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Truro’s Floral Splendour

I have had the pleasure of a three hundred and sixty degree tour of Truro in all its floral splendour.  Truro in Bloom planted its roots in 1974, promoting the objectives of the national Britain in Bloom campaign, with the aim of enhancing the beauty of Truro and its immediate environment by encouraging businesses and residents to make their premises look beautiful with floral displays, which makes an attractive city.   Truro in Bloom created and opportunity for schools, businesses and communities to pull together to make Truro shine.  The sense of pride and cohesiveness made me feel proud of Truro.

On July the 19th I accompanied a representative from Truro City Council, Parks Department, Liam Shoesmith and Leslie Lawson-Kinross, a Truro in Bloom volunteer for the South West in Bloom judging day.  Together we chaperoned the judges around Truro.  South West in Bloom is one of the eighteen regional/national competitions that makes up the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom.  The goal is to improve our local environments and neighbourhoods through plants and keeping the vandalism, graffiti and litter at bay.  We walked around Truro, with Liam explaining the plants chosen to suit the environment of Truro with shady and lighter areas.  I explained to the judges about our city centre signage scheme and about our various events such as Children’s Day and Christmas lighting.   At various points throughout the city the judges met volunteers from Truro in Bloom. The street furniture, bollards, posts and drainpipes all had a spruce up for the competition.

One of the Truro BIDs objectives is to help enhance the beauty of the City with funded floral hanging baskets each summer and the aim for our third term, is to explore permanent planting such as trees and wildlife havens for the city centre.

Then, on the 1st of August I judged the shop window display competitions with Leslie and Peggy from Truro in Bloom.  From previous years competitions Truro is of a certain level and classed as National Finalists in the RHS Britain in Bloom Competition.  The Rhoda Mary on Trafalgar roundabout is a beautiful eye catching green display and the theme given to the businesses for their window displays was ‘nautical’.   The Mary Rhoda was built in 1868 at Point and originally made of English oak, Grey elm and Baltic red pine.  She was built incredibly well and her life ended in 1925  when she was decommissioned.  Newham is now home to the Rhoda Mary project and this is an exciting new initiative to rescue, rebuild and operate the famous West Country schooner Rhoda Mary.

It was wonderful to see so many businesses participate in the shop window display competition – with so much effort put in.   As judges, we looked for fresh flowers and the connection with the overall theme.  No.22 came first, followed by Lily’s of Truro and Malletts Home Hardware came third.  Highly commended included Cloisters, Oggy Oggy, the Tourist Information Centre, Uneeka, Trevails, Velvet Crystal, Klimek, Time Gone By, Mistral and Guild of Ten all received highlight commended.  No. 22 had an underwater scene with Dahlia’s as sea anemones and jellyfish!  I particularly enjoyed the suspended sail boats of Uneeka with their floral sails.

In the charity category, Cancer Research were first, British Heart Foundation came second and third was CLIC sargent.  Highly commended was Oxfam, Cornwall Animal Hospital and Children’s Hospice South West.   Nickys Flowers received an honoury award and all three florists in Truro, including Celtic Flowers and Rosewood the Truro Florist all offered discount to businesses so that fresh flowers could be displayed.

Finally on the 4th of August, the judges Kim Parish and Nigel Bishop came to judge the National Britain in Bloom competition.  Everything stepped up a gear, with Liam and Leslie whisking the judges on the route in double quick time to try to show them the best our City has to offer.  Bambu café owner, Sarah stepped out to briefly greet the judges on their tour.  Finally we all met at Trennick Mill for lunch with the judges, Truro City Parks Team, Biffa team, Truro in Bloom, John Tamblyn the Mayor and Lionel Knight, The Town Crier and many more.  Truro competes against several other places in the Large Town catergory including;  Altrincham – North West, Ballymena – Northern Ireland, Belper – East Midlands, Chesham – Thames & Chilterns, Farnham – South East, Kendal – Cumbria.  We hope Truro will do well and we will find out the results in October.

Signage and Clutch purse

I loved engaging with the judges and telling them about what the Truro BID does and little interesting nuggets of information about our ‘Great Little City’.

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Ladies night out at The Truro Festival

Truro Festival began with a jam packed Saturday full of events and activities to pick and choose from.  Instead of being involved with this particular Festival event, this time, I organised two of my friends to join me in attending this woman only occasion – ‘Salon du Chocolat’ performed by Rebecca Mordan and Sharon Andrew.  The duo are talented in their ability to convey literature that captivates and entertains.  I had indicated to my friends that Salon du Chocolat was performed by Scary Little Girls Theatre company.

Salon Du chocolat

When chocolate was first brought to England in the 1600s, it was considered a taboo substance, enjoyed only by the scandalous and elite in private salons.  Some of our finest literature was also once considered too provocative for public consumption and was heard in similar salon environments by only the boldest of ears!

Scary Little Girls invited a female-only audience to join them for a stimulating and intimate evening of storytelling celebrating the relationship between salons, chocolate and forbidden literature!  We heard of tales which explored female desires from authors such as Edna St Vincent Millay, Stella Duffy, John Keats and Daphne du Maurier – and of course enjoyed chocolate treats too!

I met the delightful performers at last year’s Truro Festival in our cosy yurt on Lemon Quay during howling gales.  It was a fabulous evening full of laughter and decadent literature.

As this was our rare ‘girls night out’ in Truro we organised, to try the new bar and wine merchant ‘The Art of Wine’  situated in Nalders Court before heading to the show.  Home to some fabulous independent fashion boutiques such as Melange, Plum and Benetton, as well as The Original Art ShopNalders Court leads off Pydar Street, just at the entrance to Laura Ashley.

The Art of Wine has a unique and chic interior where we could sample wines from a smart gadget dispenser called WineEmotion.  The dispenser keeps the wine at a perfect temperature and we were able to sample the wine at a reasonable price per glass, small, medium or large.  We managed to sample two, with guidance from the knowledgeable Roland.  I preferred the fruity South African Sauvignon Blanc, Ataraxia by Kevin Grant. I ended up buying a bottle for a special occasion.

We then, raced off for the performance at 7pm on Lemon Quay.  The marquee was decorated in the theme of Samuel Foote.  (Truro’s long lost Truronian from the 18th century, he was the first stand-up comedian and known as the funniest man in London.)  The lights were dimmed and the lectern was poised for the drama to unfold.  We had exerts from ‘A Letter to my Love’ by Nicholas Stuart Gray, to ‘In Praise of Older Women’ by Frank Kaiser.  During the interval we were served rich hot chocolate from Oscars Coffee Shop and Deli (from Samuel Foote’s Coffee house), as well as delicious homemade brownies with flickers of ginger.

Salon Du Chocolac

The evening continued with highlights from ‘Mistress of the Art of Death’ by Ariana Franklin and ended on a high with ‘The Ballad of Freda and Barry’ by Victoria Wood.  In a flash of the eye, the evening was over and you could tell that the audience thoroughly enjoyed it – wonderful to hear good hearty laughter from all the women.