Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cornwall, Day 28 (Sweet Tea and Post Cards)

I was drinking tea in a small cafe, and writing kiddie post cards. I need to write kiddie post cards because I keep thinking of them and of being away from them and this is one way I can stay close. 

I was writing something like, "I really like salty french fries, don't you?" when the man right next to me began shouting into his phone. It was shocking. Something had apparently gone terribly wrong at work, and thousands of pounds were at stake. Thousands and THOUSANDS of pounds. I froze. The people around me froze. We tried not to listen, but really. Shouting means you don't actually even have a choice.

All of us in there were ready to dial 999 if something dreadful happened (=911). The phone conversation was becoming more and more heated and naughty language slipped out and, just then - a very sweet little elder lady, with a cane, tried to open the door and come in. She was oblivious of anything going on inside. She carried a large bag with one hand, and with the cane, she couldn't get the door open. I hurried over to open it, she walked in, and then she smiled.

That smile was just so sweet! Her hair was soft, and pure white, and her coat was red. She had her lipstick on. The whole package spoke goodness to that little cafe. The shouting man saw her in mid-shout, and stopped his shout. Suddenly hung up. She proceeded slowly to the counter, and asked, "Yes dear, may I please have some country sausage, and a slice of Parma ham, and perhaps a cheddar? Thank you so much. I'll take it in my bag."

Just then the man left. Along with him went all of his anger, and our panic, and I could begin thinking about those silly french fries again.

When the white-haired lady had gone back out the door, a man went up to the counter and said, "I'll have whatever she's having." 

It was the perfect thing to say, and we all laughed. You've gotta love the Brits. They can go from fear to mirth in one swift stroke. 

Now if we all could just figure out whatever it is that she is having.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cornwall, Day 27 (Croissant, anyone? ANYONE?)

I ran through the streets like a Mad Woman. It had been TWO whole DAYS since anyone, anywhere, had seen the sun, and we (I'm including all Cornwall visitors) went wild when at last we did. I personally got dressed in the layering required for Cornish springtime air. Dashed out of the door in the direction of a croissant, and basked in the freezing sunshine. Except - the shops were deserted. The little corner store was closed. The Cornish Pasty Shop where I get sweet Pasties with apple and raspberry, was closed. Every place that usually feeds me at this time of the morning was closed! What on earth.

So, maybe it was a Bank Holiday Monday and I had missed the announcement. But I stood in the street and looked it up. It wasn't. So I wandered around peeking inside every barred door and getting hungrier. Not even the dogs were out.

But the resulting walk along the shore did me good, and at last I found signs of life on Fore Street. Still no tourists, but the St Ives Bakery suddenly and blessedly opened their door and welcomed me in. Readers, you just should have smelled the most lovely aromas that awaited the hungry SconeLady. "One chocolate croissant, please sir," I said humbly. "And, is it ok if I only have a 20 pound note? I've run low on change."

This turned out to be 'just fine, ma'am', and I left the shop, freshly baked and warm croissant in hand. By the time it had been consumed along with french press coffee at the cottage, the rain had returned - oh woe. And then I thought how excited the people in dry California would be if they had such rains...and was sorry for complaining.

All the same, it was a good job I got out there when I did. In Cornwall, one must grab one's moment. They might not last very long.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cornwall, Day 26 (Palms and Parsnips)

The tourists don't know what to do with themselves today. It is cold. It is windy. It is rainy! We are all trying to use umbrellas but they keep turning inside-out in the storm. And this morning before the shops opened, everybody had to wander around out of doors like lost sheep. It was sad.

But I wasn't sad. There was a purpose to my step, for this is a Day of days. It is Palm Sunday! When we were little, Palm Sunday always had a feeling of expectancy about it, because we knew what what coming Next. This was only the beginning.

Today as I entered St Ia's Church, the organist was in great form with a splendid prelude. His foot pedals were always right on, powerful, supportive. And the place was full! I chose a pew 2nd from the front, with a view of the choir dead ahead. 

Soon the robed Vicar entered and asked us to kindly come forward and into the Lady Chapel. We should bring our hymnals and our palm Crosses, as we were to be a part of the processional. Something unexpected! We all squeezed into that small spot companionably - the young and old, the ever-present visitors and the weekly faithful. 

