Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cornwall, day 12 (Knill's Monument)

It would be like a regular walking tour, only easier. All road. No boulders. Piece of cake!

Besides, there is a story having to do with Mr. Knill and it is always more fun to explore something or someone if they have a story. Rosie said it had something to do with an eccentric Mayor, so I looked it up.

  • John Knill was the mayor of St Ives in 1767
  • he built his own 49 foot memorial, telling people to bury him in it one day
  • he went to London and unexpectedly died, which meant that he was never buried in his splendid memorial
  • he left money for its upkeep, and people are still keeping it up!
  • he left money for a variety of other things, such as celebrations and dances every five years at the memorial, where:
    • 10 young girls will process to fiddle music, all dressed in white
    • everyone there must dance and sing the 100th Psalm around the obelisk 
    • there must be a dinner at the George and Dragon Inn, in St Ives
    • the fiddler must be paid one pound
    • other pounds are to be spent upon other odd things
  • the last celebration was this last July and was enjoyed by all - except that the current mayor and vicar scratched their heads trying to figure out just why this celebration was still taking place. Nevertheless, it did, and there was rather a lot of dancing and laughing, and perhaps even drinking. At any rate, they had fun. Now they must all wait a further 5 years to do the whole thing all over again.

So I grabbed my sticks and headed out to see this splendid tower of granite. Halfway there I saw an elder gentleman struggling along the road, carrying a plastic grocery bag filled full of what appeared to be EXTREMELY HEAVY GROCERIES. He was, as I say, struggling, and I felt terribly about it. He had stopped at the side and put down the bag to catch his breath.

"Are you alright, sir?" I asked. 

"Eh?" he responded. "What's that?"

"I said, are you alright?"

I must say, dear Readers, that we never really got further than this in our conversation because he was Cornish (so I couldn't understand him) and I was American (so he couldn't understand me). Through the use of hand motions and facial expressions, I think I communicated that I thought his bag was far too heavy and that I ought to carry it for him.

"Eh?" he said again, and scratched his head. So I simply picked up the bag and started up the hill. The bag! Goodness, it was heavier than even I had thought it was. "Sir, I don't see how you have come all the way from Tesco's, it must have felt dreadfully heavy!"

I think you can guess his response, so I kept on walking up, and he would catch up now and again, with many stops for breath along the way. I was finally able to make him understand that I was going to go to Knill's Monument, and he said, "Oh, aye, I knows that one," and pointed off in the general direction of the Monument. It was a major breakthrough.

We finally reached his home, where I placed the bag next to the door step.

"Thank-ee," he said, tears dripping down from his chin. I became rather choked up myself. "Really, sir, you should find out how to get a ride to Tesco and back. This is really too much for you.." but he wasn't getting any of that, so I waved, said "Goodbye!" and started off.

"Name's Pe-er," he said to my retreating back.

"Oh! Pe-er...Nice to meet you!"

I think you can guess his response.

See you along the way,
the SconeLady

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