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

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