Soon the hymn struck up, the organ taking the lead. The Processional followed the choir and the Cross, around the inside of the church twice, and set the service in motion. Sometime during the 2nd reading a gentleman slipped into the front pew. I didn't really notice it, but after the service he turned around. "I was late," he began. I set my clocks ahead one hour, and then arrived here at 10 only to find the service had already begun!" I told him they had changed the service time to 9:30 today. He was clearly disturbed by this. "I did so want to be here for the whole of Palm Sunday. Was there a processional?"

"Oh yes," I explained. "It was lovely. We started in the Lady Chapel and followed the Cross around..."

"I missed it, then!" he interjected. "Now I shall have to wait for another year!"

And on that sad note, out he went. I felt terrible. 

I wanted to tell him about the Sunday Carvery at The Castle Inn, but his exit was too swift and I, too slow. So I took my own self off to it, indulging in the beauty of foods perfectly cooked. The Chef was clearly delighted to see his first customer, and began vigorously slicing away. I just have to show you:

The SconeLady's eyes are bigger than her stomach..

This second time at the Carvery really did make me wish there were Pubs where I come from. Pubs with dogs, and cheery fires, and music, and friendly locals all chatting with each other. There are no politics in Pubs, I think. No one would take them seriously if there were. It would all seem rather silly. Why fight when you can be inside such a cozy and congenial space? Why spoil it?

And you should just taste the roast parsnips. An absolute dream.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cornwall, Day 25 (Let Me Eat Cake)

Given the number of times I tried to catch them open, it's probably no real surprise that they are finally, irrevocably closed. Poppins Tea Room is no more!

I liked them. We came in the fall of 2014, soon discovering this cutest of all the little tea rooms in St Ives. But Poppins seemed perpetually to be closed! Back and back I came, taking to strolling up through the alleyway at all times of the day. Then once in a while, without notice they would be there, ready for us to call for the jam and cream. I liked that they had little tables out of doors, white table cloths, and a variety of teapots in different colors. You never knew what color you were going to get!

But life is like a box of chocolates, indeed. This time, we got a 'Closed for Business' sign, and the little courtyard has a sad, deserted look. Maybe someone else will open it and give us back this lovely spot to haunt as we search for the perfect scone.

But the spot that is already here for St Ives, always serving the public, is Madeline's Tea Room. So to that spot I went today. It was time to write my daily kiddie postcards while drinking tea and eating CAKE. I love cake.

I asked the tea lady what kinds of cake she had, and was led to the window where there were - are you ready? - 11 kinds of cake! It was a poser. In the end I chose the Chocolate Gateau, along with a pot of tea. 

Superb! I sat at a little table by the window, watching the cars, lorries, bicycles, motorbikes, pedestrians, workmen, umbrellas, and PRAMS going by (this must be Easter week!). It was all quite entertaining. Postcards, tea and cake are a winning combination and I think I will do it again soon.

And tomorrow! Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, followed by the much-anticipated Easter week gatherings. Add to this my new digs:
It's just as cute as it can be. Original Victorian tile! Wonderfully warm! Colorful! Everything I need, and more. Just the spot for continuing the sweet story that deserves to be told. And so, the SconeLady has landed on her feet once again.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cornwall, Day 24 (A New, Never-Ending Quest)

It is still beautiful. But today, I finally did have to drag out the umbrella, and actually use it for rain! So I put on the boots that had gotten muddy last week, and walked around in them until the mud was gone. A win-win!

But this rain has had absolutely no impact on the numbers of tourists here. They are out in force and all holding umbrellas, which keep getting in each other’s way! And then there are the Prams, which have the same effect. The tiny cobbled streets really do not have enough space for cars, lorries, bicycles, motorbikes, pedestrians, workmen, umbrellas, and PRAMS! Can you imagine? I create quite a true picture here, dear Readers. I don't know why all of these elements came out of the woodwork when it started to rain, but - man!

The more important thing about today, though, was the beginning of a new search. I have started to seek an English LEGO set. I don't mean the kind you would find in any American toy store. I mean British, London-ish, UK-ish LEGOs. I know that I can log immediately on and find something there, but the fact is, I may not find it here. In Cornwall. But I'm going to try.

One small girl back home absolutely loves her LEGO Friends, and has the most amazing attention span. And isn't it right to reward attention spans? It's strange, but the lovely daughter and I don't remember even the word LEGO being spoken in our house when the kids were little. Not even once. We did not have LEGOs in the house, and none of their friends had them. We just never really ran across them. So now, when our three absolutely love them and play with them so satisfyingly, I am going on an absolute rampage of a search.

And so - Cornwall Toy stores, here I come! Somewhere along Fore Street I am certain to come across some unique setup that my sweet girl, and her two brothers, will adore.

