Saturday, 21 January 2012

A memory of Cornwall

(photo courtesy of Cornwall Online Holidays)

This is a photo of Praa (pronounced 'pray') Sands, Cornwall, just outside of Helston, and about a half hour walk from where my grandparents used to live; down the lane, past farms and across the moors and finally past an old, collapsed tin mine. SFT has that beautiful photo of the Cornish coast on her page and it's just got me wistful and somewhat homesick the past few days.

My grandparents raised my dad and his brother here after moving from Portsmouth just before the war. My uncle remembers days when the two of them would be gone from home for hours, and a time when they discovered a fridge washed ashore and full of butter! A real coup at the time when everyone was restricted to rations.

After spending the war in the Mediterranean, my grandpa was the Reverend at Breage for thirty years - I remember going to church once when we were visiting - but the majority of my memories centre around this beautiful stretch of sand. As a family we'd spend hours and hours there, my grandma having baked goodies and made sandwiches for all of us. There was a shop just off the beach at the far end, where we'd buy ice cream on occasion (the "P" for parking at the far left of the map below), but we were happy to just swim, poke around the rock pools and play with abandon.

Breage Parish Church.

My grandparents are both buried here, but not together. :( As grandpas was a vicar, he was interred in a special area with the previous vicars. Grandma, apparently, was "just" his wife. I find this sad. Grandpa knew when he was 14 & grandma was 12 that he would marry her and they almost 70 years together. Not many can say that these days.

The last time I was here was 1993 and then only briefly with my sister. When I'm in the UK next year, I am going to make sure I visit and stir up some memories.

This is a map area:

We would walk down Rinsey Lane (they lived just south of Rinsey village) to the coast path (red line) and across the moors to the beach from there. Grandpa always insisted we stick to the path because the area is riddled with mine shafts from the old tin mines that dot the region and the earth is very unstable. There is actually an old tin mine at Rinsey Head.

(thank you

The name of this mine - I've just learned - is Wheal Prosper. There are all kinds of photos of it on the web, some very lovely. From the looks of it, there are now paths down to the mine and around it, but grandpa never let us stray far.

I have been very homesick for the UK for several years now. I wasn't born there, but I have citizenship and am only one generation removed. Perhaps it's because all my memories of time spent there as a kid were happy ones with grandparents (except for grumpy grandpa Wallace...) and cousins and aunts and uncles, visiting the farm in Hertfordshire where my mum grew up, this beautiful area my dad called home...

This has nothing to do with finances, but it just struck me that I needed to keep focused on my goal for next year and this has helped with that. I hope you enjoyed the visit...


saving for travel said...

Oh, wow! We were in Helston and this area at New Year! We haven't visited Praa sands but definitely will next time we go.

Our sealed pot challenge money is going towards returning to Cornwall and I know what you mean about it getting into your soul.

We love it there and I would even like to live there part time one day.

I bet you can't wait until your trip next year. That sounds so exciting.

Mr Sft comes from Hertfordshire.

Sft x

444 said...

Thanks, I really enjoyed reading that. I understand the "one generation removed" part since I am one generation removed from Georgia (USA) and generations of ministers as well... and going back way more generations, from the UK (Snodland)(not nearly the same place, I realize.)

Gill - That British Woman said...

it's been years since we have been to Cornwall, it's such a pretty place.


Jane said...

Just beautiful - thanks for sharing a part of your childhood with us. Change the colour of the soil and you could be in Prince Edward Island with the patchwork of green fields. It's wonderful that you get to visit next year!

Northern Living Allowance said...

@SFT - it's such a beautiful part of the country! I'm so looking forward to my trip and perhaps spending some time here again. My mum grew up near Welwyn Garden City (the farm is now a daycare, but is located at Cole Green, if that means anything).

@444 - thank you for stopping by! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed reading it. I wasn't sure how it would go over...I think the older I get the more I wish I had spent time asking questions about the place and the people. I suppose that's why I'm a little wistful and sad and determined to get back before too much more time passes!

@Gill - it is, isn't it? And there's so much more to see... :)

@Jane - I believe it's called the "Riviera of England" because it generally has quite warm temperatures. I remember being amazed that my grandparents had a palm tree in their yard! I was told it was because the gulf stream runs past the area, making it warmer than other parts.

~Carla~ said...

Sooo beautiful! I can see why you're longing for it!!

Debby said...

Wow, how wonderful you get to go back for a visit, it really is lovely!!! Thanks for sharing