Catching Your Death

Angel Gravestone, St Willow  Cornwall, Photo Credit, Elizabeth HarperDuring my teen years I was always being told to put on a coat because like most young people, I almost never wore one when I was going out. No amount of wheedling or the many times I heard, ” You’ll catch your death,”  had any impact and my coatless habit continued into adulthood until six years ago when I moved to England.

Living in a place where the weather can change in minutes and we walk more most days than we drive, I quickly learned that a good coat particularly one that is waterproof is as necessary as a decent pair of wellies when you live in a place where you may get your feet wet even on a dry day.

I know that one doesn’t catch cold from getting caught in the rain, but after our day out with friends I woke up with a sore throat that turned into a nasty head and chest cold. I’d intended to post some photos from our Monday walk on Tuesday, but today is the first day I’ve felt up to it.

The funny thing about getting sick after getting a good drenching is that I was actually wearing a coat.

Even with the rain we had a great time out on our first coast path walk with Cathy and John who live within walking distance of our house. We’ve known them since we met in the village pub on quiz night about five years ago and we finally made a date to do a long walk. Monday was actually a second date as our first choice was rained out. The weather was supposed to be iffy, but having changed the date once we decided to risk it.

After a hearty lunch in Polruan, we felt sufficiently full of carbs to combat the grey sky and the rain that was beginning to sprinkle so we headed briskly out of the village.

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Here’s one of ‘my John’ with Cathy. Notice how John has only the beginnings of a beard … he shaved it off for the bare-faced selfie drive a few weeks ago to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

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Once we walked into Polruan for lunch there was nothing we could do but walk back in the rain. We made the best of it laughing and  joking that Cathy and John would never come back out with us if this was our idea of a good time.

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I asked Cathy’s permission before posting these two photos of her. I thought they were too cute not to so I’m glad she was a good sport. She was not expecting to be slip sliding up and down the coast so her boots were not the best on the muddy path and she had to do a balancing act to get up the hill near Lantic Bay. I like her technique.

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Here we are at the top of a steep and slippery, long hill. Once we reached this point we were only a few fields away from the place where left the car and the relief is showing on our wet faces. John and I don’t usually do long walks in the wind and rain especially along the coast so this was really a first for us. (John said to speak for myself regarding this being a first, but it was a first for us together on the coast path)

The next time we go back with Cathy and John we’ll aim for a sunny day, but only after I shake off this cold and consider a better coat.

How about you … have you done any weather be damned activities lately?

Sweet Indulgence – A Key Lime Pie Birthday In Cornwall

Key Lime Pie In England - John Winchurch

I’ve always been a cake fan when it comes to birthdays, but after last week, I think some of the best birthdays may be those that begin and end with pie. Such was our day last Friday when we had a breakfast of coffee and homemade Key Lime pie for John’s birthday.

Later on we split a slice for a snack and then finished off the rest of the pie after a lovely dinner at the recently revamped St Mabyn Inn which is definitely going to be one of our new go to places in Cornwall.

In between our marathon pie moments we went out for a bit of exercise and managed to visit Trerice, one of our favorite local National Trust properties for a walk and a bite of lunch, (but no pie) as well as a seaside visit in the afternoon to the beach at Bedruthan Steps. 

We took loads of pictures if you want to have look through to see what a warm day in late September looks like in Cornwall.

Trerice, Cornwall UK - Elizabeth Harper

First stop as I mentioned was Trerice, a Elizabethan manor house near Newquay. It’s always gorgeous even in bad weather and I’m never surprised to see something new.

Well, almost never.

Gates at TrericeWhile backing up to get a shot of the house through the gate, I captured one of those unexpected finds I sometimes experience on outings with John. ( See photo below)

John Winchurch - Trerice - Elizabeth Harper

Yep! That’s the birthday boy jumping into my shot. It’s good to remember that playfulness doesn’t end at a certain age.

Trerice- Garden View of House - Elizabeth HarperI am not sure there is anything to say here other than oh, or maybe ah! Except that I think this was the prettiest Trerice has looked and it was a perfect place to begin our day out.

Trerice Front Garden - Elizabeth Harper

Thinking Spot - ELizabeth Harper

 There are benches all around the grounds that call out to you as you walk past … Come on over, rest a while and think about life.

Resting At Trerice - John Winchurch

After lunch I spent some time inside the manor house while John moved quickly through it and on to a bench in the garden to soak up some sunshine. If it’s sunny and I can’t find him this always the kind of place I look. He likes to pause for sunshine break and would tell you that he prefers to get his Vitamin D the natural way.

Bedruthan Steps -Elizabeth Harper

Not long after finding him in the garden we were walking down the path at Bedruthan Steps, a place that will always have special memories for us.

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Beach at Bedruthan Steps - John Winchurch

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John Winchurch - Beach at Bedruthan Steps

Sorry this one is a bit in the shadows. I’m still learning to use my new camera and it was so bright outside I did not notice the image  was too dark. It’s a cute one of John though so I wanted to post it. This was where he was standing when he took the two pictures of me above.

We stepped through an opening in the rocks as the tide was going out to find this little private beach spot. The Cornish coast has loads of lovely places like this with few people.

Steps to Beach at Bedruthan StepsAfter swishing through the water a bit and drying our feet in the sun it was back up the long set of steps.

Bedruthan Steps - ELizabeth Harper

A last look back before heading home and dinner at the St Mabyn Inn.

Key Lime Pie

The ‘ before ‘ shot of pie that was gone in a day. I can’t believe we ate the whole thing.

Down A Slippery Slope

While away in Dorset for John’s birthday in late September, we spent a day walking near the cliffs around Lulworth. This part of the Jurassic coast is famous for the limestone arch, Durdle Door. You can’t see it without doing a bit of walking so come prepared to expend some energy

As I was photographing the man above working on a shot of Durdle Door, John disappeared in another direction following after his daughter and her dog. I was so intent on what I was doing that I didn’t notice they’d left and it was only after having a good look around that I spotted them.

We had already passed this warning sign so I did not expect what I saw next.

If you look to the left about halfway down, you can see a woman in a blue coat with her dog making her way down. (You can click to enlarge)

 

Look closely at this one and you can see a man with a backpack is with them. I’m sure you don’t need three guesses to figure out who we’re looking at here.

Just in case you need a bit of help, here’s a close up of the adventurous ‘rule breakers.’ Maybe they missed the sign … it’s easy to when there’s so much beauty to distract you.

Hurrying to catch up to them, I passed this barrier to the steps that normally enable walkers to reach the beach at Durdle Door. Bad weather had made it impossible to use and John and his daughter followed another path that some folks on the beach had used before them.

After seeing them reach the beach safely, I couldn’t just watch from the side of the cliff so I went down the slippery slope after them, all the while hearing the echo of every mother’s warning, ‘If your friends jumped off the cliff, would you jump too?’

Arriving safely at the bottom, I stepped down into a shifting surface that while not as soft as sand, gave way under my feet leaving impressions that announced to anyone following which way I’d gone.

Seeing Durdle Door from the beach was well worth the trip down and I felt enormously lucky to sit next to John and watch the sea.

 

After a few photos to remember the moment, it was time to move on.

Moving on meant climbing the slippery bit to get out. John and his daughter went first, followed in the shot below, by me.

I’m in orange near the bottom and the woman in the foreground is on her way down to the beach. It was far slippery than we make it look and  I was half worried that if she came too close she might slip and take me to the bottom with her like a bowling ball picking up a spare pin.

Once we were all safely at the top, John took this mud free photo of us (no one did a slip and fall) before setting off on the windy walk back to the car.

‘I Cain’t Say No’ And Other Snippets From A British Songbird

While on a coast path walk from Padstow to Harlyn Bay yesterday, John and I walked past a farmer’s field where the hay for winter had been cut and baled. I commented on how unusual it is to see it in squares as it usually looks like the round mounds below.

I usually refer to these big round rolls of hay as ” Tess of the d’Uerbyvilles” after Thomas Hardy’s book by the same name. Whenever I spot them, I can almost see Nastassja Kinski dressed as Tess for the 1979 film version of the book called “Tess.”

John and I talk about a lot of topics when walking the coast path, but yesterday’s walk got a bit livelier when I remarked as we passed this fresh-cut field that it reminded me of Kansas. From there we moved on to Oklahoma landscapes and John seized the opportunity to launch into a chesty version the theme song for the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma! which he did very well.

When he paused for a breath, I said that I had used a song from that show for musical auditions in the past and he was off again singing, I Cain’t Say No in a scratchy falsetto complete with flirty gestures intended to make you think of the girlish Ado Annie.

Imagine if you can, a bearded Englishman stomping down the trail singing the lyrics below with good British diction. I was howling with laughter!

It ain’t so much a question of not knowing what to do.
I knowed what’s right and wrong since I was ten.
I heared a lot of stories and I reckon they are true
About how girls’re put upon by men.
I know I mustn’t fall into the pit,
But when I’m with a feller,
I fergit!
I’m just a girl who cain’t say no,
I’m in a terrible fix
I always say “come on, let’s go!”
Jist when I orta say nix…

Maybe next time I can get a bit of video.

 

 

Clearly Clovelly … Minus Most Of The Fog

When I left you yesterday, we were in stand of tall trees that I tend to think as Live Oak trees. John said this expression meant nothing to him except the obvious one of an oak tree that was living and not dead. After a little online research, I found that there is a tree in the American south that is called a Live Oak,’ but they tend to be shorter and the limbs grow out more to the sides instead of up like in the last photo you can see here in yesterday’s post.

Since we ended the post with a foggy shot of a sheltering tree, I thought we also should begin with one today. When I saw the tree in the photo above, I wondered out loud about the way it reminded me of weeping willow type of tree that looked as if someone had given it a haircut. John promptly said that he suspected cows were the culprit and they’d likely chewed up as high as their necks could stretch. If you have a different theory I’d love to hear it.

Walking on we reached our destination, the village of Clovelly. This privately owned fishing village has the steepest streets I think I’ve climbed since moving to the UK. There are no cars in Clovelly, you have to walk. People use sleds or sledges as they say here to drag their belongings up and down the 400′ foot cliff that provides a home for a small community of people.

You can see a red sled in this photo … it’s kind of small compared to most of the others we saw.

I thought it was pretty interesting that the Methodist Chapel was next door to the pub.

The chapel popped with color especially after seeing the mostly white walls of the buildings that led to the doorway.

A forgotten communion glass.

Remember what I said about 400′ down … this was taken only part way.

Wear sensible shoes when you visit Clovelly and watch your step.

I’m not sure how they get the sledges or sleds over these speed bumps, but they do.

After hiking out of Clovelly and pausing to catch our breath, we did something we rarely do on our coast path walks, we went back the same way we came.

These boys were were super friendly almost to the point of allowing a head rub before they turned skitish.

This shot was hidden in the fog on yesterday’s post and when we began our late afternoon walk back to the car, we discovered we could see Clovelly Court.

Remember the shelter where we had lunch … it was so foggy we could only hear the sea, but on the way back we could also see it as the fog was completely gone.

Angel Wings, our sandwich stop.

This one’s for perspective. This is more of what we couldn’t see on our walk to Clovelly earlier in the day.

The gorse was everywhere giving off a scent that made the air smell faintly of coconut and we had view so gorgeous it was difficult to move on.

This is one of my favorites and even though it’s still a bit foggy in the distance, I like the look of the rocky coast.

Walking To Clovelly Through The Fog By The Sea

John and I drove slightly north a week ago crossing into Devon to walk a different part of the coast path. We left the car about 11:45 after stopping to pick up sandwiches and drinks and set off to see a part of the coast I’d not seen before. As it turns out, we didn’t see much of the coastline on the way to Clovelly, but there was still a great deal that caught my eye. This stretch of Devon coast was different from the Cornish coast path with abundance of trees being the obvious difference.

The birds were calling out to each other as we walked alone along the path and it felt more like the beginning of the day rather than the middle of it. I lingered as I always do taking “just one more photo” before running to catch up with John.

I was actually much farther away when I took this picture of him, but I cropped it later to bring him in closer. Look below to see me hot-footing it to close the distance between us.

John took this one of me just before I snapped the photo of him above. We could hear the waves below us through the woods to the right, but we couldn’t see a thing until we reached the bottom of the hill and moved towards the water.

I love it when we come across old buildings that make great places to frame a shot. Watching John walk past me, I saw the color contrast of the life-preserver, the signage, and the sea, and hurried to snap a few before running to catch up again.

I like how I managed to get this shot with John in the background. Can you see him above the far right edge of the pink sea-drift flowers?

Here’s what can happen when you rush to catch up. You can’t really see it here, but I’m making a face and trying catch myself from going into the water. John took this photo right as my left foot slipped off the rock and got wet. I’ve taken some funny looking tumbles in the past where I was protecting my camera on the way down. This was not one of those times and the only calamity was a wet foot.

A look back at the hill we came down and the empty remains of some old buildings that John said were used for lime kilns.

Later, we stopped in a field of what looked like mostly flowers for John to check the map. We were climbing higher and the fog was getting thicker. I considered having my sandwich there as it was getting later and I was hungry when we began, but John promised me a better spot so I put away my pretzels and carried on.

Coming into another clearing, we moved through a gate and crossed into a meadow with cows and trees that looked faint in the distance hidden still by the fog.

Hmm … my growling tummy made me consider the bench around the tree in this photo, but still I carried on.

After thinking we might walk all the way to Clovelly before stopping to eat, I came round a corner to see this special shelter tucked between the woods and the sea. It was a perfect place to have lunch and I said to John as we listened to waves below us still hidden by the fog, that this gave new meaning to the idea of taking your sandwich outside for your lunch break. Of course, I was visualizing the days when I was happy to grab a few minutes on a bench somewhere outside when I worked for about eight months in an area with no windows and the whole day could pass without my knowing it except by watching the clock. It’s easy to guess which I prefer.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the walk into Clovelly when the fog finally lifts and the view changes. 

Then & Now – Two Grandfathers With 82 Years Between Them

This photo from 1930 was taken in Polperro by John’s father, Victor Winchurch when he was about 16. John’s grandfather, Percy is sitting on stone in front of the house with his wife and mother in-law on either side of him and John’s aunt is the child off to the left. I probably should add that when this photograph was taken, Percy was not a grandfather yet and would not be until John was born twelve years later. (you can double-click for more detail in the image)

I didn’t get the angle quite right, but I took this yesterday of John sitting in the same spot as his grandfather eighty-two years earlier. It’s pretty amazing that the fence in front of house still looks the same.

This photograph was taken in 1932 and has John’s father in the image. You probably can’t pick him out since John looks more like his mother. Take a guess and I’ll tell you later in a comment on this post. One more thing, if you look up to the right you can see a white structure on the hillside and it’s in the photo below with John.

Here’s the same white building in the image with John’s dad and his friends taken eighty years later with John standing near it. The next time we go to Polperro, I’m going to get John to sit where his dad was sitting and shoot it from that angle. I like to do this when I can and have several posts where you can see a then and now shot.

If you click on this link from 2010, you can see a sweet one of John as a boy and some black and white images his father took before John was born alongside my photos of the same places eighty years later.

After seeing the photo on the rock, John and I had almost decided that there was a great deal less vegetation leading into Polperro eighty years ago until we had a look at this photo of his father’s group of friends cycling into Polperro taken on the day of the rock photograph. We walked up this road on the way back to Lansallos yesterday and it’s interesting to see that it’s actually changed very little.

Through The Valley Of The Sheep – On The Path To Polperro

 

John and I set off yesterday on a coast path walk that was new ground for us. While we’d been to Polperro in the past, we had not walked the path we took yesterday. This shot reminded me of a trip I took the summer of my 20th year to the dusty Greek island of Ios. The lone tree with all the sheep around it took me straight back in time except it was cooler here and green, with the only dust being that our feet kicked up in a few well worn places when we picked up the path later.

It’s always easy to spot when you’re in an area where you may run into sheep. Walking the coast path can sometimes take you through farmers fields and while you are free to walk on the designated path, you must be very careful not to do anything that scares the sheep if you stray off it. Dogs have to stay on a leash and there can be serious repercussions if a farmer catches a dog chasing the sheep.

Sometimes following John can mean diverting from the path … ‘ Don’t mind us,’ I tell the sheep as we walk right through their seaside café.

He can often get ahead of me when I linger to take … ‘ Just one more photo ‘ an expression he’s heard me use many times since we met. You can see John in the distance if you look to the right.

Here’s another shot of John that I took while running to catch up.

Because we were walking through a field, we had to hop a fence or two to get back on the coast path … John went first.

Then I showed him my technique for climbing over barbed wire fences.

Not long after, we walked into this lovely space as we came down the coast path.

I stopped to touch the nose of the chestnut colored horse on the way down to the beach.

Before I went down, I turned back to photograph the horse on the hill. I liked the balance in the space between the horse and the tree.

There’s John off to the right … waiting for me, again.

This is one of my favorite shots of the day. I loved the lines in this photograph … that’s John enjoying the view for a minute before continuing on into Polperro.

Polperro is one of my favorite fishing villages in Cornwall and is different from others in a few ways I’ll come back to in another post.

We walked into the village next to the harbor coming from the direction near the tip of the trees you see slightly off-center in this photograph. You climb up and down a lot of hills on the path to Polperro.

