Sunday, 31 October 2010
Gorecki Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs
I remember being so stunned and moved by Gorecki's 3rd symphony, the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, when I first heard it 4 or 5 years ago. Polish again, incidentally. That nation has been through so much. I defy anyone not to be affected by this piece.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Nigel Kennedy & Kroke Lullaby For Kamila
My two favourite classical instruments are the piano and the violin (I used to play keyboards myself for a short while in a local rock 'n' roll band). While Alfred Brendel is my favourite classical pianist, Nigel Kennedy has got to be my favourite classical violinist. Although, of course, he plays a much wider repertoire than classical alone: he's experimented with rock, and with jazz, and recently has been working with the Polish Klezmer band, Kroke. (His second wife is Polish. He has a house in Krakow, and spends much of his time there.) I know his outspokenness and abrasiveness rub some people up the wrong way - but I love his unconventionality, and his genius. He can't do anything wrong as far as I'm concerned.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
2. A View From The Bridge
4. Common Wealth And Common Ground
5. Listening To The Silence
6. The Secret Wood
7. Sex, Death And The Path Less Travelled
8. The Miller's Tale: A Man And His Machine
10. Solvitur Ambulando
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Yet, when I look back now, I realise how very fortunate I was to have had such a country childhood. The fields, the woods, the ponds, the overgrown, disused railway bank nearby, were our playground. My chums and I would roam far and wide, sometimes disappearing for days on end. We climbed trees, we looked for birds' nests, we made dens in the woods. We went camping, carrying ridiculously heavy weights on our old Raleigh bikes. We fished for perch and roach in the gravel pit lakes - always on the look-out for the bailiff, who would have demanded to see permits we didn't possess.
But it's important not to idealise and romanticise the past. Parts of my childhood were troubled, and I would not want to endure them again. My father was a strict and stern, teetotal Methodist, who ruled his family with a rod of iron. The slightest misdemeanour - perhaps a swear-word carelessly uttered in his presence - and it was a thrashing with the leather belt he kept on a hook hidden behind the tea towel in the kitchen. After years of obligatory Sunday School and Methodist Church services, I started to think for myself and rebelled. One Sunday morning (I must have been in my early teens) I steeled myself, took a deep breath and informed him I wouldn't be accompanying him to chapel any more. He seethed with anger, striding up and down the living room, his hymn book clutched in a gloved hand. But there was little he could do about it. Later, when I married, I stuck to my guns and refused to have a religious ceremony in his beloved Methodist Church. I don't think my father ever really forgave me for this. He refused to speak to me for years afterwards.
This is a prime example of how enforcement and indoctrination can make you dig your heels in, turn you against something that may actually have some inherent worth and value. As I've got older, my interest in Christianity has increased rather than lessened, probably veering more towards Catholicism than primitive Nonconformism. You see, as an arrogant and high-minded teenager, I just found Methodism so crude, so unsubtle, so unrefined. So unritualistic. Now I realise that's far too naive a view. (Though I still think there's something in it.) The saving grace of Methodists, Baptists etc, however, is that the preachers and congregations can be so very friendly and welcoming. Unlike some Anglican - and many Catholic - churches I know, which can seem quite distant and frosty to an outsider looking in.
The Incredible String Band The Hedgehog's Song
Somehow it seems only natural to follow The Amazing Blondel with The Incredible String Band. Did you know they were at Woodstock? In fact they were the band that followed Canned Heat on stage. I was lucky enough to see them myself in Newcastle City Hall in the eary seventies - 1972, I think it was. This song is great fun - with a melodic whimsy I find totally irresistible.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Amazing Blondel Alleluia
The late sixties/early seventies were one of music's golden periods. I saw the Amazing Blondel give a concert in Lincoln cathedral around that time. They were a local band for me. They came from Scunthorpe - just up the road. They took an age to tune up their lutes in the chilly cathedral. But when they'd done so - wow! Their music is uncategorisable: progressive medieval, Renaissance revival, folk? It doesn't really matter. It's magic to me, and reminds me of my youth. When I checked out YouTube, I was glad to see they were still touring over 30 years later. The video below was shot in 2004 in Norway. But where's all that hair gone? Hope you enjoy.
