Monday, 10 December 2012

A Cornwall blog for Patti

St Micheal's Mount just after dawn the other morning

I was asked to write a blog about Cornwall the other week for B&B colleague Patti in America who has started a new blog One Road at  a Time to gently cover Patti's own travel experiences and explore the world beyond the horizon. This morning I thought that perhaps you'd like to read it too!

Cornwall a land beyond the horizon

Come let me tell you something of my home in a far away corner of western Britain - Cornwall. Warmed by the gulf stream and almost inaccessible over the centuries to all but the most intrepid of travellers, its history swirls hidden by the veil of the present and takes form in the shape of the stone circles, ancient villages and fugous. The old memories tell of pixies, knockers and giants in times of distant magic and the Cornish language so strange and unpronounceable to English ears still lingers on to trap the unwary in the pronunciation of anything from road signs to field names. Take a drive through narrow roads that wind through farmyards, past low banks of warm soil decked with wild flowers, past field systems that have lain unchanged since the bronze age. As you drive you may notice the jutting granite engine houses that are all that remain of the industrial revolution that saw Cornwall in the forefront of tin, copper and silver mining; the jagged scars of a once tortured landscape clothed again now by nature as the miners bones lay entombed in the church yards. Young bold men who found they could drill faster "dry" than wet until the drills were known as the "widow makers" and the churchyards were full of such men in their thirties. Yet still Cornwall gave her innovations to the world, Humphrey Davy the inventor of the miners safety lamp, the miners who spread out around the world to America, Australia, South America with their knowledge of hard rock mining and then the mining was gone sliding away into the mists of time, generations only a memory

One of the many ruined Engine Houses that haunt
the landscape

Beyond the land the sea - always nearby in Cornwall, the county shaped almost as an island in its long narrow isolation bounded only by the sea To north and west and flanked by the River Tamar into England. Each coastal village with a harbour, great granite constructions to withstand the power of the turbulent ocean, where daily the men risked their lives to catch the fish and to this day the boats still set out from the harbours, risking all on the jagged granite coastline where the Atlantic rollers pound. The seas around here are a graveyard of ships over the centuries, never more so that the Isles of Scilly. The legends of ships lured to the rocks by bobbing lights still linger on - with just a hint of truth perhaps - as each Sunday the pastor may finish his prayers with "Dear lord keep them safe on the seas but if they founder let it be near here"

Charles took this one on a sunny spring day as we  walked beside
a traditional fishing cove - Cadgwith

To this day Cornwall can be warm and somnolent, holding the warmth and moisture to her bosom and encouraging great valley gardens to be made, often with the profits of the shipping industry and many are still nurtured to this day.

Cornwall with the bright inspiring light that drew artist to work here, forming The St Ives School and the Penzance and Newlyn School. Cornwall to this day is a magnet to artist and crafts men who come to live simply in the little stone cottages tucked into the hillsides or clinging to the harbours. And now we have foodie Cornwall where the young chefs come to make their names competing with each other to prepare the freshest local vegetables and freshly landed fish in artfully designed restaurants to woo the visitor.

Cornwall my Cornwall, a county to haunt the soul.

About Christine and Charles

I live and work in the far west of Cornwall at Ednovean Farm Perranuthnoe, in a 17 century barn overlooking Mounts Bay, with the jewel of St Micheal's Mount never far from our view. We have been welcoming guests from around the world to our AA five star gold Bed and Breakfast for twenty one years now. Our home has slowly evolved over this time, as we worked our way through a trio of farm buildings to make the home that you see today. One of the earliest references that I could find for our home, was in an early Tithe map in the county records office, that referred to it as "Cot House Town Place" with a dwelling house opposite to it. Well, the dwelling house has long since disappeared and the County Librarian was of the opinion that the word "Cot" came from the West Saxon language, so who knows what things the stones of my walls have seen.

The entry in the Book that accompanies the Tithe map

We renovated our barn over a year prior to our marriage and Charles carried me through the door on our wedding day! Slowly over the years we have created three en suite bedrooms, two with French doors to private sitting areas and the third with a romantic hand carved four poster bed. For the gardens we started in the old farmyard before working our way out across a natural terrace on the top of the hillside, overlooking the sweep of Mounts Bay, finally landscaping an acre and a half of garden starting with the Mediterranean style courtyards and formal parterres, that leading to sweeps of lawns and Italian Gardens, all guarding secret private corners for my guest to find, to while away the afternoon with a book.

And on the farm? We have imported and Pura Raza Espanola Stallion, Danilon, from Madrid in Spain and we have bred him with our thoroughbred mares to produce a Spanish Sports horse - we are just about to start training the first of his offspring so I'm very excited!

For more information about our home find our website
Our Blog The Ednovean Diaries
or find us on Facebook

Some useful links about Cornwall