Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cornwall, Day 26 (Truro Cathedral)

(photographs and other bits are not available yet but soon will be)

It was high on our list of ’17 things to do while in Cornwall’, a list we have studied and mapped and followed. And #3 was Truro Cathedral. We would never forget about going, and had in fact wanted to go on an earlier day. But it had started to rain. And then there was the walking tour. And the golf game. Oh, and we had the walk to St Michael’s Mount, so who was ever going to have time to add on a Cathedral?

WE were!

For Truro Cathedral by all accounts is an 11 out of 10. Absolutely no one should miss it, most especially the Brotherly Traveler. So after our breakfast, off we finally walked through the streets and down toward the railway station.

Just taking the train is a Cornish experience. I have decided that one of the reasons the young people here are independent so early in life is the presence of railway cars. Railway cars are packed with young people. And not just teenagers – younger people than teenagers get on trains every day, which helps them to become independent of their parents and to lay their own plans. Don’t you think?

Anyway, as they were cramming themselves aboard our train and laying their own independent plans, we laid some of our own. We had decided to make our own lunch and to eat it at some convenient point during our day, perhaps sitting atop a park bench, or something. We would also arrive in time to attend the free cathedral tour and then perhaps have some tea and cake. All of these plans sounded yummy, and we were eager.

Once you arrive at the Truro railway station, you must walk 0.8 miles down to the Cathedral, and this we did. Upon establishing ourselves as tour participants, we sat with our guide and listened to a marvelous lady welcoming us all from a microphone somewhere high up in the Cathedral, and then leading us all in The Lord’s Prayer. Once this had finished, our guide (the redoubtable Mary) began the tour. I can tell you just by looking at the photos I took, exactly what we saw there:

  • ·    The stained glass window depicting the execution of King Charles I in 1649. I felt very sorry (again) for this death, whatever anybody else might feel about the Divine Right of Kings
  • ·    The Bishop’s seat! The SconeLady’s sister maintains a keen interest in the Bishop’s seats that can be found in cathedrals throughout the world, including the United States. This first seat at Truro was used by the very first Bishop of Truro, Edward Benson
  • ·    The marble carvings above the Altar, perhaps the most splendid item in the Cathedral, as it depicts: 1) sacrifice, and 2) the giving of thanks – two key components honoring the Eucharist. At the center is Christ, surrounded by the Apostles, Angels, and Saints. One could stare at it for hours.
  • ·    The Tinworth Panel.  (Stare. For hours.) This terra cotta clay sculpture depicts Jesus on His way to the Crucifixion and includes Simon the Cyrene, the weeping women, the fighting in the crowd, the two thieves near Jesus, and Barabbus, the criminal who was released to the crowd instead of Jesus.
  • ·    The terrific map of Cornwall which they call “The Land of the Saints”. This map shows the Christian churches in Cornwall, each marked by a Celtic cross and light, and facing the Truro Cathedral which has a larger, brighter light that extends above to our great Cloud of Witnesses. This lovely map alone should urge you to tour this Cathedral. But plan the time well, for here just is not enough of it to view such a thing thoroughly.

The Tinworth Panel

There were so many other things I could share with you, but haven’t the opportunity. Yet if you keep in mind that there is but one central Person honored within this magnificent granite structure, you can begin to understand at least a small inkling of its significance.

And, our final plan was realized! Charlotte’s Tea House appeared before us as we approached the Cathedral. Instantly we knew this was the place for our after-Cathedral bite. And, as you can only imagine, it was a worthy bite.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cornwall, Day 25 (Just a Scarf)

“Jean. I just love that scarf! It goes so beautifully with the sweater, the cardigan, and the skirt. Where did you find it?”

The SconeLady is always interested in scarves, especially ones with delightful colors all swirled together into wonderful patterns. It was a scarf any model in NYC might wish for.

“Oh, it's from my friend. Not just any friend: it's from our Eric’s wife..she died, you know; not 15 months ago.”

“She did? Oh, I didn’t know that!” I thought of Eric now, standing with the other Mousehole Men, all ready to perform. “I’m so sorry,” I continued. I felt truly dreadfully sorry, for Eric is dear, and would feel such a loss deeply.

“Yes, a lovely lady she was, a real friend.  Spent most of her time trying to get well. But it just wasn’t to be, and so she prepared. One day she rang me.”

“Oh?” I said. “What did she say?”

Jean sat for a moment, remembering. “Well, she said she had some things for me, if I wanted 'em.”

I waited, not wanting to hurry the difficult memories.

“Yes, she had some things for me. So I came round, and visited. And what do you suppose?” Jean looked up at me.

“I don’t know, I’m sure,” said I.

“She said, ‘Come in the lounge, I have a box for you.’ There was a box of scarves, and some belts.”

Ah, I thought. The lovely scarf Jean was wearing was from our Eric’s lovely wife. “This was one of them, then..” I ventured.

“Oh yes, my favorite in fact. I wear it because 'tis pretty, like 'er.”

“It certainly is pretty, Jean, and a lovely reflection of your friend.”

We sat waiting for a moment, thinking our thoughts together. Soon there was a stir as the Male Choirs  began readying themselves for the performance. As we watched, there was Eric dutifully following the fellow in front of him. He turned his head in our direction, and smiled.

Jean and I smiled back. And waved..

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

the surf beach, Porthmeor (just look at this, RSS!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cornwall, Day 24 (Jean)

My only regret was that I did not get a picture of her.  But there is still time, and I believe I shall.

We were once again headed toward Penzance for the privilege of a Mousehole concert. Our driver appeared from out of the mist of rain that had begun to fall, and then we were off. “We’ll collect Jean, along the way,” he said.

Jean. She was the redoubtable and kindly lady in her 80s whom I had met before on a similar sojourn. We ‘collected’ her and then splashed our way along toward the coast. “Pray don’t speak to me, for it is a poor night for driving and talking at the same time,” said our driver. We agreed utterly, and remained mum as rain and headlights pelted our windscreen. Jean was not worried. “Our Eric is a wonderful driver,” she put in. “He has been driving me about for years now.” Her accent was not that of the Cornish folk so familiar by now. I wondered where it was from, and determined to find out this very night.

At curbside the Brotherly Traveler and I surrounded Jean and escorted her to the door, where we paid our pounds and found excellent seats (we always arrive early when ‘Our Eric’ drives. He was once in the Merchant Navy and is a stickler for time). There was plenty of time to talk.

“Where is your accent from, Jean?” I asked her.

“Manchester, it is,” she said. “It’s where I grew up.” Ah, I thought. That explains the difference. “I can understand it much better than I understand the Cornish..” said I; and she laughed.

As we chatted, I started to notice what Jean was wearing. She had on a lovely cardigan and this is one reason I wish I had a photograph. The cardigan was camel colored, with rounded gold buttons. Then there was a pale pink sweater-top, scarf, and tweed skirt. It all blended perfectly together without being ‘matchy-matchy’. It could have been picked out by a Nordstrom personal shopper. I was, as the Americans might say, ‘wowed’.

After I had complimented her outfit a few dozen times, the concert began. In filed the men, a lovely concoction of young and otherwise, all dressed up and with somewhere to go. This time there was not only one Male Voice Choir, but two! You will know by now that there was not a scrap of music anywhere on that stage, apart from the conductors’. They had memorized not just the words and the music, but the heart of each song as well. It was all lovely, and moving, and charming. Cornwall at its very sweetest.

At midpoint, the audience was invited to stand and sing the grand old hymn, Love, Divine, All Loves Excelling. With the two choirs (113 men together) and the congregation, and the massive organ, that roof was just about raised up to its heights. But the best part of it was singing next to Jean. We were handed the words of the hymn, but did Jean need them? No! She sang those verses with nary a glance, her high voice sweetly melding with my lower harmonies. I suddenly choked up, and wished the hymn need not end but might go on and on, with unlimited verses. “Heaven,” I whispered. “Just like in Heaven.”

But it did end, and then the concert as well as we all clapped and cheered and gathered our rain gear. We were whisked away into the dark of night as the rain fell once again. Along the way I asked, “Jean, what if I came up to see you?”

“Me?” she asked.

“You! What if I came this week? We could have tea!”

“Oh, aye, we would that..”

So I get to see her again! Jean, the redoubtable and kindly lady of the camel colored cardigan and golden buttons, whose presence will always remind me of a place where the music never ends, and the verses are unlimited.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Changed from glory into glory,
Till in Heaven we take our place.
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cornwall, Day 23 (Clementina)

It was all rather surprising. We were innocently talking about how terrific it had been to enjoy the lecture and the demonstration at Leach Pottery. We were speaking enthusiastically about the potter and saying all sorts of good things about her, when, suddenly she was there. Sitting not two feet from where we sat at our tea and our scone, at The Digey!

Of course she would choose to be at The Digey. It is the loveliest place of quality in town and a place any famous (and hungry) potter might wish to frequent. I had been saying something like, “Oh, and wasn’t it wonderful that Clementina said we could put her pictures on Instagram?” and, “Oh, I wish I knew her last name!” and all sorts like that. We then heard the plaintive voice of none other than Clementina herself, saying, “But I’m here..”

We looked in the direction of that voice, and saw her. Instantly (and you would have done this too, I dare say) we wondered if we had said anything off-putting during that span of time when she had seen us, but we still hadn’t seen her. But I thought not, and that surely what we had said was only lovely.

“Oh hello!” said I with a huge grin, for at that moment she was just exactly the person I would have chosen to see. I gently held out my iPhone to reveal her face upon it. “Do you mind?” I asked somewhat shyly.

“Oh, no, not at all. I know by now that whatever else might happen, it will all be on Instagram or Facebook.” And then she smiled.

It was the sweetest thing.

It seems that wherever the Brotherly Traveler and I go, we run into something or someone of interest to us. This place seems to be crawling with them! Everyone has a story, and we will all be quickly intrigued if only we take the time to listen. And be listened to. For that also is a part of the story.

I really wanted to take a selfie with Clementina, but never quite got up the courage to ask (are you proud of me?). Perhaps we shall see her again, and take her for a cup of tea. There is so much about South Africa in general, and about her within it in particular, that we would love to know. Her perspective is unique and based upon much time and thought. It would be good to share it.

But The Digey was closing and our scone had disappeared. Clementina gathered her belongings and once again turned to say goodbye. We watched as she made her way out of the door and up the lane, diving into the throngs of sightseers from who knows where – perhaps none of whom recognized who she was. One never knows when some lovely and famous person might be in their midst.

But the Brotherly Traveler and I knew, and we would never forget.

See you along the way!

The SconeLady