Why Cornwall? And Devon


CORNWALL COGITATION #10 Saturday 8 April 2017 For the April-May edition of  New Contact (Tava Noweth in Cornish), the magazine of St Anta and St Uny churches, I wrote:

“Dear Church Family,

“Thank you, once again, for welcoming us from our home across the pond in Indiana.

“This is our seventh long-term stay (three months) in Cornwall. What draws us back?

“For starters: Daffodils. The sea. Stilton. Myriad footpaths. The iconic British (Cornish) weather. Pasties and cream teas, of course. Newspapers. Bournville dark chocolate. History and prehistory. The present. Evensong at Truro Cathedral. The smell of gorse. Best of all–your so warm welcome in the Parishes of St Anta and St Uny.

“With you we celebrate the love of God, like blossoms of spring, springing up every day, even in, and especially in, our most needy and dark moments. With God, mediated through God’s people we need have no fear. May God continue to grow God’s love and mercy in and through us. . . . Peace, grace and joy in our pilgrimage together to communicate the love of God.”

Photos of ‘home from home’

A Dartmouth holiday

We took a holiday a week ago to Dartmouth in neighbouring County Devon. Fine time. Maritime history abounds. Good walks in the area, too.

I think of the song, Sea Fever, by John Masefield, that I nervously sang as a solo in a Grade school competition. “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; and the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking; and a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking. I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide.” I’m glad to have opportunities to sing the praises of sea and land and sky in Devon and Cornwall–and Indiana if people ask.

Dartmouth, a deep water port on the Dart River, has seen a colourful history. Sea commerce. Invention of the world’s first steam engine by Thomas Newcomen. Ship-building. Home of non-conformist preacher John Flavel (1630-1691). Royal Avenue Gardens, an area reclaimed from the river. Naval college. Military feats. Seafarer Sir Humphrey Gilbert who colonized Newfoundland, the first British colony. Port to which in 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers came for repairs to their ships after leaving Southampton for the new colony of Virginia. St Saviour’s Church, consecrated in 1372.

We skimmed the surface, you could say, but such interest and fun in skimming we had.

The ceiling in the archives room of Dartmouth Museum depicts The Tree of Jesse, the genealogy of Jesus (Isaiah 11 and Matthew 1). The ceiling, thought to date from 1635, is believed to be the world’s only ceiling “tree.” Rich merchants tried to outdo each other with decorations in their homes. To see it all at once you’d have to lie on your back. One corner was repaired following WW 2 bomb damage.
We walked from Dart River Ferry to Greenwood, summer home of the late queen of mystery writers, Agatha Christie.
This is the Drawing Room at Greenwood. We’d call it a Living Room, a place to entertain guests, or family time.
The library at Greenwood. During WW 2 the family made the house available to Flotilla 10 of the US Coastguard. In 1944, 480 allied ships left the Dart to join the D-Day invasion.
The camellia garden at Greenwood features a wide variety of many-hued camellias.
Greenway house.

A walk on Cornish moorland

We had a terrific walk on Friday, 7 April, with 35 others of the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society. Moorland includes low-growing gorse bushes, bracken, and rocks. No trees on the areas where we walked. In the distance we saw one of the stacks of Ding Dong mines, a nickname for the Greenborrow set of mines.

These tin mines were active in the 17th and 18th centuries–though some mines continued into the 20th century, but none now. One legend about the name Ding Dong, is that the mines were so deep that miners could hear church bells ring in Australia.

An ancient standing stone on moorland points over fields that retain their medieval pattern of dry stone wall hedges, Viewed from the highest point at Watchcroft in West Cornwall, 830 feet (253 metres) above sea level.
Ruins of a medieval Cornish Longhouse (12th-15th centuries), part of a farm family village. In winter, cattle helped keep the house warm. We stopped here for lunch. My mind wandered to the time centuries ago when families in this usually harsh environment went about living and livelihood. Coffee from a thermos capped a lunch of cheese sandwich, crisps, chocolate and apple. It was a communion with the distant past, the only sound emanating from a few birds.
Fine Friday on the moors, bathed in sun, unusually calm, interesting people, loads of history and prehistory—4.5 miles.

Boots off. Time for the Drawing Room, then the Winter Dining Room, then the Bed Chamber (actually, Bedroom, as Christie would call it), and come Saturday, the Morning Room. At Ahoy There! the latter room will soon by our terrace, with a peek to the sea.

Said Agatha Christie, “Time . . . is only a mode of thought.” So we enjoy thoughts of the moment.

‘Till further thoughts, all good wishes!


Blackthorn, ubiquitous in the wild, along many hedgerows, attracting bees and photographers.

7 thoughts on “Why Cornwall? And Devon

  1. I can just imagine you singing Sea Fever as a young man! Thanks for your latest cogitation from your home across the Pond.

    Monty & Ginger

    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. That was interesting about the tattoos. Still don’t think I want one though. Did you win a prize for the solo? I always feast my eyes on the beautiful pictures. It is like taking a holiday myself.


    1. Thanks, Emilie. If only I could capture the sounds. And smells. And tastes–like a flat white. Starbucks does a decent brew of the latter. Best!


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