Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Lost and found

Marli found an Easter egg today.  Not one that was easy to recognise as such and let’s face it, Easter now is a dim and distant memory.  A good idea with Easter eggs that are being hidden in the garden  is the same  one that I have rigidly enforced when distributing metal flatware and cutlery at picnics or taking children to Newquay Zoo to see the lions: count them out and count them in again.  This way we would never have left out this lone survivor to battle the elements - unconscionably high temperatures, for so long. The result of this neglect was that this once finely sculpted piece of confectionary had morphed into a rather unpleasant mess of soft chocolate and foil. Marli didn’t mind but I imagine that the wrapping must have played havoc with his fillings!

What is surprising about this whole sorry episode is that nothing else chanced upon the egg sooner.  I’m kicking myself believe me but the garden has been alive with any number of woodland creatures that have appeared from who knows where in recent weeks.  You have seen on Facebook I’m sure, the woodpecker, but additionally we have also had a chaffinch and a goldfinch, neither of which have been seen for a couple of years in this neck of the woods.  There was a  rather rotund hedgehog, spotted lumbering across the lawn behind the cottages and even a slowworm which amazingly, Marli left to  wend its way into the hedgerow, unmolested.  Had it been covered  in foil, I have my doubts that it would have been so lucky.

We have been enjoying some truly glorious weather recently which always helps make the spring flowers look even prettier than usual. It was been a wonderful year for bluebells in our woods and the garden has been awash with primroses.

Talking of which, sadly, on one of the few less than perfect days of late, Trevithick Day took place in Camborne. As always, the magnificent steam engines took centre stage and paraded down Camborne Hill and up again!  Puffing Dragon, a replica of Trevithick’s original engine, headed the procession driven by a crew in period costume.  Happily, in the brief respite from the rain, I was able to enjoy the wonderful spectacle of many of these beautifully preserved pieces of engineering as they chugged by.

Another relic from the past that I have enjoyed this past weekend was a trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  My daughter and I found them easily enough but the name actually refers to the fact that early in the twentieth century, the gardens became sadly neglected and overgrown.  In 1990 they were rediscovered and brought back to life by Tim Smit, the man behind the Eden Project, among others.  What we found were some truly wonderful gardens, bursting into bloom for the spring time.  It really is a magical place – testament to the hard work that has taken place over the past two decades and which continues today.  I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Cornwall and maybe plans on going on to the Eden Project which is quite close by.   You do need plenty of time, though, if you hope to get the most out of these two Cornish gems.    Actually, some graffiti written by one of the workers in 1914 is said to have inspired the work at Heligan: “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”.   Ezzett says that it sounds lot like working at Rayle Farm! Rest assured we toil tirelessly to make your stay with us a memorable one and we look forward to seeing you here at Rayle Farm soon.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Speaking with the natives

When you go on holiday, I am sure that like me you feel that it is important to immerse yourself in the culture of the local community.  Rare is the person to leave Scotland without a Tam O’Shanter with obligatory tufts of acrylic orange hair attached.  Similarly, so many people that I know have returned from Central America sporting a sombrero, doing Speedy Gonzalez impersonations that I can only surmise that Mexico has remained more or less unchanged for the past century.

Cornwall, though a proud Duchy with a rich heritage, it is difficult to actively slip under the radar because props are few and far between.  If you wander around Portreath with a pasty, you’ll not be fooling anyone and besides, many authentic, albeit small pasties are available across the nation. 

One exception perhaps though is when venturing to St. Ives from Rayle Farm, it is easy to distinguish who the visitors are.  The locals have a wariness about their demeanour and more often than not hold a rolled up newspaper (only the West Briton will do), if they happen to be eating an icecream cone.  A true sign of a rookie is someone who has shopping or a beach bag in one hand and a 99 in the other.  How these people hope to swat away an opportunistic gull is beyond me.  Take my word for it, these critters will leave you with no more than an empty cone if you give them half a chance and the only satisfaction that you will be able to derive is that your avian mugger is suffering from one almighty brain freeze.

So with this in mind, I think that the best way forward for assimilation is through conversation.  I am sure that you probably saw a recent news report stating that the Oxford English Dictionary contained few Cornish words.  Twerking however made an appearance which to my mind speaks volumes.

Now of course everyone knows that Dolly Pentreath who died in 1777 was the last Cornish speaker.  What a lonely old lady she must have been with every one else banging on about twerking, gangnam style and the like and poor Dolly was quite unable to shove her two penn’or   th in or if she did, everyone was rather mystified as to what point she was trying to make.  But I digress, although, pure Cornish fell by the wayside over two hundred years ago, certain phrases that are used on a very regular basis have survived and you would be well served by learning them and using them at every given opportunity.  I don’t have the space here to give you a comprehensive guide but I hope to provide you with just about enough to wing it.

“All right me ‘ansum”   A standard greeting similar I suppose to “Good day stout yeoman”
“Av e gotten”                            “Did you find what you are looking for?”
“Bin un dunon”             “Sorted”
“Cane telly”                              “I haven’t a clue”
“Diddy abum?”             “Were you able to get what you were looking for?”
“Elly doinov?”               “I wouldn’t do it that way if I were you”
“Evy izza?”                              “That item is pretty weighty, I imagine”
“Fariza?”                                  “Is your destination quite a way off?”
“Furcrysaik”                             “Goodness me”
“Goynary?”                              “Do you plan to visit[a previously discussed destination]?”
“Mygar”                                   “Golly”
“Piddle down didda”                 “Was it raining?”
“Proper job”                             “Nice one!” And you can add a “me ansum” to the end to mean “Kudos!”
“See you dreckly”                     MaƱana

On reflection, it seems unlikely that you will be able to use all of these phrases in one single conversation but if you put them all into a bingo card or two, you will fill a fair few rows during your Cornish holiday I feel sure, not to mention, it might be a way of keeping the kids quiet!

We look forward to seeing you at Rayle Farm very soon and even more so if you speak the lingo!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Marli and Me and our trip down to the mineral tramway, Portreath

As Marli and I sashay nonchalantly down the mineral tramway to Portreath (me rather more than him), I for one am always struck by the beauty of this path that follows the valley towards the sea. Depending on the time of year, there are any number of wild flowers to be seen – honeysuckle, red campion, celandine or bluebells for instance and of course, in the summer there is the ever present coconut aroma of the gorse. This is a popular path although there is plenty of space for cyclists, horse riders, joggers and indeed dog walkers like me, all happy to share in the relative peace of this trail.

Marli and I join the path at Bridge which is just a tennis ball’s throw, or two from the beach but for the more intrepid, if you were to turn right instead of left, you would be able to enjoy the changing landscape as you go through the old industrial heartland of Cornwall to Devoran on the south coast.

Indeed it is not that easy to envisage this area when it was the centre of tin and copper production in the world. The leafy path that we use today was at one time, the main route from the mines, carrying ore to Portreath where in turn it was taken to Wales. The trail would have been choked full of mule trains - imagine the pong of such a dense population of hard working equines, with the sea breeze ensuring that the only fresh air would ever have been beside the harbour! I suspect that with this in mind, traffic jams could well have been invented in Cornwall although unlike other parts of the country, I like to think that we have rather outgrown those now! And the fact that this activity has captured the imagination elsewhere in the country paradoxically is I suspect one of the reasons that brings people down on holiday to Cornwall these days. Here at Rayle Farm we cater to those people keen to recharge their batteries and get away from the hustle and bustle for a while. And although it is peaceful, this does not mean that there is little to do. Obviously, a great many visitors use us as a base to try out the various coves and beaches in the immediate vicinity of the farm for swimming and surfing. However, at the other end of the tramway, around Devoran and beyond, the south coast of Cornwall is more closely associated with activities like sailing or fishing. Located close to us at Cambrose is Elm Farm Cycle Centre that hires bicycles to the more energetic of our guests who then can explore south of here.

Remember on a hot summer’s day, if you are tempted by this, you are likely to be a bit hot and sweaty. You will however be positively fragrant compared to any fresh fish you might purchase in Falmouth, place in your backpack and want to bring back with you. You know who you are Simon and Laura! Not even Marli would go near your purchases but I am hopeful that this year’s roses just might benefit from your folly!

But I digress. The mineral tramway and indeed the coastal path is all close at hand and if you can avoid being either downwind of mule trains or the Pattersons, it will be memorable outing for all the right reasons!

For more information on Holiday Cottages in Cornwall, visit the Rayle Farm website.