yesterday, we did a tour of a Tin mine nearby at Pendeen.
I had, of course, a romantic vision of them going off to work with a little tin pail with Cornish pastie inside.. and then to the mine to work and home again later. not so.
they did long hours and Cornish pasties were not 'created' until the 18th century. They actually ate what was known as 'Hoggan' which was pork fat and barley, rolled into a ball. Not cooked. and they did not return home at night, sometimes they stayed underground for days at a time. Because, if they left their place, another miner would come in and reap the benefits.
boys as young as 7 having to carry heavy weights up from the mines.. The youngest known miner was 3. 3 years of age.. can you imagine a child that young working anywhere?? some being sent into small 'caves' to remove the arsenic from the walls of the mines.. scraping it off.. some of the men having to blast away rock using primitive goose feathers filled with gunpowder. No wonder so many of my ancestors passed away at very young ages. I never understood why really. now I do.
and as I sat in the mine museum cafe eating my pastie, gazing out at the deep blue/grey Atlantic Ocean, my thoughts wandered to my mining 'tinner' ancestors.. they may have worked mines similar to this in beautiful surroundings.. looking out to sea but their mind would not have been on how beautiful the landscape was but how they had to work hard to get their quota in to earn a living. just to survive. not to be able to travel or for leisure but to survive in the harsh land that I am discovering that Cornwall was.
every morning after breakfast.. when we get ourselves ready.. we head off. but first we have morning tea just down the road at Trevaskis Farm.. a working farm that sells produce and has a cafe. ..
then we headed to St. Agnes.. for a Sunday drive, except it is Tuesday.. a pretty little village but we didn't stop.. and the usual fools on the road harassed us, pushed us onto the verge and generally drove like ratbags.
and on to St. Ives...
first , to the post office [I think we are keeping them in business at the moment..]
and a stroll around the streets.. into some shops..
there are streets everywhere.. steps and little homes tucked into corners.. cute.. and obviously a thriving town in summer.. I am so glad that I chose to come at this time of year - I think the summer crowds would have bothered me some. I bought a little Cornish pixie to take home and chatted to the guy who owned the store. He was a potter.. and had been to Australia about 10 or so years ago and couldn't get over the fact that we have free BBQ facilities in parks .. he told us 'you won't get anything for free in this country, you know'.. yes we know.
of course, another knife in the cake of disillusionment for me.
then a few more errands - buying some more decorations
and we headed home..
a cup of tea then we walked to the Post Office ..
yes, it is beginning to look - a little - like Christmas.