Thursday, April 30, 2015

But Somebody Has To Do It

"You must go see the Shard!" said friend Rosie. Americans might ask, what is it?

That which you see above is the Shard. Have you heard of it? The Shard, also called the Shard of Glass, is one of the most unique buildings in London. Since hearing of it from Rosie, I have always wanted to go up into it. That has not happened yet, but it might. Have you ever been inside the Shard? I would love to hear about it!

But do take a closer look at it, on your right, here. Who, or what, is that thing clinging to its side? Who, or what, looks like they are helplessly stuck onto the outside of it, looking in? I'll tell you who or what - it happens to be 3 window washers. Yes, that's right - 3 people up there washing away all 87 storeys of the dirt, grime, and unmentionable that finds its way onto the side of that building.

This building currently holds the record for being the tallest in the European Union. It is 1,004 feet high, and all 1,004 of those feet must be cleaned. Regularly. I would not want to be one of those cleaners, but I do wonder what they talk to each other about all day long.

Urban explorers, base jumpers, and 'place hackers' often find themselves up there, exploring, jumping and hacking away at the Shard. Even Prince Andrew rappelled down it, raising money for charity. From the 87th floor, mind you, but it must have been tough all the same (BTW, he said he would 'never do it again'). 

Some explorers believe that there should be no limitations on the general public having access to climb up and explore, or jump off, or rappel, or otherwise invade the place. They like taking photographs and putting them on the worldwide web, freaking people out and getting lots of media attention. Some ladies even went up there to protest Arctic oil drilling. It took them 16 hours to climb up it, and the Shard's staff became so alarmed that they provided them with a 'safety briefing' on their way up. I'm not sure if the ladies stopped to listen.

It's completely fascinating. I checked the price of getting in there legally. It's about 25 pounds, and well worth it, I would guess. Next time I get over to London I won't miss another chance. I just hope no one happens to be rappelling down at the same time I'm going up. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


The SconeLady is experiencing a glitch that is not allowing her to export photos to this space, therefore not getting them to you, her dear Readers. This is irksome to her and she is irked. While she tries hard to fix the quirk, perhaps you can gaze upon her favorite spot in St Ives, out of all of the spots she has found there. 

If you look to the left of the clump of buildings you will find the favored little white one, right on the sand, with a half-fence in front of it. It was there that she and her husband found 3 people at their tea table, with scones and jam and cream. They let her peek into their cottage, in order to decide if it would be a place worthy to stay in.

It was established that it was far too small for 4, but perhaps 2? or even just 1. It has 3 stories, one room on top of the other, and a minuscule kitchen area that looks right out onto the sea.

It is probably doubtful that the SconeLady will find herself staying there (3 stories is just not her bag) but in the meantime, she is content just to look at it. It really is the dearest of all spots in St Ives. I can't keep from looking at it.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Clueless in London

Around the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel there appeared to be any number of eating establishments. It's just that none of them served breakfast. Tastily, I mean. It needed to be tasty and worth that morning's 4+ miles. I needed sustenance. And soon.

There were a TON of Italian restaurants - all closed. Then there was a Garfunkels, a Krispy Kreme, something called Budgeons (whatever that was), and then, a hopeful spot called The Pride of Paddington. It looked nice on the outside, and I felt that anything with the name Paddington had to have something substantial on the inside.

The Pride of Paddington was, in fact, a Pub. It had a decent enough menu, and it wasn't crowded. And you don't always find breakfast food in a pub. But The Pride did have it, as well as a burly and super friendly barman shouting "Come along in, my love!" as I drifted through the door. What a friendly man! He handed me a menu.

The place somehow began to fill up as I cluelessly studied the menu at my table. I should have dashed to the bar instantly to order, but - should it be the sausage and the eggs? I had liked that in St Ives. Or the pancakes? That was also nice. Maybe they would be American style.. I finally opted for the eggs, poached, on toast. And coffee. Which I now needed very badly. 

