open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like

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The Trouble with Ruins


Glastonbury Abbey – the Abbey House from the ruins of St Mary’s Chapel

Rain was spotting as we descended from the summit of Glastonbury Tor. By the time we got back into the town it was raining properly, presenting the conundrum of where to eat lunch. I suggested we had for the abbey, much to the protestation of Cee who was convinced they wouldn’t let us eat sandwiches inside the abbey despite my attempts to persuade her that it would be more ruins than anything else. The trouble with ruins is, though, that there’s not much shelter from the rain. Continue reading



Summer Still October

October’s here. Let’s dress for the weather – you’ll need that scarf. Bright is the blue of sky and sea and creek; fat are the clots of cloud like overwhipped cream piled up over the inland sky and far dispersed to the distance over the coast. Too bright the colours; too sharp the shadows. Not yet the autumn glow Continue reading

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Effigy of a Country Churchyard




A vignette from the archives on theme of churches.

As it was set in early January I could only connect church with Christmas.

So I wrote about cake, as you do.


Two days until Christmas and the snow is just the icing on the cake.  Literally.  Outside the snow has mostly melted away or compacted to a slippery brown fudge, much less festive than the sugar and egg-white idyll of the traditional family Christmas cake.  The scene is set with a plaster polar bear peeping out from frosty model trees at the foot of a marzipan hill.  The hill is crowned with a two-inch plaster effigy of a church with a red brick square tower and bright stained glass windows in a creamy rendered nave.

A couple of miles away stands the real thing, postcard perfect on its hill-on-a-hill, though thankfully without any bears in the woods.  Continue reading

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River Fal 11: All Things Wise and Wonderful

– Turnaware Point to St Just-in-Roseland (where?)

The sea suddenly looks very close at hand as the river rounds its bend below Trelissick’s South Wood, with the channel nearing a mile in width for most of the way now from here to the official river mouth. Green buoys shaped like bells mark the deepwater channel, and now the tide’s going out you can see why Turnaware Point is given so much leeway: an underwater rock bar stretches out from the edge of the headland that in a few hours time will be completely dry. Some people are already wading out on it, probably trying to reach a boat that’s run aground there. Providing it hasn’t damaged its hull on the rocks it will probably be fine until next high tide in about eight and a half hours when there will be enough water to set it to rights.

A great black backed gull floats past, so I must be right about it being sea now as unlike their townie cousins the herring gulls these hefty beasts rarely come far inland. The afternoon light brings out the summer colours of the Roseland: jewel bright greens set against the holiday blue of the water. Wrapped bales in a mown field on the side of the valley look like black cows grazing. Everything seems sharper, like the focus has been pulled on the world. Continue reading

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River Fal 4: Mylor Church Haven

Trefusis to Mylor (where?)

Rounding the bend past Trefusis Point the water is momentarily hidden behind a thick border of trees and I’m startled by a sharp snap followed by voices seemingly close by. A handful of yachts are passing, the wind catching the slack in the sails and rolling through them like stage thunder with the crew hurrying to pull them taught again as they go about. One boat seems blown so far over in the water it looks like it might be about to capsize, but its handlers clearly know what they’re doing and are just making the most of a choppy wind to make a sharp turn. It’s Falmouth Week, and the daily regattas mean there are more sailing craft on the water than usual: over 450 yachts, dinghies, keelboats and traditional vessels racing over eight days in the Carrick Roads and Falmouth harbour. It’s the biggest regatta in the south west and lands over 80,000 extra visitors on Falmouth and the surrounding area during this week compared to the rest of August.

The Restronguet Sailing Club at Mylor is predictably packed with well-funded holiday makers looking like walking-talking adverts for Musto and Joules in their co-coordinated his-and-hers clothing ranges. The marina circling around in this sheltered bay off the Carrick Roads has over 400 moorings, and it will be used as the practice site for the Olympic sailing later this year. Known as Mylor Yacht Haven, but labelled Mylor Churchtown on the map, the two are fairly accurate pointers to the main attractions of this village. I find the dense concentration here of all things yachting a little daunting, so I head for sanctuary in the churchyard.

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