Monday, 30 May 2016

Mares Tails & Little Boat Sails

As I type this, I am lying in bed listening to the two owls calling to each other outside. One is twitting and the other is twooing. Some nights, we used to lay here and there would just be one owl, calling out into the lonely night, never receiving a reply. 
I love the sound of the owls in the night, they're soothing and peaceful. My soul is so cheerful to be away from the sounds of traffic, the rats and the sickly glow of street lights seeping in through the window. Even if it is only for a few days. I am happy once again to hear my owls. 

This blog post has little purpose. I wish I could give it some sort of purpose but I can not. It just is what it is; scenes from those adventures you have after tea, right before bedtime. 

I adore the month of May. It is the month of flowers, and folklore and it's the month of bidding farewell to winter. The old peoples that lived in the country called this Beltane and in a nutshell, it's a celebration of the arrival of summer. Lots of areas of the British isles that are still in touch with their Celtic roots continue to hold Beltane-like festivals to this very day. We have Flora day [Helston], and Maizey day [Penzance, June] among many others to welcome the beginning of summer time. This May has passed simultaneously slowly and far too quickly, I wished it could last a little longer but June is arriving stoutly, ready to plunge us into the strength of summer in all its glory of hazy days, violent showers and sun burn. I  a d o r e   the summer time, despite the business of Cornwall. I'll even take the violent showers and risk of sun burn if it means dancing about barefoot on the grass and sands. 

It's been a transitional month, a significant month - not just because it's my favourite month of the year, or because it marks one year until George and I marry, but because I said farewell to a lot of things in my life and I'm reaching the end of this story, the one about the time I went off to study in a land far away [Not that far, since I can reach home on the train in 4 hours]. I have that sentiment akin to when you know you're reaching the end of a lovely book and you're not quite sure how you feel about it. You want the satisfaction of the finish, and you want to eagerly skip on to the next adventure but at the same time you mentally prepare yourself to bid goodbye to the characters you've just shared that adventure with and grown attached to. 
You prepare to let it all go - because unlike a book, time can't be closed, picked up at on another rainy day and relived. 
And that's why it's so bittersweet. 

This week, the last of my grades came back from University and they were all Firsts. Hooray! My car got vandalised again (someone smashed my windscreen), so that was a little less hooray. I guess it was an early leaving present from Bath. In the past few weeks, I applied for my first ever graduate job and then subsequently got rejected for my first ever graduate job. I said goodbye to a lot of people who have been part of my daily life for the last few years, and whom I will probably never see again. I visited the Thermae Bath Spa with Alex and Jess for the first time [considering I've lived in Bath for four years now] and then got us horribly lost in a field in the middle of nowhere at five in the morning after an all-night house party [Have since decided that I am too old and fuddy for such nonsense as house parties]

Essentially, it's been a really hectic and all-over-the-place time in my life. I left my Bath job, said goodbye to all my teachers and tried to figure out what I do with my time when I have no job or classes to go to, but still a million things to do. 

Living in Bath has been a tough experience but has truly helped me to shape my identity. I realised pretty soon that I was not a Photography student, that I could only ever play at city living and never manage it completely and whole-heartedly, and that I have more of a muchness than I realised. Even though my life growing up in Cornwall was the soil that was a bed for baby seed Sarah to grow in, Bath was the watering can that helped me to open up and be some sort of crazy, weird, derpy flower that really likes writing surreal, fantasy fiction and doing bad impressions of accents to make her friends laugh. 

I will do a post, reflecting on University and sharing advice and things I've learned but for now, I wish to enjoy the last days in May and do only that. 

Here are scenes from a quiet, teatime adventure on the Helford River with my future in-law [although kind of already pretty thoroughly integrated] family. 

You may recognise the Helford River as having featured in my previous posts (if you're a regular reader of this blog) and that's because it's very near to where I live. There is a pub there named the Shipwrights and they quite often have gigs, barbecues and summer parties that we cherish going to. It truly is the most beautiful pub, plopped on the river side with tiers of outdoor seating that look right over the river beneath strings of twinkling festoon lights. Helford is a dead village most of the time, with few locals able to live there. The majority of the cottages in the village are second homes or holiday lets and stand empty 60% of the year so most of the shops that used to be there have closed down and it's pretty quiet and snoozy most of the time. The pub hasn't seemed to have suffered, because despite being over priced and it's still a hot spot with the locals (mostly because of the parties). It draws the community in for the events from all round the nearby villages on the Lizard who share it with the visitors who also love it so. It's worth noting it's a dog friendly pub too. 
We had our dinner there that night [Monkfish + Chorizo Linguine for me, om nom nom] before catching the fading evening light, taking a walk from Treeth through the bluebell woods that snakes alongside the most idyllic, secret smugglers beaches on the river. The tide was in, so many of the secret beaches were hidden by the lapping waves but we passed by some islands covered in grass and trees, inaccessible and utterly heartbreakingly beautiful [I was unable to take a good picture due to tides.]
We came across honesty box stalls, selling glass bottles and shell decorations, passed by abundance of Cow Parsley and hidden meadows of bluebells, desperately hanging onto their last breath almost fooling us into believing it could still be spring. 

If you ever find yourself in fancy of taking this delightful walk, park your car in the Helford county council car park behind the sailing club, and take the public footpath through the woods, down to Treeth and then continue past the old kennels, keeping to the public footpath through the woods. Beware of sudden, sheer drops though if you get to near the edge by the tree islands. The views are amazing, but really not worth a tumble. 

