Friday, May 31, 2019

A Last Morning

It would be their last morning, and we were quite-a-bit sad to see it end. Last days are always like that. Maybe if we woke up early enough, we could squeeze in a final walk and see it all one more time. Alarms were set. Bags organized. Out the door we stepped, into a clear blue sky and absolutely empty streets. It's always the best time to see St Ives.

"Let's go up!" we said, knowing this would be no burden because we are used to climbing hills, now. Well, almost no burden...a walk to Knill's Monument is unique, and about as steep as they come. But up we climbed above everything and everyone else, until it was just us and the wildlife. We saw lush fields and dark green hedgerows; well-kept horses nourishing themselves and pausing to glance at the humans; blue skies with startling white clouds; and the sea, graced by Godrevy Lighthouse. To our left sat St Ives, and we stared down there at it, liking its shining presence in the bright sun. Its streets were still empty, and tranquil.

We went on. Knill's Monument was ahead of us, with its triune view and insightful etchings. On one side we saw the word "Resurgam", Latin for "I shall rise again". On another side of the monument are the words I know that my Redeemer liveth". Another win! Whatever else we might say about John Knill and his monument, at least he chose his words well. 

But we mustn't gaze too much and possibly make them miss their train! There was The Digey to visit as well, as they'd not had that privilege yet. We'd better make tracks. 

The experience of the Cream Tea was a highlight for the SconeLady, who had been hoping it would come through again. It isn't every day she has her son and his wife sharing it with her. And it did come through! The Digey remains the place where you will always find the scone of your dreams, wherever else you may go. 

Only one thing more needs to be said about this sad but happy day. I nearly made them miss their train! Details of this near miss are not important, but may I say that grace is alive and well on this earth? May many others experience it, and spread it on. 

So my sojourn is coming near to its end, dear Readers.  But in almost no time I will be back, ready to share with you again what it is like to be an American, in Cornwall, in pursuit of the perfect scone. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

 At The Digey Food Room

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The SconeLady Goes Pasty

She is very good at this sort of thing, my daughter-in-law. With a trip to Cornwall on her horizon, she thought creatively ahead, and considered: how great would it be to learn Cornish pasty-making from the people who brought the world pasties? A great question! She searched for, and found, a Cornish bakery with a Cornish baker willing to teach. This woman's name is Marion, and her shop is called Portreath Bakery, where people come learn to make pasties each Wednesday. She signed us up!

Our taxi driver was great and had a friendly Cockney accent we recognized, but did not always understand. He wanted to know about California (which is always a good middle-ground thing to talk about), and American politics (which isn't). But we're getting used to it.

We three weren't the only people interested in learning Cornish pasty-making. A bus load of Rick Steves travelers from all over the US joined us in Marion's back kitchens where we learned of her history, her shops, her discovery of Gluten Free baking, and her decision to welcome the public in. Then, we baked. 

We each received protective gloves and a rubber apron, and learned that this would be a contest, rather like the British Bake Off program. Whoever made the best looking pasty would receive a tall box of chocolates! Everyone became instantly more keen.

She then gave us each an oval of raw pastry dough to gently stretch out, just a bit. We learned to pile the ingredients up so they would not squish themselves out and into the hot oven, smoking and burning. "Crimping" the dough properly is a real science: you "Pull, Tuck, and Pinch. Pull, Tuck, and Pinch". If we wanted to have the winning pasty and receive a tall box of chocolates, we would need to "Pull, Tuck, and Pinch". 

Each pasty contained:

*beef (skirt)
*salt and pepper (lots!)

It was really quite funny to watch everyone going at their pasty. There were about the same number of men there as women, and you could tell which side of the divide was struggling the most. But they shouldered on, ending up with pretty nice-looking Cornish pasties in the end. You could see it was going to be a hard bunch to judge (I'm sure it was the chocolate).

When it came time for Marion to judge, a hush fell over the group. Marion's assistant brought out the steaming hot specimens, and we watched as she examined each with solemnity, struggling to come to a decision. And - can you believe this? - the SconeLady and another lady from the Rick Steves group both won! The reasons for this are complicated, but it was such a surprise that I could not quite take it in. Marion directed me to her shelves to pick out a 'cake' to take with me as a prize. You don't have to say 'pick out a cake' twice, to the SconeLady.

It was a terrific success. We lingered, but finally said goodbye and carried our hot Cornish pasties out to meet our worthy cab driver.

"We would like to catch the 12:53, if we can..." I ventured, as the aroma of hot pasty filled his car.

There are no 'if's' to a Cockney-Cornish cab driver, who became amazingly adept at talking and driving at speed. Although there were moments of doubt, we did, in the end, make it.

And the pasties? Delicious! We ate them once they had cooled a bit (having heard that we would steam ourselves to death if we jumped in too soon). I do think they were the best pasties I have had. The crust was perfectly flaky and tasty, and the filling superb. It really does pay in this world to have a beautiful, funny, and smarter-than-average daughter-in-law.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Where Coffins Once Roamed

We walked early beneath an unpredictable sky, the clouds and sun playing chase. "Maybe it will end up sunny!" I said, as we ran toward the bus stop. 

Our tour guide was there ahead of us and sat under the shelter, rather windblown from his own walk down. I'd happily walked the Coffin Trail, and my son was eager to carry on the tradition. It is such an astonishing walk that you would think the people of Cornwall would know about it too. But I think they don't. At least, we didn't see any so that must mean the word hasn't gotten out. Even the lady at the Tourist office did not know what I was talking about. 

After taking the double decker bus to Zennor, the ancient Church of St Senara was our starting point. We learned there has been a church there since 600 AD, although it was rebuilt in the 12th century. The inside is stunning, as is every single ancient church we have stepped foot in. We saw the famous Mermaid Chair, and I even took my turn and sat down upon it. The Mermaid Chair is made from two ancient pew ends, and has a story attached to it. A lovely woman made many visits to the church, having become interested in a young man in the choir who sang beautifully. She would sit at the back of the church, watching and listening. Sometimes she sang along in a voice both sweet and haunting. 

In time, the boy, whose name was Mathey Trewalla, missed a church service, and then another, until one day, he stopped coming altogether. Neither of them was seen again, but some pointed to a trail of water from where the two were last seen. More of the story can be found here, if you would like to read it. But suffice it to say that many parents used the story to warn their children to run whenever a mermaid (however well disguised) turns up to hear you sing.

We began the 5 miles back to St Ives amidst the most gorgeously sweet landscape. Tony gave out bits of information as we walked, answering our questions and making subtle Cornish jokes. He directed us toward a little copse I'd not seen before, and  showed us an old church where John and Charles Wesley used to preach. I loved this! Wherever you go in this part of the world, there is sure to be a Methodist Chapel, and more than a few Methodists inside it. There were none inside this one because it was wrecked and no longer in use. But just knowing they'd been in there preaching the Gospel, was a thrill.

Frequently we saw cows. This was lovely and not at all scary, since there were the three of us and nothing to fear. They seemed to be mooing an awful lot that day and we surmised it must be feeding time. Sometimes they, and some of the horses we have seen, approach us as if they think we have hay, or sugar cubes, or maybe an apple. We don't, and so they lose interest and go away.

Presently we came over a hill and saw the Godrevy Light House, a sure sign we were nearing St Ives. It had been an amazing walk, with no one becoming lost (as had happened last week when I was the tour guide!). The saddest thing, the thing that keeps coming back to my mind and heart, is that my two traveling companions have taken out their suitcases and opened them! Things are being placed inside. Clothing is being washed! A railway station awaits...

Must drag feet.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Tony at the Zennor town pump

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Church Where You Get A Pasty

I'd never seen a Cornish pasty at a church service. Not like these ones, huge and tasty and from the terrific Pengenna. 

Church bells rang as we hovered in the entryway, and were handed the hymnal. We noticed two men coming in behind us, dressed all in white and carrying great bins filled with baked, but frozen Cornish pasties. This caused a stir in the back of the church, everyone staring at these splendid things and trying to get a good look at them. 

"What is this?" someone asked the Church Warden (I knew he was the church warden because he had told me so last year).

"Pasties! They're yours, if you want them. At the end of the service..."

I was amazed. Always, they have tea and biscuits at the end, but they haven't had what I would call 'real food' yet. You can't get any more real than Cornish pasties.

We took our place in the pew to listen to the prelude, and then rose for the processional. All culinary thoughts evaporated as the great cross floated down the aisle, followed by the candles, the choir, the incense, and the Vicar. The service had begun.

The entire service was exciting and interactive. I don't believe anyone felt like sleeping, not even with jet lag. And not even during the sermon. The sermon! Continuing last week's theme, the Vicar said that Heaven is filled with Light, not from the sun, or from electricity, but from the glory of God. He encouraged us to think about being ready for that kind of Light. It will be quite a contrast to the darkness of our fallen planet. 

At the end, we were approached by some very nice people who wanted to welcome us and share a cup of tea. It's fun when they ask which part of the country we are from, because the mention of California always elicits a reaction - mostly about how warm they imagine it to be. "Oh, I would love to live there," they say. or, "What is Hollywood like?" Somebody once asked me about the Kardashians, as if I might actually know them. I took it as a compliment at first, and then reconsidered.

As we went back down the aisle toward the door, we snagged a couple of the pasties. They were astonishingly heavy, maybe heavy enough to last a month of Sundays. We came away smiling, and thought going to a Church of England service in St Ives Cornwall was a fine thing, a very fine thing indeed. It's all part of being ready for the kind of light you get without electricity.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Monday, May 27, 2019

Walk the Line

"I'm going to jump it," said my son.

"You're what?" said I.

"Jump it! I'm going to jump from here (indicating the giant granite boulder he stood upon) "to there," indicating another giant granite boulder which had odd angles to it, none of which were at all jumpable.

I flashed back, as mothers often do, to earlier years and jumps. 

"Well then," I said, "we're going to need a helicopter." It was our first full day together in St Ives, and I did not think I could face broken legs or necks.

There is a helicopter somewhere in the vicinity, for I have seen it rescuing other daredevils and well-meaning jumping beans. They also have a rescue boat, splendid and massive, and part of the RNLI. But as much as I like and admire the RNLI, I did not want to MEET them. So my son kindly descended his boulder, and landed on the safe path. 

We three have had some grand walks! The cliff path, including a left turn that took us high above the town and then down into the back way; the path to Carbis Bay, an up-down adventure filled with a Mediterranean-like sea, and darling doggies to add their own welcome; the walk up behind Tregenna Castle through the softened countryside, and a left turn into the grounds of Tregenna. Descending from that, one comes upon a forest of unimaginable beauty - soft, lush, quiet, divine. We've walked the Lelant trail all the way to Rosamunde Pilcher's former home, with its lovely garden and grounds and its tiny railway house and slipway, where she once waded and took the tiny boat on the way to Hayle. Enchanting, all of it.

They two are now on a walk to the Barnoon Cemetery, a cemetery you have seen here, and something nobody can ever forget. Overlooking the sea, its quiet presence serves as a reminder from those who would tell me, if they could, to make the most of my chance to love God now, as a foretaste of then. It's hard to ignore such a message.

And there are more walks to come! The Coffin Trail is tomorrow, with a real tour guide to show the way. St Michael's Mount hovers as a 'maybe', with the clock ticking and no one entirely certain how long all of this will take. But however long or short, it is all good and my sweet traveling companions delightful. I haven't figured out yet how to drag my feet to slow time down, just a little; but I'd like to. The clock is now my adversary.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Watermelon by the Sea

I can't begin to tell you the fun of sharing Cornwall with two bright and eager travelers. You should just hear the exclamations:

"Look at that CHURCH! It's amazing!"

"Look at that ANCIENT WALL!"

"Those flowers!" (video camera whirs). "And that ocean! Nothing like it."

"Mom. Mom! We're in ST IVES TOGETHER!!"

Indeed we were, and I began seeing it all again through their eyes, which brightened my own. Someone suggested a Cornish pasty and wanted to hear whose are the best. It was a toss-up answer, for our hands-down favorites come from the St Ives Bakery and Pengenna Pasties. Locals tend to like them both, and consider each bite a tasty morsel. We chose the St Ives Bakery.

The men in the St Ives Bakery are splendid examples of Cornish men, quite muscular and rugged, their voices deep and resonant. We thought women might like visiting the bakery rather a lot.

In no time we were back out on the street again with our lunch, and went off to find a seagull-free spot to eat it. A gaggle of the wretches made us abandon the harbor for clearer skies. Above a beach where swimmers splashed and dogs bit the waves, we sat down to open our pasties.

his Darling Girl meets Blacky
A respectful silence fell upon us as we munched. No wonder the Cornish miners survived so heartily, with food such as this to sustain them.

Suddenly someone shouted, "Beach ball!"

We looked up, and saw a gigantic inflatable ball (the color and design of a watermelon) being played with by two children. A breeze came suddenly up - quite a stiff breeze - and the ball escaped, bounding away on the water. "Daddy!" a child cried. Then things began happening in quick succession:

*hero-dad grabbed an inflatable motor boat and pulled the string

*nothing happened!

*after many pulls, the engine finally caught!

*the crowd cheered and yelled as the little boat rushed toward the ball

*it was a mad chase but the boat finally reached it

*the family grabbed it but failed

*the breeze grabbed it, and it GOT AWAY!!

*THE MOTOR QUIT! (that poor father)

*hero-dad oared them all back to safety and a cheering crowd (well, mostly us)

So the story had a happy ending - except for the watermelon beach ball. And we'd really like to meet that dad. It isn't every day you get to watch the making of a brand new Superhero.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Rather Stunning

You may remember him, the surfing, laughing, hard working and newly-wedded husband in a perpetual prime of life: the Rather Stunning Son! Next to him sits his Darling Girl, partner in life, traveling companion, and gentle-but-clever wife. In the brief moment that I have access, this is what St Ives is all about today. 

There have been chocolate twists, long walks, Cornish pasties eaten in the fresh air of rugged cliffs (being massively careful of the wheeling gulls above us), a free Cream Tea at the Bedford Road Methodist Church while discussing the ifs and why's of Calvinism, and viewings of two lovely St Ives Cottages. A terrific beginning!

In between all of this were long sessions on the phone with British Telecom as they try to fix wifi, which seems to be astonishingly unreliable. So I shall send this while I can, and come back to you soon, when all is well once more.

See you along the way!
the SconeLay

Friday, May 24, 2019

All About Food

Today seems to be all about food.

Early in the morning, a text from our local fisherman alerted me that he had some lobsters for me. Lobsters! We had been hoping for some all week, and Stuart came through for us once again. I trotted to Smeaton's Pier and saw him pulling up lobster pots about 300 yards out to sea. How big would they be? How might we successfully cook them? We had ideas. We hoped our ideas would work. 

He had so many amazing looking lobsters in his pots, squiggling around and being creepy. Of course, he had already bound up the claws while still in the boat, so there was no danger of a pinching. But I think they would have liked to have a go. Do you see the immensity of the lobster I am holding? It is truly shocking, when you look at it. And we had two of the creatures!

Back to the cottage I went with my catch, where we refrigerated them until it was time to (drum roll) cook them!

In the afternoon, we baked a Victoria Sponge. I had always wanted to learn to bake a proper Victoria Sponge at least as good as Mary Berry could bake. Rosie and Emmie were the perfect pair to help me learn to concoct this old British treat.

We found the Mary Berry BBC recipe, baked the cake, let it cool, whipped up the heavy cream (and I will tell you a little secret, dear American Readers: the Brits DO NOT ADD SUGAR OR VANILLA TO THEIR CREAM!! Are you shocked? I was.). But the cream turned out to be just exactly perfect and unimpeachable. We spread the jam on the bottom layer, then added the whipped cream. After that we placed the top layer of cake on top of all that jam and cream, and it was: Delicious. Moist! A sheer delight.

The only trouble with having Victoria sponge for your afternoon tea, is that you are not hungry for dinner. It was ever so late when we finally detected a tiny smidge of a hunger pang, and trooped down into the kitchen to boil up the water. Before doing anything drastic, we used a phone to give 4 small people in California a peek at the lobsters. I think somebody screamed. Then somebody said they were "cool", and I believe everybody thought they were creepy (or words to that effect). The lobsters were squiggling dramatically in their bag, almost as though they had a presentiment of what was ahead. 

Over the next half hour or so, we will draw a veil. I can say that the entire event was noiseless, if you are wanting to know. And it was all a success! Ted cracked the shells for us, and we sat late into the evening, enjoying our delicious dinner and our last night together in St Ives. It was a grand way to end this lovely week.

We are now dashing about, packing, picking up the bits and pieces of our week and preparing to eat a wonderful breakfast on the beach. My attention is drawn to an airplane sailing high over the Atlantic. It carries two beautiful young people who are about to share the Cornish lifestyle with me, and perhaps begin one of their own. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Never Leave The Path

With our leader out ahead, the little group first drove, and then hiked upward toward the moors of Cornwall. The sky was terrifically blue again, but there was a nip in the air that hinted we had increased our altitude. On almost any public footpath in the UK you will find other like-minded Ramblers putting one foot in front of the other. But today, nobody else was there.

We would have finished our last leg of the St Michael Way, but given how it had behaved toward us the day before, we abandoned it. The moors are fascinating, with their unexpected heights and stark beauty. Sprinkled around on clifftop and moor are the old tin mines so prevalent in this part of the world. If you have ever seen the series Poldark, you will know! When mining became so much cheaper in other countries, Cornwall lost virtually all its mining industry. But the mines remained, now empty, and began to crumble. 

And yet they are beautiful. There is a saying here, that "if there is a hole anywhere on this earth, you're sure to find a Cornishman at the bottom of it". This is because the Cornish miners followed the tin, and just started digging again. You can't stop them!

Every little while Tony would stop walking, and start talking. Since he was a professional archaeologist in London, and since he had actually been a teacher of that subject, we became the beneficiaries of all that knowledge. When he said we were going to see something called "Men-an-Tol", I couldn't think what he might have been talking about. Then we got there, and saw. 

Men-an-Tol is a formation of standing stones, one which may indicate something about fertility. One of them has an almost perfect hole in its middle. It has been speculated that this happened naturally, and was not made by man. I am personally not prepared to believe in this theory, but as I am no archaeologist and never will be, nothing I say matters. More about Men-an-Tol can be found, here: Men-an-Tol 

On our way back to St Ives, we stopped at the Geevor tin mine for what Tony said are the best Cornish pasties in the land. We tried them, and I think he is right! Simply delicious.

There is more to say here, but no energy to say it! It must be all this moor walking. That path was beautiful, and not at all scary. I's a good job it wasn't nighttime, though, because there is something to remember from An American Wereworlf In London: if you find yourself on a moor in the dark of night, you must NEVER EVER LEAVE THE PATH. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Never Say Adder

It's strange, but something I'd never thought possible, actually is. And it is going to give this American lady something to think about as she hikes these blessed hills. Up until today, such a thing would never have entered my mind. Would you like to know what this shocking thing is, dear Readers? 

England has ADDERS in it!

You know. Adders. As in the SNAKE family. I know this because Tony said so, and if Tony says a thing, it must be true. He has seen them. As a walking tour guide, Tony has picked up bits of information from mountains of experience, and sprinkles it liberally on us as we follow along behind. Today we walked the first leg of St Michael Way, from St Uny Church in Lelant to Trencom Hill. We had just passed the West Cornwall Golf Club when, almost as an afterthought, Tony turned around and said, "There are Adders in this thicket." 

He had to be joking, I thought - or I heard him wrong. His accent is Cornish, so maybe it only sounded like he said Adders.

"Did you say...Adders?" I asked plaintively, 

"Yes. It happens when the weather is warm and they decide to slither out and bask." I glanced nervously at the path as he continued. "But when they hear our footfalls they usually slither away." This was not entirely helpful, and I wondered if we should worry just a little bit about things that slither.

"I wouldn't worry about them, though," he said. "I've never been bitten."

We continued on and before very long, I had forgotten about my new knowledge. There was so much more to be amazed by, things that weren't a bit scary - like the beauty all around us, and the funny things each other was saying. There is always a lot of laughter when these particular people find themselves together, under the clear blue sky. 

"Rosie?" I said, as we followed our fearless guide.

"Hmm?" she replied, looking intently at the Spanish Blue Bells (or was it English?) crowding the pathway.

"I think this country is so beautiful and so perfect, that the people in England should be happy every minute of every day. Don't you think so?"

She did think so, then added, "But they like it warm, you know." I knew. But being from a hot climate has cured me of wishing for things like that. I wish for things like this instead.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

(P.S. I flew to Wikipedia on the issue of the Adder. It states that "Adders are not aggressive snakes. They only bite or use their venom as a last resort". Does that help anyone?) 😮😮

Monday, May 20, 2019


Church days have a lovely way of starting you off in the right direction. The focus is on 'up', rather than 'down'. Today's service included so many nice bits that everyone was glad they had come, and I noticed a lot of smiling. A lady member had just turned 95, and was surprised to hear the whole congregation bursting into the birthday song just for her! The organist played along with a great grin on his face (and a little bit of fancy footwork), making the lady blush and smile back.  

But just when we were thinking of the organist, an announcement was made. The organist was going to hang up his foot pedals and retire! Everyone's joy froze just a bit, even mine, and I do not live here. Peter is an organist of unusual ability, and it struck us all (I'm sure) to ask ourselves, How will we get along without him? 

The church will find someone marvelous, I am sure. It's just slightly hard to fathom it. But we all adjusted our thinking, placing our attention back onto the Vicar who was beginning his sermon. I knew it would be a good sermon, because he is a good Vicar. The sermon was all about what we are looking forward to at the end of our lives, when Heaven comes for us. The Scripture reading was from the Revelation which described the new Heavens and the new Earth. He reminded us of the wonderful final book of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, "The Last Battle", where Peter and Edmund are trying to work out why this new Place made them remember the earthly place they had just left. They concluded that the earthly place was but a shadow of this Heavenly one; that far from being boring, it was exceedingly good, and right in every way. That He was there, the great Aslan whom they had come to know whilst they lived in shadow. Sermons like this are sometimes rather thin on the ground, and it is grand to know they are happening with regularity in St Ives, Cornwall.

And that was not the end of the blessings of this day, for we trekked down to the splendid St Hilary's church for a concert of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir! St Hilary's itself was unique, and quite 'high church' with the stations of the Cross placed around its walls and its Madonna and Child paintings, each one lovely and different from the others. And then, our men came strolling down the aisle, ready to knock our socks off (is that an Americanism?) (I don't really think the MMVC was thinking of our socks at all). With their eyes fixed upon the conductor, Stephen, they took us all on a musical journey that placed our focus back on 'up'! In between songs we enjoyed hearing Stephen's introductions, and since we were sitting so close to him we understood almost everything he said. There were only a few dodgy spots where, I wasn't just sure. But it is always fun trying translate the Cornish.

Taken as a whole, it was a terrific day. And thanks to the Vicar, and the music, and my wonderful friends, it is easier to keep the focus Upward, even while living in the shadow of Things to come.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Faithful Friends All

Tregenna Castle Grounds, St Ives

Standing in front of the Sloop, I squinted down the lane to see if a familiar car might be approaching. If it was, I had to be ready because the stream of cars along that little spot would not stop for me, I was certain of that. It was not a long wait, because a curly white head soon appeared in the driver's seat of a Mercedes, with a pretty dark headed lady next to it. There were smiles and waves as I dashed forward, jumping into the front as quick as a flash. Ted eased back onto the cobbles and off we went. Rosie's hand from the back seat reached silently forward, grasping mine.

Oh, most fortunate me! to be surrounded by goodness in the form of Rosie, Ted, and Em, faithful friends, all. But there was much to do, no time to dilly-dally. We must hasten to the Island car park and purchase a weekly parking pass. Easy, right? NOT! "Purchase your ticket in less than two minutes", the sign said, acting as if their system was flawless and nothing but a piece of cake. But no such two-minute-pieces-of-cake appeared, for the system glitched and rendered itself useless. The two minutes stretched to 30, and then beyond. 

Throughout the process we kept looking at each other, eager to begin the laughter and hugs and properly gushing welcoming statements. It was hard to wait, but the glitches were finally sorted and we finally did park, tripping down the hill with their bags to our awaiting cottage. The holiday had finally begun.

And there was still much to do. We lunched at the Sloop, sitting outside beneath sunny skies. Words literally poured out of us (at least out of two of us), catching-up on all of our absolutely splendid young people. We agreed wholeheartedly that there was not a dud among them! 

During the afternoon we:

-hunted for cottages (!!!)
-moved into our holiday let
-walked up the Stennack
-walked down to welcome our 'Em' from the little St Ives train
-tried to cook a dinner on an Aga that didn't work
-called the Aga people and begged them to fi it
-went instead to dinner on the Wharf
-collapsed onto our beds at midnight.

It was all lovely, apart from the cold Aga and the ticket machine. But we cannot begrudge even those small trifles, for we are together, and surrounded by goodness.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

 Along Steeple Lane

Friday, May 17, 2019

My Lucky Day

The SconeLady is quite popular with the cats of St Ives. Almost always one will pad softly in my direction, pause for a bit, listen for my beckoning call, and then sidle up. This makes any walk a good walk. Mostly, the cats have been aloofly friendly, but yesterday this sweet kitty-woo was friendlier than any woo-cat has ever been. It was very satisfying.

This event took place just as I approached Lelant, and the venerable former home of Rosamunde Pilcher, favored author, story-teller, and beloved creator of Cornwall story-arcs. As I have said before, nobody does it like Ros. I'd been walking down the hill toward her house on what seemed like an ordinary day in May; a background of soft noise colored the surroundings, until suddenly, there was a quiet and a peace as noticeable as sun above me. I'm telling you, there was a hush surrounding that house and those grounds. This phenomena happened only within that stretch of road, of garden, of grasses, and of the house she was born into. I just knew that once a person passed all of that, the ordinary came back. It was uncanny.

As I stood gazing, a voice behind me said, "Do you see that bird?"

I looked back at the voice, and saw a girl pointing to a nearby bush. I said, "What bird?" There were any number of spots that could hold any number of birds, none of which were obvious hideaways.

"Oh! That pure white-breasted one, just. there... And then I saw it. She called it a leucistic robin. "It's a robin with a white breast instead of a red one. They are very rare - they hardly ever show themselves. This is your lucky day!"

I asked if she knew anything about the house, and she said, "I think Rosamunde Pilcher used to live here. And that bird comes here. He likes it here. It seems to be his home..." This seemed reasonable. If I were a leucistic robin I would want to live in the spot where Mrs Pilcher lives too. The girl left, and an older couple soon strolled past.

"Do you see that bird?" the woman asked me. Amazing! She, too, pointed out the robin, but called it an "albino robin". She spoke of Rosamunde Pilcher, who had died in February (I felt a sad pang again, thinking of this), and that this albino bird had started coming here. The bird sang its heart out for us, and I did feel as though it had been my lucky day.

I walked on, then, and only a few feet past the property, normalcy returned. Horns honked. Children laughed. Crows cawed. I looked back at where the little bird had sat on its bush, but the spot was empty. The song had gone. Until yesterday I had never heard of an albino robin, but now that I have heard of one, I'm going to start watching out for them. Something tells me, though, that unless I make the trek back to that house and those grounds, I won't find one. She sings for Ros.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady