Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors with Doc Martin

Not Doc Martin’s famous boots, but the TV character who practises in Port Wen (actually Port Isaac) in Cornwall. The actor, Martin Clunes, plays a surgeon who suffers from panic attacks when he sees blood. He leaves London to work as a family doctor in rural Cornwall, where there is less blood being shed. The village is swamped by tourists coming to the location which they will have seen on television.

Doc Martin’s front door

The village is very photogenic, with white houses clustered on the hillside around a small sheltered harbour. It would have been more sheltered if they had built the harbour wall in the right place.

Port Isaac, a fishing village established early in the 14th century

Nathan Outlaw is a two-star Michelin chef who has a restaurant in one of the oldest houses on the seafront, dating back to the 15th century. Only £80 for a superb tasting menu, with another £65 for the recommended bottle of wine to accompany the meal. And £3 donation for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Sample menu

Breaded Lemon Sole, Crispy Anchovies, Tandoori Mayonnaise

Cured Monkfish, Broad Beans, Ginger & Spring Onion Dressing

Red Gurnard, Sea Buckthorn, Chilli, Apple & Mint

Grey Mullet, Courgette & Cashew Nut Salad, Coriander Yoghurt

Bass, Smoked Hollandaise Sauce

Honey Ice Cream, Peanut, Rhubarb & Raspberries

Door to the fish market, known as the Pilchard Palace

Two hundred years ago, Port Isaac was famous for pilchards – oily fish like large sardines. The fish fed on plankton in the summer and autumn and could be netted in vast shoals.

In the fish cellars, men would pack layers of fish, separated by layers of salt, into barrels. Over the next month, the fish would be compressed to extract oil which was sent to be burned in London street lights. The pilchards would then be washed and packed in new barrels for export to Europe.

A barrel, or “hogshead”, could hold 3,000 fish. In a bumper year, the fishermen could fill 40,000 hogsheads. But stocks of pilchards dried up, so the fishermen switched to herrings. These were smoked on the quayside and sold as kippers or “fairmaids” (a corruption of “fumades”, Spanish for smoked fish).

Other doors in Port Isaac include:

The parish council building, 1911
Shelter from the rain outside this door
The Gallery or The Studio
Stable door, half open, half closed
Stable door, both halves closed
I love the slab of slate at the entrance to the Anchorage

The south west coastal path winds along the cliffs – Lobber, Pinehaven, Varley Head, Scarnor, Greengarden Cove and Kellan Head, westward to Port Quin. There are a few interesting doors in this tiny hamlet.

Acknowledgement – most of the information in this blog was taken from information boards in Port Isaac.

Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors – Trelissick

The best way to approach this stately home is to cross the Carrick Roads (the River Fal) on the King Harry Ferry. It is a beautiful house, first built in 1824, with many later additions. The local village is called Feock and it is just a few miles outside of Truro, in Cornwall.




Ida Copeland, politician, activist, philanthropist and enthusiastic promoter of the Girl Guide movement, handed over the house to the National Trust on the death of her son. Externally, the house is splendid, with cream ionic columns and large windows looking south past Falmouth and St Mawes to the English Channel. Internally, it is more like a family home, albeit a rather posh one. There is a collection of typewriters, some Spode China and lots of basic family portraits.

One of the ancestors, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, “discovered” Newfoundland, but his ship, the Squirrel, was lost with all hands in 1583. The Gothic water tower has a golden squirrel as a weathervane.

The gardens are superb, with many hydrangeas in full bloom at this time of year. The rhododendrons are best seen in the spring when they are glorious. Look at my instagram feed to the right and see some of my flower photographs.

Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors – Cotehele

This National Trust property on the River Tamar in Cornwall has its origins in 1300. It is probably one of the most authentic Tudor houses in England. It is like a rabbit warren. The walls are covered in tapestries rather than wallpaper or painted plaster. There is still no electricity in the main body of the house. It is so dark that taking photographs inside was challenging. It was the first of many stately homes to be handed over to the National Trust in lieu of death duties.




The tapestries hide the doors.


This is the door into the bowels of the Cotehele Clock, at the end of the chapel. It still works and keeps good time.


I can’t resist showing you some of the other features of the house.


Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors @ Lanhydrock

The National Trust is a wonderful institution. Without it, stately homes would decay and be lost for future generations. It costs about a pound a week to be a member, allowing free entry to the gardens, grounds and buildings. This would not be possible without thousands of volunteers, working as guides or in the guest shops.

Lan-Hydrock means locality around the church of St Hydrock, who was a mysterious 5th Century Irish ascetic who emigrated to central Cornwall. The hall was first built in 1620, but in the late 19th Century, Lord Robartes renovated it to its present state. In 1953, the property was transferred to the National Trust. Since then, it has been the site of the film version of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night – or what you will” starring Helena Bonham Carter as Olivia.

Enough of the background, here are some of the doors. First what looks like a door to a secret garden



The gates in the garden (wonderful camellias, see my Instagram account – drprunesquallor) have an ingenious mechanism to allow the gate to open both ways. There is a hinge at the top and a U shaped yoke hinge at the bottom.

The church tower was built in the 15th Century, housing nine bells.


Around the courtyard, there are some interesting doors with decorative carving.



Finally, a warped door within a gate.P1330726