope they come and get us before they close for the night, I thought. All I could do was keep calling out to the Offspring who’d got herself stuck in yet another corner of this wretched thing. By now, both of us were totally drenched and I have to say, I felt rather less kindly towards the Fox family, than I’d done when we arrived at their gates.
So, the last resort of the desperate. Cheat. I won’t say how, but it didn’t involve a map or climbing over the hedges. Finally, I made it on to the path to the exit and just had to talk the child in. Then, freedom.
All in all, a fabulous day out and I suspect we’ll be renewing our National Trust membership shortly.