England 2015

Departure

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Julie’s parents, Dave and Una Blight, emigrated to Canada in 1957, a young Julie in tow.  Since that first Atlantic ocean crossing via ship they made many more.  Today will be their very last as their final resting place awaits in a tranquil parish church cemetery, St Illogan.  As I write this Julie is shifting their ashes from one suitcase to another, trying to ‘balance the load’ so to speak and I think they have ended up in my backpack.P1010957

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Arrival

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Not without some trepidation did we board our flight for London.  With our little Ellie, now almost 18 months old along with our son Blake and his wife Lauren, we occupied four seats just behind a bulkhead and just behind business class.  I should not have been worried as other than a small incident where Ellie grabbed then flung my glasses which struck a very grumpy woman in the face, the flight went well.  Except for the fact that Ellie was having such a great time that she wasn’t too interested in sleeping.  Thus her normal 12 hour sleep was missed completely.  We arrived early afternoon and Blake, Lauren and Ellie headed directly to the Mowatt’s while Julie and I stayed at the airport waiting for Kim’s flight to arrive, she having begun her journey in Australia.

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Crickhowell and Ty Neuadd

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Here I sit in our rooms which are in a converted stable which was built about the time Henry VIII’s reign was coming to an end – 1511.  The stone walls are several feet thick.  While most of the interior walls have been plastered over there is a section around the arched entry way left exposed.   Outside, in the middle of the parking area is a gnarled oak tree, centuries old.

Ellie checking out the oak tree

Ellie checking out the oak tree

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Cracking walks in the Usk valley

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Seems our week in Wales flew by so quickly.  In addition to canal walks and walks into town for a pub lunch or a shop, we ventured up higher in the hills.  The first was a fine walk along an old quarry tramway and into the Craig y Cilau Nature Reserve.  We had the sketch of a map and route instructions like, “at the old wall and fence turn right and down an old track past some houses”.  Or, “from the holly tree turn sharp left up a faint path rising steadily to the foot of the cliff”.  Miraculously we managed it without getting lost.

At the trailhead

At the trailhead

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Cornish Made

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Julie was born in Cornwall.  So were her parents.  So were all her grandparents and all her great grandparents.  In fact as far as we know her blood is Cornish back to the mists of unrecorded time.  And so it was no small thing, genetically speaking, when her parents, David and Una, pulled up stakes and moved to Canada in 1957 where their daughter would meet and marry a Canadian (of mixed Anglo-Saxon ancestry) and produce half Cornish children.  While Dave & Una lived the rest of their lives in Canada and became Canadian citizens, Cornwall was always home.  In their hearts and in their souls they were Cornish and yesterday their ashes returned to the soil from whence they came.

David and Una's extended family - post pasty smiles

David and Una’s extended family – post pasty smiles

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Cornish Adventures

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

For our week in Cornwall we stayed in Carbis Bay which is just outside St Ives, a 30 minute walk along a bit of the famous coastal path.

Carbis Bay beach looking back toward Hayle.

Carbis Bay beach looking back toward Hayle.

With this as a home base we were able to explore about and with two cars at our disposal it was not necessary to travel as a pack. This worked very well for us as it allowed Blake and Lauren to try to keep Ellie on track re mid day naps without requiring all of us to accept the same fate each day.
Thus Julie, Kim & I decided to drive down towards Zennor to walk a bit of the coastal path high above the ocean on this magnificent coast. But first, we had to get there. Cornwall is (in)famous for it’s narrow, winding roads.

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A day on the beach

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The wind breaks make all the difference.

The wind breaks make all the difference.

Gwithian has an amazing expanse of sandy beach several miles long with the magnificent Godrevy lighthouse to the north.  Julie’s cousin Tamsin has a cozy chalet just above the beach and a visit to Cornwall is not complete without spending a day there feeling the sand between our toes and the chill of the ocean waters on our skin (which in my case was about up to my knees).  Thankfully, Bob & Tamsin were properly equipped for a day on a Cornish beach, which means a wind break and extra wetsuits. Even on a sunny day the chilly breeze would rapidly deplete any body warmth you might possess, but these simple devices make all the difference.

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