04 July 2012

England: Tuesday and Wednesday

I think I mentioned that we went into Penzance Tuesday. Penzance is an old town (what towns in England aren't?). Anyway, we had lunch at Penzance's oldest tavern, the Turk's Head Inn.

While eating lunch, a gentleman next to us noticed I was American (could it be my bloody accent?). Turns out his only trip to America was during WWII when he was in the RAF and sent from Manchester, England "where you had to go to find out where you were going next", to Miami, Oklahoma (we think he said) which was "the middle of bloody nowhere". He told us they hitchhiked to get places and "everyone there was just lovely to us."

Then at the Angarrack Inn, everyone was greeting an older gentleman who seemed very unhappy. Sadly, Walter's wife passed away this morning. Walter taught Paul McCartney and George Harrison history when they were in grammar school (think posh private school). He used to give them hell for turning in their homework late. Their excuse? They were up late writing music...which Walter poo-pooed as useless, of course!

Yes, yes, it was an interesting day.

Today, we drove over to an ancient Celtic ruin. This was an early Christian chapel and baptism site called Boswarthan. The "well" here is a sacred site where even today, people will bring pieces of clothe and other items that have touched a sick person to leave as a plea for good health. You can see the items in the tree beside what I would call a spring. The chapel is actually quite large, and has been partially restored. You can see the stream falling into what must have been some sort of "font", and the altar is on the left. They only held a few people at a time, the chapel was for the saint - not the type of saint we think of today, but an almost hermit-like person who was the spiritual leader. These ruins go back at least 1000 years, perhaps as much as 1500-1600 years.
The Wishing Well and Baptistry. You can see items hanging
in the tree as pleas for wellness and prosperity.

The Celtic Christian chapel. The structure to the right of
the door had water flowing into it. We don't know exactly

A view from the other side of the chapel. The altar is to the lower
left. The chapel's ground has sunken, so it is flooded when
there is a lot of rain like we've had here lately.
On the way to lunch, we also stopped at another ancient spot, a burial plot for what was probably someone fairly important. This was at Lanyon Quoit. The rocks have been placed back in their original position as the top rock was knocked off at some point. The actual burial was probably in a stone box placed in the earth under the monolith, with the cremated remains poured into the box before it was sealed.
Lanyon Quoit. Click the picture to see it full-size, and note the
large structure off in the distance to the left. That is the
abandoned "tipping house" or "engine house" of an
old mine.

This beautiful purple flower is everywhere along
the trails in Cornwall. It is called foxglove.
Beautiful, yes, but also deadly poison!
 Lunch was at Tinners Arms Free House in Zennor. When I came here in 2007, this was the first pub I visited, and the bartender was quite surprised when I said this wasn't my first time. I guess most of their repeat business isn't five years apart, and is probably lot more local! Lunch was Garlic Mushrooms and Spinach with Linguini and Goat Cheese, accompanied of course, by a pint of Tinners Arms Ale.

The Zennor Parish Church tower
After lunch we hiked along the Coast Path, out along the edge of Cornwall. It was a beautiful day, and the views were spectacular.
After this hike, we drove over to Hell's Mouth. For the first time I wished I had my pro camera gear, with the  ultra wide-angle lens. My mind is the only picture I have of it! Two hundred foot cliffs, total beauty.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

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