Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Calm before The Storm

Today was gray and gloomy;
with not even a whisper from the wind.

". . . these are the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean's skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember, that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang."

~ from Moby Dick (by Herman Melville)

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The beauty of silence...

Everything in life is speaking
in spite of it's apparent silence.
- Hazrat Inayat Khan

Thursday, 12 July 2007

St. Ives Bay in a Mist...

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

- Henry Miller

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

St. Michael's Mount Series - Photo 9a & 9b

We've come now, to the end of our island tour, I hope you've enjoyed St. Michael's Mount!
St. Michael's Mount (Cornish: Karrek Loes yn Koes), rises majestically almost 230 feet from sea level to the tower, chapel and battlement of the castle. Approximately 500 yards offshore the Mount is reached by small ferry boats which ply between Marazion and the Mount's harbour at high tide, or a granite causeway which enables pedestrian and service traffic at low water. Fairytale, Magik and Legends, this historic island has it all! Before we leave this series, I'd like to share a story or two...

Once, it had been thought to have been the site of the ancient island of 'Ictis'. This being the major tin exporting port of the 'Cassiterides' - the tin islands trading with the Phoenicians or Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean from about the 4th Century BC. Dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael, the Mount is approximately 400 metres offshore, and can be reached at low tide by a stone causeway. Local legend has a more colourful explanation: the Mount was built by, and home to, the giant 'Comoran'. He would come ashore and steal sheep and cows from the mainland and return to the Mount to eat his meal. He was supposedly killed by a local boy, later called Jack - the Giant Killer. In another legend, St. Michael the Archangel,
is believed to have appeared here in AD 710.

In the 11th century it was given to the monks of Mont St Michel in France who founded a priory here. At the dissolution in 1539, the revenues were given to Henry Arundell who was appointed Governor. The Mount, on the orders of Sir Francis Basset, then Sheriff of Cornwall, remained loyal to the King during the English Civil War but it was attacked and taken by Parliamentary forces, under the command of Colonel Hammond, in April 1646. Major Ceeley was appointed Governor in 1659, by Richard Cromwell who had briefly succeeded his father as Lord Protector. At the Restoration in 1660, John St Aubyn became the proprietor, and the Mount has continued in that family ever since. The nunnery and house for the monks were placed below the church to the east, south and west; they were much altered during work in 1720 to convert the buildings into a family residence for the St Aubyn family. Further alterations were made in 1826. Since 1660 it has been in the possession of the St Aubyn family and a small village has grown up near the harbour. In 1811, there were fifty houses, eight of which were uninhabited. By 1820 the little town of St Michael had two or three small Inns, and about seventy dwellings.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

St. Michael's Mount Series - Photo 8

This is taken atop the castle of the entire community below. It's a wonderful view of the causeway, which connects the island to that of mainland UK, also visible is the harbour and homes of the few families living on the island.

The harbourside village at St. Michael’s Mount has been home to an island community for centuries. The population swelled to around 300 towards the middle of the 19th century, during the harbour’s heyday as a busy port. Although the harbour is now predominantly used by pleasure boats, the village still houses a number of people whose lives are very much linked to the island. The row of picturesque cottages that lines the harbour area is occupied by the island’s boatmen, guides, gardeners and other staff members and their families, creating a community of about 30 in all.

St. Michael’s Mount lives and breathes history!

Monday, 9 July 2007

St. Michael's Mount Series - Photo 7

This is the entrance to inside the castle. Out of respect to the family that lives in the castle, no one is allowed to take photographs inside. But, I found it pretty cool to be walking around an 18th century castle, that was still being habited.

At the top of these steps, you find yourself in a moderate sized entrance hall, followed by room after room filled with such magnificent history. The church, which is the oldest building on the island, looked exactly as one might imagine it would have looked all those hundreds of years ago. Behind the altar in the church are three alabaster panels, each one over 500 years old, depicting religious events of huge significance. Made in Nottingham in the fifteenth century, it is still unknown how or when they came to be at St Michael’s Mount.

Anyone coming to visit Cornwall, should make it a point to visit this island, as it is well worth it!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

St. Michael's Mount Series - Photo 6a & 6b

Taken from up on the castle, is a picture of the exotic garden clinging to a near-vertical granite rock face above the sea. However the warm Gulf Stream along with the heat-retentive granite walls and bedrock, enable a wide variety of tender and exotic plants to be grown in the South-facing gardens. It has walks and terraces planted with windswept but often subtropical plants.

The gardens range from sweeping avenues to the formal terraced gardens first planted in the 1780s.

The gardens are such a breathtaking view, I decided to post 2 photos!
I'd like to share a quote from one of my favorite authors, Charles Dickens, "The rich, sweet smell of the hayricks rose to his chamber window; the hundred perfumes of the little flower-garden beneath scented the air around; the deep-green meadows shone in the morning dew that glistened on every leaf as it trembled in the gentle air: and the birds sang as if every sparkling drop were a fountain of inspiration to them."
~ The Pickwick Papers