Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Visit? or Worship

It can cost a goodly number of pounds to enter a Cathedral on a tour, but whatever your reason for going you will find  that it is worth every penny. 

Visiting a Cathedral isn't like visiting some kind of tourist trap surrounded by neon lights advertising the wonders therein. A Cathedral visit won't be the 'Right this way, folks!' experience, and you will never see neon lights. They don't need any. Case in point: Salisbury Cathedral!

Isn't she a gem? Isn't she a beauty? I love this angle of her structure, so immense and imposing in the midst of the town - and anyone can go see her! Such a privilege. Masses of people ought really to be lining up to go inside. Instead, there is a respectable trickle of daily sightseers in and out. 

If you want the real Cathedral experience, the thing to do is to attend a worship service. Choral Evensong is my favorite, featuring the magnificent Cathedral Choir singing right the way through the Psalms and the Gospel, the Confession, the Benediction. Going to a worship service costs nothing in monetary terms. But you will see a depth there, and quite possibly a Calling that might cost you your ego - if you listen well.

It isn't the structure that does this, of course, but the Word of God spoken/sung there, and wherever that happens - be it a tiny Baptist church or a magnificent British Cathedral - we risk the loss of our own selfishness. And that is the miracle.

One day, if I am given the chance, I will visit each Cathedral in the United Kingdom and watch for that miracle at Evensong. Each Cathedral will be abundant in riches and history, artifacts and antiquities. But the moment I'm looking forward to the most is that moment in which the Choir - the men and women, boys and girls - glide up through the Nave and into their candlelit seats to sing their hearts out to the One who made it all happen.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Monday, June 19, 2017

Being Noticed

I was invited, kindly, to stay on a boat. This boat was situated amongst other such boats and in a community of boatmen and women who Rock. I say this because they were something almost unknown to me until now, because they have been, until now, out of my sight. But having met them, I will never look at canal boating in quite the same way.

My young hostess and I decided it might be best if I left my suitcase in the Left Luggage compartment at the train station. This turns out to have been hugely wise of us, for dragging it around London, on the Underground and in the current heavy heat wave of London, would not have been very nice. She met me at a Tube station, and walked me away from the busy streets through to lovely parks and bike paths and, at last, to the canal. And there was her boat. There were swans in front of it! "Swans!" I exclaimed. I had heard somewhere that all swans in England belong to the Queen. So I was looking at the Queen's own swans. This was heady stuff.

We only had one day, and decided to make the best of it. 

"Let's take the boat out for a run!" she said. And I, of course, agreed.

I had not thought of being taken out into the canal. It would be perfect! Her friend came along as second shipmate, and we were off. The goal was a Pub down river, where we would sit outside and enjoy the cooling of the evening. As we traveled, a cool breeze comforted our faces and friendly "Hello"'s drifted toward us all along the way.

Quite a stir was created as my two young, blonde, and beautiful companions at the helm were noticed. I do not say that I was noticed, except perhaps as a chaperone, but I did not mind. I didn't want to be noticed. But in a while, we were all three happy to be noticed because - what was this? our boat engine was behaving strangely. It was slowing. It was - stopped! I was not unduly concerned, you know, due to the fact that there were so many young men manning so many canal boats. Sooner or later, one would notice. Soon, one did, and spoke.

"Having any trouble?" he said from his bow.

The two young ladies indicated that, yes, there was some small trouble.

"Maybe I can help," he said, and got out a bag of tools. These tools looked gorgeous to us because they meant that we might get back to our mooring by sundown. He worked away at the engine quite professionally, and soon we heard it springing to life.

"Hurray!" someone shouted. Maybe it was me. 

"Thank you!" said the girls, and the young boatman said that they were quite welcome as we eased back out into the canal. A huge sign saying "Corbyn For Freedom" was strung across the water, proclaiming the feelings of more than one in that boating community. We laughed, and talked about elections and Referendums and things over on my side of the Pond. No conversation in England can be had without at least a glancing mention of those three things. 