We were halfway back to where we started by the time we reached this spot. Our goal was a visit to the Talland Church on the hill before going on to where we left the car. From here it didn’t look as if we had far to go, but as anyone who drives through the lanes here will tell you, a quick trip can take longer than you think and even more so when you are walking rather than driving through the lanes.

I was in a hurry to get to the church before the sun changed too dramatically as I was worried about losing the light. We took a wrong turn that carried us right past this view and I loved the way I was able to show the church and the fairy balanced in the same shot.

After a few more hills we reached our destination, although not our final one of the day.

The church was locked which is generally not the case with village churches at least during the day, but we didn’t mind so much after finding a well placed bench with a view of the sea.

L’Etacquerel Fort – Not As Good As My Imagination, But …

I have a very busy imagination which sometimes leads to disappointment when the truth is revealed. Such is the case with L’Etacquerel Fort. Seeing it from a distance, I’d created a much grander story than the truth as we walked the along the coast path in Jersey.

Researching its history gave me an idea though after I discovered that it is available to rent along with several other properties such as one originally named after Queen Elizabeth’s favorite, the Earl of Leicester. We’re looking for places to gather in September when John has a big birthday ending in 0 and I think this one would be great! Fort Leicester has things L’Etacquerel Fort doesn’t have like running water, flushing toilets and beds.

 While John was taking this shot of some posted information about Fort Leicester …

 … I was taking one of him with the top of Fort L visible over his head and later I snapped the one below showing Fort Leicester from a distance.

I think it would be a grand place to stay for a week and an almost perfect place to celebrate a big birthday. It would be best if the weather was good on the day as none of the interior rooms are connected. John was a bit skeptical when I shared my discovery with him so we’ll have to see how it goes. It is his birthday as I keep reminding myself and I MUST listen to what he wants versus what I think he should want.

Getting back to the reason for this post, the orange blob in the photo above is me advancing on the Fort. John decided to stay back and take photos as I went closer for a look around.

I was disappointed to see it locked up tight as I crossed a wooden footbridge, but after discovering it is available for rent, I understand why it is closed to the public. I can’t say I like it, but I do understand.

I have to admit that it was kind of scary tripping across the wooden link from the hillside to the Fort.

Having served as an outpost for soldiers, I could almost hear their boots scraping against the stones as they walked back and forth watching the sea for intruders.

This close-up image from the information plaque below that was posted near the coast path.

While it was not the romantic place I’d envisioned, it does offer possibilities for future fun.

Eating, Sleeping, & Walking On A Jersey Holiday

I’m back with a bit more about our trip to Jersey. Due to John’s daughter having moved last year, we stayed in a B & B this visit. Rachel has a loft/attic room that will eventually be added space she can use for company, but given she’s moved to a seaside location, I think a slightly smaller home is a good tradeoff for being steps from the sand.

The photos just above and below are pictures of Undercliff, the B & B where despite having the best bed ever, I managed to have busy dreams each night. John and I agreed that it was great value for the money. Our room very clean and spacious and only a short walk to the sea. With a tasty breakfast each morning and strong and plentiful coffee, we felt so well looked after by Ida and Richard Huson that we’d recommend Undercliff without hesitation.

Here’s a shot John took from a hill nearby of Undercliff now. It looks as if it’s grown some since the black and while photos below were taken. We had breakfast everyday in the room with the big fireplace shown in the bottom left photo of the four below.

These black and white photos were a series of framed photographs showing Undercliff during or shortly after WWII. As Jersey was occupied by the German military during WWII, John and I decided the terms below for staying at Undercliff were probably after the war because people were not coming to Jersey on holiday when it was occupied. Ration cards are mentioned in the terms below and John said they were using ration cards for some things as late as 1954 in Britain. We stopped rationing in the US in 1946.

This is what you see when you follow a path near Undercliff. It takes you right by the sea and onto the coast path.

John was standing on a rock trying to take a similar picture to the one I snapped just above this one.

There are steps in some places to help along the coast path, but sometimes they seem to go on and on making you wonder if you’ll ever reach the top.

If you look closely at this photo, you can see something that looks like a castle on the piece jutting out near the broken off looking point on the left. We explored the area on our walk and I’ll have close-up images of what we discovered in tomorrow’s post.

We walked about two and half miles to meet Rachel and Jersey Baby Girl for lunch in Rozel which is home to the famous Hungry Man! The food is great and mostly fattening, but a trip to Jersey is not complete without a visit here for lunch.

The best part of lunch was not the yummy bacon-burger I enjoyed, but having a chance to cuddle the little sweetie below.