Tuesday, 5 October 2010

October Sunset

Sunset over the north coast of Cornwall
     The dark early evenings of October bring their compensations.


 Summer slips irrevocably into Autumn. Colours fade to shades of brown; the sun rises slowly and casts long morning shadows. Evenings draw in; the blackberries ripen. On calm days the mist rolls in from the sea. Children return to school; campsites empty; cafes close.

 I think wistfully of this time last year when my time on the Professional Writing course at University College Falmouth was all before me.
Come 10th September this year it was over - apart from the results - and now another group of hopefuls is preparing for their initiation.

On the coast path I encounter my friend Reg who tells me there were two Croydon power stations, and when I last wrote about him I had him working at the wrong one. Sorry Reg; I seem to apologise to you a lot. I also met Alistair with his gentle rescued racing greyhound Preacher Boy, and a young family with their excitable dog, Daisy.

The countryside exhales, and settles down to see what winter will bring.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Where did August go? I continued to walk, but only in the gaps between working on my MA degree project - a novel and an accompanying essay. Now that the work has been handed in I can take a breath.
I've always thought August is a strange month; it should still be high summer, but there is a hint of autumn; of things swelling to ripeness and beyond, of days shortening and evenings becoming cooler. That feeling of a season coming to an end was particularly appropriate this year as my studies at University College Falmouth came to a climax. On the one hand I had the intense enjoyment of almost 24 hour involvement in the writing of my story ( my brain was sifting ideas even at night) but on the other the knowledge that it would, very soon, all be over.

Monday, 26 July 2010


My heart is not in my walking at the moment.
Often during the last couple of years I have been accompanied on walks by a Jack Russell called Sammy. She came to me after her previous elderly owner became ill, and was already elderly herself, although no one knew exactly how old.                           
 Last week she died.
Sammy and me on Tregonning Hill

She was hard of hearing, couldn't see very well, and had arthritic hips - but she got under my skin and into my heart within minutes of our first meeting.
She regarded it as her duty to be wherever I was. Now she can rest. Her job is done.
As for me, I am cycling along the coast road and back through the woods. Avoiding the grassy path along the cliffs where we used to dawdle in the sunshine; pedalling furiously past the places we loved to share; the rushing wind whisking away the sad thoughts, and bringing tears to my eyes.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Reg, Bob and Toby

Strolling along the cliff path in the sunshine I meet more of the 'regulars' - Reg Hughes and his Border Terriers. Reg is looking so dapper in his sunhat that  I can't resist taking a photograph -pity it's not very good. Sorry about that Reg. I hope you'll let me try again when we meet next.
We had been walking in opposite directions; me towards Godrevy, and Reg towards Portreath, but he turns around (the dogs don't mind which direction they go in so long as they're out and about with him) and we walk along together for a while.

Reg is a man with lots of tales to tell.
His first job was as a farm boy with 'British Boys for British Farms' (a YMCA scheme that began in 1932).
Later he became an engineer, and worked at Croydon Power Station (only its towers remain now - it's been replaced by an IKEA store).
Later still he was with the Royal Naval Reserve, and almost got stuck on the Dogger Bank while towing a trawler.

When he moved to Cornwall, Reg says, he promised himself that he would walk by the sea every day; judging by his twinkling blue eyes and tanned face it's doing him good. Bob and Toby look happy too.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Midsummer evening

I love these evenings when at 10pm it's still light enough to go for a walk. 

The sky to the north-west is a palette of pastel colours.

Cream heads of parsley glow amongst the silhouettes of tall, blunt-headed grasses. Light from the sinking sun drapes the cliff edges in diaphanous purple.

To the south the moon has risen in a cold, pure sky.

The sea is milk in a saucer.

Friday, 18 June 2010

St Columb's Broth

Even the stinging nettle has tassles of flowers at this time of year. They change from cream to red/brown as they age.
According to the recipe created by an Irish monk which appears at page 68 of Flora Brittanica (R. Mabey. Sinclair- Stevenson, London 1996) the young leaves of nettles should be picked before the end of June. Boil them. Drain and chop. Reheat with water and milk. Add oats or oatmeal and thicken. Serve with toast, grated cheese or a soft-boiled egg.
It sounds quite tasty.