The dinner, the ride back, the mooring, and the night spent out along the canal were all a perfect ending to my lovely weeks in the United Kingdom. It was one more 'layer' to add to my already multiple layers of getting to know this place. 

But now my face is looking steadily West, as I climb aboard another gigantic metal tube that will take me home; toward a celebration of 40 years, and someone wonderful's birthday, and lots of people to hug. And more! 

Yes. It is high time.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's The Stones

Going to Stonehenge is always interesting because of the things people say as they see it for the first time. The bus left right on time, filled with tourists from America, Germany, and Japan. The driver only spoke one language, but he got on well with those who could not for the life of them understand a word he said. Lots can be expressed through smiling and hand gestures, and he was giving it a real good go.

There were 18 tourists from Japan who were dying to get out to Stonehenge, only they couldn't, not because they had no money, but because they had the wrong kind. It was something to do with the Euro and a mixup on why it wasn't being accepted here. This conversation took a while to plough through because numberless explanations had to be made and understood before any solution had a chance. Somebody must have called somebody else because another official with the company finally sped up on his bicycle and said, "No worries! Boss said just come with me down to the cash point and we'll work it out there." So to the cash point the group's leader went, along with the bicycling official. The bus driver shook his head, and said, "I've never seen Boss do anything like that..but he's a good'n, a right good'n."

Presently the men arrived back at the bus, and peace reigned once more. Tickets were issued, and smiles (with hand gestures) beamed all around. The 18 Japanese passengers trooped on upstairs to the double decker bus deck, obviously happy that their day at Stonehenge hadn't been ruined after all. The bus rumbled on for a time as everyone chatted, but then things became quiet as we made the final curve toward the Henge. A hush descended. There was the sign! Almost magically, the magnificent Stones floated into view. All at once, 18 voices from above roared out with the most appreciative admiration you would ever want to hear. And then they clapped. The rest of us clapped too, for the sheer joy of their joy.

I had been happy enough going to Stonehenge on a warm day overcrowded with summertime hoards, because the thing is always amazing. But getting to hear those blissful people shouting in wonder at the thrill of it all, well, that was like icing on a very big cake.

I'm glad Boss came through for them in the end, aren't you? A good'n that one is, for sure...a right good'n.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady


So sorry, I am in a spot where charging my laptop battery isn't possible! I will continue with you tomorrow.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, June 17, 2017


It's hard to believe, dear Readers, but my calendar confirms it. Tomorrow, June 18, 2017, we will have been married 40 years. And what a gift it has been!

I have to laugh just a bit because when I was a much younger wife, an 'elderly' couple stood up in church to announce that were celebrating their 40th anniversary. I and my friends all thought that they were hopelessly old! We were in awe of all those years, and now, just look. It's happening to me! And I am blessed - not at all 'hopeless'.

When we were just starting out, one day the subject of marriage came up at work in the teacher's lounge. I said something about planning to stay married to my husband 'till death do us part'. Like the marriage vows, you know? My boss scoffed at what he called a 'naive' goal, saying, "You can't know that."

"I can know it," I replied.

"I don't see how anyone can know that they will stay married. It's ridiculous."

"All the same, it is a part of the marriage vow," I continued, as respectfully as I could. He was my boss, after all.

"Well, yes, I suppose it is."

"Did you say that vow when you got married?" I was genuinely interested in his answer.

"..Yes, I - we - did."

"Well, that was a Vow. A promise to be kept. All I am saying is that I mean to keep it, through God's strength."

Over the next several days that conversation played itself over and over to me, and a song sprang up out of me in response. And here it is.

In a time when marriage vows are said
With a thousand good intentions,
And the man and wife give promise to continue to the end,
But in the shadow of their minds, they know there
Just might come a day,
When they'll choose to say goodbye if things wrong.

I shall stay, I will stay with you,
And I'll see you through your young and elder years.
We will face the harder moments through our tears,
But I'll be here, I can't bear to miss one gray or golden year.
-copyright 1981, HeartSongs

I'm so happy to be at that magic number, now - 40. It has a nice ring to it! It has brought fun, and laughter, and knowledge of God, and children, and lovely in-laws, and grandchildren! plus myriads of other sweet things. And we've learned something about vows, too, along the way. The vows we make tend to keep us, as much as we keep them.

And so, Happy Anniversary, my darling. I love you, and it's been an honor. You are still the funniest man I know.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Friday, June 16, 2017


I'd arrived early to the station on this, my last day in Cornwall. 'Early' meant that nobody was there yet, but me. I stood and stared out to sea, at the boats, at the sky, at everything, in fact, that is St Ives. It was a rare thing to be alone at the train station, I thought. And then a tweet interrupted my musings. It wasn't one of those fake tweets you'd receive on a phone or an ipad or a laptop. No, I don't like those kinds of tweets anymore. This, my friends, was the real thing, a real tweeting from an actual place near to where I stood. I looked around, and then found it standing, down near my toe. I don't know what kind of bird it was, and even if I did it would probably be called something else altogether, back home. But it sure was a cute little thing.

It danced and hopped around at my feet, very nearly landing on one of them. I was sure it was looking at me, and felt that it might be on a mission, a mission of mercy, tweeting me away from the melancholy that comes of leaving a wonderful place. It hopped and danced around for a long time, entertaining me until the traveling hoards began to descend. You could almost feel the humanity sucking up the air as great gobs of people came tramping, hustling and bustling, and crowding around us. I looked up at them for only a moment, the tiniest of seconds in my distraction - then when I looked down again, my little friend had gone. It was too much for her and she felt she had to go. 

And so, now, must I.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Down in History

I think we were all surprised to see each other there. The church at Paul is, after all, some miles up a narrow hilly road, and accessible only to the determined. This meant that everyone who actually showed up, wanted to show up. There were 8 of us.

The voice choir were seated in a round, at the back of the church, the (Cornish) director's back facing us. We 8 sat in the wooden pews, backs resting against the walls of the church. Each of us had claimed a pew, and rested quite comfortably as they began. There was no wifi in there, so nobody sat with their heads buried in any sort of a screen. We just - listened.

After a while, one gentleman leaned in toward me and whispered, "What is the director saying?" I couldn't believe he had asked the very question I think about every time I go. I replied, "Are you a Brit?"

He didn't directly answer this question, but became distracted and whisper-shouted, "You're a Yank!"

"Shhhhhh," shushed one of the other Roadies.

"Yes," I said, after an embarrassed pause, "which is precisely why I cannot now, nor will I ever be able to, answer your question."

"What question was that?" he asked.

"The question of what on earth the director is saying!" I was beginning to flag. But at least I had settled the question of whether or not this Roadie was a Brit. He was. 

"You're a Brit," I said, and he humbly acknowledged this fact with a bow of the head.

"And you still can't understand the director."

"It is true, I cannot."

The conversation was become burdensome, and so I turned my attention back to the splendid and soaring voices of the Male Voices I had come to hear.

After a while the man tapped my shoulder, and leaned in. "How long have the Mousehole Male Voice Choir been singing?" I stifled a sigh, and wanted to just say I DON"T KNOW. But I did have a bit of information about it, and so I said, "I don't know for sure how long, but they've been here at least since 1960, because their 1960 picture is over on the wall of yonder Pub."

I showed him the picture of the the photograph I had snapped in the pub, which you see on this page. There they all were, nearly 60 years ago looking just as marvelous as this group who were just launching into 'The Rock Island Line'. The younger ones look just as happy and energetic as any in this current choir, and the elders look just as patient. And don't you just love the accompanist? She is so sweet and prim.

The Roadie seemed to run out of things to say, and turned his attention back to the Rock Island Line. I did too, hoping there wouldn't be many more questions to answer. I wanted to think, and to listen. It was the last time for a while that I'd be able to, and I was hoping to savor it. It's terrific to go thousands of miles away and find little treasures like this one, tucked right away in the green hillsides of a small village. A village one may never have heard of but which will go down in History nonetheless.


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Please Don't Throw Me In The Briar Patch

I don't think I was meant to be there, but it was too late to turn around. Sometimes you just have to forge ahead. But it might be the first ever SconeLady trespass.

My departure from Cornwall looms, and I hadn't yet seen Jean. I really wanted to, and so I rang her up. 

"Jean! I'm the American lady you met last fall, with my brother. Do you remember me?"

She laughed. "Oh, yes yes, I'm not likely to forget an American lady."

"Well, how would it be if I come up for a nice cup of tea today?"

"Oh, yes, sure and I'd love you to cum," she'd said, and then added, "You might see that I'm not as spry as I once was; took a fall last week, I did; cracked a rib and sprained my wrist. Won't look pretty, I'm afraid."

I said I was sure she would look wonderful, and fixed our tea time for 1:00.

I was starting out in St Erth, walking the three miles to Carbis Bay. It should have been simple. A true piece of cake.

The first mile was that piece of cake - green fields, birds singing, friendly passers-by. But then I came upon an iron fence. The iron fence had not been there the last time I had walked this way, and in fact, this way did not look too familiar. Where was I? It is a conundrum I face on occasions when leaning too heavily upon an iPhone maps app. The maps app showed that this was the shortest and best route to Jean's, and so I did what any other American would probably do. I climbed over the iron fence (the fact that there was a sign attached to it is neither here nor there).

Well, I received my comeuppance and learned my lesson, believe me. Before very long I was caught in a thorn patch choked with stinging nettles and a fair amount of mud, along with tangled tree branches and stickers. It was meant to be a pathway! The pathway was (I'm sure) somewhere underneath all that mess, because the iphone maps app said it was. I could even hear a highway somewhere close by...just over...there. But it alluded me.

By the time I had clawed my way to Jean's, I must have looked like something out of Lord of the Rings, and wasn't sure Jean would recognize me.  

I needn't have worried, though, because the moment I knocked, the door was flung open and there she stood, beaming out at me. 

"Hello Jean! You're looking wonderfully well," I enthused.

"Not as spry, no, not as I once was," said she.

"Well, it doesn't show, then. It's lovely to see you."

As she put the kettle on I thought of what I'd been through to get there - the thorns, the brambles, the stinging nettles. And I thought how every last one of them was worth it, just to see her.

But I could sure understand Bre'r Rabbit's animosity toward that old Briar Patch'. I'd never been in one before, and I can tell you plain and simple - it isn't pretty.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

<a href="">(license)</a>
photo credit: Nick Kenrick.. <a href="">I found an Ent</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MooMaid for a Second Time

It was a naughty, naughty seagull.

I had been attacked by a naughty seagull only once before, ages ago, and was determined never to see it happen again. To prevent such aggression, I usually hold one hand over the ice cream while the other hand shoves it gleefully into my mouth. Today, though, I forgot the precautionary hand and while a nice man and woman were standing next to me enjoying the sunshine, wham!! the naughty seagull swooped from behind, caught the cone up into its lips (well, beak) and swallowed it entire. The three of us stood stunned.

"Oh aren't they AWFUL?!" exclaimed the woman, once she had recovered.

"Those dirty little ____________!" said the man, quite truthfully. 

I mumbled something kindly in response, and turned around to go right straight back to the MooMaid counter for another. No way was I giving up that easily.

The MooMaid lady recognized me and said, "Uh-oh. Did something nasty happen to your Dark Chocolate Sorbet?" She, of course, had guessed the worst.

"It did! I can't believe their horridness! I'm going to buy another."

We sorted the other, and as she handed it to me she shook her head and advised, "Best to sit inside, Miss, you'll eat more of it that way."

There is an outdoor sheltered area that is safe from the evil ones, and so there I sat. It was ok, because one is protected from dive bombers there. But it takes the joy out of the whole ice cream eating experience because you are not out in the sunshine, and this means that They have won.

I don't like it when They win. They obviously have not learned mannerly behavior from their mothers and don't deserve to win. 

It is an age old story that, sadly, will never end. No one will ever put a stop to it because it cannot be stopped. After his little sister had endured two naughty seagull attacks, the 9-year-old said, "Grandma, why don't they call Animal Control to come down here and take care of this?" It was quite a reasonable plan, and I wished I'd thought of it.

The most despised creature in St Ives
"Well, possibly they don't call Animal Control because there are millions of seagulls and only a few thousand people. The thing is impossible."

After further discussion, we decided that this is one of the things about which something really ought to be done. Death, and taxes are two more of these. So, any ideas, people? Hmm? Surely somebody out there can think of something. Else, I'm calling in Animal Control.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, June 12, 2017

But Where Is My Train?

Along the road to Paul

It felt almost like the Twilight Zone, getting on that train. For decades, the little train between St Ives and St Erth has been the same, slow, elderly train, probably a train that had been retired from strenuous duty and placed along the sweetest 4 miles of seashore in Cornwall. 

But when I climbed aboard the St Ives train today, it wasn't the same, slow, elderly train anymore. It was a brand spanking new, state of the art, sparkling, digital, plush seated, circular toileted, rocket scientist train, one that nobody recognized. I actually thought I'd gotten on the wrong one and looked around in a daze.!?

I have to admit that the new train did a great job getting us from A to Z. It had a rolling digital readout just below the ceiling telling the passengers precisely where they were and where they were going - just in case anyone forgot. Which would be kind of hard to do with only 4 miles to go.

The train was  filled with a couple of dozen small school boys either going home from school or coming back from a sports match of some kind. They were funny, loud, jokey, and brilliant, every last one of them. They looked like something out of the latest Harry Potter movie, and it made me realize what a large pool of talent the country has. They were all just great. And nary a mother among them. It was fun listening to their conversations.

"Blimey, I'm knackered," yawns one, while snatching something from his friend.

"Here-here, give me that."

"It's mine, but you can have it if you give me that."

"No but that is mine, not yours, and so you can't have it. I want that...that other."

A young man tried to intervene. Either he was a teacher, or perhaps an elder brother of one of the boys. Either way, the smaller boys listened to him, and exchanged that for this, and promptly forgot about their dispute.

Once we reached Penzance, they all piled out along with me, still chattering. They gradually dispersed themselves onto the streets of the town and things became quieter. I almost missed them.

I strolled with purpose along the Penzance Harbor, passing Newlyn and cutting upwards towards the village of Paul, where the Mousehole Male Voice Choir rehearses on Monday nights. I think I've become one of their honorary 'Roadies', making the trek up there whenever I can, to watch. There were 7 other Roadies there this time! It is splendid to hear the men singing, while trying to work out just what it is that their choir director is saying to them. It's impossible to do, but even so, it is entertaining. He is clearly hilarious, but I never know quite why.

One of the choir members gave me a ride back to St Ives and I don't think I'm over it yet. I'm sure I've never been in a faster car on a narrower road than that one. We came close on numerous occasions to either scraping the left side of our car on a hedgerow, or scraping the other side of our car against the car that was barreling at us full speed. Why must cars 'barrel', over here? Hmm? On a 7-lane freeway in California, it is almost expected. But on tiny country lanes where you can't see where you are going and there is no space for any cars at all? 

I ask you.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

The church at Paul   

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Gold Mine

This morning, it being a Sunday morning, I made my way to a different spot than is my norm. Sunday mornings usually find me at the Parish Church for the 9:45, watching as the processional, the incense, and the Eucharist are offered. But while getting ready to go, I remembered a small but kindly congregation just down the lane from my new digs. Hmm, I thought. Maybe I should go there. 

Are they Church of England? Baptist? Universalist? No, no, and no. They are none of these, worthy though these may be. This place of worship turns out to be something that St Ives knows a lot about, for they are just about everywhere here. They are Methodists!

We had visited them once, and enjoyed it first to last. Their organist had even invited me to play that magnificent instrument after the service was over, and I have never forgotten the experience. It made even little-old-me sound good.

So this morning I made my way there, found the door open, and was met by kindness, welcome, and a pew sheet. All of this besides being invited for coffee and tea afterward. My morning was looking up.

The service was led by a lovely Scottish woman who, when the sound system gave a bit of a screech, conducted the service wonderfully without it. She did not need a sound system in the first place, but it was nice of them to provide one just in case. She did the readings, led the hymns (terrific ones!), and preached the sermon - all with the most delightful and confident Scottish accent. 

A true highlight of the morning was when two men were invited to the podium to sing the anthem. They were terrific, and it brought down the house. It must be something about Methodism, this forthrightness, this clarity, this Faith of our Fathers. The organist accompanied them, and still they did not need a sound system. Their voices blended perfectly, almost as if they had been doing this their whole lives. And it turns out that they had been doing it together their whole lives. I learned the reason for this afterwards: they are brothers. No wonder! (and their ages are 78 and 84). It is well known that brothers (and sisters, as we all know) blend almost magically. 

I approached them as we held our cups of tea afterward.

"Your anthem was wonderful," I said shyly.

"Oh? Well, thank you, Miss," said the younger brother with a smile.

"What is the name of the song?" I asked. "I've never heard it."

They were shocked. "Where are you from?" the elder brother asked, and when I said, "California," he said, "Ah, of course. California.."

"The name of the song is The Savior With Me," his brother interjected. He paused, then said, "Would you like a copy of it?" 

"Oh yes, I'd love one. Do you have an extra?" and he took it out of his Bible, and handed it over. To me, it looked just a little bit like a Gold Mine. I placed it carefully in my bag.

"Thank you."

We finished our tea, the Scottish woman, the two brothers, and the organist, and then it was time to go. How was it that I was already reluctant to go? I had spent only an hour there, but it felt like longer. It felt like we blended almost magically.

Almost as if we were siblings.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, June 10, 2017

An Introduction

They had never seen one another before, and were being introduced by the little girl's grandmother. The little girl was born in England, and the little boy was a visiting American. They stood quietly as the grandmother presented the one to the other. Each thought the other's voice sounded different and maybe even a little bit strange, so they began with something both could understand.

"How old are you?" asked the little girl.

"I'm five," answered the boy. "How old are you?"

"I'm four," she said solemnly.

"I remember being four," he responded.

The girl paused. "I remember being three," she finally countered.

"When you're five, you'll remember being four," said the boy reassuringly.

"When you're six," she began, but then got stuck. "When you're six," she continued, "you'll be six."

They seemed to have plumbed the depths of the topic, and momentarily paused. The grandmother, highly amused by the direction her introduction had taken, listened nearby. Just then, from outside there was a sound of splashing, and giggling.

"Pool's open!" called the boy's elder brother, following their sister in.

The two heard this, and made a sudden dash for the door. As he ran, the boy thought of the splendidness of this splendid farm, of its happy people, its food, its animals, and of his new friend. All of this, and a pool too! There was no doubt about it, he thought. This was going to be one terrific week.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Few Dozen Jolly Brits

We go today, I to my next cottage and my friends to the north, and home..responsibilities..cats! Cats figure highly in the lives of these three traveling companions of mine. I like hearing the stories of their cats, which are sometimes spoken fondly of, sometimes almost feared, and always loved. One cat, whom I'm afraid has now met his end, was quite bold in his approaches toward humans. Which was fine, until he began swatting at them. They did not take kindly to it. The cat's name was Sir Trevor, and I believe he earned the title through nefarious means. They miss him terribly.

Friend Rosie's cat, Marmite, is sweet and loves to be cuddled by small girls, as you can see here. Marmite was surrounded by children and did nothing but bask in the sunlight of their admiration. She does not swat, and is rarely in trouble. The only thing you must do is to make sure she doesn't stumble upon any human food, for when she stumbles upon it, she instantly eats it. She cannot help herself. The results, whenever this happens, are unfavorable.

Although I'm sure individuals in St Ives do have cats, it isn't really a cat town. It very definitely is a doggie kind of town, however, with dogs of all makes and models wandering along all tied up to their leads. These creatures go everywhere with their humans, and are welcomed with open arms. All they must do in return is to 'behave', which produces all sorts of good will (misbehavior is not 'on', as the Brits would put it). 

One of the sights I will most miss when I get back home is that of one or more dogs sitting beneath their master's Pub table. In fact, I will miss Pubs in general. I do not think that there is any equivalent to a Pub, in the United States. We might try, but we never actually get it right. It should be easy enough to produce a decent Pub. All you need is an ancient building, a cozy fireplace, a bar with one friendly barman wiping the counter, glasses hanging from the ceiling, a pinball machine, small wooden tables and chairs scattered haphazardly around the crowded room, great food, and a few dozen jolly Brits with maybe a dozen dogs at their feet, behaving themselves. What's so difficult about that?  


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Marmite, surrounded 

My very own St Ives Kitty-woo

Thursday, June 8, 2017


We had done so much walking and tramping the day before that it hardly seemed possible we would do it again. Besides, it was raining. Maybe we would just rest and be civilized.

But then somebody started talking about the little walk we had all so much enjoyed on the occasions we had taken it. It is the little walk that begins with a train and ends at The Sloop. At least for Ted, that is where it usually ends. 

We began aboard the First Great Western Railway train, which only ever goes from St Ives to St Erth and back again, day after day and year after year. We got off at Lelant Saltings, and started our 3.5 mile walk back to the town. The walk always begins well, for there are no dusty or muddy bits to it at the first. You can almost imagine it will be a piece of cake. The walkway takes you down tree-shrouded lanes and past lovely bits of flora and fauna, until it seems almost a paradise. From time to time Ted got out ahead of us a bit, due to our propensity for chatter - or what he fondly calls 'gassing'. This 'gassing' happened quite a lot, but he was never actually grumpy about it. This could be due to the presence of his pipe, which he would pull out whenever he saw a bench upon which to wait for us. It was very convenient, and we could almost always guess where we would find him, patiently waiting.

After a while, our conversations became less and less vigorous because it had rained yesterday, and there was mud almost everywhere. The pathway was no longer kind and sweet, but clutched slimily at our shoes and tried to suck us under. We did not like this and fought mightily against it. When the going became really rough, friend Rosie's hand would reach back toward mine, drawing me onward - the sign of a true friend! And all the time, the glorious view of the sea and sky were out ahead, beckoning. 

It was everything I had wanted to see in Cornwall - the calm waters, the bright skies, the peaceful boats and wheeling gulls - a haven, in fact. It's creaminess made every drop of mud worth trudging through. It was our reward.

We planned and talked about where we might eat when the hiking was completed, coming finally to decide upon The Digey. The Digey is an overwhelming favorite when one wishes for a scone.

"Are you having tea with your scone?" I asked Rosie.

"Oh yes, tea it will be," she said.

I knew it was a silly question, for what else would she have with her scone? I felt my question needed an explanation.

"I just needed to talk about it, that's all."

She understood, and smiled. She was always smiling. It made me understand why Ted's Irish father, upon meeting Rosie for the first time, had said in his thick Irish accent, "She's a jolly kind of girl," with great respect.

It's true. And when you are around her you are jolly too. She goes tomorrow, and that, for me, is not a jolly kind of thought.

But we will plan again, and think of dates and times, the times when it will best suit our families, our lives, and our responsibilities for us to descend upon this sweet little mile of earth. The mile we love best.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

The lovely tree-shrouded lanes of Lelant

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Tin Mine

Parking spots are terribly hard to come by in St Ives, and people wait simply ages for them. Some of the more competitive ones even try to run to an empty spot and stand there, guarding it against anyone with an actual car. This does not go well. Friend Rosie and her Ted had come upon this lack of a space, until they saw a man carrying his keys. Seeing a man carrying his keys in a parking lot in St Ives is a good omen. Ted asked the man with the keys, "Are you leaving?" or words to that effect, and received in return a friendly thumbs up. 

That's done and dusted.

We all knew that moving the car to go to a tin mine could mean an irretrievable loss of parking. But friend Rosie had found just the right tin mine to visit and we all wanted to go, parking or no parking. So up the lane we stepped, following Ted's head.

The only trouble so far seemed to be that the wind was blowing a gale upon us. One of our party was nearly taken off by it, rather like Dorothy and her 'Over the Rainbow' house. Such a squall it was! But we soon found ourselves inside the 'Dry' part of the mine, warm and toasty and seeing the mine as it was for all the years it was in use. Everywhere there were signs of the miners: their lockers, their work clothes, their boots, their toilets, and their photographs. They looked just like any modern man might look, with a hard hat and a coat. In fact, one young and handsome miner's picture looked just exactly like a man I know well - the Rather Stunning Son! It was astonishing, and I was astonished. Imagine my surprise when I turned a corner and saw this:

Rather Stunning Son, double (minus the cigarette)

I stared at that photograph, and wanted to go on staring at it a whole lot longer but couldn't, because a nice elder gentleman was beckoning to us. "Right this way, ladies and gentlemen," he said. "Please stay together because I'm 'bout to take you 'down the mine'." 

He is a Cornish miner, bless his heart, and believe me his accent was good and stiff. I'd heard it before, but never found the key to interpreting it. Still, I worked away at it like a man, as we made our way toward the entrance.

We walked and walked, soon finding ourselves underneath tons of granite and damp and slippery cobblestones, in the dark, with no prospect of ever being found if something happened. To take our minds off of these dire thoughts, the man told us how it felt to be a miner back in the day. He loved it, and when the mines had to close up shop, he was let go, and worked as a fisherman for 20 years. He did not love that. A miner is a miner, wherever else you might put him, and his life was a 'misery', until he was given this job as a guide in his old mine. His smile never leaves his face, now. It's the sweetest thing.

As we got ready to leave him, our guide saw Ted holding his hard hat, and shook his head. "I'd put that hat back on if I were you, Sonny - them seagulls are likely to go crapping right on your head."

That's what I liked about our miner that day. He was plain speaking - if you can call the Cornish accent 'plain'. I'm sure I can't.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Let Them Eat Torte

How terribly sad, I have forgotten to snap a pic of the Chocolate Torte! The closest I came was this photograph of its demise, when we had very nearly obliterated it. I feel certain that there is no other place in town with a torte like that, and it would be needless to search. We weren't the only customers in the Italian Coffee House who had one, either. It disappeared slowly but surely as people came, and went.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Even before we'd had the lovely lunch and torte, we had been to the Barbara Hepworth Museum. The Barbara Hepworth Museum is worth looking at, dear Readers, and we 3 ladies thought that 4 of us were going to go inside. That had been the plan. We attempted to do this, until Ted suddenly quailed and said, "I'm going to sit in the sun..", easing his way back in the direction of the Harbor. 

"What?" we said. "What about the Hepworth?"

"The Hepworth will be just fine without me." 

I won't go into the details of his attempt, and prevention, and eventual escape, because some things are not needful to mention. Suffice it to say that 3 of us did ultimately see the Hepworth, and that our Ted did not. Suffice it to say that we all got what we wanted, in the end.

The sun came out as we observed, and read, all about Barbara. This lovely sunshine threw the entire Hepworth studio into a favorable light, both indoors and out. We learned of her Yorkshire childhood, when she would ride past the moors with her father and develop ideas for her sculptures. We learned of her two marriages and 4 children, and of the day when a property she loved suddenly came onto the market, and she bought it. We learned that she had died tragically of smoke inhalation from a fire due to the cigarette she had been smoking in her bed. I had known about this because the Hepworth gardener had said so, in 2014. Only he said it had happened in her summer house, whereas today's Docent said it had happened in her studio. It is a conundrum, one which I will probably never be able to solve because I don't know where to find the Hepworth gardener who had said so.

We wandered around in Barbara's beautiful garden, all dotted about with her sculptures, and tried to figure them out. I don't think I did ever figure them out, but I do have a theory or two. Which I will share with you. One day. When I think you would like to know.

The day did not end at the Hepworth, but went on to include a very interesting Cornish tin mine, an actual mine we actually got to go into. It is a mine very near the activities and excitements of the television series called 'Poldark', and this is very exciting. But since I am too tired to describe it right now, is it ok with you if I wait until tomorrow? It's past my bedtime.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady