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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods August 2023

Running very late this one, but better late than never. Here is my carefully selected random affair of a mish mash of photos that either didn't make it into their very own post, or photos that preview posts to come, because as I say I'm running very late now.

These first shots are from Bigbury on Sea. You can tell because there is the unique Sea Tractor, The Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel, the non Art Deco island of Burgh itself and the sea, complete with beach, queue for the tractor, lifeguards and a beautiful summer sky.

This is the rest of the island with the Pilchard Inn of 1336, and some impatient types not prepared to wait for the tractor and desperate for a pint. The whole lot is up for sale at the moment, the island and everything on it, either Art Deco or not, including the pub. A snip at 15 million pounds. There is also a huers hut right on top in case you ever wanted to cause a hue and cry.

You can wait until the tide is out, but of course the impatient types will have taken the best tables by then and will have drunk the place dry.

This is Torcross on a much bluer sunnier day.

There was a boat launch in the creek with much hilarity and pouring of whisky which I am not showing you, to protect the innocent. You will have to make do with a furled sail.

Furl is one of those English words more commonly used with a prefix. One rarely hears furl these days, but unfurl is still fairly common. You do furl an umbrella a lot in England but rarely furl it in English. It means tightly wrapped by the way, so if you are a diligent dedicated present giver at Christmas you might be furling your gifts.

Other words more common with a prefix than without are gruntle, peccable, delible, chalant, sheveled, pinge and plussed. You can add the prefixes yourself.

Gruntle is my favourite example and in this case the prefix does not mean the opposite but worse. To be disgruntled actually means to be extra grumpy while just being gruntled means being slightly less grumpy, but still grumpy. I like the word gruntle so much that in future I will try to master the art of just being slightly grumpy without being too grumpy, just to save the word gruntle from total extinction.

An artfully selected display of driftwood at Bigbury on Sea. Much of which is repurposed, recycled or turned into art, right here.

The chair, repurposed as a hanging basket.

Carnglaze Caverns, just over the border in Cornwall. The caverns are man made and the result of slate mining. The main cave is now a performance venue for live music and cinema. No heating or air conditioning needed, as troglodyte living has a constant year round temperature.

Incidentally, I have a Troglodytes troglodytes in my back garden, which is a common wren, one of the smallest cutest birds we have in Britain. So called because they overwinter in large groups in crevices to keep warm, just like the music and film lovers who frequent Carnglaze Caverns. Playing tomorrow, and sold out, are a Fleetwood Mac tribute band.

This is the Great Window of Trerise House, below, also in Cornwall. It was built in a time when windows were so important and expensive that bigger was better, like Mega Yachts today.

An intimate Elizabethan manor and a Cornish gem, Trerice remains little changed by the advances in building fashions over the centuries thanks to long periods under absentee owners. The National Trust

So there is nothing new then, even in Cornwall, where people who live elsewhere but who own second homes there, are still a controversial issue today. There are officially about 13,000 second homes in this sparsely populated county, about 5%.

By the 16th century the Arundell family had become well-established and was connected by marriage to nearly all the other landed families in Cornwall. These landlords live off a rental income from leasing out their land or estate which can include tenanted cottages and farms.

The status of the family increased through various members gaining good positions at the Royal Court. These family members would travel to London to try to impress Queen Elizabeth I who could offer jobs in government. The Royal Court was the centre of Elizabethan England and to be involved there would ensure power and a large income too.

The man in the painting is Richard Bellings Arundell of Lanherne, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Sir Richard Bellings was an Irish courtier who served as the Knight secretary to Catherine of Braganza, Charles II's Queen. Sir Richard's claim to fame was signing a secret treaty that allied Charles II and England with France against Holland which led to the 2nd Dutch War. By the time the Dutch War broke out I am not sure how secret the secret treaty was, probably not very.

Sir Godfrey Kneller also painted the King, Isaac Newton and French King Louis XIV. He was a pioneer of the Kit-Cat Portrait. Nothing to do with cats or chocolate bars. A Kit-Cat Portrait is a particular size of portrait, less than half-length, but including the hands. The name originates from a famous series of portraits which were commissioned from Godfrey Kneller for members of the Kit-Cat Club. Speaking of Kit-Kats, it appears to be a complete coincidence that he is holding out two fingers. In this instance the prominent gesture of two fingers likely has religious significance as Sir Richard was a devout Catholic.

When my Dad was a young child he went on a school trip to the Cadbury's chocolate factory, where the kids were allowed to help themselves to the treats on the production line. When he got home my grandmother discovered handsfull of chocolate finger biscuits stuffed in his pockets all of which had melted on the way back.

The window is in the Great Hall with great plasterwork ceilings with great small windows along the top where people could look down into the great room below and possibly play great music to entertain the great people there as they danced the night away.

Meanwhile in complete contrast is Bodmin Tandoori, that's supper sorted. Another great British food tradition, curry, the best of which are only found on our little island. Try asking for curry in India see how far you get. Mine is a Chicken Tikka Rezalla please.

Elsewhere in Bodmin, where St. Petroc founded a monastery in the 6th century and gave the town its alternative name of Petrockstow, are several interesting buildings and monuments.

