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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cornwall, Day 21 (Alone Again. Naturally)

We decided to all take the same train. Only to the first stop, but it would make the parting less awful. There was a flurry of packing, finding goodies at the corner market, and a general bustle before it was time. The air felt cold, and the streets seemed deserted. Soon, it seemed, I would be too.

But London was calling the kindly sister, her husband, and their tall-and-adventurous-son. Off they would go for one last, full day in the city and then - home (everyone there is ecstatic). The train approached, whistling its friendly alert, and we clambered aboard. It was only 4 miles to St Erth where we would all get off and change to different trains. "Please check that you have all your belongings," intoned the conductor. "And - mind the gap between the train and the platform." 
St Michael's Mount
I thought there would be time for a leisurely goodbye before the next train. Then suddenly an attentive conductor pointed to my train, which had just pulled in on the other side of the tracks. I must dash up the stairs, run across, and dash back down. Dashing is not very easy, so I gave each of the three a quick hug, a hasty "Goodbye! have fun in London!" and ran for it. Leave in haste, repent in leisure, as they say. Woe was me.

The train pulled away and I watched with melancholy as the scenery sped by. But suddenly the sea loomed up and surprised me, surrounding the magnificent St Michael's Mount. It was so close! The sky was so blue! 

And was that just the least little bit of hunger I felt? One good thing had certainly come to an end, but maybe others were about to begin. I had best be optimistic about it, and look around for them. After all, I was in Penzance. At the bottom of Cornwall, nestling in an ocean filled with the myriads of colors the painters had come there to capture. 

"Penzance Station," called the conductor.

I obediently checked for my belongings, minding the gap, and headed toward a little cafe I had been wanting to visit. Perhaps, a nice cheese-tomato baguette..?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/26406919@N00/4511498998">Real food - fresh bread</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cornwall, Day 20 (A Different Beach)

This particular day began near the ocean with a memory of one small sprite, climbing.

The climb took place near another beach, on a different continent, and those who saw it cheered. The sprite saw an enormous tower being inflated in front of her and was instantly intrigued. "Mommy, I want to go UP." No thought of danger, no fear of heights. Her mother sensed that the small girl could do it, and so they approached the line.

Cannon Beach, Oregon (USA)
The inflating tower grew and grew, and the small girl liked it better and better, hopping up and down as she waited. Some people older than this 2 year old did not want to 'go up'. Nothing could convince them to try and so when it was her turn, a kind assistant glanced at the Mother and asked, "Are you sure..?" And the Mother, who is the SconeLady's lovely daughter, said - "Absolutely."

So up the sprite climbed determinedly from one foothold to the next all the way to the top, and then grinned down at us. The SconeLady might have quailed just a little bit right at that moment but soon the tiny girl descended, step by step, landing with a hop. That was when we all cheered.

I am standing here looking at this other ocean, and it is beautiful. But I can't forget that other one where a small and determined girl did something rare, and fun, and just a little bit scary. It was, of course, the sweetest thing.

You go, girl!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/41537109@N07/10663950105">Stormy Cannon Beach</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cornwall, Day 19 (Jesu, Joy)

It was a Sunday, and so a day to Gather. Being 6,000 miles distant does not hamper that privilege, but in fact heightens it. There is always that familiar Light in the eyes of these unknown friends. So we ate our toast, and walked along the harbor toward St Ia's Church.

As happens each time I visit, the church bells rang out as we approached. A welcome! 

As we entered the church, what should be playing for us, but "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", a timeless message from Bach. My sister whispered, "Ahh, good organist!" and settled into the pew. It was such fun sharing this with my visiting loved ones! There was a lot to share, for there was the prelude, the processional (splendid in its march along, following the Cross), the incense, the hymns, the readings (sometimes in accents we may not have understood!), the sign of peace, the sermon, the communion, and the recessional. Then the minister followed the choir and blessed it just as they reached their exit door, their thanks was given, and it was over.

I can't express how very satisfying it all was. And then walking out into the still brilliant sunshine, we began to talk about the Sunday Carvery. 

There is nothing like the Sunday Carvery, my friends, and it must be experienced to be believed. We chose a pub along Fore Street (I cannot now recall just which pub -!), and were greeted there by the most delicious aromas. The chef stood slicing pieces from a whole roast beef, pork, and (lovely surprise) LAMB! Besides the meats, there were carrots, green beans, Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes and parsnips (oh my), cauliflower cheese, and several sauces including mint, horseradish and apple. I know I am forgetting something.