I glanced for the barman, but could not see him behind all the patrons now crowding and lining the bar. I approached, but there didn't seem to be any system whereby you ordered. Shouldn't we take 'turns'? There didn't appear to be 'turns', though, so I waited, and tried politely to squeeze in. The clock was ticking.

If only I could just grab some coffee. Waiting in lines if you have your coffee is not nearly so bad as waiting in lines without it.

Finally, I boldly shoved my way to the front (was anyone else in there headed for Heathrow? I ask you). By the time I had reached the bar, ordered the food, waited for the food, wolfed down the food and the coffee, and paid the bill, it was definitely time to make tracks. Airplanes wait for no one, not even the SconeLady.

The food was alright, but as I dashed back to the hotel and grabbed my bags and coat and checked out, the poached eggs weren't feeling all that nice anymore. There was just so.much.stuff! The laptop. The backpack. The roller bag. The St Ives artwork bag. The gynormous coat no longer needed. 

Dragging all of this toward Paddington, I had a sudden inspiration. Somebody was waiting for me. Lots of somebodies were waiting for me! They were asleep in their comfy beds, but they knew that the next time they woke up, Grandma was going to be there, rather like Santa Claus. I don't know if sugar plumbs actually danced in their heads, but they might have.

They were certainly dancing in mine.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Pride of Paddington, Paddington, W2</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Monday, April 27, 2015

Just The Way You Are

"But why can't my rolly-polly go into Jack-in-a-Box with me Grandma?" he said, looking tragic. He had found and carried it a good long distance, and was loathe now to give it up.

"Umm, well they don't like creatures to come into restaurants. Only humans are allowed."

This seemed to satisfy, and so he found an appropriate leaf upon which to place his 'creature', and left it in the bushes. As to whether or not it would be there when we came out was up for debate (if I were it, I would scoot).

They both ordered their food articulately, expressing exactly the items required, and the accoutrements (saying "Please" and "Thank you" politely). As we trooped over to the long window seat, a familiar song began to play. I knew it, but couldn't...quite...oh! Could it be? Was it? Yes - BRUNO MARS! There can hardly be anything better than eating with two preschoolers at a Jack-in-a-Box while listening to Bruno Mars. There we sat waiting for the food, looking out at the traffic, with Grandma swaying back and forth to the music like some teenager. One or two patrons stared.

Both children looked at me wide eyed, and I said:

"Well OK, I am happy because God has blessed me with YOU." They smiled. "And because this song is about a man who loves his wife just the way she is."

I couldn't believe I knew something as up-to-date as what Bruno Mars might be singing to his wife. Bruno, who was not the Beatles, nor the Beach Boys, nor Simon and Garfunkel. They were then. He is now. Sometimes somebody new bursts onto the scene, and steals it. Bruno had sung his heart out with this song at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and wow-ed us all:

When I see your face, there's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing just the way you are.
And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for awhile,
Cause girl you're amazing, just the way you are.
-song by Bruno Mars

The 3-year-old started swaying to the song, and we both laughed. Maybe people looked at us a bit like we were crazy, but we didn't care. And then the food came, and we ate, and we watched the cars in the drive-through line, and we walked back home.

Small sweet things can happen to you when you include small sweet people in your lives. My own Grandma Ida walked downtown with me those many years ago, to help me pick out a favorite cake mix. I don't remember just what we talked about, but whatever it was, she was interested. Didn't sigh hugely and check her watch. Didn't hurry me along, thinking she had something better to do. And then we walked back home and baked the thing. She was there all the way.

I will never forget her. Ever. She loved me just the way I was.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Bruno Mars wears Benjamin Eyewear "Nicole" to the 2012 Grammy Awards</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Upstairs (Downstairs)

There was just enough time, and I might just make it. The number 165 beckoned to me on account of having just finished seeing the newest seasons of Upstairs/Downstairs. It was all still fresh in my mind and I could not stay away.

Rosie sent a quick text: "Are you still going to Eaton Place?" I had to think: was there really enough time? Mine was an international flight that afternoon, and one really must not risk looming flights merely because of a television show. 

But it was doable so away I strode with purpose, walking down toward Belgravia. It was a picture perfect day in London, a slight breeze keeping the Springtime sunlight lovely and mild. I began to notice my surroundings. Knightsbridge, where sat Harrods department store, huge and imposing. On a different day I would certainly have dipped inside, to 'shop' (a.k.a. gawk at all their loot). Then, Belgravia where the buildings are deliciously luxurious and utterly out-of-range.

And suddenly, there was all the scenery and architecture that is Upstairs/Downstairs - Georgian, stately, flowery, upscale. A text bing-ed at me from Rosie: "Don't forget, the address is 65 Eaton Place, not 165. They added the '1' to disguise the location!"

Aha, perfect timing, Rosie! I quickly adjusted just slightly left toward 65. And there it was.

Everywhere you looked, there were the lovely and stately buildings making up Belgravia. Creamy white and scrupulously clean with posh cars parked out front. I stood, gazing. It brought back the memories of recently watching with my sister the 1971-1975 series, on Netflix (it was our way of escaping the reality of teaching middle schoolers). The new series starting in 2010 only made me more excited to see it. 

There was a lot of talk about the differences and similarities between Downton Abbey and Upstairs/Downstairs, this go around. Apparently Downton won the ratings and outlasted Upstairs (but I liked them both and didn't know why they could not coexist. Has anyone figured that out?). 

After a short few moments I began feeling conspicuous, standing outside number 65 with nothing whatsoever to do. No one else was hanging about taking photographs. The series appeared to have been utterly forgotten. So, reluctantly, I took one last snap, and moseyed away. Walked back toward Harrods and the AGA store and my own hotel 2 miles distant. 


But, for those short few moments I could remember: Mrs. Bridges the cook, scolding the maids and especially Ruby; Mr. and Mrs. Bellamy, so stately and upper class as they dealt generously with their servants (even Ruby); Rose, the faithful servant who survived from the early series to the late; and most of all Mr. Hudson, the Butler who ordered everyone's lives and kept honor in the household. Each played their part, faithfully. Even, surprisingly, Ruby.

I stood there for a moment at the front porch, imagining myself as a part of it all. Would I be Rose? Lady Bellamy? Mrs. Bridges? 

Any of them would suffice. Any, that is, but Ruby. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, April 25, 2015

And It Also Rained

It was a veritable whirlwind, and I am still breathless. Children and adults, friends and family - nonstop. 

For the rather stunning son appeared, and (are you ready for this? I am) he was not alone. A rare beauty came through the door with him, and I saw at once the reason for his rather stunning smile. Yay!

It was a family kind of day, complete with long walks, swimming, and the feeding of recalcitrant ducks (did any living duck actually eat bread today? Some small persons certainly did). These three small persons acted as a posse to the two wonderful young people pictured here. Wherever they two went, those three followed. They were like young gnats buzzing around the light. Popularity isn't half the word.

Perhaps the pinnacle of the day turned out to be the dinner. Unbelievable! After gathering a plethora of tasty ingredients, the lovely daughter and her brother concocted pizzas of the highest quality. It was shocking the amount of work that went into these gems! And the exciting bit was that they were cooked by the SconeLady's husband IN THE BARBECUE! Not the oven. I kept an oven heated and ready just in case the whole thing fell through. "Ah, do you think you will be needing the oven? It's hot. It's ready. No problem.."

But no one took a bit of notice, because the barbecue was just fine, thank you very much. I think we ate pineapple and ham, Chicken Alfredo and sausage, pepperoni and salami, and something else I can't recall. 

Oh - cheese. With children you always need cheese.

There were four pizzas, and when it was all over no one could possibly eat another bite. Complete and utter satisfaction. Have you ever cooked a pizza in a barbecue? What about in a Big Green Egg barbecue? It was our first 'go', and I thought it smashing. You must heat it high and then let it work its magic for about 7 minutes. Splendid!

They have all gone home now, including a great aunt and uncle, as well as friends and 'parents' of PUN, a distinctive doggie you have met before in this space. Someone asked why they hadn't bought along PUN. The women in the group looked shocked at such a question. One might love PUN, and perhaps appreciate his many fine qualities. 

But - bringing him along? I highly doubt it. Only a man would ask.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Child Shall Lead Them

"Do you have a ow-ee on your hand, Grandma?" said the small boy. His face wall all concern as his hand patted mine gently.

I glanced downward. "Oh, yes I suppose I do, my darling," said I. "But I'm sure it will be just fine real soon." He looked dubious, and disappeared somewhere. The 'ow-ee' had come by accident and looked worse than it actually was. But to a 3-year-old, if it was 'a ow-ee', then it was BAD. He has had many, and knows.

I was momentarily distracted, but soon felt a steady tap-tap-tapping on my leg. "Here, Grandma! Your bandaids!"

I looked at him and sure enough, there were two bandaids clutched in his hand, extended toward me. With his help, they were soon in place and his smile beamed deliciously. He has a 3-year-old's inherent faith in bandaids.

There is something about this small one that softens everyone who knows him. He notices, then acts. It is a handy quality to have around a busy home, because it lifts the hearts of the people inside. It is the sweetest thing.

If only all of the ills in this world could be healed by bandaids such as those so kindly proffered to me. Oh, wait! - maybe the sweetness and good will that motivated that small gift is the Gift itself. I can testify right now that the ow-ee felt better after such nice hands placed them on my wounds. The heart behind the hands.

As good Abe Lincoln said at his 2nd inaugural, it is the right thing to bind up one another's wounds, large and small. Whatever the quarrel, if there was one. Let it be the first response, and those who come after us will learn to do the same.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You'll Love Spinacio's

We knew about it, but hadn't the time to visit. You see, daughter-of-Rosie was there for 4 days, and made such terrific meals that we didn't really need to go anywhere to eat. Well, when it came to breakfast, we did trot up to the Norway Store for our warm croissants and chocolate twists. And then, at lunch time we quite liked grabbing a pasty. Or sometimes just a tomato-cheese baguette (doesn't that sound scrumptious? The SconeLady's mouth has just watered).

But there was one spot in St Ives that we might have liked checking out. It is an upstairs vegetarian restaurant right along the harbor front called Spinacio's. Now, ask me if I have EVER walked into a vegetarian restaurant. (Have you?). No... But this one sounded intriguing and I thought I just might.

Daughter-of-Rosie does tend to eat along those lines, and our meals during her visit were smashing and I loved them (grilled Hake and fresh roasted vegetables!). So after her visit, it seemed only right to give Spinacio's a go.

You have to go up some steep steps (granite, I think), and then look for a green door with a very friendly OPEN sign:

When you walk in, you come face to face with a very nice man in a kitchen area, whom I assumed was the Chef. He looked at me inquiringly, and asked if he could help. Eventually he was able to get me guided into the correct room, where I found several tables next to the wide windows. 

"May I please sit near one of the windows?" I asked the waitress.

"You may, but only if you think you will be finished by 7:30. I have another group coming then."

 So of course I would be done by 7:30, it was only me, and I was only having the soup. So the soup was ordered, and it was going to be Carrot and Coriander. A favorite! With fresh homemade bread, and Cornish butter. Any item with Cornish butter, and you have me. Here was my view:

View from Spinacio's Restaurant, St Ives Harbor

Right now you can't see the sea water because it is far away with the low tides. But before the soup was in front of me, the tide was beginning to creep back. And before I was finished with the meal itself, it was all the way back. When it gets moving, it is fast. Sweet.

There was actually no other patron there, so the waitress was very helpful and hovering. I assumed the clientele of this restaurant prefers to visit after dark. But it was perfect for me, being quietly left alone to think my thoughts and dream my dreams. Soon, the soup appeared:

If you have never had Carrot-Coriander soup, well, then you simply must! It was lovely. As was the bread. And the Cornish butter of course. But at the end of it, I was feeling just a bit peckish, still. 

"Have you any lovely and decadent chocolate desserts, perhaps?" I asked the friendly waitress.

"Oh yes of course! I would recommend the flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream."

The perfect choice! And here it is:

It was good, dear Readers, it really was. But it wasn't very chocolaty. It looked chocolaty. But maybe they left some useful ingredient out of it on account of it being a vegetarian restaurant and all. Anyway, I liked it well enough and the ice cream was dreamy.

So Spinacio's Vegetarian Restaurant was very nice and worth the visit. My only regret with it is that I did not take daughter-of-Rosie to it. But the story isn't over yet. Future visits still loom! And we shall try, we shall truly try. And maybe I will order the Chocolate Polenta Cake and Hot Choccy Sauce, next time. It sounds like it will be absolutely plenty 'choccy'.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rosamunde Pilcher, a Home

'Riverview House', as described in the book, COMING HOME, by Rosamunde Pilcher

For sale?! I dove at once for my cell phone, ready to call the kindly husband and make my case. But - oh dear, he would be asleep now, wouldn't he...and wouldn't it be rude to wake him..

So I will stand there, and contemplate. It is a nice house, yes, a very nice one. Tall, and stately, and surely just as nice inside. But that is not why I was so interested. It isn't just any house, dear Readers. It is HER house. The house of the lady who is the reason I came to Cornwall in the first place. Rosamunde. Pitcher. Her house.

I took down the particulars, and saw a little orange sign just below the 'for sale'. It said, in a faded lettering, 'PLOT'. I had no idea at all what they might mean by 'PLOT', and so promptly forgot it. And on we walked.

Later in the week I happened to be near the Bradley's Estate Agent office and thought that I really should go in. Even if they thought I was crazy, I should really go in. And ask.

And, I did sort of tiptoe in. A lady sat, regarding me kindly, and said, "How may we help?"

"Well, I was out at Lelant, and came across the house right next to the Lelant Railway Station. Do you know the one?"

Oh yes, she knew it. 

"And, it is for sale?" I queried.

"Oh well, no, actually madam, the house is not for sale. The PLOT is for sale."

Oh. We discussed PLOTs, and houses, and land. It turned out that the PLOT is the green grassy area just below the house, and just above the sort of hedgerow, you see. It is only a part of the land, it is not the house that is for sale.

"But why would anyone want to sell just that plot?"

The SconeLady can see herself sitting with scones in front of the fire, of a chilly evening..

It was because the house currently needs repairs, and the only way to do that is to sell part of the land. And whoever buys the plot of land will likely come and build something on it. And block out HER house.

"Does she know it used to be Rosamunde Pilcher's house???" I asked, a bit of desperation in my voice.

"No, I don't think she knows that. I did not know that until this instant."

It boggles the mind. If this were in the States there would be neon signs announcing the home of Rosamunde Pilcher. The street would probably be named after her. That house would probably be on a 'famous homes tour', with noisy buses driving past it day and night.

But this is Cornwall, dear Readers. One can actually, simply live, here. (Who knew?)

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Highly Effective

There is a lonely beach just outside the window where I slept. It is a beach that would mesmerize any wanderer, day or night, and the SconeLady was no exception. In daytime there were the surfers, running swiftly down and down to where the waves awaited them. Strangers all, they were still a sort of 'team' with one plan in mind: catch it, and stay on it for as long as possible. However cold it may be, they are never deterred.

And then there were the children, jumping in and out of the coldness of the water - in swimsuits! As I walked past in my layers and thick coat (+wool scarf and perhaps even gloves), there they would be, splashing, undaunted and bold. And the parents? BUNDLED. Sitting snuggled up at a distance. Watching with awe as their offspring immersed themselves in the freedom that is a beach.

