About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


today we went to Penzance. I was expecting a large city.. but this town on the water is not a bustling city, it is a delightful town with lanes and streets weaving in and out with pubs and antique shops tucked in the most unlikely places. I am guessing it would be manic in summer and then, my opinion may be different.

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 some more wandering around.. buying some little bits for Christmas and into a crystal shop where I found the most delightful clay Goddess faeries. i had wanted something for my altar for Christmas and this is perfect. a Celtic Goddess faery.

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.


  1. Maybe for your dress Robyn, you should draw it and get someone to make it for you. I'm sure you can find a good seamstress at home.
    That way you can get it just how you want it.

  2. Well, of course I must ask . . . did you see the Pirates? The famous Pirates of Penzance?

  3. lovely post and photos, was quite surprised to see the name of the shelter dog Astra, my parents have a rescue dog also called Astra, how strange not a common dog name methinks, love the xmas lights.

  4. Dear Robyn,
    I've been reading your journal and "feeling" it with you. In the end, it's important that you made this journey as it seems to be putting much to rest, not least your spirit. I believe you will return home with a much stronger connection to your beloved Katoomba.
    Colette xxxxx

  5. Just a thought, it might be a nice project to buy the red velvet dress and alter it to your childhood memory connecting the two!

    Hugs Sue x

  6. I have understood a little bit more about homesickness reading about your travels Robyn. How where we grew up and our culture is very important to us, as I think of many of the English families who came out here in the 1950's and '60s, tried to make a go of it, and returned, finding that Australia wasn't for them, in such a different landscape and cultural setting.
    Also the refugees who are here. I have been standing behind Christmas queues with many an immigrant in the post office in front of me lately, sending their Christmas parcels 'home', wondering if they are in fact pleased to be here or not - many must have mixed emotions.
    We need different experiences to re-define our own culture and place in it, and take it from there.
    I am sure you will enjoy your chilly English winter very much - but love the stinking heat, fat blowflies, and burning-hot steering wheels here next year even more!!
    Love how you are finding such interesting shops, but oh the frustration of not buying what is so unique in memorable places!!

  7. Oh Robyn, the memory you will have of the elderly lady..I would have teared up too. Bless her.
    The Christmas lights are something that we didn't see much of when I lived in the UK, other than inside decorations, few people did any outside decorating, and the the towns did a modest display at best. Those are really good by what I see here.