Murky, misty, marvelous

CORNWALL COGITATION #6 Saturday 11 March 2017 You have to love weather forecasters.   Along with pronouncements of showers, drizzle, hill fog and cloud  they include a word about sun and dry somewhere, sometime, somehow.

We’re not complaining. This morning, Saturday, we attended a coffee morning fundraiser at St Anta to support a lad through World Vision. For lunch we walked through fog and mizzle to Halsetown Inn (five miles round trip).

Thursday was our first nicely warm day. It was still gray, but marvelous to be out. We walked to St Erth (3 miles) to catch the train to Truro. We could have connected via the branch line minutes from our flat, but an errand en route and coffee at the Garden Centre in Lelant let us get a big part of the daily walk done upfront.

We went to Truro to see the stage version of Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement in Stone. Set in the 1970s, the play deals with the clash of two worlds, that of an upper middle class family and their old-school working class housekeeper and her friend, the postmistress, who opens envelopes and reads the contents.

The opening sentence of the book is not in the play, but you soon know who’s the one guilty of murder. The sentence reads, “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.” This is a murder mystery less about methods of detection and the police as it is about the psychological makeup of housekeeper Eunice. She cooks, cleans–and kills. You’re left to puzzle it all out, even after the curtain falls or the book closes.

While the family patronizes Eunice, she shows symptoms of a psychopathic disorder in that she seems to refuse any help to learn how to read and write. That would be too embarrassing to admit even to a few people. Before she came into the employ of the Coverdales Eunice had killed her father for whom she was caring and falsified her resume. There’s much to be mined from this crime novel/play adaptation, considered one of Rendell’s best books.

Come along for a walk through the week’s weather

Truro scenes

More photos from the week

Remember the plough?

“Walking over symmetrical furrows it occurs to me why farming led to civilization,” wrote John Lewis-Stempel in The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland (Doubleday, 2016). “It wasn’t just about food surplus and storage; it was about order. Maths. Geometry. Regulation.” Lewis-Stempel quotes this from A. G. Street’s Farmers Glory, “Tis true I am no physician, but I would suggest in all sincerity that three months steady ploughing would cure any man of nervous breakdown, for ploughing is a mental tonic of great power . . .In itself it is all-sufficing and soul-satisfying.” Ah, what does modern day farming substitute for the joy and benefit of ploughing with horses?

UN reports humanitarian crisis in four African countries

Today’s news reported on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria. Twenty million people face the threat of starvation and famine, according to Stephen O’Brien, United Nations humanitarian chief. While conflict and fighting within these nations exacerbates the problem, the crisis is the worst the UN has faced since its founding in 1945.

O’Brien said, “Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.”

There are solutions. Governmental and non-governmental agencies have the ability to provide aid. No country can responsibly wall itself off from playing its part in caring about and for the whole world and its peoples. Again, I’m grateful for the NGOs and others working for justice, love and peace. When we play by God’s rules everybody wins.

In today’s The Guardian I’m reading a special 24-page insert on “The 1930s.” Writer Jonathan Freedland’s opening paragraph: “Even to mention the 1930s is to evoke the period when human civilization entered its darkest, bloodiest chapter. No case needs to be argued; just to name the decade is enough. It is a byword for mass poverty, violent extremism and the gathering storm of world war. ‘The 1930s’ is not so much a label for a period of time as rhetorical shorthand–a two-word warning from history.”

So, we judge today’s threatening world events with a critical view of what brought about the conditions of 80 years ago. What we want in collective and coordinated action is to counter the forces that would mislead us with repeating grave mistakes of the past.

From Halsetown Inn and our walk home


Keep the faith. -John




4 thoughts on “Murky, misty, marvelous

  1. Thanks, John. Your photos help transport us to Cornwall so we can be virtually with you. How much is that Kitty in the window? Meow, meow!

    I was moved by the photo of the plow and amused that it could cure any man or woman of a nervous breakdown within 3 months! My Uncle was a farmer and I have fond memories of riding on the tractor with him as he plowed the fields. There is a wonderful folk song called “The Field Behind the Plow” that was written by Stan Rogers, a fellow Canadian of yours, that I love to sing because it brings back these childhood memories on the farm. Ginger and I will sing it for you when we next get together.

    Enjoy your remaining time in Cornwall. We are enjoying the sunshine and warmth of Florida. Keep the faith…Keep hope alive!!!

    Monty & Ginger



  2. We can’t control the weather but we certainly can control our attitude towards it. The flowers look so beautiful and colourful. A little bit of sunshine. I am intrigued by the last picture of that fat little bird. So cute. I am looking forward to seeing the springtime birds arrive.


    1. The fat little bird is a winter robin. We’re starting to hear them, and other birds, sing their hearts out. British Summer Time starts the last Sunday in March. That’s when the time springs forward an hour. What that means for the birds I have no idea. Or anybody else. Best!


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