A new, and never-ending Quest!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

P.S.    (There ARE Legos in Cornwall! You can learn something fascinating by clicking this.)

P.S.S.    (O.M.Goodness! Is the SconeLady in too deep?)


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25960495@N06/4538192900">Mothers and Babies of Keene New Hampshire</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28496410@N03/5359909288">LEGO Logo</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cornwall, Day 23 (While You Were Sleeping)

There was to be a gathering, and I was invited! Granted, I would be almost 6,000 miles away but what does that matter when you have modern technology? I couldn't wait.

The trouble really is that when I am awake, they are asleep, and I must wait for them to wake up. Then they must get themselves rallied and bathed and ready to go, and one of them has to drive an hour and a half. So to keep myself from being crazy, I write, or eat, or walk around this absolutely smashing place.

Along the path between St Ives and Carbis Bay. Sweet!

All with scarcely a cloud in the sky, however far you may look. Something has happened here in Cornwall these past weeks, don't you think? Instead of rain and wind and cold, we have really only had - wind and cold! The beauty out here is real, but deceptive because it makes you feel that it must be warm just outside your window. (*ahem*. It's not).

All this blue isn't just my imagination, though. I watched a British program today called Escape To The Country (have you seen it? YouTube!), which features three country properties being shown to a couple who want to move away from the city. Today's episode was filmed in Cornwall. Yay! And all of the shots revealed the most fabulous clear skies, just exactly what I have been finding. All great reasons to visit!

And then at long last my family woke up and bathed and traveled, and the phone began to ring, joy of joys. I glanced down at it and saw the most beautiful thing, even more beautiful than the shores of Cornwall:


'Alex', the Antelope!
There three of them were (the others just outside the frame), standing and staring at me with three huge smiles! They were all together, a family reunion of sorts, and I got to be a part of it. There were bits and pieces from the family farm to look at, to sort out, and decide upon. There were very old quilts, and tea towels, and dishes. And most amazingly, there was an antelope head with horns! And then, just plain horns with no head. It was overwhelming.

But best of all was just seeing them. The people my life is inextricably linked with, with the link of Charity. All of the belongings on this earth do not compare with that. I am thankful.

So the FaceTime was done and it was time to hang up. But the feeling of it lingered on, as I walked the quaintest streets ever, as I made my dinner, and as I sat down to continue a story that deserves to be told. As a matter of fact the feeling lingers still, even though it has been several days.

It's one of those things that doesn't ever go away, because Charity never does. Even while you are sleeping.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cornwall, Day 22 (Complimentary)

Have you ever been called "My Lovelie?" or "My Beautiful" multiple times in one go? If not, you really do need to come to England and experience it. It's lots of fun.

This all happened during the mundane job of grocery shopping, when one really does not think of being called anything at all. Lovely and Beautiful are nice, but you don't often hear them in the cheese aisle. I needed to find the cheese, and couldn't because things aren't always where you might expect them to be, here. The cheese was not in the cream section, or the butter section, or even the milk section. And so I asked.

"Hello sir, can you help me to find the cheese, please?"  

He was a young man, and enthusiastic. "Oh yes, my Lovelie! Right over here.."

I thought I had misunderstood, but he finished off with, "Here it is, tucked away for you, my Beautiful!" I actually blushed.

When it was time to check out, I found that he was my cashier. He saw me, and blurted out, "Oh my Lovelie! Bring your things right over here!" All throughout the process he cheerfully chattered away, punctuating his sentences with "That's fine, my Lovelie," and "Those are nice apples, My Beautiful", and even "Another bag, My Darling?," until I started giggling. I looked sheepishly at the other patrons in the line but they didn't seem to notice. 

I was almost sorry to leave. 

But there was a lighthouse I wanted to see, and the Italian Coffee Bar to visit. And then there was a Gallery to peruse, and finally, all that food to eat. So out I walked, still beaming from the compliments.

Lighthouse on Smeaton's Pier, St Ives

An amazing porcelain jug at Porthminster Gallery, created by ceramicist Stephanie Pace. It CRIES OUT to be purchased!

Darling pathway between Lelant and St Ives, with the ever-present Godrevey Lighthouse shining away on its island

As I wrote the kiddies their daily post cards, sitting next to the open door in the Italian Coffee Bar, I thought it was pretty great to have a day like this one's been. It isn't every day an American lady in a pink cap gets called nice names by a young and cheerful Cornish grocery clerk. 

I wonder if it'll ever happen again?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady