Down the river path from St Gluvius towards Flushing sun was glazing the water of the incoming tide as it swilled up the estuary towards Penryn Bridge. Spring, I thought, is just around the corner.
I’ve felt that a few times the past few days. Since the cold snap last weekend when a beastly easterly snagged up waves on the usually calm Carrick Roads and knifed its way in through the gaps in both casements and clothing, things have taken a turn for the better, and there have been a couple of moments where I’ve caught a sense of something springy in the milder breeze.
There were sporadic daffodils in the treeline between path and river. At the cemetery crocuses were patching the muddy sward with lilac. I saw a clump of primrose. Snowdrops in the sun. Catkins tasselling bare tree branches.
Round the corner the muddy ponies had their coats on and were lying down with their noses resting on the floor. A buzzard mewed overhead like a lost cat. He appeared, like a huge brown and cream moth, low over the field, harassed by clacking jackdaws.
A smattering of violets stopped me in my tracks. Round the bend in the shoreline where the path dips down onto the rivermud the white shape of an egret.
At Flushing the view opened out to the Fal estuary and the white pillar of the lighthouse on the far headland. The sea horizon was invisible in a haze that blended air and water, the dulled outline of a tanker awaiting bunkering in the bay suspended somewhere between sky and sea. The light blinked on over at St Anthony’s Head. And off. White gulls. White swans on the river estuary.
A fresh catch in brimful plastic crates on Flushing quay: pewter grey fish of all sizes, eyes still so bright I half expected them to start flipping around in their plastic boxes. Gills like red feathers. A great long smoothhound on top of the last crate eliciting cries of a shark! It’s a shark! from a couple of girls waiting for the ferry.
Back home a jug of Cornish sunshine on the windowsill. Maybe I’ve already turned that corner.
I loved the tales of Frog and Toad as a child, the simple storylines with their repetitions and the comedic duo of ever-cheerful Frog and pessimistic Toad. In one tale, Toad is depressed by the lengthening winter and dodgy weather. Frog cheers him up with tea and cake (obvs) and a recounts how his father told him when he was small – not much bigger than a tadpole – that spring was just around the corner. As children often do, young Frog took his dad a bit too literally and went looking round every corner to try and find spring.
I found this delightful recording of Frog and Toad author Arnold Lobel reading aloud. Also discovered that not only was Mr Lobel American, but that Americans call tadpoles pollywogs…
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Walking Brown: This walk was the brown of a good loaf, rustic, wholesome, wholemeal, full of flavour and basic goodness. If you like mud, bare trees, seaweed and the sound a curlew makes then read more about the river walk from St Gluvius to Flushing and onwards here.