“Why do you go away? 
So that you can come back. 
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. 
And the people there see you differently, too. 
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
― Terry PratchettA Hat Full of Sky

At the moment, I am currently reading 'Frenchman's Creek' - a spotaneous gift from George's Stepma.  It's one of those novel's I've meant to read for a long time, and it's been recommended to me so many times by so many people. 
I was utterly in love with Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, much less so with Rebecca and I was hoping to find some sort of fondness for this book. I love the imagery of the river, the birds and the tides and walking on these beaches, I try to imagine people centuries ago in the same spots. Maybe smugglers or pirates. So far though, I am really struggling to like Dona (the protagonist) much at all, but perhaps the setting will see me through, perhaps there is great adventure to come. Perhaps Dona will surprise me. 

Alex and I shared an interesting conversation on a stroll around the cliffs of Kynance, sharing thoughts of perception and how different people view the world. We were talking about what it would be like to be in somebody else's head, and then tried to describe to each other how it was that we experienced the place from where we were sat. 
We both realised that our experiences were similar, that our worlds were formed by fascinations with dancing light, colour and shadows. She explained how her partner saw the world for how it was formed, for it's geography and rock. In that moment, I could see it in a flicker. A cliff top of rolling, volcanic stone, tumbled and wuthered and erupted from the soil and sea like a scape of crooked teeth. 
But only for a fleeting moment, and then my world pushed through again; the one of shimmers of light on the waters surface, the one that followed the movements and drifts of soaring gulls and clouds scudding gently across the sky. 
To be inside somebody else's head for a while could be a marvellous thing. 

 The way the light reflects off the water. 
The infinite shades of the sea and the river. 
The layers and formations of cloud.
The pale, pearly hues and dark, rich, star smattered states of the sky.

These things are my world, my obsessions, my everything.

To see the world through my eyes, is to yearn to immortalise and cherish every moment in the feel of the wind on my skin, to preserve the emotion created by the sight of a lightening bolt or rainstorm on the hills. 

I could take a million photographs of these things, and write a thousand stories about people who love them and find their place within them.

I want to explore and study the natural miracles that are around me before my bones become too fragile and the light fades from my eyes. 

Growth, seedlings pushing through earth; those are the miracles of my world. Feats of the land. I don't ask for great displays or gifts of fortune and seas parting, I only want to be allowed to observe the beauty in the changing seasons, the ebbing tides and to be left alone to do that indefinitely. 

And to be able to share the joy in those things. 

I've rambled a lot about nothing. You already know me, you already know of my overbearing obsession with these things. But I would tire quickly of talking about my new iPad, or Anthropologie china; but water? I can talk about that forever. 
I'm sorry, but you'll have to put up with that in the meantime. And look at a lot of photographs that celebrate the way the light touches the surface of the water. And how the people who live near the river and sea find their place within the landscape.
That is what I'm all about.
Studying how people find their place within the landscape. 
That is the purpose of my life. 
To observe and to think and to find joy in my findings. 



  1. I love your photos, they are always so beautiful.
    Also...I am a huge Du Maurier fan. Rebecca is my favourite book of all time, closely followed by Jamaica Inn. I have read Frenchman's Creek and that is also a very enjoyable read.
    I know a lot of people get frustrated when reading Rebecca because it's a bizarre concept whereby the main character/narrator isn't the sole focus. I think people don't like how much of a pushover she is.
    But I love scandal and drama in books so I was gripped the whole way through. From the very first time I read the book, from the very beginning, I knew there was something not quite right about Rebecca all the way through...surely nobody is that perfect? And my hunch paid off!


  2. Your words and photos are always so beautiful, Sarah. I share your feelings about May. It's the most wonderful month, and I'm sad that it's over, yet simultaneously excited to welcome June.
    Congratulations on your firsts! It must be a good feeling to finish off your years in Bath with that :) I'll miss your posts from Bath, but I'm also looking forward to seeing more of Cornwall through your lens.
    It's funny how the places we live shape us, isn't it? I'm a country person through and through, but I do feel like living in the city is helping me to grow and find myself in a different way.
    Hope you'll have a wonderful month in June!

    Mimmi xx
    Muted Mornings

  3. Your photos and words are SO beautiful! Reading this has cheered up a very grey Tuesday morning and got me dreaming of a trip to Cornwall!

  4. Not all blog posts have to have a point - I love reading them anyway <3 Congratulations on your uni results too - that amazing!

    Gisforgingers xx

  5. This is such a lovely post, and also such beautiful photos. You have a really talented way with words, it's very raw and refreshing to read in a very saturated blogging community. Congrats on your Uni results - you've done amazingly well xx

    Sam // What I Know Now

  6. AWW SARAH - that quote on "why do you go away / so you can come back" really struck a chord! What a mixed bag to end your time in Bath with (not the car incident though) and I've enjoyed so much reading about your time there (and don't forget the nasty flat business sigh) but it's the realness of it all that makes your reading and your words so magical! I'm glad your month of May went well and well wishes for June to come -- I'm struggling to even read these days, it's such a pity as I used to be such an avid reader, caught up in the words and all... alas excel spreadsheets and business jobs don't agree well with lyrical words, eh.

    Also, super and massive well done on the uni results! :-)

    Cherie | sinonym

  7. Save me some dancing sunlight for later this month, I'm coming for you Cornwall, and I really can't wait! Alice xxx

  8. Your pictures always look so pretty and exciting, makes me want to get out and explore more! I hope you had a lovely May anyway :)

  9. You always write so beautifully and with each of your posts I always come away feeling ten times calmer and more relaxed. Well done on getting so many Firsts at university - that's awesome! Wishing you all the best in your final year before you get married too, you must be so excited?! Love the quote you included on going away to come back - that struck a chord with me. - Tasha

  10. Great post!


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