The 'lonely' part of this beach comes in the early mornings and evenings, when the crowds drift away and the lone walker can take it all in undisturbed. This, alone, is probably what brings the SconeLady back. The ocean. Filled with change, and yet changeless. Usually I don't listen to anything whilst wandering here. It seems a waste to have an audio source disturb this peace. 

But once, accidentally, I was listening. And someone was going on about how if a famous and frightening group of people (unnamed here) would only read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, they might stop their evilness. This brought me up a bit, and I kept listening in spite of myself. The idea was that if they would only 'Think win-win', 'Seek first to understand, then to be understood', and 'synergize' (work together with others and be nice), their badness could become goodness. I was astonished. WHY hadn't someone THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?? Just tell abductors and murderers to 'be nice', 'work with others', and be understanding, and they will!

I switched it all off, and gazed out. A walker strode along with his dog. It was a Golden Retriever, heeling faithfully and wagging his doggy tail to beat the band. The whole idea of learning a list of 7 different habits in order to be effective was suddenly exhausting. I strolled, praying, and thought of how perhaps the Ten Commandments might be of more use here. Starting with 'you shall have no other gods before me', that list pretty much says it all.

Much more sensible.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Monday, April 20, 2015

London? Paddington? Shaftesbury!

Just friendly advice

An excellent idea for anyone who is coming from or going to Cornwall is to stay someplace near to Paddington Station. This I did, which helped me to enjoy London rather than staying out at the airport. Staying out at the airport is something I do not think I will EVER DO AGAIN. It is complicated getting to the airport hotel, and then once you are there you are STUCK there. Until time to be carted off to the airport, kicking and screaming.

Therefore, I looked up and found a spot my sister and I had stayed in before: The Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel! It sits within .2 miles of Paddington Station. This is very handy, dear Readers, because the train from Cornwall takes you straight to Paddington. And from Paddington, the next day (or any day) you can quickly get to Heathrow by taking the Heathrow Express, a 15 minute train ride, no stops. It is brilliant. And that is why the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel will be my destination from now on.

The following will give you some idea of what I did with the half day I was able to wander around London, after having left St Ives:

The SconeLady says goodbye to St Ives

Darling train arrives to carry me off once again

Hot Cornish Pasty on the train! St Ives Bakery does it best

On departure morning, time to visit film location for Upstairs/Downstairs

Walking through Hyde Park, stumbling upon Peter Pan

The Serpentine, Hyde Park

Altogether awesome! I highly recommend it!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, April 19, 2015

So Much To Come Home To

'Home' has such a nice ring to it, don't you think? The flight, the movies, the meals, the little-bit-of-sleep, and the safe arrival were all now completed. The airport was crowded, people and bags dashing past me, and then suddenly - the kindest man I know was at the curb. Bliss!

We made our escape. And as we rocketed along the busy freeway toward home, an idea popped up. "Let's stop by and surprise the kiddies!" 

So we pulled up to the little blue house, peeked through its window and saw three blond heads at the table. Eating ice creams. Chattering away nineteen to the dozen. And then, we opened the door. They looked innocently up. And then, you should have just heard the shouts and the happy squeals, ice creams instantly forgotten. "Grandma! You CAME!" they cried. I do not think I have ever been so thoroughly hugged.

The 5 year old would not leave my side the entire time (hugging, hugging, hugging). The 7 year old's face was a picture of pure joy. The 3 year old looked up and asked, "Grandma, are you going to go away again?" melting my heart right then and there. "Not for a long, long time, my darling," I said. He smiled as his little arms wrapped themselves around my waist. 

I now sit on this comfy couch, laptop at the ready, and look over at my pretty kitchen. The dishwasher is humming gently, and there are at least two ceiling fans spinning away (southern California is giving me a 'warm' welcome!). 

It's a far cry from the sands and seas of Cornwall, I know. But the crashing of waves and the call of the gulls are now replaced by other, more homey sounds. Giggles. Stories. Questions. Sleepovers. Swims! Princess dresses. Things that can't be measured in monetary value. 

That's because they are priceless. 

Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh give me, the pleasures of home.
Mid comforts and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Home.
John Howard Payne

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

(P.S. And we mustn't forget the rather stunning son!  He will be here next weekend.. and he won't be alone.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another Airport

My family are all safely asleep in their beds, and I am sitting (with a coffee) at an airport. Very soon we will all be in the same place, rejoicing.

And if you would like some nice advice about travel in England, about flying with Virgin Atlantic, about staying at the Shaftesbury Premier Paddington Hotel the night before, well you have come to the right place! And all of those things are an automatic 'yes'. Go For It!

And as for the SconeLady's very last morning in St Ives? it was spent:

  • packing away bits and pieces
  • tossing food I could not eat in time
  • walking up to the Norway Store for the best warm chocolate twist in history
  • picking up my very own hot Cornish pasty (St Ives Bakery) for the train
  • giving my keys to the ladies at St Ives Holidays, and hearing them say, "We're so sorry to see you go!"
  • climbing aboard the train, and heading north
The weather was cloudy, which seemed fitting. It would have been hard to see it gleaming as I left. 

There were 5 1/2 hours to London, during which hours I pounded away at the laptop, continuing the work I had come to do. It is very exciting. And, very sweet. Also, very - mysterious! And I can't wait to share it.

And the best part of this travel day was seeing friend Rosie and her Ted, awaiting my arrival at the Paddington platform! There they were, taking my bag, guiding me toward a delicious Italian restaurant (I don't remember the name!), and discussing British architecture. You see, there are so very many differing types of it to ponder. There is the Victorian, the Georgian, the Edwardian, the Elizabethan (not necessarily in that order), and many others. I think I liked the Georgian best. 

And so, the St Ives adventure has finished, and I am about ready to be welcomed home. I can almost see those three small heads bobbing, arms reaching, voices calling, "Grandma! you CAME!" And the grownups, standing somewhere behind those nice heads, and smiling.

It will be the sweetest thing.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

P.S. Of course, the SconeLady will be returning to this space. The end of one adventure does not mean the end of all adventure.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cornwall, Day 44 (Last Full Day)

It was the last full day, and I was determined to make the most of it. I would tramp around the hills and cliffs and look at all of my favorite haunts. I would take more pictures than I would ever need in a million years. I would get something for the kiddies and write my last post cards.

And most delightful of all, I would go to The Digey Tea Room and have a Cream Tea. That was what I would do. And I did get to tramp around the hills/cliffs; I did take more pictures than I would ever need; I did get something for the kiddies and write their post cards. But - (can you stand it?) - I DID NOT GET A DIGEY FOOD ROOM SCONE. Arghhhhhh!

And the reason I did not get a Digey Food Room scone is provided for you on the sign below:

It is a good reason. It is in fact the FINEST reason for me to miss out on my final Digey scone with jam and cream on my Last Full Day in St Ives for a year and a half. But I still mourned because there was no other scone to turn to. 

But I went on, and finished the walking and the scouring, and said my goodbyes to a few locals I have come to recognize. The Italian couple in the cafe who so often served and welcomed me; the kindly artist who comes to his studio every day in case someone wants his work (which is superb); the ladies at Saint Ives Holidays who have helped in so very many ways. The Cornish pasty baker who will bake me one to take on the train next day. And especially, the sea and the sky which are immeasurably lovely, and which will call me back to Cornwall again and again, until I can no longer answer the call. 

And of course, my dear Readers, I will always hope to see you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cornwall, Day 43 (Perfect Day)

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

There was such excitement throughout St Ives today! Since it was the SconeLady's last day in town, and since it might be a year or more before she returns, I considered it a jolly great sendoff.

On my first walk of the morning, there was a distinct buzz going on outside The Sloop, our favorite local pub. There were very tall lights and strobes and microphones sticking up all over, and I soon figured out that they were making a movie. And it wasn't just any movie, my dear Readers. It was a ROSAMUNDE PILCHER MOVIE! In German!

There were two German-speaking stars in the center, very beautiful people. Young, flawless complexions, thin, smartly dressed. All attention was clearly on them - managers, handlers, hair and makeup girls, prop personnel, the Director (wearing a posh black scarf), a few producers, sound engineers, grips, an assistant director, and gobs of 'extras'. "Steve! Steve can you get over here ASAP? This car won't start!" yelled the Director. Steve did. "BTW, Steve, can you help with that boom and pull it over here? OMG, hurry up!" I don't know who 'Steve' was, but I don't think I would have wanted to be him.

The handlers shooshed children and tourists and locals away from the set, then the Director shouted "Action!", which caused the two beautiful youth to do their beautiful thing right there on cue (they did it beautifully).

This was all very exciting. Tourists and locals kept getting in the way, and the Director kept needing "Steve!!", and the hair and makeup girls kept fluttering around the girl before each 'take'. By the end of it the female lead had so much makeup on that she was barely recognizable. 

I came across all of this activity two more times in two different locations today. It was the same buzz, same "Action!", same hapless onlookers. "Steve!" was still dashing and fixing and obeying. 

Really, it didn't matter that no one understood any of the dialogue. And it didn't matter that we were continually being 'shooshed' here and there. We were on a Rosamunde Pilcher German language movie set in St Ives Cornwall! It can't possibly get any better than that. (LOL).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cornwall, Day 42 (Frosting and Fog)

It was far too foggy and really there was nothing much to photograph (I tend to lean toward things like blue skies and sunny beaches). So I thumbed through until I found this sweetness:

It's so fun to FaceTime with them when they have only just gotten out of bed. It's lovely and snuggly. And even if I can't actually physically snuggle, I can feel the snuggliness all the same. It is the sweetest thing.

And don't I owe you something about 'frosting'? To me, it is the frosting that makes the Cake. It doesn't HAVE to have frosting, but if it is a particularly good frosting, then it has made the cake worth every calorie. 

So yesterday I discovered that my phone needed 'topping off' (the way Brits keep their data roaming), and the only place for me to do that is Penzance. I hopped aboard the Cheap Day Return train and made a dash for the phone store. Paid the 10 pounds. 'Topped up'. And decided to seek out a tea shop, since I had 30 minutes to spare. I found this:

The Front Room

Isn't it super cute? Their indoors was too, but not sunny - and I had to have sunny (Penzance was oddly fogless). I really really wanted Cake, and they had two kinds, she said. But I was not understanding her Cornish accent, and we went back and forth - she trying to describe the two kinds of cake, and me not understanding either of them. I finally gave up and said, "Ok, I'll take whatever the FIRST one is," and she escaped thankfully back to her kitchen.

The 'first one' turned out to be a dark chocolate gateau, with a smooth, cream cheese frosting! Success!

The Front Room's first kind of Cake turned out to be the best kind

I sat out there in their garden, munching, and having my tea, while reading a book called "The Little Beach Street Bakery". It was the perfect setting for such a Cornish book. I relaxed into it, enjoying the frosting and the Cake, utterly forgetting about catching the 3:33 train back. Suddenly it was 3:24, and I still hadn't finished or paid.

I leapt to my feet, quickly grabbing up my things and (having remembered to pay) made an unsteady lunge toward the door and the sidewalk. I reached the railway station with ONE MINUTE TO GO.

The Front Room, Penzance

There was the train, two conductors standing next to the platform entrance. I hesitated, then quietly slipped around them, heading with purpose for the opened train door. Only 15 seconds to go! But there was some sort of hollering going on behind me. There were two things at one time: the conductors yelling I-did-not-know-what in my direction. And a third (much nicer) conductor, kindly waving me toward the opened train door. I smiled sweetly, and kept moving.

As soon as I was on board the train pulled away, and I glanced backwards to where the original two conductors were standing. They were arguing with the third, as he stood looking quite sheepishly back at them. I turned away, took out my phone, and checked the time. Bang on 3:33.

Whew. That was a close call. Is it my fault that British Rail is always on time?

See you along the way!
the SconeLady