Friday, October 31, 2014

The Living

Everyone crowded into the big bathroom with the big mirror, and got ready for Hallowe'en. Mother was applying face paint while grandma took pictures. The future Astronaut watched and commented, and the small Anna ('Frozen') stood a silent vigil. She was ready and did not want to 'mess it up'.

It was certainly the place to be, tonight. Watching mother change a normal human face into a 'Hobbes' was fascinating. She expertly formed all of the important characteristics of the other half of 'Calvin and Hobbes', until the human boy actually did look like the make-believe tiger-playmate. With the addition of the hood, the sweatshirt-stripes, and the tail, the effect was complete.

We were ready to go.

Out we trooped, joining the throngs of other Trick-or-Treaters as they hoofed it down the street. It was a nice street. With nice people. Everywhere we went people called out hello, and how are you, and have I met you before? Just the sort of place you would want to raise your children.

All at once I started thinking back to significant Hallowe'en moments of my own. As children, we always went up to the McCullough's house and bobbed for apples. And drank apple cider. Then Mrs. McCullough offered us other goodies such as popcorn balls and caramel apples. Hers was a revolving door, filled with welcome.

It was always great, and always memorable. 

For a holiday that seems to celebrate the un-living, we sure had a good time tonight. I think we ignore the un-living bit, and go for the fun bit. Tonight there were even some good lessons learned. The three saw that in order to receive candy, one must say 'Trick-or-Treat!' and then 'Thank you!', once the candy has been received. They learned that once we were back at the house, giving candy to others was actually MORE FUN than getting it for oneself.

Soon our big bowl of candy ran out, and there were still more 'customers'. The small girl dashed back into the house for her own newly-won pot of candy. "They can have mine, mommy," she said.

An uncomfortable memory flashed before me. It was of another small blond on Hallowe'en night, perhaps in the 1960s, furtively hiding a sack of candy - well away from any possible prying eyes or hands. I don't remember everything, but I do remember that NO ONE ELSE got any of it.

Sigh. Well, there is a comfort in knowing that sweet generosity and kindness seem to be blossoming down here on planet earth.

Who knew?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">scarlett1854</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Josh Smith</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Behind a Fence

It happened the first time as I was daydreaming along the way, minding my own business and humming a Beatles tune. At that precise moment a dog jumped up and barked frantically right in my ear. I jumped and shrieked in such obvious panic that it must have looked incredibly ridiculous.

Staggering to a stop, I hoped there were no witnesses. I quickly moved to the other side of the path. But I shouldn't have, because just a few steps along, a dog of massive proportions came out of nowhere and barked hideously into my OTHER EAR. Once again, the staggering. The panic. The shriek. He also was thankfully penned in, but certainly had great timing, and just a bit of dog drool. I really began to think that the whole thing was rigged. Planned. That the dogs along that pathway must have told each other I was approaching.

"Hey! There's another lady coming. Remember how we scared that other hapless idiot who came by yesterday? Let's do it again!"

I feel sorry for people who are told by the media that they should 'eat less, and move more'. But then when they go out try and do it, they get scared to death for their pains. 

That particular pathway is so pretty that I don't want to stop walking on it. But frankly, I don't think I can stand it. They will almost certainly be lurking back there, plotting their next move - at my expense. 

The worst part is that after the second hideous bark and the second staggering shriek, I could hear someone laughing from behind that fence. 

Oh, the humiliation.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">whodeenee</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"I'd Hate To Miss The Train" (The Beatles)

The date was January 30, 1969, and it was a Thursday. In London. As people wandered the streets on their lunch break, something that sounded like Beatles music came floating down toward them. Was it Beatles music? And where was it coming from? the roof? At first, no one knew.
Former location of Apple Corp Ltd   
Then the unmistakeable voice of Paul McCartney was heard singing the words, "Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it wouldn't last." And people knew for certain. It was the Beatles!

I was in High School, almost certainly fast asleep during this Rooftop Concert of the Beatles that day. I didn't even hear about it until years later. But now through the magic of youtube, we can experience what we missed. 

Recently in London, I went on a Beatles tour and had high hopes for lots of good, juicy Beatles gossip. The guide gave us an hour or two of Beatles trivia (not very juicy), walking us around some of the important Beatles spots. I had no idea of these spots but I was really hoping the Rooftop Concert location would be one of them. And then suddenly, as he was telling us that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds meant LSD, we rounded a corner. Then there it was.

The address was 3 Savile Row, London UK, now the former location of Apple Records. In 1969 the Beatles were planning at some point do a live performance, but finding the right place wasn't easy. Ringo Starr said, "We were wondering where we could go—'Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.' But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided, 'Let's get up on the roof'".[3]

So, they did. Sound men carried the equipment, hooked it all up, did a quick sound check, and then Paul began. The concert lasted 42 minutes before the London police halted it (I think they were worried about traffic, or something). But for those 42 minutes people crowded onto the roof, or climbed to other roofs, or sat below and watched, in wonder at this impromptu moment in history. If you want, you can watch it too.

As the tour group gathered on that street, all these decades later, we stared upward and wished some Beatles music might float down toward us. It was fun imagining that it might. I know that the Beatles might not have been every parent's dream for their children. They might have made a mess of things here and there. 

But for someone who was in High School at the time? It was sure a fun ride.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">shaun wong</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leaving One's Heart

Just about every day in St Ives was wonderful. Really and truly, up to a point it was wonderful. The 'point' up to which it was wonderful might have had something to do with rain.

We checked this a lot, and it really didn't have a huge impact. But it had some. There was one actual day where our activity level was interrupted, and we did not go. But the rest of the time, the weather didn't matter all that much. You can tell just by looking that the high temperatures were not vastly different from the low; and so everyone just keeps on going.

One day of rain found us upstairs, in The Sloop. The Sloop had already become our favorite local pub, and had given us the best pub food anywhere. Ever. The day of rain made us want to be sure and eat indoors and so we stepped toward the upper floor into a room called The Captain's Table. The food and the prices were the same, upstairs and down; inside and out. And so it was advantageous to try the upstairs/inside place.

It was sweet; it was quaint; it was what every American hopes to find in an English pub, and more.

The ceilings were massively low! The SconeLady herself would bump her head if she did not have all of her wits about her. In the photo above you can see that her head is actually touching the beam above her. It really is. So just think of how a man, or a taller woman, would feel if walking willy-nilly around The Captain's Table. He or she would not like it.

The waitress was just the jolliest and kindest person. She guided us to a window table, overlooking the harbor/harbour, and kept us entertained by regaling us with stories of the town when she was a child. For she, like many of the wait staff in St Ives, had been born there, and stayed. If you ever reach St Ives, and if you ever walk into The Sloop, or Porthminster Beach Cafe, or The Crab and Rum Shack, you will meet locals. They who have stuck by the town and want to raise their kids in it. It is a view you won't find elsewhere.

That's what you get to see when you stay in one place for three weeks or longer. You get deeper into the 'onion' of it all. Peeling back the layers, finding the heart. And once you do this, that heart gets into you. There is no avoiding it. You won't want to avoid it.

The words to a song have kept going through my head, as I think of St Ives. A few of the lyrics I have replaced:

I left my heart in Saint Ives, Cornwall,
And from the hills, it calls to me
With its little cobbled streets, the people that I meet,
The morning mist may chill the air, I don't care

My heart waits there in Saint Ives, Cornwall,
Above the clear and windy sea
I will come home to you, darling Cornwall,
Again your sun will shine for me
-George Cory, Douglass Cross

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, October 27, 2014

No Toys. No TV. (2)

It is true, we have no toys and no TV. None. The prospect of having the three darlings over for a night should have been daunting without those two commodities. But no one even asked about them. Not a whisper. There was so much else to do.

This takes me back a bunch of decades, to when the SconeLady was really young and newly married and thinking about a life without a television in it (there was so much else to do). Her newly married husband agreed, and so there was no small screen in the house (a theater screen, however, must have been different, because the SconeLady saw the movie Rocky NINE TIMES in the year before.. That's a topic for another day).

This no TV idea was a pretty steady thing. Apart from the first Gulf War (1991) during which we purchased one 2nd hand, there wasn't any. The kids didn't really have that steady Hollywood diet and everyone got on fine. It was sweet.

And now the kiddies were coming, and rather than scrambling for an entertainment, we had a great plan. Here was our plan:
  • fishing from the dock
  • having a weenie roast
  • roasting marshmallows and making s'mores
  • swimming in the pool/hot tub
  • reading
  • going out to iHop first thing next morning
  • going around the lake in the row boat 
  • coming back for more fishing from the dock
  • going to PetSmart to look at dogs, cats, fish, and creepy/crawly things
  • going to McDonald's PlayPlace for lunch
Does that seem like a lot? It was. And we did it all. In 19 hours. 

You almost get a whiplash thinking about it. We moved from one thing to the next so quickly that it was like a blur.

The kids themselves showed no signs of flagging. A few hours in, we started to! But we were too busy to think very much about it. Too many hooks flying and hot dog sticks swaying ("oh - watch that hook, please. Umm, watch it, the hook's too close to your brother's eye. THE HOOK!!!".. and so on). 

But - I have to be honest with you, dear Readers. We ended up bending the rules just a bit. The 'no TV' rules. When there was still an hour before bedtime and their energy levels were rising? I configured a new plan. It was lovely. Who says we can't be flexible? 

Netflix. On the iPad.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">massdistraction</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Toys. No TV.

It reminded me of the hundreds of worms my husband had put onto hooks for me. I could never bear to do it for myself, or touch the horrid things. And yesterday he was at it again. Three fishing poles, three wiggly worms, three hooks. It would be a daunting task for any fisherman, especially when the three hooks are mobile and almost certainly unpredictable.

But the three small fishermen did not mind handling these worms. Oh, no - they wanted to handle them. And did. But at last, the worm would make its way into grandpa's capable hands, and expertly onto the hook. Then cast. Then handed to the child. 

There was a pause, as everyone watched their bobber. And then - a nibble.... a strike! a catch! A reeling in of wiggly fish. Three catfish (and maybe more - or maybe the same ones again -  we can't be sure) were caught and rejoiced over! 

Success is defined within the parameters of fish actually caught, and humans un-caught. There is a fine line.

After the fish had been caught and released, and after the row boat had been placed in the water, they four ventured out. Grandma sat waiting on the dock. She could hear their voices calling out as they floated around the bend, Grampa rowing in their midst. 

"BYE, Gramma!" someone shouted.

Before bed, the 4 year old and I snuggled up on the couch, flipping through some iPad photos of my trip.

Up popped some images of Scones, that highly favored of all commodities. She was most captivated by the sight of the jam and the cream, and gently touched the colorful pictures.

"Grandma, are you the SconeLady?" she asked.

"Yes, my darling. I am she."

"When are you going to make some scones? I would like some scones.." She looked up at me and smiled.

"Well then, you shall have some!" I replied. "Great Aunt has a recipe I am excited to make. Would you like to help?"

I saw from her face just exactly what she felt about 'helping'. "Oh yes, I would love to!"

And so, at some future point, the SconeLady will have Help - the kind of help that makes everything much nicer, and everything taste better.

If we think of future prospects in such terms as 'Good', 'Better', or 'Best', my vote is utterly biased and will go with 'Best', every time.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 25, 2014


One of the sweetest things we came upon was - a Duck.

This particular duck I have come to think of with a Capital D. We four were walking along on a tour of Mousehole, and the town of Paul, and everything in between. Only a short walking tour but well worth every meter. 

While stepping along next to the shore, we saw the cutest, loveliest tiny gardens just overlooking the water. There were several of these tiny gardens, all enclosed with small hedgerows, so unique that they can really hardly be called hedgerows. Well, I might as well show one to you, just so you know - the one with the Duck:

Rosie and I immediately stopped. We gaped. The duck saw us, but was fine with it and didn't put any space between itself and us. In fact, as we walked along a few steps, it walked too. Sort of, in fact, following our steps, all the while gazing up at our faces. It was uncanny.

It even uttered a quack, or two. Not an irritating, loud sort of quack either. A cute quack.

We never figured out who the Duck belonged to, or which house; but we felt (Rosie and I, that is) that what we really wanted was to adopt it ourselves. The husbands, however, clearly did not feel this and so on we all walked, Rosie and I taking stealthy looks over our shoulders. The Duck watched us leave, and plaintively quacked.

You never know what you might find when you are on a walking tour, in England. Especially in delicious Cornwall. The place is already magical, already beautiful, even without coming upon the dearest, sweetest, whitest little Duck, EVER. 

A lucky Duck.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cornwall: Coinage Hall

These are the great lengths we will go to in order to find the perfect scone. We will go to Coinage Hall, Truro, Cornwall

It was a day of clouds, no rain. And so we felt safe to climb aboard the First Great Western Railway east (and slightly north), toward Truro. One first passes through a number of sweet towns and villages: Carbis Bay (fabulous beaches!), Lelant (Rosamund Pilcher was born there!), St Erth (the cutest little train station EVER),

Camborne, and Redruth. Redruth was remarkable in its plethora of old tin mines, clearly visible as we sped by. Tin was once a major economic staple for Cornwall, until it became known that tin was cheaper when imported from South America. Tin mines in Cornwall began to close, and its miners went wherever else there was tin.

Passing by Redruth, we soon came upon Truro and toured the Cathedral. After being dazzled by it and by the kindly tour guide, we walked through the town until we found Coinage Hall, which houses Charlotte's Tea House:

You will note that Charlotte's is not only a Tea House, but also an antique shop. It's not your ordinary antique shop, either. Upon the two floors we were able to see, there were several rooms arranged as a comfy Georgian home, filled with antiques. Books lined the shelves, and quaint antique pieces were artfully arranged on the shelves, tables, walls and floors. It was enchanting. Made you want to curl up and read by one of the antique fireplaces.

The town itself is proud of Charlotte's, and we thought it as sweet as it could be. Although the scone was cold (which shocked and amazed the SconeLady), Charlotte's won every contest for ambiance. It is well and good to note that while The Digey Food Room (not in of itself a tea shop) bears the best of the scones, Charlotte's is the best of the tea rooms. If the scones of the Digey could but make their way along the rail to Charlotte's, we would have a Cornwellian dream come true.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All This For a SCONE?

It's true. We here at SconeTherapy do go to great lengths for a scone, and are unapologetic. We love them. We study them. We seek them!

The SconeLady might lead this charge, but she is in good company and that company is growing. All over this globe, people are joining her in not only finding great scones, but actually baking them. And they watch this space. There is nothing about scones that they won't discuss.

There is a certain conversation that takes place among scone lovers in the South West of England - Devon and Cornwall. Both areas laud the Cream Tea and hold it high. Both have their unique approach to the serving thereof. And both are wonderful. The difference between them seems to be in the way they dress their scones. I'm not sure it makes a huge difference in the taste, but that is a hotly contested point.

Here are photos of both:

Scones from Devon

Scones from Cornwall

Do you see the difference?

I didn't get to Devon this trip, but have learned that there the cream must be spread on the scone first, then the jam on top of that. In Cornwall it is the opposite - you must spread the jam first, and then the cream. I asked friend Rosie about this, because my opinion was that it is harder to spread clotted cream on top of jam. Rosie replied that she really actually likes the taste better with clotted cream on top. She likes the messiness, too. Have you tried it both ways? I'm totally curious. 

But I can see her point about the cream being on top, because it is superb; there is no getting around it.

May I add another point as well? I like clotted cream just fine. But I like whipped cream even better. And if you do use whipped cream, then placing the cream on top of the jam is easiest! 

These are the finer points of scone-eating. My personal favorite afternoon delight is a warm scone with butter, jam, and whipped cream on top; add to that an egg salad sandwich with white bread and the crusts cut off; a cucumber/cream cheese sandwich with brown bread and the crusts cut off; and a chicken sandwich with white bread and the crusts cut off. THAT is my dream of a meal.

Try it. See what you think. I'll bet it will become a swift fave, hands-down.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">James Cridland</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Klara Kim</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Cure for Loneliness

Walking into the house after a 5 week journey, I came upon a drawing. It sat on the kitchen counter, revealing a little girl, arms held out, smiling. I asked, "What's this?" to which my husband laughed and explained that the 4-year-old granddaughter had drawn a self portrait, for him.

"Grampa?" she had said, "Where is Grandma?"

"Oh - she is in England, and I am going to visit her there in 2 weeks."

"But won't you be lonely here without her?" she piped.

"Well yes, I suppose I will. But it won't be for very long."

She thought about this for a bit and then said, "I'm going to draw you my picture and leave it here so you won't be lonely."

And this, dear Readers, is the picture:

Needless to say, it is a prized possession and always will be. 

Today we drove across town in order to watch this darling for a couple of hours. The same smile shining out from the drawing above, was there on her face as we came in. "Grandma! Grampa! you CAME!"

Yes, we came. We would always come. What grandparents wouldn't?  there is always so much to see and to hear. You get to watch a small girl climbing a pole as quickly as any squirrel. You get to see that girl on a bike with no training wheels, zipping up and down the asphalt drive until you become dizzy with it all. You hear all about the latest excitement on the horizon: "I get to go to GRACIE'S house!"

She quickly showed us her newest puzzle, still in its wrapping. Her concentration was impressive as she worked out the four corners, the 'straights', and the intricacies at the center. There were ladybugs, and spiders, and bees, and wasps, and dragonflies all randomly placed, and she had it figured out in jig time. I learned that it takes me far longer to find pieces than it does a 4-year-old (and how is that fair?). But she was appropriately encouraging whenever I accidentally did come across something that 'might work'.  

In short, it was two hours of the sweetest fun!

These are the things that will always bring the SconeLady back home, after the wanderings of a true Bohemian in a foreign land. Travel has its place. Walking tours, and scone-seeking, and astonishing Cathedrals may call out and beckon this wanderer. But it is only a matter of time before the ties that bind pull me inexorably Homeward.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Train from St Ives to London Paddington

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Laying Claim to Home

Climbing up out of a strange jet lag is rather an effort, I find. Things will be going along as normal, and then all at once...there is a definitive slowing of the abilities. But I think we are defeating it now. By tomorrow we should both be ordinary Californians once again. 

But I did actually leave a piece of my heart far away, in England.

To comfort myself I have had sweet welcoming arms around my neck at various intervals. Tiny kisses, squeals of delight, and satisfying conversations all make it worth any amount of jet lag, just to be home again. And as I walk the miles here, the scenery is different than Cornwall (it can't be denied). Maybe it is an Asphalt Jungle, but here is a sampling of the non-asphalted parts of it that surround me here:

 The rock formations just above our home; the fall colors just beginning to show; the backyard pool and lake at sunset. All charming, and even stunning, in their own way. 

And there is a Brit-style celebration on the horizon: a party, with Cornish Pasties! Cream Scones! Tea! The family of the SconeLady have been eager to try out all these wonderful tastes, and I can't wait to share it all with them.

But for now, 'the sun has gone to bed, and so must I'..

And as it goes down, I squint out at the water and am reminded of the awe inspiring seawaters of Cornwall; where the gulls are the noisiest, and the ice creams are the creamiest...and the people? the luckiest, in this wide world.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Porthmister Beach, St Ives, Cornwall
October, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Upon Return

As usual, the first thing I did was to take a selfie of self, with the rather stunning son. The SconeLady cannot help but take this photo, whenever she first sees the rather stunning son. It must be in her DNA.

And he always patiently stands and smiles, right on cue. 

Coming back to the asphalt jungle has its upsides.

After a bouncy landing on the tarmac at LAX, after long lines at Customs, after being briefly detained for the possession of two apples (but I must always have an apple about me!), and then kindly let go, we ventured out onto the freeway.
We were understandably anxious to make our departure and to reach home. For a birthday party was on hand! A newly minted three year old waited in his front garden to welcome these weary wanderers. As our car approached, not just one but three blonde heads were seen bobbing down the drive, headed our direction. Hurray! The sweetest welcome of all.

There's an awful lot to be thankful for. 

I tried, while walking this morning, to listen to something on NPR but found I was restless with it. It seemed all to be about unpleasantness. I wanted to hear about Nice things and not Icky things. So after one-too-many Icky things, I shut it all off and deleted NPR from my playlist. Freedom!

I could go back to it, but just not for a while. For a while, I want to think over the astonishing scenery I just spent 5 weeks absorbing. I want to try out a recipe for Cornish Pasties that Rosie has. I want to make a lovely cream tea for people that I love. I want to  remember!

On the train from St Ives to London Paddington, we two enjoyed Cornish Pasties made by our favorite bakery. In one way it was rather mean of us, having two delicious Pasties inside the bag, no one else quite knowing where that lovely aroma was coming from. It was hands-down the best lunch on that train.

If you have never tasted a pasty, it's sort of like a hand-held pot pie. A proper pasty is on its side, and crimped along the side edge, not along the top. They are very insistent on this small detail and feel that it will taste right only if the crimping is done right. 

I don't know about any of that, truth be told. What I do know is that there is a real advantage to having your pasty on a train..

No seagulls.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

                                        Naughty seagull watching for a bite

photo credit: <a href="">Digital Wallpapers</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, October 19, 2014

England, Itself

Somewhere deep within the confines of Heathrow Airport sits the SconeLady, and her husband. A shuttle bus has been ridden, lines have been waited in, and coffee (with a croissant) has been consumed. All that remains is to be herded aboard a massive aircraft, strapped in, and then the long long ride. Everyone around me looks tired.

And although I too might be tired, sleep alludes me in this airport chair. It is comfortable enough, but there is just too much to remember!

Friend Rosie wrote from Norfolk, with her farewells and her wishes, this morning. By now she is probably out there feeding and grooming the 'Donk', with two curious horses standing by (hopeful for an apple, perhaps?).

The scenery of that spot is far preferable to where I now sit, it is true. But while this may not be the most attractive or enticing spot in this wide world, it puts me one step closer to home. Which is where I belong.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cornwall, Day 23: Roller Bag on Cobblestone

Our last day in St Ives, Cornwall. Sad! In fact, we have 25 minutes left. The SconeLady is leaving and is sorry; she is also happily thinking of the loved ones who await. 

The bitter with the sweet.

But the sweet is what I am thinking about, now. They are sleeping peacefully as we pack our bags and prepare to walk up the road for the train. Ours will be the roller bags on cobblestone, this time.

 And what will I think of when I think of St Ives?

  • the never changing, ever changing harbor
  • the friendly Cornish*
  • the startling blue of sky and sea
  • the fact that cars, rather than pedestrians, seem to have the right-of-way
  • Cornish pasties
  • chocolate sorbet
  • cliffs
  • taking trains to places you like
  • taking buses to other places you like
  • Rosie and Ted
  • cream teas!

          *Artist Malcomb Bowmer                      
During the entire three weeks of our stay, we  have never heard a harsh word. Everyone was happy and endlessly kind. A favorite word here is 'Cheers!' - used by just about everybody for just about everything. We have taken it up ourselves. It's another way of saying 'thank you', or 'have a good day', or 'to your health'. Endlessly kind.

If you read too many news articles, you can get the view that everywhere there is chaos; guns; screaming; illness; despair. But we mustn't give the chaos more than its due, dear Readers. It is there, but it does not predominate.

Therefore, this 23rd day of Cornwall is a farewell with a promise: it may take her a year, but the SconeLady will be back in Cornwall, looking again for that perfect scone. She and Rosie are already scoping out the ideal cottage, finding the ideal dates, and - this just in! - even dreaming up a visit to Port Isaac, home of Doc Martin! We heard you can get there for only 11 pounds ROUND TRIP. 

(I wonder if I dare stretch this one into four weeks...?)

See you along the way!
the SconeLady
*St Ives tour guide Tony Ferrell      

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cornwall, Day 22: A Salute to the Fishermen

There used to be many more, but now there are only 3. These lodges of St Ives remain a testament to their fishermen, and we met some of them today.

The lodges were tiny one room huts along Wharf Road into which the town fishermen could escape; perhaps eat a pasty; rest from the weather and the storms. They came whenever they could, and may I say? their wives did not. There was no rule that their wives could not, it was just understood that they would not. One of the ladies and I discussed this, and decided that the lodges probably didn't smell great, and the women didn't even want to go in there. 

(Ladies, doesn't that sound logical? Just sayin'). 

But I think the wives would have liked the rule against swearing. It was forbidden, and if someone did slip up, or got mad and let fly, they had to pay (see the 'donations' box).

