A lesson from history

Post 5/2022 Saturday 29 January . . . The bubonic plague that spread through Europe in the Middle Ages left people perplexed, frenzied, unable to stop it. Plague doctors were hired to treat patients with a variety of concoctions and plague antidotes, write wills and fill out autopsy reports. They wore a beak-like mask stuffed with various herbs (thought to purify poisonous air), leather gloves, and long coats to fend off the disease. To little avail.

In one instance, in England, residents of Eyam stopped the plague from spreading beyond their village. Eyam (pronounced “eem”) is a village in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England.

The Plague of 1665 came to the village possibly through fleas lodged in a damp bale of cloth the local tailor received from London. Soon the tailor’s assistant and others were sickened and died.

The local rector got the villagers together to work at stopping the spread of the disease for which no one knew the source or cure. They cut all movement into and out of the village. People from the surrounding area left food at the well outside the village (for which villagers left coins in a cavity filled with vinegar).

The villagers buried their own dead close to their homes. They met for worship in an open-air space where they could avoid close proximity to others. The isolation continued for 14 months, during which time the plague claimed almost a third of the lives (population numbers vary from 350-800).

In 2011, Eyam had a population of 964. We visited the village in 1995. The visitor center, walking tour, museum, and other aspects of the village are tops, telling a story that’s sobering, evocative, proud, compelling. Check out the town’s story at http://www.eyamvillage.org.uk

I quote the following from the Village A-Z entry of Eyam’s website:

“Repair Cafe: Part of a worldwide network aiming to repair items rather than throwing them out. Relax with a cuppa while your things are fixed. 2nd Saturday of every month at the Church Centre.”

Bravo! Thumbs up!

Dealing with Covid-19

In April 2020 we came home weeks early from a winter/spring sojourn in Cornwall UK. During March we watched the advancing worldwide tide of Covid-19. With consular advice to return home “while you still can,” we rebooked, followed isolation mandates (which still allowed us to go for daily walks from our flat), joined others for the Thursday evening hand claps from our open window for essential workers of the National Health Service, packed items to store with friends, and safely made it home in the concern and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Almost two years later, incomprehensibly, some people still say “Piff, what disease?” I’d grudgingly give them the right to see the world though such eyes were it not for the peril such beliefs and actions foist on the rest of the world. You’d think in the 21st century we’d have learned a lesson or two.

Here are some references to information we gleaned two years ago.

Science and medicine in the last 100 years have unraveled many of the mysteries surrounding diseases and developed treatments and cures and health protocols. To deal effectively with our current pandemic that means getting vaccinated, protecting one’s respiratory system, practicing hand hygiene and so on. I’m simply stating what we all know. There’s an end to the pandemic in sight as people worldwide get access to vaccines and more people stop the deadly nonscientific denial nonsense.

A look back

This week I looked at the photos I took during our stay in Cornwall in 2020; a few appear following.

Porthminster Beach on the South West Coast Path walk into St Ives from Carbis Bay.
The Cornish Arms, the closest pub to our rental flat, a place to pop in for a Sunday roast, a pint, a pause next to the fireplace.
The bell tower of St Anta and All Saints church rises above neighboring houses.

A peek ahead

Some years ago, I showed this cup to potter friend Dick Lehman who lives in Goshen. His first words were, “John Leach.” John is the grandson of Bernard Leach who established the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. We had the good fortune to chat with John Leach while he was spending some time in St Ives.

By mid-February, the Lord willing, we’ll be on our way to Cornwall. Friends, footpaths, fields of daffodils, favorite haunts, church life (including St Anta & All Saints, St Uny and Truro Cathedral for Evensong), call us home from home.

Be safe.

-John

10 thoughts on “A lesson from history

    1. So glad you and Karen visited when you did. We go cautiously, hopefully, almost wistfully. Home from home that it is. We’ll see what the Cornwall Cogitations blog will have to say. Best!

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  1. Safe journey and sojourn in Carbis Bay.
    Look forward to hearing from you & Marty eventually.
    Stay safe
    Warm regards,
    Grace & Don

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    1. Thanks, Grace and Don. We’ll see what my Cornwall Cogitations blog will reveal about our return visit. Good to know you’ll be following us via cyberspace.
      Enjoy your winter while it lasts!

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  2. Thanks, John. Sure hope you make it to Cornwall!

    Monty

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower. —Maxine Shonk, OP

    >

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    1. Thanks, Monty. All systems go at this point. The beauty of the sunrise and the majesty of sunset are real right here, where you are, and over there. Yea!

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  3. This epistle was especially interesting. It’ wonderful that you can finally to Doc Martin’s locale, see your friends ; etc. I hope they have enjoyed your possessions.

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

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    1. Yes, Marcia, they’ll be filming the 10th and final series of Doc Martin. We’ve visited the village a few times and always enjoy the howdy-do of the place. Our friends will pick us up at the train station at St Erth, near their home, take us home for dinner, and then drop us off at our rental flat. Boots on!

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