The long days of May have arrived and they carry for us some of Cornwall’s most magical moments.
May days hold both the business of awakening, new life and growth and the stillness of the quiet before the visitor-storm. They are our favourite time to explore and walk the freshly overgrown Cornish footpaths, untrodden on by those other than locals and wildlife.
This is the month for foraging white-flowered wild garlic, bundling the leaves softly in canvas bags and carrying them home to make pillowy wild-garlic gnocchi with Cornish yarg.
It’s the first month that we feel brave enough to pludge, float and wade in the cool creeks of the Helford or South Cornwall sea. And it welcomes the start of the long drawn-out evenings spent dining al fresco on fish suppers, drinking in the last warm glow of the sunset and watching the stars sparkle above and ripple in the reflection of the water.
Unknown to many other than the locals, May is one of Cornwall’s driest months. And as sunnier days promise more warmth, it’s the perfect moment to return to drawing and painting en plein air.
After half a year of embracing the slowness and hibernation of the winter season, what a treat it was to gather our art supplies, swim attire and foraging bags, and head to the Helford River to enjoy a day of indulging in all of our favourite May pastimes.
Deciding to take the Frenchman’s Creek path, we park in Helford Village public car park, find the well signposted route and begin the day by collecting swathes of wild garlic, which carpet the walk’s forest floor. Popping them in our canvas shopper we head to the water’s edge where we brave the still creek and swim until our bodies grow accustomed to the temperature and our bellies grow hungry for lunch.
We set up on a fallen tree with our midday meal and a view of the seren South Cornwall landscape. After after putting down our lunch we pick up our Sennelier watercolours, Billy Showell brushes and ceramic palette to recreate our surrundings and fill in a new page of our watercolour notebook.
After a few hours drawing in the dappled sunlight, we walk the circular route back towards the car, passing one of our favourite waterside eateries, The Ferryboat Inn, and constrain our desire to indulge in fish suppers. After all, May has 31 days and there’s plenty more time to tick off our favourite things.