Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The ocean roared against the shore

The ocean roared against the shore, in the dark before the day. I pulled my coat around my throat and I turned my face away. So sung Robin Williamson in his song By Weary Well, in a set of lyrics so fine that I was tempted to just put his song up here instead of my own blathering, but blather I must I suppose.

Cornwall is a rocky place and has a fine reputation for its often lethal and unpredictable waters. The number of ships wrecked around the south Cornish coast has been estimated to be as many as three thousand, though full information seems to be difficult to find.

I had a few run-in's with the sea around here as a child, firstly mistiming my passage through a large atlantic wave at Sennen Cove so that it landed on my head, and after much tumbling and banging about I ended up about a hundred feet inshore in around six inches of water with a nicely dazed bonce. Another time on a very calm afternoon sitting on the harbour wall at Mullion (see picture above) with many others, a freak wave suddenly came over the top, drenching us all, though luckily not sending us all into the harbour.

The name of this area, The Lizard, has nothing to do with the animal but seems to be named after the cornish word, lezou, meaning headland. The Cornish have their own language, known as kernewek which is a recognised minority language of the UK and is similar to the Welsh and Breton languages, brought here by the early settlers who moved up around the western coasts a few thousand years ago.

There's not a lot of shelter around here apart from the occasional rock and a few hollows for sheep or cattle to get out of the wind. I choose a large overhanging rock to shelter under for a quick smoke and a sarnie, as stopping when wet will soon make you cold, so it is best to keep moving if possible.

Well onward and into the weather we go friends, as there's a good few miles to walk yet and then tomorrow there's the most southerly point to do and with it the walk back up to Kynance Cove. (Moves forward humming excerpts from Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite which is soon lost to the sound of wind and rain).


nobody said...

A cig and a sarnie and blather we must - yay!

I say John, can I pinch your third last pic there? It's really spooky. I was just thinking of putting it on the haiku blog to see what people make of it.

Otherwise, thanks matey. I do like these jaunts. It's the closest I come to being drenched and freezing, ha ha.

su said...

Bleakly drenched and freezing.
Ocean - magnificent and yet not inviting. Used to turquoise waters here.

Good to join you on your walks once again.

the Silverfish said...

Nice again as per norm.

Here the spring has sprung and it's time to do the yard work and believe me when I tell you that there is a lot of that to do here at the Swallow's Nest. Flower beds to wake up snow downed trees to cut up for next winters firewood plus seven acres of lawn to whip into shape.

We will be spending a good portion of the summer out at the lake again sailing and whatnot so it's also the time to get the bright work done on the Morgan Le'fae Bride of Merlin. I think that the time has come for Sky's child to take the helm and learn the ropes of sailing so to speak. It should be worth a chuckle to run the boat close hauled to the wind in a stiff gale and have six inches of water coming over the gunwales as she lays the Morgan on her side. I know that before I learned how to sail it always scared the shit outa me. Forty foot of boat is a lot of boat for a twelve year old but hey she has to learn sometime
Cheers John and all the best on yer walks and don't catch a cold.

john said...

Hi Nobody

Glad you're enjoying the rain and cold. Help yourself to the picture for the haiku blog, he is a handsome fellow isn't he?

Cheers Su and thanks. It is a lovely part of the coast. I don't get away very often so it is interesting for me to see other shores. Glad you're enjoying the walks.

Cheers Silverfish and thanks. It sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy there! Seven acres of lawn is a real big lawn but what delightful gatherings one could have on such a lawn, I can imagine the champagne and cucumber sandwiches from here.

The yacht sounds lovely and it sounds like a good time to learn to sail. It is surprising how quickly some children take to these things sometimes though one of the things I find about sailing is that when things go wrong they can go wrong very suddenly and sometimes quite spectacularly. All part of the fun eh?

We have no jet planes flying anywhere here at the moment because of ash from the Iceland volcano. It has been absolute bliss! When I stand down the beach at night, at any one time I can see three jets coming in from the SW and looking around there are always more. In all my life I have never seen such clear blue sky's.

The air industry here is heavily subsidised and it is often cheaper to fly than to take a bus or train, an absurd situation. I wish they'd piss off for good.

Cheers all!

the Silverfish said...

Yes John sailing is basically composed of two things, periods of complete boredom interspersed with periods of HOLY SWEET JESUS CHRIST what the fuck just happened? sort of excitement. And yes you are right these periods of excitement can and do come about in a heartbeat but that is the fun part,sometimes.

I just can't wait to be comming home after a long days sailing, running on the long reach and flying the spinnaker with the wind at my back. Now thats real sailing.

john said...

Cheers Silverfish

Yes that sounds very nice. I don't get to go sailing very often these days but I grew up around yachts in a very busy yachting area between Southampton and Portsmouth so used to go sailing a lot.

Last year when I went sailing and as usual I was taking photos, whilst slowly puttering back in when the outboard engine fell off the back of the boat. Luckily it was tied on with a length of rope.

Penny said...

"Last year when I went sailing and as usual I was taking photos, whilst slowly puttering back in when the outboard engine fell off the back of the boat."

John, sorry to chuckle, but does that not sound like some scene out of a movie.

I could picture this scenario.

But, you did get the engine back ok, and get to shore, right?

john said...

Hi Penny

Yes we got back alright and after a bit of panicky flapping it was quite funny really, especially as up until then it had been a really relaxing evening.