Discover Cornwall, England

At the southwestern tip of England lies a sea-surrounded county called Cornwall. Lined with coastal towns and cliffs, this small yet beautiful corner of the United Kingdom provides the setting for PBS Masterpiece’s latest hit, Poldark. As is often the case with my ritual (some might say addictive) viewing of BBC and Masterpiece, I have become a little bit obsessed with my newly discovered English countryside. Although I have yet to watch Poldark, I’m looking forward to it soon, so I’ve been doing my research. The result: Cornwall has been added to a very lengthy list of places I need to visit in the faraway land of England.

Gunwalloe Church Cove

Gunwalloe Church Cove, Cornwall ~ image by Tim Green via Flickr

This view of Church Cove in Gunwalloe, Cornwall has the romantic tangling of open ocean and vivid green cliffs that I associate with the English coastline. This beach on the Lizard Peninsula was used in filming Poldark.

The rolling hills of Boscastle, Cornwall image by JUweL via Wikimedia Commons

The harbour town of Boscastle was once a home for Thomas Hardy. Not only did the landscape inspire some of Hardy’s literary endeavors, but Hardy also met his first wife here, according to cornwall-online.co.uk.

Idyllic seaside village of Mousehole, Cornwall ~ image via Wikimedia Commons

Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, called Mousehole “the loveliest village in England.” And one can see why: the small harbor filled to the brim with fishing boats, the village houses arcing the water and spreading up the hill. It looks like a lovely Saturday afternoon spot.

Cape Cornwall ~ image by Judithili via Wikimedia Commons

This piece of land looks almost like it is floating on the Atlantic. Cape Cornwall looks peaceful in this photo, but I imagine it could be a dangerous place in a wild sea storm.

Land’s End, Cornwall ~ image via Wikimedia Commons

Land’s End seems to be just that: as far as you can go southwest in England. I would love taking a rambling hike along this coastline.

Chun Quoit, Cornwall ~ image by Jim Champion via Wikimedia Commons

These ancient stones were built as a Neolithic tomb. The dolmen of Chun Quoit is evidence of the long and eventful history of England. It must be amazing to witness that connection across thousands of years.

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall ~ image by Maniple via Wikimedia Commons

Tintagel Castle looks like it has emerged straight from the mythical past. Indeed, legend has it that King Arthur of the Round Table was conceived at this location, prior to the construction of the castle.

Lands End Cliffs

Land’s End, Cornwall ~ image by Chris Combe via Flickr

Like other English places, Cornwallt has that magical mix of historical significance and natural beauty. You could spend days hiking the cliffs, swimming at the beaches, and exploring the quaint villages. Maybe someday I’ll do just that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of Cornwall. Stay tuned for a review coming soon of Poldark!

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Samwise Gamgee Meets Gandalf in the Frozen Foods Section

Sam walked up and down the grocery store aisles, a plastic basket crooked over his arm. “Not like the good old days,” he said, scratching the top of his graying head with his empty pipe. “This country’s gone to rot. Where in the name of Gandalf is the bleeding pipe weed?” Sam stopped and stared with red eyes at a wall of freezers. Everything from frozen ready-to-roast meals to ale popsicles stocked the shelves.

“Did you call on me, Master Samwise?” said a very tall person who was stepping out of one the freezer doors. “So nice to cool off a bit. They call it climate change, but honestly I feel like we’re virtually melting nowadays.”

“Gandalf?! I haven’t seen you in what, fifty years!”

Gandalf stroked his newly trimmed goatee. “Has it really been only fifty years? Seems like an eternity. Yes, well, the Grey Havens were getting a little grey, if you know what I mean. Too many elves. They sing constantly – after a while, an old wizard like me would like to wake up naturally, not to a multitude of conceited angels shrieking to the sunrise.”

“But what are you doing here?” asked Sam. His empty basket had crashed several moments before on the tile next his sandaled feet.

“Just checking up on things. Looking around. Taking a vacation, of sorts.”

“Well, things have changed quite a bit. All these new aboveground boxes selling everything under the sun. Everything but pipe weed, apparently.”

“If you must know,” said Gandalf, looking behind him before continuing, “all the pipe weed has been either smoked or burned since the government ban several weeks ago. It looks as though it has finally taken effect in the Shire.”

“Just what we need – another ban! We’ve only had to wear these blasted shoes indoors for a couple weeks, and already I’ve had hundreds of blisters!”

“Really, Sam, you’ve always been so prone to exaggeration. But you are right, the Gondorians have become rather overprotective.”

“To say the least! I can’t even grow my own vegetables without registering with the bloody Minister of Fruitation!”

“Eh-hem…” A smallish person with big round glasses and bulging beer-belly-in-progress emerged from the next aisle carrying a very large pumpkin and a six-pack of butterbeer. “Pardon me, but I couldn’t help but overhear. I’m a bit ashamed really, but I’ve always wanted to meet you. You know, you were always my favorite character, Sam. May I call you Sam?”

“And who, might I ask, are you?” Sam asked, growing more agitated the longer he went without pipe weed.

“Oh, sorry. Thought you would know me. My name’s Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived and all that rot. Me and the Sorceror’s Stone, Me and the Chamber of Secrets – oh, and my personal favorite, Me and the Goblet-”

“Right-o! Of course I know you!” said Sam, a smile breaking out on his wrinkled face. “I’ve read your books to my grand-hobbits. Maybe you could sign a copy for me-”

“Oh, I don’t really do that anymore. Publicity isn’t good for my health, you see. But I’m very glad to meet a fan.”

Gandalf eyed the pumpkin suspiciously. “What do you have there, boy? Not delving into Black Magic, are you?”

“Of course not – why does everyone keep asking that? Actually it’s more like Purple Magic – very freeing and individualistic. I’ve never felt more accepted than when I hang out with Purple Magicians.”

Gandalf cleared his throat and arched a crooked eyebrow. “I see,” he sneered. “I really must be going; so very nice to chat, Master Samwise. You should consider retirement – Gray Havens has quite a vacancy!”

Sam watched as Gandalf skipped down the aisle and disappeared.

“Damn it all to Sauron, I meant to ask him about Frodo!” Sam said, quickly recovering his agitation as he remembered that he was no nearer to getting more pipe weed.

“Oh, haven’t you heard?’ whispered Harry, as if covering up a juicy secret. “Frodo’s left the Grey Havens. Joined the Sith, so they say.”

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Yardley Advertisements from the 1960s

Looking over Yardley ads from the past century, I find it interesting that the British toiletry company has kept up with modern times while retaining its elegant and even sophisticated reputation. Some of my favorite Yardley ads are from the 1960s when Mod culture was high in Swinging London. The fashion trend that Yardley helped promote seems to have been full of hopefulness and a sense of security, which I find refreshing living in a time when emaciation and extremism seem predominant in fashion.

Twiggy was one of the most popular models of the time, and she started modeling for Yardley in 1967, advertising Twiggy eyelashes and paint.

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photo courtesy ~ pictify.com

But Twiggy wasn’t the only face of Yardley. With the release of Romeo and Juliet in 1968, Olivia Hussey became the image of romance.

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photo courtesy ~ pictify.com

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photo courtesy ~ pictify.com

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photo courtesy ~ Musings from Marilyn

Twiggy and Olivia Hussey are my favorite models from the ’60s… do you have any?

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photo courtesy ~ pictify.com

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photo courtesy ~ Carnabetian Army

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photo courtesy ~ John Bull & Uncle Sam

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photo courtesy ~ Hair and Makeup

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English Lavender

Even though I haven’t been updating this blog very recently, I’ve still been dreaming about faraway England. As I was researching this hub about Yardley of London’s English Lavender, I came across these photos of lavender growing in the English countryside. Fields of gorgeous purple, set against the open blue sky…. seems so peaceful, so picturesque. And as the Michigan winter is inching upon us, I look out the soon-frosted window thinking about rippling rows of fragrant lavender that will be blooming next June, and I feel a little warmer inside.  

Gloucester

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photo courtesty ~ Cameraman

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photo courtesy ~ W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr

Hampshire

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photo courtesy ~ Peter Trimming

Hertfordshire

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photo courtesy ~ OLU

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photo courtesy ~ OLU

Kent

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photo courtesy ~  Trevor Harris

Kent

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photo courtesy ~ Andy Peacock

 

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English Accent for Hire!

Just can’t get enough of listening to the Brits speak? Do you watch the BBC just to hear that impossibly posh accent? Now for a mere fifteen American dollars, you can actually hire someone to read a passage or poem with an English accent. Robert Charleston of oneloneenglishman.com puportedly offers his born-and-bred British voice to read whatever you want (of about 200 words), record it, and email you an mp3 file. If you prefer the female British voice, Robert’s sister Elspeth also offers her services for your listening pleasure.

Someone on Twitter recently pointed this website out to me. I have not tried this myself, so I can’t in all honesty recommend sending money in exchange for an English accent in your inbox. But it just goes to show you, Americans do love England! We are willing to pay money just for their accent! It seems a little ridiculous, but then again, they do have pretty great accents.

image courtesy alancleaver via Wikimedia Commons

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Marmite, To Love or Not to Love?

No matter how many times I try to discover what Marmite is made from, I always come away with the vague sensation that whatever it is, it can’t be edible. Even the advertising slogan for Marmite is “Love it or hate it.” As if that, somehow, is meant to boost sales. Wikipedia tells me that Marmite is made from yeast extract somehow derived from brewing beer. From all sides, this “spread” looks like molasses mixed with tar with a hint of superglue. And yet, the Marmite website freely shares a recipe for a Marmite and cheese sandwich. Why do people punish themselves so?

image courtesy Malcom Farmer via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I must admit I have not so much as smelled Marmite. I saw a tiny jar of it in my grocery store (all the way out here in Hawaii), but the close to $15 price tag turned my hesitancy into repulsion. Why pay three mocha lattes’ worth of hard-earned money for two ounces of “nutritious” sludge? Yet my ignorance of the true taste of Marmite, which some people seem to hoard and treasure with inexplicable passion, makes me reserve the right to further judgment in future. Dear Marmite, I will one day taste you in reality and expose your deficiencies and disgusting deceits to the world.

Here is one American’s (elmify on Youtube) reaction to Marmite:

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Keane’s New Album – Strangeland

I don’t know about you, but British music just seems to be on a different level than most American pop music. Maybe it’s the accents… or the Beatles…

It was hot summer night in Philadelphia. The city lights blotted out the stars, and the colored noise coming out of the speakers clouded up the humid evening with pure neon summertime. Keane concert at the Mann, August 7, 2010. Great day, that was. To top it all off, Tom Chaplin sang a brand new song for the first time in public: “Disconnected”. It instantly became one of my favorites. Just last week, Keane released their new album, Strangeland, and “Disconnected” is on the list, as well as “Sovereign Light Cafe”. The album is filled out with plenty of new songs as well, my favorite so far being “The Starting Line”. It feels like Keane has returned to its classic piano rock sound in this album, which I love. So be sure to check it out – I recommend the Deluxe Version if you just can’t get enough of Keane like me :)

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