Saturday, 12 November 2016

Climbing up to The Cheesewring

Eleven years ago, I was told that I needed a replacement knee, after complaining of lots of pain in my right knee when walking - and afterwards. 
My name eventually came to the top of the surgeon's list and I was told that I would have my operation within a few months.  However . . . it was to be at a hospital where MRSA was a huge problem: wards had been closed and patients were being infected and leaving hospital in a much worse state than when they went in. In some cases, MRSA proved fatal. 
So guess what?  I cancelled my operation. 
A few months ago, I decided that the time had come to investigate the possibility of having this replacement knee, before the Government decided that anyone over a certain age would no longer be eligible for such operations and before my symptoms got so bad that I could no longer walk.
But I needed to have one last fling with the knees I already have! 
So from Minions village I set out along the old railway track that was used in the 19th century to transport granite from the Cheesewring Quarry and eventually down to the port of Looe where it was sent all over the British Isles and further afield. Did you know that Tower Bridge in London, completed in 1894, is constructed of Cheesewring granite? 

 The views from up there are far-reaching and on a clear day the sea can be seen in St.Austell bay.

Nearing the summit, I left the track and took a narrow path which circles around the Cheesewring pile of rocks; at this point it has the deep quarry on one side and a steep drop on the other with plenty of boulders to clamber over.

A small detour led to Daniel Gumb's Cave; Daniel Gumb was a stone-cutter and mathematician who lived the life of a hermit in this cave with his wife, to avoid paying taxes.  They had a large family here but sadly many of the children died young. A son and a grandson of Daniel were coppersmiths in a nearby village in the mid-eighties.

Looking down into the quarry - the railway track can be seen leading in between walls of granite to eventually end at the quarry face. 

 Almost there!
The Cheesewring wasn't man-made; it was caused by erosion of the soil around these rocks leaving them exposed.
The lower rocks can't be seen in this photo, but the astonishing thing is that they are all smaller than the huge, heavy ones above and it seems impossible that the whole structure hasn't collapsed long ago.  At one time, the blasting in the quarry threatened to topple it, but it was saved by locals protesting and insisting that blasting close to it was stopped. 
 Of course, the local wildlife has to appear in my photos; I was intrigued by the black ears on this creamy-coloured cow, then she looked up and . . . .
 . . . . I found that she has a black nose as well! 

A long-horned cow caught my attention and I waited patiently to get a good shot, but she didn't look too friendly as she started to walk towards me, so I scarpered! 

I felt quite chuffed that I had managed this walk without too much bother, although I was glad to reach the car park at the end and even gladder to reach home. 
Now I have a date for my Replacement Knee operation; feeling a bit nervous but it will be good to be able to walk without pain.  I also need to get much better organised than usual in the matter of buying Christmas presents, writing and posting cards and any other Christmas arrangements. There are December birthdays due as well.
Roll on 13th December! 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

An Autumn Ramble by the River Lerryn

October has been such a wonderful month regarding the weather - sunshine and blue skies almost every day and with little or no rain; I can't remember when I last had to water my garden containers regularly throughout this autumn month.  And even now, in November, I'm still having to mow the lawns!
On one such day, I visited Lerryn, a picturesque village with its stepping stones across the river and beautiful woodland walks on both sides; this time my walk was along the nearside bank and up through the woods. It's a shame the tide was low, revealing the mud-flats, because the best views of Lerryn are probably when the tidal river is running high, but all the beautiful Autumn colours are definitely looking good right now.

This huge hedge intrigued me - so high and thick, it must take real dedication to keep it so closely trimmed.

Just one of the pretty cottages with a small but equally pretty garden. 

Zooming in on the trees on the opposite bank.

The exposed mud at low tide offers tasty titbits for the wading birds; here a gull and a Little Egret forage for food.

 Just as the entrance to a private property appears, a sharp turn left takes us up through the woods.

At the end of a rather steep climb, the path split - one way curved enticingly round and upwards to the left but I had no idea where it led, or to the right the path started dropping slowly towards the riverside again. Hmmmmm . . I chose to take the easier path downwards - until the gentle slope changed to a steep descent which I decided would be too much of a challenge for my knees!
So I retraced my steps and walked back into the heart of the village where the famous stepping stones were exposed by the low state of the river. However, I resisted the somewhat childish urge to skip gaily across to the other bank, because I just knew that I would slip on the wet mud and end up on my backside in the water!

 And so on to the adjoining little hamlet of Couch's Mill - what a very pretty place it is, too.

 And finally - Caspar, my son and daughter-in-law's cat, who has settled very well into retirement in Cornwall! They are moving from Warwickshire to Cornwall and he is here with me while their new home is found.
This little patch of garden, in the sunlight, is his current snoozing spot!

If he looks a bit cross in this last photo, it's because he was sleeping peacefully until I called him for his photo-shoot.  Sorry, Caspar!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Rambler Returns.

I'm afraid that losing my wonderful companion, Zac, shook me a lot and my blogging mojo just disappeared.  Walks seemed pointless without him by my side so I became quite reclusive, keeping to my home and garden, even ordering groceries online because I couldn't face meeting people.
However, a few weeks after he died, my son, daughter-in-law and grandson came to stay with me for several days; we went out and about and just having their company was the best antidote to my depression and they pulled me up from the doldrums. The best news was that they had decided to move to Cornwall permanently; they love this county and it will be good for us all to live closer together (my youngest son lives just a few miles away too.)

If anyone is still out there to read my blog, I ask forgiveness for my absence and promise to 'try harder' in future, get out there and take photos.

In September, I booked a small apartment in St Agnes parish, on the north coast of Cornwall, in a little hamlet called Skinner's Bottom - Cornwall has some fantastic place names, doesn't it? During my time there, I discovered some lovely beaches that I'd never visited before despite several previous holidays in St Agnes (probably because they didn't allow dogs . . . ) 

The view of rural serenity from my holiday home; just the sound of birds and occasional clip clop of a horse being ridden along the lane. Just what I needed!

This is Portreath, a lovely sandy beach in a steep valley; the granite wall on the right is to protect the little harbour.  In the storms of 2014, the small white pepperpot building was destroyed but has since been rebuilt. 

Looking down from the steep cliffs above the village and car park

I also went to Godrevy beach and lighthouse - made famous by Virginia Woolfe's book "To The Lighthouse" -  another outpost of the north coast that bears the brunt of fierce storms lashing in from the Atlantic.  But on a quiet September afternoon it can seem deceptively peaceful - don't be fooled; the small stretch of low tide sand connecting it to Gwithian beach disappears in a flash when the tide comes back in. 

An old stone gate on the coastal path

 and a beautiful, wildflower-covered stone wall

 Admiring the view

Hope you enjoyed some of the views of my short break - there are more to come, I promise. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Garden House

I visited this lovely 10-acre garden with my son and daughter-in-law when they were here to visit me.  We had intended going to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, but after enjoying a lazy morning and a leisurely breakfast at an outside table of our village Farm Shop, we realised that we hadn't enough of the day left to do it justice - Heligan needs a full day.  So we cut down our travelling time by going to The Garden House at Buckland Monochorum in Devon and enjoyed ambling along the pathways through the themed areas of this cosier, undemanding place instead.
As I used to live in nearby Horrabridge, I have been to this garden many times, often with a thermos, sandwiches, fruit and a book - to sit on 'my' bench in the little walled garden. (If anyone was already sitting there, I confess to lingering nearby, casting irritated looks their way until they felt it best to move on!)
But my son and daughter-in-law had never been before and absolutely loved it.
These first photos were taken by my son, on his phone, and are of far better quality than I could manage with my camera, so my thanks to you, son. xx
You'll see the difference when I post mine!

I apologise for these 'sideways' photos - no matter how I try to edit them, I can't get them the right way up!

I can do this - !!!!!

And now with my own camera . . . .

 Oh look!  Upright trees!

I love Acers but they are not at their most colourful best until October; all being well, I shall be back then to see and photograph much more vibrant colours.

 'MY' seat, claimed with my rucksack while I take photos.  

It was a hot, sultry afternoon and I wish I could convey the sounds of birdsong and the low humming of many bees as they busied themselves about the garden.
Our final stop was at the house, for tea and cake served on the terrace.