Cornwall Cogitation U-V

Post 18/2022 Thursday 28 April . . . With our stay in Cornwall ending soon, it’s hard to hold my weekly amble through the English alphabet to a trot rather than a gallop. Gasp. Tighten the reins. This is slow travel, after-all. As my father concluded after an extended family gathering (that included food, games, walks, stories, left-overs), “What’s next?”

What’s next, indeed, after the lexical conclusion of Cornwall Cogitation A-Z? Time will tell. Some hints at the end of this post.

Bluebells, bluebells, bluebells and sea

A midweek walk with the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society took us through Tehidy Country Park, near Camborne, and along the South West Coast Path. Twenty-five walkers, led by Kathy Fairey.
Lunch by the sea. We’re grateful for friends we’ve made through this walking group as well as through the Benefice of St Anta and All Saints and St Uny churches. Derek (far right) greeted us as friends from Elkhart, USA, where his prized Conn trumpet was manufactured. He still plays in a jazz group and has fond memories of his visits to New Orleans.
The Atlantic Ocean meets the coast of Cornwall.


From The Penguin Dictionary of British Natural History (1967, 1978) two short references. to U-V.

First, “Urchin. An old country name for the hedgehog.”

That’s a straightforward definition. a nod to natural–if not social–history. But what is a hedgehog? “Hedgehog (Insectivora: Erinaceus europaeus). A widespread small mammal, covered with spines, which rolls into a ball when disturbed.” Hey, hey, hey, let’s hear it for hedgehogs, I mean old country urchins!

Second, another word no longer in general use: “Vector. a carrier of disease or parasites.” The term applies to any animal, but usually pertains to insects (think mosquitos, ticks). Time to check the repellant supply. Is it still virile enough to vanquish the attack of a possibly virulent vector? Do you get the idea that “vector” could apply to humans, too? Time for a 4th jab to protect self and others. May more of those yet unprotected, of their own volition, decide to take the jab. Applause! Applause!

What do these have in common?

What do these titles have in common: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; The lion sleeps tonight; Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness? If you said music, you are correct. If you surmised that the titles relate to personal experiences, you’ve scored a “Yes!” If you have an inkling that the matters have something to do with equality, justice and freedom, you deserve a gold star.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

We saw the stage show at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. From the program notes: “This is the story of a 15-year-old youth who finds people difficult. So difficult that he has never left his street unaccompanied. And then one night something happens that leads him into the most extraordinary journey of his life.” The play reflects the ongoing conversations around understanding autism and neurodiversity, “ensuring that learning disabled and autistic creatives have a voice at all levels of our culture.”

Simon Stephens, who created the stage adaptation from the novel by Mark Haddon, writes, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a story about a deeply familiar world – a teenage boy’s life in an English suburb / – but it is told from the point of view of a boy with an exceptional mind. Christopher Boone sees truths about our world that we have never noticed before. The tensions between the deeply familiar and the exceptional is exhilarating.”

Exhilarating, indeed. I now want to read the book.

The lion sleeps tonight

The lion sleeps tonight is one of the songs sung by The Kerrier Male Choir in a joint concert with the St Ives Community Choir in aid of Ukrainian Response Appeal held at St Anta Church in Carbis Bay.

The Kerrier Male Choir, Janette Eathorne, director, Louise Lewin, accompanist, numbers included Jesus shall reign, Let it be, The lion sleeps tonight, Little Liza Jane, We will rise again, What shall we do with a drunken sailor, Come fly with me, and Homeless.

In 1939, African singer Solomon Linda wrote and recorded the original version of The lion sleeps tonight, titled Mbube, Zulu for lion. Only after his death did his estate receive his rightful royalties for the song.

The choirs joined in the concluding song, the Cornish national anthem, Trelawney.
The numbers sung by the St Ives Community Choir, William Thomas, director, Alison Ashby, accompanist, included Riversong, African Canticle, Here comes the sun, Dry bones Mama Mia and Like an eagle.

Come, ye faithful, raise the strain

On Sunday, we sang the hymn written by St John of Damascus (died c. 754) at St Anta Church. “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness; God hath brought his Israel into joy from sadness; loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters; led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.”


Each of these three artistic expressions deals with a burden lifted: one from a struggle for full inclusion in society, another for protection of a herd of cows from lions, and the third a hymn of gratitude for deliverance from slavery.

Long live inclusion, safety, justice, freedom.

What’s next?

Time will tell where this blog will head. I’m thinking of topics I’d like to address in a more exhaustive way (pray not exhausting). Thinking out loud, here’s a little list: Doing less, living more. Loving enemies. Tending friendships. Dealing with unfinished business. Facing prejudice. Efficacy of prayer. What mistakes have taught me. Growing older. Doing good. Legacy. Remembering those who have gone before. Church. Well-being. Poetry. Solace. Frustration. Varieties of freedom. Celebration. Food. Literature. Travel. Flowers of the field and garden. Wild life. Yes, climate and politics and religion. Dependency. Letting go. Taking risks. Hope. Cathedrals. Treading lightly. Gratitude.

That’s a partial list, not an outline. What I’m contemplating is to change from a weekly to a monthly posting, maybe less a journal and more a reflection–though with elements of both. Today’s post is number 344 since I started blogging. I’ve changed course before. What’s ahead has yet to take shape. I do appreciate comments and likes from readers online and in person. People have joined from around 16 countries. I’ve no fast schedule to make the change. Right now, Cornwall Cogitation keeps me on my toes, boots on. Your counsel welcome.

Best to you!


9 thoughts on “Cornwall Cogitation U-V

  1. Your stay here has gone quickly. When do you leave?? Have you time to pop in for a coffee??


    Mary Judkins 07807090898

    Team leader for Messy Church Goes Wild in Lelant

    Member of Messy Church national Advocacy Team (orange)

    Family Ministry Lead at Hope Community Church, Lelant.



  2. Thanks, John, it has been a delight to follow your walks and adventures through the countryside, musical venues, etc. Your ability to arrange words into interesting passages is such a gift. For many of us, writing takes time and energy, as your messages flow so easily. Keep us posted. Hubert and Mary Rittenhouse-Schwartzentruber


    1. Thank you, Mary, for your kind comments. I have a T-shirt that says, “Anywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” Maybe that could apply to writing, too: “Anything is writeable if you have the time.” Not the same, but maybe worth a smile. Best to you and Hubert!


  3. Thanks, John. Looks like you have about 2 more weeks in Cornwall if I follow your alphabet listing correctly. It appears to be a good sojourn this year but then I know you will enjoy the homecoming. We will look forward to seeing you sometime in the near future! We head back north on May 7.


    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



  4. The question raised daily, “where does the time go?” It just speeds by, better that than having it drag along. Enjoy your remaining weeks.


    1. Put on the brakes. Slow down. Stop and smell the roses. Fire up the grill. Retreat to the farm. Walk through the woods. Gab. Hasten the day!


  5. I applaud your brilliant 344 blog entries! We have walked miles and miles, vicariously with you and Marty. I look forward to your new venture in exploring topics with deeper reflection, however that may evolve. Enjoy your last days in Cornwall…safe travels home!


    1. Thank you, Ginger. Cornwall continues to elicit wonder and reflection–like from the open top bus trip we took on Saturday on mostly narrow roads, right here in west Cornwall. Beautiful, even if the wind was biting. Kudos to the bus drivers. Happy travels home for you, too!


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