Monday, 25 October 2010
There's been a lot of talk about fairness in Coalition circles recently. Fairness? I don't think so. As Lucy Mangan wrote in last Saturday's Guardian, referring to the government's spending review: The chancellor... got to live the Tory dream and took an axe this week to public spending and the welfare state. Public sector workers, the disabled, the deprived and any other section of the national demographic you can think of that would least be able to weather a slashing of their income all got it in the neck. Others, such as bankers, whose bailout money comprises 85% of the deficit, or people living on private incomes generated by £4m trust funds like the chancellor, went largely unscathed. Perhaps it would have been more bearable if they hadn't looked so happy doing it...
Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
He'd been a salesman for thirty years. Or a sales and marketing executive, or a regional performance-enhancement manager, or whatever you call them these days. He preferred the term salesman, pure and simple. He'd had other jobs before, but this had been his main breadwinning career. Thirty years. A long time. Too long, perhaps. Too long to be rising early, hammering the motorways, returning home late. Too long to be shooting the breeze, spinning the yarn, making the pitch, reeling in the line. Too long to be fooling himself he really was best buddies with all those buyers he'd smiled at and flattered and lied to through his gold-capped teeth.
The buyers. The customers. Aren't customers always supposed to be right? He'd learnt that they very rarely are. It was his job subtly to change their minds and put them on the right track - the track which was, of course, advantageous to himself - then leave them with the impression it was the path they'd chosen all along. They just hadn't realised it. Easy when you knew how. A spot of charm, a pinch of psychology, a favourable angle, an initially underplayed hand leading to a straight flush. A punctual appointment, a win-win strategy, the soft sell, the final payoff. But, no kidding, there was work involved. A lot of bullet-point knowledge, mental preparation, sales-meeting role-play. All mixed in with a smattering of self-doubt and a tinge of fear, the fear of failure. Yet weren't even these so-called negative attributes good for you, too? Didn't they spur you desperately on, further and further up the ladder of success?
So the years went by. He sold more and more. He drove faster and faster. He idly noticed he was putting on a little weight and drinking nearly two bottles of wine each evening instead of one. He went shopping at weekends. He frequented supermarkets and DIY stores. He moved house. Then he moved into an even bigger house. He put in kitchens and carpets and cupboards. He visited distant family. He neglected his own immediate family. He realised in sporadic shafts of illumination - perhaps when drinking a tasteless coffee and eating a cardboard sandwich at a service station, or when waking from some nightmare at four in the morning - that there was a gaping void at the centre of his life, an emptiness, a falseness, a lack of integrity. But he put all this to the back of his mind when he hit the road again, pretending he was a freeway hippie, a motorway maverick, an independent traveller. How foolish and tragic was this grand, yet superficial, insane but sanity-preserving illusion of freedom! He put on hold all those artistic, adolescent yearnings, those vague and cloudy dreams from his youth. He would recapture them one day, wouldn't he? If it wasn't too late...
This story has no neat conclusion in which all the ends are tied up and everyone necessarily lives happily ever after. Eventually he had burn-out. Probably a breakdown, though he never took medical help or advice. He explored a few exotic parts of the world. On foot this time rather than in a Ford Cortina or Peugeot Estate. He kept chickens. His parents died. He thought about becoming a priest or a chef or a Buddhist monk. He read a lot of books and watched far too many episodes of Songs Of Praise and Ready Steady Cook on TV. He learnt that everything's always in a state of becoming and never in a state of completion. He drank much less and tried hard to contemplate the divine in all things.
This story's a fictional one, but loosely based on the life of a friend of mine, a person I once knew very well, someone who had a similar job to me. In fact at one time he almost seemed like some twin or doppelganger, the brother I never had. I still see him now and again, but not as often as I'd like, for I'm too busy scorching down the motorways myself, and pounding the city streets with my sales presenter. But I hear, through mutual acquaintances, he's tolerably content. Apparently he's slowed down a lot but doesn't quite know what to do with the all that stretched-out time. Poor sod. Though I must admit I'm just a tiny bit envious of him. Anyway, that's quite enough of all this storytelling. I've got an important sale to make. I'll catch up with you later. If I've got the time...
(Author's disclaimer: this is a fictional story, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The three quotes at the top are from Arthur Miller.)
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Friday, 22 October 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
Ok, ok, just one more poetry post! You’re right. It's fun! I’ve found a couple of haiku I wrote in January on the Camino:
Lost in the darkness / Suddenly / The moon’s my lamp light
I come and I go / Where am I? / Outside looking in
And here’s one I wrote just now:
Restless for a rest / Still my tired feet trudge on / Arriving nowhere
I like verse which seems light but has a more serious undertow (EE Cummings was very good at this). My final poem I also wrote on the Camino – when I had plenty of opportunitites to get inside my head, if only to escape the relentless downpours…
Inside My Head
I went inside my head today.
It was a funny place.
I came across all kinds of junk.
It was a real disgrace.
Some half-digested theories
Were lying all around,
With long-forgotten queries,
The answers never found.
And lots of lovely words were there
Though most had not been said,
And heaps of intellectual books
But most of them unread.
Some much-distorted memories,
Some photos from the past,
Some childhood fears and hang-ups
Which were never meant to last.
Some poems learnt by heart at school
Were written on the wall,
But all the stuff I did at work
I couldn't see at all.
An empty pack of Number Six,
A bottle of cheap wine,
A little piece of dope, unsmoked,
From nineteen sixty-nine.
Poor Jimmy H, and Jerry G,
And Janis Joplin too,
Were jostling for the centre stage
Until they fell right through.
An effigy of Buddha
And a wise koan of Zen
Were stacked neatly in the corner
Should I visit them again.
One day I'll get a card index
And classify the lot,
But on the other hand I might
Just let them all go rot.
I went inside my head today.
It was a funny place.
I found so many things but
Of myself there was no trace.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
A priest I'd not like to inhabit.
I'd rather come back as a rabbit.
A sadhu is sadder,
A bishop is badder,
But worse is a monk with his habit.
I'd think it exceedingly queer
To take over the soul of E. Lear,
His beard would stink much
Of bird crap, and such,
And put off the women, I fear.
I'd find it remarkably calmer
To reincarnate as a lama,
But knowing my luck
With a karma that's stuck,
I'll return as Bin Laden (Osama).
(With apologies to Edward Lear.)
And that's quite enough of all that. I promise you, dear readers, that my posts will now return to more elevated issues and weighty matters. Like food, for instance...
Saturday, 16 October 2010
My mother was felled by a log.
And my father got bit by a dog.
My sister was sick,
And my brother got rick-
Ets, and grandma succumbed to the smog.
My grandfather swallowed a frog.
And my wife fell neck-high in a bog.
Had a spat with a saw,
And her husband was mauled by a hog.
The twins both went mad in the fog
And thought they were Gog and Magog.
But I cared not a lot,
Not a tittle or jot -
I could post it all up on my blog!
So all of you bloggers, beware.
If disaster strikes, do not despair.
When tragedy knocks,
Don't call up the docs -
Just blog it with finesse and flair.
Friday, 15 October 2010
Today I travelled deep inside my head
Where thoughts cavort and play:
Mind-creatures, you might say.
The enigmatic cat
Kept her thoughts to herself,
But the servile dog,
Ever eager to please,
Pretended my thoughts were his thoughts.
The zebra thought in black and white
And the hippopotamus
In different shades of grey.
The ostrich tried to bury her thoughts in the sand,
While the flamingo meditated on one leg like a yogi.
The sloth and slug had sluggish thoughts,
The moth and bug had buggish thoughts,
And the rottweiler and pit bull terrier had, well, thuggish thoughts.
The cow's thoughts always ruminative,
The glow-worm's quite illuminative.
The giraffe's thoughts high and elevated,
The chimpanzee's sophisticated.
The eagle's thoughts were bold and soaring,
But the wild boar's thoughts were, frankly, boring.
The owl had very wise thoughts,
The chameleon disguised thoughts.
The rabbit had only one thing on his mind,
And that was to replicate more of his kind.
The March hare had mad thoughts,
And the wolf big, bad thoughts.
The elephant pondered a life of longevity,
But the mayfly one of brevity.
The raven had thoughts of death and dying,
While the lemming went over the edge without even trying.
Later I herded up my thoughts
And caged the whole menagerie,
But they escaped into the vortex
Of the cerebral cortex.
And now I have no thoughts at all.
So tomorrow I will explore the heart.
A dangerous terrain. I have no chart.
A place where great white sharks patrol an ocean
Of submerged feelings and drowned emotion.
Trying to track down old poems, I was pleased to find this one again, lost in the bowels of my blog. (That sounds rather disgusting, doesn't it?) I know it's far too early to be thinking about spring, but never mind...
long months hibernating
then hearing your voice melting snowfall
no axe breaking the frozen sea
but soft wind warming cold river
from dark earth crocus flowers
and cherry blossoms on twisted twigs
black crows strut on black earth
tricking the eye
and coyote howls the world
back into light
Thursday, 14 October 2010
I've been trying to create a separate website for my poems, but it's proving somewhat of a challenge! In the meantime, here's a poem I wrote some time ago...
after long night of wind & rain
lulling the tent, there is silence at dawn
then birdsong & faint roar of faraway streams
woodpecker tapping frenzied telex
chaffinch's trickle-down song
the cushat's burr burr-burr
& great tit's insistent bi-syll ab-ic
all bursting with communication
but i know not what they are saying
my heart is beating
against the ground
night thoughts still
my heart is beating
hard against the ground
but i know not what it is saying
my body is warm
on the cold ground
put aside the arcane things of the night
the fox's bark, the owl's shriek
the dark thoughts of the night
for it is dawn & there is
the heartmelting cry of lambs
& my heart is beating so hard
as if i am really living at last
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Warships have changed quite a bit since the wooden galleons of Drake's time. This photo was taken in Plymouth's naval dockyards...
Monday, 11 October 2010
They felt they had to compete with each other, and had short-term gains in their sights, with absolutely no concern for the long-term good. It's called feathering your nest. And we, the ordinary citizens, are being asked to pay for it. And the bankers? They're safe in their jobs and, moreover, still receiving handsome salaries, and bonuses on top! And now we hear that Whitehall is being fleeced for millions of pounds by private sector firms supplying cleaners, stationery, and God knows what else, at way above the market price. (Not the suppliers' fault - they're just doing business - it's the government's fault for being so naive, and so lax with their own budgeting.)
Governments allowed the so-called banking and financial experts to run away with our national equity. They turned a blind eye when the going was good. Objectors (and there were some within those banking firms) who warned about an imminent catastrophe were silenced and sidelined. And now, we, the hard working tax payers, are being asked to pay the price - for many of us to the tune of thousands of pounds annually for many years to come. I'm sure we all don't mind pulling together for the good of the country - but it rankles when our elected government can't keep their own basic finances in order, and when the bankers are getting away scot-free.
Rant over... I feel so much better now!
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow -
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow -
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.
A sign tried to point me in the right direction...
But I ended up lost in the labyrinth, as usual...
The waves broke on a lonely, stony shore...
It was one of those days when you felt you could walk for ever. I was quite fit now and, for the first time, seemed to be taking all the steep slopes in my stride. It was one of those Zen days, those red letter days, those magical days such as I experienced here. I felt mentally as well as physically agile, and kept composing all sorts of bits and pieces in my head. The landscape had improved, becoming more forested. In the woods I admired this open air sculpture...
This is the beach at Polridmouth. You can still see the day-mark on the hill to the right...
Round the corner lay Fowey, a very pretty little sailing port. I explored it thoroughly. I'd been there before, a long time ago, but had forgotten how charming it was...
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Last week was one of those weeks I'd rather forget - full of medical and dental matters. But the upshot is: I can now hear properly for the first time in weeks, and some troublesome, worn-down teeth have been reconstructed. Praise God the NHS! All this reminded me of a poem I'd written a while ago after a visit to my informal, brilliant, highly skilled, impossibly young female dentist. The 'dentist who died' had been my previous dentist - of many years standing - who had tragically passed away in his sleep...
Disarming me with your casual style,
You welcome me into the room
Next to the room of the dentist who died.
At your request I take a seat,
Lie down, relax, let go,
Like a patient on an analyst's couch.
I am in your intimate hands.
The chair spins as you adjust
The feng shui in your chamber.
I hand you my broken crown.
You laugh rather derisively,
Needling me to go the whole way.
My head tilts up then down.
I submit with a sigh to your desires.
Beyond my field of vision
Lie all the sharp instruments
Of your calling. I gaze fixedly
At the child's mobile on the ceiling.
You probe my mouth:
A gentle but firmly precise
Oral speleology. The female skills
Of needlecraft and stumpwork come to mind.
Gone is the sour cigar or garlic breath
Of certain male practitioners,
Just a clean, fresh lack of odour.
I feel nothing now. The tooth is out,
You say in an insouciant tone.
Later I'll feel the pain of loss.
Oh, Mistress Novocaine,
Let me tell you my dreams:
The purple sage of Mexico,
The burning sarsaparilla,
Hot chilli peppers in the blistering sun.
Do you know there are cavities
In the heart as well as in the mouth?
But you high-five your acolyte,
And I'm already far beyond your interest
When you politely shepherd me away
And turn to greet the next initiate.
This book, written in 1956 when Wilson was twenty-four, immediately became a cult classic, and sold millions of copies all over the world. He wrote it in the British Museum Reading Room while spending his nights sleeping rough on Hampstead Heath. It's a book of eternal appeal to the perpetual adolescent in its study of literary 'outsiders' - from Dostoyevsky's Underground Man to Hesse's Steppenwolf and Sartre's nihilistic anti-hero, Roquentin, in his novel Nausea. However the book is essentially optimistic, arguing that we can all experience mystical moments of transcendence, peak experiences which have the power to lift us out of this bleak, material, humdrum existence, if we would only turn our minds to the task.
Wilson has gone on to write over a hundred books, both fiction and non-fiction, on subjects like mysticism, the occult and criminology. He is Cornwall's most prolific author. On a previous visit to Cornwall my wife and I actually passed him and Joy on Hemmick Beach as they exercised their dogs. And, subsequently, I had the great honour and good fortune to meet him properly at a publishing sales conference in Soho's Groucho Club.
This green valley lies just beyond Gorran Haven. The Wilsons used to live in a rented cottage at the top of this valley when they first came to Cornwall...
Beyond Colona it's not far to the delightful fishing port of Mevagissey, where I stopped the night. It was very crowded with tourists eating fish and chips in the open from polystyrene trays. Women shouted at their kids and the kids shouted back. Rotund men in straining T-shirts guzzled pint after pint and wolfed pizza after pizza. I think the best time to see this place would be out of the holiday season...
Saturday, 9 October 2010
I finally reached Falmouth. It's a wonderful place - much bigger than I thought it would be - with an impressive harbour and some lovely old streets. When I woke the next morning the rain was bucketing down. I didn't need much persuading from my B&B host to stay another night in her immaculate, bijou terraced cottage. All day it rained. The drains overloaded. The roads were flooded. The locals tut-tutted, shook their heads, and talked enigmatically about ebbs and neaps and tidal surges. A few sandbags came out. But, the next day, the deluge was over, and I took a ferry across the estuary of the river Fal to a place called Place (I'm not joking) on the delectable Roseland Peninsula.
In Portscatho an air ambulance had landed on the beach, and an injured holidaymaker was being stretchered off. I wonder what had happened? The rocks don't seem that dangerous here for serious accidents. Perhaps a heart attack? Who knows...
Friday, 8 October 2010
After Land's End I encountered more stunning coastal scenery...
I clambered down to narrow coves harbouring tiny fishing communities...
The rock here is granite, which produces some amazing, frost-shattered formations...
This plaque is a sober reminder of how dangerous the Cornish coastline can be. Many a ship has foundered on its jagged rocks in the middle of a raging storm...
The weather was slowly deteriorating. After a wet and windy Penzance I traced the western edge of the Lizard Peninsula, rounded Lizard Point (the most southerly point of England), and headed roughly north east, through picturesque fishing villages and across drowned river estuaries - called rias - towards Falmouth.
This is Cadgwith. The last time I was there, many years ago, I passed the actress Jenny Agutter in the street. (Remember the film The Railway Children?) I think she owns a cottage close by...
The Lizard is a very special part of England - remote, beautiful, sparsely populated and completely unspoilt. In fact, it was my favourite part of the whole coastal path. This is the area where you find the mineral serpentine, and for days I saw it veining the rocks under my feet, glistening green and red, polished by the passage of a million walking boots...
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
I walked on past Porthtowan and Portreath to Godrevy Point. Off Godrevy Point lies Godrevy Island. The lighthouse on this island was the inspiration behind Virginia Woolf's introspective, innovative novel, To The Lighthouse. Virginia's family, the Stephens, used to lease a holiday villa (Tallend House) just round the bay in St Ives...
From here the official path follows an awkward, undulating ridge of sand dunes, but I took the easier option, and simply walked down the long stretch of Towans beach. It seemed miles to Hayle, where, unusually, the route joins a busy road circling the Hayle estuary. I skirted Lelant churchyard, regained the shoreline, then finally entered St Ives. It had been a long day and I was tired. My B&B was quite delightful - a low, stone terraced cottage opposite the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden. It was spotlessly clean and most artistically furnished. It catered for walkers only, and I was the only guest there. Later I strolled along the quay at St Ives' harbour. It was early evening and the tide was out...
The next day I set out to cover the thirteen and a half miles from St Ives to Pendeen. The guide book warned this was the toughest stage of the whole walk. It was right. To make matters worse, it rained for most of the day, and the greasy rocks and hidden depressions underfoot were treacherous. I slipped many times, though not disastrously. At midday I turned inland for half a mile, seeking a rest and some lunch at the Tinners' Arms in Zennor. Big mistake. If you take off your raingear, perch on a comfy stool at the bar of a pub, slurp a huge bowl of home-made soup, then knock back a couple of pints of Cornish bitter... you really don't feel like going back outside again. But, eventually, back outside I went - groaning - into the murk and the drizzle...
... and here I am bidding it farewell just a few moments later! I was keen to reach Land's End, England's most south-westerly point (not its most southerly - that's Lizard Point, on the Lizard Peninsula, which lay further on)...
Beyond Sennen Cove, it was only a few more miles to Land's End. At last!
This is the 'First And Last Refreshment House In England'. I didn't go in. It was packed with day trippers. Disappointingly, the whole area resembled an American theme park. So I quickly left, turned the 'corner', and was soon dancing along the path under airy, blue skies through some of the most spectacular cliff panoramas I'd yet seen...
Monday, 4 October 2010
Thanks for consenting. Tell me, what's your name?
Call me the one who fell out of the frame.
Thank you. Now, what's your job? What do you do?
Let's say I stay a while, then travel through.
Quite interesting. Do they pay you well?
In tears and smiles, as far as I can tell.
Ok. Where is your current dwelling place?
Lost in the margins of the human race.
What are your interests, hobbies, recreations?
I get involved in many situations.
What are your goals in life, your great ambitions?
Simply to walk - whatever the conditions.
Have you a secret longing or desire?
To tread on water, then to walk through fire.
If you were asked advice, what would it be?
Don't honour princes, but respect a tree.
What book has influenced you that you've read?
The book of birth, the living and the dead.
Have you some favourite words you'd like to share?
Mumps. Maggot. Mustard. Marmite. Maidenhair.
What is your favourite food, your favourite drink?
The food of love, and lemon juice, I think.
What is your sexual orientation?
Straight, but I might bend under interrogation.
What's your worst quality, and what's your best?
Is this turning into some exam or test?
What keeps you going, day after tragic day?
My hearts keeps beating. That's all I can say.
And what will happen when your life is gone?
It's a narrative which I'm still working on.
Is there a last bon mot you would impart?
Of living I've not yet mastered the art.
Thanks for all this. My questioning is done.
Are you quite sure? I thought you'd just begun!
Sunday, 3 October 2010
From Crantock I rashly decided to head inland and away from the Coast Path for a while. By doing so I hoped to avoid the Penhale Army Training Area. This I did, but it was no short-cut. I had no adequate map and only a rough idea of where I was going. (See pic of an ancient holloway I stumbled upon.) However, by a combination of luck, intuition and asking people the way, I finally arrived at Perranporth, a busy, noisy surfing resort, and another place I wasn't sorry to leave - especially since I had to listen to the owners of my guest house arguing all night.
But the next day I set off in the early morning sunshine in good spirits. I'd now been on the trail for exactly two weeks. So I was almost half-way through my trip, and on track to reach Plymouth by the end of the month. Soon I approached Trevaunance Cove...
In the 19th century this area was central to the Cornish tin mining industry. I began to notice chimneys and engine houses littering the horizons, and I passed capped mine shafts and adits. Here's Towanroath, one of the three engine houses at Wheal Coates ('wheal' is Cornish for 'mine') - preserved by the National Trust in the 1980s as an industrial heritage site. This particular engine house was built to pump water from an adjacent mine shaft. Other engine houses powered winding gear and ore-crushing machines.