Coleton Fishacre

Until 27th March 2022 you can visit a National Trust property free of charge if you buy a National Lottery ticket or a scratch card. You’ll have to be quick. Sorry if you’re reading this after the event. We decided to avail ourselves of the freebie and visit Coleton Fishacre which is up the road. After all we haven’t had a win for a while and it’s nice to get some benefit out of our wanton gambling.

Now I’m going to be honest and say that it wasn’t my favourite historic attraction. Unlike Greenway which we visited just before Christmas it’s not stuffed to the gunnells full of curios. It was built in the 1920s for the D’Oyly Carte family of the opera company fame. The decor is rather stark, maybe a reaction to the excess of the Victorian period. Aside from a charming row of tiles in each of the two bathrooms they wouldn’t have been out of home in a Youth Hostel. However it’s a beautiful Arts and Crafts property with gardens that roll down towards the sea. If someone said ‘You can go and live there, I’d be very pleased indeed. Some of my own furniture from the period would fit in nicely.

Of course no National Trust home is complete without a kitchen to peruse complete with fake hams and pies. This was no exception. . I was rather taken by this rather natty patented pudding bowl. Just right for cook to prepare her spotted dick in!

Talking of fake food I loved the canapes in the drawing rooms. The plaster of Paris shrimp thingies caught my eye. One of the room attendants said that there used to be a sponge cake too but a visitor nicked it!

There’s a wonderful windmeter in one of the sitting rooms, which features a map of the surrounding area. Here’s a bit of the detail from it, my own home town, depicted about a decade before my own house was built. The D’Oyly Carte were keen sailors. Perhaps that’s why there’s pictures of yachts getting in the way of the fishing boats.

I loved the sundial on the wall outside. Look at those Mackintosh-esque flowers and the dinky owls. It had its work cut out when we visited. It was a scorcher! Just perfect for a stroll in the sub-tropical garden of Coleton Fishacre.

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