Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cornwall, Day 30 (Friends with an AGA are the Very Best Kind)

Mahogany, candle light, delicious foods, and at the end - oh, sweet favorite - Berry Tart with custard. The AGA had been hard at work, and I was the willing recipient.

It had all started with an invitation that would include a train to Truro, and its splendid Cathedral: 

Truro Cathedral surrounded by sunlight, yesterday

And who was I to meet at the station, dear Readers? It was to be none other than the Rather-Stunning-Son's darling-girl's relatives! I believe the Darling Girl is their second cousin once removed, or something similar. But it doesn't matter, really, because one's relatives are a precious commodity, removed or not. They had welcomed me into their Cornish home a year ago, and wanted to do so again.

"Shall we take you to Truro Cathedral?" they wrote. "There will be Evensong for All Saint's Day at 4:00, and you might like to hear that."

Like to? 

"I would love to!" I enthused. Visions entered my head of a Boy's Choir singing their harmonies along with the elder, deeper voiced choir members, walking through the Nave behind the Cross. It would be brilliant, I just knew it. But before we experienced this vision, we:

  • walked through the shopping streets of Truro until we found a 'Three' Store
  • upon finding the 'Three' Store, I arranged for my phone to be 'topped up' so that I could see and speak with my loved ones far away
  • once the phone had been sorted, we strolled to a tea shop which had the most delicious cakes and I ordered a slice of 'Earl Gray Cake'. It was good. It was moist. It was strange to be called 'Earl Gray' as if it were a tea, or something, but that didn't matter
  • gathered our belongings and made our way to the imposing edifice, which at that moment was surrounded by and bathed in the light of a blaze of sun

As we entered the Cathedral a man handed us our service sheets, and enquired as to where we would rather sit. "The Nave, perhaps? Or even the Quire?" I could hardly believe he was inviting us to sit in the vicinity of the choir. Quickly, I responded, "Oh, the Quire would be lovely," and we were directed there.

And then all at once, the deep tones of the organ began and all rose to their feet to watch as the great Cross passed. The Cathedral Choir sat directly in front of us! It was the sweetest thing. The hymns, the Psalm, the Gospel, the Epistles, and the Old Testament were sung and read, offering the truth to all who had come. 

near Falmouth, Cornwall

Then just at the end the very littlest choir boy yawned hugely, signaling a probable end of the service. We smiled, and waited, and watched as men and boys, Vicar and Canon, and swinging incense passed us by. And then it was our turn to leave. Only I really didn't want to because there was such peace and accord in that place. We glanced around and were surprised at how few people were there with us. It seemed to me that that place and that message was just exactly what was needed, if only we could hear it. 

But it was time to go, and so we did. Home, to a delicious Fish Casserole and fresh carrots and peas and that unbelievable Berry Tart. Not to mention the delightful conversation!

Just exactly what the SconeLady needed.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

the AGA

Cornwall, Day 29 (Carbis Bay and Pork Pies)

"Hello? Is that you, Jean?" I had dialed the phone number out at Carbis Bay, but Jean wasn't sounding very much like Jean.

"Oh, hello? No, this isn't Jean, it's her daughter. Audrey."

Carbis Bay
"How nice to hear you, Audrey. Jean and I talked about my stopping up for a cup of tea on Friday.." and so we fixed our plan. I would say goodbye to the Brotherly Traveler at St Erth, and then make my way to where Jean and her cup of tea would be waiting. 

On our way to the station, we rolled past the Yellow Canary Cafe, a delightful spot with all sorts of goodies in it. I wanted something nice to go with our tea, and thought the Yellow Canary might be just the ticket. Hmm..I saw some Cornish Pasties (too heavy, I thought); then, some cakes (too sweet), and then my eye was caught by something round that looked like - was that a pork pie? I had seen pork pies on The Great British Bakeoff, and they had looked - well, interesting. The one I saw here was not large, but individual, as you might say. Two, in fact, sitting there looking all delicious. 

"Sir, do you think pork pies would suit a lady about my mother's age?"

He looked at me. "Well, pork pies are considered to be quite traditional, Ma'am. And it is likely to suit her right down to the ground."

"Ok, I'll take two of those and two of the custard tarts."

He popped them all into a Yellow Canary bag, and we were off. 

Once the BT's train had departed (this was a sad moment), there was a sudden lull. He had waved heartily off, rolling up toward London, and Paddington, and his hotel, and his flight. And I was on my own. Rather bereft..

But - not really, for there would be Jean! I took my treats and jumped on the Carbis Bay train, walking the last little bit up the hill and to her abode.

"Oh? And what's that in the Yellow Canary bag?" she asked, pleased.

"Pork pies!" I said gleefully. "Do you like pork pies?"

"Like 'em? I love 'em!" said she. "And the Yellow Canary's are my favorite."

I had struck gold, it seemed. We visited, and looked at trinkets, and drank tea, and had pork pies. And then custard tarts. They were splendid. I only wished my mother could be there to share them with us.

And do you know what comforted me the most? No one uttered a word about politics.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

<a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: London Chow <a href="">Minced pork pie</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cornwall, Day 28 (the Brotherly Traveler had to go)

At this very moment, on a tarmac not 6 railway hours from here, my Brotherly Traveler is rumbling down an enormous runway and heading home. Everyone there will be ecstatic. Here, not so much.

(Isn't he sweet?)

It was a lovely two weeks! We did so much, and walked so far. From the start, there was a 'list of 17 things to do in St Ives', almost all of which we accomplished. They are the sorts of things I always want to do here, and I knew he would too. Here is my list, and the * ones are the ones we accomplished (notice the list grew as time went by):

  1. The Digey Food Room for a Cream Tea (*more than once!)
  2. Church of England (*more than once)
  3. Mousehole Choir rehearsal *
  4. Mousehole Choir concert *
  5. Porthminster Cafe for breakfast *
  6. Golf at the West Cornwall Golf Club*
  7. The Pier Coffee House
  8. walk to the cliffs *
  9. Leach Pottery class *
  10. Knills Monument *
  11. Carbis Bay walk *
  12. train to Lelant, walk back *
  13. Hain Line for coffee
  14. Tony’s walking tour *
  15. Port Isaac tour (Doc Martin TV show)
  16. Library
  17. Truro Cathedral *
  18. Marazion and St Michael’s Mount *
  19. the Sloop (*more than once!)
  20. Barbara Hepworth Museum
  21. St Ives Museum *

Of particular interest to us both was the Digey Food Room. What else! We started with a simple Cream Tea, and graduated on up to soups and quiches. And bread. Their homemade bread is incredible. Everything we had was delicious. During the second week we had no cottage wifi, and so began stepping over to The Digey for theirs. We ate the food because it was so good and because we so appreciated the wifi!

For me, Golfing, Knills Monument, Church of England, St Michael's Mount, the walking tour, Truro Cathedral, Leach Pottery, and the Mousehole Choir held pride of place. So many wonderful treasures, don't you think?  

Since changeover day, this has been my view

But now that the BT has gone, I am at a bit of a loose end. But it won't be loose for long, because something great is about to happen. Keep watching, and you shall see.

In the meantime I shall sit here for a bit, and rest. And look out of my lovely window. And be thankful. The sky is blue and the seas reflect it back to me, an American lady tucked away in this little cottage on the hill, in the sweetest place in this wide, wide world.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cornwall, Day 27 (The Town)

I had sent the email in hopes my package had arrived. It was an important package with important contents, and it carried a deadline.

“Yes, your parcel has come, Ma’am. We’ll have it laid by for you whenever you care to collect it.” Very happily, I donned shoes and coat, trotting quickly down to where my parcel awaited. It was important, dear Readers,  because it contained my voting ballot for the American election!

I dashed in to the local Chemist along the way for a few bits and pieces and while I was being rung up, the Pharmacist heard me speaking. He asked, “You’re from America?”

“Yes,” I said. “I wonder how you knew?” (haha).

“Which part of the country do you live?”

“Um, California,” I hedged.

“Ahh, lovely California. Sounds like a place I'd rather be than this one. We are watching your election quite closely over here, you know.”

“Yes, so I’ve noticed. I’m watching it a bit too, but find The Great British Bakeoff rather more entertaining.”

“What’s the general consensus? What are you all going to do?” It was a worthy question, one we have been asked at practically every turn.

“Well, there doesn’t seem to be any consensus, sir. We’ve got two people nobody really likes. It’s a conundrum..”

“What about you? Are you voting?” he pondered.

“Oh, yes. In fact, today. I'm voting today! Headed there now. Tell you what. Once the votes are counted and the winner declared, I shall come back here and discuss the resulting mayhem. Fair enough?”

“Right!” he exclaimed. “November 9, then.”

I left him with his unanswered (and unanswerable) questions and walked the rest of the way to the cottage offices. “I believe you have a package for me?”

“Oh yes, here it is..” and a lady went to fetch it for me.

“Thank you. You know, this is both a good day, and a bad day,” I said.

“Oh? And why is that?” she asked, surprised.

“It is because – this package holds my election Ballot!!!”

Every person in that office instantly turned to look at me, and gaped at the package in my hand.

“An Election ballot?!!” she almost screamed, as if she had been holding a red hot potato and had only just escaped being burned.

“Oh goodness!”
“Oh MY!”
“OH dear!” said the lot of them, in various phases of shock.

“And I’ll bet I know what your question is,” I said, looking around.

They stared and me, and waited.

“Mm-hmm, your question is what everybody has been wondering for months now, and nobody can ever guess. 'What will the Americans do?'

I opened the door, walked through it, and headed back to where I would finally add my little ‘bit’ to the answer.

See you along the way!

the SconeLady

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cornwall, Day 26 (Truro Cathedral)

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

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

WE were!

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

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

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

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

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

The Tinworth Panel

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

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

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady