Thursday, October 4, 2018
Can you imagine a whole 2 months of NEVER seeing even one police car? Nor hearing even one siren? I can, now. Because we have spent a night in London where police cars are everywhere you look (and we are thankful for them). But the place I have just lived for such a span of time, hadn't even one.
I did check. There is a web page that describes various infractions such as 'inappropriate parking of cars at St Uny Church', driving a truck whose trailer has defective brakes, and...and, ah, that was it. For the moment.
I'm sure there are nefarious doings there, because there are people there, and people do nefarious things now and then. But maybe not on vacation. It wasn't obvious, anyway, and no police cars or sirens for 2 whole months has to tell you something. I suppose it must be because people come away to St Ives to escape things like sirens, and don't want to perpetrate any themselves.
But I won't mind going back to the land of cop cars and freeway chases. I'm used to it! And besides, right in the middle of all the action are my wonderful loved ones, sleeping now, but waiting...waiting there for me.
That's worth quite a few sirens.
See you along the way!
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Crossing the Saltash Bridge
(also known as the Royal Albert Bridge, and
The Brunel Bridge)
The Saltash Bridge is actually one of the reasons I visit Cornwall. I read about the bridge in Rosamunde Pilcher's novel, Coming Home. Her description of a young girl named Judith, sitting on the Cornish Riviera and gazing down at the British warships gathering below, made me want to see what she was seeing.
My mother gave me Coming Home for Christmas in the year 2000. I opened it and could hardly wait to start reading. But there was the Christmas dinner to get, guests to welcome, and numerous other details that could not wait for novel-reading. So I placed it beneath the tree, and savored the anticipation of the treat ahead of me. In the late afternoon with the house quiet, I crept upstairs, book in hand, and lay propped in my cozy bed, soon lost in the year 1935.
From the train windowIt was the final novel Rosamunde penned. She retired from writing, then, and we have all sadly missed her unique style and development of characters. No one does it like Ros.
It isn't just me who likes the Saltash Bridge. Today as we approached it, the same thing happened that always happens then. People who had been sitting quietly and pondering their lives, begin to stir. It's almost like a ripple effect, a whispered noticing of something special coming your way. People get up and move to where they can see better. They take out their cameras. Children call out, "Grandma! It's the SALT-ASH BRIDGE!" (My grandchild, of course).
So you can see why the Saltash Bridge is such a key moment in any trip to, or from, St Ives. There are others, such as passing by the White Horse, etched into the green country hill; the spires of Truro Cathedral moving past your window, if you are on the proper side for it; the fascinating little train stations where people stand and watch your speedy train whizzing past. It is all the most enormous treat. And I like treats.
In London, we prepare for a departure that will take us to an arrival on the far side of the Pond. I can already feel the ripple effect, as we send and receive text messages cheering the coming day; the 'whispered noticing' of something special coming our way. Tomorrow.
That is the key moment.
See you along the way!
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
After a long hike such as St Michael's Way, the only reasonable thing to do, really, is have scones together. I like doing this because my husband appreciates good scones as much as I do, and we found ourselves sitting outside of The Digey, in the blue chairs, and chatting. We talked about the long walk and felt a bit proud of the long walk; we wondered if we would be able to remember its foibles the next time we do that walk. We're not sure we will. It will probably be a learning curve all over again.
There were quite a few foibles, places where the authors of the instruction booklet may not have clarified terribly well; or where they forgot that Americans have a different playbook when it comes to terminology. For instance, when the playbook says, "You will come to a metaled road..." they forget that we might not know what we are looking for. Metaled? It sounded to us as if bits and pieces of a mineral deposit might be covering the path. Or, "you will come to an unsurfaced road". So I was looking for gravel (wouldn't you be?) and as I stared at the asphalt road ahead of us, there was a lack of clarity.
At about the 7th mile, the instructions were telling us to head diagonally across the field and go over the (billionth) stile where you would find a road. Just as we were about to walk toward the fence on the left, a man came climbing up over a stile to the right (we had not seen that stile yet), and headed our way.
"Going to St Michael's Mount?" he asked. "You've got about 4 miles to go." We discussed the difficulties of the written instructions we had, and he pulled out his Garmin GPS gizmo. "Here, this is what I use."
I looked at it in awe, but thought that the complicated map revealed on its face might confuse me more than I was already. For my husband, though, it was clearly the next best thing to sliced bread and butter. Which is always excellent.
Next the man pulled out some paper maps, and handed them to us.
"Here! You can have these. This one is the beginning, it might be helpful to your ending." He dug further. "Take the lot! I don't need them, not with my Garmin."
We weren't sure we needed them either, but didn't want to refuse his kindness.
"Well, thank you very much," said my husband, as we watched him go.
We now knew the right direction. It was really our last confusion, for we soon began seeing The Mount in the distance. Every once in a while it would disappear, and then later peek back out at us. It was encouraging to have something as magnificent as that out ahead, leading us unfailingly to the end of our quest.
"My feet hurt," I said, gazing at the huge Mount on our left.
"So do mine," said he. "Do you want to go to The Digey when we get back, or that place you like in Marazion?"
We looked at each other. Was there any question, really?
It was the only reasonable thing.
See you along the way!
Monday, October 1, 2018
I wrote to friend Rosie, and we kept it in the backs of our minds for when she, and Ted, and Em, came. But for some reason she, and Ted, and Em, and I did not come upon the day or the time to do our splendid walk. Then they left for home, and the SconeLady's husband arrived, and well, WE would do it, I determined. WE could scope it out and see if it was reasonable.
When the Saints had walked that path in their quest, no one had gone through it with bulldozers in order to 'clean it up' a bit for the tourists. Nothing had been nicely tidied, and the Saints had a tough time getting there. We knew that our Way would be easier. Not completely easy, mind you, but more easy than they.
And today was the day! We had found maps, and instructions, and suggestions from the locals (some of whom thought the idea a bit big, for us). Armed with all of this, we gathered up our Iron Rations and went on our way.
What were these Iron Rations, you ask? In this case, they were apples, cheese, British crackers (delicious), and a gargantuan Cornish pasty. You can't get very far on the Cornish footpaths without one of those. We purchased ours from this fellow, here:
Just take a look at the photographs from today. There were many, but I have picked out only a few. It was all beautiful. And none of it required combat boots.
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Ludgvan
A man we met along the way, who gave us his maps
Our goal! St Michaels Mount