Monday, 15 December 2008

MONDAY 15TH DECEMBER - Scotland again

We live in the south west of the U.K. so as we drove north a couple of weeks ago and it got snowier and snowier by the side of the Motorway we knew we were going to have a good few days. So here are some snowy photos!
Loch Morlich - Cairngorm. at -5 degrees

I love trees when the snow has frozen to the branches.

This is so beautiful.

Scheihallion and Loch Rannoch.
I have Norwegian blood in me. My grandmother was from Gjovik so maybe this accounts for my love of northern climes and cold places.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


I have been behind with my blogging due to a rather busy schedule of late.
This has not all been routine but punctuated with some top quality live music and as you know you have to make the most of the opportunitieswhen they arise so we have been doing just that.

The first concert was at the beginning of November when we saw Sigur Ros in Bristol it was a fabulous experience there was even snow showered on us the audience!

A week later we say Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues orchestra in Plymouth and that was a really good concert too.

Last night we went to Bristol again with friends this time to see Runrig, yes again, another brilliantl live event with lots of audience involvement which makes for a great evening.

So you can see there has been a lot of important stuff happening and after all quality if life is so

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Yesterday we went to a small rural village named Stoke St. Gregory which is on the Somerset Levels. I used to come here from the age of 0 until I was in my early 20's. I came to visit my paternal grandparents who lived on a small holding where I remember helping my grandad feeding the hens and collecting the eggs which were still warm, collecting tomatoes in the greenhouse when I was given a paper bag and allowed to gather the tiny little tomatoes which I recall as being treasure all of my own. There was a fruit cage where I used to help my grandfather pick big juicy raspberries as in 2 for the basket and 1 for me! The memories I have of this idyllic phase of my life are warm and full of love. I loved my grandparents but yesterday was about my grandad.

There is a local historian who has done an extraordinary amount of research into young men from Stoke St. Gregory who were touched by World War I. From the names on the war memorial he has discovered where they fought and were killed and also about those who were injured.

My personal story was about Frank Barrington Chedzoy (my grandad). He joined the army in January 1918 and was sent to northern France in April that year. He then fought in the battle of St. Armand and was injured so very badly near a farm at Quenoy. He was gassed and received 3rd degree burns to 60% of his body in fact the left part all the way down. Unable to talk, in shock and with pain controlled by morphine he must have been terriby ill.This meant he was shipped back to UK and spent time in hospital in Bradford and then was taken to Dublin for a long slow recuperation and return to health. He never returned to full health and was unable to ever work however he did use the skills learnt on the first part of his building apprenticeship which had to be interrupted when he went to war. He built the house he shared all his life with my grandmother and where I spent so many happy days of my life. Until yesterday all I had known of his experience of The Great War was that he had been gassed. Yesterday I found out so much of what this young man -my grandad -had experienced when he was only 18.

It was never spoken about and all my father was told as he was growing up ,when he had asked about the war, was the mud.

Thank to this historian I know so much more about how WWI affected my family directly. It has affected me deeply as the wonderful old man, my grandad, kept this secret from all of us except perhaps my grandmother, for the duration of his life.

It has given me so much to think about.

Monday, 20 October 2008

MONDAY19TH OCTOBER - strange but wonderful recipes - Beetroot Brownies - 1st

P came home on Saturday after a cold wet morning on his sailing cruiser.

M came in hungry and wet late last night.

They both had a hot drink acccompanied by a piece of Brownie.

After all everyone loves the chocolatey richness is its collapses in your mouth and P and M were no different.
the secret ingredient was revealed as something they neither of them enjoy but once disguised and adding to the moist consistency they couldn't argue that it must be a positive contribution to this rather wonderful snack.
250 g good dark choc (melted)
250 g butter (melted)
250g caster sugar
3 free range eggs
150g S.R.flour
250g cooked and grated BEETROOT ( the secret ingredient!)
courtesy of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Combine and cook in baking tray for 20 mins at 180C
Let it cool and then eat a small piece at a time - never guzzle but savour the flavour.

Monday, 13 October 2008

MONDAY 13TH OCTOBER - a beautiful autumn day - hidden cornwall 4

The weather was too good to stay indoors so we went out doors!

to Helston which is beyond our patch so we were exploring pastures new. It is about 20 miles from home and in a direction we don't often go.

We parked the car and walked and very quickly in front of us was this ruined mine head. It is the ruins of Castle Wray also known as Wheal Pool and was a silver/lead mine belonging to Helston Valley mine company in times long past.

This is the end wall of the engine house.

Engine house from the other side stains of smoke still very obvious.
Imagine the miners.

The boggy valley where there is a mineral track lost somewhere, where trucks used to carry the ore.
October 12th - 19 degrees centigrade - gorgeous -global warming? I think so, It is all so very wrong. A great walk but what is going on with our planet?

This is Cober Valley.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

SATURDAY 4TH OCTOBER - hedgerows bounty

There is a very cold wind today blowing rain up the valley and then beating it on the windows. It feels as if winter has arrived suddenly and without any preamble. I am just putting these photographs together and recalling last Sunday, yes just 6 days ago when we were in T-shirts gathering the beautiful, richly coloured, luscious juicy blackberries that have been quietly growing and now coming into their glory.
We found this lane not more than 2 miles from the house. The nearest habitation is Trelucky Farm so to us it is now known as Treluckey Lane seems to make sense. So armed with kilo size boxes we set to picking the fruit gathering scratches from the briars as we went.
Picking carefully trying not to fall as we stretched for the high ones which of course are the juiciest of all.
There are always huge clusters around field gates.

Just a few more then home to make the preserve.

We were pleased with the haul especially as now they would be waterlogged and so would we be if we were out there today. A good job done!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Last Friday morning as I was having my first hot drink of the day an article caught my ear - is there a more appropriate phrase? - and this was about the overall winner of the 30 years of the Oddest Book Title competition which is run by The Bookseller.

The winner is "Greek Rural Postmen and their cancellation numbers" by Derek Willan which has been voted the oddest title of them all in the last 3o years.

2nd was "People who don't know they're dead "- Gary Leon Hill

3rd -"How to avoid huge ships" - John Trimmer

The presenter interviewed a startled elderly 91 year old Derek Willan who needless to say was delighted with this unexpected accolade.

Here are a few past winners.

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year:


1980: The Joy of Chickens

1984: The book of Marmalade

1988: Versailles: The View From Sweden

1992: How to Avoid Huge Ships

1994: Highlights in the History of Concrete

1995: Reusing Old Graves

1996: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers

1999: Weeds in a Changing World

2002: Living With Crazy Buttocks

2004: Bombproof Your Horse

2006: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America

Comprehensive list at

I'm off to Truro later today so a browse in the bookshop is a must perusing titles for their quirkiness!

Any offers?!

Monday, 1 September 2008

MONDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER - peace and tranquility

It turned out to be a beautiful evening a few days short of the end of August so we decided to spend a few hours in one of our favourite places. This at The Fal-Ruan estuary which are an expanse of tidal salt marsh and mudflats. We wandered along the single track road listening to the honking of Barnacle Geese who were coming down on the mudflats for the night. Barnacle Geese fly in a raggle taggle with no apparent formation where as Canada Geese fly in a tight and well formed V shape. We were delighted to see and hear both types of Geese which will forever remind me of the classic 1971 film "The Snow Goose." I had just got a new small digital camera and was keen to try it.

The Fal ruan estuary at high tide just as the light was beginning to fade.
A tiny fern growing on the stone work of the old
Two sedate mute swans paddling against the tide coming up to the old wharf.

This cob and pen made their way up river with the background sound of the calls of Greenshank and Blacktailed Godwit. Just a chorus of natures spectacular music.

It was so quiet that we could hear the swans snorting as they paddled by. A quiet muffled sound which is only audible when there is perfect silence.
To anyone reading this from outside the UK - The reigning monarch (Queen
Elizabeth II) owns all the swans in Britain.

8.31 p.m. and almost dark. This was handheld I had forgotten to take a tripod and just couldn't peel myself away from this most wonderful place with nature at her most beautiful. To complete the evening a Barn owl flew over the marshes. We came home and couldn't bear to put the t.v. on so sat by the open window with hot drinks and the tawny owls began to hoot.

Monday, 25 August 2008

MONDAY 25TH AUGUST - Duckpool and beyond.

We live on the south coast of Cornwall which is extraordinarily beautiful but the north coast is wilder and much more rugged. We used to live on the coast where Devon and Cornwall meet so as S. and M. were home the decision was made that the good use of a dreary day was to go north. So we did!

Pasties were bought from a bakery in Bude and then we made for Duckpool a small cove very close to where we used to live. So here is Duckpool.


DUCKPOOL - so called because...............but today the ducks were absent.

Same place but turned through 180 degrees.

It looks good twice after all !!

Close up of the river.

Pasties eaten, stones thrown in the sea it was time to take the coast road north through Morwenstow, Welcombe and past Welcombe Mouth and along the cliffs where there was a hazy view of Lundy.
Then to Hartland Quay. This is a wild place and always amazingly impressive. All four of us just love it. You hopefully will see why.

The old street which is now incorporated into rooms for the pub.

The was a bank here which even printed its own notes. There is a lighthouse around the corner where the Bristol Channel meets The Atlantic Ocean and the colliding currents are ferocious.

Blackpool cliffs.

Astonishing geological features.

Now the end of the road.

In the 16th century Hartland Quay was a thriving port due to its remote position on the Devon coast this enabed it to service the hinterland of farms and rural occupations. In 1887 the quay was washed away by a fierce storm and then the railway was built to Bideford so all that is left today is the hotel/pub and of course the stupendously, breathtaking natural beauty of this piece of coast.

Monday, 11 August 2008

MONDAY 11TH AUGUST - 6 random things about me

Mountainear has tagged me so here are 6 varied and random things about me.

*1. I enjoy the smell of bacon grilling in preparation for the construction of a bacon buttie almost as much as its consumption unless I am ridiculously hungry.

*2. I wish I had a beautiful singing voice that would allow me to entertain audiences in enormous venues with the voice that everyone would delight in hearing. I have a voice where cats put their paws over their ears!

*3. I like to read widely and my next challenge will be the great Russian writers, Tolstoy,Dostoyevsky and so on but I will start with Boris Pasternak as a gentle introduction.

*4. I love to eat left overs cold from the fridge they always taste so delicious.

*5. With hindsight I wish I had gone into broadcasting, radio in particular or been a cartographer although my work as a primary teacher was rewarding and fulfilling.

*6. I have seen The Aurora Borealis from here in Cornwall one night when the conditions must have been freakish, the sky was a deep red with streaks of shooting light probably shooting stars. I have seen it from North west Scotland where it was green shimmering waves but all too transient. These two events were so thrilling I now would love to see it from the very far north, well Tromso in Norway. I have never been there so that would be wonderful.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


This is my trip to Edinburgh. It was a fabulous few days. We have driven through this beautiful city many, many times but this is the first opportunity we have had to explore a little and enjoy a lot and discovered that Edinburgh deserves far more time than we had, so return soon we definitely will.
First we paid for a tour of The Scottish Parliament Building. This is a wonderful place we loved it.

As we left the building there was a pipe band just passing.

Then to the RUNRIG concert at Edinburgh castle,
this was the main reason for coming so far north.

Supprt act was Julie Fowlis - gaelic singer from North Uist. We know her music but this is the first time we have heard her live and she was lovely.

Then time for the boys!
RUNRIG played for a solid 2 hours and it was amazing.

The stage. The castle. The music. What fun we had.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

TUESDAY 22ND JULY - Two excitements!

Last evening I went with P to his leaving evening. He is moving on after 12 years in his present job so there was a party for him and quite a few presentations and many, many thank yous too. It was so lovely to see how well he had done in this job and how many people will miss him as he moves on. I felt so very proud. Now that was one evening of excitement.

On Thursday we are going to Edinburgh for a few days. This is to go and see our favourite rock band who any regular readers will know is the fabulous Scottish band known as RUNRIG. All their concerts are fantastic but this one should be fantastic x 100 as it is live from Edinburgh Castle esplanade on SATURDAY 26TH in the evening. Now that is excitement number two.

Monday, 14 July 2008

MONDAY 14TH JULY - colour

For what seems like an eternity there has been a layer of thick cloud over Cornwall bringing drizzle, hard rain, sea mist and just a layer of gloomy grey murk. There has been a need for cheer so these nasturtiums have done the job with their bright cheery colours and smiling faces. It is impossible to feel gloomy with these vibrant, vivid colours just outside my window.

It is quite a show.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008


THE GOLOWAN FESTIVAL (Gol-Jowan feast of St.John) is two weeks of fun and jollity every June which culminates in Mazey Day. Having never been we went on Saturday for Mazey Day. Penzance was full of the sound of live music at every corner, with people in fancy dress and fun things just happening everywhere.
The first music we encountered were The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists who were fast, racey and fun.
Then came the Procession. Here are a few of the participants. The Chinese drummers.
Stilt walkers - now this looks a challenge. Penzance is hilly and many streets are cobbled.

South American pan pipe players.

All the streets in the centre of Penzance were decorated like this and thronged with happy people.

The Golowan Band led the last procession of the day.

The serpent dance wends its way through the town from Market Jew Street right the way to the harbour and gets longer and longer as it processes along.
The end of the serpent dance at the harbour - take note of the gentleman wearing the black and yellow tartan Cornish Kilt

We were standing watching the gathering and I saw this bottle and paper placed in the little nook in the wall. I just wondered which weary reveller had put it here.