Celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee & The Stories Within The Story

Yesterday was a big day for many in Britain as people across the country rolled up their sleeves and created a huge outdoor party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

There are those who think the time for a monarchy has passed and they were noticeably absent, but I enjoyed the afternoon’s festivities and the opportunity to get know some of my neighbors a bit better. There were games for all but with a focus on the children and the food we brought to share was bountiful and delicious.

We had gorgeous weather yesterday which was much appreciated especially by the people who had worked so hard to make our village ” block party ” a huge success!

Going through my photographs from yesterday’s celebration, I kept seeing images that while they were clearly taken at the two events I attended, they had the appearance of another story, one with details not as obvious as the reason we were all together and some that were completely unrelated.

Ten years ago Britain celebrated the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. I was aware of course, but I wouldn’t visit the UK for the first time until the following summer in 2003 so it didn’t mean as much to me then. I admired the Queen though for a variety of reasons and marveled even then at how much she managed to do at 76. Ten years later she seems to have barely slowed down.

If you had told me in 2002 that I would be here for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, eating Pavlova and singing “God Save The Queen,” I’m not sure I would have believed you, but I would have certainly considered that it might make a good story.

Dora got into the spirit with a few banners to dress up her look a bit.

My sweet tooth and camera went into overdrive with all the colorful cakes and pastries decorating the long table.

I missed the Empire Biscuits when they made it to the table. Interestingly, these were called German biscuits until WWI when they were renamed.

My friend Tina … taking a break from watching the Saffron Maids dance.

The Saffron Maids like to get the audience involved in the dance and you don’t need to be a maid to participate.

For some strange reason this dance made me think of A Chorus Line.

This Pavlova was my favorite thing … I understand why people rave about Pavlova so much now.

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.

Memorial Day 2012 – Put Down That Plate Of Barbecue And Think About Today

From where I sit this morning, there are no “Buy one, get one free, sales” and no families planning a cookout or any opening day festivities at the neighborhood pool. No one here is celebrating the end of the school year or the beginning of summer. It’s just another Monday. I’m not even sure my friends in UK community know what today is in the US. I don’t expect them to, but it’s kind of lonely in a way.

Today is Memorial Day in America and it’s national holiday meant to remember those who died in wars or other military conflicts. It always occurs on the last Monday in May creating a three-day weekend for vacation-hungry Americans and while it was never intended as a day for shopping or beer drinking and pool-side fun, 147 years after its post Civil War beginnings, that is all Memorial Day means to many people. I will confess that before I moved to the UK and despite having served in the Army myself, I tended to fall into the category of seeing it as a much needed day off from work.

I’ve realized how important the day itself is having watched the Remembrance Day ceremonies here in the UK for those who died in wartime. It occurs every November 11 when the leaves are gone and the sky is more likely to be grey, all of which adds to the solemnness of the occasion. People are primarily focused on honoring the war dead on that day with rituals and traditions that remain much the same as they have since WWI ended and Remembrance Day began.

I wish our Memorial Day had more focus on the sacrifice that inspired it and less on shopping and summer celebrations.

This is not my first Memorial Day post and it’s interesting to see the progression of my thoughts since moving to Cornwall. You can read more if you’d like by clicking the links for 2010 & 2011. In 2010, I wrote about Eleanor Grace Alexander and later about my great-uncle, Hugh Lee Stephens who died in France just before the end of WWII.

If you have someone you remember on this day and would like to share them with us, please leave their name in comment below or if you’ve written a Memorial Day post, feel free to leave a link.

El

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.

Life Without Laundry Baskets – Breaking Bad Habits

Laundry baskets used to be the catch-all for all odds bits of stuff in my life and while they do sell them over here, I’ve not been in a mad rush to go out and buy one. That’s right … there are no laundry baskets at all in this house.

In my previous life, clean clothes rarely seemed to make their way out of the baskets and into the dresser drawers. I’d fold the clothes, put them back in the basket, carry the basket to the appropriate room, and there it would sit until it was practically empty because I hated putting up laundry. These days,with no laundry baskets in the house and no tumble dryer for me to hit the refresh button, things tend to go directly they belong.

An added benefit to our no basket approach is I no longer have a place to stash miscellaneous stuff to sort out later. It either goes into the proper place for it or it finds a new home.

You may be thinking with only a drying rack and an outdoor clothesline … how do they transport the wet stuff?

I snapped the photo below the other day to show you how we do it here. The sun was shining so it we had a big wash day and after filling the clothesline you can see hanging in the very back, I moved the drying rack outside too to take advantage of the weather.

When you live in a place with frequent rain and no dryer by choice (John’s choice, not mine, but I’ve adjusted) you learn not to put things off. And with only one very old baby’s bathtub to get the wet stuff from washer to clothesline, it gets used and put away afterwards so it’s always empty and at the ready for a good wash day.

John’s been using his niece’s old bathtub to transport washed clothes outside to the clothesline since he found it in his dad’s attic after his father died in 1997. The plastic bathtub’s former occupant turned 29 earlier this week and while she looks great, the plastic on the tub is beginning to crack.

If I know my ‘use it up or wear it out’ husband at all, I’m betting we’ll use it another year or two before we buy something more traditional like the one below.

Internet Image

Having had time to learn the new behaviors I mentioned above, I think I’ll be okay having a laundry basket in the house again, but only if we stop with just one.

 

 

Saving For The Future – Yellow Gold

Daffodils remind me of my great-grandmother. She always referred to the golden beauties as Jonquils, a name you’re more likely to hear in the American south, and one which actually refers a variety of the Narcissus flower. I think she would have been very impressed with the mix of daffodils growing in and out of the Cornish hedges. For the longest time I thought that like many flowers they had hitchhiked their way to the hedges, forgetting that they are bulbs and as far as I know, must be planted.

John watched a television program the other night that explained why there are so many different types of daffs improving the views in our narrow lanes. Before WWII, loads of daffodils were grown in Cornwall and exported for sale with bright fields of different varieties harvested each year by hand.

The picture below is one from the National Trust website for Cotehele and shows the harvest.

Photo Credit - National Trust

From Field to Hedge

During WWII, Britain’s food was mostly homegrown so the daffodil fields were quickly changed to fruit and vegetables. When the bulbs were taken out of the soil to make room for something more edible, the farmers didn’t want to waste them so they put them into the hedges where many varieties from before the war still grow every spring.

While it’s not the kind of gold that can fund your retirement, I’m going to enjoy the blooms that much more knowing the history of how they came to be there.

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.