This doorway, now part of a bakery shop is the old Guildhall, 17th century and Grade 2 listed by English Heritage. Royal Coat of Arms over possibly original doorway with 2 granite columns with moulded capitals

The Weavers Inn is a grade 2 listed building situated in the heart of Bodmin town centre on Honey Street. The pub was previously a wool shop and record shop before being turned into a pub in the 1970s. Weaving was originally done at home, as it was a Cottage Industry. That dog is desperate for a walk and a ball to chase.

This building now houses the town's cinema and there can't be many cinemas as grand as this. Formerly built as Public Rooms in 1891 by Ralling and Tonar of Exeter. It is Grade 2 listed. The adjoining part of the building is now the town museum.

"Admission to this dog-friendly museum is free but donations are gratefully received."

I wonder if the dog from the Weaver's Inn has been in for a look. They do have a display of old bones.

The building was opened by the very Dickensian and unlikely sounding "The Honourable Everilda Agar-Robartes". I bet she would have loved a Chicken Tikka Rezalla.

On the hill above Bodmin is this memorial to Walter Raleigh Gilbert a soldier in the Bengal Army who fought in the battles of Mookee, Ferozshah, and Sobraon. Queen Victoria made him a Baronet and awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. The Knight Grand Cross is the highest appointment attainable in The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, the fourth most senior of the British orders of chivalry. Appointment is restricted to those who hold at least the rank of Rear Admiral, Major General or Air vice Marshal.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by King George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, of which bathing (as a symbol of purification) was an element.

If King Charles were founding a new order of chivalry today what would it be called? With all the new restrictions on cars in London now, recipients would have to arrive by Electric Ubers, and purify with hand sanitiser. The Most Honourable Order of the Antibacterial Gel?

The Battle of Sobraon. Did they all have to hold that pose for the artist?

This memorial in Bodmin High Street commemorates the 500th anniversary of The Cornish Rebellion in 1497. A series of actions by King Henry VII in late 1496 and early 1497 increased the immediate hardships of many of his subjects, especially in Cornwall.

Being threatened in 1496–7 with invasion by the Scottish king and the pretender Perkin Warbeck, Henry VII levied an extraordinary series of financial demands on his subjects: a forced loan in late 1496, and in early 1497 a double portion of fifteenths and tenths taxation and a special subsidy levy. The burden fell more heavily on Cornwall than most areas, particularly in the collection of the forced loan.

An army of 15,000 rebels marched on London. The Battle of Deptford Bridge took place on 17 June 1497 on a site in present-day Deptford in south-east London, and was the culminating event of the Cornish Rebellion. After leaving the West Country and approaching London, the insurgency had failed to attract enough new support or to move quickly enough to catch the king unprepared. The insurgents were now on the defensive. The king had mustered an army of some 25,000 men while the rebels, after late desertions, were down to 10,000 men or fewer.

Michael Joseph (An Gof) and Thomas Flamank were executed at Tyburn on 27 June 1497. An Gof is recorded to have said before his death (while tied to a hurdle being dragged towards the place of execution) that he should have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal". The two of them had been sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. However the king accorded them the mercy of a quicker death, by hanging only, before their bodies were decapitated and quartered. The London Chronicler stated that their heads were set on London Bridge, the quarters of Flamank on four of the city gates, and the quarters of An Gof sent to be displayed at various points in Cornwall and Devon.

More granite, this time on the edge of Bodmin Moor. A beautiful hand crafted wrought iron and granite finger post. What a thing of beauty to stumble upon.

The following photos are extracts of a post coming soon. It was a photo walk around the Stonehouse area of Plymouth. It is a fascinating area, full of history. I am not going to say too much as I will keep all the details for the main post to come.

Yes, I was sorely tempted, but I held my nerve and resisted. I have never seen a section of a menu before that is dedicated solely to chips, including that other great culinary delight, the chip butty. That's a French Fry Sandwich in case you were wondering. The British lead the world in sandwich artistry, after all we did invent the sandwich.

My nomination for the highest pinnacle of sandwich creativity has to be the one invented in the warehouse of a place I once worked. A food van used to arrive at midday offering many delights, one of which was the Chicken Balti Pie, already a hybrid cuisine, taking the local Birmingham Balti Curry speciality and encasing it in pastry. The next level though was to then take that pie and place it between two slices of buttered bread, creating the Balti Chicken Pie Sandwich.

As if further proof of great British culinary art were needed, I next stumbled upon a marble memorial to the Ship's Biscuit, the only food item to be responsible for the creation of an Empire. This marble edifice merely displays the recipe for the food created through the grand archway behind which stocked the ships of the Royal Navy. Flour, salt and water and that is it. It fed a navy that travelled around the world for years at a time. It was probably as palatable as the marble memorial would be. Of course it was all washed down with rum, so that probably helped.

Here are the back doors, where the horses lived.

.....and here are the front doors where the ship's captains lived.

Now the hordes of arrivals from Europe carry passports not cannons as they disembark the ferries.

The Marines are still on guard but no longer eating ship's biscuits.

A stray bomb aimed at the ships in the harbour and at the barracks took out the end of this terrace during the war, Plymouth being the most heavily bombed English city for its size.

Here is the ferry with it's next cargo queuing up to go to Spain.

... and this mystery will have to remain until I publish the main post, and the answer as to why the pavement in this street is paved with quotes is both interesting and elementary.

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