My Magpie Fall Into Winter

Mushrooms

See what happens when you leave things untended for too long, you come back to find mushrooms sprouting everywhere. Seriously, my spam folder is full of little gems and none so nice as these lovelies found growing in our back garden.

I did not mean to abandon GOTJ, but my everyday life wrapped its arms around me and slowly seduced me away so that every time I thought I might stop by and leave a word or two, something else caught my eye. Like the easily distracted Magpie, I have filled up the days and minutes of the last few months with whatever shiny distraction looked more appealing in the moment.

It would be great to say that the distracting moments have all been golden, but dark shadows have passed over our sweet village with one terrible secret coming too close to where we call home. The fallout is ongoing and has felt overwhelming at times, stirring up old ghosts for me as the details have been revealed. I know I am being vague and I promise it is not with intent to tease, but rather a desire to wait until things have worked their way through the legal system.

Things are ‘all go’ here as John and I make our home ready for a quiet Christmas and I promise to be back with some more seasonal photos over the next few days beginning with images from a lovely candlelight Christmas carol service I attended in a tiny village church nearby.

Hand to heart, I shall endeavor to do better by my blog and my readers in the new year and if any of you are still out there, I would love a little roll call or a cheery hello.

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.

Bedruthan Steps - Elizabeth Harper

Beach at Bedruthan Steps - John Winchurch

P1040197

Elizabeth Harper

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.

‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’

I heard the church bells this morning, ringing like they do each Sunday.

There’s a group of dedicated folks who show up every Sunday and ring the bells for at least a quarter of an hour. They ring steadily, one after the other occasionally overlapping, tolling in a pattern of order that never seems to change.

At least three of the bell ringers live down the road from us and I know most of them never stay for the church services that follow. Asking why doesn’t seem appropriate even though I’d love to know why they ring the bells so consistently each week and then go home. I wonder if they’ve ever lingered to listen or maybe taken a seat on a pew.

In general, churches in England seem to barely have enough parishioners left to keep the lights on and all these lovely little village churches stand mostly empty during the week and not much better on Sundays. I’ve been to services in our village church a few times and I have to admit I don’t feel a big desire to hurry back.

I prefer to worship in another way.

Cornwall 2013 - Elizabeth Harper

Cornwall 2013 -Elizabeth Harper

Elizabeth Harper

Birdbox Cornwall - Elizabeth Harper

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. 

Buttercup Madness & Mid-May Diversions

It’s one of my favorite times of the year in Cornwall when the buttercups go mad popping up everywhere. The weather has been iffy for the last few weeks and I’ve been feeling slightly desperate to see a color other than grey. Yesterday delivered big time so John and I went out for a walk in the afternoon after I finished with work.  I was getting ready to photograph him sitting in the buttercups when he disappeared!

You can barely see him in the shot above.

When I looked up to see where he’d gone, I found him flat on his back soaking up the sun. A few weeks ago the buttercups were just beginning to show up, and I wrote a post with links explaining why this meadow is so special to us. You can follow the link if you’re new to GOTJ and interested in learning more.

Ahhh … there he is!

John snapped this one of me while I was trying to get a macro shot.

We posed for a timed shot with the buttercup field behind us before moving on for a walk through the woods.

From this angle you can see the buttercup field through the trees. This area is stunning all year round and John and I often talk about how lucky we are to have this walking distance from our home.

This tree with its fresh new leaves was more beautiful than my camera could capture and too large to get more than a bit of it in the shot.

Walking on a bit, I saw a path I had not explored and was off down the hill to see the water I could hear below.

Again, my little Canon can’t begin to communicate how beautiful this space is or how the water rushing over the rocks in places sounds like people murmuring together, carrying on a conversation I can’t make out.

The banks and surrounding area have these gorgeous bluebells scattered all around.

After hearing John calling out to me saying he was going on, I hurried up the hill to walk the rest of the way with him.

We walked on reaching the village by way of the main road after we left the wood and we saw a common sight, where riders on horseback share the road with cars. That’s our village church in the background.

Have you got a favorite place you go to clear your head or find your balance after a tough day? Nature always does it for me.

The Buttercups Cometh

I remember the first time I walked through this field. It was late afternoon on Valentine’s Day and I was in Cornwall meeting John face to face for the first time. All it took was one comment from him for this special place to become my own personal “Field of Dreams.”

When he said, ” You should see this in May when it’s filled with buttercups,” I knew I had to come back.

We took a walk yesterday evening catching the last bit of good light and the first glimpse of the buttercups, which are not yet in their full glory, but they’re definitely coming.