About Me

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here I am in a little cottage that evokes the energies of my ancestral lands - a cottage on the moors of Cornwall, or on the cliff tops of Ireland or Scotland. It has a hearth. I am a hedge witch {of sorts}. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. I am a gypsy; an eccentric and a mystic [I often live with a foot in two worlds]. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. Star watcher and Moon gazer. story cloth weaver. keeper of family dreams and wishes. good friend and creator of life. herbal tea drinker and potion maker.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bodmin Moor. at last.

last night, it rained and blew a gale and rained.. somemore. I was beginning to think that we were in some kind of tropical typhoon. And we woke to rain. so it was a bit of a downer really...
I wanted to go back to Tavistock to visit a church I had spotted when driving yesterday.

the water table is saturated and the water has no where to go..

we drove along roads, not much bigger than goat tracks in places.. all washed out and flooded by the rain.. on the way we saw a kestrel, hovering just above us. they are stunning birds. so graceful.

Our Lady and Mary Magdalene, catholic church.. [funny how Mary Magdalene has accompanied me on this pilgrimage]

it was not as old as the anglican churches [which apparently were catholic before King Henry V111 decided to reform it all] but simple inside, although the design was taken from a Roman Basilica, it was still very impressive compared with Australian churches.

then we decided to go to Liskeard for lunch.

on the way, we took a detour to find a Holy well that i had read about - Dupath Well.. believed to cure whooping cough.. but came to a dead end at a farm.. and decided not to trek through the farm looking for the well...

Liskeard is what is known as a 'poor town'..and I can see sadly, that many shops are closing down, much like at home.
we found an op shop [where I bought a cup commemorating some kind and queen] and a junk shop.. obviously the junk shop doesn't know that the country is in a recession as they had a similar mug for sale for 10 times the price! there were lots of treasures in the junk shop though.. but sadly, too crowded and damp to even want to look inside for too long. lots of water problems in many buildings here.. rising damp and leaking rooves.

after our browse in Liskeard we headed for the second well that I wanted to visit..

Holy Well of St. Cleer - 15th century
[St. Clarus, a benedictine.. the Benedictines are a big part of my life. I love the Benedictine Way..]
the Holy Well, was originally used to treat the insane. they were tossed up and down in the water until their sanity returned
sounded good to me....

but of course.. modern times, safety issues.. the well was covered.. so I had to be content with dipping my hands in.. [and this is where I placed my little rock that I had bought from home]

it was quite sad actually.. the Holy Well seemed neglected.. aluminium cans and rubbish littered the crystal clear water.. if I lived here, i would adopt the well and clean it up, decorating it on the feast day of St. Cleer ..

next to the well was an ancient 7 foot cross

then we drove towards the Moors... towards Minions..the highest village in Cornwall.

we stopped to look at The Hurlers. Bronze Stone age circles from1500BC.

I must admit that Bodmin Moor was beautiful. very cold and windy. and of course wet. but the part that I saw was gorgeous. I walked around for a very short time as alot of it was so wet, so much so, that I kept losing my wellies in the mud.. it touched my heart and I am sure if I spent more time there, it would steal my heart... but anywhere like this always touches a part of me that cities and towns don't. Of course, this is only a small part of Bodmin Moor, but it will have to do.. I know that I have been to yet another area where my ancestors most probably were at sometime. satisfied? yes. yes.

then home to Ingledene.. to an invitation from a couple that we had met at the Fowey Hotel.. for lunch tomorrow.. [they live in North Devon and we clicked immediately on meeting them last week.. they were also grieving being away from family at Christmas time.. their children and grandchildren live in Australia!! She is the Mayor of her village.. they once hired a motor home and drove to Cairns.. oh the tales they told us of that adventure!]

Friday, December 28, 2012

the last cottage in Cornwall

well, here we are in the last of the Cornish Cottages.. on the north side of Bodmin Moor - in the middle of nowhere.. the cottage is perfect. However, I am homesick, really homesick. [I can remember when I use to get homesick as a little girl.. I would be at my Nan & Pa's and wake in the middle of the night, absolutely homesick and I would cry and cry.. many the time my grandparents had to bundle us all up in their FJ Ute and make the long trek from Ermington to Windsor, often arriving back at Windsor, at midnight, with me crying.. and that is exactly how I feel now, like sobbing, the feeling in my solar plexus, hurts and there are no grandparents to bundle me up and take me home]

we arrived in North Hill, yesterday to a warm, cosy cottage and a basket full of wood.. and settled ourselves in..
I am still waking around 4am every morning. Sometimes I get up and do a contemplative meditation, others, I just toss and turn. I am taking walnut and star of bethlehem for the homesickness, but the only remedy that will work, is actually going home. we are counting the days - 10 weeks is just too long to be away. I feel as if I have done what needed to be done and now I am ready for the next part of my journey.. that at home.. I still have to walk the Moors and I have a stone to place there from home.. a little ritual that I want to do .. of course, if it stops raining.

this morning we set off to visit Tavistock again, the home of my great grandfather. The one who is responsible for me being in Australia. The one who I will forever be in gratitude to.

and it rained.

We had parcels to send but decided on morning tea first.. and in we went, to be seated next to an elderly gentleman who was on for a chat. He told me jokes, he told me about Devon and at one stage, it was like, I was back sitting with my Pa.. all of these little interludes are by no accident, they are all happening to me as a gift from my ancestors.
then we went for a look at the local church.

and once again, an anglican church more catholic than most catholic churches at home.. they never cease to amaze me as I walk silently among the pews. holding my breath in awe.

with holy water, statues of Mary

and candles.

It was gorgeous

but the thing that struck me with this one was that high up in the vaulted roof was a pagan symbol of the three hares.. there is more to all of this than any of us know.. it is all connected somehow.. and if only every one could see that and embrace it.. instead of thinking that their way is the only and right way.

I lit a candle and sat and prayed for awhile.

as I entered the church in Tavistock, I was once again moved to tears. I just wanted to cry. Partly because I was homesick, but it was more than that.. it was once again as if I were home. The peace enveloped my being. I didn't want to leave.. the prayers ooze, seep from the walls and you can literally feel the presence of all those who have prayed, wished and dreamed here... something keeps drawing me back to these old churches. I don't feel that at home. I wish I did... but it has to have something to do with a past life memory here for me.. it is so strong.

Joe had a little shopping to do and I stood in a little laneway, with umbrella over my head.. a young man came up to me and started to talk to me.. and once he heard my accent - 'so wot are you doin' here then'... I told him and he said he cannot wait to go to Australia. He was in the RN, a chef and was planning to travel to Australia end of 2013. I wished him well as we walked away. He reminded me so much of my cousin, Ben. a little younger, but the same lilt in his voice, sparkle in his eye and the same demeanour. I was homesick all over again.

I went to a health food shop to see if I could buy some almond or rice milk.. but no.

 I cannot understand why things that I can buy at home are so difficult to find here. I miss all my healthy food stuff.. I miss my juices. I miss good, fresh organic salads.

Tavistock is a beautiful town.. and I feel as if I am at home. The people are friendly, mostly. [except for the rude driver who almost ran me down today.. hurling abuse at me as I walked across the road, because I didn't run and got in his way.. as did an elderly lady in front of me.. I just turned to him as he yelled and I said 'slow down, how rude'..  he was red in the face and angry. jerk. But Tavistock itself, needs to be explored and one cannot do that in this rain. a bitter disappointment actually. But, it makes me smile inside, to know that some of my ancestors came from such a beautiful area. I hope to be able to visit Dartmoor National Park this week, but of course, once again depending on the rain.

then we went to Plymouth. to exchange a shirt that I had bought Joe for Christmas.
of course, the Christmas sales are on.

Plymouth, just like any other city.
 I didn't like it at all and I found it very difficult to imagine my Pa here as a little boy, playing marbles. It felt foreign and I felt quite let down.

another day gone..

the wind is blowing a gale outside.. and of course it is raining..tomorrow we hope to visit a Holy Well nearby but of course that will depend on the weather.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day. Cornwall style

well.. another day dawns... bringing me oneday closer to going home. Today, I feel homesickness again.

The Fowey Hotel offered a trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan - with guide David Hogg whose wife was head gardener there for a number of years. [It is a tradition  here in Cornwall to visit the Gardens of Heligan on Boxing Day. It is know as a charity day - and donations are taken to help local charities.. however being so wet, there were not many visitors]

He picked us up at 10am and drove us to the gardens.. giving us an umbrella [incase we needed it - ha!].... and off we went.. he gave a talk on the history of the gardens before we ventured outside.. and down the rain came. This time, pelting down.
My first reaction was to head for the tea room while the tour went on without me.. but I was here, had heard alot about the garden and didn't want to miss out.

[cornish red rhododendrons in Flora's garden - must be beautiful in flower]

our group moved out into the garden and followed David around as we listened to small snippets of history or interest about each part of the garden. the rain poured as we sloshed through mud and water. It was such a shame, because being a gardener, I would have liked to have been able to explore alot more.. especially the green houses, the vegetable gardens, the compost bins.

But it was not meant to be.

[all plants grown here are heirloom.. plants and seeds only grown in Victorian times.. and because they are not approved by the EEC or something like that, these vegetables cannot be sold on to the public but are used in the kitchen or given away to staff...they grow purple potatoes. They are not organic but near to it.. in Victorian times, they used all manner of manures, including that of the 'night chamber pot' [something, I might add that my grandparents did].... which as you can imagine created a smell that would assault the senses.. so, to protect the delicate noses of the gentry, an avenue of apples was planted down the middle of the vegetable garden and on each side were planted perfumed herbs and vegies... sweet peas, peas, lavender... [maybe that is where the saying 'they think their poo doesn't stink' came from]

in parts the garden reminded me of myself.. the way I garden... old pots and stakes & birdhouses.. we took some photos of birdhouses and Joe is going to make me some when we get home

we then went to the wildlife house and were given a talk on owls - which i must say was a highlight. They are such beautiful birds - and I learned alot about them.. the shape of their faces are actually shaped like that for radar.. to be able to pick up the slightest sound below of small field mice and voles. That their feathers are not waterproof and that they lay a clutch of eggs of about 5, two to three days apart.

we then had about half an hour to spend in the shop... a cup of hot chocolate to warm my hands first, then a browse in the shop.

back to the Fowey Hotel.. for a light lunch, then Joe went off to clay shoot... not before we both had a Cornish tea.. then I went for a nap. Still not sleeping... it is like my body is on Australian time.. maybe getting ready for the trip home.

so that is our Christmas at Fowey. tomorrow we leave for the last cottage - Ingledene - near Bodmin Moor - the weather is forecast for more rain and flood - roads are closed and some washed away. train lines are closed.. I am now counting down the days until I leave to go home. Keeping the homesickness at bay by keeping busy..

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas day at Fowey

had a very restless night.. was it excitement over Santa coming or too much to eat and drink the night before.. I tossed and turned all night.. finally waking at 4.40am to call home... then dozed off to sleep, until I heard Joe say that someone was knocking at our door.. 'don't be stupid, I replied'.  I thought it was just another crazy dream that I was having.. but no.. someone was definitely knocking on our door.. opening it, a man with a phone saying 'call from Australia'... it was our friends Avis & Bill.. calling us, to wish us a Merry Christmas.. or Happy Christmas as the english say..

after chatting for some time, i went to put the phone outside the door and found a Christmas stocking had been placed for us! That was so exciting to find.. i really feel as if I am experiencing the Christmas that i had hoped for... it is cold outside and Santa left a stocking..

we proceeded to unwrap our gifts - from the Fowey Hotel and from each other [the deal was that we would buy a stocking each and we would buy little gifts for each other, to put into the stocking.. of course, we didn't listen to our own plan and ended up having to wrap some of the gifts!!]

I was surprised to find a box for me [tongue in cheek - I had put it there... but this was a gift from me to myself... and I wanted it to be a memory that I would have forever]... a gold box

A little red dress-coat!!
it won't fit me now.. especially after all the scones, victorian sponge, yorkshire puddings, shortbread, mulled wine and christmas cheer... but I can alter it to become a true reflection of my journey..

and a clementine in the bottom of the stocking.. apparently a tradition here..
 i am thankful.. it could have been a lump of coal!

and this is our Christmas loot...
not bad for someone who is away overseas without friends or relatives.. an abundant Christmas in many ways.

then a quick walk around the village before lunch ...

a five course extravaganza of eating. the sun was shining!

and of course, Christmas is never Christmas without the silly hats.. doesn't matter where you are.

first course was a tiny bowl of butternut squash & pimento soup

followed by

smoked salmon roulade with dill and caviar

I chose Turkey with stuffing for my main. I tucked into the broccoli, beans, sprouts and carrots with gusto.. how I miss simple steamed vegies!!!
[I am actually starting to feel and look like a stuffed turkey with all the food I am eating!!]

we shared a chocolate concoction for dessert and took a cheese platter into the drawing room to sit and share with a glass of port.. half way through that, I had to go for a nap....
then i woke and we went for another walk. This time up to Saints Way.

then back to the hotel to listen to the Queens speech. Well, we didn't actually listen to it,because we are not that interested in Liz, Phil and Charlie in Buck House...

then tea and stollen was served at 4pm... by this time I am feeling very much like a little round ball with short legs and arms.. and the word detox keeps screaming in my head.. not liking these voices much at all!

dinner is served between 7pm and 9... can we fit any more in?... more to the point.... do we need to eat any more?
but i want to taste each and every thing that is offered, because the chance will never come again. truthfully, I am over scones. and Victorian sponge.
so here we sit.. stuffed turkeys..
tomorrow Boxing Day..


Christmas Eve in Fowey

last night - Christmas Eve Eve - we went to a local pub for pizza.. we are getting over stodgy pub food.. and while we were sitting there - a local [David], came up and asked Joe if his hair was real. ha!   we got talking to him.. i had noticed him earlier, wandering around.. he looked like a mix between Merlin, Jesus and a wandering minstrel, carrying a guitar on his back and dressed in a very long coat, silvery grey hair.
As he talked, I noticed his eyes were an odd colour, grey/blue... he was on for a chat so we asked him to join us... he asked us where we were from, why were we here and talked all over the place... sometimes jumping up and wandering off.. then returning saying 'ahhh the australians'... it seemed he was a little off the planet from too much Christmas cheer.. he was Cornish and told us some history of Cornwall and then Sally his partner joined us. She was a petite woman, about my height.. but smaller in weight.. obviously she does not par take of scones and Victorian sponge as I have been doing.. she introduced herself and started talking to me about family genealogy.. and told me that she had just recently moved from Wales but her heritage was from Cornwall - I think somehow we were related.. no evidence, just a feeling that i had because her whole stature reminded me of my Pa.. small, wiry and dark in complexion.. and just how we clicked immediately... we talked about my great grandparents moving to Australia and she said  'those people were tough, the ones who went to other places in the world... look at Cornwall, it was a harsh place to live for those back then... so they had the toughness to move and start again.. and they made it'... she kept saying this throughout our conversation, reinforcing the fact that Cornwall had been a harsh place to live... making sure i would not forget that.... David wandered off once again and she took her leave saying 'must love you and leave you... nice to chat'......were they angels? I am sure. This was a funny night, a funny meeting, it seems like a dream...

Christmas Eve morning.. drizzle.. we had breakfast and headed to town.. a short two minute walk.. went to the post office, i had a hair cut, bought some shoes and we bought a few more bits that we needed..and then back to get ready for our Christmas Eve at The Fowey Hotel...

which started with afternoon tea - a true cornish tea.. scones, jam and cream. Cream that is so thick that you can cut it like butter..

'is this the way that I am supposed to drink tea while staying at the Fowey?'

we are having fun.. I am just enjoying myself now.. of course, i do wish I were at home.. having drinks with friends.. but I am here.. so I laugh at myself.. after having a cry on Joe's shoulder..

after one scone.. yes only one! we went for a walk along the Esplanade.. near the sea.. the wild woolly sea that I have come to know of Cornwall..

and then back to the hotel for an hour with the Sea Shanties..

a group of male, local singers.. who sang traditional Cornish sea shanties. they were brilliant.. and I thought of my Pa who was a singer.. a tenor actually... and i could actually feel a proud stirring in my heart as these men sang of the tough cornish miners and the fishermen.. I thought to myself 'I am part of this'...
[and yes, I am.. I just don't live here. I am starting to love Cornwall.. but know that I won't come back.]

and then it was time to get ready for dinner...

but first canapes and Kir Royale cocktails in the Lookout Bar

then to our table..

a three course meal.. I had onion and thyme soup, chicken with broccoli, cabbage and onion.. and a selection of Cornish icecream.. very delish...

then a short wait until we went to Christmas Carols at St. Fimbarrus in Fowey.. an anglican church that really should be catholic.. then back to our room - up the hill in the cold.. the stars were glittering and the moon was shining.. a first!!

now we go to sleep, with the wind howling outside and the waves beating against the rocks.. lulled to sleep by Mother Nature

tomorrow is Christmas Day.. our first alone in another country without family and friends...