Wednesday, 15 May 2013
This picutre has nothing to do with this post but was taken in Helston on the way back from a lovely hostelry called the Blue Anchor. "Look," said Mr B. "There's a good shot."
Last week I was fortunate enough to see Matthew Bourne’s production of Sleeping Beauty at the Hippodrome in Bristol. For those of you who aren’t balletomanes (and I know many aren’t), Matthew Bourne’s ballets are most un-ballet like, as reflected in his audience, which ranged from age 8 to 90, of both sexes. He is an incredible choreographer, who tells a story with great wit, tenderness and drama. I was trying to describe it but it works better as free verse. I'm nervous about this as I've never written verse before, but it doesn't work in prose, so here are a few lines:-
When the curtain goes up
Everyone’s hushed, transported
On a spellbinding, magical visual feast
That surprises and delights
The costumes – Gothic at first
Then Edwardian, now hoodies and jeans.
The music – haunting and lyrical
Dramatic and wrenching –
Tchaikovsky at his best.
The dancing – feather light,
Dashing, dramatic and witty
From the King, the Queen,
The Princess, the Woodman
And the Vampire
All brought to a crashing finale
Where love conquers all
In the most tender scene
Hands caress cheeks
Reach out for each other
Love stretching over 100 years
At the end
Clapping shakes the building
As we shuffle out
Walking through the dark city streets
With my dancing feet
Music pounding through my head
And love in my veins.
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
This time yesterday I was running barefoot along the beach at Trebarwith Strand, chasing Moll, who loves to roar up and down like a lunatic, ears streaming out behind her.
Deb and I spent two nights at the Port William pub at Trebarwith Strand, near Tintagel, which is the most idyllic spot – though as summer had suddenly decided to hit, even if only for two days, we timed it just right. We arrived on Sunday evening with the sky a deep Mediterranean blue, the tide coming in, and everyone sitting outside lapping up the sunshine.
However, on arrival we found we’d been allocated a double room rather than twins. Motto one – good friendships can be destroyed by sharing a bed. Particularly if one of you snores. Though they did promise to put us in a twin bedroom the following night.
The result was a sleepless night. I’m used to a king sized bed, not a small double, and having The Pyjama Clad Snorer next to me, plus Moll clamped to my right hip, made for a very hot night. At one point I got up to open the window, but Moll decided she didn’t like the noise of the waves roaring beneath, and retired to sit beside the bed, panting pathetically. I then panicked, thinking she was going to overheat and jumped out of bed to check her water bowl. She wouldn’t stop panting, so I shut the window a bit.
Next time I looked, she’d disappeared. I panicked once more. Finally found her in the bathroom, sitting behind the door on the tiled floor which was, presumably, cooler and quieter. I returned to bed, gave the Snorer another prod, which stopped the snoring for a few minutes, and on it went.
However, having got up we had a fabulous breakfast and set off over the cliffs to walk to Tintagel which was one of the best walks I’ve done recently. It was so stunningly beautiful – and so hot we got sunburnt – that I will never forget it and can’t wait to go back.
Monday evening saw us taking a picnic up the cliffs behind the pub, and we sat there with our wine and cheese, olives and other picnic fare, looking out over Port Isaac Bay, and thought how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. We then went back to the pub and sat outside with a glass of wine watching the surfers catch the last waves as the sun set. Magic.
Now it’s back to real life…..
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
(Ship moored up the river Fal)
This morning, as I write, sun shimmers on the rippling water, Flushing ferry carries giggling schoolchildren and boats toss gently, itching to be off their moorings. It’s a day for boating, and adventure. A sparkling day when anything could happen.
In one of the nationals last weekend was a piece that caught my eye about secret islands in the Med. Then I started reading A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi which is a beautifully written account of a middle aged woman’s love affair with Venice – and how she married a Venetian (and has stayed happily married, for those cynical readers).
