Friday 21 May 2021

A Flavour of St. Austell, Cornwall - 26 Photos

The subject is St. Austell for today's post. I remember when I moved  near to the town, back in 1975, it was a busy bustling place. I thought it was great. It had lots of 'proper' shops: greengrocers, butchers, a supermarket, departmental store, clothing outlets, pubs, restaurants and so on. A thriving town.

Somehow things changed and the town went downhill. I even heard people calling it St. Nasty.

But, hopefully, things are improving. St. Austell has some interesting bits and pieces, despite some of the shops being empty because of the coronavirus. But lets be optimistic. 

Lets see the good. There is some  interesting stuff in town, like the new Clay Planet sphere created by Marion Brandis - as shown in the photos above and below. This is made from local china clay (kaolin). 

China clay was known as white gold, as it made many wealthy and provided work for local people. The demise of the china clay industry had a detrimental effect on the town.

Let's look at some of the things to see in St. Austell. There are examples of ceramic art, often almost hidden away. One very big example is the honey bee mural below made up of over 11,000 handmade tiles.

And next we have 'As Below So Above' created by artist Matt Davis. The white signifies the local china clay. It looks a bit wobbly because it includes a mirror. There is more ceramic artwork later in the post.

St. Austell church, but more on this later.

As for shops in town, several have closed because of the coronavirus. But, as for the one below, would you go for a body piercing in a place called ouch! ?

At least there is up to 50% off at the next shop. Snag is it has closed down! Was previously a combined Burtons and Dorothy Perkins.

Back to ceramics, below are two photos of the 'Seed Bank' by Cleo Mussi.

Moving on to St. Austell's old Market House. It was being renovated at the time I snapped the photo, so only part of the building on display.

This is how it looked in the late 1800's.

Another photo of St. Austell church.

If we look down from the church pathway we can see the White Hart Hotel. This was originally the town house of Charles Rashleigh - born 1747. This is the 'Charles' as in Charlestown.

Also looking down from the church grounds we can see the Red Bank, completed in 1898, and constructed of red brick with terra-cotta detail.

Okay, while still in the church area something interesting, well two things. Firstly The Ancient Mengu Stone (or Men du). For details of the stone see my blog post here.

Secondly the hidden stone (below) from 1734 which states: Here lyeth the body of Mary Harris who died the 7th of June 1734 aged one and twenty. Full story on my blog post: The Mystery of the Hidden Stone Tablet at St.Austell Church 

Let's now go back to porcelain art. Here are a few more examples to be found in the town centre

Moving on to the new(ish) town square there are shops and a Costa for coffee.

Some of the poppies are porcelain.

If we meander back to the Fore Street we see a different side of the Clay Planet sphere I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Looks like the train from London has arrived.

Mustn't forget this mural by Janet Shearer with Daphne Du Maurier on the balcony. The people in the China Cafe are all residents who lived in or near St. Austell

So all in all St. Austell isn't too bad after all and look at all of the places we can visit nearby.

Gardens like 

Villages and Towns like

and various beaches of course and a coastal path and so on and so on.


That's it for today, thanks for visiting my blog.

Friday 14 May 2021

Truro Cathedral and White Feather Stories Which Comfort the Bereaved

This is Cornwall's cathedral in Truro. The foundation stones were laid by Edward, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall in 1880. The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary was finally completed in 1910.

On a recent visit to the cathedral I snapped a few photos.

While in the cathedral I noticed the poem, as below, titled The White Feather Sniper.
This made me smile as I have collected many stories about  white feathers over the years.

The stories I have collected all have the same theme: where people have seen white feathers following the death of a loved one.

I realise many will think of this as being in some sort of fairyland, but I have experienced this myself.

In a very short period of time, a few years back, three people very close to me died within a fifteen month period.

This was obviously a difficult time but my wife and I started seeing white feathers, completely out of the blue. They were mostly large fluffy feathers which often appeared when we were thinking of our loved ones. For some reason the white feathers brought us comfort.

Here are just three of the many white feather stories I have collected:

(1) My dear husband, Gene, passed away and ever since then I have found white feathers.

My grandson and I were sitting in the same place my Gene and I would sit in Church and a white fluffy feather landed between us. In the Spring my son took me to a major league ball game and down came a white feather. And it goes on and on. I'm making a collection of them.

 Just when I need a feather from Gene, down it comes. In my heart I know its the Lord and my Gene saying every things alright!

(2) When my mother died, it was the worst moment of my life. I was in tatters and, as silly as it sounds, I couldn't believe that she had really died.

At the funeral I was in bits as we stood around mother's grave. As I looked down at the coffin a large white feather fluttered down and settled on some flowers, on top of the coffin. A good friend said, "Look your mother is thinking about you." I wasn't sure what she meant but somehow it was as if I had pulled myself together. I stopped crying and felt at peace.

Over the next few days I saw other white feathers and I believe they were from mother telling me she was alright and I should get on with my life.

(3) My sister passed away very suddenly aged 17, a few years ago.

I had never seen a white feather in our house ever before, but they began appearing every single day for the first couple of weeks after she passed away. I wasn't very religious beforehand, but I definitely took it as a sign.

When it was time for me to leave my home a few weeks later, to go back to college, I found a gigantic white feather on my bag, and one stuck to the car door.

I'll leave it there with just the three stories, though I have dozens and dozens more.

It's a difficult, emotional time when a loved one dies and I guess we like to think that they live on.

When my mother died I found a poem in her purse - I feel she knew I would find it there. It was handwritten and I had no idea at the time who it was by. I have since learned that it was written by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, London. Here's the poem:

Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we are still.
Call me, by my old familiar name.
Speak to me,
in the the easy way you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
What is death, but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh
at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Thanks for reading today's blog, despite it being a little different to my normal posts. I'll finish with another photo of Truro Cathedral. 

Friday 7 May 2021

The Lost Gardens of Heligan - 30 Photos

The weatherman promised me a bright sunshiny day. I know he didn't mean to lie but ... well, that's what Tammy Wynette used to sing and that's what happened when we booked a time to visit Cornwall's Lost Gardens of Heligan. It was supposed to be sunny but it turned out quite cold with a sharp easterly wind and a colourless sky.

Such is life, but there were some wonderful rhododendrons on display at Heligan, as a consolation. 

Some of the rhododendron are very old. 

One specimen is claimed to be around 170 years old. It is thought to have been part of an 1851 expedition by Joseph Dalton Hooker.

Of course Heligan is not only rhododendrons, there are tulips and much more. 

We decided to head for the Jungle and the Lost Valley.

On our way there were a couple of lakes but nothing to get excited about.

We passed the Witches Hat. Actually it's a sculpture by the Cornish sculptor James Eddy. It is said to represent Growth & Decay.

Bamboo, now that's a bit more exotic, wonder what it is hiding.

A mixture of trees and ferns plus more rhododendrons in the background.

It's all getting a bit more mysterious.

Lots of Gunnera starting to grow now. I've heard some people describe it as giant rhubarb.

From the valley sides there are several places which lead down to small ponds or lakes. 

Here we are by a large pond and fern trees. You might be able to pick out some goldfish.

More water.

Heading into the Jungle's Fern Gulley - 3 photos.

Out of the jungle - more rhododendrons and also camellias.

Once out of the jungle refreshments are available, though it was a bit too chilly for most people to sit outside.

As we carried on walking we noticed the goose had found something of interest ...

... but it all got a bit confusing in the next photo.

The turkey was showing off his favourite finery. Actually there's something about turkeys that give me the collywobbles. Perhaps it's just because I'm vegetarian.

Ah, but the lamb gave me a nice smile. There are usually more farm animals to see.

From the animals we made our way to the Sundial Garden. A few other people had the same idea.

We found a seat and drank some of our coffee supply.

There is an unusual tree in the Sundial Garden - a Handkerchief Tree (Davidia Involucrata).

The tree originates from Szechwan in China and the seed was collected by Ernest Henry "Chinese" Wilson in 1905.

At the right time of the year the ball of small brown flowers flutter delicately in the wind - like silk pocket handkerchiefs.

We decided to make our way home, though there is still much more to see at the Lost Gardens of Heligan - and more rhododendrons.

All in all an interesting visit, even though we have visited Heligan many, many times.


My Garden in Cornwall

There still isn't much colour in our garden at the moment, here in Cornwall. I think Spring must have forgotten us.  On the opposite  ...