Is There Any More Tea In That Pot?

Everyday events in the life of a tea lover.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Return to the Lizard...............November 2015 Retrospective.........

We are returning to the Lizard next week, just for a few days, once again staying at the Housel Bay Hotel, which holds so many, many memories for us. Family times, when we were complete. 

The Hotel is now up for sale, as I guess the owners, Alfred and Iona, are ready to retire.        


Housel Bay Hotel Terrace, Lizard Lighthouse in the distance.  


 So here are a few of the paragraphs from the old blog, written on October 10th 2009:


"What is it about the Lizard that it draws us back?

I never thought after our first visit to The Lizard in Cornwall that we would be returning year by year until now.
We went for the first time as my dad didn't feel like going on holiday on his own after my mum died in 1990, aged just 70.
When asked where he would like to go he pronounced "Cornwall, to the Lizard." As he and my mum had loved it there.
So began an annual trek, beginning in 1992. At that stage it was just ourselves, Alan and my dad. Matt at that time had gone to "Soul Survivor" at Shepton Mallett, a huge Christian gathering at the Bath and Wells showground.

How to describe it?
My dad describes Mullion Cove as "timeless" and on a wet windy night with the sea bashing over the breakwater, "primeval". His memories of the Lizard are special and vivid.
It is a timeless place.
The other side of the peninsula that is Land's End is much more geared to tourists. St Ives, Penzance, Carbis Bay, and the monstrosity that is the theme park at Land's End itself.
The Lizard is a peninsula which begins at Helston,passes RAF Culdrose, and then unfolds as you drive along its spine. Heathland either side, covered in wild gorse, wild fuchsias and tumbling hedgerows, scrub and stunted trees.

Cadgwith village.
The little villages that sit on edge in coves and bays are all different. Inland is partly a designated wildlife reserve, with Goonhilly in the centre and St Keverne's church a landmark. Other small hamlets dotted about.
Visitors emptying out of coaches at the Lizard village itself, wander along to The Southernmost point and to The Most Southerly Café. This in itself is not commercialised and although there are the usual gift and craft shops, the whole thing is very low key.
In spring now, the RSPB set a watch there as there are pairs of Cornish choughs breeding. They returned to the area after 50 years absence.
I was so excited when I saw them last May flying out of the cave in the rocks where they were raising their brood. I always have a pair of binoculars handy. There are usually seals in the water at the Lizard Point.
All this still does not describe why it draws us back. It stays in the mind visually, and as impressions, tumbling white surf, serpentine rocks, calling sea birds, the tang of the salt in the air on a windy day. Wide skies, turquoise blue of the water, smooth sand in little coves , the rough feel of the granite as you sit on a slab for awhile. The timelessness and the knowledge that year by year it changes very little.
Narrow coastal paths snaking their way along the edges of sheer cliffs or descending into hidden bays. Always always a delight. The scenery is superb on these coastal fringes.
And we have been there in all weathers and all seasons. Seeing the wildness of winter storms, and the abundance of spring flowers, the lushness of summer, and yes we have had some excellent summers there.

Sky endless blue, sea stretching to the horizon in a sparkling, ever shifting panorama, shimmering until infinity.
The scent of autumn, ploughed fields, brown bracken, a sense of the holiday season coming to a close and a quietness arriving.
Mullion village itself is the largest on the Lizard,and is a bustling community, with several artists in residence, which I enjoy. They actually work on site and it is fascinating to see their craft unfold in front of you. They are friendly and like to discuss techniques, offer suggestions and encouragement.
Matt and his grandad, my dad.
On the cliff at Lizard Point. September 2004
It is to Mullion we returned again this October,(2009) when we stayed at the Housel Bay Hotel once more, having previously stayed in various holiday cottages with the family. The last time we stayed at the hotel itself was 2005, when we had my dad with us.     It was like coming home. So many good memories there of family holidays, shared experiences, the voices and laughter echoed in my mind.........."

Lizard Point November 2011

So, we are back again next week, and hopefully, for as long as we are able to make the journey.

Lizard Point. Cornwall. 

Matt and my dad, on the walk to Kynance Cove. 2004.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A step back in time

Me. Setting off to climb Cribden. 1971.   
Tuesday August 11th 2015.
 How is it that sometimes a random impression from the past will pose itself at the forefront of the mind?
It is not as though the train of thought had been on that particular track.
Out here in the garden, the air has been so still that no leaf stirs......
The washing hangs limply on the line, and there is a general silence  from the  long summer break. 
Less traffic, quieter roads.      
 As I write the sounds of children playing nearby float on the air......
Maybe, just maybe, that stirred my senses.
I was suddenly transported back into the past of my own childhood summers.
They always seemed so filled with sunshine.
I am sitting by a river, with waters so clear in places, that each pebble and stone looks up at me out of the shallows by the edge.
We are having a picnic.
It had involved two bus journeys and a walk to arrive with my parents and sister.
I am looking for minnows, small silvery fish which dart in and out of the translucent green water weed waving in the current.
There is an old stone bridge nearby where the river passes through two arches, creating a mirrored image in the water. I could sit here for ages watching...... 

