Saturday 12 September 2020

Visiting Cornwall's Eden Project During Covid-19

We went to Cornwall's Eden Project with our son and family. The first time I've been since the coronavirus. It was all very organised - probably a bit too organised for my taste but I guess this is what we have to expect nowadays.

Eve appeared to be quite relaxed about everything.

I only snapped a few quick photos as it was a family outing.

On the way to the biomes we saw Turvey the Turtle who eats plastic bottle.  

Nearly forgot, Adam was at work. Obviously there has to be an Adam where there is an Eve.

We wandered though the Rain Forest Biome.

A few flowers about ...

... and saw the waterfall.

We also went into the Mediterranean biome but I only snapped the one photo.

The biomes from the outside.

We moved on to the Core building and the enormous ceramic sculpture which ejects vapour rings. Children (and some adults!) like to see if they can catch the vapour rings before they disappear.

The sculpture pays homage to one of the world's smallest, but most important organisms: cyanobacteria. They represent the earliest form of life on Earth.

The next two photos are from a film about the exhibit. I think the second photo looks like a rabbit - the great rabbit of the sky

We then meandered back to our cars. All in all the Covid-19 adjustments are well done but, somehow, Eden didn't feel quite the same - but, I guess neither does life in general nowadays.

Kindly note: All visitors to the Eden Project must now pre-book a time slot in advance of each visit. This includes Members, Passholders, and those who can visit for free. And don't forget your masks.

Other Eden Project Posts:

Thanks for your visit to my blog.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

The China Clay Industry in Cornwall

The china clay industry in Cornwall was known as White Gold at its peak. It created great wealth - for some. Sadly the industry isn't what it was. China clay can now be produced more cheaply in other parts of the world.

It's now hard to imagine that in 1988 the industry produced, 3,277,00 tones of china clay. This was exported all over the world.

Back in the early 1900's half of the worlds china clay was produced in Cornwall. T

The china clay industry took off when William
Cookworthy (1705 - 1780) discovered kaolin (china clay) in 1745. It was later realised that the clay bearing area stretched over 25 square miles.

China clay, as the name suggests, is used for fine china and ceramics but has other uses too. It is used as an ingredient in the likes of glossy paper, toothpaste, cosmetics, paint, rubber tyres, paracetamol and so on.

The photo above and below were taken at the Wheal Martyn Clay Museum. Lee Moor No. 1 was built for a 4 feet 6 inches gauge railway / tramway and was used to transport china clay across Dartmoor to Plymouth Quays.

There are signs of the clay industry all around the St. Austell area. Even the small river, known locally as the White River, is coloured by the china clay.

There are various deserted buildings from the industry dotted about.

There are lakes, once used for washing the clay, which are now considered as dangerous. Some have a beautiful blue-green hue.

Mountains or hills - some are known as pyramids - have been made from the waste material of the china clay industry

A china clay works still in operation.

The final three photos show factories and buildings used within the china clay industry.

I was interested to discover that there is enough supply of kaolin - china clay - to last well over another one hundred years.

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Sunday 6 September 2020

The Mysterious and Magical Men-an-Tol Stones in Cornwall


My photo above is of the Men-an-Tol stones in Cornwall, sometimes referred to as the Crick Stone or the Devil's Eye. They are claimed to have magical properties.

Some say they have a fairy or piskey guardian who can make miraculous cures. In one case a changeling baby was put through the hole in the stone in order for the mother to get her real child returned. Evil pixies had exchanged her child, and the ancient stones were able to reverse their spell.

Changeling babies are often mentioned in ancient tales. They are typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, elf or other legendary creature which has been secretly left in place of a human child.

Getting back to the stones themselves, they are believed to be from the Bronze age and, if this is correct, would mean they are over 3500 years old. As to what they actually are or signify is debatable. They may once have been part of a stone circle, which would have given it a ritual significance or, alternatively, they could have been part of a burial chamber, the hole being for access.

The ancient stones have much folklore attached to them. With the obvious feminine symbolism it is claimed that if, on a full moon, a woman passes through the hole backwards  seven times she will become pregnant.

Men-an-Tol is said to heal many ills. It was famous in olden times for curing scrofula (lymphatic tuberculosis) and rickets in children. The children were passed naked three times (or some say nine) through the hole to effect the cure. 

Seemingly adults can gain relief from bad backs by crawling through the opening nine times. 

Radiation levels around the inside edges of the hole are quoted as being nearly twice of that found in the background environment, maybe this has some significance.

Men-an-Tol has been used for telling the future. In 1856 Robert Hunt wrote that the holed stone could answer any question. Two brass pins would be laid crosswise on top of each other on the stone. The pins would move by themselves, dependent on the question asked.

Rituals may also have taken place here, with the hole aligning to other ancient sites, or as a window into other worlds or dimensions. It has been suggested that passing through the stone may have signified a ritual re-birthing process - perhaps performed as a rite of passage or to ensure fertility.

Whatever mysteries the stones hold, it is a magical place.

Where to find Men-an-Tol:
Morvah Road, Bosullow, Penzance TR20 8NU

Thursday 3 September 2020

21 Bird Photos - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The theme is birds today. Above is a pheasant and below ... ah, bless! Such a heart wrenching  bedraggled little fellow. Somehow though he hopped away and was soon out of sight

Another robin, they are one of my favourite birds, so friendly. We often get one or two in our garden and they seem fearless in a friendly way.

Next we have a fine gentleman, with such shiny feathers. He was quite friendly, as he rounded up his hens.

I'm not great at snapping bird photos, this one is a little hazy but I liked his determination to get a peanut. He swung too-and-fro for quite a while before he succeeded.

This photo was taken when the leaves were bare.

A couple of swallows - one swallow doesn't make a summer, as the saying goes.

Living in Cornwall we see lots of gulls. This one was by the bus station in Truro ready to pounce on anyone carrying chips, pasties or whatever. They can be quite scary when they swoop down to steal food.

Okay, it's not a real bird but is situated by the Fowey River, near to where Daphne du Maurier lived. She wrote the book which was turned into a classic Hitchcock film: Birds.

A duck on a rainy day, he seems captivated by his reflection, as if wondering 'who is the fairest of them all'.

Next, the part about birds which isn't so nice. This was what we saw in our garden. Sad to view, but it's the way nature works.

After seeing the previous two photos it's no wonder that some birds, such as this owl, prefer to be well camouflaged 

Another photo of one of my favourites.

I've often see this swan on guard duty by the slip way at Mevagissey harbour.

Next something a little more exotic, roul partridge, seen in the Rain Forest biome at Cornwall's Eden Project.

Another photo taken at the Eden Project, this time in the Mediterranean biome.

The next three photos were taken in the Canary Islands last year. The first two fascinate me. They are often called Upside Down birds. If you look at the second photo he does look like he's upside down. The real name is the Hoopoe bird.

Oh, and this was also snapped in the Canary Islands, taken from the balcony of the Hotel where we were staying.

And swiftly back to Cornwall. This beauty can be seen in a backstreet behind Fore Street in St. Austell. 

That's all for today, thanks for the visit. All good wishes.

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