Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Book of December: Life Lately



On Sunday, I woke just before dawn. I was early enough to hear the cockerel crowing and the sloping valley in front of the farm was drowned beneath a blanket of winter mist. I crept out of the house and started my car, the rumble of the engine sounding so unnatural and perverse on this silent morning. That Sunday was enchanting. I drove to Dartmoor for the first time to meet a good friend (known fondly as Abble Pie by me) who got engaged a few months back and to take some photographs for her and her fiance, D. The drive up there was beyond beautiful and therapeutic and I'm going to use the word 'serendipitous' here for the first time. Everything about that morning was accidentally perfect and any winter blues that I may have been feeling were dissolved by the comeliness of the landscape on a midwinter's morn. It seemed Cornwall itself was sleeping beneath the mists and as I drove up hills, I rose out of it to be greeted by clear blue skies and to witness the world as one sees it from an airplane; beneath an ocean of cloud, with the odd wind turbine and families of trees peeping through the fog. I wish I could have photographed those moments. I was overcome by the sheer perfection and serenity in the moment, to see the sun like a golden orb gleaming behind the haze of the sea fog, to see the hills rise like islands above the clouds and to be listening to the Sunday morning folk sessions on radio two. I wept like a babe to the sounds of Kate Rusby and the sight of a world I barely felt worthy of witnessing, a special world reserved for one winter's morning a year at the crack of dawn.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Faded Heather: Tales from Goonhilly Downs


These downs are a curious place, an old place place. Older than the villages that surround it, untouched and left to be wild. Older than any of the structures and marks left by lives now finished, scattered across the heathland. Perhaps there are reasons why nobody wished to tame this wild place, maybe out of respect, fear or practicality because they go on for seemingly ever. 

There are most mysterious tales that surround the downs, local legends that are still as thriving as the unique species of plants that grow on the heath. There aren't just rare orchids and leeches to be found in these parts, but also derelict cottages belonging to highwaymen hundreds of years ago, abandoned gardens of unmarked graves and stories of ghost sightings along the great stretch of road that passes through. 
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