We know about this because today we went along on our second St Ives walking tour, following the strides of guide Tony Ferrell. He traced for us the fascinating history of fishing men in Cornwall, and of how their livelihood has diminished over the decades. The smell of fish no longer chokes the air, as it once did.

But the fishermen didn't mind that smell because it meant work, and feeding their families, and holding one's head up. The men are growing older now, but still they come back to their lodges. It's a way to catch up. Regroup. Gaze out at the tides which never change, and yet are always changing.

The walls of the lodge we saw today were filled with old photographs. There were pictures of fishing boats, of ship wrecks, or of people they had lost over the years. There was even a photo of Tony's great grandmother, sitting in a boat surrounded by men. 

It all spoke to the pride they had in what they did; the competition for who would come in first; and the camaraderie of the men. It was splendid. 

And it was a privilege today to meet two of these fishermen. They were kind, and funny, and opinionated in the best possible way. Surrounded by the photos of their past, they looked content; and I'm sure we won't be forgetting them anytime soon. Maybe we'll get out the old film, Captain's Courageous. Remind ourselves of a different day when the work was hard and the men were grateful for it.

'Courageous' is exactly what they were. And we could sure use some of that right about now.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">saffron100_uk</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Del Adams</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cornwall, Day 21: Truro Cathedral

The SconeLady is having difficulty just thinking up enough adjectives to describe what she saw today. None of them suffice.

But I shall give it a try, all the same!

Yesterday we were blown back to our fisherman's cottage while attempting to get to Truro Cathedral. Rain and wind had done their best and defeated our efforts, but we made it today - and I am so thankful that we did. After our train ride and our walk to the city center, then coming around the bend and finally seeing it, I felt speechless. You can see its beauty here, but it is truly something you must experience in person to believe. 

Our first view of the inside revealed this loveliness:

You see? No adjectives.

We arrived in time to take part in the free Cathedral tour on offer, led by this very kind and knowledgeable tour guide:

He described to us the significance and design of the stained glass windows; the beauty of the preserved south aisle of the old St Mary's parish church (incorporated in the design); the magnificent organ, which was intermittently being played as the organist practiced; the marble figures behind the altar, and much much more.

But best of all was the terra cotta frieze by George Tinworth. I have spent time trying to find a really good photo of it for you, but the best I could find is the one I took myself - not that good. In fact, no photo could really replicate this wonderful piece:

'The Way of the Cross'

I couldn't believe there was a pillar in front of it! It was created in 1880 and given to the Cathedral some time later. But it was placed behind a pillar, right where Christ is standing. These figures display the events of His journey toward the Cross. Beginning on the left with Pilate and his wife; to Simon, who was called upon to help carry the Cross (the centurion pulling his ear); to the man who tried to get a higher elevation to see; to the centurions and pharisees; to Christ here in the middle, comforting his mother Mary, and Mary Magdalen; a fight going on along the way; and the two malefactors who would be crucified with Him.

The frieze became my central focus within this fabulous Cathedral. It, and everything we saw today shows what inspiration existed in the hearts of those who created it all. And we learned that there are something like 42 Cathedrals in the United Kingdom. How great would it be to go on a Cathedrals Tour, one day! Doesn't that sound grand? Let's see, there are a few I have seen already, over the years:

  • Canterbury Cathedral
  • Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
  • Ely Cathedral
  • Peterborough Cathedral
  • St George's Chapel, Windsor
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Truro Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey
  • York Minster

It's a good start! The chase is on.

We didn't get to ride on any more trains or buses with our day passes, but we did find the dearest tea shop:

 Charlotte's Tea House, Truro  

Charlotte's Tea Shop was everything any cream tea lover would love: white tablecloths, white porcelain tea sets, waitresses with Georgian clothing, and antiques. Not to mention the scones! The Georgian waitress called especial attention to the protocol - that one must (absolutely must) spread the jam first, and then the cream. She would be watching, just to make sure.

Thus ended our day in Truro. The Cathedral, the tour, the terra cotta frieze, and Charlotte's Tea Shop were all terrific. Impeccable. Exquisite!

You see? Adjectives just don't suffice.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Train ride to St Erth, then Truro

photo credit: <a href="">Ennor</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>