She writes so magically, she’s connected to something in my brain so that at 3am, I was feverishly covering scraps of yellow paper with words that tumbled from my mind, insisting on making their mark.
Her descriptions of Venice have given me wanderlust. So, I want to go back to the Greek islands. I want to go to Venice. Portugal, perhaps? Turkey? Another friend’s going to Cuba in November. All these wonderful places to go and see….
I haven’t been abroad for many years. Pip wasn’t keen on any travel that didn’t involve a boat, and our last few trips further afield weren’t a success, so I started organising Cornish holidays instead which suited us well, having Moll.
“I think you should go travelling,” said my Mum, reinforcing my itchy feet. But my two problems are:- 1) finding the right person to go with and 2) if I don’t travel with Moll, finding someone to look after her.
I have four good friends that I know I can travel with enjoyably. (I have been away with good friends and for some reason it hasn’t worked on holiday. My dear husband was one.) Three of these friends are incredibly busy this year embarking on other life changing far flung experiences. The last one I know we’d have a great time but a certain amount of persuasion is needed.
Then looking after Moll – the friend who usually has her now has a place in Portugal, where they go every spring and autumn. So I’d have to go away to fit in with them.
Mind you, as I have to pay for a new roof in the next week (they’ve just finished it), a holiday might have to take backseat for the moment, unless it’s a cheapie. But I’m definitely going. It’s just a question of when and with whom. And life has a way of making things happen unexpectedly, I find. In the meantime I shall have great fun dreaming and planning.
In the meantime, I’m off to Tintagel on Sunday. Not quite Greece, but it will have to do for the moment.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
I nearly bought a boat the other weekend. We spied one tucked down a little creek near Porth Navas, which would have been perfect. Sadly the owners wanted a lot more than I was prepared to pay for it. Still, it was a nice dream, and something to work towards. Maybe go halves on a boat? Let’s see what happens.
It was a gorgeously sunny day on Saturday so we headed out on the boat and had a fabulous day. There’s something so special about being out on the water that is, as Mr B said, almost as relaxing as being asleep. I think it’s because you can tune out and get away from everyday problems: the only sounds are the gentle chug of the engine, the lap of the waves, and endless little things to observe that you wouldn’t have time to notice otherwise.
A heron or egret standing shyly on the river bank.
Cormorants – three of them – drying their wings on a large buoy, heads tilted to show their best profiles.
Dark, hidden caves, only visible from the sea.
Moll standing on her hind legs, ears flying back, looking at the water rushing by.
Our smiling, salt spattered faces.
We made the most of the day as there will be a short break from boating for a few weeks. Then, weather permitting, lots more. We hope.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Life continues to be busy, as ever. Most pressing of all is trying to sort a new roof. (She says casually.) Over the last few weeks we’ve had gale force south easterly winds which, on Bank Holiday Monday, nearly ripped the flat roof off my house and the two next door. Luckily Mr B and Joe leapt up there like mountain goats and secured it with a plank and bags of cement (no mean feat in winds so strong they could hardly stand up), and the next day Tony came and secured it with battens. Since then I’ve been getting quotes and we’d got it all sorted when one of the other landlords put a spanner in the works on Monday night.
So my blood pressure has been a little high over the last few days. Thankfully I’m able to let off steam but I shall be glad when the next hurdle is crossed.
On a brighter note, we had an interesting time clay pigeon shooting last week (see above). To my chagrin, I didn’t hit a single clay but neither did Mr B which mollified me a little. We then went on to Godrevy to pick mussels. Well, we didn’t actually because the rock we had in mind was under water when we got there (and yes, I had checked low tide) but we had a good recce and earmarked it for next time (always good to have an excuse to go to Godrevy).
And while we may not have got any mussels, we went round the corner and saw a cove full of seals – about 50 of them – all sunbathing on the beach. Now that was a sight I will never forget. (But as I didn’t have the camera, you will just have to imagine it.)
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
The church at Sancreed - to prove that we have had a bit of Cornish sunshine....
I don’t have an agent for my walks books, but I’m still on the lookout for a publisher and/or agent for my novel, FOUR LEFT FEET (which is being read by an independent publisher at the moment).
As most writers know, getting an agent is an incredibly difficult process, because it’s not just about our writing ability, the book’s marketability and a whole host of other things, but it’s about chemistry. An agent needs to fall in love with your novel and believe in it. And as we all know, falling in love is not something that can happen to order.
So when I was sent an email about Agent Hunter, I read it with interest. Have a look, and this is what my fellow writing friend Emma had to say:-
“I really like the look of this site, Sue. Great to have info about specific agents, much more detailed than the WAYB and much easier to keep up to date I imagine. Knowing which writers specific agents rather than agencies represent is great to know as well, and specifically what kind of work they like. Agents and agencies are changing so much all the time it must be an advantage to have a resource of this kind. Twelve pounds seems pretty reasonable for access to such detailed up to date information and I'd definitely think about signing up. I guess it would be good to know more about how it works in practice (if it is up to date or whether it just seems it) but as it's new it will take a while for people to start getting results.”
So all you writers out there – take a look!
Meanwhile, I’m editing another walk that we did on Friday at Sancreed. Fabulous sunshine although it was very windy. And on Saturday we had our first trip out in the boat, which was wonderful. Tomorrow I’m off to have a lesson in clay pigeon shooting for Cornwall Today, then we’re going to pick mussels at Godrevy. Shame the forecast is so dire….
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
On Easter Monday I had my long awaited Christmas present – a trip on the Dutch brig (tall ship) Mercedes. This was booked at Christmas and I had been in a state of growing excitement ever since, so when I got an email saying that an extra trip had been put on, on Easter Sunday, we decided that we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
Saturday was lovely – as you can see from the picture by David Barnicoat above. Sunny, enough breeze to put all the sails up, and a good time was had by all. However, I got back on Saturday to find a message saying that our evening trip had been cancelled due to bad weather, but would we like to go on the Sunday day trip? We decided we would and had an early night.
Sunday dawned bitterly cold, with an easterly wind that strips any warmth from the most well padded of bodies. Undeterred, I put on three thermal vests and layered up on top of that, finishing with my duffel coat, woolly hat and thick scarf. Might not have looked too elegant but it did the trick.
It was pretty rough but I did enjoy it – it’s fabulous being out in the bay with three metre waves, on a ship like that, and feeling the whole force of nature with you. Also, I wasn’t at all frightened, which I would have been even probably a year ago. I figured we were in good hands and we wouldn’t have gone out if the skipper had had any qualms about the weather. Still, while I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t feel like eating either which, as my friends know, is most unlike me.
I awoke on Monday morning – the day of my proper Christmas present – filled with foreboding. The easterly wind had become a gale that screeched in and out of the houses, and the waves in the harbour tossed and groaned as if having a terrifying tantrum. The skies were grey and heavy and I wondered what on earth I was doing. I very nearly wimped out, but got a text to the effect that I’d be glad I’d done it. So I thought yes – I will. And after all, it was a very generous present.
Even so, we dropped Moll off at a friend’s and I gave her my brother-in-law’s phone number (he has a key to my house) and the phone number of a friend who would have Moll if anything happened to us. Anna laughed uproariously (I didn’t), and we departed for the docks for the second time. On board we were greeted and treated like family and from then on we had a fabulous time.
It was very rough – the waves were four metres – too rough to go out in the bay. But we had a wonderful sail up and down the Carrick Roads and in the harbour and got a real taste of what it would be like to sail on a tall ship. We got talking to the crew, learned more about their lives and about the ship, and promised to meet up when they come back to Falmouth next year.
Sitting in the pub later, we glowed with wind and salt and exercise, and planned doing a sailing course – when the weather’s warmer. It was the most fabulous day, and one I know I will never forget.