Rawtenstall viewed from Cribden Hill. One I used to regularly climb.  
Other impressions come to mind.
I am sitting in a field of glorious golden buttercups, on a hillside, sunshine warming my face.
Mayflowers creating punctuation marks of colour in between.
The grass is rippling in the breeze.
Such a sense of freedom and sheer enjoyment in all that I can see.
   Childhood, at least mine, was like that....

Memory stirs again.............................................
There is rough bark under my hands, it's texture grazing my palms occasionally as I gradually climb upwards looking for footholds as I  move higher, the ground receding below.      How I love climbing trees! 

 I still love trees, their varied shapes and forms, the way the light dapples through the leaves in summer, and the skeleton outlines of wintertime.
 Now I paint pictures of trees.
     Random memories, snatches of the past whispering to me in pictures, like muffled conversations.
          And always, always the timeless hills which surrounded our valley. 

I used to follow the well-trodden field paths to reach their summits, looking down into the valley where the houses seemed so tiny and far away.
                      Up on the top where the air was pure,and other hills melted away into the far distance, you could hear the sound of a curlew.
             How did I feel? I felt very small in the timelessness of the moment.  

           I am so very glad I climbed them before their slopes became covered with more housing and the fields disappeared. 
             It is 41 years since I left Rossendale and it's hills, but they have left an indestructible mark on my formative years and beyond. 
                                      It was simply the best childhood.  

Friday, 5 June 2015

Back to the days of Billy the Kid! Texas makes it legal to carry a pistol in a holster.

Matt in California 1998
I was reading the Times on-line before breakfast when I read this article about the new gun laws in Texas. I found it chilling.
Our Matt went to the States for the first time, just after his graduation from university before he started his new job. He was staying in California at the invitation of an American friend he had made during a trip to Morocco. They spent 4 weeks travelling along the Pacific highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles and briefly into Mexico.
   What has this got to do with gun laws you might ask?!
It was his first introduction to American life and culture, and with it the ease at which people were allowed to bear arms.
We met him at the airport on his return and no sooner had he got through the door and begun to open his cases than he, literally, chucked a load of magazines all about guns, on to the carpet and said
 " Take a look at that lot!"
The fact that people actually could openly go into a store and buy one, off the shelf, as it were, never mind keeping one in the house, completely incensed him!
 The minute I read the that piece I could hear him going on about it!! It was still early as his plane landed soon after 6,00a.m.!
He never liked it and I guess any argument with him on the subject would end in stalemate!
Once he got wound up he was wound up big time!
So I'm posting this full article here as I have to say it had the same effect on me so many years later.
We have been to the States three times now, and  we have always felt safe, and never noticed any firearms, except those that the Police carry themselves. And we have met the most kind and generous people.
This is a cultural issue for me.      

Read it and think...................everyone is entitled to an opinion.........and Matt's voluble reactions still ring in my ears!

  • a gun-rights advocate carries a rifle on his back and a cardboard cutout of a pistol on his waist as a group protests outside the Texas Capitol, in Austin, Texas.
    A gun rights protester carries a cardboard pistol in his holster at a demonstration in Austin, Texas, earlier this year Eric Gay
Texas may be synonymous with pistol-toting cowboys, but for more than a century the Lone Star State has banned its residents from carrying handguns in plain sight.
That restriction is set to end with a new law that will make it legal to carry a pistol in a holster in Texas for the first time since Billy the Kid was making a name for himself in the wild west.
It has long been legal to walk around Texas with a rifle in hand, as long as the manner in which you do so is not “calculated” to alarm others. Since the 1870s, however, Texas has prohibited the open display of handguns, imposing an outright ban that today exists in just four other states.
Greg Abbott, the Texas governor, has promised to change that and will sign into law a bill that will permit the “open carry” of handguns.
“It’s a thumbs up for law-abiding citizens,” Debbie Riddle, a Republican who represents part of Houston, told Fox News. “Everywhere there is a denial of Second Amendment rights, crime is through the roof. It’s a deterrent. If someone is going to rob a convenience store and there are other people inside with guns on their hips, they might think twice.”
CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, a group that campaigned for the law, said: “Criminals aren’t afraid of prison, they’re afraid of getting shot.”
Members of his organisation made their views felt by holding rallies at which they carried rifles – a strategy that even met with rebuke from The National Rifle Association.
“To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary,” the NRA said. “It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.”
Texas is also on course to allow concealed weapons on college campuses for the first time. Opponents have suggested that allowing guns in college settings notorious for hard drinking and raucous lifestyles is a mistake. “I have concerns about introducing guns in a university environment already fraught with stress and often fragile emotions,” said José Rodríguez, Democrat state senator from El Paso.
However, a further ten states are weighing similar moves, with supporters arguing that allowing guns on campus grounds would deter rape.
Michele Fiore, an assemblywoman in Nevada, told The New York Times in February: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”
The Texas law will allow private colleges to ban guns. State-funded colleges will be able to establish “reasonable” gun-free zones but not to issue blanket bans on firearms.
Andy Pelosi, executive director of the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, said he was disheartened by how lawmakers had turned “a deaf ear to the wishes of higher education officials, faculty, students, parents and campus law enforcement, who together made it crystal clear that they didn’t want guns on college campuses”.