Ready, steady, go! Day by day,13-19 April

Cornwall Cogitation #11, Sunday 19 April 2015–What buzzed this week? Day by day entries, instead of the usual Sunday summary, show some of it. So, ready, steady, go!

Monday 13.04. I have a t-shirt, a gift from Rachel and Allison who spent two weeks with us here last year, with the slogan, “Anywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” We proved it today. We walked along River Hayle from St Erth to Rebbublus then on footpaths across fields, arriving in Goldsithney (near St Michael’s Mount), 7 miles. It’s not the longest distance we’ve covered in one go, but it was mostly new territory and we had the time to look around, listen to the birds and smell the gorse. A guidebook writer likened the slicked back grass growing at the bottom of the small stream to a mermaid’s hair. To get to and from our walk we used a Ride Cornwall train and bus day pass.

We planned to have lunch in Goldsithney, but the pub doesn’t serve food on Mondays. We hopped on the double decker bus to Marizion where we had late afternoon lunch at Delicious, a delightful delicatessen & café recommended by a local who saw us dither opposite it. Marty had spicy lentil Dahl with red onion flatbread and yogurt dip. I had Cornish rarebit–a creamy mixture of cheese, Tribute (Cornish ale), mustard and Worcester sauce on thick farmhouse bread. Halfway through we switched plates. Delicious! We ended with flat white coffees, then caught the next bus to Penzance and just made the connection to Carbis Bay.  Anywhere is rideable if you have the time to wait–or good fortune to make a short connection.

Here’s a bit of buzz about food from I, (a sister publication of The Independent, 27 March). Doggy bags can now come in from the cold across the Channel in France. Grace Marsh writes,. “French restaurants will start using doggy bags, traditionally seen as a faus pas, in an xattempt to combat food waste.” Bravo! An agreement was signed that week with a takeaway storage company to supply restaurants with microwave-friendly containers and sacks to take home leftover food. “The deal follows recent public and government concerns about food waste.” Bon Appetit!

Tuesday 14.04. Sea mist rolled in along the coast while the sun shone inland. We walked inland, following St Michael’s Way to Marazion, 11 miles. Like yesterday, we walked to the music of birds, scent and sight of blooming gorse and other wild plants, bees, cows, sheep and horses and babbling streams. We packed lunch, planning to eat it tonight if The While Hart Inn at Ludgvan wasn’t serving food. Sadly, the pub has no food while they’re looking for a chef. We sat at an outdoor table and had our packed lunch, with drinks from the pub.

Highlight of the day was visiting with Mary Bridget Greenwood Penny in Marazion. She’s just back from spending the winter in New Zealand, as she has done alternate years for 24 years. Last year we walked with Mary, age more than 80, on several 4-mile rambles. She has a sharp wit, a green thumb and a delightfully visionary artistic sensibility.

We walked to Longrock for the double decker bus home. Marty did laundry since we had  walked through fields where farmers had spread manure, one in particular emptying a liquid slurry pit. He stopped the tractor while we walked across the slurry-wet field. Not nice at all, but you do what you have to do. The dew-wet grass in the next fields did a decent job in cleaning the boots (I did more cleaning at home).

Note for the day from Good Housekeeping (March 2015): “Why Walking is Good for Your Mind,” Here’s the long and the short of it: “As well as the energy boost that comes from stimulating your circulation and increasing the supply of oxygen to cells around your body, walking helps you feel better mentally and emotionally. It kick-starts the release of feel-good endorphins, and studies have shown that moderate exercise like walking can be as effective as anti-depressants for treating mild to moderate depression.” No mention of the tonic of farm smells, but no need, we got our minds and noses around that one today, too.

Wednesday 15.04. Today, 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln died from a gunshot while attending a performance at the Ford Theater in D.C. Actually, he was shot on Tuesday and pronounced dead on Wednesday. Lincoln is buried in a family burial chamber at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Ill. The tomb is open to visitors, though state budget cuts mean that hours have been reduced. The inscription above where Lincoln lies reads, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

We walked six miles today in waves of sea mist and a bit of sun. En route to lunch at The Old Quay House in lower Lelant we visited the St Uny Heritage Centre at the other end of Lelant. Run by volunteers, the centre aims to provide an insight into Lelant Village and the work of the church. Really well done. They even serve drinks and cream tea. The centre is housed in a former burial chapel and former Sunday school room in the church cemetery. I’m impressed with the vision, the displays, the potential for telling the village heritage and church-now stories.

Terry and Ann gave us fresh rhubarb from their garden. Since Marty has been making most of our meals I prepared tea (supper) tonight, a simple repast of what we had in the fridge, salad, eggs and back bacon. To finish, freshly-baked rhubarb crumble with ice cream.

Thursday 16.04. How do you walk 12 miles in a day? You get out of bed and do the morning chores, like laundry, breakfast dishes, recycling to the bins. Then you have a snack since it’s Elvenses, known as Crouse here. A snack like cheese, almonds, orange.

It’s a sun lotion and short sleeve shirt day. All kitted out, you walk up to the main road and stop in at Cup and Cake for the first coffee of the day, flat whites. You split a triple chocolate flapjack. After a brief chat with the owner, you set out for Hayle, stop at ASDA grocery to use the toilets, and then walk into the town proper. You stop at Mr. B’s Ice Cream Shop for a single dip dish. You sit outside on a bench in the sun.

Next you take a series of winding back streets to the shopping centre that includes Marks & Spencer. You buy a lightweight cap/hat for spring and summer and a few other M&S items. Then you have a second sit down for a Costa coffee, taking your boots off at the outdoors table. Refreshed, you follow a different way through town, finding two paths that lead to the King George V Memorial Walk, about a mile-long stretch of flowers, bushes and trees. You ask a woman, arranging things in her car trunk, if she was a volunteer. “Oh, no, darlin’, I’m just an onlooker like you.” You say, “Oh, sorry, I wanted to thank you for taking care of these gardens.” You agree such gardens need onlookers as well as volunteer gardeners, who, the lady adds, “are likely home now enjoying their well-deserved tea.”

Within a half-mile of home you stop at Beck’s Fish and Chips for dinner. Megrim Sole is your choice. It was caught in Carbis Bay. Delicious. You actually get two servings, since the first order came out battered instead of sauteed. Beck’s does things right, no question. They wrap it for you to take home. As you were waiting for a table you chatted with the bartender. Found out he works at Marks &.Spencer until 2 pm. Today he had a bit of time to sit in the garden before heading to his Thursday-Saturday evening job. He tells you this M&S café has been rated one of the best in the store’s UK-wide system.

With that, your back home at Ahoy There! #3 Compass Point. You can do 12 miles if you have the time–and an ice cream shop along the way.

Friday 17:04. Our excursion for the day was a visit to the Penlee Art Gallery and Museum in Penance. We saw “Sons and Daughters of the Soil,” a special exhibit of paintings and photos. The art Impressively represents west Cornwall rural life in the 19th and 20th centuries, including milking cows, mining china clay, quarrying, ploughing with a team of horses, stooking oats and corn. Cornwall has long attracted artists who have captured its rugged natural beauty, quality of light, social history. We picked up a pizza on the way home and happily called it a day.

Saturday 18.04. Today we attended the marriage service of Kate Alexandra Ruth Brereton with Benjamin William Postle at St Anta & All Saints Church in Carbis Bay. What a happy, celebrative, music-, readings-, prayers- and reflections-filled ceremony. We’ve gotten to know Lynne and Noel Brereton, Kate’s parents, well at St Anta and in other settings. Hearing the bells ring as we walked to and from the church added a resounding blessing in its own right. It was good to visit a bit with family and friends.

God’s richest blessing be with the newlyweds and all who are dear to them.

Miles for the week: 46.5

Sunday 19.04. The Eucharist, given as we kneel at the alter, stands tall at the end of the weekly worship service. After the communion, we sing a sending hymn and then sit down again to listen briefly as the organist plays a postlude. At the end of today’s sending hymn, Roger Sullivan, the bell captain, spontaneously started singing the refrain again. All, plus the organist, joined in to Fanny Crosby’s words, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” 2x; it was a rousing conclusion to another good service.

May your week be blessed with spontaneous moments. -John

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