open the curtains

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


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Just Around the Corner

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. Continue reading

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Gylly and Me

Here’s something from the archives with a beachy theme and variable weather conditions – sort of appropriate for the August this year’s meteorology has served us I thought? It’s a series of snapshots of my relationship with my local beach during my time as an undergraduate several years ago now in Falmouth. Perhaps I should do a sequel some time? I’ve even managed to dig out some actual snapshots to go with. Comments and suggestions welcome as always.

I gravitated towards the beach for reassurance: not so much for the comfort of the familiar, but for the solidarity gleaned from feeling that familiarity with the place was imminent. I looked forward to learning what those rocks were, why there was so much seaweed, and why the sand made the soles of my feet so white that my pasty skin looked tanned in comparison. Continue reading


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Retrospective: 2014 in 14

This seemed to work quite well last year so here’s this year’s shot at a little recap of 2014 in 14 sentences with 14 photos I’ve taken during the course of the year. If you click on the first image you can read the text alongside the pictures as you scroll through if you prefer.

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Coastlining 10.2: Falmouth – Helford Passage

Date: 9th May 2014         Distance walked: 8 miles         Height climbed: ~1175 ft

2014.05.09  (5) Falmouth

It is light by the time I return to Swanpool, not bright daylight, but a cotton-grey pre-dawn that retires any expectations of an exciting sunrise to make up for the non-sunset of last night. As I reach the beach I look back over my shoulder and can see a blush behind the cloud cover. Crossing the road over the bar between beach and pool I make my way uphill and veer off-road and on-path towards the little patch of woodland on Pennance Point. Turning round at the highest point of the hill I survey the view I’m so familiar with, seeing it with fresh eyes for the first time at daybreak. Continue reading


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Coastlining 10.1: Falmouth

[Pendennis Peninsula to Swanpool]                 Date: 8th May 2014    Distance walked: ~2miles

I leave the house half an hour before sunset and walk through the quiet residential streets of Falmouth town and up onto the headland that curls out southeastwards into the Fal Estuary. The road passes high above the docks which shelter in the northern lee of this spit of land where the water is deep, tidal and yet protected from the moods of the open sea. Continue reading


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Coastlining 9: Portscatho – St Anthony Head

Date: 3rd May 2014        Distance walked: 6.2 miles        Height climbed: 919 ft

2014.05.03  (3)

New boots squeak clean. Residents greet me like a local as I make my way back through the village of Portscatho along the road above the harbour that leads to a dead end that leads to a stile that leads to the coast path. It’s been raining and everything looks and feels and smells very green. The first hillslope outside the village is covered in rows and rows of posts and tubes for young trees – part of the Diamond Wood plantation I believe – the sprouting heads of which are just beginning to peek out of the tops of the tubes like forced rhubarb. It’s hard to imagine what this will look like covered in woodland, apart from completely different. I keep my wool layer on and shove my hands in my pockets. The dew and rain-damp beads on the glossy leather of my new walking boots like a chocolate bar taken straight from the fridge into a warm kitchen. I’ve been wearing them in at home and for short strolls in the evenings. It’s a short and easy walk today: a smooth mud-ribbon of a path over a low gently undulating coastline, heading homeward for me. Continue reading


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False Lights

A Tale of Salvaging History from the Wreck of Cultural Myth

picture credit: BBC’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ (2014) fictional wreckers on location at Holywell Bay

Despite having lived in Cornwall for a while now I am still intrigued by the romanticism suggested by its rugged coastline and find myself drawn to the fantastic stories that accompany it. Here is a landscape that lends itself to adventure. To someone raised on a literary diet that began, pre-school, with Captain Pugwash, leading on – via Swallows and Amazons – to Daphne du Maurier’s gothic coastal romances involving shipwrecks, plunder and bodice-ripping encounters with pirates, every cove is a smugglers’ haven, every cliff path a desire line worn in through years of wreckers wreaking mischief with their lanterns on stormy nights. Barrels and caskets stacked in a sea cave above high water mark. Brandy for the Parson, ’baccy for the Clerk. Curtains drawn over the lighted windows of a nearby village. What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over: so watch the wall my darling…  Continue reading