Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode



Devon and Cornwall in the springtime

Whenever things start to pile up and get on top of you, it's time to take some time off and go to Cornwall.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

St. Ives to Zennor on the Southwest Coast Path, 21 April 2006

Oh, that's a lovely car! A VW Golf with all kinds of electronic things all over it, works perfectly, driving wheel on the wrong side but that's not uncommon here. Lovely car! - resting idly here in the Backpackers' Hostel parking lot in Zennor. That Norman church is pretty nice, too -- it's dedicated to St Senara, but no one knows who St Senara is, or was rather.

That's the Tinners Arms in Zennor. We've driven here to take the bus into St Ives and walk back along the Southwest Coast Path.

D. H and Frieda Lawrence lived here during World War One, and D. H. wrote "Women in Love" here. "The suspicions of the local populace that they were signaling to German U Boats eventually drove the Lawrences away."

That's the famous medieval "mermaid chair" of the Zennor church, the mermaid holding up the traditional comb and mirror, don't ask why. Another Cornish mermaid can unfortunately be seen below.

St Ives, thriving metropolis. Founded in the 5th century by St Ia, an underage Irish princess who so wanted to colonize other lands for Jeesus -- she was a virgin, by the way -- that she signed on with a bunch of other Famous Saints to cross the sea to Cornwall. They left without her, however, probably fearing the statutes about underage virgins, so she got a really big ivy leaf from God and sailed herself across the sea, beating all the others in fact, and founded this town. And to this day we all get to decide for ourselves whether St Ives is named after St Ia or the Ivy Leaf.

Another look at St Ives, with its 600 year old church of Zennor granite, its veg-and-cheese pasties, and its HIV "cluster".

A St Ives street scene on a grey day

Kristin (orange) providing security for the pedestrian shopping street, scrutinizing the passersby and if necessary making them remove their shoes, and waiting for bargains in the shops.

Kristin giving Cuckoo Land a miss on this trip, but only for lack of time. Nephelokokkygia, Cloud Cuckoo Land, was Aristophanes' coinage (in The Birds) for our promised land of never-never, where nothing ever goes wrong, and when better than now? It's about time.

Tourists relaxing all over the scenic landscape of St Ives, but not Kristin, who's increasingly anxious to get out on the trail for Zennor. If we can just find the public WC for a sendoff, we'll be on our way westward on the Coast Path.

The other side of St Ives, as we round the point and start out along the coast

The Tate Gallery, St Ives, on the way out of town to the west along the Coast Path. No time for a look-round, but since there are no 17th century Dutch paintings here, what's to stop for? "Performance Art"? We're doing it! On the Coast Path!

Another "mermaid of Cornwall", presumably an escapee from the Tate. The part about beautiful mermaids luring the sailors to their ruin seems to have been forgotten. Well, modern art!!!

Free of the town, as fine a town as it may be, we're now loosed out upon the Coast Path and bound for Zennor Head.

That's 'The Carracks' out there, 200 meters offshore. Carracks were big 15th century sailing ships from the Mediterranean, Europe's first real ocean-going ships, which opened up the age of discovery thereafter, and these rocky islands remind us so much of . . . well, no they don't. They look like offshore rocks.

So . . . "That's 'The Offshore Rocks' out there, 200 meters offshore."

But maybe, to somebody long ago, those rocks did look like carracks. Maybe a real carrack sank here. Maybe the mayor's name was Archie Carrack. Anyway they've often got Atlantic grey seals on them and are sometimes called Seal Island.

Kristin, who fancies seals perhaps more than is prudent, is determined to see the damn seals or wait here until they come back.

The Carracks, 21 April 2006, and not an Atlantic grey seal in sight. An effect of Bush's global warming, probably, they've gone to the Faroe Islands. We've waited as long as we can for the damn things, it's almost Happy Hour.

Kristin, continuing towards Zennor, is still looking for a better Atlantic grey seal-watching venue.

Advised by some other hikers that Atlantic grey seals were to be seen here, Kristin would not budge till they'd been sighted. They were never sighted, and it took just over four days to convince Kristin that it's time to move on to Zennor, and the Tinners Arms.

It's not painless, trying to convince someone that the seals are not coming back today. It tugs at you.

At last, despondent, growing cynical, Kristin gives up on grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and begins thinking more positively in terms of "pub" (Tinnereus armseus zennoribus).

Some hikers in the distance. Perhaps they've seen some seals!

Back at Tinners Arms in Zennor, seallessly, and really really sorry that D. H. and Frieda did not find happiness here.

Pubcrawling in Devon and
Cornwall, 2006


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 6 March 2006, revised 18 September 2008, 7 May 2013.


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