the other day when we were driving through the streets of Penzance, on our way home from somewhere else, I had spotted a little, red velvet dress in a window of a vintage clothes shop & for those who know me, I am sure you know of my search for my childhood red velvet dress.. so, that was my mission today.. to find that shop and buy that dress...when we arrived in Penzance today, I didn't think we would be able to find the shop with all the alleyways and laneways..
but we asked a friendly local [yes, friendly]
and she pointed us in the direction.. 'down the hill, a fair way I am afraid.. yes, I know the shops you are wanting.. just go straight down the hill. sorry about the weather'
and we toddled off in search of the red dress.. and found it. There in the window. but it was not the dress of my childhood. this one had long sleeves and no lace on the bodice. I was going to buy it, but didn't.. something stopped me.. no use buying something that isn't 'just right' [I still might go back before I go home]..then a wander through some more antique shops.. bought a Mary statue from Lourdes and another little vintage religious icon of who I don't know.. so much I could buy here, but to get it home is impossible and I pride myself on my control of myself in these shops.
then discovered the most amazing old pub..
"The Admiral Ben Bow"
and went in for lunch. The owner was friendly, very friendly and chatty [yes another one!] and invited us to wander about the pub to take photos..
[I later found out that this was Daisy's favourite pub in Penzance, so I believe she led me there to show me that not all Cornish people are rude]...
then for a cup of tea.. the first we went into and we were told that we don't do Cornish Teas in winter.. only in summer, we only have pastries.. so we crossed the road and went into a little tearoom out of the 1960's..
we ordered a pot of tea for two and a piece of Victorian Sponge to share.. the owner told us to make sure we used the strainer because 'we use real tea here'... and as I sat waiting, I heard someone call, 'young lady, could you help me please?' I turned around and there was an old lady, standing, holding onto the table.. 'could you help me, I need some help to get to my walker'.. and this old lady who reminded me of my nan and my mum.. gave me her handbag, took my hand, leaned on me as I helped her up the step to her walker.. the tears sprang to my eyes, I felt honoured and also blessed to be in the company of an angel. She was dressed in an old camel coat, with a hat on. And she looked like a little gnome... this old woman, with hair springing from her chin was beautiful and in those few short moments, taught me alot.
I will never forget that moment of my life.
then we headed back to the car and headed home. stopping on the way at the wonderful Sainsburys to buy some water and other essentials.. like more Christmas decorations..
after dinner, we decided to go and look at some villages and the Christmas lights.. we drove down a hill and came upon the village of Angarrack.. started wandering the streets and met up with some locals who were collecting money for the expense of the power and upkeep of the village lights each year. we gave a donation and they pointed us in the right directions : 'up to the chapel, then back again. then up the hill to the archway and back down. turn left and go as far as the camel. and then if you really want to see it all, take the public footpath through the woods, a bit mudddy and when you get to the top, turn left." so off we went.. the lights were brilliant. The 12 Days of Christmas was the theme... plus a few others.
It was cold and it really felt like Christmas at last. .. we came down the hill and two of the locals were on their way home with their Irish short haired border collie [who had a Christmas lights collar] and they offered to take us up the public footpath.. we started chatting and we learned that their village had won the best Christmas light display last year, that they start putting their lights up in October and then they are turned on beginning of December. Carol and Russell. Carol told me that the Cornish had traded tin with the Phoenicians and that the Phoenicians were the ones who introduced saffron to the Cornish - hence saffron cake being very popular here. I have tried it and will try and bake it when I go home. As we walked Joe played throw the stick with their dog - Astra, a shelter dog.
agreed by both Joe and I, the best Christmas lights we have ever seen!!
sometimes, as I write my story of my time here in Cornwall, I feel as if I am complaining about the place too much. all my thoughts and words are how i feel within.. and at times, i feel like i haven't quite connected to this land that i yearned for so much, for such a long time [those that have followed my blog over the past years, will understand what i mean].... but traipsing through fields of mud to find a well that is hidden by years of ivy growth, surrounded by water and slush that can sometimes become waist deep... or driving around and around looking for standing stones in someones field, where there is no sign or parking at all is not my idea of fun.. or connecting.. and I can forgive myself for not getting to see all that I [thought that I ]wanted to see.
and now, after this time away from home,... I understand that my little waterfall at the witches leap in Katoomba and my grand old coachwood deep in the rain forest valley is every bit as sacred as these places in Cornwall.
and my thoughts on the English way - the driving, the narrow streets, fears at times, the parking.. are just my observing, of the differences between two cultures, however much the same we may think we are.. we are different. and thats ok.