Everyone had more than they thought they needed, and came away somewhat sleepy. Here is what my dinner looked like:

Peas! I knew I would forget the peas (oh, and there was the most delicious gravy, which came just moments after this photograph).

After that the only reasonable thing to do was go home and rest it off, finally recovering enough for a delightful walk toward the cliffs and the churchyard.

This lovely day closed upon a startling view of ocean waves, the moon hovering in a sliver, with the star Venus just above and to the right of it. We were speechless, and could have stayed out there gazing all night. 

To begin with Jesu, Joy, and end with lovely Venus and the moon lingering just - there?


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cornwall, Day 18 (The Potter's Wheel)


I had heard of them before, of course. Who hasn't heard of The Leach Pottery? And pottery is always interesting, as well as pretty. But then today I saw that 'pretty' just doesn't cut it. This pottery is stunning.

We knew that today would be the perfect day to tour the Leach Pottery Studio and Museum, as recommended by a good friend. This friend, a talented and superior potter in yonder sweet woodland town, kindly thought we 'might want to see it'. Thank heavens he did!

Leach Pottery and Museum, St Ives Cornwall
The day gleamed out at us in a flood of bright blue and we couldn't wait to get out into it. The museum would be a mile straight up the hill, and we thought it best if the SconeLady did not walk straight up the hill today. So we called our friendly ACE cab company, who sent a most accommodating driver to collect us just by the sea. He welcomed us by pointing out the nearby boiler of a ship that had run aground in 1937 - the Alba. We craned our necks (all but the SconeLady, whose neck does not crane) to see the boiler, and there it was, poking up out of the bay. As he drove along, he described how the rescue boat which had been sent out had been lost, and all 7 rescuers with it. It was terribly sad.

                 Bernard Leach, 1887 - 1979
Nevertheless, our driver was abundantly cheerful all the way to the Leach. And from the moment we entered the Museum, we were enthralled. The pottery, the kilns, the photographs of Bernard Leach,  and most especially the video he narrated (in 1952) detailing the work, were fascinating. It was in black and white and I loved it. Watching him forming his pots, plates, cups, bowls, and a myriad of other items was lovely. He stated that clay never ever wants to reside smack in the middle of the potter's wheel where it belongs. It does whatever it can do to get away and go anywhere except the center - therefore a potter has his or her work cut out. 

I couldn't help but think that he might just as well have been describing we humans and our own unruliness in the hands of our Potter. Hmm. But Mr. Leach also said that a good potter will have the skills to work with the clay until it yields at last to what the potter wants. That was comforting!

And so we came away happy, although not quite empty handed (*ahem*. There is always a shop at the end of any tour..).

The rest of the day was beautifully warm, with just a bit of briskness in the breeze. People with their toddlers ran into and out of the waves screaming with laughter, while their dogs dove absolutely in, shaking themselves all over everyone. It was superb.

And tomorrow is to be another such day! With certainly the Anglican service at St Ia the Martyr Church of England, and perhaps a delicious Sunday carvery after. 

Who could even begin to ask for more?

See you along they way!
the SconeLady

"Mold me and make me after Thy will.
While I am waiting, yielded and still."

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/87363185@N00/3641916800">Leach Pottery</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/13976456@N05/9315354554">B_Leach potters book_14</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cornwall, Day 17 (The Moon Got In The Way)

A most unique thing about this day is what happened at the very beginning of it: a solar eclipse. We Americans had not known in advance, and this is how we came to find out:

Upon waking up I briefly checked emails and texts, as is my wont when in a foreign land (the SconeLady must catch up on what her family is up to). Friend Rosie had sent this enticing news:

"Good morning! ... it's an eclipse of sun this morning around 8.30-9.00 - just heard best chance of seeing it in South west" xx

Whaat!? No, we had not known that this eclipse was on its very way, that very hour. How had we missed hearing of it? No one had seemed to be talking about it here, and we were not listening to any news outlet (lovely to be away from news outlets whose news seems always rather bad). So on went my jacket, and out the door I scurried. Although I could not take a photo, this is what it looked like to me in a split second glance (only not so black in the background; it was more of a gray color, when I saw it):


There were banks of people standing all along the hill leading up to The Island, gazing off into the gradually dimming skies. I hoped they had their special eclipse glasses on because our mother always told us to never, ever gaze directly at an eclipse. Such dreadful things might happen.

All of these people seemed to know about the eclipse in advance. We were just happy to catch it by surprise. Thank you friend Rosie!

In other news:

We were all reminded of Linda Ronstadt today, as we rode the #17 bus into Penzance. She seems to be the main reason why so many Americans are aware of that city - one cannot go there and not remember her Pirates.


(Have you ever heard such a soaring voice?).

Our grand Penzance plan of the day had been ambitious: #17 bus to Penzance, find a phone store for all of our SIM card needs, the Penlee Gardens and pretty Magnolias, a walk to Marazion, then St Michael's Mount, a tour of lovely castle, bus back to Penzance, a Mousehole bus to Newlyn for the Newlyn Art School and Gallery, and then back home to fall into exhausted heaps.

We did not reach all of these destinations. Do you wonder why? In the morning we were filled with energy and thought that we might just reach them all. But in the end, I personally was involved in:

  • the #17 bus
  • the phone store and SIM card arrangements
  • a walk to Marazion
  • bus back to Penzance
  • # 17 to St Ives
  • falling into an exhausted heap at the end.

The others did more. They:

  • walked across the Causeway to St Michael's Mount
  • did the tour of the castle (awesome)
  • ate in Marazion (good, but the bus to Penzance appeared just that moment too soon)
  • waited, and finally completed all bus trips and fell into EXHAUSTED HEAPS AT THE END.
So I think it was a successful day. Much was attempted, and most was accomplished. 

We are now comfortably replete, having eaten the kindly sister's roast pork dinner (they are both such invigorating cooks! One, remember, is a trained chef and the other a splendid cook). The SconeLady has landed on her feet in all of her Cornwall companions thus far -

friend Rosie and her Ted... 
                    kindly sister and her husband... 
                                     their tall and adventurous son.
                                                        an upcoming visit from the lovely Becs...

Absolutely un-eclipsed.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50604581@N03/7238074270">Solar eclipse 2012</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/78317199@N00/3805555577">Linda Ronstadt concert - UT Arlington August 1977</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cornwall, Day 16 (Warmth and Italian Coffee)

The harsh reality set in early on: distance. home. my darling. The grandchildren! Oh dear.

'So far away.. Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore? 
It would be so fine to see your face at my door, 
but it doesn't help to know, 
you're just time away...'

But it was their GRANDmother who doesn't seem to 'stay in one place'...at least for the next few weeks! And so I got out my pounds and pence, put on a coat, and strolled down to the little British Post Office for post cards and stamps. I had told them I would send them the craziest post cards I could find, and although they aren't terribly 'crazy', they are rather fun:

I wanted to find the perfect place to write on my new post cards, and remembered the cutest little Italian coffee house right near the harbor: The Pier Coffee Bar. It is owned and operated by the absolutely sweetest Italian couple, in their 30s and determined to make a 'go' of their little shop. The door stood open. The sun shone brightly through the big windows onto the little tables, their two smiling faces beaming out at me as I stood on the cobbles. 

Who could walk past such a lovely scene? Not I. And so in I went. We had visited them last October, learning about how they had come from Italy (Milan, was it?) to visit Cornwall. They fell in love with it (of course!) and picked up sticks and moved here. It was the sweetest thing.

They have a baby and lots of energy, and we have decided to support them by buying lots of coffee, and tea, and Italian cakes! What a delicious way to live. If you find yourself in St Ives, 'Don't Pass Go, Don't Collect $200'...! Go STRAIGHT to The Pier Coffee Bar.

Later on I told my sister and her kindly husband about the place, and we three ended up right there, in the sunshine, this time with GOODIES. Delicious!

Day 16 in Cornwall has been pronounced ideal by all who have lived it. You should just see the crowds out on the streets of St Ives! I think they are mostly British because wherever you go, people are seated out of doors, heads leaning back, eyes closed, just soaking in the sunlight. People come from miles around just for that. Who cares about restaurants, or museums, or cobbled streets when the SUN is shining? (I ask you).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cornwall, Day 15 (Gleaming)

Even though yesterday was a frightfully long day, it was also a made-to-order day that I considered a gift. However complicated the plans were, they came off without so much as one hitch. So much could have gone wrong, but didn't. Hooray!

(Paddington Station)

From a smooth landing in London to finding each other at Paddington, all was as easy as transport can be in this massive city. We then sped south/southwest toward the cliffs of Cornwall, passing Truro Cathedral while munching on delicious foods from The Upper Crust

speeding past Truro Cathedral on a train

A friendly ACE cab driver was at-the-ready in St Ives as we stepped away from the cutest little train, and delivered us safely to our cottages. They are literally at the water's edge, so all of us get to hear the rolling waves all day long.

Hmmm, which comes first, the jam or the cream..?

On the first walk of the day my sister spied something that looked very familiar. It was the SconeLady's favorite tea room, and we instantly pronounced ourselves ready for a scone. The day was bright, although not actually warm as we were served by the highly favored Josh, bringing us our scones. We sat companionably munching away as pedestrians strolled past in the sunshine. I couldn't have planned it out any better.

Well, so our first full Cornish day has come and gone, all awash in brilliant and gleaming blue. And plans are being laid for a possible visit to the brilliant Leach Pottery. Or maybe even a bus ride to Port Isaac (a.k.a. Portwenn, of Doc Martin fame)! How fun would that be?! 

But wherever this holiday takes us, we will let you know, drawing you in and smothering you with all sorts of details. AND, the SconeLady's sister's tall and adventurous son is also a writer, so there are now two of us pounding away at laptops (we talked about trying for 5,000 words per day...Do you think it is possible? It sounds interesting).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cornwall, Day 14 (Four Beaming Smiles)

This day started ages ago. I can hardly believe or understand that we are still in anything we would call 'today', because 'today' was, and is, excruciatingly long.

A clock alarm began ringing in western Oregon before 7:00 am, triggering the first event. The 6 events that needed to happen today were:

  • car ride to a bus stop, and a kiss goodbye
  • shuttle bus ride to a pretty airport
  • plane ride from pretty airport to large not-so-pretty one
  • plane ride from large airport to Heathrow (VERY large airport)
  • Heathrow Express to Paddington Station!
  • train ride from Paddington to darling Cornwall

The hope, which was eventually fulfilled, was to meet the kindly sister and her family at Paddington Station. And great would be the Joy of it! 

There was the sweetest small miracle, too. After the gigantic aircraft taxied and parked itself at the gate, and after I had scrambled off of it, a man sat yonder in his go-cart. I crept up to him and asked, "Is this the way to Customs?" not really knowing and almost too happy to care.

"Oh yes," said he. "I am driving over there now, why don't you come along for the ride?"

You don't have to say 'ride' twice, to the SconeLady. On I got, as he hoisted up my bag. We drove, and drove, and went up and down in different elevators, passed hundreds of hapless travelers dragging their bags, and finally came to a place I recognized as Customs. We drove TO THE HEAD OF THE LINE, wherein the agent perused my passport and pronounced me 'good to go'.

We drove on. He asked, "Do you need to go to baggage claim?" 

The answer to this was 'no', and so he took me straight over to the Heathrow Express and let me off not five feet from that worthy train. Miraculous! I was in and out of Heathrow in jig time, and fairly floated to Paddington.

There, the kindly sister and her family awaited. We shouted, and drank coffee, and ate scrambled eggs, and then plodded on to the Great Western Railway for the smooth ride to Cornwall.

And so it came about that, even with all the warnings from teachers, and parents, and aunties, after all of the documentaries that caution against such things - the SconeLady actually got into a go-cart WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER.

But she thought him an Angel.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The SconeLady hovers between memories and future. On the one hand, it is lovely to be here in the land of the memories; and on the other, well - Cornwall does await. One must not be tardy when it comes to flight plans. I already have a boarding pass!

And so, it will be a race down sturdy tarmac while the Lady counts the seconds until she is really and truly airborne. I will keep you informed, dear Readers, as the adventure continues and the Book is resumed (there are visions dancing in my head of green, green fields surrounding a little white house full of children wherein love reigns for a time). It will be such fun to see the vision growing.

But in the meantime there are walks to be enjoyed. Scones to recommend! And interesting homes to dream of buying. All a pipe dream, I'm afraid (but just LOOK at this one where Rosamunde Pilcher grew up! Riverview House...'Coming Home'... But - the SconeLady's husband has just gasped audibly).

Let's get together again soon! I shall return to this space as quickly as I can, given long flights and Customs, Wifi and sleep depravation. Stay with me.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady