Post 11/2022 Friday 11 March , , , Let’s get some meat on the alphabetical bones of this series of 13 blogs, AB-YZ, from Cornwall. For G, I’ve selected Gad Fly: “A general name for the blood-sucking tabanid flies, apparently a misnomer, because the flies that actually cause cattle to gad about madly with tails erect are now believed to be the warble flies.”
Selections are from The Penguin Dictionary of British Natural History, by Richard Fitter, assisted by Maisie Fitter, (1967, 1978). I spare you the citation for warble flies. Or other dictionary definitions of gad fly. Give the cows their glory.
So far we’ve only seen one herd of cattle out, all lying sedately in the pasture. Glad for that, since I think one of them might be a bull. We kept our distance in an adjacent field, though that field is also accessible to the cattle. We have, though, come across numerous horses in fields and being ridden on the road.
H: House Spider “(Araneae: Tegenaria). Three large dark blackish-brown spiders, common in houses, and especially liable to arouse human alarm or distaste; see Cardinal Spider.” So to Cardinal Spider we segue: “One of the larger of our three species of House Spider, with a body up to 1/4 in. long, named from the legend that it once frightened Cardinal Wolsey at Hampton Court.” For outdoor spiders, I’ll only add: “At least 584 species, in twenty-four families, inhabit the British Isles, occupying a wide variety of habitats.”
A time to read
When it’s too windy or otherwise too inclement to be gadding out about, we tend to read more. Friend Jenny said it well, though with evident hyperbole, “In Cornwall, if it’s not raining now, it just stopped raining, or it will rain soon.” We’ve used our rain pants once this week, the first time in many years here. Believe it or not, the kiss of rain on one’s cheek can be a welcome embrace of the natural world, as are these Garden Thoughts of Dorothy Frances Gurney: “The kiss of the sun for pardon, / The song of the birds for mirth, / One is nearer God’s heart in a garden / Than anywhere else on earth.”
Flush, a cocker spaniel, is the main character (there is no narrator)–expressing innermost thoughts, feelings and motives–in this 112-page fictionalized account by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941).
Flush is a constant companion to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. That much is factual. Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era, born 6 March 1806, died 29 June 1861. For most of her life she suffered from head and spine pains and eventual loss of mobility.
Given the difficulty I’ve had reading Woolf, I was happy for this engaging account. Flush is described as “light-hearted and playful on the surface,” but trust the dog’s words and thoughts and actions to reveal what merits corrective attention in society (class system, child labour, how men and women relate, domesticity, identity, environment, care of pets).
As a child, Woolf spent summers in St Ives, Cornwall (1881-1895), and also later as an adult. Her 1927 novel, though, To the Lighthouse, is said to reflect the family’s summers on the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910-20. Still, St Ives and Cornwall certainly formed part of the landscape of her stream of consciousness style of writing and philosophical introspection. Woolf is considered one of the foremost authors of the early 20th century. Three of her books are based in Cornwall.
More books and times out
Home from home
“Home from home” is the phrase we often use to describe our stay in Cornwall. We were welcomed here a dozen years ago by the church closest to our lodging then, St Anta & All Saints. We came for the footpaths, returned for the footpaths, only to have our welcome extended in friendships. We’ve felt acceptance, inclusion, interest, support, mutuality, a true sense of home.
On Wednesday, as we walked into the parking lot at Birdies Bistro in neighboring Lelant, owner/chef Dom was outside working with a team building a fence. Before we recognized him he saw us and waved his arms: “You’re back! Welcome! Doing well?” We had a nice chat as he ushered us to a table by the fireplace.
We’ve had spontaneous conversations out and about with people who we know only by first names. With friends we’ve had meals, attended special events, and have plans for more distant day trips ahead.
Two weeks ago, we were blessed to be able to visit with dear friends Terry and Ann Trevorrow. We recounted stories old and new. As we described the flat where we are staying–we not knowing whether to call it a cabin, a house, a flat, even a box–Terry called it a chalet. Right on! A chalet, fully adequate to our needs.
Terry also told us that the farmer who used to own the farm just beyond our chalet was named Obadiah Hicks. Terry was full of pertinent and engaging details. Sadly, they told us that nothing more than palliative care could be done to treat Terry’s prostate cancer, yet life was settled, God’s presence closely felt, people supportive. Still, we were not prepared for Terry’s death, at home, early this week. Time of sorrow, grief; time of gratitude for the life Easter offers.
Terry, along with Ann, was an avid gardener. Flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables received their loving care, including a wonderful wisteria arbor that they nursed back to life.
I quote Thomas Moore in memory of Terry: “The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: the soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.” God rest Terry’s soul.
Prayer for Lent
The following prayer comes from a Lenten guide published by the Benefice of the Atlantic Coast Cluster of Churches in the Diocese of Truro–parishes of Crantock, Cubert, Perranzabuloe, St Agnes and Mount Hawke with Mithian. The prayer can be thought of corporately as well as individually.
A Prayer from the Northumbria Community
Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor, today I believe.
Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak, today I believe.
Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day;
and though I am anxious of heart, today I believe.
Lord, you have have always kept me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am, today I believe.
Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden, today I believe.
Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here, today I believe.
Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe;
and though you be silent now, today I believe.
The Lord bless me, and preserve me from all evil,
and lead me in the way of everlasting life. Amen.A Prayer from the Northumbria Community for living in challenging times
Forget-me-nots along a nearby street.