Monday, 4 May 2015

Z – Xtra on Aspects of British Cornish … and Reflections on the A – Z …



A bit of a combo post today … as I’m busy with something else that demands a lot of attention (nothing serious) … I’ll be back to comment at the weekend, but won’t be around til then … just so you know I haven’t disappeared off the Cornish or blog planet!

These postcards are available, once in Cornwall!

However my thoughts ventured along my A-Z postings and I did cover most or at least sent you off to look further … always my intention to give prompts so you can chase your interests … anything I’ve missed give me a shout: just not too loud, please!

The Minack Theatre looking across Porthcurno beach and bay

Two things I never mentioned and one is very dear to my heart … The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno … a spectacular theatre hewn out of rock (now sadly somewhat modernised due to health and safety!)the history and some older photos can be found here, including one of Rowena Cade resting in a wheelbarrow.

At night and I gather it was raining!

Rowena Cade (1893 – 1983) owned the land, offered the garden to a local village group of players in 1930.  From those humble beginnings Rowena Cade and her gardeners literally ‘lugged sand, granite, wrecked timbers, up to the stage floor – the seating being created as time passed’ – thus the theatre was moulded.


… and one where I fall down on, but Cornwall most definitely does not … Music and Folk Festivals … choirs, brass and silver bands, folk nights down the pub … which is my major omission in the A-Z posts.  Wiki has an entry ... which will lead out ... and you musicians will know where to go to look further. 

Chysauster Neolithic village with
the Ding Dong Mine in the background


Ding Dong Mine song …. The White Crow Medicine Show - sung by Jerry Crow ... shows the mine and has some lovely music accompanying the song: worth listening to?!  (only 4 minutes long).


Z for Zennor … surprisingly is a small village, with a population of 196 … St Ives round the corner so to speak has just over 11,000 residents.  I don’t live in Cornwall … but my mother’s family were Cornish, and we are adopted Cornwall residents – often holidaying and visiting.
 
My mother used to live in this
village for a while - it's on the
Penzance side of the peninsula

Books – I completely forgot The Mousehole Cat – I have written about the children’s book, based on the legend of a Cornish fisherman Tom Bawcockand the stargazy pie.



Smugglers Days and Smugglers Ways by Henry Shore (1892) – though this is a facsimile edition … and it’s relatively expensive.  This is about Tresco and the Scilly Islands … with some great lore:  I only found out about it yesterday.


Bob Scotney also mentioned a book on Emperor Smith: The Man Who Built Scilly’ by Sam Llewellyn – the fascinating story of the early Duchy of Cornwall and Smith who leased the Scilly Isles from them in 1834.



Actually – it’s a book about the Duchy of Cornwall, Georgian England, Bentham, the school system, Ireland … he was a Georgian social experimenter in the Lunar Society tradition, fire in his belly and a glint in his eye, a believer in Benjamin Franklin’s maxim ‘that anger is a sinew of the soul, and he who wants it has a maimed mind’.  His mission was not to gently steer institutions, but to tear up the old and install the radical new.


That book has my attention caught … you probably realised that.



A Mini-Guide to Cornish – a tiny booklet … not expensive … the reason I’m mentioning it – is that it gives a very succinct prĂ©cis on encountering a strange language: which gives an idea of English evolving, pre-Aryan, pre-Celt, and the superimposition of these languages into our present day language.  Very short and fascinating; with the bulk of its sixteen pages a word list.


Join us and share a home-made pasty
at the Minack Theatre


Reflections … similar to previous years:

  • Love it
  • Yes, lots of work
  • Yes, lots of people to meet, greet and comment across to – I owe many: I will get to you all … apologies in the meantime.


Blogger v Wordpress …. It’s easy to overcome: sign in with the one you don’t use – it’s not compulsory to make use of the free sign up … but it does facilitate the challenge


Google+ - positively a nightmare … I can’t find the blog, can’t find a link to the owner, and sometimes just have to walk away …


Disqus – another nightmare … but again I signed in and it’s usually ok …


Brilliant blogs around … many I know, new friends I’ve met …


Thank you to Arlee (Lee to me) for having the bright idea, and to Alex and all the hosts and minions for their continuing graft at keeping the show running.


Desperately sad to have lost Tina – but we’ve remembered her – some of you so thoughtfully as David Powers King did throughout the Challenge, with his daily dedication to Tina.

This is a photo from the Emperor Smith book (early 1800s) ... you see the white house (Ponsondane) - it is now a Care Home -
but the nostalgic bit for me ... is it is still there - the railway viaduct practically goes over it, before going on
to Penzance less than a mile further on (1852).  We used to go under the viaduct, past Ponsondane, and up to the village
where my mother lived: Gulval.  Now there's a lot more housing, roads, industrial units and supermarkets!
Change - yes .... yet not so much in a funny way ... the Church is there, the Market Building (1838) can be seen ...


Length of posts – I know I don’t fall into the short slot (by any stretch of the imagination) ... but I feel deprived if I don’t write my usual way … especially as my subjects need more attention than a whizz past.  I start shorter … then …………….

St Mary's Church - a beacon on the headland that is
Pen (headland) zance (holy).
The railway terminus us just behind us; this is Wharf Road
round the harbour before we turn on to the Prom
- Penzance's sea wall and frontage

I appreciate many of you who comment regardless of the length … and with whom I’ve become great blogging friends …


I will be over to comment and reply to all comments/bloggers I’ve missed during the Challenge – please just give me a week …

Stem ginger and honey, or
lightly spicy and oh so tasty

I take Benjamin Franklin’s maxim and just change it a little … as reference to those perceived negatives about the A-Z Challenge … accept the challenge, look on the other side of the Cornish stone wall … if you have a problem work through it and help all of us so you can fully participate.


Reflections – great … a wonderful achievement by so many, a learning curve for some, yet a huge plus in our lives that we are part of this wonderful groupI come across many blogs, where the author writes incredibly well, their content is fascinating … but there are no comments.  Just count ourselves very fortunate …
 
Time for a cup of tea using Cornishware and
enjoying Real or Ginger Fairings - deliciouso!

Thanks to one and all … cheers and remember I won’t comment til the weekend …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zennor …



Zed for Zennor, appropriately in our A – Z Challenge, is alphabetically the last parish in Britain.  The village lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the north coast coastal road and path about 5 miles from St Ives.


Zennor from Trewey Hill, with
the Atlantic Ocean nearby
Zennor has lots of history … way too much to include in this Z for zee-end post … Zennor Quoit is a megalithic burial chamber about a mile east of the village … it dates to between 2,500 – 1,500 BC and is one of the eight remaining quoits on the West Penwith moors.



Zennor Quoit
St Senara’s Church, after whom Zennor is named, is dedicated to the local saint, and is at least 1,400 years old, though it was rebuilt in the 12th century (1100s).  The current building is partly Norman and partly 13th and 15th centuries.

Zennor Church: it is surrounded by a
circular graveyard, the boundaries of which
have existed since the Bronze Age, and
in which parish residents have been
buried for centuries.




The tower contains tombstones, including one with an inscription for a “Hen-pecked husband” with a beautiful engraving for the “four winds which daily toss this bubble”: don’t ask I haven’t seen them!!






The Mermaid Pew, showing
the bench end


The Mermaid of Zennor is a popular Cornish folk tale, the legend of which has inspired many works: it makes interesting reading with then lots of links to poets, folk songs, novels, children’s books (which Suzanne Furness mentioned yesterday under Y for literature), art works, an opera, and a hymn …





Gurnard's Head: an Iron Age cliff castle/
promontory fort (In Cornish Ynyal -
meaning 'desolate one'
St Senara, too has an interesting history – another water borne saint, this time from Brittany – who is highly venerated.  The Mermaid’s chair, an ancient chair with carvings of fish on the seat and a pew end with a depiction of the mermaid admiring herself in a mirror, is believed to be at least 600 years old.



Tiny pic of the pub sign
 - but I liked the
sou'wester tree

Wayside Folk Museum – see my M post – is on the outskirts of the village … and the pub, the Tinner’s Arms – I know does folk nights. 



The Mermaid of Zennor -
by John Reinhard Wegeulin (1900)
It was originally built in 1271 to house the masons building the church; while the name is derived from the Tinners, with records of tin extraction in the area going back to Tudor times (1450s - 1603). 


Apparently D H Lawrence stayed a fortnight in the pub in 1916 … as you can see the pub sign (very tiny!) is a testimony to its origins.



It is a typical old English pub “all low beams and dark wood” with a “warm fire in the winter”, which retains a medieval ambiance.  Its special beers are “Tinner’s” and “Zennor Mermaid” … it has a “sleepy, timeless quality in a way that has not changed in centuries”.

The Tinner's Arms, Zennor (c/o P H Glasson)
There's a menu on the website

Food sounds good though … more 21st century:

Pigeon breast with mushrooms and tarragon sauce;

Terras Farm Duck breast with braised peas and Cornish new potatoes;

Chocolate fudge cake with clotted cream; OR ‘Moomaid’ ice cream made on the local farm;

OR … you can have an enjoyable ploughman’s with three Cornish cheeses and home-baked bread.


From Project Gutenberg - ebook of Traditions
and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall by
William Bottrell (1800s)

That is Z for Zennor and Zee end ... from Aspects of British Cornish …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for Why have I not included literature …




Y because this is where it has fallen!  I am relying on you all to add to my list …


A poster

In my morass of books … I have lots of reference books … some scattered around in this post … but no novels, so let’s start and I take no prisoners!




Menabilly - which Daphne du Maurier leased
during her stay in Cornwall


Daphne du Maurier an “incomer” who has written extensively about Cornwall … Rebecca / Frenchman’s Creek / Jamaica Inn. 



Fowey – the towndu Maurier lived near Fowey for many years, and at Menabilly where she died in 1981 ... drew other authors too ...


A Guide Book of Ward Lock and Co
my mother loved hearing articles
from here - see my post

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch published under the pen-name “Q” was truly Cornish being born in Bodmin, while he lived in Fowey for many years.  He is mainly known for his monumental Oxford Book of English Verse 1250 – 1900 (– later extended to 1918).



Q guided the taste of many who never met him, including the American writer Helene Hanff, author of 84, Charing Cross Road … and the fictional Horace Rumpole, via John Mortimer, his literary amanuensis*.


Another Guide Book my
mother loved hearing
stories from 


*Amanuensis … I had to include this snippet … as one day I was chatting with my mother, in the Nursing Centre, about some letters in and out we’d received … she suddenly said “You’re my Amanuensis” … I had no idea what she was talking about and needed her to spell it for me!  Then I needed to check what it meant … essentially her scribe!  Nothing wrong with her brain – she may have had some major strokes, but she was full of repartee … and had us all laughing uproariously.




Kenneth Grahame lived part of the year in Fowey in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Grahame attributed Quiller-Couch as the inspiration for the character Ratty in his “Wind in the Willows”.


Poldark Cookery (1981)


Winston Grahamthe Poldark series – he was also an “incomer” but based his Poldark books in and around Perranporth, where he lived for over 30 years.




The Poldark Cookery Book by Jean Graham (Winston’s wife) …which includes Y for Yeast Bread … I expect this will be reproduced too … lots of fun snippets and recipes …  



1,000 Cornish Place Names Explained … I didn’t use it – but now I’ve found it – I shall use it!!  Its description Cornwall’s strange mellifluous place names give it a flavour quite different from other counties.  Many must wonder where they come from.




This book is designed to help not only the bewildered stranger, but also the born Cornishman who may have taken them for granted since childhood.”  Loved that description.




“The Spirit of Cornwall” by Denys Val Bakerhe highlights artists, authors, potters, sculptors, poets who have all drawn inspiration from that mysterious and majestically beautiful western tip of England: J M W Turner, Thomas Hardy, D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Bernard Leach, Barbara Hepworth, du Maurier .. to name some …

But!! I see he was Welsh ... lived all over the place being Yorkshire born spent time in Sussex, where I am ... his Wiki page makes interesting reading ...  



“The Little Land of Cornwall” by A L Rowsepoet, historian, lecturer: Cornish born, bred and died … living in Oxford for many a year.  In this book he celebrates and illustrates the diversity and variety of Cornwall.  Its main theme is to establish its separate identity, its difference from an ordinary county.  Hence its title …



I quote more from the blurb at the back (what’s its proper name – you authors?!) “The author’s subjects are wide ranging – all the way from the Age of the Saints, through the Middle Ages, Tudor Times, and the Industrial Revolution to the present day (1986).  Fascinating and idiosyncratic personalities are described.  Literature, folklore and legend, as well as history, are drawn upon to describe the creation of a markedly individual people and a familiar and beautiful landscape that still has many secrets to reveal."

Lane down to the hamlet of
Trenarren


The result in “The Little Land of Cornwall” by Rowse is a feast for all who love this unique land.




Rowse lived at Trenarren House – takes me back almost all my life – to great friends of my father … at Oxford, the stove story, my school, and all our holidays in Cornwall … they also lived in Trenarren.


Now who have I missed … lots and lots of authors …



 Charles Dickens and William Thackeray visited St Nectan’s Glen, Trethevy in 1842 (see my posts V, W and X) …


John T Williams author of Pooh and the Philosophers lives in Trethevy.



Rosamunde Pilcher : “The Shell Seekers” ... she was born very close to St Ives... I have read ... 



 John Betjeman – the north Cornish coast inspired some of his most celebrated and evocative poetry … he authored the first Shell Guide on Cornwall …  he lived the last 10 years of his life at St Enodoc ... 





There’s a gentle 4 mile walk: Sir John Betjamen Walk:  on the eastern bank of the Camel along part of the South West Coast Path through the dunes beside the golden beaches on the eastern bank of the River Camel, taking in his grave at St Enodoc Church.  Passing Brea Hill, site of a Bronze Age burial mounds and a later Roman encampment, and there’s an optional detour to the holy well used by the Welsh hermit Enodoc to baptise his converts.”  



William Golding – Cornish – “Lord of the Flies” and others … he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.


 
Richard Tangye
- the story of his
company and back
story of his start in
Cornwall 


Richard Tangye he is not strictly an author, but his grandsons were … Derek and Nigel … their Cornish history though is interesting … see Wiki







Hawker's Hut
Robert Stephen Hawker (1803 – 1875) – priest, poet, antiquarian of Cornwall and reputed eccentric.  He is best known as the writer of The Song of the Western Men”with its chorus line of:




And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!


Which he published anonymously in 1825 – Charles Dickens acknowledged his authorship in the serial magazine Household Words.



Cornish Fishing in the
days of sail
Richard Carew and his Survey of Cornwall, published in 1602, I mentioned under V for vocabulary, together with The Ancient Language, and the Dialect of Cornwall by Professor W P Jago.


We have at least three bloggers and/or authors that I know of – who live in Cornwall … one is “an import” I gather!



Annalisa Crawford - author of "Cat and the Dreamer" and her blog ... she has been participating in the A - Z.



 Suzanne Furness - is not doing the A -Z, but like Annalisa has been a good blogging friend for years ... 


Zannie Shaman, who lives in Perranporth ... I've only just met through the A-Z ...





Yiminy Crickets … boy do I have lots of reference books on Cornwall … but apparently no novels!!  I found the reference books on W day … not much help.   But I wasn’t really able to walk much as I was hip-hopping happily around getting used to that new inch and that new hip … can’t believe I’ve so many books/booklets – could easily do another ten A-Zs I reckon!  The subject is being changed for next year though.


Boy can I W for waffle ... I admit it!!


So that is Y for Why I eventually got to Yachting around and to Yammer to Yourselves out there in the A to YZ Yippee of reaching Y sphere … and realising Why could be for  Y  I have, until Y,  not included any literature … so that is my Y from Aspects of British Cornish …


Check out Goodreads – Best Books Set in Cornwall
List of Cornish Writers - Wikipedia

and all the suggestions you will all be leaving for us - and under Z I found some others ... and there are plenty of others.


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for x-factor number of oddities …



That famous : the ‘X’ one … which will provide many of us with much difficulty to come up with a suitable post … so here are my x-factor number of oddities … found during the course of my search on all things Cornish … and I’m open to questions … which I can answer in a follow-up post in May …


c/o Evocative Cornwall calendar 2016
Charlestown Harbour - Poldark location



Let’s start with two Ts … Trewhiddle and Trethevy:
for further info please go to Wikipedia







Trewhiddle is just outside St Austell, on the way to the LostGardens of Heligan, a now non-existent tiny settlement, where plenty of interesting snippets came to light:


Trewhiddle Hoard at the British
Museum
250 years ago in 1774, miners streaming for tin uncovered a hoard of 114 Anglo-Saxon gold coins, together with a Silver Chalice and other gold and silver objects: hidden in about 868 AD to protect them from Viking raiders.  The finds are now in the British Museum, and are decorated in the Trewhiddle style.



Raspe's Munchausen
In 2003 another remarkable discovery was made, when a 150 year old lump of tungsten was found at the farm … its smelting requires extremely high temperatures, which were not known at the time … leading to the speculation that it may have been produced during a visit by Rudolf Erich Raspe – Raspe is best known as a rogue, and as an author or translator of the Baron Munchausen stories … 


... but he had an interest in chemistry, with a particular interest in tungsten.  Tungsten is also known as Wolfram ... the name tungsten comes from the Swedish for heavy (tung) stone (sten).


Tungsten rods, with evaporated crystals
partially oxidised with colourful varnish

 Legendary Cornish smuggler “Cruel Coppinger” may have bought the estate in the 1790s … I didn't mention him in my Smuggling post - he was cruel!






The second “T” under this X post!  Trethevy, a village between Boscastle (WitchcraftMuseum) and Tintagel Castle (King Arthur and his Knights), where a Roman gatepost, an inscribed granite pillar, has been found with the inscription (now covered in lichen!):

C DOMI N GALLO ET VOLUS
For the Emperor Caesars our Lords Gallus and Volusian



The Roman Guide/Gate post
Trevonianus Gallus and Antoninanus Volusianus reigned in the years 251 – 253 AD … 


... the pillar lends weight to the importance of the nearby trading post of Tintagel Island, where merchants from the Mediterranean came to trade with the Cornish for their tin.  (Tintagel is on the north coast of Cornwall).



St Nectan's Glen
In the heart of Trethevy is Saint Piran’s Chapel, dating from at least the mid 15th century, and a holy well, also dedicated to Saint Piran.    St Nectan’s Glen protects the spring and holy well ... the Trevillet River emerges through the slate rocks … and is believed to be a sacred place or cloutie well … with the telltale ribbons, crystals, and other devotions adorning the foliage and rock walls near the waterfall.  (See my W post for Clouties).



Men-anTol - is very near Ding Dong Mine
Neolithic Standing Stones see my N post


The Ding Dong Mine complex lies in the old and extensive mining area situated in Madron, just north of Penzance and looking out over St Michael’s Mount Bay.  




Tin Miners at Geevor mine


It is thought the name may refer to the ‘head of the lode’ or the outcrop of tin on the hill.  In Madron church there is a Ding Dong Bell that was rung to mark the end of the last shift of the miners in 1879 … reminding us of, or for whom the bell tolled.




Jerry Crow of the The White Crow Medicine Show sings about theDing Dong Mine … with some wonderful evocative photos of Mining Cornwall, as well as mining down the mine … it is 4 minutes long.



Emily Hobhouse, whom I mentioned under M for Liskeard and DistrictMuseum, who has a connection with my mother, via Jenny Hobhouse her cousin, wrote, page 34, from the Netherlands to her brother in England for his birthday in 1916 and wondered whether …







Scone with black berry jam and clotted cream
with Cornishware in the background
(I couln't find a blackberry pasty photo!)


… “he and his family would have a picnic with blackberry pasties and clotted cream where they were in Cornwall.  Her body longed to be with them at Bude in Cornwall.”








Sarah Lay's Evocative Cornwall's cards
A few years ago … I was in Penzance before Christmas and did a quick whizz around seeing what I could get for our Cornish family … and came across Sarah Lay’s cards and Calendars … I’ve ordered every year since … Sarah sent out her latest email re her 2016 range … to which I asked if I could promote her on my blog – here is her response: 



What a great thing to do - and good for you for thinking up interesting alphabetical aspects of Cornwall - how pleasing to have such interaction too.  What a novel way of being introduced to things you might not know about.  


The A is for Artists and Anemones couldn't be more fitting for the Newlyn Artists Calendar 2016 cover!  Of course I would be really delighted for you to link my website to your blogs - thank you for suggesting it. Reaching new people is always good.


Sarah Lay's Evocative Cornwall
Newlyn Artists Calendar 2016



I timed my A post (Artists and Anemones) well this year … as you can see … and I love Sarah’s cards – they are different, and they are such fantastic views of Cornwall …  I feel nostalgic ‘for home’ though I’ve never lived in Cornwall …








Someone asked about the definition of the "West Country" and Wiki has a map - it's quite clear and rather good!:





That is X for x-factor number of oddities ... from Aspects of British Cornish …


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories